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Cheese Talks: Linux As A Stretch Goal

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After a couple of months' silence (the upcoming Humble Visualisations rewrite has eating up a lot of my time), I'm pleased to present a new "Cheesetalks" article looking at why Linux as a stretch goal in crowdfunding campaigns undermines the very principles upon which crowdfunding is based.

Weighing in at somewhere near 3,000 words, this article grew out of a discussion I recently had with the organisers of The Realm's crowdfunding campaign, which in part (along with feedback from their Linux survey which we covered here on GOL late last month) led to their adopting Linux as a base deliverable.

For those who don't have time to dive in, here's a quick summary!

I begin by looking at why stretch goals themselves don't bring new audiences in, and how they can be most effective when they are giving existing supporters motivation to spread the word.

I talk about how crowdfunding campaigns can put developers in a better position to support Linux than other approaches to getting projects off the ground, and put forward the notion that to get the best coverage, platform support should be grouped by role rather than perceived market share due to the lack of comparative user overlap between, for example, PC-to-PC platforms and PC-to-mobile platforms. For this reason, I suggest that Linux should be considered a "parallel" platform alongside other PC operating systems rather than an "additional" platform which can be used to generate more excitement later in a campaign.

I also give some advice for prospective campaign runners who are considering supporting Linux which can be boiled down to:
  • Choose to work with open and/or cross platform technologies.
  • Communicate with Linux users and give them as much attention as users on other platforms.
  • If you are targeting Linux with your project, aim to have simultaneous release on all PC platforms.
  • If you feel that you need a particular amount of funding to be comfortable producing a Linux version, just announce Linux support once that threshold has been reached.
  • If you are not interested in or excited by supporting Linux with your project, then don't.

As is often the case, this article is littered with quotes from crowdfunding campaign runners I've spoken to including Refract Studios (Distance), Double Fine (Double Fine Adventure/Broken Age), Hidden Path Entertainment (Defense Grid 2), Corey Cole (Hero-U) and the guys from Atomhawk and Lantern Interactive (The Realm), so even if you're not that excited by what I have to say, it's worth flicking through just for the quotes!

Enjoy! Article taken from
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About the author -
author picture
Game developer, Linux helper person, and independent writer/interviewer.

Currently working on Winter's Wake, a first person text adventure thing and its engine Icicle. Also making a little bee themed base builder called Hive Time :)

I do more stuff than could ever fit into a bio.
See more from me
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Bumadar 13 May, 2013
quiet a good article, different OS as a stretch goal is simply not smart, it basicly means that people on a supported OS are putting in money for another OS after which people for the second OS will start funding.... tis wrong :)

Talking for me personally, at the start of it all (double fine) I supported projects that had Linux as a stretch goal, but by now even if I like something I will not support it from the start if there is no Linux support from the start.  I might return to the project at a later date to see if it reached Linux but I might simply forget and thus not fund it.   

The article by muntdefems is good in helping to see who has Linux from the start and thus who to support.
Liam Dawe 13 May, 2013
I hope developers take note of this.
Cheeseness 13 May, 2013
A few have already. Aside from supportive feedback from the developers who provided quotes, I've also received at least one email (haven't got time to get through them all this morning) from a prospective crowdfunding campaign organiser who wrote to say it was of benefit to them. :D

Thanks for the feedback Bumadar. I hope that muntdefems continues with the regular crowdfunding roundup thing. I think it's really positive.
. 14 May, 2013
if a project has Linux as a stretch goal I will not even consider it until it has reached that amount. Kind of defeats the purpose I'd say. on an unrelated note, the prove you are a human game doesn't work under chrome for Android.
uppa lumpa 15 May, 2013
* make blogs that tries to make promotions of crowdfunding have proper rss feed with full article and images... ;-)
Cheeseness 15 May, 2013
Quoting: uppa lumpa* make blogs that tries to make promotions of crowdfunding have proper rss feed with full article and images... ;-)
Aww, GOL isn't a blog. It's a news site!

My articles are too long for GOL, let alone an RSS feed :D
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