"1001 jeux à faire avant de mourir"

A shitload of reading again, today's pet-project is a list of a 1001 games you should play before you die. Not a highly original pitch but I wasn't satisfied with existing ones.

Click here to access it!

It looks a bit stupid to have a title in French, the core material in French but to talk about it in English right here, but I preferred to keep that consistent and the hosting site is French.

I'll think about English readers for future works ;)


Gantz - Alien Invasion

Started in March 2010 has as hobby on my spare time, Gantz: Alien Invasion is a video game adaptation of the manga of the same name: Gantz. But don't get mad or what, it's just a big game concept describing the game as I see it.
And yeah, I know what you're going to say you know! There are already few games adapted from Gantz, but I pretend to think that they do not catch the very concept of the manga, what he can really offer in terms of video game. And then it was a way of working a game design with a specifications sheet to meet - the universe and the mechanics of the manga - rather than writing without constraints and totally free on the first thing that would come to my mind (which I don't deprive myself to, however).

Unlike the Konami's game on PS2, this adaptation isn't focused on the scenario of the manga. Alien Invasion is an action game conceived as a Monster Hunter with the speed and dynamism of Vanquish, the violence of Ninja Gaiden and in which players have to help each others like in Left4Dead.
For the remains, I tried to respect the original manga as much as I could, digging details in the existing adaptations (animés and movies).

I have not the vainglory to sign the budget and the rights to develop the game tomorrow, like I said in introduction it's just an exercise in style. The irony is that I entered Kylotonn Games as a Game Designer in the meantime, so this kind of document is basically my all-day job now. But hey, I don't regret it because it was a good exercise and I found myself facing many issues, the overall playability of the project has changed three times to give you an idea. So, in the end this was interesting!

The result of this work is an (almost) 70 pages PDF document which took me about 250h of work you could read by clicking RIGHT HERE (or you can download it if you want a clean and convenient PDF). I know this will never become the bedside book of anyone, but it wouldn't have been very useful to write an article about that doc' without a link to download and read it.

It goes without saying that the resulting doc is a massive spoiler of everything that has been published on the license until now, you now have been warned about this!

Oh! Almost forgot, the document itself is in french because I started it like that 3 years ago as said in the header, sorry if you're not a french reader.
But I could make the translation if you're (really) interested in the project : D


The Binding of Isaac: dossier+interview

Hey, I just realized I've never talked about the dossier I made on The Binding of Isaac for the French website Gameweb.fr!

I'm not a journalist, though Isaac mesmerized me during many months and I know the (weird) people of Gameweb since a pretty long time now.

And above all I like a lot their work, so it was very cool to be able to publish something about that game from Edmund McMillen on this website.

Actually, the really big part was an interview of McMillen himself, realized on Skype about a year ago. Thanks again to Ed' for his time, his patience and kindness.
And thanks to my sister and her ex-boyfriend for helping me on the transcript.

The dossier : http://gameweb.fr/articles/papier-21-welcome-to-my-nightmare-page-1.html
The interview : http://gameweb.fr/articles/sujet-star-92-lechelle-disaac-page-1.html


How to kickstart a game (english version)

Not a game project this time, but an article written during a little more than a year which gathers all of my observations about a hot topic: crowdfunding. See this paper as a modest guide on the question, and I apologize for the poor English, translating all of this from the original French version has been exhausting.

You need to know that the very principle of crowdfunding is based on one thing: TRUST.
Launch a project on KickstarterIndieGoGoLookAtMyGame, Ulule or even KissKissBankBank, is not like selling a finished product to gamers with crap marketing promises they usually read and hear everywhere. This is an attempt to arouse their curiosity and make them confident enough so they throw their money into a well, although they do not know what will come out of it.
Be aware that, willy-nilly, you have to erase this kind of example from the donors' mind and prove that your project is serious and is going to result in something good.

Trust. It's the key-word that a project should inspire to backers.

For the choice of the crowdfunding platform, this will of course depend on the one you have the right to use depending on your country of residency. But it goes without a saying that Kickstarter must be your number one choice if possible, even the developers of Gods Will Be Watching (however happy parents of a successful campaign on IndieGoGo) would tell you so.
Take a look to funded projects on different websites and think about featured titles to make you an opinion on the best choice for your project, this is something we're going to talk again quickly.


  1. Your project
  2. Your budget
  3. Your campaign
  4. Your visibility
  5. Your failure?

        I.            Your project

1.       A catchy name (and a catchy logo to go with if possible)

Your game should have its own identity. Brands are everywhere these days, we see thousands of them every day, to not have a clear and distinct name comes to not exist at all.

Brenda Romero unfortunately paid the price for it by launching its campaign for an "Old-school RPG" with almost no visual or baptismal name at launch, so to say nothing for the majority of gamers. The synopsis just told "Hey old-school gamers, do you want an old-school RPG?!", what the platform has always teemed with.
As the campaign smelled the scorched, these gaps were identified by its instigators who made some efforts to fill those problems with the addition of a real title and some artworks. But it was too late already. Within the minds of the potential donors (the target audience) the promise was too vague, the project too blurry and, in a way, too snooty since it was almost only based on the names of Brenda Romero and Tom Hall.

The possibility of a name change in production is not to be excluded; but be aware that it adds blur to an already blurry promise, some players are simply going to lose sight of the project.

Thousands of games are available, hundreds are present on the mediatic scene, to exist as a name and a concept in the gamers' minds is a difficult enough task to not mix the cards up yourself. In addition, changing of title, of direction, team ou whatever what are usually perceived as instability factors of the project ("Those people don't seem to know themselves where they're going!") which can easily hamper the confidence of donors.

2.       The concept must be clear and (very) well illustrated

The player must have a very clear vision of the project in which he plans to put money. If the very core concept of the game is blurry in his mind, he'll leave the page. The crowdfunding websites are not short of projects whose looking for donors.

Lexis Numérique experienced this reality with Taxi Journey. By only saying they would mix adventure and platform is far too vague. These are genres that have branches and sub-branches by the dozens. So, in the absence of a video or a demo, players had simply not "seen" where the project tried to go. Unable to throw themselves in without extrapolate on some key highlighted words. And if players must make an effort of extrapolation to understand what you're trying to sell, this mean that there are gaps in your communication.
It was only during a second campaign that a very rudimentary prototype was shown, but this second campaign was launched with almost exactly the same conditions as the first one, its fate went similarly.

Closer to us, the developers of Planets³ decided to show something during their campaign, which allowed it to gain visibility as the promise became more concrete.

Opposite example: Hyper Light Drifter showed nothing else than gameplay in its video (and gameplay sequences which seem damn good in addition) which explains the huge and quick success of this campaign. Players were able to see what they would play, plain and simple.

As my friend Tristan says: "Coherence and sincerity are the first two most important steps when I'm reading about a project. When I see inconsistency between the idea and the description, for me it means that it's not clear in the minds of the developers and I'm not sure that my money will help them to put back in order their concept.".

3.       What is the status of your project at the time of launching the campaign?

There are no rules imposed on the progress of projects thrown into the arena of Kickstarter.

Whether you're starting from scratch with just a pitch and some sketches, or your game is practically finished, in fine you'll have to finish it and release it for the players who backed enough to obtain the game.

Many analysts have often said that a good compromise is in a very advanced project that you previously funded with your own money. This shows that you too are invested in the financial loop and that you don't bet all the risks on your backers. And it allows you not to ask for a pharaonic sum to the backers, just what you need to complete the development (and a little more to process any certifications and all that).
Naturally, the less your project is advanced, the more you must be rigorous in its budgeting, anticipate hazards and surprises.
Once the money will be collected, no excuse... no sorry, NO EXCUSE will pass with the backers. Even if this is actually your dog who ate the hard drive containing game data. Backers have paid, they're are waiting for the game. End of story.
I'll talk about the after-campaign later...

Note that you can always implement alpha and beta phases reserved for certain donors (it's a common move) which is a good way to reduce the amount of requested playtests that you could consider organizing. I am not saying that you should not organize some playtests by saying that donors will do the job for you, but consider smartly all the possibilities available to you about it!

It is likely that you have friends who will clear some big issues. Then some outermost circles who'll give you a more honest opinion than your friends. There's family and specificaly non-gamers to make up a fresh idea of the ergonomics, legibility and basic understanding of your game. Then some backers who could accept the most meticulous work of playtests. There is no need to look at the other side of the world to find useful feedbacks...

4.       Does your game can be sold to the "Kickstarter public"?

The question may seem obvious, but if there's a point that the general trend had proven, it's that some genres are good sellers while others aren't at all.

If Tim Schafer has sold his old-school adventure game, this is because since Grim Fandango there were almost no more of those, and even less with the LucasArts' touch of the '90s.
Telltale makes cinematographic adventure games, Pendulo now makes adventure games that aims to be modern and relatively serious, Amanita Design has his own niche of weird and cute adventure games... Long story short, adventure games like those we loved in the '90s barely exist these days, so the project spoke to all who think with nostalgia about this era of their gaming lifes (and those whom are ready to give everything to Tim Schafer).

If your project is a clone (or looks like a clone) of games that are already teeming on Steam, do not even try. Gamers would prefer to put 3€ in those games during the next Steam sales rather than putting $10 right now for a game which maybe won't tempts their desire anymore six months or a year after that, when your development will be complete.

However, there are not only the retro revivals which sell (sometimes it's the oppositebold mix of popular genres can also generate interest. Actually, the question is generally to know if your game fills an empty space in the videogame landscape. Whether this is a void left by a genre into disuse, or a vacuum that just did not exist previously, or not in this form...

5.       Kickstarting a game is better

This may seem foolish, but the Kickstarter pages asking the community to fund the development of a prototype are not so rare. Teams announce more or less openly that they intend to sell the product in a second time to a publisher, when it's not another fundraising campaign that is planned in order to develop the "real" game out of this prototype.

With very little exception, those campaigns failed. Because the Kickstarter's promise is to put some money right now to get something concrete later. If there's one or two conditional steps before the player can put his hands on the game, that's too many uncertainty, which doesn't build confidence.
You're already using the conditional tense when funding a project via a community of players; if this community is facing several steps depending on external factors, the equation becomes too complex to inspire confidence.

From my knowledge, the only one who reached out with this promise was Takedown, a tactical-shooter whose creator failed on a first campaign (poorly designed on many points) and who therefore returned in a second time with this campaign. The promise this time was not to fund a prototype for a possible full game later, but to fund a part of the game by the community and the other one by a investment fund. The latter actually waited the success of that campaign before granting financial assistance. The idea was that if the community was there, there should be a potential for subsequent sales...
At last, the project was deeply remade on the visual communication between the first and the second campaign (ie. first section), the second campaign succeeded and the game was published by 505 Games, for a result that I will qualify of "strongly mixed", but that's another topic.

Another point, even if we know that funding a project is in fact funding the studio and the people who are going to work on this project, to ask in concrete terms to pay for tables and chairs is not the greatest idea ever, Jane Jensen almost lost some feathers in this.

The Gabriel Knight's author launched a Kickstarter campaign asking players to pay for the installation of its new studio, with whom she would have developed an adventure game in the vein of what has made her famous. Fortunately, she had the intelligence to quickly change the approach angle of the campaign by linking its potential success directly with the funding of the project and the goal was reached.
Needless to say that her own fame and this quick change are for a lot in this rescue.

6.       What about a playable demo?

Of course this is not inherent at all types of game, but to give away a playable demo to players at the launch of the campaign equals taking the risk that the demo will not be convincing enough or will have too much content, making obsolete the necessity for the player to put some money to obtain... the same thing (or substantially the same).

So, if you make available a playable version, make sure this demo of your game is REALLY representing the potential of your game. Something like 99% of its potential, no less. Because you can say as much blah-blah as you want to explain that it's all placeholder but once funded it will be better, the vast majority of players will see this as the finished game and nothing else.
See how players react to alpha or beta phases on public forums: most of the time they judge the version as a finished game. This is a finished game in their minds. And they rarely forgive a broken or bugged beta, while it is the very principle of a beta to identify problems in order to correct them. But this is it and none of us can change that, what remains is taking this reality into account.

Pay attention if your demo is publicly available! If a player who is not a donor falls over it, he must have to be aware of the fundraising campaign in progress at one time or another, and the quality of the demo needs to make him want to put money on the project. If he's bored to death, he'll quickly forget the existence of the game, and the word-of-mouth that you are looking to produce around your campaign will be as effective as the reproduction of pandas.

Finally, in terms of offering too much content, I think you get the idea: a demo that is not limited in any way and lets to the player the opportunity to play your game ad vitam eternam. Yes indeed, it's not finished yet. Yes, it's a little buggy, not very pretty. But if the player is having fun all day long on the demo, despite the fact that you can be satisfied of the good game you made, you will be far less satisfied when your campaign will hit a wall.
Because the majority of players isn't going to ask for anything more to have fun.
There's only on very small projects or very small communities that this can work with, because the circle of interested players is still "acceptable" and these players can then directly be some kind of playtesters for you, depending on the current level of progress of your project.

      II.            Budget vs. Wallet

7.       Means equal to ambitions

Kickstarter has grabbed the spotlight in 2012 and has established itself a public that continues to follow its news in 2013. That being said, it remains that even the largest projects do not exceed 100.000 backers.

Project Eternity for instance, one of the biggest project in terms of money raised counts a little more than 70.000 backers. Star Citizen is almost 35.000 backers on its Kickstarter page.
This may seem like a lot of people, but be aware that your budget will be divided between all those backers and the sum THEY are willing to put in your project. You should therefore carefully calculate the sum that you're going to ask to the community, because asking too much could induce a sense of pride (but most importantly, it's taking the risk to not succeed and getting nothing at all) while not asking enough is taking the risk to be short on the finances, not finishing your dev and upseting all the people who have participated in the funding campaign. Suffice to say that this is automatic blacklisting, and unless you change your face and identity...

The example of Star Command is often quoted about too short financing objectives, but which nevertheless delivered a game. If that doesn't ring a bell, a quick reminder:
A small team launched a Kickstarter campaign for an iOS game called Star Command and easily crushed their goal. Problem was, this amount of money was calculated too lightly and the promised goodies, as far as the development cost and the taxes, couldn't be covered by the collected money.
The team floundered during many months in excuse messages to the community, finding a solution in a SECOND Kickstarter campaign (of the same project) officially for the port of the game on PC and Mac; informally to finish the iOS and Android game and try as much as possible to continue with the porting on computers, and get back on their feets.

You have to be fully aware that this is really an exception among thousands of projects. Dev team was forced to cancel some rewards promised to get to refloat and a considerable number of features were removed. And it is only recently that the game was released on iOS. A year and a half after the end of the first campaign.

Be very careful on what you're asking for, how it will be used and the multiple contingencies that may arise along the way and with whom you would have to count.

    III.            The campaign

8.       Determine the most appropriate date and manage your time

Launch a campaign 'whenever' is like releasing a game whenever: it's nonsense.

Be aware that crowdfunding isn't the single focus of interest of anyone on Earth (or very few, maybe), and for the players who love the concept it's usually a sideline, an "optional" part of their budget. So you need to focus on a period of low expense! But, as we live in a hyper-consuming society, the formula should probably be: bet on a hollow between two periods of significant spending.
That is to say: avoid the sales (particularly Steam sales actually), avoid the important game releases which could monopolize the news and the attention, avoid the biggest trade fairs and game exhibitions like E3, Gamescom, Tokyo Game Show who cannibalize the news, and finally avoid being in a face-to-face with a very mediatic Kickstarter campaign "competitor" who could engulf the backers.
On this last point, I can only urge you to follow extremely closely videogame news, tidibits and other Internet rumors. The Internet is generally aware of the imminence of a campaign a few days before its launch.

That being said: avoid the holiday season because Thanksgiving + Christmas + New Year Eve, avoid the Summer season because the whole gaming news are dormant (Gamescom is usually a follow-up of the previous E3) and people spend their cash on beaches.

About the timing now: on most crowdfunding websites, you can adjust the time of campaigning at will, from one day to sixty days at max.
A good 95% of the projects that I have followed have opted for a 30-day campaign, the campaigns at 60 are downright rare. But in both cases it's a very short period of time for you while being very quick in the media jungle on the Internet. It is not uncommon to learn about a great project AFTER the end of his campaign. To be heard on the net is not an easy thing to achieve.

Do not think that 60 days is a good thing because it leaves you more time gather donations!
On the contrary, in the mind of the guy/girl who are gonna pass on your page, seeing "57 days to go" will make him/her think that he/she has plenty of time to come back, nothing's hurry. And a player who thinks about that + another one + another one... equal a campaign that drags off, which is not a good thing when you're going to approach the end of the campaign and that everyone will have forgotten the existence of your game, while you will still be far from reaching your goal.

From my personal point of view, it is even counterproductive because your campaign will have the image of long and slow painful death. Such as the Shadow of the Eternals one:

About this, make like everyone else, goes for 30 days (urgency) and makes the length!

Oh by the way! Don't forget the "time lag" between the launch of the campaign and its end!
When you start a Kickstarter campaign, your backers promise throughout all the backing period but Kickstarter does not debit that until the counter hits zero (provided that the objective has been reached, of course).
This means that the wallet of your donors shouldn't be stranded when Kickstarter cashes donations, in which case pledges of these people are simply going to be cancelled. Thus reducing the final savings (on average, 10% of the final amount is not recovered).
To be complete, note that IndieGogo works a bit differently because the site uses Paypal, you are debited at the moment of your donation (and refunded in case of failure of the campaign). 'Gogo also has the distinction of offering the choice between a fixed goal to achieve or a simple "hoped" objective while gaining every promised/acquired penny.
Ulule doesn't automatically pay back in case of failure, the site puts your donation into a "wallet" for you to back something else, you have to manually ask for a refund if you want the money back on your bank account.
Anyway, each site has its own policy, take a good look before doing anything!

However, don't be afraid, if you have reached your goal Kickstarter does not negate the success of the campaign due to cancelled payment. You are not responsible for the deadbeats, it's just that you will be paid what they actually collected (minus 5% for Amazon and their own commission).
Immediately after the success of your campaign, you can still contact those for whom the payment is stuck, in case it wouldn't be voluntary (obsolete payment information, lack of cash...).

And then you can always implement a second phase of crowdfunding for slacker backers.

9.       Be and/or seems to be professionnal

According to Kickstarter managers, when they arrive on the page of a project, the first action being done by the vast majority of the Internet users is to click on the video to watch it. Add to that about 50% of funded projects among the ones with a video; while this number drops to 30% when this is not the case, and you understand its importance.
Addendum: I invite you to take a look at this interesting article by Thomas Bidaux, published on Gamasutra which gives good economic vision of video games on Kickstarter.

You could think that a strong concept is enough to raise millions, yet I repeat, trust is the most important factor and even the greatest game concept ever must be in the hands of people competent enough to make it a good game, so, the people who present the project must seem to be pro in what they do.
You should therefore not hesitate to use all the financial means available in a professional quality video, properly cut, involving serious people, speaking with poise and motivation about the project on the table. If possible interspersed with everything which may show a state of progress of the game, without telling all about your life nevertheless. Think efficiency. If you can sell the concept and explain your goal in two minutes, no need to take ten and losing the viewer's attention. You and I are quick to fast-forward on Youtube since the bandwidth allows us to do so.
Visual concepts and a pitch is a good beginning, a video of the prototype is better, a vertical slice demo is almost the best. The best card for you to play to sell a project is to show it and explain how the baby looks like on ultrasound and that you just need a little time and money in order to deliver it.

The more nebulous the concept is, the less it will  inspire trust to potential backers. You can completely forget this principle of secrecy that is law in the video game industry, the idea of not showing a lot in order to avoid being robbed of your ideas, to keep marketing bullets for a later time while teasing the players over a period of time while gradually revealing videos and screenshots.


With crowdfunding, you must seduce the player IMMEDIATELY and doing so require that any element of your project must be there, in front of the payers, in less than two minutes. Because it's not when your campaign will fail that you're going to show the player what they have missed, no one is going to care and it will be too late for you.

Forget the hesitant speech filmed on webcam with two dead beers in the background, all the seriousness of the production lies in its presentation and the trust it inspires.

Same thing for the biography displayed on the page, the image of illustration, the header of your project, do not neglect anything! If you didn't take two minutes to put a nice pic or an attractive description of your company, it will be difficult for a backer to imagine that you will grant him the properly finished game that you pretend to make.

10.   "Anyway, I'm internationally known in the neighborhood!"

The biggest false-truth about Kickstarter is that if you're not famous, you won't succeed. Nay! The handle of celebrities who own the news since 2012 is the tree hiding the forest!

At the moment of writing this, more than 6.000 game projects were posted on Kickstarter and nearly 35% have achieved their goals. Needless to draw you a picture about the percentage that 10 or 15 celebrities represent on the site. Especially as some have failed despite their VIP status.

What celebrity change is just the scale of the sum: when you are in need iof 40.000€/£/$ for a project that you feel ambitious, Chris Avellone requires more than a million dollars to operate a part of Obsidian, a studio of around 150 people.

You don't need to be known and recognized if your project stands right. And tell yourself that there is even a kind of aversion phenomenon for the developers that people think are rich.
How many times have I read "This is an heist! Tim Schafer asks us for money, where did he spend everything we gave him for Monkey Island?!" or "Given the size of their places, I believe they will not need the $5 that I could have put into the project. Gonna crack it when released."

In short, enjoy your anonymous status and make a name for yourself!

11.   The question about the DRM... isn't one.

Crowdfunding is a financial solution for developers that publishers don't want (mostly). The public participating in this kind of funding has, in some way, a certain idea of creative independence they think studios must have, as opposed to the chains that sometimes keep them in purely monetary practices.

In fact, to ask for funding for a game that would be distributed with DRM protections is like shooting a shotgun cartridge in each of your two feet. And this is probably the point that comes up in most FAQ projects: "Will there be a DRM-free version?".

This is prohibitive for many players to say they support a game without giving money to a publisher but this game will end on a digital platform or another with a wagon of constraints.
Offer the download of a DRM-free version is mandatory, even if done in parallel of good old Steam or Desura download keys. Both is ideal, but Steam key only does not always go well with the extremists of the e-Freedom.

Even Brian Fargo, who associated with Deep Silver for the DISTRIBUTION of Wasteland 2 has taken some not-so-fresh tomatoes when this announcement was made. Needless to say, the people who have throw them haven't read half of the public release. Deep Silver did not become the publisher of W2, InXile hasn't betrayed anyone, they just use this publisher to take care of the retail version of the game and put it on shelves. Backers had their DRM-free versions, nothing changed on this point and it's just economic pragmatism to wish for the game to finish on retail shelves in order to sell the game to people outside of the little Kickstarter bubble.

All of this to say: pay attention to how you are using words in your communication, Internet is a place where people come with forks first and then, maybe, listen to you. So be particularly clear about the questions related to the distribution of the game that you're trying to fund.

12.   Rewards are the sinews of war 

The first rule of a good Kickstarter campaign is the rewards.
The second rule of a good Kickstarter campaign is... THE REWARDS.

Players do not fund a project for the simple goodness of soul, ask yourself the question "HOW MUCH a player can consider putting in every rewards tier available?".

The digital version of the game must be available for $10 to $15 maximum, even if you intend to sell the game twice that price once it will completed and sold.

Then, it all depends on what you are offering, and the cost it will generate to put it all available to the player. Do not underestimate the cost to manufacture some t-shirts, posters and physical versions of your game. Do not underestimate the time and cost it takes to produce limited editions, or even the time for a digital content to be fleshed out.

Find out well BEFORE promising all that (the Mighty No. 9 team for instance, announced from the very beginning of their campaign that they were associated with Humble Store for keys distribution and with FanGamer for the physical elements) and make sure EVERY backers tiers remains profitable for you and for the player. If you offer a $100 tier containing the digital game and a poster that cost you 2€ to produce, you are certainly the winner, but who wants to put that kind of money for a poster?
Because this is in these terms that players think! Very few seem to realize that this is actually to pay people working on a game. For them this is a shop shelf with different packages and they simply select the one they find the most attractive.

The very principle of crowdfunding may well be an outright gift of money, but if it works at the moment, this is because players are winners too in this. It's almost a pre-order on your game that they do.

EACH tier should be interesting for the player as of 'obtained content' but also for you in terms of the money that is going to end up into your pocket.
Actually, a good building of your rewards tree will encourage the player to select the highest tier in relation to its budget. Because he will tell himself for each level that putting A LITTLE BIT MORE is going to grant him this or that, and that he wishes to.
Your reward tree should respond as best as possible to the equation: "Profitability for you PLUS profitability for the player DIVIDED by the objective you need to achieve success".

Take note that on most crowdfunding platforms, it is impossible to modify tiers' content after launching the campaign. For obvious reasons of fairness vis-à-vis of what donors undertake. You can add others afterwards on Kickstarter, but mostly it sounds like a patch and it does not help to ease the understanding of your "offer".
I repeat it again: think carefully about how you build your rewards tree! Take inspiration if necessary from other campaigns, look particularly at the number of donors in each of the slots and you will find that some are favoured while others are shunned: it's because what they offer (at their present rate) worth the cost or not.
You can optionally create scarcity by limiting the maximum number of backers in certain tiers. During the Planetary Annihilation campaign for example, the first tier was a discount on the price of the digital game: a boon for interested players and a welcome boost that has probably contributed to the feeling of a flying start.

Last detail, don't neglect fans of digital nor boxed editions' fetishists.
There are players ready to put $150 for the full range of goodies (OST, artbook, eBook, exclusive badges, exclusive items, awards...) but don't want to hear shit about physical objects. This is why most of the recent campaign I followed had both physical/digital parallel offers, with similar money amounts but offering rewards tailored for both profiles. You can always consider an hybrid tier with a bit of both, but they are often shunned by the public in favor of the other two.

Always pay a close attention to the fact that you are asking for money to fund the development of a game, not to become a goodies seller. Whatever you propose to players, you need to make a profit and the money you raise will go, both in the best or the worst case scenario, in the funding of the game development.

You know that Tim Schafer collected nearly three and a half million dollars for Broken Age (which was called Double Fine Adventure at the time), but do you know how much money has actually been put into the development of the game? A little over two million dollars. Because Double Fine had to pay intermediaries and rewards:

Each investment tier must be worth bearing what it promises, while being profitable for you.

In terms of expansive tiers, it's more exotic.
Depending on your game, you can propose to include names of your backers in the credits or outright in the game or picture of the players. Suggest they could "participate" in development although this is subject to debate (between seeking advices from players, taking into account their ideas, and leaving the whole design on the initiative of donors, there is a gap that must be handled with care in my humble opinion).

And for the really high sums, when we start talking about thousands of EuroDollars, generally there's specific events that are offered. Insofar as there are no more than a dozen people who will be able to potentially put a four digits amounts (or more) in your project, you can offer to host them in the studio for a day or two, a dinner with the team, regular conference-calls...
Most campaigns have this kind of stuff anyway.

Do not neglect them, because they can be a significant support to the success of your campaign. But keep in mind that it is still restricted to few fortunate people. Consider what can be a plus for those people, to the extent they are likely to have the means to afford all the equipment they want, what is the little extra that will make them draw out their Black Mastercard?

Finally, don't go crazy thinking there is a freak of two who're going to put $10.000 on your project and complete every goal after seeing your video. They're present on mediatic campaigns because they are rich persons who, like us, grew up with games of past glories. It is some kind of tradition to offer mega-tier levels, but I would advise trying to act as if they were not there when budgeting your campaign.

Oh by the way! One last thing: some developers sometimes offer exclusive in-game items for certain levels of donations, this is something I would avoid personally. Perhaps this is related to my dislike of games sold in self-assembly kit and the idea that some players "deserve" some parts and not others although there is just a difference in the amount of money given. It's a very capitalist idea in my opinion...

13.   Updates, a difficult balance to find

It is fashionable to keep your backers abreast on the project progress, developments and potential changes as the countdown slips away.
On Kickstarter, these updates take the form of newsletters automatically sent to donors, and there are as much political views about this that there are studios launching fundraisers.

During the campaign, of course, updates must be very regular because the timing is tight and it is not uncommon for developers to extend thanks as the jackpot increases. I don't denigrate anything in that practice, on the contrary! Be humble and grateful to the people who support you. Backers are often very involved people, real fans that will power your words on social networks and online forums.
I've seen people be thanked namely by developers in their newsletters, imagine the influence these people must have had on their campaign. Think for a second at the idea that an illustrious stranger with whom you have taken the time to chat via messages suddenly becoming a real marketing powerhouse of your project and significantly increase the curve of your donations.

Once the campaign is over and the money collected, there are those who communicate very little (only for development milestone) those who communicate on a regular basis (every month is somewhat the average for most campaigns I followed) to those who communicate clearly too much, like twice or thrice a month. Needless to say that on a weekly basis, there is very little advance from a newsletter to the next one, so the interest is quickly lost for the readers.

In my view, it is better to have interesting things to say so your backers are happy to read about you and the project from time to time. You keep the attention, you please your contributors: everyone's happy.

Some developers are regularly making video updates, for the milestones and to speak directly to donors, even sometimes to show something interesting. This is of course a plus! But this has a cost since once again there MUST be professional quality filming, editing, inlays, logos, special effects, explosions, lens flare...

Do not forget any detail in your updates, keep track of various aspects of development AND of the campaign because people want to know almost everything about how things are progressing at all levels. Most of the newsletters I receive are chaptered with a short word and an overview of the state of production, the different points of the game development, news about the studio if it's appropriate, the progress on the production of physical reward, the schedule for the coming weeks...

And now you must think for yourself "damn, someone needs to work full time on all of this" and you would be right! In most studios, there is some kind of a community manager who manages newsletters and social networks. It's almost a full time job. Especially if you have online forums or that kind of stuff. At this point you're basically dead, don't even think a single second that you could handle this in a few minutes in the evening, just before going back to home.

Well mention the important updates! When it's about giving Steam keys or asking for information or whatever important things, you need to them let know.

Important reminder in direct link: have a database of your backers protected with reinforced concrete and secured as Fort Knox. Backers should not have to chase their rewards.
Putting in place a website allowing the player to manage their donations and rewards they unlocked isn't a luxury, you can trust me on this. And all of this is going to need a watchmaker's logistic, except if you think about managing your hundreds (maybe thousands) of backers only with a paperpen and a little notebook.
Addendum: there are now websites to help you with this, Backerkit for example.

Be aware that you will have to send their download keys to all these people. Do not make any mistake between different tiers and rewards going with, and managing any physical rewards won't be a cakewalk either.

Last note on this subject but this one is for yourself: communicate while being aware of the sense of time between the start of your campaign and the release of the actual game. Players are used to the media cycle of games, we all know that the announcement of a game precedes a period from its release depending on the game in question (between six months and three years roughly).
Except that crowdfunding is an announcement of a game BEFORE it's even developped (where a "classic" developement is announced after the game is well-advanced (usually, at least...)) so time can feel very long for backers. And two years after the beginning of the explosion of the phenomenon, many people are starting to find that time is long compared to investments they made, while there is nothing wrong in terms of actual time production.
Even the gaming Press has hard time to get used to it, for example Jeuxvideo.com (biggest French videogame website) who published an alarming news about the development of République, up to imply the cancellation of the project, even though the update page provides regularly news and that, on the eve of the publication of this news, the team announced the beta of the game!

I'm saying it again, communication needs to be adapted! Do not imitate big names of the sector, imagine that you keep informed a bunch of friends about how the development of your little project is progressing. No need to email the whole planet about each new sprite you made, but a little update giving some news from time to time, that's good.

14.   Being transparent, it is above all being honest

Do not hide your potential problems to your backers.
They're not publishers in white collars who only think by the money, they're passionate gamers excited by your concept. They can perfectly understand that you screwed up a detail or two, if you're honest they may even be a great deal of help and support.
If you try to hide something and that, one way or another, someone figures it out, it will be over. Like I have repeatedly said, trust is central. It's difficult to acquire it, betray it and you're dead. It won't take the money back from you, but the shitstorm will likely prevent your game to sell after its release.

Double Fine has mismanaged its budget on developing Broken Age, Schafer saw too big when writing his game. Where a publisher would have required cuts in the design (or cancelled the project altogether depending on its mood) the backers, at least majority of them, welcomed the decision of the team to split the project in two parts to cut the least possible content.

Yes, some press-gang websites had fun to burn the Kickstarter witch on the altar of "stealing" the players, but why get rid of publishers and time constraints if it's to reproduce the same damn thing on Kickstarter?
This is the very reason why the principle provides greater freedom for developers.

15.   Stretch-goals, a carrot that you should not stretch too far

If the concept of your game is good enough and that the budget is reasonable, you can hope that the donations are going to exceed your initial budget. This is not a rarity, and some even crushed the ceiling. This is simply explained by the idea of pre-ordering the game when you back it, and so even if your goal is reached, players will continue to donate in order to "buy" a copy of the game.

So, what are you doing with money in excess (Kickstarter paradox)? Well this is here that the concept of stretch-goals appears. Additional tiers, beyond the necessary amount of money for the development of the game, that you set as you see fit in exchange of which you are offering more features, more content, more language, some additional game modes or even "guests" supposed to bring an added value to your game (an illustrator or a renowned composer, a famous writer for your fantasy scenario, everything depend on what you are doing...).

This concept is a good alternative to reduce the burden of your development with peripheral thing (localization in ten more languages for example) while being interesting to polish in the event of a great success for your campaign. Similarly, it can be an incentive for players to increase their participation or share the word to their friends, in the hope to "unlock" additional content.

But beware of too distant goals that could become frustrating!
Some developers put down, at the very beginning of their campaign, a huge table describing what could be added as the amount is growing. Sometimes up to several millions with plans to double the game content, pay a large orchestra and make sick goodies. I think it can be frustrating for the players, because it's not "what I get if we reach this level" but rather "what we won't get if it's not achieved". This happened to me on a bunch of projects, I saw features' promises which were frankly cool, but those goals weren't reach and what remained was to say goodbye to those features.

But the solution is quite simple actually: tease the next two or three goals, but never reveal them all (because of course you have planned and budgeted them all BEFORE the start of the campaign).
And progressively reveal more of those additional levels as stretched goals fall.

It attracts particular interest at unlocking new levels, a sense of surprise, and it keeps the attention of players and journalists throughout the campaign. Without being frustrating if a specific feature's tier is not reached.

Directly linked with what I said earlier about the importance of calculating the initial budget and all that, it's obvious that the stretch-goals must be calculated with intelligence and stay "plausible" for Average Joe. The amount requested should be consistent with what the game will benefit from.

Finally, consider the idea of NOT doing additional tiers. This is what some have openly decided to do, considering that this is a parasite in the original vision of the game.

Think well about the real contribution for your game and especially, ESPECIALLY, the realistic budgeting that you might be tempted to add. Not to put up stretch goals isn't a bad thing you know! Once the funding target is reached, the fact that people continue to inject money is not your responsibility and shouldn't force you to do anything. You've requested X, if you're given X+1 at the end of the day, you can do what you want with that +1.

Keep your head straight, ask yourself about the relevance of possible changes.

16.   Tracking your campaign

Beyond the mere thoughts, there are statistical tools to have a projection of donations over the remaining time of your campaign in order to achieve its objective. This is thanks/due to  those tools that some campaigns were cancelled en route, sometimes days after their launches.

The number one tool is: http://www.kicktraq.com/

You put in the name of your project and it draws a donation curve and a projection of where the curve should be at the end of the campaign, given that things continue to run as they're running. It's that simple and it provides a great view on the progress of the campaign as a whole, but also potential impacts of actions taken.

For instance, if you managed to get a good paper on a popular news site, and that donations were pouring in after its publication, you will notice a peak in the donations. Beyond the fact that it looks cool on your screen, this will allow you to estimate the impact on that peak on your curve and thus adapt the various "tools" of communication that you have in order to reach your goal before the end of the party.
To see the most effective actions among all those that you took and perhaps redirect the shot on some points, maybe even downright giving up some useless methods.

And if curiosity takes you, there's also the statistics of the site itself that may be worth the glance depending on the nature of the information you are looking for.

   IV.            Visibility

17.   How to come out of anonymity?

Good question! There's no magic method to ensure that your page will be visited by millions of players across the planet and that you'll earn billions of dollars for your development. We would know it otherwise. However, there are things about which some developers have expressed regrets after unsuccessful campaigns:
  1. Do not neglect preparations. With all that I have explained so far, needless to draw anything: a crowdfunding campaign has to be prepared well in advance. Calculate the budget, format the concept, the video presentation... all of this has to be prepared waaaayyyy before your launch and you should NEVER launch your campaign before EVERY of those details are well anticipated. Crowdfunding is both a marathon and a sprint, you need to start very fast and keep the long distance till the end. Even repeating myself: your Kickstarter page is the facade that reflects your professionalism.
  2. Do not neglect the communication. To publish your Kickstarter page URL on your Facebook wall is not enough to rally thousands of people needed to fund your project. When you start your funding campaign, the link must be in the hands of as many contacts in the Press and friends that you know and who could be good megaphones. Do not hesitate to communicate about the game itself BEFORE you launch your campaign, not only that you will take the temperature on the excitement raised by your project, but in addition it will resonate in the minds of players who have been a minimum interested with this idea.
  3. Support the campaign. Tell half the Internet planet about the launch of your campaign is only the beginning, now you need to inform the other half! There are thousands of specialized game websites, write to them explaining why your game is better than other ones, have the right words to catch the reader's curiosity, do not swing a generic email such as a press release, take the time to write to each of the websites in relation to their editorial lines. Continue to stir the fire as much as possible, inform your backers about the progress of the campaign and involve the most enthusiastic ones to share the word as widely as possible.
When you have done all this: DO IT AGAIN.
Because it's likely that your game is still in the anonymous yard...

Some advices for the beginners:

As well as a quick analysis of the campaign lived by the Finish duo of Theory Interactive about funding their game Resethttp://reset-game.net/?p=569

     V.            Encore?

18.   Try again?

Something you should consider when establishing your budget: collecting money via Kickstarter will mathematically deprive you from a part of the post-launch revenue. Because you had gathered money before or during your development, coming from potential clients, those people are going to get the game at launch "for free", meaning no additional income from them.

I'll take a concrete (but rough) example to explain myself: we're living in an era where rumours has it that a point'n'click game can sell between 100.000 and 250.000 copies, roughly. So, when 90.000 people are giving money to Double Fine for Broken Age, we can consider that the game will sell 90.000 copies LESS than those expected numbers. Because those people already paid for the game.

Do the math, 250.000 copies minus 90.000 backers equal "only" 160.000 people who would potentially buy the game at launch.

And my point here is that this is those 160.000 excepted sales that are going to pay salaries for the next months or years of your studio. Your future cash rely on those sales. Except if you launch an another Kickstarter campaigns for your next game of course...

You need to be careful with that, because your first campaign is going to pay for the next ones if you launch another one. It is too early to know if a studio can be funded "for a lifetime" again and again on Kickstarter, but I'm pretty sure your success will erode itself with time. People will probably anticipate that after a bunch of campaigns and games on shelves, you should have enough money to fund yourself. Remember that a lot of gamers think game dev are making big money.

19.   Game over?

A less joyful chapter: failing a campaign.

The failure of a campaign isn't an end in itself, it exists some examples of teams who failed the first time and succeeded in a second attempt, after learning from their mistakes (ie. everything explained above, at least for a part).

Not an end in itself, it's "relatively" common.
But it is more rare to see a third, fourth, fifth campaigns for the same game... And to fail on Kickstarter won't prevent you from finding other funding sources, your campaign can even draw some attention.

Make an overview of what went wrong, what was wrongly explained. Think about what could have missed, how your message have been understood and by whom... Think twice before launching a new funding, Kickstarter is not the kind of platform where you need to insist until it passes...

Nicolas Wartelle-Mathieu
Thanks to Tristan R. and Sylvain B. for their valuable feedbacks
And a huge thank you to Stéphen B. for having patiently re-read this article