When we first decided to start working on our first game, we already had a lot of experience in game development. However, we didn’t know much about various other things. We’ve started this project with a simple idea in mind - creating an immersive RPG world based around Celtic mythology. We did our research, and we thought we got everything covered. Long story short - we were wrong.
Once we actually started doing market research, and once we really learned what is necessary to understand when developing an RPG. We now have much more credible information, and most importantly, we have a clear picture of what lies ahead. So, let’s check out what we’ve learned so far, and how will it affect the world of Children Of Lir.
Let’s start by saying - we’re still confident that a game like Children Of Lir can really make a difference. As RPG fans, we wanted to create a memorable gaming experience for all RPG lovers, but we had a lot of things to think about. We are a small team, just a few people with a lot of different skills, so our initial idea was to start somewhat small. We wanted to develop this game for mobile platforms in order to keep the project small enough so we can handle it, and yet, we wanted to make our game available to as many players as possible. We jumped straight into the development, and the game started shaping up in front of us. It was slowly transforming into something interesting, so we’ve decided to start a Kickstarter campaign and try to reach out to wider audiences. Our main motivation was the desire to make this game exclusively for the players and RPG fans, avoiding publishers and anyone who would affect our creative process in any way. This also meant we will have to find other sources of funding if we’re to finish the game in the way we thought we should.
Without too much experience in game marketing, we jumped at the opportunity and we’ve created our first Kickstarter campaign. This is where things really changed for us, and to be perfectly honest - even though our campaign wasn’t a success, we’ve learned quite a lot from it.
We started the campaign ambitiously, asking for 30,000$ in 60 days. This was the first big mistake we made during the development process of Children Of Lir. We’ve asked for a full amount of resources we needed to complete the game production and post-production process all by ourselves. Kickstarter was known to be a great place for role-playing games, so we thought we were immediately going to get somewhere.
There were few things we didn’t think about, and those things ended up teaching us a lesson for the future. First of all, turn-based RPGs are almost exclusively played on PC platforms, while mobile RPGs are just starting to get their place in the spotlight. The second mistake we made was that our Kickstarter campaign took too long. When you have a campaign that spreads out over two months, you need to have someone maintaining the campaign literally every day. We never expected it, but running a successful Kickstarter campaign is a full-time job. In between various tasks and daily duties, we haven’t focused on our campaign well enough, and that’s another one of the reasons why we failed to get desired funding.
As campaign advanced, some things became clear to us - we need to do a thorough research, send what we already have to as many people as we can, and wait for their feedback. We followed the tips we got from Kickstarter support, we talked to other game developers in Serbia, and we’ve even scoured Reddit in order to adapt our game to people’s wishes as soon as possible. To make everything even more challenging, we had to figure out some internal issues with the way we operate, so basically - we slowed down quite a bit.
After a couple of weeks, we realized we’re in a bit of trouble. Our research results started coming in, and they gave us a totally different picture of what we should do. So, at one point it became clear that we have to go through some significant changes if we really want to make this game a reality.
Once our campaign was almost over, we already had quite a lot of feedback from all the people we’ve contacted. We had a lot of help from various experts, and quite a lot of serious game developers helped us with their insights. The market research also came in, and suddenly - we had a lot to work on.
The first, and probably the most significant change Children Of Lir will go through is adapting the game and its setting for a PC platform. Our research showed that almost 90% of RPG fans enjoy playing RPGs only on a PC. All of them appreciate the transformation which is happening in the world of RPGs, but they still prefer PC over mobile platforms when it comes to their favorite game genre.
Another thing we realized was that we would really use a good publisher. We are a small indie development team, but we know how to make games. However, when it comes to marketing, post-production, publishing, placement, and all that follows, we have a limited experience. That’s why we’re currently talking with various publishers interested in developing this game with us. A good publisher can significantly improve the way you think about games, and game development in general, so this became quite a natural move for us, once we’ve realized we will need help with our game.
The last, but not the least thing is that we are currently working hard on adapting Children Of Lir demo for PC. The demo was almost done when the Kickstarter campaign failed, and it has to go through some significant changes so it really reflects all that’s different in this ancient epic Celtic world.
Even though we’ve failed with our Kickstarter campaign, and even though we have to make serious changes to our game, we still think this whole experience really helped us a lot. We now have much more experience and we’ve mastered a number of new skills necessary to keep this project alive. As with everything in life, we have to adapt, change, and evolve so our game comes out the way we always wanted it to do.
We’ve got amazing responses and incredible feedback from quite a lot of RPG fans all over the world. Quite a lot of people contacted us asking us about the game, and all of those things helped us find a different approach. Now, we’re trying to finish what we’ve started, and we’re working on adapting this game in the best possible way.
Making an epic RPG game is, in a way, similar to playing it. When you begin, the tasks and challenges in front of you seem small and easily avoidable. You get to learn a lot about the story behind those tasks and challenges as they become harder. The game development process is almost exactly the same in various ways. Our initial idea, motivation, and plans seemed highly logical and not so hard to achieve, back when we first started talking about this game, but during the last year or so, those plans changed. With them, our game changed too, but for the better.
Hopefully, we won’t encounter as many obstacles in our way from this point on, but as experienced RPG players, we know this isn’t true. We’re quite happy and satisfied with all that we’ve learned during this process, and we can’t wait to show what we’ve made so far to the world. If you’re a fan, and you happen to be at Casual Connect Europe, in Belgrade from 1st to 3rd of October, make sure to look for us. You’ll get to meet us and see how the game looks so far. If you’re not that lucky, we sincerely hope that our demo will soon be available for wider audiences.
By the words of Albert Einstein: “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” That’s why we embrace any change that might come our way with a smile. Hopefully, those changes will bring a smile to our players’ faces as well, once the game is out.
Children of Lir is a turn-based RPG based on ancient Irish and Celtic legends. Our story is placed in medieval Ireland where the darkness has taken hold of the country. Monsters, dark creatures, and foul men took over the land, fear is growing and it seems there is no hope for once beautiful Emerald Island.
Since the death of King Lir centuries ago, things were only becoming worse, but now it seems the human race is at its last stand. The King of Emerald Island called all brave men, women and children to stand together and fight against the magic that devours the land, and this is where our story begins.
Become a medieval hero, gather your allies and form a party to defend your home. Get immersed in the ancient magic and a hero’s journey from despair to salvation. Use your skills to defeat all of the enemies and help our heroes bring joy back to the Emerald Island. Follow the story, make choices and the hope might still return to our lands. Help our heroes save their world, you’re their only hope!
Children of Lir is developed for PC, and will be available on Mobile as well. It’s a single player turn and story based role-playing adventure where the main focus is on the story and players’ choices. Game art style is quite unique and original, as well as the sound design. The game aims to awake specific emotions at specific game points through the clever use of story, sound, and art elements.
Movement and battle mechanics are very intuitive and easy to master. The story of the game will be balanced in such a way so that every player can get immersed as soon as they start their adventure. The game should have around 10 to 12 hours of gameplay, filled with exciting encounters, battles, and unexpected story twists.
For this year, Mad Head’s team really worked hard, and with the help of SGA (Serbian Games Association), they’ve managed to get some of the most important companies in the gaming industry as partners, lecturers, and judges in this year’s Indie Prize competition.
As we’ve dug deeper, we realized there are some misconceptions that have no root in logic. We will be trying to break down those misconceptions and show you the real face of Celtic culture.
We’ve shared a lot about our game through our social media, as well as through our Kickstarter campaign, but we think that the time has come for us to show what we’ve done so far. Probably the best opportunity to do this is through gaming events.