So, barring a minor miracle, the curve of donations for the Ars Magica computer game is never, ever going to make its funding goal. Whatever the reason, mathematically its behind the needed donation curve and wont make it.
But... I really love the idea of a House Diedne book. And I would gladly Kickstart that with Atlas directly if they offered it as an option.
I understood John's comment to be in the context of Ezzelino's question as to whether there'd be a Diedne book in the next year or two sans KS. Which makes sense since if the KS fails to achieve funding, the book would be distributed according to the normal release schedule which would by my calculations mean November 2015 at the very earliest!
In any case, I still like to think we can get this Kickstarter funded (we're at 20%, right?)... Where else can we post links?
But my point is this- the Kickstarter for the computer game has failed. It doesnt have sufficient momentum and still isnt in 6 figures (which it needed to hit by day 5 or so). So I'm calling it now- it wont fund. Kickstarters have a success parabola of funding (lots initially, then mid term doldrum, then spike at the end) but the successful ones which have judged the fanbase right are usually funded at the start and the rest is just stretch goals.
But, I think the Diedne book on its own could be a successful, popular project that would make Atlas a lot of money, and if a Kickstarter funding model gave them the cash to do it more quickly than their traditional distribution model, then I'd ask them to consider doing it.
Oh, I'm quite clear as to your point. And you're preaching to the choir here-- I've backed 80 projects, been working on crowdfunded RPG projects since 2007, and I'm finishing part of one now. But based on my experience, I don't think it'll happen here.
There are really two issues here: (1) kickstarter and (2) Diedne.
Kickstarter, in my view, is a tool for specific business situations and needs; it's both a funding mechanism and a marketing program. It's well suited when you think there is a demand for a project, but you don't know how much (and thus don't know what is a sensible budget to invest); and it's well suited when you don't have the capital necessary to create a product even if you are pretty sure of the demand.
If we were to do a Diedne book -- which we have no plan to do, absent the AM:YOC KS being successfully funded -- we have a good idea of how many copies it can sell (not likely to be more than core ArM5 supplements like the Houses of Hermes series or Covenants), and we would have zero difficulty paying for its development and printing out of operating cash flow.
The tie-in to the setting/time of AM:YOC gives a Diedne book a reason to exist (including the fact that various things would need to be established in canon in order to be integrated into the computer game). Without the computer game, it's simply another potential game book on the whiteboard, which may or may not make its way into future plans. (Like, for example, the entire "Atlas Europa" series of alternate ArM settings/times that I originally envisioned publishing when I started and named Atlas Games...)
I do have some ideas of potential Atlas projects for which crowdfunding could be appropriate (it would have worked well for the Over the Edge 20th Anniversary Edition we published earlier this year, for example), but a stand-alone Diedne sourcebook isn't one of them.
The money is there - as you (John Nephew) mention, a Diedne Sourcebook would be purchased about as much as the core rulebook, not just 30% or 50% of the fans would buy it but probably close to 90%. Also it is something the community wildly supports. The detractions are establishing canon, but then again, you do so with every new publicated Tribunal book and, really all new material.
Is it that you don't find it interesting to write? Do you fear to let down the fans?
I just don't understand the "A Diedne Sourcebook is as viable as doing Levantian Cuisine anno 1220"
They already have their business plan laid out for years. This accounts for everything, including the desire for Diedne Sourcebook. The only reason to release it "early" would be some external event requiring it, such as the Kickstarter project. Since it fell through, there's no need to revisit the business plan and its parameters.
Well, there's also the possibility that it might outsell something that's already in the pipeline. Not that I have any access to sales figures, but I wouldn't count on something like "Grogs II - the Teenage Years" doing too well in the market.
Seriously, Ben and I have discussed some Diedne content and it really is a case of contributors being willing to contribute. Maybe we could set a goal for issue 13. No promises, but I'll look at what we could do.
Sorry I haven't found time to swing by here in a very long time, so I just this evening noticed this question...
I must have been unclear. I was saying that at best a Diedne sourcebook might sell as well as the most successful sourcebooks of the line, like the Houses of Hermes sourcebooks. Those books sell a fraction of the core rulebook's numbers. To be more quantitative, the top-selling Fifth Edition supplement is Houses of Hermes: True Lineages (not coincidentally the oldest of the HOH books, and so it's had the most time to sell copies). It has sold less than 25% of the number of copies we've sold of the core ArM5 rulebook.
A Diedne book would likely sell a fraction of that -- by its very nature, it's a niche interest within already limited niche of people who buy supplements for the game, since Diedne is dead & history in the time frame of the official setting. And while some people were excited by the idea of a Diedne book, others on these forums actually said they preferred to leave the dead house's secrets as mysteries.
And there's a good argument against a "development fork" -- taking a game line down a path where your audience is split between, say, the "Pre-Schism War" game fans and the "1220 Canon" game fans, each of which is looking for less-than-fully-intercompatible materials tailored to their preferred setting. (TSR ran into this issue, I think, with the proliferation of settings under AD&D 2nd Edition -- Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, Planescape, etc. ... the more alternatives you create and try to support, the more you divide up your audience and the harder it is to maintain the sales numbers you need on each new product.) At the least, it's not a step to take lightly.
If AM:YOC had been funded, then the information that would go into a Diedne book would need to be created, in order to inform the video game and align it with the RPG. Lacking that specific raison d'être, Diedne is just another idea for a supplement ... and as it happens, one that hasn't been mapped out in David's plan for the line for the next couple of years.
Isn't someone already doing a kinda fantastic blog on this? I know I looked at someone's kinda fantastic blog and said to myself "They know more than you do...this project is clearly best left to them. What am I going to do in November now?"