Elite: Dangerous' David Braben on crowdfunding challenges: "People took a lack of material for a lack of faith"

Elite Dangerous planetary ring

The Kickstarter campaign for designer David Braben's spacefaring trade sim Elite: Dangerous handily met its $2,011,625/£1,250,000 goal with two days to spare, promising a universe of " over 100 billion " star systems and a relieving lack of William Shatner. In an interview with Gamasutra , Braben admitted he felt "a little nervous" halfway through the campaign and talked about the pitfalls of pitching an idea without enough solid material to show off.

"I started off confident, but in the middle I was a little nervous," he said. "All Kickstarter campaigns that are eventually successful seem to have a similar shape, so I was hopeful there would be an upturn at the end. I think there can be a danger with Kickstarter that people set their minimum goals lower than they really need, because of the understandable 'all-or-nothing' nature of the funding, without considering the commitment it brings, but half-way through I too had the odd doubt if this was the right thing to have done!"

Braben referred to a single criticism he constantly received during the campaign: a dearth of in-progress screenshots or videos. "We were going to have a video, but ended up doing an exclusive video with Rory Cellan Jones of the BBC so our video was delayed a little," he added. "People took the relative lack of material for a lack of faith. It's strange, but with Kickstarter there is a difficult balance between it being a way to start a project (and so you would have nothing) to requiring finished quality material in order to do the pitch (and so be almost finished)."

Other Kickstarter veterans have shared their thoughts on releasing early media to help promote awareness and acceptance of their ideas. Double Fine's Tim Schafer wholeheartedly endorsed leaving nothing hidden, saying, "The fear is that if it's not perfect, you can't show it to people because they'll freak out. The fact is, they just feel more bought in. They feel like they're part of the development team.”

Omri Petitte

Omri Petitte is a former PC Gamer associate editor and long-time freelance writer covering news and reviews. If you spot his name, it probably means you're reading about some kind of first-person shooter. Why yes, he would like to talk to you about Battlefield. Do you have a few days?