'Sod 'em, we'll do it anyway': How Solarix survived a failed Kickstarter

'Sod 'em, we'll do it anyway': How Solarix survived a failed Kickstarter
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

May 7th 2015 at 12:43PM

PulseTense Games on releasing the horror title after four years of development and an unsuccessful crowdfunding campaign

Sci-fi horror game Solarix failed to make a significant splash when its crowdfunding campaign was launched on Kickstarter last year.

Developer PulseTense Games had a modest goal of £10,000 as it sort to raise money to add polish to the game’s characters, animations and voice work. It also hoped to accrue further cash to build up support for virtual reality.

It failed to attract sufficient support however, and only raised £4,471 from 382 backers. But far from being consigned to the graveyard of unfinished games, the team used the failure as motivation to continue on with Solarix.

“It had a reverse effect on the team,” says PulseTense Games founder Baris Tarimcioglu. “There was a collective agreement to not only push on, but to double our efforts.
 
“Based on the feedback we had from the Kickstarter campaign, it failed not because backers did not like the concept, but because they felt much to ambitious a project for a first time indie studio.
 
“I have to admit that there was a secret side to the team that was of the opinion of ‘sod 'em, we'll do it anyway and we'll do it in a way that we like’.”



Tarimcioglu says the failed Kickstarter had a fairly minimal impact on the project overall, but delayed the project by about two months, with all the costs that time would incur, as well as affecting the overall polish it had planned. The project remained self-funded for the rest of its development, with the studio founder squeezing more from his personal savings and “begging, borrowing and hassling” a few audio studio owners for support on the voice acting to bring it to the finish line.

He adds the team was determined to keep going despite a lack of funds, explaining: “If you believe in what you are doing, you keep going – it's that simple.

“We also had a vision: to marry Thief, System Shock and Deus Ex in to one game. These games have always been my favourites.  Add to this, the support of UDK, the fact we are all passionate, slightly insane and had invested four years of our lives in to making this project real.

“The result is that the game is available to buy. How cool is that?”

If you believe in what you are doing, you keep going – it's that simple.

Baris Tarimcioglu, PulseTense Games

The experience of Solarix’s development has taught Tarimcioglu and his team a number of lessons, not least in understanding how to deal with customer feedback.

“Sometimes the feedback is really useful and deserves acknowledgement,” he says. “Other times it is not very constructive and can be ‘filed’.
 
He adds another important lesson learned was from social media: “Having loads of followers on social media does not guarantee you will hit your goals.”

Solarix was finally released after four years in development on Steam on April 30th, published by Kiss, marking the end of the game’s journey to get into the public’s hands. PulseTense still plans to work on further updates however, and Tarimcioglu hopes the team will stick together for the foreseeable future.

“Given the journey we have been on with all our ups and downs, I really can't see the team splitting up,” he concludes.

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