Shortly, I will begin a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to continue development, including evaluating and producing scenery for some of the new simulators which have enlivened the flightsim community recently.
Many of you will know that there's been a real change in the flightsim market over the last 5 years, brought about my many factors, including the declining PC market, plus Orbx's arrival and departure from the NZ market, and the result is that now I can expect to sell about 50% of what I sold back then. So whereas a Real NZ scenery might have sold 1,800 copies over two years, now it is about half that.
This makes it difficult to keep a steady number of releases coming, as has been the case recently -- Dunedin was the first release for some time, and while I had hoped that it would bootstrap the next release, in reality this didn't happen.
I really want to continue doing this, as I believe that there is still a need for good New Zealand scenery, and although I've always done this as a business, the main goal is to support the simulator community. Rather than pull back, the solution may be to move forward and explore some of the new simulators, with a view to being able to release scenery for whatever simulator New Zealanders really want to use. At the moment we are poised on the brink of a real resurgence in simulator interest, and whether or not New Zealanders will benefit from this with some local content is a big question for me.
Hence the kickstarter fund-raising. I'll announce this once it is underway, but in the meantime, here are some things which you can do to decide whether this is something you can get behind.
- If Kickstarter is new to you, you can visit the site and see how it works;
- Think about whether you may be using a new, more modern simulator shortly, or a year or two down the track;
- Think about whether you will still want to fly in New Zealand, in these new sims
Once the campaign goes 'live', please consider helping me promote it, I will be pushing it via my normal channels, but really I need to reach more people than my 400 Facebook followers, so if you are a contributor on a flightsim-related community, please think about putting the word out. As I plan to investigate some new sims such as X-plane and Aerofly FS2, these are new areas for me, so in particular I want to get the word out to these people.
I've tried to keep this brief(!) but if you want some further reading to help clarify a few things, please keep reading here...
Kickstarter is a great way for those who want to fund creative ventures, as it ideally gives a useful reward for a monetary pledge, so you get something for your money. In this case, I have a few tiers, a couple which give one or more scenery releases as they are completed, at a discounted price, and a couple which are aimed at those who have a really good idea of what I can do when I'm up to speed, and can understand that in this very small, niche market, a healthy influx of funds can ensure that there will be future releases. So these higher tiers may mean that you are giving more than you will actually get a return in scenery for, but some of you will see the need for this.
Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing system -- if I do not reach the target amount, then nobody pays, and I get nothing. If I do reach the target, or surpass it, then those who pledged are charged by Kickstarter, and the project begins. Because of the way this works, the target needs to be the minimum required for the project. More is better, and in this case I will be promoting this heavily to surpass the target if possible.
The goal is really to help people move forward with these new simulator choices, if you do want to experiment with a new simulator, it shouldn't mean having to start over, if you own a Kickstarter-funded scenery, then you should be able to download a version for your new simulator. This is the hope, but of course I can't really know what simulators will be popular, especially with New Zealanders.
However it will also support continuing releases for whatever simulator are viable, including Prepar3d, and perhaps even FSX...
I'll expand further on what the project actually is when it goes live, but some of you may already know from the NZFF discussion recently. If you have any questions in the meantime, please ask me, as I hope to have answers for anything which people may ask!