Patreon feedback

  • LDG

    Hey guys! This is it, our Lostcast Patreon is now available for perusing, critiquing, and abusing! And of course, supporting ;)

    Lostcast on Patreon

    This is very early times, as this is a soft launch, just for you, our close community members. Would love to get your thoughts, whether you think the rewards are attractive, or if they’re missing something, or whatever you’re thinking!

    You can go ahead and become a patron right now – we actually really encourage this and need some backers in there to start gaining traction. Just please be aware that we might change things based on your feedback.

    We’re excited! And nervous. And anxious to hear your thoughts. We’ll talk about it a bit on the show tomorrow :)

  • Patron


    I do have a concern though: Giving thank-yous… plugging projects… wouldn’t this reduce the quality of the show? Hearing a round of thank-yous and project plugs every month would get tiresome.

  • LDG

    @dannagle Thanks! That’s a valid concern. We do four episodes a month, so we wouldn’t be plugging the exact same patrons/projects on each episode, hopefully. I definitely don’t want to have a large chunk of cast that people are inclined to skip, however. Any ideas on how to tweak the reward to make it more compelling for patrons and listeners is always appreciated.

  • Pledged a couple bucks a month as well. I did the “worth the price of an annual magazine subscription or part of a streaming audio subscription?” math in my head and decided I could contribute at about that level. If I were independently wealthy I would contribute more, though. :)

    The “Guaranteed Shows” reward seems a bit like you’re threatening to reduce the podcast’s frequency if you don’t get to that level of support. It seems this way, to me at least, because you guys religiously produce an episode every week. Rewards are generally above and beyond what’s already being created, so having something that’s already in place be a “reward” makes it sound like less Lostcast unless you get that amount. Understandable that you guys need support for the podcast and your efforts in general, since the podcast definitely takes time to produce, but that reward level seems more like a stick than a carrot.

    Maybe consider moving the “Community Hangout” down to the $250 level? Either that or come up with something else for it.

    Also, is there anything you guys could offer/provide in terms of art/code/design at the higher levels? Maybe sharing a bit more “behind the scenes” game development content? Obviously you guys do some of that already (e.g. Geoff streaming programming, Matt doing art), but maybe formalize that a bit more for the community?

    In terms of individual reward levels, maybe do non-exclusive forum badges at the $5 level and ditch the verbal “thank you?” The verbal thank you could just be the first time someone new signs up (e.g. that week’s Lostcast or the one the week after), maybe at the $1 level just as a quick “thanks.” For the $10 level, the exclusive/individual badges could still work.

    Oh, I also bought AWL1 during the Steam sale. I’ll post some thoughts on it when I get a chance.

  • LDG

    Thanks @Ceric!

    I understand where you’re coming from about the “Guaranteed Show” reward. To be clear, we’re not going to produce fewer casts if we don’t hit that milestone. What we’re trying to convey is that we’ll produce the casts every week come hell or high water. That means that if we’re going on vacation (or otherwise indisposed) then we’ll prerecord the episode. If we lose a recording due to technical difficulties, we’ll rerecord that episode to make sure it goes out. We’ll definitely think about this particular milestone and it’s description.

    I like the idea of doing more behind the scenes work. In my mind, this Patreon could grow to encompass most/all of our developer focused outreach with things like tutorials/code/streams. We wanted to keep it simple and focused on Lostcast initially because the podcast is something of value we know that we can deliver on a regular basis.

    Good suggestion on the $1/5/10 rewards. It also might help to address the concern raised by @dannagle about having a boring “roll call” type section during the show. @richtaur quickly discussed the idea of tiered forum badges (gold/silver/bronze) earlier today, so we’ll take a longer look at that, too. It might make sense to have a recurring plug be a higher tier reward akin to sponsorship.

    I hope you enjoy AWL1 :)

  • Tiger Hat

    In my experience backer communities don’t work, unless you’re like Reddit and have backer specific functionality - it’s just creating a forum category where the theme is “I’ve spent money”

    The $25 tier should contain some information about viewership, I’m keen for people to vote on Poker Kingdoms, but how many people will $25 push across the page?

    The $100 tier looks like fun from your end (Have I mentioned how much I miss sitting in on Geoff’s livestreams?) is actually set up around this premise, I wish I had time to feed into it.

  • Patron

    You know what I would pay money for?
    Live Hangouts Lostcasts!

    I would… if I had any.

  • LDG

    @salmonmoose That’s true, we don’t have any plans to have a Patreon-only forum category or anything like that. My view is that content posted there would be a waste if it were only viewed by backers. The badge stuff is just a small token for anyone who cares about that sort of thing, hopefully akin to a “Thanks!”.

    Agreed on the $25 tier. I think I’ll take another crack at that based on the feedback so far. The best approach may be to spin that into a more focused “sponsorship” tier with clear listener numbers and details about the “ad”. Perhaps something like 15-30sec of @richtaur and I talking about the game or product, plugging the Greenlight, etc. We’ll definitely talk it out and try to create something more informative there.

    I absolutely hear you on the livestreams. I miss them a bit myself, and would like to get back into that. Sometimes I overwhelm myself and need to step back a bit.

    @Josue Once we do a proper launch of the Patreon campaign you can harass other people into giving us money to reach some community live stream milestones. :D

  • Patron

    Here is my critical feedback on the different tiers and goals. I’m not going to hold back since I believe my fresh eyes may be useful to you.


    • Servers++: Not impressed. Libsyn can solve your podcast hosting problem at $20/mo. You are may already be paying AWS more.

    • Guaranteed Shows: Show should already be guaranteed. If you have anybody sponsoring at $5/mo or higher, not delivering an episode would be failing on your paying customers.

    • Community Hangout: OK, this one is decent, assuming it is open to all. Not just patrons.

    • Extra episode: This one just feels weird after reading about the Guaranteed Episode milestone. You just told me you have trouble delivering, and now you are telling me you can do a bonus episode?

    OK… now on to the pledge tiers.

    • $1/mo private community: Bad idea. Have you ever been in the Reddit lounge? It’s dead.

    If you do have room for a bonus, what may be compelling is a private episode just for patrons at the $1/mo tier. It could start quarterly, and then gradual milestones to make it monthly. This implies the donation idea of $1/episode, which makes $5/mo sound more reasonable.

    • $5/mo verbal thank-yous… This has already been mentioned. It’ll get boring to listen to. If you decide to keep the forum badge tier, I think it should go here.

    • $10/mo. Interesting idea. Do we get to keep our forum badge if we leave the tier? If not, I think forum badge should $5/mo tier and just drop $10.

    • $25/mo. I’d like to think if somebody’s project gets mentioned, it should be on its own merits because LDG thought it’d be interesting for Lostcast. This is simply paid advertising. It may be a necessary evil, but consider this: Would losing the $25/mo ads bring in 26 additional $1/mo buyers? Boom. You made more money without a loss in quality.

    • $50, $100 Interesting. I get to hire LDG. If this is your normal rate, then sure. leave it in.

    My summary: Try to get patrons without losing the quality of the podcast. Maybe put the advertisement tiers back if the money simply isn’t coming in.

  • LDG

    Great feedback, @dannagle. I agree with most of your points.

    Something to keep in mind with any of the milestones is that we don’t actually see 100% of that money. First, Patreon takes 5% as the platform owner and another ~5% in transaction fees (I’m not completely clear on this number, but for the sake of argument…). Now, 10% isn’t terrible, but Matt and I must pay our own taxes on any money we receive. When you’re employed by a company, they’re actually paying paying a portion of the tax collected by the government. Being self-employed, we have to pay the government more money in tax (relative to our income) than we would being employed by another entity.

    Basically, that’s a long winded explanation for why a milestone which might appear to only cost us $20/month is something we need to “pad” in order to account for fees and taxes. Of course, we need to align our rewards/milestones with people’s expectations.

    I admit that the Servers++ and Guaranteed Shows milestones don’t seem great. I’m really not trying to defend them, but give you guys an idea of where our heads are at when we’re thinking about these things.

    The lower tier stuff is hard because we don’t want to commit to a bunch more work without a decent amount of funding. I think maybe these milestones need to be more focused on explaining that covering our costs and making a tiny bit of profit is something beneficial as it ensures that we can keep producing and hosting Lostcast. Don’t get me wrong, we love doing it and would probably continue to do so even if we got $0 from Patreon.

    Some other quick thoughts:

    • Good point on Guaranteed Shows. Seems likely that we’ll drop this milestone for something else.
    • Community Hangout: Agree that it should be open to all. For this same reason we don’t want to do private casts.
    • Maybe the extra episode feels fine decoupled from the bad Guaranteed Shows messaging? The truth is that we almost always deliver our shows on time these days and we can commit to more, we just want to make sure that people are voting with their wallets if we’re going to expand the time we spend on making the podcast.
    • $1 tier: Yeah, unfortunate messaging on our part. We have no plans to create exclusive Patreon content at this time. We’ll change the wording here to reflect that.
    • $25 tier: This is another tier we’re going to take a hard look at.

    The last thing we want to do is sacrifice quality. Thanks for the excellent feedback.

  • Jammer

    Man this is tough. You guys are constantly at the mercy of the consumer, which I understand is the nature of the beast. I could barely imagine the many challenges of giving up the security of my job and turning my hobby into a viable business. I think some good points above were made, but I almost wonder, is there any incentive to bring new listeners to the Podcast/Patreon, or is that even part of the goal? My first impression of your Patreon was “This is a way I can support the people that have given me so much for free for a long time now.” but I understand that other people are going to need real attractive incentives, and I also understand that no one likes the hard sell- which I did not get the impression you guys were doing, but the internet is a sensitive place. I do not have anything of value to add to the discussion other than I really hope this works out for you guys. I’ve noticed on the podcast some alluding to funds running low, and being strapped for cash- I mean that is an extremely stressful endeavor to be dealing with, and I hope that clears up soon. I would say that I am a novice game developer hobbyist who may never make a commercial product but what you have given me for about a year now is mentorship, a community which connected me with interesting intelligent people with similar aspirations, entertainment, insight, and above all shared so much of your professional experiences- you’ve been reporting from the trenches so to speak, and it has allowed me to see things from a perspective I otherwise would not have been privy to. I understand that all of the content you put out grows your brand, helps your business etc. but I think it’s important for me to note that these days as consumers we get just so much for free, and I feel sometimes that can be taken for granted. So yeah, in closing thanks for already having such a dependable, informative, and entertaining podcast, and I hope that many other people share my feelings about this so your Patreon gains a lot of traction.

    Can’t wait to play AWL 2, and hear the new Lostcast coming up! Also, tomorrow is Play test Wednesday! Looking forward to seeing that new content as well.

  • Patron

    Another idea… have low-impact Patreon tiers, and then sell vetted ads for $50/each:

    This episode is brought to you by <game company>. They are trying to get their game through Greenlight. They support Lostcast, so go support them by voting them up!

    We are all tired of hearing about Casper mattresses, Harry’s razors, and Audible. No idea how you would find those sponsors. Sigh…

  • Tiger Hat

    I’d be keen on seeing a community tier reward where alternating months you output art & code assets. Meaning once a month @richtaur creates some art usable in a game and posts it to OGA (doesn’t have to be huge), and the alternating month @geoffb does some code thing on github or a small tutorial blog post about code.

    I love the community sessions. Almost every episode I wish that I was on the phone with you to join in the conversation. :D

  • LDG

    @Vox We haven’t really thought of the Patreon as a way to bring in new listeners, honestly. Not that I would complain if anyone found the podcast that way. :)

    Based on everyone’s feedback so far, we definitely have some changes needed in order to make the campaign more attractive for new and old listeners. Again, this is a first pass, so we’ll continue to iterate.

    Just to clear things up:

    • We’re not going to stop Lostcast or reduce the number of episodes based on Patreon milestones.
    • We have no plans to create any private communities, forum categories, or episodes. I think Lostcast works best when it can be enjoyed by everyone. Ditto for community posts.

    @dannagle That’s where my head is at as well. I’m doing some research on podcast advertising and it looks like a 15 second pre-roll ad goes for ~$18 per 1000 listeners per episode. We’ll take a look at our numbers and see if we can create a more focused sponsorship tier. We can limit the number of available slots so that we don’t end up with too many ads and my hope is that we can keep it related to game development, or at least development in general. Although, as was mentioned earlier, we don’t want to sacrifice the quality of the cast and it may make more sense to try and continue to appeal to listeners instead of chasing advertising.

  • LDG

    Great feedback, thanks for taking the time you guys. @Vox super awesome support and encouragement, many thanks.

    Geoff has updated the Patreon based on your feedback – just 3 humble milestones, and 4 simple reward tiers. (At least, I hope!)

    We’ll probably want another milestone around $250 to help us reach that goal, and we should have an enticing $10 tier as well. Ideas are most welcome!

  • Patron

    @richtaur said:

    Geoff has updated the Patreon based on your feedback

    Nice! This is so much cleaner, easier to read, easier to understand. I like this a lot better!

  • Tiger Hat

    If you’re looking into streaming again take a look at they’re setup more for dev work, and have things like paid one on one streams available. The $50 is really tempting, but my game-dev is still a hobby, and can’t always spend time on it, and that’s more than I spend on hosting / services. A once off one-on-one would be far more attractive.

  • LDG

    @salmonmoose said:

    If you’re looking into streaming again take a look at they’re setup more for dev work, and have things like paid one on one streams available. The $50 is really tempting, but my game-dev is still a hobby, and can’t always spend time on it, and that’s more than I spend on hosting / services. A once off one-on-one would be far more attractive.

    Cool that’s good to know. We got the mentorship idea from other crowd-funding campaigns – an artist I follow offers email mentorship for $60/month, and Tower 57 had video chat game dev tutorials to support its Kickstarter. So if we did another KS that might be attractive to you? Cuz then it would be a one-off kind of package.

  • Patron

    With regards to the patreon tiers. You’re limiting the $50 a month to 5. I feel like I’d be up for paying $50 one month to get some good quality feedback but I couldn’t commit to paying that out every month. Do you envision those slots changing hands regularly or offering feedback services on a limited top-up basis?

  • Tiger Hat

    @richtaur said:

    Cool that’s good to know. We got the mentorship idea from other crowd-funding campaigns – an artist I follow offers email mentorship for $60/month, and Tower 57 had video chat game dev tutorials to support its Kickstarter. So if we did another KS that might be attractive to you? Cuz then it would be a one-off kind of package.

    Yeah possibly - for me it’d be more a marketing thing - I know I’m never going to be an artist, and I feel like I’m fairly much on-par with @geoffb when it comes to code - but you guys have managed to get people to buy/play your game, which is where I’m failing. I’d probably just opt into the portrait tier again though :)

  • LDG

    @islipaway said:

    I feel like I’d be up for paying $50 one month to get some good quality feedback but I couldn’t commit to paying that out every month. Do you envision those slots changing hands regularly or offering feedback services on a limited top-up basis?

    We definitely could, yeah. We’ve been thinking about this on a couple different fronts. For one if we launched another (much better) AWL2 Kickstarter, we could have a one-time reward that covers this. Another route we might explore are Humble widgets that accomplish this one-time.

    Patreon does support this functionality – you can back a reward tier, pay it out, receive the reward, and then change your pledge pretty easily. But I understand that isn’t ideal. These higher dollar rewards are really all about you, so we’re eager to hear what’s attractive to you, and it’s likely we’ll cater to that in the near future.

    Thanks for your thoughts and interest :)

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