Of­fer­ing videogame back­ers hon­est time­lines for a project is a chal­lenge for even the most ex­pe­ri­enced de­vel­op­ment stu­dio. Kick­starter’s Cindy Au has ad­vice for any de­vel­oper about to em­bark on a new ven­ture who wants to of­fer real­is­tic prom­ises to po­ten­tial back­ers. “Do your re­search when it comes to bud­get­ing and time­line,” she says. “How much will hir­ing an artist cost? Are there parts of the de­vel­op­ment that you won’t be able to han­dle yourself? What will you do if your lap­top dies? How much per­sonal fund­ing has been put into the project, and re­al­is­ti­cally, how much more will you need?

”If you’ve never made a budget be­fore, talk to peers who have and learn how to do it. It’s es­sen­tial to walk into this with a plan, a clear sense of what costs lie ahead… Some­times the great­est ex­pense does end up be­ing time, and bud­get­ing for time is a real chal­lenge. My ad­vice? Don’t be stingy on time, and make sure you give yourself enough time for un­ex­pected de­lays. If ev­ery­one on your team still has a day job, fac­tor in ex­tra time. You won’t re­gret it. And at the end of the day, if you do run into de­lays or budget is­sues, be up­front and talk to your back­ers.”

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