How Much Control Do You Give Your Patrons?

When we first launched our project we were rising out of the ashes of Breeding Season, a game that, our lead, S-Purple, felt had part of it’s failure rooted in how much input patrons had in both work goals, content, and the direction of the work, and so we went out of our way to curtail that.

We locked it to the $20.00 plus level for voting on things, and always made sure that patrons were offered a set of choices, rather than being able to throw anything into the pot and then voting on that.

For the creation of items and new characters into the game, we set very strict limits on what was and was not permissible, and worked out the minimum and maximum time for implementation of a suggested item or character, then worked out the average, and set our pricing accordingly ($50.00 for items, $100.00 for minor npcs, with major NPCs with full VN bodyart not getting to be bought as a tier ever).

What about you guys? How much input do you allow your patrons? How do you prevent bloat? Or what cautionary tales can you tell about giving too much (or too little) control over your work to your patrons?

1 Like

Access wise I was a bit too free at the start.
I had my game completely free as that was my mindset. But, ironically enough, I got told by my patrons themselves that I should start to add early access tiers for my game.
Which in the end makes sense- it’s a way to say thanks to the higher tiers for pledging.
After the change, I felt a lot more got into the higher tiers and my pledge average is now at the $5.6, which I am very happy with.

Regarding how much control the patron should have on my in-game stuff- minimal.
Very story based game so they won’t be able to influence that.
And can’t think of any other aspects they may be able to get control of.
But very much depends on the game. Games that are more on the fun side and are freer to add all kinds of events and characters- definitly should go for it.

2 Likes

Yep.

At my $10 tier, Patrons can vote on the next pattern. But I keep it to a vote rather then anything goes, for exactly this reason.

I do have an ‘if you have another idea, comment in the comments’ option, but unless there was an overwhelming avalanche of support for a specific commented idea; I just go with the poll.

1 Like

In regards to my actual project, I give my patrons next to no control over it. I feel like it would slow me down or cause issues with how I want the story to play out.

When I first started (almost 4 years ago now), I had a tier that allowed Patrons to decide on a new outfit for a character, but then I struggled to work that outfit into the project. I ended up taking that reward away after a while. It became too much of a pain to keep up with.

There are certain things on my page that I do host polls for to give the patrons a choice in what I do, but it’s generally not in regards to the project I’m working on. An example of this would be letting them vote on a character they’d like to see new art done for or maybe choosing a certain type of pose for that art.

Hosting polls for what they are choosing from definitely helps. It lets Patrons know they are getting some kind of input on how things play out, but limiting it helps the creator out too.

2 Likes

I give my patrons bonus videos every month. For each video I choose 3-4 topics I feel like doing and let them vote.

I leave the poll open to ALL patrons, even though only $5 and $10 supporters get the videos. (Hoping to inspire some FOMO.)

They always thank me for giving them a choice!

1 Like

Same! I always make the polls based on stuff -i- already want to do. They just choose which things I focus on for the month.

3 Likes

It’s less about control and more about the attempt to get them actively engaged and participating. I always have at least 50 ideas of things I want to work on and letting everyone vote gives them a way to be part of my process and actually really helps me focus. Sometimes I’ll throw my entire to-do list at them (or the top 20 as that’s all that will fit in a poll) and I’ve had them tell me that is too much. I agree, that’s why I am having them help me decide! :sweat_smile:

This month I’m trying out a 2 option poll and that seems to have already gotten more participation than my massive polls of the past. It’s still very controlled as I am choosing the two things from which they are choosing.

Occasionally, I run a higher tier commission option where they choose the character and the three colors I’ll be working with in that artwork. This gives them a LOT more input and seemingly limits me quite a bit, but I only open this reward up when I’m looking for a challenge and I still maintain control of the overall commission.

I really enjoy patron (and non-patron) involvement, but I keep it within the confines of what I’m already doing so as to not create more work for myself.

3 Likes

My patrons have absolutely no control over the webcomic itself outside of offering cameos (which are open for all fans, not just patrons.) I do make an effort to get patrons involved by letting them select the next postcard prints and other reward-based decisions.

2 Likes

like others have said, i make polls with options of things i already want to do! but only for cosplay. because if i gave my patrons free reign to suggest cosplays, they would ALL be lewd haha.

but for ART i let my patrons suggest fandoms/ships that they’re into that i don’t normally draw! and then i add those suggestions to a poll for everyone to vote on. i have yet to have a suggestion win that i hated! so i guess i’m also lucky that my patrons who are here for the art like the same content i do.

1 Like