Nuukster turns to Kickstarter to fund Birdopolis’s further development

Game developer Nuukster is using Kickstarter to help fund its next section of development on the social game Birdopolis, eschewing more traditional forms of fundraising like seeking investors. CEO David Engel explains why the company is taking this approach and how it’ll use the money if it’s successfully raised.

The 25-day Kickstarter campaign seeks to raise $50,000. If the goals are met, the studio will be able to hire more development staff, particularly for software engineering and community management. Engel tells us his company will be able to continue working on Birdopolis even if the goal isn’t met, but it’ll be slower than desired due to the lack of staffing.

“Doing social games, you have to get a lot of the pieces of the puzzle right,” he tells us. “You can’t just make a good game, you have to make a game that’s really monetizable and that road takes a while. While we do that, we still have to grow. We need an additional software engineer because we have players who are quite advanced in the game. We need content. We need community management. We’re finding we need to offer more and more and more all the time.”

Even if the Kickstarter is a wild success, Engel tells us the money will be spent carefully and the development team won’t explode in size.

“We’re pretty lean and I’d like to keep things on the lean side,” Engel says. “I’ve seen some game companies take on a lot of people and a lot of money, but the outcome of that just wasn’t very impressive.”

At the time of writing Nuukster’s Kickstarter campaign has earned pledges totaling a little under $2,500, under 5 percent of the overall goal. However, the campaign also has 17 days left to go, and much more has been raised in much less time. Engel doesn’t seem worried about the campaign’s progress and he notes the company also emails to players, both active and lapsed, and the developer’s publishing relationship with 6waves is still strong.

Seven people currently comprise Nuukster and have bootstrapped the company so far. Among these seven are veterans of the game industry with impressive backgrounds like Lead Designer John Astell (who cut his teeth in the board game world and was involved with the infamous Robocop VCR game) and Lead Artist Gabor Szikszai (known for his work in World of Warcraft, Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering).

Birdopolis had a promising start when it came out early this summer, we liked the game for its strong gameplay and original concept. The title even rose to the top of our emerging games list in mid-July. Since then, though, traffic has fallen off and our AppData traffic-tracking service currently shows the game sitting at approximately 1,000 daily active users.