(I will try to make this article more informative than being a rant).
I think any indie game developer that wasn’t being able to make a living out of his games had those frustrating moments where he saw a game on Kickstarter gets a lot of money for almost no effort.
It seems people don’t realize that a lot of Kickstarter projects are using simple tricks to make people excited about the project while the end result(if ever finished) might be quite paling in comparison.
So without further ranting I will tell you about little things that hint how much quality the presented content actually have.
First of all the video.
Trailers and videos can easily impress people. Sometimes it is justified and sometimes it is not.
For instance, there is a program called Aftereffects which is a video post processing program(mostly).
This means that it adds effects to the trailer after all the video content is ready.
A simple example is beautiful titles or subtitles.
You can also add all sort of overlay animations. You can overlay a video of small red ash coming from a flame to make it seem like the game has awesome particles.
It is also quite a common effect to have flaming ash in videos. When you see those things you need to understand that the developer probably didn’t render it by himself, it’s just a video overlay.
You can take it a step further.
There are websites with pre-rendered CG which you can upload your logo or text and it will render them beautifully and seamlessly inside a high quality CG video you can put in your trailer.
Again, this is content that wasn’t created by the developer.
I am not saying that developers shouldn’t use those things.
However, as a potential backer you should notice how much content was actually created by the developer so you can tell how likely this developer will deliver a product that is similar to what was presented.
Besides the visual effects, there is also the actual gameplay and what gameplay the developer suggests the game might have.
Many in-game footage are scripted.
Watchdogs is a good example for scripted gameplay. The gameplay we saw in the trailers at first seemed amazing, but it was too amazing.
If the game presents a chain of events that reminds more of a Hollywood movie than actual gameplay it’s probably because it was scripted and produced like a movie rather than being actual in game scenarios.
There are also limitations of the medium. There is a limit how much control you can have over an in game character in a chase scene(like in watch dogs) with your keyboard and mouse.
You can’t control every little detail of the character with your mouse and keyboard in real time.
What about the AI?
Does the game imply that characters will have something interesting to say about everything you do?
That means that the developer will either have to create tons of dialogues or will have to tackle on generating sentences with an AI which as far as I can tell was never done in a game before(or not very good outside of a game).
That being said, the developer might actually have an amazing tech that does amazing things that no other game have done before.
But if you consider how much content was actually created for the Kickstater by the developer and what is the quality of the content, it could hint whether it is possible the developer has an amazing tech for amazing gameplay.
Well there is a lot more to be said on this subject, but I think those are some easy tricks to make people impressed by your Kickstarter project and as a consumer you should have those things in the back of your head while viewing another Kickstarter project.
You should also consider how much content and how much of the tech and game itself the developer have at the moment of making the Kickstarter.
If the developer have very little content and game ready, he is not in a very good position to look far ahead and suggest which features and what scope the game will actually have.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert on the subject, I am just pointing out a few things I consider when watching a Kickstarter game project.
And maybe you just like to back up a project that looks cool on Kickstarter and you don’t care how it was created.
Anyway, these are my 2 cents.