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Help Send Kris Ligman to GDC

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UPDATE #4 (1/24/2013): We've reached our stretch goal of $2350.50! Thanks to you Critical Distance now has a fund for emergencies!

I'm also happy to report that I've gone in on a shared rooming arrangement with some other GDC attendees (more on that soon) and as a result my budget for accommodation has a bit extra. Those buffer funds will go toward transportation to and from the conference as well as after-hours events so I can (hopefully, fingers crossed) treat some of my generous donors to a drink while I'm in San Francisco. It's all thanks to you that this is happening, so I'd like to give back as much as I can!

In the meantime, I'm hoping we can still reach toward our next stretch goal of $2,700.00, which will free up more time for me to devote to Critical Distance and our upcoming special event (more on that soon as well).

Again, to everyone who has donated and signal-boosted (including the fine folks of GFM who graciously linked to my drive in their weekly newsletter!), thank you! You are all amazing!

UPDATE #3 (1/18/2013): We've reached our first stretch goal! Jason's vet bills can now be paid off in full. Thanks to everyone for your support.

I was going to say the next stretch goal is a $100 discretionary fund so I can join my colleagues at GDC for drinks and dining, but you've already shattered that goal too!

So, I'm gearing the next two stretch goals toward maintaining and improving the work I can do for Critical Distance.

Now, I am not Critical Distance's only contributor, but as the senior editor I'm responsible for most of the roundups as well as copyediting and occasionally coordinating special events. We have one such special event coming up this March, in fact! It would be great to devote more time to the organization and editing that goes into Critical Distance, without my day jobs getting in the way. We also have server and domain registration costs to consider, and while those have not been a problem so far, I would love to set up an emergency fund for if/when the site has any problems.

So here's the scoop.

The next stretch goal of $2,350.50 will allow us to set up a $100 emergency fund for That money is locked away for CD use only; I won't get to touch it for any other purpose.

From there, our next stretch goal is $2,700.00. This money will allow me to take 3 days off from my day jobs between now and March to devote more time to This Week in Videogame Blogging and our upcoming special event (which we'll be detailing soon).

I'd like to say I have more stretch goals on the horizon but three days ago I thought even asking for our original $1.7k was very ambitious. I'm incredibly grateful for all the support so far and I can promise that if we meet these two goals here I'll be back with something even better for our next target!

UPDATE #2 (1/17/2013): I've written a new blog post in which I again thank all my supporters, and also go into a bit more detail about where the money from here on is going to go.

UPDATE #1 (1/16/2013): We did it! In less than 24 hours you all helped me meet my GDC funding target! Thank you, each and every one of you, for donating and sharing the link.

What's it mean that we've already reached the funding target? Well, GDC still isn't until March, and as I've noted below, my initial budget was based on a very frugal set of projections: conference only, little to no socializing, no side trips. Every donation from here on goes toward sweetening the experience for everyone (including my cat).

The first "stretch goal" on the list is already listed under "Other Stuff"- paying off Jason's vet bills. This has been a high-priority thing for some time now but due to my own shoestring finances I've had to keep putting it off. With your support, I can finally begin compensating the vets and other staff who helped me bring Jason up to full health back when I took her in this past July.

If it looks like we're going to reach that funding target, I do have some additional stretch goals in mind (one apparently involves cosplaying Virginia Woolf), but I don't want to get too ahead of myself! You all have been SO generous already that wherever we go from here I want to make sure that all donations are put to the best possible use.

As for current donors, I can guarantee that Caturday reward-tier donors will begin seeing their rewards this coming Saturday, and I'll start on filling the other rewards as soon as time permits. Stay tuned!

Friends, family, colleagues and peers!

Hi. Kris Ligman here. You may know me for my work as senior editor of Critical Distance, particularly our This Week in Videogame Blogging roundups which are featured on Gamasutra. You may also know me as a community advocate for Gamasutra's member and expert blogs, or as a critical games writer whose work has appeared on CTRL-ALT-DEFEAT, The Border House, dichtung-digital, and Five Out of Ten.

As many of you know, I've been aiming to travel up to the Game Developers' Conference (GDC) in San Francisco for a couple years now. This year I have managed to secure a press pass-- unfortunately, with the end of my graduate degree program I'm now stuck repaying student loans and that, together with some other financial woes, means that I am struggling to make ends meet. The idea of taking a week off from work, to say nothing of the travel expenses, is completely untenable on my own. That's where you come in.

The Breakdown: Where Your Money Goes

Lost Wages:
The first $600 in donations is applied directly to what I would lose by missing a full 50 hour work week at my primary and secondary jobs.

I am budgeting $120 for train, cab and shuttle for a return trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco. It's hard to project for certain how much SF-area transportation will run me with variables such as location and traffic but I am budgeting another $30 for BART and cab.

Accommodation: While I am still looking into staying with friends during my stay I don't want to budget on the assumption that a providing friend with a spare couch is a guarantee. I've looked around for reasonably cheap hotels in the area of the convention center and believe I can get by at about $112/night, or $672. If I find cheaper accommodation I'm almost certainly making up the difference in BART fare to get to the conference.

Food: A girl's gotta eat. For 2 days on the road and 5 days in San Francisco I am budgeting $8 a day, or $56 total. (Of course, this precludes any sort of after-hours mingling, so unless you want me to be that spoilsport at the party drinking only tap water, consider kicking in extra.)

Catsitter: If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you know I took in a hapless stray this past summer. She has plenty of expenses of her own to consider (which I'll outline below under Other Stuff), but for the week that I'm gone I need a trusted person to look in on her at least three times. I want to pay them decently for the imposition, so I was thinking at least $20 would be appropriate.

Incidental: I'd like to pull off three things at GDC: look nice, smell nice, and be on time. A couple travel-sized bottles of shampoo and an emergency cab fund for about $50 total should be appropriate.

That brings us to $1578. So why did I set the funding target at $1700? Because a) GoFundMe takes a 5% cut of donations and b) it's a nice round number so it will be easy to remember. And, obviously, going over the minimum can only help me further, and if you're interested in going above and beyond the call in any way (thank you!), please see the next section, Other Stuff.

Other Stuff

As many others have done I'd like to encourage the generous donor to consider some of the expenses I'm facing outside of this trip to GDC. This one came up a few times when discussing a fundraiser with friends over Twitter, so I thought I'd leave it here as a sort of unofficial stretch goal.

Healthy kitty:
My cat, Jason, came to me as an unspayed, unchipped, flea-bitten and wormy stray. It's taken a decent penny in veterinarian visits and home care to bring her up to full health, and unfortunately, many of those bills have gone unpaid for over six months. At present writing I have $450.50 in unpaid vet bills. Please consider helping me repay the people who helped Jason be the healthy cat she is today, and to help her stay healthy going forward.

In addition to this, I'm sure I don't have to belabor the point that my work on Critical Distance represents a major, unpaid time commitment each week-- a time commitment I increasingly cannot make, due to working 40-60 hours a week (barely) making ends meet on my basic necessities. Therefore, if you have enjoyed my roundups for Critical Distance, or any of my other articles most of which are also free to be read and shared, please consider donating a little extra to keep this work top-notch, on schedule, and free for everyone.

Finally, THANK YOU!

Whether you choose to donate or not, please consider sharing this page to your circles on Facebook, Twitter, or your desired social media of choice. Every bit of signal-boosting is a tremendous help.

So again, thank you!


  • Johannes Koski
    • $50 
    • 11 yrs
  • Mom
    • $50 (Offline)
    • 11 yrs


Kris Ligman
Los Angeles, CA

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