Do you still have some money left after the Steam sales? Do you like to support small indie studios to fulfill their dreams of releasing amazing and creative games for Linux? Then The Funding Crowd
is just what you need! Keep reading and we'll guide you through the best projects to put your money on. But first, as usual, let's just take a quick review to the campaigns that are already over for good or for bad.
As is usually the case there are more bad news than good ones, so let's just first get over with the sad ones:
campaign was canceled after having raised little more than 10% of its funding goal in three weeks. The creators will continue working on the game and they plan to get funds via pre-orders on their website
. If that's not enough, they might consider launching a new Kickstarter campaign.
· Infection: First Contact
was equally canceled as it became clear the campaign wasn't going to succeed. The creators will also continue working on it and are planning on launching a new campaign
once they have more stuff to show.
wasn't canceled, but it could've easily been as it failed to gain any momentum whatsoever. Nevertheless, the creators will not abandon the project and will be working off donations from now on.
· Unfortunately, Rat Realm
wasn't able to get any backers and so the campaign died without raising a single dollar. There hasn't been any announcement from its creators, so we don't know whether the current closed alpha will be developed any further or not.
had similar troubles finding funders. However the game will be finished and released, although at a later date and with fewer content, according to the creator.
· Tridek: Creatures of Galene
has been the latest victim of the Trading Card Games for Linux
curse. Although significantly more successful than the previous projects, only 15% of its $55k funding goal was raised. The people behind this game is not of the quitting kind either, and so they will continue developing it
nonetheless whilst accepting PayPal donations on their website
was a really interesting concept for a sandbox game that also failed to get noticed. Very little money was raised and very little do we know about its inmediate future as there hasn't been any official announcement about the developers' intentions.
· Much to our regret, former #1 Hidden Gem Dark Matter
couldn't achieve success. As we reported in previous issues of this column the funding goal was never really within reach, partly because of the campaign currency being in pounds. Fortunately, the developers don't seem determined to abandon the project and they might be launching a second campaign in the future
· LFG - The Fork of Truth
raised over $225k from more than 4,000 backers but these otherwise impressive figures weren't enough to overcome the higly ambitious $600k funding goal. Fans of the Looking For Group
webcomic don't need to despair, as the project isn't dead yet. The creators will take some time to decide what to do next
. Options range from quitting to trying again with trimmed features. Let's hope they don't go with dropping Linux support.
· The latest failure of the week happened yesterday: Frozen State
, the promising survival RPG only managed to gather one third of the required funds. Nevertheless, in a truly survivor-like manner, the creators will continue working on the game
harder than ever.
And after all those bad news, let's finish this section with some happy ones:
was doing rather badly when suddenly it got automatically funded thanks to some outstandingly generous donations. Since then, some more funds were raised to almost achieve the first stretch goal: shuffle play. We don't know whether the big pledges were legitimate, or if the shuffle mode will be added to the game nonetheless, but we certainly hope so in both cases.
· Open source sandbox survival Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead
ended its successful campaign just yesterday, having achieved 135% of its initial $7k goal. This funding overflow will allow for two more weeks of development and the addition of pre-configured scenarios to be played. The improvements will not be ready until next year but in the meantime you can get the latest builds of the game on its own website
was even more successful than the previous game as it more than tripled the initial $50k goal and achieved all of the stretch goals
in the process -- including Oculus Rift and game controller support, modding support or co-op multiplayer.
· Without a trace of a doubt, the most successful campaign of the week -and of many past weeks too- has been Megatokyo
, which achieved an astounding 1,500% funding rate. Needless to say all of the stretch goals were achieved, with the exception of the $500k Excessive Romantic Content
one which was probably set so high by the creators precisely to avoid implementing it.
· And finally, The Maker's Eden
. "What? Shouldn't this one go with the sad news as it raised less than half the base goal?"
Technically yes but, as the creators have repeatedly stated, the game will be made no matter what although it would be finished faster if more funds were raised. That's why the campaign was of the flexible sort. So, even though the full base goal was not achieved, we count this one as a winner and are looking forward to seeing finished soon.
After reviewing the finished campaigns let's summon Speedster
who, attired as the Ghost of the Campaigns Present
is about to refresh our minds with the most promising among the ongoing projects:
· Elliot Quest
has a flexible funding campaign, but the game will get finished faster if more progress can be made towards the modest $6k goal. This classic-Zelda-inspired action-adventure game already boasts a web demo
(which does work on Linux). This was meant to be the last week of the campaign, but the creator has extended it by another 10 days in an effort to raise as much funds as possible.
3D game development system offers a chance to build games FOR linux, FROM linux, instead of exporting Linux clients from a game editor running on Windows. Leadwerks
for Linux has reached the first stretch goal, which will allow backers with the full license ($100 and up) to create Android and Ouya games, in addition to desktop Linux games. The next stretch goal is for Blender integration, with plenty more interesting stretch goals planned in case the campaign gets a big boost in momentum towards the end.
had a really slow week in pledges, so the hope of last week is starting to slip. Still, with the modest $3k goal, just a small percentage of OUYA owners taking notice could really turn things around. If you are a platformer enthusiast who has been pining for a peek at the gameplay, pine no longer -- update #6 offers a nice survey of footage
from a variety of levels that are currently in-progress, and update #7 hinted at an upcoming video from a new level. The current footage includes a pixel-art robot who climbs oil rigs to set explosives and wears a captain's hat while escaping on a boat; what more could you pixel-art fans want?
· Satellite Reign
is a cyberpunk real-time strategy game project led by game development veterans reponsible for Syndicate Wars
, which gives them the sort of credibility required for a reasonable shot at the ambitious £350k goal. Satellite Reign
has picked up the pace again this last week, so there will be a good shot at one or more stretch goals during the final push. Accordingly, the project creators have posted an update outlining their planned stretch goals
· INSECTION is a rare find for those who appreciate the genre of 4-player co-op sci-fi FPS, but unfortunately the publicity for this intriguing game seems to have tapered off, and the momentum from the publicity early last week has pretty much died. Major progress needs to be made this week in order for the goal to be within striking distance in the final week.
campaign has been canceled just hours before the publication of this column. Its developers will continue developing the game
nonetheless, but the campaign's failure will push forward the estimated release date well into the unforeseeable future.
· Fran Bow
promises to be a worthy game for fans of creepy thrillers starring little children, who can check out the mood in the Linux-supporting demo
. If the project manages to pick up momentum and reach the $20k goal, your pledge of only $10 gets a copy of Fran Bow for your favorite platform, while a pledge of $25 provides access to Fran Bow on all supported platforms (Android being one of the other targeted platforms).
· Project Maiden
puzzle platformer had some exciting news last week: Linux support has been added to the base goal instead of relegated to a stretch goal. Progress continues slowly on the pledging front, but support from Linux backers could easily push this project back onto a path of success. Luckily the Project Maiden campaign does not mirror the storyline, or else we would have started out with full funding and cross-platform support on day 1... and slowly be losing them both.
· Lacuna Passage
still looks like a safe bet as a winner, having passed 70% funding mark before starting the final week. The success for this Mars exploration and adventure game will be well deserved, with many touches of realism such as use of real Mars topography, a physics engine adjusted according to Mars attributes, and a UI inspired by an actual UI used in jet-fighter helmets. This campaign will finish up early next week; look for a strong ending with a good number of enthused backers who will be pushing for some of the more popular stretch goals such as full Oculus Rift support. Lacuna Passage also has a Greenlight page
, so those who want to see it on Steam someday can go vote.
· Celestian Tales: Old North
wants to follow in the footsteps of 90s JRPG classics, but using modern hi-res graphics instead of mimicking the old pixelated graphic style. The timespan of the story is one of its unusual points, as it focuses on growth of 6 characters over three decades, starting as youths and ending as experienced knights. Choices made during the game have consequences, with many possible endings for each of the 6 playable characters. Campaign performance during the first week was respectable but needs to pick up -- about 20% funding had been achieved at the 25% mark in total campaign time.
· Adventurezator: When Pigs Fly
is a mix of game development tool and adventure game (developed with the tool of course) for one very low price of $15. If you ever had an idea for an adventure game but haven't implemented it due to not having time (or patience) to learn suitable game creation tools, you should really check out Adventurezator
-- it promises a really low barrier-to-entry for designing games in your spare time. Or, if you merely aim to be a consumer of games who enjoys bizarre mashups of famous fantasy characters and historical figures, you still ought to check out Adventurazator
for its included game, When Pigs Fly
. On the other hand, if all you want is a quick way to amuse your friends by creating cutscenes such as this
then the minumum pledge is only $5 -- assuming of course, there are enough higher pledges to get the whole project funded. After a very slow first week, pledging has just started to perk up to the point where funding actually looks feasible.
is a rather serious and artistic puzzle-platformer set in the 1950s, starring two children standing up to an evil corporation. The story is told in a completely visual manner using black-and-white graphics accented by splashes of red, and the physics simulation leans emphasizes accuracy rather than super-hero-worthy jumping ability. If you are intrigued by this unusual sort of game, give the Linux demo of Monochroma
a whirl. The first week's funding was respectable enough to still have reasonable hope for Monochroma
, but in order to keep that level of hope it needs to continue recruiting backers at a good pace rather than suffering a bad case of mid-project slow-down that attacks so many campaigns.
And now for something completely similar... but new on this column: new projects, both big and small!
Jim Walls, creator of the classic series Police Quest
, is determined to bring back the saga while adapting it to the current times with Precinct
. The main differences with respect to the classic games are a first-person perspective and some action sequences like car chases and fights. In the purest TV movie tradition, the game will be based on true facts from real police cases. Such an ambitious project has a matching $500k base goal that doesn't include Linux support even though the game is apparently being developed in Unity. But the worst part of it all is that we won't be able to count our chickens before another whooping $200k is raised. Understandably enough, there's been quite a controversy about this decision as you can see on this excellent inquisitive exercise by liamdawe
. However, as is often the case, all these discussions could be rendered entirely academical should the campaign fail to attain its base goal, a hardly unrealistic possibility since only 10% has been raised in the first week of campaign.
The second and last Biggie
of the week is 7 Days to Die
, a voxel-based zombie survival game that mixes elements from FPS, survival horror, tower defense and RPG genres. The story is hardly original: after a devastating World War III, a strange virus has infected most of the survivors and turns them into a horde of zombies controlled by a hive mind of sorts. You're one of the few uninfected survivors who'll have to face the undead while you try to find out what really happened. But the unimaginative back story is overshadowed by the game's depth and gameplay aspects: multiple scavenging, cropping, hunting and domesticating mechanisms in order to survive; day and night, as well as lunar cycles, influencing the behaviour of the enemies; extensive crafting system; realistic physics system for buildings and structures; items and food/drink dynamical quality and purity; solo, co-op and multiplayer modes where you can play as a zombie; world-creation tools available.
The game is being crafted by The Fun Pimps
, a group of developers with a longtime experience working with or for many AAA video game companies. We'll se if those credentials are good enough to raise the minimum $200k goal. After one week of campaign success is by no means guaranteed, but at least chances are 50-50 if we are to believe in in the Kicktraq cone
You can get more info about this project on this article
After the Biggies
it's time for the Hidden Gems
, the best 10 little projects for Linux games. We honestly don't remember a time when it was harder for us to choose between so many interesting projects and producing an ordered list. You can then expect high-quality games this week:
Deus Ex Machina 2
is back, with a brand new campaign showing a few screenshots and footage from some of the game levels. You know what it's about, so we'll skip that part -- if you don't, please refer to a past edition of this column
when we presented the first Kickstarter campaign for this game. This time around the base goal has been shrunk to £9.8k and sadly Linux support has been relegated to a £12k stretch goal. On the plus side, almost 2/3 of the base goal have already been raised in only two days so the stretch goal seems entirely achievable. Plus, now you can grab a copy of the game for only £6, so the cheapskate crowdfunders can rejoice.
Next we have Balrum
, an open-world fantasy RPG greatly focused on building, farming and crafting. For instance, in the first of the game's five chapters you'll have to build a house at your grandfather's request. Then onward you'll be free to do as you please, join the guild you fancy the most, decide whether to part inmediately seeking adventure or to stay at home tending your farm and collecting items to craft your gear from. The world is completely real-time and NPCs and animals go on with their daily routines if left alone. Combat, on the other hand, is turn-based and tactical so there're many different ways to face a battle. Light is of the utmost importance on this regard, as the characters' line of sight is heavily influenced by it and you can take advantage of shadows to sneak your way through your opponents' backs. Graphically, the game is presented to us in an isometric perspective like many great RPGs of yore, and it's been designed in a minimalistic -but effective- pixel art style.
This campaign aims for a $50k funding goal, a perfectly achievable one if only it could get a little more momentum. Apart from that, its pros and cons are just the opposite of the previous Hidden Gem
: here Linux support is included in the base goal but in contrast you'll have to contribute with at least $20 to secure a copy of the finished game ($15 for early birds).
Time for some action with Crazy World of Action Cat
! It's an action sidescroller inspired by Metal Slug
and sporting the looks of Paper Mario
, made with UDK and supporting Linux from the start. Action Cat, known as A.C., is a hero from the Vet War who's called back into action to rescue an old war buddy along some other prisoners of war. Does that plot ring any bells?
Being a new and unknown studio the creators cannot aspire to high funding levels, and so they settled for a very modest $1,000 goal. But even that figure could eventually prove too difficult an obstacle for them, as until now the campaign has enjoyed virtually no media presence and thus backers have yet to arrive. We think this little game deserves a better fate so we hope the present write-up attracts a couple more backers.
Let's change the tune for a moment to talk about Plee the Bear
, a free and open source platformer game. As we could read recently on GOL
, the game is being developed by the same people behind the commercial game Andy's Super Great Park
(cheapskate alert: available for PWYW
). They started developing Plee the Bear
back in 2005 on their spare time and nonetheless they received very positive reviews. Now they're determined to finish it and update the art assets to modern standards. To do so, they've chosen a new crowdfunding platform dedicated to free software called OpenFunding
. Among other things this new site has the particularity of only giving the funds to the developers once the backers have tested the final product and given their approval to it. For the first fundraising they're asking for a little over 1.1k€, and once this stage is completed they plan to launch new ones to add more content to the game one step at a time. In the meantime, you can give the current version a go installing it from your own distro's repositories, or else getting the source code from SourceForge.net
Back to commercial games with Tales of Terrene
, a 3D steampunk adventure RPG. In it you'll play as a renegade airship captain who must recover his stolen vessel, which carries a very valuable cargo. To achieve your goal, you'll have to face the different factions inhabiting the world of Terrene. You'll be able to choose your allegiance to one of these factions, a decision that will highly influence the development and outcome of the game. About its technical aspects, it's being developed under the Unity engine and it makes intensive use of its dynamical lighting and particle effects to create a realistic and inmersive world. To enhance the realism they are working with Dolby to implement surround sound capabilities into the game.
The campaign has been already going on for two weeks, but we're talking about it now because we recently realised the creators sort of committed themselves
to release the game for Linux -- although we don't know whether it'll be a multiplatform release or we'll need to wait for the Linux version. The base goal stands at $10k but only 20% of that amount has been gathered in half of the campaign. Basic arithmetics tell us more support is needed in order to achieve success. You can raise the chances by pledging $15 and getting a digital copy of the game, or $25 and also take part on the beta.
We begin this week's Top-5 with Tangiers
. Wow, this is a really difficult one to describe in a nutshell! Let's suffice to say that it's a dark surreal stealth game, inspired by the Thief
video game series and the 20th century cultural avant-gardes. The main character is a strange entity from another world or dimension whose only presence distorts and menaces the very integrity of reality, who must locate and kill five other beings. In order to fulfill its mission this being will need to keep to the shadows and infiltrate all the way to its victims, often using the words and thoughts of guards and bypassers to progress. Yeah, this sounds like a very bizarre concept for a game and this is precisely why we like it and are intrigued to see more gameplay footage. The first released video
should help clarifying for you what this game is about and how does it work.
This will be another Unity title so Linux support is guaranteed. The developers have chosen a rather ambitious £35k goal for a debuting studio but so far they're doing pretty well and it even looks like some stretch goals could be achieved. If you want to pledge, £10 will get you a copy of the game, and to take part in the beta you'll need to up it to £35.
Just like #6, Liege
is a game that we had overlooked because Linux support was not announced until well into the campaign. To redeem ourselves for our forgetfulness we're putting it at #4 even though a Linux version of the game depends on a still unreached
$48k stretch goal. The good news is that less than
$3k are needed to reach that mark and that even the most pessimistic estimations guarantee its achievement
Leaving the financial aspect aside, Liege
is a re-imagining of the classic 16-bit RPGs. Being fans of retro pixel art as we are, we're thankful the creator decided to escape the typical RPGMaker style and to go for more detailed, hand-drawn and fluidly animated graphics. Apart from the art, the other two pillars of the game are the tactics and the story. The first one is of course related to combat, elegantly and seamlessly integrated into the normal gameplay, and based on placement and on outmanouvering the enemy rather than on lots of stats and numbers. The story, on its part, is targeted to an adult audience as it involves conflict and drama between different characters waging war against each other for control of the Kingdom of Liege.
As we said, this campaign is very advanced and actually there's only 5 days remaining. So keep an eye on it if you want to wait until the Linux support stretch goal is reached before pledging -- $10 for a copy of this game, $25 for a copy and beta access to all the games in the trilogy, among other rewards.
The third place of the list is for another game we thought it wasn't supporting Linux when it actually was. At first Linux support was relegated to an unannounced stretch goal, but later on it was changed by unconditional support but not on release day. So, with still 19 days to go, we're proud to present you Legend of Iya
a beautiful, 2D, pixel-based, story-driven metroidvania. But don't let the 2D pixel-based part fool you, as the graphics are highly detailed and with lots of animations. It's the project of a lifetime for its sole creator, who's been working on it now and then since the 8-bit computers era. The story is about Iya, a 12-year old girl that in a quite Dorothy-esque manner gets transported to a strange fantasy land inhabited by mutant biomechanical creatures. The author denies any resemblance with The Wizard of Oz
, though. Be as it may the game promises a huge world to explore, an awesome soundtrack, lots of powers and secrets to find and collect and some epic and massive boss battles.
As we said before, a Linux version will be released for sure although not on day one. First the entire project must be transferred to GameMaker Studio, from which it should be easily exported to Linux and other platforms as well. To succeed at least $75k must be raised, and so far it's doing precisely that: 1/3 of the campaign has gone by and 1/3 of the funding goal has been reach, take or give. So now that the word is out for Linux support, we expect hordes of Linux gamers going and backing the game.
This week's second place goes to Gods Will Be Watching
, a pixel-art point & click game about survival and ethical choices. It's a bigger and deeper remake of the (playable) original prototype
built for the Ludum Dare 26
game jam which had minimalism as a theme. The main character of the prototype is the appropriately named Sgt. Burden, who must manage his stranded crew under extreme conditions and make morally challenging decisions in order to survive. They all star again in one of the new game's puzzles, but there'll be five other scenarios like a hostage situation or enduring through 20 days of torture. This game is meant to make the player think about the ethics behind every decision, while considering every action and its consequences -- in this regard the NPCs AI is being revamped to empathically respond to things happening to other characters, so the consequence assessment will get really, really deep. The rest of the main improvements upon the prototype are new cinematics, a full soundtrack and a long list of challenges for the best players.
This is an Indiegogo campaign under a fixed-funding setup. Not that it matters anymore, as the initial 8k€ funding goal has been widely overcome. Now we're into stretch goal territory and the first one has also been achieved: New Game+, an extra difficulty level after completing the game. Other possible stretch goals include online scoreboards, multilanguage or even voice acting. If you still are unsure about backing this game or not, just watch its epic trailer
and try not to throw at least the 8€ needed to get a digital copy to the developers.
And finally, the best Hidden Gem
of the week award goes to Organic Panic
! Notice we've been careful not to say "best Hidden Gem
week" as this is yet another game that launched its campaign quite a few days ago but only recently its creators committed to supporting Linux no matter what. At first a $90k stretch goal (over a $40k base goal) was proposed but many Linux gamers contacted the development team and convinced them to entirely remove it and to promise a Linux port some time after release instead. We were one of those Linux gamers and pointed the developers to Cheese
's famous article
, so a big part of the credit must go to him.
Back to game, it can be described as a a physics-based action puzzler, but in order to get a quick idea of what is it about, and in its creators own words, let's say it's "Worms meets Little Big Planet"
. The evil Meats and Cheeses want to destroy the lovely Fruits and Vegetables, but they are determined to stand up and fight. They'll need to get rid of the baddies in every level by using their unique powers to modify a fully interactive and destructible environment and thus solve
the physics puzzles. A game like this in order to succeed needs a powerful and polished physics engine, and that's precisely what the developer's have been doing during the past five years. With the basics covered, the campaign will serve to raise the money needed to polish the current art assets and to add some more, to port the game from console to Windows (and eventually to Linux) and more importantly to finish the in-game editor, the pillar upon which the game community is expected to form. What better replayability value than having new levels every day, or being able to create new levels to show off your designing abilities or to challenge your friends? Plus all the original game levels have been/will be built using this editor so it's certainly a powerful tool. You can get it along the game for $12 while there are early bird tiers remaining, or for $20 afterwards. Don't hesitate to back this project as it's a truly amazing game and it'd be a real pity if it were not released on Linux -- according to the current predictions
success is still possible but by a rather narrow margin!
And that's all for now! As we said we had to cast off some really interesting campaigns to make room for a Top-10, so expect another outstanding Hidden Gems
list next week. Until then, you can keep yourself updated thanks to our crowdfunding wiki
-- remember you're welcome to contribute to it!
See you next week!