Welcome to a rather late new edition of The Funding Crowd
, now definitively settled in the weekend (well, somewhere in the world it's still the weekend, right?). Let's first take a look back on the last seven days and see what news they brought us.
Guns of Icarus Online - Adventure Mode
: the campaign to add an adventure mode to Guns of Icarus Online
ended in a relative success. Not much of a surprise, as it was already successfully funded when we reported it in our last column
. We say it's been a relative success because it reached (combining both the Kickstarter campaign and PayPal donations) its basic goal and a pair of minor stretch one, but failed to attain two of the four pillars of the adventure mode: the Econo-Political System and World-Building Tools. Apparently
they'll enable PayPal again to continue gathering funds, so we'll see if they can reach the $500,000 needed to complete the Adventure Mode.
Jagged Alliance: Flashback
: despite our doubts
, the campaign to revive the Jagged Alliance
franchise ended happily thanks to a hectic last 48 hours
, in which more than $80k were pledged. In fact, including the money raised via PayPal not only did it achieve its basic goal but also the first stretch goal (more scenarios). And more could come after this one, since pledges are still being accepted
and time isn't precisely in short supply: the game is expected to be released in late 2014.
: this other project didn't share the same fate though, and it fell short by more than the half of the total goal. A real pity, since it showed a lot of potential and stunning visuals. The project creators put part of the blame on being a UK campaign
and how that affected the amount pledged from the US. That's why they plan on launching a new Kickstarter later this year, with a US account and some game footage to show, so fans of The Realm
you'll have another go, don't despair!
42 Light Years
: this was one of our first Hidden Gems
and, as we predicted back then, this project didn't make it. But, contrary to The Realm
, this one was a flexible funding campaign so the creators got some funds to keep developing the game and try it again in the future. We hope they do it, mainly to stay true to their backers but also because we think this game deserves to be done.
Ghost of a Tale
: this one we hadn't talked about yet, principally because the creator wouldn't commit himself to release a Linux version even though he's developing it with Unity3D. After having its campaign duration extended by Indiegogo it finally got fully funded and so this promising 3D action adventure will see the light of day. Linux support hasn't been confirmed yet but chances are very high and many people have offered themselves to the creator to help with the port and beta testing (see the updates
sections of this project for more info). It's more than a year until the estimated release date, so we've got plenty of time to pester him for a Linux version.
: last week we talked about this Hidden Gem
, when it had just reached the Linux support stretch goal. Since then it managed to gross $20k more, thus reaching the $100k stretch goal to unlock the New Game+
The only problem is that we don't have a single clue about what the heck is that. Surely it must be explained somewhere in the campaign page, but we couldn't find it. We also asked the developer but he didn't answer, so we're not going to delve deeper into this issue.
Anyway, the game looks awesome by itself, and if you happened to miss the campaign the good news is that you can still back it and get a copy
! On the other hand, the bad news is we'll have to wait almost a year for the final release.
UPDATE: Mo, from Gamesbymo, kindly answered our enquiry regarding the New Game+ thingie. In his own words: «A New Game+ is the ability to replay the game starting with your current level and upgrades. Enemies are tougher and since you start with your upgrades you can explore the game in a whole different way and order. If you couldn't upgrade everything in the first playthrough now you can use the crystals found to continue upgrading the stuff you have. So it's a second run where you keep everything you got from the first time you played.»
Excellent, both the feature and the explanation. Thanks, Mo!
Magnetic By Nature
: another successful game, even though this one didn't achieve any stretch goal. Nevermind, because the game looks cool enough with the basic features and it's slated to be released in August, significantly earlier than the other successful projects in this batch.
Dog Sled Saga
: yet another Hidden Gem
that finished its successful campaign, this one yesterday, more than doubling the goal set by its developers. The final amount allows for a number of promising stretch goals, such as detailed dog close-ups, a new trek mode or a breeding system for dog skills combos. We're really looking forward to playing this game, but we'll have to wait until next December for the estimated release.
: this once favourite of ours ended its campaign just a couple of hours ago, during the composition of this article. We say once favourite
because, even though having reached the announced Linux support stretch goal of $10,000
, there apparently are some technical difficulties that have put the Linux version of this game at stake
. We'll have to wait to see the final outcome on this matter, but we cannot say this hasn't been a serious letdown.
: and finally another campaign that ended while we were writing this. At first it seemed like a particularly sad outcome, since it fell short of the Linux support stretch goal by a mere $13. But luckily the creators made our day by confirming a Linux version
as well as a new in-game reward for backers. This early announcement has saved us many speculations, as the game won't be released until January 2014 at the least.
«Third time's the charm»
they say, but not so for the Biggies
in this third instalment of The Funding Crowd
. There weren't many highflying projects last week, at least not with confirmed Linux support. To compensate, we'll be having more Hidden Gems
than usual. But first, let's review the few Biggies
Heavy Gear Assault
: and we begin with this really ambitious project, with a budget of $800k and stretch goals that initially reached up to $10M (!!!) but that have been lowered to a more "realistic" $1M
. Financial aspects aside, Heavy Gear Assault
tries to take the Activision classics
and put them up-to-date with current technology. It will offer both multiplayer and singleplayer experiences in which to engage in this futuristic and brutal sport, trying to obtain fame and glory on the arena floor. The player will have to master the art of fighting within a Gear as well as customizing it and managing sponsors and staff in order to succeed. It's being build with the Unreal Engine 4, which the developers claim it will support OpenGL and thus a Linux version will be possible. There's been some controversy
around this claim and it's not entirely certain that there'll be a Linux port in the end, but for the time being, we'll trust the developers on this one.
Anyway, all this discussion could be rendered entirely academical since this campaign is far from being on the good track to success. Right now its progress doesn't project to anything near the $800k goal
and the fact that it will be a free-to-play game doesn't help, as these kind of games tend to struggle more to obtain funds and backers. We'll see how it all unrolls in the following weeks.
(More details about the game in this article
Ages of Madness
: the second Biggie
is a horror point-and-click adventure set in the Lovecraftian Cthulhu myths. It's a co-production between three little studios and it's their first big project . But we're still considering it a Biggie
for various reasons, namely: first, they're asking for $100k and have planned stretch goals up to $1M, in virtue of which they'll build a full Call of Cthulhu
MMORPG in case of reaching it. Secondly, the minimum pledge to secure a digital copy of the game is $25, so backers might expect good bang for their buck. And finally, we think the game's Lovecraftian theme is likely to appeal to a vast audience. The few screenshots and gameplay footage shown in the Kickstarter page foresee a 3D Broken Sword
-ish kind of style, but nothing more can be really inferred as it's very early in development. The campaign hasn't started very well though, and needs more funding and attention for having a chance to make it.
Deux Ex Machina 2
: a reimagination of a classic cult game from the '80s, Deus Ex Machina 2
(not to be confused with the Deus Ex
cyberpunk action RPGs series) will be a hard-to-classify interactive multimedia experience. In its creator Mel Croucher own words, the game will feature «Sperms, cops, killer ducks, naughty bits, zimmer frames, hallicinogenic eyewear, dead mice, dementia, hermaphrodites, land mines, war crimes, neurons, morons, rock stars, and the greatest voice on the planet as your Narrator.»
He's referring to Sir Christopher Lee, and the rest of the voice cast include other celebrities like Ian Dury or X Factor
's Chris Madin. The campaign is asking for as little as £64k because the game is almost complete (including translation to 19 languages, such as Welsh or Catalan, my native tongue
) and only some final touches remain. Still, there are planned stretch goals up to £1M including a movie or a World Party live stadium performance. Current projections
, though very early, predict that barely the two first ones will be achieved in the best case scenario, but also that the project will almost certainly get successfully funded.
And now for the Hidden Gems
, more numerous this week as we explained before. It's a real blessing there were so few big games, because this category's backlog was beginning to overflow. Without further ado, we present you the top 15 videogame crowdfunding campaigns that you might have missed:
Our list begins with Aduno
, a quite original puzzle game with Columns
reminiscences. Differently coloured pieces are thrown at the player by a machine and its command is to reduce all of them to only one, with the help of some piece-conversion artifacts. There's a current version
you can play (Java required) but the final game will include more content. Want won't change is the fact that you can't win
, as the levels are infinite in number and randomly generated, so the challenge will be beating the current max score.
It's being developed mainly as a Windows game but the developer assured us that it will be available for Linux, at least as a .jar file. Not the best distribution method conceivable, but it's something.
Next we have The Great Zoo Escape
, a project that takes the online room-escape games that proliferated during the last decade and brings the concept up to date with detailed graphics and a more sensible and satisfactory gameplay. Who hasn't ever cursed an escape game for the unlikely location of a necessary item, or for the against-all-reason actions to be undertaken in order to beat it? The creators, the four Heemskerk siblings from Canada, assure us this won't happen in this game. Unfortunately, we may be left without knowing for sure, as there's only a week left and the campaign has raised less than a third of the total goal. Pledge to prevent its failure: $10 will get you the game, and if you're feeling generous $200 will enable you to adopt one of the in-game pets, among other rewards.
In the 13th place there's Space Monsters Love Bullets
, this week's first pixel art game. This one's inspired by an older concept than the previous one, in this case it's a kind of Missile Command with a twist. The Earth is on the verge of being conquered by an evil race of aliens and only one ground-air defense battery remains. You must take the role of both the battery manager and Ted, its last alive worker: the latter for shooting down the invaders and collecting the loot, and the former to deal with both the ammunition supplies and the worker's needs and complaints (e.g. he'll ask for coffee to stay focused or he'll even want to take a vacation, the selfish rascal!). The game is being developed primarily for mobile devices, but it will be ported to the LÖVE2D
framework and thus to desktop platforms (Linux included, of course) if a stretch goal is met. Chances for either the desktop or the mobile versions are very slim though, as the campaign is a shorter-than-usual one (only 3 weeks long) and it isn't particularly succeding up until now. There's 15 more days left to find out for sure.
is a game with a substantially changed art style from its first successful and even lower-budgeted campaign
. What once were 2.5D and colourful levels and backgrounds have now turned into a very LIMBO
-esque monochromatic look. The gamestyle is the same though, a mix of BIT.TRIP RUNNER
and Super Meat Boy
mechanics in what is a fast-paced precision platformer where you have to collect pigs (what!?) to progress to the next level. Even though the developers claim the game is in early alpha, there's a good deal of gameplay footage in the Kickstarter video presentation. Take a look at it and back the game if you like it, because it really needs more contributions to reach a good conclusion.
This Hidden Gem
is not a game, but a game creation tool instead: Rhythos RPG Builder
is, as its name indicates, a (free, open source and expandable) RPG creator inspired by RPG Maker and based off Rhythos Arcade BETA
, an action/rhythm battle game crated by the same developer. It will be able export the created games to a lot of platforms (Linux native executables included) and the editor is being developed in Java and will run in anyting with Java 1.6 or later. The finished parts (i.e. the map editor and the original Rhythos game) are already available on GitHub
, so that could count as a demo of what the full editor can deliver. Unfortunately, as many other free to play
projects is having a hard time getting funds. As it stands today it seems very unlikely for it to succeed, so your contribution will be appreciated for sure.
In case the previous campaign finally failed, we had Cymbil Spellcraft
as a backup. It's a co-op, story-driven, Unity3D-made action RPG which comes with an in-game ARPG creation toolset. Sadly however, things are not going any better for this one either. And it's hard to believe, as this Secret of Mana
-inspired game includes appealing features such as the ability to swim, drive or fly, no weapon or class restrictions, team combos, or destructable and weaponizable (is that a word?) environments. In 20 days the campaign will be over, so you have plenty of time to check this game out and back it if you dig it. $15 will grant you a digital copy, while the higher-end tier rewards include a Muu
plushie (the game's party pet) or a fancy NES-cartridge-shaped USB drive with the special edition of the game.
Like #11 this one is not a game, either. But GameTable Online
is much more than a game, it's a portal for online board games. Don't think about a checkers-and-chess kind of portal... well, checkers and chess are actually available in it, but so are other board games by some major game-publishing companies
. It's been online for ten years already, and now they are seeking to expand the site with new games and more features. It runs on a subscription-based system, so most of the pledge rewards include subscriptions of various types and durations. Contrary to most of the previous Hidden Gems
, this one seems to be going full steam ahead to success. Nothing like being a finished product with a stable fan base, eh?
Games must be, above all, fun. But they are also a perfect platform for delivering some educative content in an entertaining way. This is why we are showcasing Intergalactic Expedition
. It's an space exploration adventure with a good dose of action, designed to appeal to both kids and grown-ups alike, that offers the opportunity to learn about our Solar System. The final goal is to colonize Saturn's moon Titan, but first the player must complete all the required training as an expedition agent and complete all the missions required to achieve it. The game features include open world mechanics to allow more freedom of choice to the player, customizable exploring vehicles and different game modes to enlarge the replayability value. The current plans include only one stretch goal, which would add a multiplayer experience to the game. But we'd better not get ahead of ourselves as the basic goal seems quite out of reach right now, when only a mere $100 have been pledged by 6 backers. Pity, because there's not many educative action games around, and less still for Linux.
Time for some hack'n'slash: Decision: Medieval
is a game based on its developers' previous creations, the third-person top-down shooters Decision
and Decision 2: New City
. For this new instalment of the series they moved the setting to a fantasy and zombie-infested Medieval Age. In a kingdom long at war with orcs and zombies, a lone young knight will take control of the defenses of a key border city to try to resist the onslaught. Weaponry is arguably the most historically acurate aspect of the game, although this is not saying much. There are a wide variety of weapons available, principally of the melée and close range sort. It also features some elements of strategy and RPG, as well as some tower defense-themed mechanics thrown in for good measure. Like the rest of this studio's games, this one is going to be Flash-based, but the developers assured us that it will be compatible with v11.2, the last one with Linux support.
It seems we are entering a new pessimistic streak as this project also seems doomed to fail. It's had some very weak starting days, which traditionally are the best ones in terms of income. But then again, these were during the weekend when the crowdfunding activity diminishes significatively. So the next few days will be crucial to decide this game's fate. For $10 you'll obtain a downloadable ad-free version of the game, and for quite a few more money you'll be able to name one of the NPCs or even have the game character made to your likeness and thus become digitally inmortalized.
It's been a while since we last talked about a pixel art game, so here comes SiSSYFiGHT 2000
to remedy the situation. SiSSYFiGHT 2000
was a web-based social game created in the late '90s, in which everyone played as bratty little girls and was encouraged to dis, mob and backstab the others. All in all very healthy values, you see.
The game enjoyed great success for almost a decade but ended up disappearing. Now, some of the original creators want to bring the game back and are recoding it from scratch in HTML5 to adapt it to modern day web browsers. They want to make it available for free and will release all the code and the game assets under MIT
and Creative Commons
Being a free and open source game, the backer rewards tend to provide exclusive in-game stuff. Remember what we said before about projects with an existing fan base being more likely to succeed? The story repeats itself here, as many old players must have rallied to support this campaign and bring it to a good end. It's not fully funded yet, but all the odds are in its favour
. Only 4 days remain before the campaign ends, so hurry up and go back it if it's to your liking.
Next on our list we have Dungeon of Elements
, an RPG/Tetris
mashup conceived as an introduction to the RPG genre for the casual gamers while at the same time appealing to the hard core ones thanks to its large variety of monsters, environments, collectable pets or a system for alchemically crafting items, weapons and armour. It features an original combat HUD combining a top-down perspective with 3D third-person one, while also displaying the main character and the action buttons.
We contacted the developers about Linux support and they replied that they hope to have a Linux version as a still unannounced stretch goal, the main reason being that they started developing the game with Unity v3.5 and so they'd need to upgrade their licenses and fix everything that breaks in the process. Luckily the campaign is going pretty well (although it's rapidly lost momentum since the splendid first day
) and a non excessively high stretch goal could be potentially achieved.
We are nearing this week's Top-3, but before we must talk about a colossal project called World of Diving
. The name fits it just right, as it is an online multiplayer diving simulator in which the developers expect to recreate the entire Earth's submarine world (!), with actual geographical and biological data (!!!). It comes with full Oculus Rift
support, and we cannot imagine a better game genre to apply this new technology to. It also comes with Linux support from the start, just the way we like it.
Despite being held on Indiegog,o this is a fixed funding campaign so the backers can feel safe about their pledges, or at least as safe as in any other fixed funding campaign. Right now the game is in a prototype state, but " target="_blank">it already looks great
. And regarding the experience with a VR set, well... we all know that " target="_blank">old people don't lie
In case of being fully developed it will probably be the first diving simulator to come to Linux: remember that Depth Hunter
's developers hinted about a Linux version
which remains officialy unannounced. Plus, in World of Diving
there's no fishing involved so our sympathies go with it all the way. It's one of the most active video game campaigns on Indiegogo right now, Tobuscus notwithstanding
, but still needs more support and backing to hope for a happy ending. Contribute with $15 to secure a copy of the game, or be really awesome and donate a lot of money to become a custom character in the game or to obtain a great white shark in-game buddy to freak the other players.
The third place is for Westerado
, coincidently the third and last pixel art game we're going to talk about this week. According to the creators of this campaign, it features «the grittiest pixels this side of Montezuma, sizzling in the hot desert sun!»
. With this description and the title, by now you must've already guessed it's a game about the Wild West. Maybe more accurately, it's a game about movies about the Wild West. It's a truly low-res western experience, in which you must explore, chase buffalo, shoot bandits and protect carriages. Or nothing of that, you've got the freedom to choose how to play and you can equally side with the bandits and lead a robber and a pillager's life if that's what you prefer. You can also be anachronistically politically correct and help the indians keep their rightful lands if you want. Another basic feature of this game are what the developers call Gun-versations
, that is the ability to draw your gun in the midst of a conversation, as a way of strenghten your points. Contrary to most retro-pixelated games it isn't accompanied with a chiptune-based soundtrack, but with a live recorded one with banjos, trumpets and the like, which really sets the mood for the story.
How do we know so much about it, are you asking? Well, mainly because it's already available as a free online Flash game
which we cannot recommend you enough to try. The purpose of the campaign is to update the game for desktop platforms and to port it to mobile devices. There will be a Linux version but it will come 1 or 2 months after its Win/Mac counterparts, surely nothing we Linux gamers cannot endure. Un-friggin-belieably though, not a single person has backed it yet and to make matters worse it's a really short campaign, lasting only 15 days. Two of them have passed and there are 13 more to try to reach the almost ridiculous amount of $1,500. Come on, it's only $5 for the mobile version and $10 for the desktop one!
In the second place we have what has arguably been last week's underdog: Unrest
, an unconventional RPG set in ancient India in the midst of un uprising, as this project's subtitle states. It's unconventional in the sense that the main character is a girl named Tanya and that she's far away from the Lara Croft heroine cliché, but also because it's heavily focused in conversation and in the individual stories of every single NPC and their relationships with the protagonist. Combat is always optional and avoidable as will have consequences on the game's outcome. This is just one of the ways in which the game will adapt to your actions and modify the storyline on the go according to them.
We described it earlier as an underdog, judge for yourself if it's an adequate description: starting with an initial goal of only $3k, it got fully funded on the very first day and so far it has grossed more than four times that amount. This has allowed to achieve quite a number of stretch goals, most of them focused on expanding the gameplay with new plots and on enhancing and embellishing the graphics and the soundtrack. The looks of the game are thus expected to undergo drastic changes until the final release, but the way they are right now convey a strong Prince of Persia 2
vibe to us, and that's never a bad thing.
There's still 25 days remaining, so the sky's the only limit for this campaign. You can be a part of it starting from $10 (digital copy of the game) and $15 (game plus soundtrack). We definitely encourage you to support this game, but if we had to name a single flaw it'd certainly be the fact that the soundtrack reward is described as DRM-free and the digital copy of the game isn't, thus implying that it might contain some sort of DRM. And DRM makes baby RMS cry.
Finally, the top of the tops, the game we like the best among all of the ongoing campaigns is... Fleish & Cherry in Crazy Hotel
! It's a retro-styled adventure game that...
«What!? Didn't you say that
Westerado was this week's last pixel art game? Booooo! You lied to us!»
No we didn't, retro-styled
doesn't always mean low resolution pixelated games, and this is one of these occasions. As we were saying, Fleish & Cherry
is an adventure game created in the likes of the old '30s black-and-white cartoons. As such the player can expect sepia tones and visual defects and aberrations, a ragtime and big band accompanying soundtrack, frame-by-frame animations, lots of tributes and references to the history of animation and an overall humorous atmosphere reflected in the dialogues and in the gameplay itself. Indeed, playing as a toon you'll need to think and act as one, and make use of the abilities only available to hand-drawn, fictitious characters in order to solve the many puzzles and situations you'll encounter. One of the characteristics of this game is that it reverses " target="_blank">the Damsel in distress trope
so usual in videogames. Here the main character is Cherry and she has to rescue her boyfriend Fleish the Fox, the star of many animation cartoon shorts, who has been captured by his arch-nemesis Mr Mintz.
It's being developed by a small studio set in València, Spain. Their artistic and game design skills are beyond any question, but their English-speaking proficiency leaves a lot to be desired. " target="_blank">The initial game trailer
's narrator voice received so much flak on Greenlight (not a rare occurrence, on the other hand) that they ended up releasing another one
with a new narration. Apart from this irrelevant flaw, as the game won't feture in-game speech, it has received a lot of praise from that always severe jury, so this can only mean good omens for the outcome of this project.
In regards of the specifics of the campaign, it is of the fixed funding kind but that doesn't seem to pose a serious threat to the achievement of its goal. It didn't have a spectacular debut, but in the three days since the debut it's progressed at a steady pace and it's raised almost 10% of its 29,000€ target goal. If the backer's contributions keep coming at the same rate, it will undoubtedly hit it sometime in the remaining 38 days.
And that's all for today. We'll meet again next weekend with new crowdfunded Linux games and (hopefully good) news about the outcome of some of the projects we've presented to you today. See you on the next issue of The Funding Crowd