Welcome to another edition of The Funding Crowd
. We still have no sponsors for the column, but this week we acquired a far more valuable asset: the priceless collaboration of Speedster
. Please welcome her and her outstanding work in tracking the deeds and outcomes of ongoing campaigns that were previously featured here. Let's recap them:
As is the custom of the house, we start by reviewing the Biggies
is a Biggie
from two weeks ago, which is still in the running -- neither fully funded nor hopeless. The Armikrog
team was able to mobilize a very dedicated existing fanbase from Earthworm Jim
and The Neverhood
, and has racked up $536k from over 11k backers. Unfortunately claymation is a very expensive style of animation, so the customary project-end funding peak needs to be very solid for Armikrog
to achieve success. Luckily Linux support is included in the ambitious base goal, so we Linux-based gamers can help push Armikrog
forward with other fans of zany claymation without doubts about whether we'll be able to play it.
· Cold Rush
failed to gain traction and was canceled by the project leaders. Failure was sad but not unexpected among crowdfunding veterans, as $500k successes are rare and normally require the creators to possess a pre-existing fanbase rather than merely creative ideas and a talented team.
· A Vampyre Story: Year One
does boast a project leader with some classic adventures under his belt, William Tiller, but he seems to need more time tobuild up connections to fans of his previous games. The campaign is also running a little light on number of updates to keep backers excited and spreading the word to drum up fellow fans, at 5 updates in the first half. Previous verdict is unchanged -- looks like a relaunch will be needed to get this project off the ground. Maybe in the relaunch Linux will be included in the base goal. Somebody might want to send them a link to Cheesness' article on stretch goals
, for future reference...
offers some really interesting ideas about community-built RPG content, but few people are interested in backing large projects by an unknown development team. There has been no momentum built since last week, so the previous forecast of dim hope must stand.
is one of those projects with novel ideas and a whole team of experienced professionals, but lacking the dedicated fanbase and widespread media coverage required for a decent chance at raising large amounts of money. With only a few percent of their goal after over a week, it looks like the creators need to scale down this cross-platform MMORPG for music-lovers and/or totally revamp their promotion strategy.
It's time to see how well are our Hidden Gems
of yore faring:
· Dungeon of Elements
has benefited from a dedicated existing fanbase of RPG players, earned by the creator company Frogdice which continues to actively develop for their role-playing MUD
introduced 17 years ago. Dungeon of Elements
has already achieved its base goal of $20k and looks well set to make some stretch goals in the final days. Don't be fooled by the apparent reversal of momentum for a couple days; a couple of high-level backers realized they could not afford the tiers they had chosen and were forced to back out before getting in trouble with their credit cards. Gamers who are intrigued by a mixture of RPG-inspired storyline and gear with puzzle gameplay should consider snapping up DoE
at the $15 preorder price.
· Little Sim Peeps
has not gained any momentum since last week, so the base goal is likely out of reach, let alone the stretch goal for non-iOS support (which includes Linux).
appears to have a decent shot at the base goal, with 36% funding and 2 weeks left. Android is now part of the base goal, so some here might be interested even if the Linux stretch goal is not met.
· Terrashift Tactics
is a success story as predicted by last week's edition. Turn-based strategy gamers who wish to control floods and volcanoes can celebrate!
has not gained much traction yet, but with a $12k game and 13 days to go there is still time to turn things around for this puzzler project. They have made an attempt to do so by releasing a web demo
a couple days ago, though those of us browsing on Linux will not be able to try it thanks to lack of support by Unity web player.
puzzle platformer is in a somewhat worse position with stagnating pledges and a somewhat higher goal, but they are also hoping to help with a demo. So far there is " target="_blank">a gameplay video
of their as-yet unreleased demo.
is still looking good, with 53% funds collected in the first half of the campaign. Looks like Linux fans will have another 2D adventure to choose from, this one being a futuristic detective story. Stretch goals are still being decided upon.
· Bag the Bully
has a modest $2k goal and over a month to pick up backers, so there is still plenty of time for Linux users who care about theiranti-bullying social objective to join the backer community and help ensure there is a Linux version.
· Elliot Quest
has a flexible funding campaign, but the project creator has promised to finish the game even if the modest $6k goal is not met. Presumably more pledges will help this 8-bit Zelda-inspired exploration game get finished faster, and there is an opportunity to get a bit ofthe flavor of the game with its web-based demo
(which does work on Linux).
· The Maker's Eden
is another flexible funding campaign, but again the additional funds will help the project creator get it on the market sooner rather than later. The initial $1k collected is going towards getting a working demo, which should provide additional attention for this sci-fi noir adventure.
· Tesla Breaks the World
is looking good if it can manage to maintain the current momentum. With 20 days left, it is "in the cone zone"
as Kicktraq fans like to say which usually means a project will be able to get funding in the end rush, if not before.
· Nelly Cootalot
has been getting a good crowd behind it, with a charming pitch video and a complete free prequel game serving as demo. The base goal looks like an easy win at this point, while the stretch goal to upgrade from playing Nelly Cootalot with an officially supported Wine wrapper to a native port looks possible but not certain. Keep a close eye on this one in the final days if you are holding out for the native port.
· Space Monsters Love Bullets
failed (by much) to reach its goal, but the worst part is that the developer hasn't made any announcement about the future of his game. We've only got his promise to post something on his blog
one of these days.
· Cymbil Spellcraft
also ended its campaign in failure, although they at least managed to get a minimal community interested in the game. Its developers have stated they plan to finish the game no matter what, although it will be finished in 2D rather than in 3D, and the editor will not be released at the same time as the game, but a little later.
· GameTable Online
did get fully funded, enabling us to finish with happy news. It did get funded as we said, but it fell less than $1k short of the first stretch goal. No problem because they were also accepting PayPal pledges and they exceedingly accounted for difference, so the stretch goal was indeed achieved what will mean a new game will be made available on the website.
After this thorough review to the state of ongoing campaigns it's time to discover new ones. And like we've just done before, let's start with the Bigg
... Wait, what?
Almost as if every developer about to start a big campaign listened to our laments
, there wasn't a single Biggie
launched during the last week. Being a little less egocentric we think that this could also have something to do with the intimidating
presence of two real fund sinks such as Massive Chalice
Under this hypothesis, other ambitious projects would prefer to wait for them to end and strike a few days later when they won't have to compete with other highly interesting projects for the contents of the backers' wallets, which might have been replenished a bit by then.
Whatever the reasons, the fact is that we've only got Hidden Gems
this week, so let's take a look at them, shall we?
Have you already played Anomaly 2
to the bone and seek another tower defense/offense challenge? Or maybe you never played it because you either own a resource-handicapped PC or you dislike Steam? Worry no more, 'cause here it comes Fire with Fire
, a free-to-play cross-platform online PvP Tower Attack and Defense game. Yes, Attack and
Defense, as you'll be doing both at the same time. But your enemy will be doing likewise, so don't concentrate too much in the offense and make sure your bases are well covered as well. Although it's clearly envisioned as a multiplayer game it also offers a single-player story mode campaign, that serves as a learning place for new players or as a testing ground for the veteran who wants to try a new tactic to finally be able to defeat that unbeatable friend. It's a free to play game and everybody will be able to enjoy it choosing from a wide variety of defensive towers and offensive creeps, which will be alternatively available following a rotating schedule. It will also offer the option to pay for additional tower sets or to be able to use your favourite ones at any time, but the developers claim this won't be a form of pay-to-win and that the game will remain balanced and fair to everyone, regardless of what they pay.
Unfortunately the campaign is not going very well and it's far from being on track for success. But on the other hand it doesn't seem to be following
the typical Kickstarter pattern of a lot of pledges during the first 2-3 days followed by a long stagnation until the final rush, so there's still some chances.
Here's a campaign that's been around for quite a while but we never found the time to talk about. The moment has come to showcase it here, though (and not only because it was brought to our attention by a reader
): please meet Inverto
. To put it short, it's like Portal
but without portals. Well, it's actually quite more than this: it could be defined as a first-person puzzle platformer in which gravity manipulation is essential in order to overcome all the obstacles and reaching the end of the level. The game is being developed with Unity and has many public alpha releases to try, but unfortunately they're all Windows-only. A Linux version is certainly in the creator's plans, but only on day one if the campaign gets fully funded. These two factors, lack of a Linux alpha and no certain support on day one could justify up to a point the lack of interest in this game from the Linux community, but it's quite unbelievable that so far only 7 people have deemed this game worthy of their support, even if it's a flexible funding campaign. With almost three more weeks to go there's plenty of time to right this wrong, and the developer has made an effort to this end as well: he's lowered every perk price and he's giving a copy of the game (DRM-free or a Steam key if it gets greenlit) to every backer, starting at the $5 level. So fans of the genre here you go, you've got no excuse not to back this project right now!
The Unity 3D
game engine has undoubtedly brought much happiness to the Linux gaming community, but it still lacks one thing: a native editor to be able to develop games for Linux on Linux
is determined to cover this lack of a native editor with a Linux version of its easy to use yet powerful editor. They are initially targeting the Ubuntu 12.04 Linux distribution and will progressively expand their support to other distros. Despite being a campaign targeted to the Linux community only (this game engine is already available for Windows and OSX) it's been met with an enthusiastic response that's raised more than the 10% of its $20k goal in less than two days, so we're taking for granted this Kickstarter will succeed and developers will have a new alternative to create quality games from within our favourite OS (or at least, a new alternative to develop games and export them to Linux).
We recommend you to take a look at the recent article on GOL
about this new engine and the highly interesting discussion that followed it.
is a first-person survival horror game in which the player must escape before getting caught by The Butcher
and... What? Why are you yawning? "Another Slenderman
clone", you say? Oh, I see! That's because we haven't mentioned the fact that you, the player, are a cow. That's right, a friggin' cow
! How cool is that? You must escape from the slaughterhouse while at the same time rescuing as many of your kind as possible! This makes it (probably) the only first-cow survival game in existence. And not a regular cow mind you, but a hormoned and mutant one who's developed the ability to walk with her hindquarters. Despite being a horror game heavily inspired by Slenderman
, it's got a bit of humour as well in order to make you laugh and feel terrified at the same time.
The game is being developed with Linux support in mind and it's currently at an alpha stage: thus we can expect the assets to be significantly improved by release time. Being early in development also allows it to be open to suggestions so don't hesitate to contact the developing team to share your ideas for the game with them. The campaign started reasonably well raising almost a 10% of the goal in about a 10% of its duration, so it needs a little more love and funds to face the next weeks with confidence.
As we mentioned earlier, there are no new Biggies
this week. But if we loosened a bit our standards, we could easily consider Soul Saga
as one of them. Although its $60k base goal cannot really compare to other big projects that are moving around the several hundred thousands, the game concept and its aesthetics are clearly designed to appeal to a large audience of old school
gamers with a soft spot for JRPGs from the PS1 era. The similarity between its logo and the Final Fantasy
saga ones is certainly no coincidence.
But later we learnt that this is the work of only a man (with the occasional outsourced jobs) who quit his job at Microsoft to devote his life to the game he'd love to finish and release, and we couldn't help but regarding it as the Hidden Gem
it truly is. The gameplay is very similar to the classic games we mentioned before (Final Fantasy
, Breath of Fire
) featuring environmental puzzles and a turn-based combat system, but with the addition of some innovative mechanics such as a different energy resource for each main character. The game supports Linux from the start and it will also support game controllers for every desktop platform. The campaign has been live for only two days and it's already managed to gather almost 20% of the base goal, so we've got no doubt it will succeed in getting funded. The only doubt is how many (still unannounced) stretch goals it will hit.
If we described Soul Saga
as a pseudo-Biggie
, Frozen State
doesn't trail behind at all. It's a survival horror RPG featuring no zombies at all, much to our delight. Instead the enemies are mainly alien hybrids, which aren't admittedly the most original of foes either but they come as a breath of fresh air in this era of brain-eating monotony. The game is set in an alternate Earth where the Tunguska incident of 1922 was actually the crash of an alien ship, which enabled mankind to make an unprecedented technological leap. However this blessing came with its dark side, as the ship also contained an unknown organism which quickly infected almost an entire city. In order to avoid a dreadful pandemic, the soviet authorities decided to bomb the city hoping to kill both the infected inhabitants and any new potential host for the alien microorganism. Unfortunately for them (but luckily for you as the player) they failed to accomplish their goal and there remained a bunch of uninfected survivors roaming the city and fighting for their lives.
The game has some pretty interesting features such as the lack of a leveling system, which allows the player to freely explore the in-game world without any artificial barriers, or a hybrid real-time and tactical combat system. It's being developed with Unity 3D and the developers have already acquired the necessary licenses, so all the profits from this campaign will be used in further development. That also means the game will be released on Linux, and we've got the developers' word that it will be DRM-free.
Here's a perfect example of a Kickstarter campaign that had all the ingredients to be skipped by our research team: not a trace of Linux support in the description with only a mention to "PC"
, coupled with some other mentions about the game being developed in Microsoft Visual Studio and the art being exclusively made with Microsoft Paint. "Obviously a Windows-only game"
, the average Joe would conclude. But we aren't ones to esily jump to conclusions, especially when faced with a potential retro-pixelated game for Linux, so we decided to contact the developer to contrast our fears. Boy we are glad we did, as it turned out that Storm
could be easily ported to Linux and so it will be.
Behind-the-curtains stories aside, Storm
can be briefly defined as a free game where you get wet and cows explode (hmmm, there seems to be a bovine theme going on this week). To clarify a bit the previous statement, we'll add that the player must take the place of a minimalist stickman cyclist riding through the countryside and trying to last for as long as possible pedalling against adverse elements that almost seem to want him dead. As usual with this kind of games what gained us was the art style, more so in this case where all the graphic assets are drawn in MS Paint. As a free game most pledge rewards consist on exclusive new vehicles to be ridden in-game, including all sorts of motorcycles and a legendary penny-farthing to be able to feel like a sir while trying to avoid incoming lightning bolts.
In spite of being a free game it's attracted its fair share of attention, but it still needs more backers to help it reach a happy ending (unlike the poor cycling guy). After all, as the game's creator told us, "[this game is] just a small project from an amateur developer. With lots of heart."
, so what could be better than giving him our crowdfunding love in exchange?
Do you miss the good old 2D fighting games from the 90s? Do you like to imagine what if
scenarios and discuss who'd win in a fight between Frankenstein's monster and Count Dracula? Then Clash of the Monsters
is the game for you! Take your favourite monster from classic literature and fight against whomever dares to face it. Nosferatu, the Phantom of the Opera, Van Helsing, and both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are confirmed characters but, depending on the funds they are able to obtain, the creators plan to add many more to the game's roster. If anything, the current animations may look a little stiff, but that's still pretty awesome considering that when the campaign began the game had been under development for only 15 days, so it still has a long way to go. It doesn't include Linux support within the basic $1k goal, but it depends on its first stretch goal at $5k. It's not an unreachable target by any means but the current trend is certainly not enough to achieve it, so the Linux gaming community must make itself heard once again.
Here at The Funding Crowd
we aren't into dubstep at all, and we don't particularly enjoy twin-stick shooters. However, sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and DubWars
constitutes an excellent example of this. It's, of course, a twin-stick shooter "that uses the awesome power of dubstep to fire your weapons"
. That is, not only are the enemies generated and they attack to the rhythm of the music, but you also don't get to choose when to shoot: your own weapons are automatic and are triggered by the music's rhythm and beats. This means for example, that during the more relaxed parts of a level's song you won't shoot at all and will be forced to avoid the enemies and their bullets. As the developers explain in their presentation video they tried many ways to automate the ship's shooting according to the music, but they finally abandoned such attempts and decided to manually design every level
. As you'll be able to confirm if you download the Linux demo
, this fact makes playing the game a really enjoyable experience. However, it may also prove a major setback for its popularity as it makes the creation of custom levels by the community much more difficult. We'll see what face of this aspect carries more weight in the end, but by now predictions are not on its side
. So if you enjoy both dubstep music and top-down twin-stick shooters don't hesitate and back this game to help it become a reality.
Is there somethin' strange in your neighborhood? Is it somethin' weird an it won't look good? Then you know what ya gotta do: ya gonna call GhostControl Inc.
Put yourself in a ghostbuster's shoes thanks to this humorous business simulator interspersed with turn-based strategy combats à la
X-Com. The action takes place in a pixelated version of London infested with paranormal phenomena, poltergeists and spooky aparitions. It's no wonder then for the ghost-hunting sector to be so crowded. And it's against such a fierce competition that you must start your own ghost-hunting company and make it succeed. Hire your personel, equip them with the best tools available and send them off as soon as you receive a call. Once you reach the haunted place try to catch the ghost while causing minimum damage to the property, or else expect to receive an invoice instead of a cheque for your services.
Technically speaking the game is presented in full isometric and pixelated glory and makes use of genetic algorithms to create new houses and buildings every time you play. It will be DRM-free and it supports Linux right from the start with no stretch goal involved. That means the stretch goals will bring us additional stuff for the game. Yes, we didn't use the conditional tense there because the game will get funded, no doubt about it. The only unknowns are the final figure and how many stretch goals it will allow: so far the plans include more in-game items, a full new city besides London and a mobile app (unfortunately only for iOS devices) that will be able to communicate with the game. We'll see how it ends but in only its first week it's raised more than 60% of its goal, so by now thesky's its only limit.
And that was all for today! We expect you enjoyed our content as well as our new
format and we're looking forward to seeing you again next week. Arrivederci!