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The Funding Crowd V (Jun 4th - 10th)

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Another edition of The Funding Crowd has arrived. And, following the current trend, it comes a week and a day after the previous one. We know it could look like a cunning plan to spare us the effort to write an article once in every seven weeks, but we promise it isn't. Like we said last week, give us a good sponsor and we'll deliver the columns punctually when they are due. But we'd better put wishful thinking aside and get this thing moving. We begin, as is our custom, taking a look at what happened during the last week.



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And we begin with the bad news, partly because it's always better to get over with them first but mainly because there are fewer of them:

Life of Pixel: our fears came true and it didn't make it. In fact, the campaign was canceled the day before it ended to avoid it further suffering. The good news is that the creators are committed to finish the game and they are keeping Linux as a release platform (we had some doubts about their choosen tools' compatibility with Linux, but apparently everything's OK). Obviously the predicted release date of September 2013 no longer applies and we can safely assume that we won't be seeing the game at least until next year.


Ages of Madness: this campaign got canceled around its middle point, when it was becoming obvious that it would not reach its ambitious $100k goal. But also because they listened to their backers and realized that they needed to drastically change their entire reward tiers system, something that cannot be done with the campaign running. So they have retired momentarily to recover, restructure the tiers and come up with a new promotion strategy to attract more backers and attention.


Intergalactic Expedition: this one completely failed to acquire any attention and ended gathering a symbolic ammount of $145. We still think that it deserved way better. And the worst part is that noone of its creators has said anything on the continuity of the project.



Let's focus now on the good news:

Aduno: it finally got funded, although not by much. Anyway, it's enough for the creator to complete his game and have it ready for release by next month.


Moon Rift: another Hidden Gem that got successfully funded, this particular one up to 133% of its initial goal. However, no stretch goal was reached simply because there wasn't any! Being a one-man team, the creator didn't want to commit any feature to a particular funding amount. Instead, he'll put in the everything he can. You can check the current demo to get a general idea of what the final version could look like.


Darwood: not less successful was this one, or perhaps even more considering it was a fixed funding $40k campaign on Indiegogo. And not only did they achieve the basic goal, but almost an extra 50% which serves to unlock one stretch goal: a future DLC, that will be free for all the backers. What will be the same for backers and non-backers alike is the waiting till the final release of the game, expected for mid-2014.


Delta Six: and even more successful was this other campaign, which almost doubled its original goal. But the key word here is 'almost', as the 200% mark meant a free grenade launcher add-on for some backers. Since the goal was not reached, there are no add-ons, and some people who considerably upped their pledge in order to achieve it are understandably upset. Disappointments aside it's still not clear whether this controller will support Linux or not, although as we reported last week they were optimistic about it.


Aching Dreams 3: The Dark Planet: this one never appeared on The Funding Crowd, partly because when we were confirmed that it would work under Linux it had already been funded for some time, and partly because we forgot to talk about it... :whistle: Anyway, we're letting you know that this Hentai dating sim slash action lane defense game ended its highly successful Kickstarter, reaching 3 stretch goals along the way: selectable class for the main character, "Wolfenstein faces" and a new gun.


Quintet: we must issue a mea culpa here too, as we never talked about this game. Our excuse this time is that at first it was going to be an Android release only, so we customarily ignored it. Turns out that later on it became a truly multiplatform (as in, anyone can play against anyone regardless of their OS of choice) as well as multiplayer space combat game. It did so well that it achieved two stretch goals: lobby and ship-to-ship chat, and an Ouya version. We've tried the demo in single player mode and looks like fun to play in multiplayer.


Ghost in the Machine: we hadn't talked about this one either, even though it's a retro platformer, the kind of game we love best. Our mutism was due to the nonexistent confirmation for a Linux version, which still holds today. All we have is a statement about a Linux port being "a predicted future platform". We'd really love that prediction becoming true because the game looks more than OK, and funnily enough it will support Oculus Rift and will have a level editor (achieved through a stretch goal). We'll stay tuned for any development in this regard.


Call of the Wild: last week we said this was a really short campaign. So short in fact that it's already over. Over for good, that is. According to the developer, the final amount won't only cover this game's development, but also the next one's! There will be a Linux version, although it looks like the only officially supported distro will be Ubuntu.


Energy Hook: there was no way this campaign could fail, as its basic goal was as low as $1. But as it was also expected it finally did much better than that, raising up to more than $40k and thus unlocking 4 stretch goals including leaderboards, Linux support, a first-person mode and Oculus Rift support (only available to Beta pledgers, though).



Now we are done with whatever happened and cannot be changed, it's time to talk about things you can actually affect and help them reach their goals. And since they are the easiest ones to spot, we focus on the big fishes first:



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Cold Rush: the first Biggie of the week is this ambitious FPS/RPG set on the Moon in the near future. A new source of energy is discovered on our satellite and every corporation wants to secure its part of the cake, giving way to the biggest gold rush ever seen. This campaign is a project from an unknown company formed by experienced engineers and game designers. Its basic goal is set at $550k and there are planned stretch goals up to $3.2M, but it doesn't look like it's got a chance to reach anything near the base goal. Sad news, but maybe we're not really losing anything as a Linux port was not part of their immediate plans.



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A Vampyre Story: Year One: here's a graphic adventure by William Tiller, a former LucasArts employee who worked on games like The Curse of Monkey Island or The Dig. He's already published two games with his new company, and this campaign is aimed to get funds to produce a prequel to one of those titles. The new game, which will feature hand-painted 2D backgrounds with 3D-animated character models, will tell the story of how the two main characters of the series got to know each other. Linux support is not included in the basic goal of $200k, but they've estimated the cost of porting to Mac & Linux as an additional $40k-$50k. Unfortunately, if nothing changes we won't have to worry about the stretch goal, because even the basic one won't be reached.



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Dungeonforge: this one's as much a combat-drive RPG as a quest creation system. It's built around the idea of growing a community around the game and letting it feedback itself by providing the tools to build dungeons and quests and rewarding the most popular ones. Unfortunately it comes from an unknown studio, it's got a quite high funding goal ($300k) and it will be a free-to-play game, these three factors forming a deadly combination for the outcome of the project. One week has passed since the campaign was launched and it's only managed to attract 3 backers who have raised a mere 0.1% of the end goal. A real pity as it supports Linux from the start (unlike Mac, which is not confirmed yet ^_^). There's still a lot of time left, but the future of this campaign looks pretty dark indeed.



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Anthymn: this week's last Biggie is yet another high-budgeted project by an unknown studio, although this one comprises several developers and artists involved in former AAA titles. It's a MMORPG, but a rather original one: the main focus of the game is music. Yeah, music. The continent of Chora is engulfed in civil war, each province trying to impose its own musical style to the others. The only way to end the war in a peaceful manner is composing a national anthymn to unite them all. It's certainly a brave attempt to make something different from most MMORPGs and it's received quite a good response so far, albeit not good enough to fulfill the $600k goal. We'd love to be proved wrong, but we don't see any of this week's Biggies getting funded. The crowdfunding pie is a finite one indeed and when there are real attention whores around like most of last week's Biggies were, it certainly becomes really hard to even get the crumbs.



Let's see if the Hidden Gems are less affected by the presence of giants and whether their prospects are any better:



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Did you ever own a Tamagotchi? Would you like to relive the experience of intently looking after a virtual pet? With Little Sim Peeps you now can! Keeping true to the whole Tamagotchi appeal, this game features retro pixelated looks (what a better way to start this week's TOP-10 of Hidden Gems? :)), and gives you the control of a whole group of "peeps" and the responsibility to take care of them. Luckily the developer must be a relative of Good Guy Greg as the game adapts to your playing style: if you don't train your creatures for battle, it won't throw hordes of enemies at you and it will let you live. It also gives you more options and tools, but also more challenges, than the old Japanese toys used to do. All in all, a pretty decent time waster. It's a fixed funding Indiegogo campaign, but Linux support is set at the $30k stretch goal (the initial goal being $25k), so you may want to wait a little before pledging. But in that case prepare yourself to wait for a long time, as chances are this campaign won't succeed.





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Here's another campaign with a stretch goal for Linux support. But contrary to the previous one, Pawtergeist has some chances to reach its base $5k goal and maybe even the $7.5k (lowered from the initial $10k) stretch goal with Linux support. The story revolves about a malignant but cute ghost cat trying to gain possession of your own house. To prevent it you'll have to throw everything at hand to him, while trying to perform combos in order to level up. The game is primarily targeted at mobile devices as it makes use of their gyroscopic sensors, but it will be ported to desktop platforms if the aforementioned stretch goal is met. You can get a copy of the game for 5 bucks, but then again pledge at your own risk as this is a flexible funding campaign.





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And yet another campaign with Linux support depending on a stretch goal. However, this one is already funded and is only a few quid away of confirming a Linux release. The remaining time is already counted in hours but we feel pretty confident they'll be enough to raise the required amount. Indeed, only 2 backers pledging £8 each (and thus obtaining a copy of the game) would be enough. "But what will I be getting if I follow your advice and back this game?", you may be asking yourself. Well, Terrashift Tactics is a turn-based tactical strategy game with an innovative twist consisting on letting you alter the environment and terrain to your advantage (or to your enemy's disadvantage). It includes a single player mode where you can battle the AI but the game is mainly focused on multiplayer, featuring leaderboards and the ability to record and share your battles. Interestingly enough the game is being developed by a group of students who are doing a self-employed placement year, so let's do them (and ourselves) a favour and back their campaign so it can reach the Linux support goal.





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Some may argue that the puzzle genre is an overcrowded yard with little to none space to innovation. But Cubeloid achieves exactly this, bringing a couple of fresh and new ideas to the table. It's literally a puzzle-solving game and its goal is to reconstruct two images, either static or animated, simultaneously in a 3D environment. To make things more challenging some of the blocks can be obscured or frozen, and the game also allows the players to customize puzzles by adding their own photos. Yes, you'll be able to play with images of your beloved child or mascot, how cute is that? At first the project didn't include a Linux version of the game but later on the creators decided to include Linux support from day one and without any stretch goal. Despite being a truly multiplatform game (it supports iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, BB 10 and OUYA besides Linux) it hasn't quite caught on and its chances of getting funded are pretty slim indeed.





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By now we assume you know us well, so you might be wondering when is the next pixelated puzzle platformer going to show up. If you did you were totally right, as time has come to talk about PSYBLOCKS, a puzzle platformer made out of big fat pixels for our enjoyment. Take control of one of the main characters, two psychic soldiers that must investigate a forsaken planet suspected to serve as the villain's hideout. But the story is not that much relevant as what matters the most is the frantic platforming, where the player has to use a variety of technological and psychic tools to interact with the dangerous environment and be able to reach the end of the level. Water, lava, electricity, magnets, gravity, lasers, bombs and many more things can (and must) be employed to solve the puzzles the game lays out to the player. It's built in a HTML5 engine, so it'll run on any modern web browser. Unfortunately we may not get to play it unless there's a drastic change in the course of this campaign. So what are you waiting for? If you love pixel puzzle platformers go and show them your love!





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Opening the Top5 there's Harvest, a 2D graphic adventure allegedly similar to Snatcher or Phoenix "Objection!" Wright. The setting is a near future Detroit after a chemical war that's rendered 99% of the Earth's population sterile. In such a scenario the remaining fertile 1% becomes a coveted resource, and they soon begin to disappear mysteriously. Here you step in, taking the role of a detective who's trying to solve the case and, why not, save the human race from extinction at the same time. The game is being built on Unity, so that means Linux support out of the box, and will feature hand-painted high resolution art, an orchestrated soundtrack, full voiceovers and a thrilling story. Plus, contrary to the current trend, it will consist of a single full release and not a bunch of periodic episodes. Even without any functional content to show, the campaign has been so far quite successful and it's got almost 40% of the way done when there's still three weeks to go. Therefore, there's not much merit in predicting its success. :)





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Now here's a different deal. Sure, it's a game and it's designed to be fun and entertaining, but that's not its main purpose and virtue. Instead Bag the Bully has been conceived as an educational game, in the most elemental sense of the word. As you can infer from the name it tackles the problem of bullying in schools, focusing on its less usual and obvious manifestations. The game takes place in a fictional school where an anonymous bullying reporting tool has been implemented. The students, either victims of bullying or mere eye witnesses, send tips through this system and the player has a limited number of rounds to try to identify the bully based on those tips. The game, which will be available to everyone for free, is mainly targeted at children to make them aware of this problem and to encourage them not to be afraid of reporting it. Focusing on the game's technical aspects, we can see that is being built with Unity so there should be no problem to release a Linux version. But there actually is, as the developers are not very familiar with our favourite OS and are asking for people willing to help them beta testing the Linux builds of the game. So there will be no problem after all, because if there's anything true about the Linux community is our willingness and readiness to help and test anything that's put in our hands, right? So there you are, go to their Kickstarter page and show your support either backing the project, offering yourself to test the game or better still, doing both. The goal to reach is not particularly high but every contribution makes a difference, especially for an educational free game like this one.





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The third place of our ranking is coincidentally occupied by the third -and last- 8-bit retro-looking game of the week. It goes by the name of Elliot Quest and it's an epic 8-bit exploration adventure heavily inspired in the old Zelda games, particularly Zelda 2, but also in other games of that era such as Metroid or Dragon Quest. In spite of all the inspiration from classical titles this game incorporates some modern features as well, such as an open world environment, a leveling system to build the character according to your preferences, or a karma system where you get a different ending based on your previous actions. It's designed to have a high replayability value, with a lot of items and easter eggs to find and collect in order to achieve a 100% completion rate. The music doesn't get left behind in the epicness department, as it's to be expected in a game like this. You can get a feel of its current state with the available demo which we highly encourage you to try. After the two or three hours that you'll inevitably spend playing it, remember to drop by its Indiegogo page and back this awesome game. It's a flexible funding campaign, but if we are to judge by the advanced state in development, the game's reception on Greenlight and the commitment shown by the creator, we'd bet the game will be completed regardless of the outcome of the campaign, so your pledge will be put to good use anyway.





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This week's silver medal goes to The Maker's Eden, a first-person point'n'click adventure game set in a sci-fi noir world where you suddenly found yourself without a single clue about anything. It features a rather unique motion comic style and a dialogue system also reminiscent of comic books. The hand-painted and layered art complemented with some animated environmental effects finish up the overall oppressive atmosphere typical of this type of stories. The game has been conceived as a story told in 3 acts, this Indiegogo campaign serving as a way to fund the first one. The sales of this first act will in turn be used to make the second and third episodes. If things went better than expected, there's a planned set of stretch goals to fund the whole 3 acts in one go. Conversely, if the campaign didn't reach its funding goal, we have the developers' word that the game will be made no matter what, only at a slower pace. So even if it's a flexible funding campaign, no pledge is going to waste and will eventually receive its reward. The game will be DRM-free and will of course support Linux as it's based on the Unity engine that has brought us so much happiness as of lately.
For more information about the game, please refer to the article the game's creators published on GamingOnLinux.





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We've finally made it to the top of our list, and the winner is... Tesla Breaks The World! "What's it about?", you say? Well, it's about Nikola Tesla, the famous physicist and engineer, and the troubles brought onto him by his latest invention: the "Micro-Portable Magnifying Transmitter Device". This contraption, initially devised as a way to disintegrate objects and instantly reconstruct them on another location, has the unexpected and undesired side effect of resurrecting the dead. Since he couldn't have possibly overlooked such a big flaw in his design, this can only mean one thing: it's been the work of Tesla's greatest enemy: Thomas Alva Edison. There we go, Tesla vs Edison with zombies on top. What could possibly be more epic than that? Nothing really, and that's why we've decided to give the honours to this 2D puzzle platformer. As many other games we talked about today this one also features beautiful hand-drawn graphics, inspired in classic cartoons, modern art and the works of Eyvind Earle. Its mechanics are quite simple, but its puzzles get increasingly more difficult as the game progresses. Efficiency in puzzle-solving is rewarded, as the more time you spend on a puzzle, more zombies will spawn to make you miserable. If everything goes according to plan, we'll be able to enjoy this game in only about 3 months. However, before that happens there's a funding goal to reach. If you're only interested in the game hurry up, as there's just a bunch of $7 Early Backer rewards left. If you are able/willing to significatively contribute more to the campaign, the limited edition full colour t-shirts are totally insane! :woot:







And so concludes another issue of The Funding Crowd. We expect to meet you again next week, with no delays. However, as publishing the column during the weekend has ultimately proven impossible we have decided to move it to Mondays as a compromise of sorts (and as a consequence, The Cheapskate's Corner will be published on Thursdays instead of Wednesdays). We hope this new schedule will lay the foundations of a long-lasting series of articles arriving on time, in such a regular way that you could even set your watches by them. Well, maybe not that much. :P Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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A Linux user for more than 15 years, I've just recently rediscovered the passion for gaming. Couldn't have chosen a better time than now: the [second](http://www.gamingonlinux.com/articles/linux-techdemo-available-for-race-the-sun-.1752#4850) Golden Age of Linux gaming.
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s_d 13 Jun, 2013
I'm really not sure at all that Munt should change the format.  What is being suggested is to cover more projects (including in-progress updates) with less text.  I'm not at all fond of the idea of a highly tabular version of The Funding Crowd.  Right now, despite his reservations regarding English language usage, his writing has personality and a definite "voice".  Yes, there is the occasional idiosyncratic usage, but this simply adds flavour (if you will) to the article.

I guess I'm saying... I feel it could worsen a pretty awesome regular column.  Also, I said "loose convention", not "guideline".  My intention was not to contribute to the "slump", which we are all too familiar with, rather to encourage in-depth coverage during that period of slow funding.  If someone wants to take a stab at a long-format article, then they should do so.  Armikrog (for example) has put forth all sorts of new and lovely imagery, as well as nifty tidbits from several interviews.  Speedster's introductory article was a good summary (complete with bullet points), but had no graphical content in the article itself, so there's an opportunity for something a bit more detailed.  I suppose... now that I've offered up that idea, it's probably on me to perform a bit of wordsmithing...

Anyway, aside from community assistance (which solves many problems), I'd rather Munt's time be spent less on tracking individual previously-covered projects' status, and instead on continuing to craft the nice summary paragraphs that we've enjoyed on the column.
Speedster 13 Jun, 2013
SD -- we may need to wait for a sample of the new format to see whether is as good from a reader perspective, but it sounded to me as though Muntdefems may be courting burn-out by providing the nice summaries on all the new games rather than focusing on the ones he most cares about, so regardless of better/worse judgments... it may not be sustainable.

"So I usually end up spending a lot of time struggling to write paragraphs about games that I don't really care that much anyway. And, more often than not, at the expense of sleeping hours"

Muntdefems, how would one provide updates for next week's article?
muntdefems 13 Jun, 2013
Quoting: SpeedsterMuntdefems, how would one provide updates for next week's article?

Seeing that you've got an account here at GOL, I guess the easiest way would be to send them via PM to me.

About the column's format, it's clear that I cannot cater to everyone's wishes so I'll do what I feel best. Speedster is right: while I'm not at all burnt out, I didn't particularly enjoy writing this column. I don't know if it shows or not, but I'd rather write about less games (let's say 10 games tops, including both Biggies and Hidden Gems) and enjoy doing so.

So yes, I'd really appreciate Speedster taking care of the updates section every week so I can concentrate on micro-reviewing new projects. Are you up to it?


PS: I totally forgot to post on the wiki thread in the forum! I'm on it now... :O
s_d 14 Jun, 2013
Quoting: muntdefemsAbout the column's format, it's clear that I cannot cater to everyone's wishes so I'll do what I feel best. Speedster is right: while I'm not at all burnt out, I didn't particularly enjoy writing this column. I don't know if it shows or not, but I'd rather write about less games (let's say 10 games tops, including both Biggies and Hidden Gems) and enjoy doing so.

So, no, it did not show, at least not to me. I hope that explains why I was quite pleased with the level of effort you're exerting. That said, I, too, would rather you enjoy what you are doing. No column is long for the world which comes from an unhappy volunteer.

I like the idea of a richer column, but if that means that the descriptive paragraphs are buried in tables of numbers, then that diminishes it's effectiveness. However, as Speedster rightly pointed out, I'm making assumptions about how this will form up. It may well do no such thing, and I ought simply wait and see (especially since I'm not contributing to it!)

In any case... many thanks to you, muntdefems, and also Speedster now. This is one of the most useful columns here, though I can certainly understand it feeling like a chore at some point. So, you both deserve my gratitude at least. :)
Speedster 14 Jun, 2013
I'll try to give a shot at updates for this week's batch on Sunday, to give you some time to incorporate and tweak as desired. Let's see how that goes!
muntdefems 14 Jun, 2013
s_d, rest assured that I won't turn this column into a spreadsheet with numbers and dates (we've already got the wiki for that), I'll only talk about a slightly reduced number of games. I.e. before I made a note for every single campaign that was not outright shit, and then I had to go over all of them again before deciding which ones to pick and write about. This week I've been far more selective right from the start and the current list of noteworthy games is way shorter than before, so I expect to be able to start writing short reviews right away without any further research. But yeah, let's see how this one goes and we'll have time to judge afterwards. ;)


Wow, thanks Speedster! And also thank you (both) for helping me with the wiki! ^_^
Speedster 16 Jun, 2013
Summary of results for this edition's projects (plus my favorites from 2 weeks ago of course) has been sent, check your PM muntdefems
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