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The Funding Crowd 21 (Oct 4th-13th)

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Welcome back to The Funding Crowd, issue #2 ACS (After the Crowd Sourcing). You may notice that the amount of content has been somehow reduced, but we're always for quality before quantity. Moreover, in this new epoch of the column we'll try to go back to one of its original goals: focusing on the true Hidden Gems, those worthy projects lacking the necessary attention and coverage for becoming big hits.

But first, let's review the recently finished campaigns and their outcomes:


The Losers

· Taxi Journey failed to achieve funding, reaching only $40k while the minimum budget was $130k (not even counting the additional $10k for Linux & Mac support). Since this was already a re-launch, it seems the project creator, Lexis Numerique, is not able to mobilize enough backers to crowdfund a game of this scope; perhaps Kickstarter itself does not appeal to their presumably French-speaking fanbase. Perhaps investors can be found to sponsor development of this unique concept, since 1,161 backers does demonstrate some interest at least.

· Funding was canceled for Alteil Horizons after obtaining pledges of $42k/$100k in 30/31 days. The project creators are planning on relaunching a new campaign with a lower goal as they've obtained several sources of private funding, so fans of the original Alteil (or online turn-based RPG card games in general) should have another opportunity to show their support.

· The plug was pulled on the James Pond campaign after raising £16k/£100k in 18/30 days. Fans of James Pond should keep their eyes open however, as it seemes Pond is Back will be coming back with a relaunch.

The Winners

· Luna's Wandering Stars surpassed its goal by over $2k, which actually encompasses the first 3 stretch goals for this relatively inexpensive but inventive puzzler game.

· While failing to blow its stretch goals away, Contagion's first and most important goal was achieved: Linux support! So this exciting Source-based zombie shooter is making its way to a Steam release near you. Bear in mind that Contagion was nearly finished when this Kickstarter was created, so basically, if you pledged $15 or more on this one, look out for your Steam key in two week's time!

· Epic Space Online: this space MMO, currently already in beta, finished its expansion campaign on $25k, nearly five times the meagre $5k they'd originally hoped for! That means that they also hit their first stretch goal, which was updating their infrastructure to support 20 thousand simultaneous players.

· Ending strongly on its last week, The Fall doubled its $17kCAD target, ending on an impressive $38kCAD. This intriguing action platformer, in which you pilot an unconscious human as their spacesuit's AI, will be with us early next year.

· Soul Power sneaked to victory, ending $300 over their modest $1500 target. Both $150 "Dinner Date" pledges appear to have been snapped up once the project hit its target a few days ago. Great news for those of you cashing in on this title's $1 pledge for the full game! This ghostly physics puzzle platformer is due for release in just a couple of months time.

· Destiny Fails Us, already a winner when we covered it last time in The Funding Crowd, completed its campaign by nearly doubling its target. This visual novel about a teenage girl who plays too many video games will be with us in November next year.

· Skirting with failure right up to the end, Neo-Victorian Skirmish Squad surged over its $7.5k target with a suspicious yet very welcome burst of pledges in its final couple of days! Was it you, Funding Crowd? We'd certainly like to think so, and we can now expect to see this intriguing title make its way to our platform in the next month or so.

· Hyper Light Drifter: and how could we end the Winners section without mentioning this incredible story? 24 thousand backers. 2,400% over target. $645k raised. This was an astounding story of success for both Heart Machine and Kickstarter. Now that the formalities of the campaign's success are out of the way, the wait begins. This wonderful looking retro RPG won't be with us until around June 2014.


· 0 A.D. is a free and open-source RTS game of ancient warfare. It's already present in many distros repositories and GOL has covered its development ever since its inception, with the latest coverage in a GOL Cast last week. 0 A.D. has been available for everyone to play for many years but there's still a lot of work to be done before calling it 'finished', which this fund-gathering campaign is intended to remedy. The full goal of $150k seems far out of reach, but flexible funding allows any level of pledges to further development of this open-source gem, and we're confident the $27k collected so far will be put to good use. The team has provided a list of subgoals, as opposed to stretch goals, to give donators an idea of what features can be implemented at different levels of campaign success.

· Future of Past is an action adventure mixed in with a bit of logic and RPG elements. It is set in a fantasy world, with choice of goblin, human child, or elf as the main character who must defeat a future evil by changing the past. The alpha footage video shows off some really nice scenes and decent animation, quite impressive for the first project for this new game developer. The campaign has flexible funding, and we're sure they could use some Linux alpha testers if anybody is impressed enough to donate $10 for the privilege.

· The Solar Games creator, Bradley Bulifant, continued raising awareness around for this interesting social game last week meeting with the Education division of the Florida Solar Energy Center. So they now have Florida and Haiti on board! Solar Games, which aims to raise money to provide solar power in poorly accomodated areas like Haiti, is a Mad-Max style Kart Racing game. Playing the game in various locations will trigger solar delivery engineers to geotag your in game progress with actual solar roll outs as they are installed. Intriguing stuff and a few days left to pledge if you feel that this is a worthy cause! This is a flexible funding campaign so pledges will be collected even if the full goal of $9,250 is not reached.

· The Ballads of Reemus 2 is an adventure game starring Reemus, a medieval exterminator and his loyal sidekick Liam the purple bear. This is not exactly a sequel, in that the earlier adventures of Reemus and Liam will be included and expanded upon, in addition to new chapters that finish off the story. Surely a game with such good taste in naming must find success, so a big final week push is due to start any day now, hopefully bringing in the remaining $5k.

· Lords of Xulima is an isometric and turn-based RPG whose announcement was duly covered by GOL earlier this year, so this is a fairly mature project which has turned to crowdfunding to fund additional features and polish. The campaign has just edged over its goal at the time of writing, so get those pledges in for some stretch goals! You can still vote for it on Steam's Greenlight too.

· Steam Squad is a turn-based strategy wargame set in an alternate-history World War I. In every mission you'll get to command a small squad of unseasoned soldiers (as opposed to stereotypical elite soldiers of most games) in the very frontlines where the fiercest combats take place. Just as in real life, a great loss of lives is to be expected. Steam Squad has found favor among wargamers, having already hit the base goal of $50k with a few days to spare.

· Emerald is a 2D action adventure puzzler exploring themes of solitude in space. We guide the protagonist, whose memories are fragmented, through a derelict spacecraft from choice to choice, memory to memory. The story is gradually revealed through flashbacks and clues hidden in the ship's data. Emerald is already a clear success, with the first 2 stretch goals met and a couple more interesting goals within striking distance of the final 48-hour pledging rush: 5 new rooms for the ship, and 2 new endings for the story (there will already be 10!)

· Knite & The Ghost Lights promises backers a hand-crafted, stop-motion animated world, turned into a Metroidvania side-scrolling adventure platformer. The basic premise has Knite, the main character, exploring the marshes of the aptly named Knitemire and interacting with the Ghost Lights in an intriguing take on spritual reincarnation. Additional background can be found in an astonishingly detailed lore wiki. Knite & The Ghost Lights was standing at about 33% funding at the midway point of the campaign, but the recent announcement of Wii U support should broaden the pool of potential backers so there is still reasonable hope of picking up sufficient momentum for success.

· Beyond Eyes tells the story of a young blind girl, Rae, who loses her best friend, Nani, a huge fat cat, and decides to leave her house to go looking for him. Worth checking out the video for the way the world slowly and beautifully hand draws itself into life around Rae as she feels her way. It is doing relatively well for a flexible funding campaign, standing at over 1/3 of the 10k€ goal, but it would be nice to see such a unique project do even better during its final fortnight.

· Cornerstone: The Song Of Tyrim is an open world action-adventure, with an emphasis on exploration and combat mixed with physics and player choice. Graphically, it is a third-person, action-adventure in a stylized cartoon-like Viking world, as demonstrated by the available gameplay videos. The earlier attempt to fund Cornerstone without gameplay videos ended up unsuccessful with about $9k; this current attempt already has $17k and more than double the backers, but it could use a lot more publicity in order to gain another $13k in the next 10 days.



Do you miss the good old JRPGs from the 16-bit era? Then you're in luck as here comes Cosmic Star Heroine to satiate your nostalgia. It's a turn-based JRPG from Zeboid Games, the creators of Cthulhu Saves the World and many other retro RPGs. Inspired by classics such as Chrono Trigger or Phantasy Star, it tells the story of Alyssa L'Salle, a former government top agent who's been ousted after uncovering a dark conspiracy. Along with a wide cast of characters, she'll be immersed in an adventure spanning the entire Zevanii Star System in which they'll have to deal with every evil organization that wants to exert revenge on her now her identity has been made public. To convey an experience more up to the times the game will allow for a more stealthy gameplay, but without ruling out hack'n'slash. You'll be able to save your progress anywhere without the need of reaching savepoints, and there'll be different difficulty levels so you can enjoy the game regardless of your expertise. Linux wasn't included in their initially supported platforms but they added it after many requests. And better still, they promise to distribute DRM-free versions and Steam keys alike to all the backers who pledge $10 or more.


Already previously covered on this very site last week, our second Biggie is the super-hero MMORPG, City of Titans. Their lead developer, Nate Downes, was one of the original founders of Gentoo Linux and one of his development team is the man behind the City of Heroes Linux launcher, so we hold out some hope that a native client will be successful. They also plan to do a Wine port if they can't get the native launcher working, so either way, it's Linux bound. The game itself has already easily secured its $320k target and with 3 weeks left, it's currently trending towards $1.2M! However, you'll need to be sure of this one as it's a $50 pledge to snag the game on release, which is just over two years away (Nov 2015)! That DOES include 3 months of VIP membership however, which is currently being projected at around $15/month. In case the subscription model worries you, they've made clear that VIP membership is not required to play the game. They seem to be taking Sony's Planetside 2 approach whereby VIP members get shop discounts, early access to new power sets or possibly a modest experience boost -- but they admit that the subscription details haven't been fully agreed yet.



Developed by a small indie studio as their release, War Generals is a turn-based, hexagonal wargame based on World War II. They're aiming high with this flexible funding campaign on Indiegogo, asking for 40k€ over a 6 week period. As is often the case with flexible funding, they're barely over the 100€ mark two weeks in, so if this sounds like your cup of tea, get your pledges in! Under development for over two years, it may help to realise that the first prototype of the game is earmarked for next month! It will be released as free-to-play, with the campaigns for 1939 to 1942 included in the base package. Your pledge, in addition to allowing greater polish and additional campaigns, will become in-game gold, allowing you to buy extended campaigns from 1943 and beyond.


Tiny indie studio StarworksArt Studio has already met its modest $20k target for Universum which included Linux as a base platform. This stunningly beautiful game doesn't quite know what it's trying to be, but seems to excel in each area of FPS, RTS and MOBA with a bit of RPG thrown in for good measure. The man behind StarworksArt, Cyril Megem, even did the music for the game he's single-handedly put together in Unity. It's hard not to be impressed with the quality on show here, but there's still a long road to travel, with an expected delivery date of December 2014 for the base game, with additional worlds to follow as stretch goals are met. A $25 pledge is the minimum to get on board, which is probably about the only drawback to this incredible looking project.


Tynan Sylvester is pitching his colony building survival game RimWorld around the concept of "AI Storytellers", which define what kind of experience you get in-game. There are classic, random and peaceful AI's available now and more are being considered. The game is looking disturbingly like Introversion's Prison Architect (also available on Linux) right now - and although Tynan admits that it's an influence, the actual reason is explained that he's simply a terrible artist and the Prison Architect-style "shape-people" act as great stand-ins until a proper artist can be commissioned! Having already smashed their target five times over, $20CAD will get your foot in the door with the added bonus of early access (deliverable at the end of the campaign) and a Steam key (if it's Greenlit), with early public builds for non-kickstarters probably around January.


Pulsar is ambitiously looking to take the roguelike universe of FTL, the ship management of Quintet or Artemis Bridge Simulator and put the whole thing into a first-person environment reminiscent of Guns of Icarus. Take one of five roles, play with four friends, or let the upcoming AI backfill the slots then pilot your own spaceship around a randomly generated galaxy in search of the Lost Colony. Visit space stations with a security crew, investigate deserted (or are they?) outposts, or board and be boarded by enemy vessels. A mere $20 will secure a copy of the game and early access to the beta in April 2014 with a full release a few months thereafter. Leafy Games' first project has two weeks left to run and is currently trending towards all but one stretch goal having already secured their base $40k funding. Finally, they've also just been Greenlit on Steam, so that's one further option, although they go to pains to note that offline/LAN play is a priority for them and they'll work with Valve to remove as much DRM as they can from that release to ensure easy link up gameplay with friends!


Looking initially like a DOTA2 clone, this turn-based RPG fantasy project offers enough to be its own game, albeit nodding its head to Heroes of Might and Magic and the Disciples series. The game is originally planned for an iOS release around Q2 2014, with other platforms targeted for release every two months thereafter. However, as the list includes Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, we think it's fair to say that us Linux stalwarts won't be seeing this title until the end of next year. And sadly, even that's not a given, having only raised £3k of its £60k target in its first week. However, there's over 3 weeks to go and Lords of Discord would appear to have the quality to turn around its slow start.

And that was all for today! This column was brought to you by s_d, scaine, Speedster, and yours truly, muntdefems. However we'd love to see our numbers grow so we'll keep appealing to our regular readership for new volunteers. The more the merrier, but most importantly, the more quality content we'll be able to produce during the same time! Feel free to offer your services on the comments section of this article, or by contacting any of the aforementioned people by private message.

Expect us back neither in a week nor in a fortnight's time, but something in between most probably. Until then don't forget to check our crowdfunding wiki for the latest news on the crowdfunding of Linux games. Bye! ;)

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About the author -
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]( Golden Age of Linux gaming.
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