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The Funding Crowd 22 (Oct 14th-28th)

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Welcome to The Funding Crowd! In fact, The Funding Crowd #22 to be exact. As always, we'll do our best to entertain while recapping what's happened since the 14th October and today, taking you on a tour of some marvellous Hidden Gems before ending on a high with our five Biggies. Yes, it's quality over quantity in this issue of The Funding Crowd. Enjoy!





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Like Leadwerks before it, Playir is hoping to become a true multi platform games designer. Currently early in development, it can already create a game from a template that delivers to Linux, Windows, Mac, iDevices, Android and Windows Phone. Already "proven" for the latter three, the money raised in this Kickstarter will allow completion of the translation layer and allow development to continue into such elements as 3D engine, menus, and animations.









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Without a hint of exaggeration, NOWHERE is probably one of the hardest games we've ever had to describe! The website isn't much help, and the 8 minute pitch video leaves you with almost more questions than answers. It's tempting to simply describe it as "unique" and leave it at that, but that would be underselling this perplexing, complex project. Essentially, you play the game by "living" the life of a Nowherian, an entity raised from birth, evolving through a hopefully interesting life and eventually dying, perhaps leaving behind a legacy. Then you play a second life, with the consequences of your first life resonating through the world to your second. Then you play a third life, and so on, perhaps living different roles (industrialist, soldier, or more), in different tribes, maybe aligned to or opposed to tribes of your previous lives.

The husband and wife team behind NOWHERE, Duangle, are planning to create their game over the next two years and to that end, they are looking for a constant supply of funds throughout the development cycle. So this isn't a traditional crowd funding project and you can pledge at any time in the future through the Humble Store widget on the Duangle website. $21 will secure you early access and a copy of the game.

NOWHERE has been under part-time development since 2011, but just a few months ago, the team moved to full time development, so it's a great time to pledge. If you need more convincing (or are curious by what we've just described!), you can check out some game play videos on the Duangle Youtube Channel... but be warned! You might not find the answers you were hoping for in those either!









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Perhaps disillusioned by the common theme of violence in many modern games, High Iron Studios are creating Shaman centred around the idea of healing. A commendable idea it's perhaps a moot point in practice, as the healing spells you research, practice and then cast in combat sound pretty painful as they cast out the shadow demons from their hosts! Playing as the Shaman, your role is to learn the ways of the ancient elemental Chinese magic known as the Wu Xing. When complete, Shaman will contain third person exploration elements, with a stategic real time battle system when you face the shadow demons.

High Iron Studios envision the game to be episodic, aiming currently for a total of six episodes. It's important to note that this campaign is hoping to raise $27k and encompasses only the first episode in the series. Already a quarter of the way to funding, there's little under three weeks left to get your pledges down for some Chinese spell casting action in May 2014. And as is the norm these days, Greenlight is available if Steam is your platform of choice.









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Already covered on these hallowed pages, so perhaps it's a little odd to add this one as a "Hidden" Gem, Worlds of Wanda is a gem nonetheless. It's impossible not to fall in love with Wanda's wonderfully animated graphics and slick looking game play. It's a difficult one to describe and very much worth checking out the video to see this puzzler first hand. It has a warm, comic art style reminiscent of Sony's LocoRoco games. It also boasts a combination of a modest goal and a fairly advanced state of development which will hopefully be enough for potential backers to overlook the author's choice of flexible funding (a choice the author has already admitted was a mistake). Although this is currently a Windows only release aiming for 2014, the author has already confirmed that it will be released thereafter come what may. Indeed, there's already a playable demo available on the game's website which includes an untested Linux build!









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It's impossible to watch the intro video to Magicite without thinking of Terraria. The retro graphics, crafting opportunities, dynamic worlds, multiplayer, and permadeath all resonate with the defunct 2D Minecraft clone. But this project differs in a few major ways. First, it's available for Linux it should go without saying. It's also very much more focused on exploration and survival. That might bring us back to Terraria again, but to be clear, while there is crafting in this game, there is no building. You're crafting better weapons and armour for more effective exploration and combat, so Magicite isn't getting side tracked by the concept of building your own base. Instead it offers procedurally generated towns in which to trade, craft and rest.

This is the third game from relatively young developer, Sean Young, and he's used Kickstarter to fund all three, with only his first meeting with failure. Pixel Kingdom was funded at $5k late 2012 and launched in February this year and this third title has already raised a similar amount, smashing its admittedly feeble $1k target. Already on Greenlight, Magicite is hoping to launch in just a few months time, in January 2014.









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At the risk of an overdose of cute, our final Gem is Churbles, a 3D RPG game featuring the eponymous Churbles, sweet-looking but tough furry cat like... things! Churbles can develop into one of three fairly traditional skill trees: Rogue, Warrior or Mystic. Free roaming for exploration, the game moves into a Final Fantasy style battle arena when you engage in combat. The Churbles all have different personalities too, and there will be some elements of interaction in the spirit of Fable whereby relationships may jar, or align depending on choices you make, affecting party dynamics and story line.

Already in a late development, the project is only looking to raise $15k and has already achieved nearly half of that target within a week of being live on Kickstarter! Due for release in December this year, Churbles would appear to offer a low risk, early reward for pledging to a beautifully realised action RPG. And if you can't bring yourself to pledge, you can still help by voting for it on Steam's Greenlight.









Now let's review the recently finished campaigns and their outcomes:





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The Losers


· GoD Factory: Wingmen: While this wonderful looking online PvP space shooter ultimately fell short by $20k in its campaign to raise $70k, it was not a complete loss. They had over 45 thousand viewers on their Twitch live-stream, and they spiked up to fifth in Steam's Greenlight. We're cautiously optimistic that GoD Factory Online matches might not be too far away, despite this result.


· Terminus: Ryan Czech hasn't given up on this space colonisation, city builder game. It ended on only $10k out of $28k, but Ryan and his programmer colleague will now work part time on Terminus in the hope of bringing it to light.


· Citizens of Earth: In the end, Citizens of Earth's target was just too tall an order. Finishing on a very reasonable $37kCAD of a perhaps unreasonable $100kCAD, it's actually not all bad news. They've been Greenlit on Steam and apparently have some "interesting developments" which they "can't talk about yet". So, hopeful for a release in the future, but details are scarce. If we get an update, we'll pass it along!


· Castle Breakers: Raising only $4K out of $25K, the team behind this Breakout-inspired game managed to get a Unity Web Player version of their game up and running but couldn't find the extra backers needed to cross the line. No word on next steps.


· Harvest: Not really a "loser" in the traditional sense, because this project has already enjoyed a successful Kickstarter. This IndieGoGo flexible funding project was an attempt to raise further funds for additional content. Sadly, the idea appears to have fallen flat, with only an additional $100 raised from the ambitious $7,500 target. Still, this one is being made regardless, so fingers crossed that this detective/adventure game is delivered on schedule early next year.


· Edge of Eternity: After only raising $26k of its $200k target, Midgar Studios decided to cancel their campaign with four days remaining. It appears, however, that Midgar have secured some external backing and they assure us that Edge of Eternity will still be made, albeit with a resized team, and with some tweaks to the story line.


· Europa 2022: Raising only $3k of its proposed $10k target, progress has been mostly flat on this promising sci-fi action-adventure title, with the developer decrying a frustrating lack of exposure.  We know this issue all too well, here at The Funding Crowd, but our voices only reach so far!  The developer made entreaties to his backers requesting a mighty final push, but to no avail. There has been no specific contingencies stated, other than a future playable demo and a potential campaign relaunch.


· Andrew: This interesting looking project was launched on October 18th and lasted a mere four days before its author cancelled the Kickstarter. Andrew is clearly a very personal title to the developer, Kyle Braun, who issued no update, nor mention on the comment thread, regarding the project cancellation. Kyle's only statement was, strangely, on the game's Facebook account, where he stated that he has chosen to produce an accompanying graphic novel of the story first, and will return to the game itself in a later campaign.





The Winners


· Emerald: This project was already a winner when we covered it in The Funding Crowd #21. It ended up on just over $10k pledged, nailing no fewer than 10 of its (many) stretch goals.


· The Long Dark: Ending on $50k pledged over its $200k target, The Long Dark managed two stretch goals, which include a digital graphic novel and a refined sound track. Now "The Long Wait" begins as we count the days until October 2014 when this project will see the light of day.


· Steam Squad: Managing its funding target of $50k with only $800 to spare, there was no stretch goal glory for this WWI strategy game. However, it's full steam ahead (sorry!) for the base game to be released January of next year.


· Lords of Xulima: Not only was this IndieGoGo campaign a success, raising $2k over its $10k target, but the team behind Xulima are now hoping to do it all over again with Kickstarter! The game itself is largely complete, and these campaigns are to raise money for what the developers feel are required improvements before launch. Until the Kickstarter campaign is available, you can still vote for this one on Steam's Greenlight.


· The Ballads of Reemus 2: Stalwarts of the adventure gaming community rallied to bring all necessary attention to this odd comedy adventure game.  It was a close call, finishing with $2k over its base target, and can still be voted for on Steam's Greenlight while waiting for its June 2014 release!


· Knite & the Ghost Lights: This campaign had a surprise ending -- over 50% of needed funds came in during the last week, propelling it into the winner category! If you haven't checked this game out yet, we recommend you do so - it's like pretty much nothing else you've seen in gaming. Using hand-built backgrounds and stop-motion techniques which are later digitised, the style is striking to say the least.


· 0 A.D.: While Wildfire Games' beautiful open source strategy game ended on only $33K of $160K, it was flexible funding project, so some good came of the campaign. Our benevolent dictator will no doubt keep you fed with news on this promising title as it progresses!


· Cornerstone, Song of Tyrim: This quirky looking, cel-shaded action-adventure game finally found the audience it needed and it barely pass its goal by nearly $1.5k. The project's trajectory reversed dramatically in the final four/five days of the campaign, so it seems that the game's lovely Zelda: Windwaker feel resonated with a small group of passionate adventure fans that led it to victory. No stretch goals could be achieved with so low a surplus and no additional PayPal funding scheme has been set up, so you can only show your sympathies for this project by voting it on Greenlight if you'd like to see it someday on Steam.












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· Cosmic Star Heroine: Having already met its $100K goal, this retro-styled epic space RPG has 3 days left to nail its stretch goals, and it's already $16K down that road so far! What are its stretch goals? Well, unusually, this project isn't defining targets for its over-funding, so there's no traditional stretch goals as such, but if you want to know how they'll spend your money, you can check out this update which goes into a bit more detail. Personally, we think stretch goals seem to work as they are, so it'll be interesting if this more vague definition will garner as much interest now that its initial target is met.


· City of Titans: Racing onwards to glory, City of Titans has until November 4th to exceed its already impressive half million in pledges. The stretch goals are well defined, so if you haven't already pledged to this superhero based MMO, now is your chance!


· War Generals: It looks like flexible funding is killing this WWII tank strategy game. It still a long way to go on its campaign, but with only 8 backers and 200€ raised so far, it's unlikely to raise anything near its 40k€ target.


· Universum: War Front: Already having doubled its modest $20k target, this excellent mash up of FPS, RTS and RPG has until November 4th to try to steal some stretch goals. All these goals revolve around adding additional planets/environments to the base game.


· Rimworld: We don't think anything could have seen this success story coming. Needing only $20kCAD in order to get their alpha out early next year, Tynan Sylvester has so far reaped an incredible $153kCAD in pledges, from over 5,000 backers who want to see his "Prison Architect in Space" game made, and made better. Another project without traditional stretch goals, the team has instead put in place an impressive list of possible "modules" that they will develop with the additional funds. If you haven't already pledged to this one, you have until the 1st November to put your money on the table.


· Lords of Discord: This project has all the way to November 8th to turn around its slow start, but Kicktraq doesn't paint a pretty picture, predicting failure with only 40% of the goal met. It's hard to tell why this beautifully realised turn-based strategy RPG is failing to capture the imagination. It may be that it's because its base target is iOS with the other platforms targeted every two month thereafter, but if you think this experienced team's game is for you, there's still plenty of time to pledge!


· Beyond Eyes: You have until the end of the month to pledge to this labor of love that we've covered in our last two articles. It's flexible funding and has so far raised $4K of its $10k target, so a measure of improvement is guaranteed.


· The Solar Games: The world's first kart game to affect real-world solar energy roll-outs get an extension! Yes, the Solar Games campaign has been awarded a further 30 days on its IndieGoGo project page, which is great news for those of you that haven't had time to check this one out yet. If we haven't made it clear before, there's a surprisingly slick looking cel-shaded karting game behind all the social/charity chat on the project page. Definitely worth a pledge if you haven't already done so!










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As you've probably gathered by now, there are those among The Funding Crowd with a special soft-spot for the venerable point-n-click adventure genre, and this time we have a real treat on our hands!

Guide our eponymous hero, Bolt Riley, through a struggle to survive in a bad section of Trenchtown, Jamaica, as you point and click your way through his Heroes Journey to become a Reggae legend. Themes of self discovery, love and friendship, inspiration and trust, are promised to weave their way through a plot which is set to be co-designed by Lori & Corey Cole, original designers of the Quest for Glory and alumni of classic adventure game powerhouse Sierra On-Line, as well as the brilliant minds behind the successful Hero-U campaign last year.

The story consists of three parts, each focusing on a different aspect of Bolt Riley’s passage into becoming a Reggae legend, from forming his first band and composing his first songs, to dealing with a gang of Rude Boys, and is intended to balance the gravity of Riley's situation with an abundant dose of comedy.

Bolt Riley features lush hand-drawn 2D background artwork and hand-drawn cel animation, reminiscent of Daedalic Entertainment's The Whispered World and Deponia series of games, a rare treat for Linux adventure fans. Gameplay will feature classic point-n-click adventure game tropes, including funny dialog puzzles, exploration, and wacky inventory items. To top it off, the developer promises it to be fully voice-acted and have an original Reggae soundtrack composed for it.

Fans of adventure games who are interested in a new and untapped setting, an unconventional hero, or humour thrown back to the Monkey Island era, are encouraged to take a peek.








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Protoype X Software bills Parallax as a streamlined, classic turn-based 4X gaming experience, constructed upon the founding titles of the genre, and replete with rich lore penned by no other than wordsmith Timothy Zahn.

Setting aside, for a minute, Zahn's back-story underpinning the universe of Parallax, the development team intends to preserve the simplicity of the original Master of Orion to avoid descending into the morass of micro-management which can bog down progression in modern 4X titles. The brunt of gameplay itself takes place on a 2D star-map containing indicators for solar systems and which factions control them, known space fleets, nebulas, and other summary information. It is in this main interface that the player directs activities such as ordering a colonization or attack on a system, adjusting the effective system policy, or ordering a fleet to be assembled.

For a deeper dive into implementation details, as well as a discussion with the developer discussing where Linux fits into their development philosophy, take a gander at our recent in-depth interview between the studio lead and our Benevolent Dictator for Life, Liam Dawe.  Additionally, the team has posted their game design docs for backer perusal.

Where Parallax's potential really shines is at the intersection of mechanics and science-fiction, with Zahn at the helm creatively.  Known for his deep and nuanced characters, strange and brilliantly-conceived alien races and well-paced plotting, this concept abounds with storycraft possibilities, chiefly the lore of the Parallax universe and the bedrock 4X game feature governing negotiations between alien faction leaders. Beyond that, the team's multi-faceted diplomacy design (where player choice can guide late-game consequences) and the intriguing decision to permit multi-racial factions, can both derive enormous benefit from his involvement. The plan for involving backers reminds us of Linux kernel development style, with teams of backers each contributing to the content areas they are most interested in, led by a couple of lieutenants who will work with the backers and feed promising ideas up to Zahn, who has final say in the creative content. Should be a really fun collaborative effort, with backers offering ideas and Mr. Zahn pulling it all together and adding his own surprises and polish.

Galactic domination lies only a few clicks away!








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Feeding the desire for a unique mix of high-stakes space piracy, intense six-axis combat simulation, and seemingly boundless starship customization comes SKYJACKER!

The project has had an incredibly bumpy start, with its roots in an unsuccessful project to perform a full translation / localization of the lore on which the foundation of the story is based, a sci-fi novel written by the team's lead designer recounting the story of the main character, orphaned in the human diaspora and raised by a ruthless gang of space pirates.

After shooting for the stars in their first bid for the game's funding, and falling short, the team pursued a creative funding approach, and split the funding into stages, first raising $20k toward the game's core technologies and licenses directly off of their website, and then another $30k from a follow-on Kickstarter earlier this year to build a starship construction simulator, a kind of interactive toy for exploring starship designs and the destruction physics the team touts in their pitch.  It should be noted that in addition to covering that campaign here at GOL, they did build and deliver the SKYJACKER Starship Constructor, and it has been vetted by a member of The Funding Crowd as a pretty cool Nifty Thing.

Now, developer DIGITILUS has returned to Kickstarter to raise the completion budget for the game, bringing a laundry list of features including community mission mod tools, final art-assets, voice-acting, co-op and competitive multi-player modes, as well as single-player core mission design. As it stands, it appears that the team has a gorgeous, very cool un-optimized single-player dogfighting sim, if one goes by the the pitch video footage.  Funding is slow at present, but the team stated in a recent update that the exposure has been very good for their concurrent Steam Greenlight campaign, and would appreciate votes from the community, even those who cannot (or choose not to) pledge on the Kickstarter. Any space combat sim fans out there hungry for an awesome new IP on Linux aught to take a look and help the campaign build the critical momentum it needs to take it to the next level.








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Quite a few sites are hailing Raindrop's art style and graphics as the best ever produced on the Unity3D engine to date and we have to agree with them. Their two trailer videos are professionally made, but it's when they drop into the in-game graphics that you have to remember to keep breathing. Raindrop started out 5 years ago as a Half-Life 2 total conversion, but work faltered after hitting technical issues with the Source engine, coupled with work/life balance issues among the small team of volunteers. The team have recently decided to revive the project using Unity for the engine, and using Kickstarter to ensure that they can work on the game full time.

Raindrop's project page describes it as a surreal survival game with complex puzzle solving. While some of the graphics show cobbled-together guns, it's interesting that the team stress that you can play the whole game without firing a weapon. However, if you chose to do so, it's later revealed that the game can feature "short, first person shoot outs with rare arsenal". Intriguing stuff!

Two difficulties face Raindrop. First, they don't mention Linux on the project page at all, except as part of a graphic detailing launch platforms near the bottom of their rather long project page. That means that many Linux backers probably pass over it, believing "PC and Mac" to mean "Windows and Mac". Because they've used a graphic, searching for "Linux" on both the page and Kickstarter's own search tool, reveals nothing. We contacted Raindrop Studios via their FAQ and while they've confirmed Linux support and promised to update the page, they've yet to do so! Secondly, Kicktraq is putting this project as a likely failure, predicting a meagre 60% of target.

So, if you fancy funding one of the best looking games to come to Linux so far, get your pledges in and let's turn this one around!








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How can we possibly top Raindrop? Meet The Mandate, an epic RPG space opera which puts you in command of a ship which is both your home as well as home to your crew and their families. Drawing on the sense of community created in TV sci-fi drama Battlestar Galactica, this sandbox RPG is aiming for 40+ hours of single-player gameplay, and up to 100+ hours in total, but also boasts some intriguing co-op play for up to 6 players.

Ship-to-ship battles also draw on Battlestar Galactica, with shield rotation, weak points and hull breaches potentially sending crew into space. Beyond that, The Mandate is promising crew battles, fending off boarding parties, and mounting your own raids, at which point the gameplay shifts into a style reminiscent of X-COM or Jagged Alliance. Ships can be updated, crew can gain experience, equipment can scavenged, or won in battle.

The game will feature a mix of hand-crafted missions and environments alongside procedurally generated content. Further, in offering modular ship design, many of the ships and stations you'll meet along the way are designs you can mimic yourself.

The team behind The Mandate, Perihelion Interactive, appear to have the experience and technical know-how to make this happen, with members recruited from the likes of EA, 2K Games, Ubisoft, and Funcom. They've embarked on a longer-than-usual campaign, at 60 days. This would seem to be because some of their team are still committed to other projects and will therefore not be revealed until the end of the campaign.

If this one excites you as much as it does us, you can check out more footage of the game in action on their Youtube channel, and you can vote for the game to be Greenlit as well.










And that was all for now, folks! This issue was brought to you by s_d, scaine, Speedster, and yours truly, muntdefems (albeit mainly by the first two ;)). However as we said previously, we'd love to see our team growing in number so we're still appealing to you for new volunteers. Feel free to offer your services on the comments section of this article, or by contacting any of the aforementioned people by private message.

We'll be back as early as in a week's or as late as in a fortnight's time, so expect us anytime really. :P In the meantime don't forget to check our crowdfunding wiki (and even contribute to it!) to keep tabs on the state of the Linux games crowdfunding scene. Bye! ;)


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Speedster 29 October 2013 at 4:45 am UTC
What the hey, how did I forget PULSAR from "Still in the Running"! It still has a couple days to go before moving officially into the "Winners" list.

Speaking of which, any other backers for PULSAR? It would be cool to get one or more teams of GOL members manning ships.
scaine 29 October 2013 at 6:55 am UTC
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Not sure how that dropped off the list, Speedster... it's one of my favourite crowd funding projects right now!

You know, in fact it's a little embarrassing how many of these projects I've backed now. Tyrim, Pulsar, Raindrop, Mandate, Skyjacker, Solar Games, Xulima, Long Dark... goddam. That's about $100 right there! And those are just the ones from this issue!
Speedster 29 October 2013 at 7:27 am UTC
I've got over $300 in kickstarter pledges pending right now, but sadly a majority of that might not get claimed

At least Pulsar is going to happen!
Lord Avallon 29 October 2013 at 3:06 pm UTC
More good stuff coming to Linux!
crosby 3 November 2013 at 7:54 pm UTC
why forget Oceania? great game!
scaine 3 November 2013 at 9:17 pm UTC
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Sure enough, I see that Oceania failed in February this year and has recently relaunched, Crosby. It's already on the Crowdfunding wiki but isn't currently nominated for a write up. If you feel like writing it up, we'd be delighted to have your help - just PM either myself, s_d, speedster, or muntedefems and I'll add it on. If you can't, it'll fall to the current team of writers I just mentioned to find time to do so, but we have a busy list of nominees already. I'm not personally interested in MMO's, but perhaps one of the others is.
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