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The Funding Crowd 26 (Dec 18th - Jan 10th)

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And welcome to 2014! Hopefully the first Funding Crowd of the New Year finds you all in good health and fine spirits. We've had an extended holiday over the festive period to recharge the batteries, but never fear, we didn't forget our duty! The Funding Crowd never sleeps (almost literally - we're spread over too many timezones)! So we've continued to track Kickstarter and Indiegogo for current progress, Gems and Biggies and while it was certainly quieter over the Christmas break, there's still plenty to cover.



We begin this issue's list of Hidden Gems with an old friend of us: Long Night failed to achieve full success with their Indiegogo flexible-funding campaign back in October, but this French studio seems to have put what they obtained to good use as this time around they are showing more polished game assets and actual gameplay. There's even a demo available, albeit for Windows only.

You can check The Funding Crowd #19 for a more detailed plot and gameplay synopsis, but suffice to say it's a third-person survival horror game, clearly inspired by the Resident Evil franchise, that explores the roots of fear itself which more often than not are located inside us rather than in the outside.

The campaign is about to end (only 5 days left at the time of writing) and it has recently achieved success on beating its $10kCAD goal. With a great final rush the $15kCAD stretch goal (motion capture for better animations) is feasibly achievable but unfortunately German & Spanish localisation, as well as full English dubbing seem out of reach. But hey, you can always view it as a chance to learn some French whilst being scared to death! 15 Canadian dollars will put you onboard if that prospect appeals to you.


A curious mix of well established games, Fight The Dragon is most prominently and obviously inspired by Diablo, but the author actually claims Gauntlet as his primary source. Speaking of the author, it's likely you'll have come across the 3 Sprockets team before as they are responsible for the rather excellent Cubemen and Cubemen 2 games, both of which are also available on Linux.

The game is designed to be played in short bursts of 10 to 15 minutes, but longer sessions can, of course, be chained together. Cooperative game-play is confirmed for up to 4 players and features a slick sounding "drop in" mechanic over both internet and LAN.

Fight The Dragon also features an extensive editor and will likely play strongly with community efforts via the Steam workshop. Of course, as a previously published developer on Steam, your pledge will get you a key immediately upon the game's release.

Now, hot off the press, we hear that this campaign has just been cancelled on Kickstarter! However, you can still visit the 3 Sprocket website and pre-order it there instead. As an added bonus, you can now use Paypal to pre-order... which is to say that you are required to use Paypal, but hopefully this doesn't put you off. It's still a wonderful looking, nearly complete title that's due for release this summer, with some tiers giving you early access towards the end of this month.


Do you like Kerbal? Do you like physics? Do you like space sims? If the answer to two or more of those questions is "yes", then check out NEW ORBIT. Markus Hofer is expanding on his original Episode 1 iPad release with a cross platform sequel. Use a variety of parts to build your spaceship, taking into account its sensors, weight, fuel and thrust, then pilot that ship in a 2D top-down universe to complete the story missions, take on the challenge missions, or simply using the sandbox to fly some asteroids around some planets.

With a beautiful looking internal cockpit view and the possibility of Oculus Rift support, this could end up being a unique, immersive experience.

They're running their Steam Greenlight page in conjuction with their Kickstarter efforts.


What if everything you knew about video games... was wrong! That's the basic premise of Default Dan, an unusual side-scroller that plays against your years of game playing expectation. Monsters help you, coins kill you, deadly falls open new routes, spring boards prevent you from jumping... everything you know, is wrong.

Three man studio, Kikiwik games came up with the idea for Default Dan back in 2012 when they won a "Best of Show" award in Georgia. Since then, they've been busy building their studio and adding content to the game. They're banking on a low ($8,000) target and a low ($5) pledge level to sell their first Kickstarter. The money will be used to polish the graphics, add content and possibly some variation in environmental details.

Unusually, they don't have a Greenlight campaign at the moment, possibly to concentrate on getting their first game out the door and start building some recognition as a developer.


This beautiful and quirky RTS comes to The Funding Crowd by way of a rare event... a very successful Indiegogo Fixed Funding campaign! So, being at about 80% of their $5,500 funding goal with over a month remaining, we can promote it without need for the usual preamble regarding Flexible Funding campaigns.

The Mims is a labor of love by a tiny team of developers in Poland, trying to bring us a light-hearted strategy experience in a lush, colorful science-fantasy world of silly aliens and small floaty islands. Help your Mims to colonize their island in the sky, drawing resources from (literally) the fruits of your labor after they ridiculously crash-land on it. Guide their technological advancements and interact with them directly by using a Populous-like "PSI" mechanic, but take care not to upset the fragile balance of their odd little island... your choices can lead them to success, or cosmically hilarious failure. If you succeed, your Mims spaceship will be repaired, and they'll be able to leave the planet.

Steam fans will be happy to know that The Mims has entered the top 100 in their Greenlight campaign, so keys on that service seem likely. Ah, did we mention that the small team of designers working on the project are also quite obviously penguin fans? In addition to supporting our favorite gaming OS, they've named themselves Squatting Penguins (quite an image, that), as well as offering no less than six penguin-themed tiers! From fast penguins to royal penguins, there's something for everyone. For denizens of The Cheapskate's Corner, we have the entry level Egg tier for $8 for a download of the game, whose release should be a few months out from campaign completion.

Let's now review the recently finished campaigns and their outcomes:


The Losers

· Her Majesty's Spiffing campaign ended up without crossing the finish line, just as predicted when we last covered it. However, it is not yet time for space-themed British-comedy aficionados to lose all hope, since the team's parting shot threatens a spring relaunch!

· Super World Karts topped out at 73% of the goal this time around, which suggests that it would likely have been successful given better timing of its launch (U.S. thankgiving through Christmas Eve is likely the hardest period to be seeking donations for anything but humanitarian causes). Hopefully the latest backers-only update post involves a better-timed scheme for world domination of karts.

The Winners

· Trainz Simulator: A New Era found crowd-funding nirvana, easily passing its goal by about $25k, and beyond, on their own continued funding platform. The innovative locomotive business sim has clearly found its niche with self-publishing, and promises to be an ultra-realistic treat for legions of train fans hungry for it.

· The Diviner is best described as a text-based RPG with illustrations. The UI will have the benefit of graphics where appropriate, such as a map to show your location, and the story will be enhanced by artistic renderings of important characters, items, and locations, similar to classic book illustrations, but there are no animations to drain the smallish budget of sufficient resources for the key elements of an RPG: character customization and storyline. These design descisions earned The Diviner enough support to almost double their minimum budget, ending off the Kickstarter campaign with $19k and 864 backers (counting Paypal pledges). Speaking of Paypal pledges, there is still time to become a slacker-backer via Paypal, in case you missed the Kickstarter deadline due to holiday activities.

· Scraps, the cross-platform multi-player game of customized-car-combat madness, has overcome a key hurdle by becoming officially funded. Counting Paypal contributions, the campaign-end total exceeded $30kNZD ($7kNZD past the minimum target). Paypal pledges still appear to be available for the time being, with earlier instructions (pledge an amount equivalent to a Kickstarter tier in order to get that tier) presumably still in effect, and a pre-alpha vehicle construction demo is available for Linux in case that helps your decision. Scraps has already been Greenlit, so backers have been promised Steam keys if desired.

· Tower of Elements 2 suffered through a severe dead time between Christmas and New Year, but luckily it already achieved funding early in its campaign, before the holiday-induced backing slump had fully hit. There was a bit more activity after the start of 2014, but despite the influx of 70 new backers, Tower of Elements 2 barely failed to hit the second stretch goal -- an additional board layout, designed with significant attention to backer input. Based on Frogdice's previous record with Dungeon of Elements, backers will soon have early (but highly playable) copies of TOE 2 in their eager paws, with an estimated date of February 2014. Frogdice would also be happy to provide Steam keys upon request, but TOE 2 still needs more Greenlight votes to make that possible.


· Diplopia is a brilliant blend of VR strategy game and therapeutic treatment software. Named for the condition commonly (but not entirely accurately) known as "double vision", this combination of cutting-edge research and gaming technology merges the very impressive Leap Motion control system with the recent VR darling Oculus Rift. The most common causes of diplopia in humans, including the "crossed eye" condition known as strabismus and the "lazy eye" condition known as amblyopia, can apparently be addressed by playing tricks with the stereo-imaging of VR games. Coupled with hand-eye co-ordination exercises that force the brain to integrate information present only in one eye's image with the image of another, the project creator claims to boost effectiveness of the treatment by a factor of six as compared to unpleasant conventional treatments. Diplopia has attracted an unusually strong level of support for an IndieGoGo game project, perhaps because the targeted vision conditions are so common that many benefactors personally know someone who might benefit. The current funding level of over $18k allows support of Kinect controllers, allowing full-body motion tracking as opposed to the high-resolution but limited view of a Leap Motion controller.



Here's something new for you, Funding fans! A new crowdfunding service has emerged, and one of our Biggies has chosen to relaunch on it. Rob Landeros' Trilobyte Games has moved their 7th Guest sequel campaign to Crowd Hoster! Used by well-known projects like AdBlock, it has a structure similar to Kickstarter, where funds are collected at the end of the funding period. In the case of The 7th Guest 3: The Collector, the funding period is three months, and the team has already gathered 30% of the required $65k funding goal. Trilobyte will use that seed-funding to complete the entire first floor of Stauf's Mansion, along with all the puzzles on that level, and any further funds go toward the second floor in a stretch goal, and then after that, the complete game as pitched on in the original campaign. This may not work for many adventure games, but The 7th Guest has always been a puzzle-driven series, and so this style of splitting fits well. We wish Trilobyte the best of luck, and strongly appreciate that they've chosen not to scale back the list of ports, as so many relaunches choose to do. The first-floor minigame can be backed for a $15 pledge, or a little faith at $25 may lead to a DRM-free download of the full game after it spookily manifests into existence.


It's not often we see Free to Play titles turning to the crowdfunding platform. AstroLords is one of those rarities, having already been developed for the past two years by developers Aratog. As such, the tiers on offer here are for in-game perks, in-game currency (deuterium) and premium subscriptions.

The game itself is a curiously tough one to describe. Ostensibly, it's a "cross-platform massive multiplayer online 3D space strategy", but that hardly does the level of polish on display here any justice. The "Oort Cloud" is what the game is based around, a massive swirling solar system sized cloud of asteroids. You start with one, choose a general, then start building your base on the asteroid, RTS style. Having built ammo and ships, it's then time to investigate your immediate vicinity, taking on any AI opponents you find, mining for resources, and expanding your empire.

Ultimately, you'll end up meeting other players in the massive Oort Cloud and not just AI controlled encounters. There's also a dedicated PvP element in the Arena, where the battles and their prizes are carefully staged and controlled.

The game itself is nearly complete and you'll have access to the January beta if you pledge now. The full game is expected as early as March this year! It's a UK-based Kickstarter and while you can pledge as low as £5, the lowest tier that offer the premium package (and nearly $50 worth of deuterium) is still a very reasonably £15.

Suddenly, a wild New Year appears! The last year was a mixed bag of awesome in terms of The Funding Crowd. Of course, we had some spectacular projects launched throughout the year which we won't see until 2014 and beyond. But almost more importantly, we had some of the previous year's successes come to light too. It doesn't always happen sadly - crowdfunding can sometimes be considered a risky investment, but when it pays off, it's a marvellous feeling to know that your belief helped shape and finance a game you love.

The past year saw a change in the team too. muntedefems stood down as sole proprietor of the Funding Crowd articles in order to take on greater studies. While he still reigns supreme over the WIKI, a new team arose to put these articles together. Outwith muntedefems still-massive contributions (without which, there would be no article at all), there are only three contributors to help with the heavy lifting.

The writing is largely left to s_d and scaine, while Speedster carries the graphics and pitches the occasional write up too. Finally, muntedefems will post the finished draft as an article and liamdawe will sign it off. We're a small team, and as ever, if you think you can spare the odd hour a week to help out, it would be much appreciated. Just PM one of us and we'll introduce you to the team and the (extremely) simple methods we use to create these articles.

Until next time! Nanu Nanu.

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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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The comments on this article are closed.

AoC 11 Jan, 2014
I love these articles, thanks for compiling them!
Speedster 11 Jan, 2014
Technical difficulties with a few broken images and repeated Hidden Gems section -- please stand by, loyal readers ;)
theweirdn8 12 Jan, 2014
Just a heads up, PawByte is making a documentary about CrowdFunding. You can see the site on it for more info at The KickStarter campaign should be up shortly.
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