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The Funding Crowd 31 (Mar 31st - Apr 21st)

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Welcome to The Funding Crowd #31, a little later than normal thanks to the Easter break! Hopefully, you've all had your fill of Easter tidings, chocolate and of course egg hunts and you're ready for some serious crowd funding, kick starting, indie gogo'ing action! Thanks to the longer break we have a LOT of winners to cover, but naturally enough we've dropped our Still in the Running section. And of course, there are plenty of new Gems to tell you about. Sit tight!





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Our first Gem is a really interesting and innovative concept: an interactive audio adventure for the blind and visually impaired. That's right, Grail to the Thief can be played using only sound so the story will be carried entirely by sound effects, voice-overs, and music. However, it is not only targeted at the disabled: the non-impaired will be able to enjoy it as well. In fact, there's a browser-based prototype available to try (Chromium browser required). If you do it, you'll get a feel of the gameplay: a sort of an audio-choose-you-own-adventure-book.

The game, which draws on oldies like Zork or Day of the Tentacle, tells the story of Hank Krang, a crook from the near future who happens to acquire a time machine. Of course, he'll use it to travel through time and steal valuable artifacts, beginning with the Holy Grail itself -- hence the name of the project. $5 is the low entry fee to obtain a DRM-free copy (and a Steam key if Greenlit), so you've got no excuse for not backing it if you're into these kind of experimental games.






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After an experimental accoustic adventure, it's time for a more traditional point and click adventure game like LAST LIFE. Well, maybe no so traditional as it seems to adscribe to the recent trend of focussing more on the story and the atmosphere and less on solving puzzles, much like Kentucky Route Zero or Telltale's The Walking Dead.

Highly acclaimed across the board, this sci-fi noir adventure game is just the first of a series of three episodes to come. The story behind it is perhaps the most interesting yet bizarre we remember in a genre quite prone to bizarre and twisted plots and stories: you are Jack Parker P.I., one of the few million human beings remaining in the Solar System after all life on Earth ended mysteriously a few years ago. That is, until one day you are shot down and killed. But luckily the next day the Mars colony you lived in celebrates the Dead Man's Party holiday, in which all the recently deceased are 3D-printed back to life for 4 hours so they can enjoy the festivities. Of course, you decide to put those 240 minutes to better use and try to find your own murderer. You'll have to race against the clock to solve the case, and also maybe uncover the conspiracy responsible for the Earth's doom.

This suspenseful and noir-themed project is about to reach its $75k funding goal with roughly half the way to go, so maybe we could see Episode 2 earlier than we thought? Well, this will ultimately depend on the final total gross of the campaign and at the moment is purely speculation. What's not is the fact that you'll get one DRM-free copy of each episode funded by this campaign for only a $15 pledge, or a Steam key if you prefer -- yes, no Greenlight involved!






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Happy Square Productions, a group of indie enthusiasts, are bringing us The Land of Eyas, a physics-based puzzle platformer that... Hey! Where are you going?? Come on, give this one a chance, you'll see it's not the average retro platformer with almost clonic physics puzzles!

For starters, the main character Eyas is a cat outfit-wearing small boy with a strong resemblance to Max from Where the Wild Things Are. He has close to zero background: all we know about him is that he's far from home, and all his hopes of returning there necessarily include finding a mysterious entity called M.O.T.H.E.R. (we honestly don't know if it will be related in any way to MU-TH-UR 6000, but it shall be interesting to find out).

Prior to that, though, Eyas will have to go through and solve the 40+ levels we're being promised by the developers. And how are the levels solved?, you may ask. Well, the answer is by finding keys and bringing them to locked doors. Buuuuuut, things are never that easy and more often than not either the keys or the doors (if not both) will be located at seemingly out of reach locations. Luckily, the land that gives name to the game has got some peculiar set of physical laws: there is not one but two different, opposite, and interacting gravities, and mastering them will be crucial in order to make progress towards M.O.T.H.E.R..

But the twisted gravity issues are not the only gameplay device you'll be able to find in The Land of Eyas. There's also interactive blocks that can help the player in more than one way, some gravity-manipulating devices, and all sorts of environmental hazards and evil enemies determined to hinder your progress. And last but not least, all of the previous is rendered in a beautifully minimalistic yet detailed (if such a thing is possible) pixel art, with some reminiscences of the environments in FEZ.

Financially-wise, this campaign cannot be considered an exhuberant success by any stretch of the imagination. It's been active since the end of February and, exactly 2 days before its conclusion, only little over a third of the funding goal has been achieved so far. However, one must stay hopeful as that goal amounts to the quite modest figure of $10k. If you feel intrigued by this game and its qualities, know that you can still grab one of the early bird $8 rewards and help make another little step towards its completion.






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It's impossible to look at the gameplay videos for Legends of Persia without drawing a parallel to the likes of Diablo, DOTA2 or World of Warcraft. And of course, that's no bad thing! The animations are sumptuous, the action is intense and there's a pleasing variety of enemies and combat mechanics throughout. This action RPG will see you take one of three characters through at least 8 hours of the single-player campaign, levelling up and crafting new equipment on your journey to confront your father's killer.

It's clear from the amount of footage on show that this is a game quite far into its development cycle - indeed new studio Sourena claims that's it's two thirds complete and they expect to release the game (for Windows initially) as early as June this year. That may go some way to explaining why they're only looking for $3,000 to kickstart their project! Linux backers have a pledge from studio boss Ali Aredenstani that Linux is on the radar, but sadly no roadmap or time scales are apparent at this stage. The game is already Greenlit, so your pledge will secure you a key if you desire it.






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Given the circumstances -when this gets published, the campaign will have just a few hours left- we'll keep this one brief: Serpent in the Staglands is a party-based RPG, rendered in a glorious isometric pixel art strongly reminiscent of classics like Baldur's Gate or Darklands. But it isn't just the looks of it that take us back to those great games of yore, but also its customization possibilities and party control. The combat is in real time, though it can be paused to better assess the situation and accurately give the necessary orders to your party members. Magic, abilities and aptitudes are also here in good measure, but with certain peculiarities in their application that contribute to make this game more fresh and different.

As we said the crowdfunding campaign is about to end and chances are it'll be over by the time you're reading this, but never mind! Even though it's raised almost 3 times its original $10k goal they are still accepting PayPal pledges at their website with the same rewards, so you can show your support for the project even if the Kickstarter is over. Oh, they are also on Greenlight, in case you'd like to see the game available on Steam in the -probably near- future.






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Finally, our #1 Hidden Gem will specially delight the space nerds among our readership. Habitat: A Thousand Generations in Orbit describes itself as a real-time, physics-driven orbital strategy game. And that's what it is: gather resources to build space stations -or Habitats- for your people or ships to attack and destroy those of your enemies. Put together any space junk, attach rockets to it, and to fight you go! The game's Sandbox mode is entirely based on this Build-Fly-Fight principle, while the Campaign mode is a narratively-driven succession of missions in which you'll have to save humankind from a nano-machine enemy army.

Actually the game is more complex than may seem at first glance, with a vast amount of different pieces to assemble and emergent abilities and powers to discover when combining and upgrading them. And since this is all about saving the human race, you'll have to take care about your habitats as in any city builder: oxigen, electricity, and food are all required to keep your citizens happy and more importantly, alive.

The campaign has entered its last week and it has recently attained the $50k funding goal, so it's now Stretch Goal time! The only goal that looks feasible though is the first one set at $70k, which will enable a genetic tech tree for the citizens and engineers in addition to the existing one for the habitats. $20 is all you need to secure a copy of the game, which comes with a digital art booklet and some wallpapers. And for only $5 more, at the unusually low $25 level, you can become an alpha/beta tester as well.




If you follow us to page #2 you'll find our review of the Winners and our Biggies of the week!


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Faugn 26 April 2014 at 10:40 pm UTC
Legends of Persia funding goal seems to low... The "Why help" section does not give enough details. It also says it will help "produce quality game mechanics" when they say at the top the game is scheduled for release in June of 2014... And why no demo if they are this close to a release?

Serpent in the Staglands I already pledged for.

Will look at the rest, thanks for the roundup!
HadBabits 27 April 2014 at 1:32 am UTC
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This is a handy FAQ:
"If we fund, LAST LIFE will be released on Mac, PC, and Linux (Yeah! No silly Linux stretch goals)."

Someone's been paying attention
gemini 27 April 2014 at 5:21 am UTC
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scaine 27 April 2014 at 7:13 am UTC
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FaugnLegends of Persia funding goal seems to low... The "Why help" section does not give enough details. It also says it will help "produce quality game mechanics" when they say at the top the game is scheduled for release in June of 2014... And why no demo if they are this close to a release?

Reading the "Risks" section, it would appear that their main focus is recoding the scripting engine for "FIGS", which will allow simpler translations. However, I agree, the funding goal is oddly low and I did note that in my write up. I can't bring myself to pledge to this one not because of the low goal, but because they only vaguely mention that Linux is on the radar. These days, I'll only pledge to projects that specify that Linux is part of their plans from day one and will launch simultaneously.

To be honest, these days I'm also wanting assurances that any alphas or betas will also launch simultaneously. You can blame the Fun Pimps and their "7 Days to Die" title for my new-found scepticism.
scaine 27 April 2014 at 7:23 am UTC
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geminiWhat about The Universim? https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crytivogames/the-universim


Looks fantastic! I've added it to the WIKI and will nominate it as a Biggie. Thanks!
gemini 27 April 2014 at 11:47 am UTC
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scaineLooks fantastic! I've added it to the WIKI and will nominate it as a Biggie. Thanks!

No problem. I pledged it as soon as I saw it.
Speedster 27 April 2014 at 4:14 pm UTC
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Heads up, open-source crowdfunding fans:

the previously-featured Shattered Time
FC#28He's not just open sourcing the game's scripts (which use Unity free). He's open sourcing every asset in the game. The modding potential is absolutely huge, but you can go even beyond that. You can take any of the art he creates in this game and put them into your own, unrelated project.
http://gamingonlinux.com/articles/the-funding-crowd-28-feb-12th23rd.3147/article_page=3

has been relaunched as Chronicles of the Rift
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/90524059/chronicles-of-the-rift/

This time, focus is on getting the game engine needed for Shattered Time going, postponing the creation of actual game assets for a future campaign
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