12th April 2015

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Draft targeted for 2015-04-12

Covers crowdfunding news from 2015-03-23 through 2015-04-12

TFC #44

Volunteers

Collect candidate projects: flesk, muntdefems

Nominate projects: flesk, DrMcCoy, mundefems

Writing:

  • Intro: scaine
  • What Happened: flesk, scaine, muntdefems
  • Still in the Running: flesk, muntdefems
  • New picks (Gems/Biggies): DrMcCoy, flesk, muntdefems, scaine
  • Conclusion: scaine, flesk

Graphics: Speedster

Working space

Nominated projects

Biggies

<PROJECTS OVER $100k>

Izle (muntdefems)

Hush

Outward (scaine)

Hidden Gems

<PROJECTS UNDER $100k>

Order of the Thone (flesk)

I posted a separate article about this, so a small write-up should do

Vincent The Vampire (flesk)

Second try at funding, but I don't think we covered the first attempt

Ira

Upside Down Dimensions

Planet Fulcrum

Roguelands (muntdefems)

Abandoned

Shallow Space Insurgency

Article content

Intro paragraph

Welcome to a web page as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. This is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the... The Funding Crowd #44.

We have some absolutely cracking Gems dug out from the depths of Kickstarter's creative crevasses and one Biggie that the world needs to know about.

Do not adjust your television. Wait, wrong show. Well, never mind, because you get the idea and you're about to step into... The Funding Crowd.

What Happened

Losers

While Adopted didn't hit its $140k funding goal by a large margin, it's difficult to class a project with nearly 400 backers raising $25k a failure. Indeed many project would welcome that class of failure! Undeterred, developers Clockwork Demon are now crowdfunding on their own site via Paypal, using a familiar tier-based system of rewards which quite closely match the original Kickstarter pledges. If you want the game, you can still donate $15 over there. Their Greenlight page is still up too and that's a vote that won't cost you a penny.

And if Adopted was a failure, then Deadwood: The Forgotten Curse was an even bigger failure! Or is that a smaller failure? You decide. With nearly 800 backers, they raised around half of their $80k target before deciding to cancel their campaign. We were a little bit gutted by this, because when you promise a game from developers with the pedigree of Steam Roller Studios and describe it as a cross between Zelda and Don't Starve, it's hard not to be quite excited. So it's with some relief that the cancellation is actually so that they could relaunch! Even better, the relaunch is set for April 14th and they're asking for a big push to start the campaign off on the right foot. So if you want to see this gem made real, prepare your bodies. And your wallets!

Winners

Don't Be Patchman got off to a slow start and was closing in on the halfway mark with only a quarter of their funding goal reached. They then got some really nice coverage on Gamasutra and though it didn't seem to have any immediate effect, it is likely that it helped spur things along. The campaign did eventually manage to gather some momentum, and they reached their $25K goal well ahead of schedule, though it did not finish with the biggest of margins.

Bathoryn, the lycanthropic hero from Slain!, did honor to the game's name as he attracted more than a thousand backers to help him slay both the funding goal as well as a couple of stretch goals. As we said in the article where we originally covered it, backers or not we'll barely have to wait to see this game finished. But still, the most impatient among us can keep an eye on their Twitch channel as they sometimes stream gameplay with the newest additions to the game.

Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove made a convincing display on Kickstarter, and though it didn't end up the landslide we had initially predicted, they did manage to reach $500K and banked a couple of the most interesting stretch goals. The Hyperfunk Zone from the second game will make a comeback, and there will be several additional playable characters, including Latisha and Earl's mom.

The unusual metroidvania Nephil's Fall got funded comfortably with almost a week to go of the campaign. An extra $5000 for their $35K stretch goal seemed well within reach, and would have covered more locations and extended the length of the game. For some reason though, the campaign simply petered out before it got that far, and it almost looked like everyone, including the creators, forgot about the campaign towards the end. It still has the making of a great game though, and is one it will be interesting to follow in the time to come.

Be it due to Square Enix's help or be it simply because it's an awesome game, Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander managed to easily surpass its modest $40k goal and go deep into Biggie territory. In fact, by the time we first looked at this campaign pledges were nearing the 300% mark, and since then they almost reached 500%. Needless to say tons of stretch goals were unlocked, including lots of new content, game modes, mod tools, mini-campaigns, and more. The folks at Massive Damage have a lot of work to do indeed, let's hope they can keep the estimated release date of December 2015!

Regeria Hope was at the end of its campaign when we covered it, and had already reached their $6000 goal. At $8000 they would have added voice overs to all testimony and witness protection sections, but they didn't quite make it. The final tally of $7300 is still a decent amount for this inconspicuous campaign, and the extra money will likely be put to good use in making the second episode of the game. And in case you missed it, the first episode is available for free from Itch.io.

Descent: Underground scraped a last minute win thanks to a massive upsurge of pledges so often typical in the last days of a struggling, but high-profile campaign. To be precise, the amount went from less than $400k to the final nearly $602k in just the last 4 days. It certainly ain't over till the fat lady sings, although in this case it was more like 2,500 backers of all sizes and ages who wanted to (re)live the six-degrees-of-freedom action. If you arrived late to the party, fear not: you can still put your pledge at the devs' website and help push for the stretch goals.

Still in the Running

Crosscode

This promising looking Zelda-like still needs a push. Despite doing most things right, with a bunch of interesting updates, dev streams, an AMA on Reddit and Let's Plays by various YouTubers, the developers of CrossCode are still, for some reason, struggling to reach their lofty €80K goal. They have extended the funding period and still have almost two weeks to go, but it looks like they'll need to extend their media reach if they should have any hope of leaving that halfway mark in the dust.

Biggies

Outward

Are you sitting comfortably? In that case, Canadian development team Nine Dots have a tale to tell. You'd better be really comfortable though, as it's a tale that going to take over two years to finish!

But what's most surprising about this ambitious open world, first person, survival RPG, is just how beautiful it looks already! Given the level of polish and graphical fidelity on display in their pitch video, the coming two years would appear to be focussed on content and balance, since they've already got their game engine, combat system, crafting and weather effects in a usable state.

They have some great ideas for the overall feel of the game too. Shallow comparisons might reveal a likeness to Skyrim, and that's no bad thing. But Nine Dots are keen to point out that this is a survival sim front and foremost. Bandits abound and every fight is a trial. Weather can kill you, your water must be boiled, you need to eat and to stay warm. Combat and Magic upgrades do exist, but Nine Dots aren't trying to make the aim of the game to have your end-game character be an unstoppable killing machine. Instead, he (or she) will grow old, ala Fable, and you'll have an opportunity to pass traits and experience to your next adventurer, starting afresh, but with boons gained from the last generation. Finally, you can even adventure with a friend via local split-screen co-op.

However, there is one little caveat to what appears to be a fine project. While it's great news that this is Nine Dots second game, we would be remiss if we didn't point out that their first project GoD Factory: Wingmen promised Linux support which has yet to appear. Now, the promise of Linux support was made in a Greenlight campaign which linked to their Kickstarter and that project ultimately failed, so it's possible that the developers were forced to focus on just the Windows platform. However, they didn't help themselves when they promised Linux again on the Steam Forums back in August last year, mere weeks before its main launch. We've been waiting ever since, it's all gone quiet, and it's not looking likely now that this Kickstart has appeared!

If you'd like to get on board with Outward's 360 odd existing backers, then $20CAD (~$15 US) will seal a copy of the game. Outward does boast a reasonably lofty target at $150k CAD (~$120k US), but we think that, given the quality on show and the reasonably extended development cycle, this may still be cutting themselves short. It would be no surprise if Nine Dots don't look for additional funding, perhaps from a traditional publisher, given that they are also targeting the consoles. The game will sell on Steam only initially and sadly Nine Dots are only now investigating the possibility of a DRM-free build, with nothing yet promised.

Hidden Gems

Ira

Ira is a surreal point-and-click adventure, taking place on an alternate-history Earth that spent all its time and resources into expanding to outer space. The Moon and Mars have been colonized, and now mankind yearns to settle on a newly discovered solar system just barely within its reach.

You are Ira, a young boy at the time the first space ship to the new world was sent. You have always dreamed to reach the stars; you feel this strange new world calling you. When you are chosen to join the crew of the second flight 15 years later, you feel your destiny coming true. You enter stasis. When you wake, however, you find yourself alone, save a simple AI. Piece together what happened to the previous crew and figure out why this alien world so calls to you...

Gameplay in Ira will be your traditional point-and-clicky fare: travel through screens, collect items, talk to people, solve inventory and environment puzzles. Puzzles will be light, though, and the dialogues will be the main focus. They will provide character development, unveil information and let the player influence where the story takes them. There is a twist however: the story consists of three connected timelines. You will experience Ira both as a young boy growing up, in present time exploring the new world and you will see the events of the lost first crew. Those all blend together to form one overarching narrative.

Currently, the Kickstarter campaign sits at about $5,000 of their $68,200 goal, so they could use some more help. $15 gives you the game and $20 (limited early bid) / $29 adds the soundtrack and artbook. Or spend $89 to get physical copies of the soundtrack on vinyl, the artbook and a poster (shipping only available within the USA).

Roguelands

Kickstarter veteran Sean Young strikes again! After successfully funding Pixel Kingdoms and Magicite, he's now back with Roguelands. Wait a minute..., I hear you say, was that Pixel Kingdoms game ever released for Linux (or for any desktop platform, for that matter), even though it was promised in the Kickstarter? Is that developer trustworthy? Good question, well spotted! And you would be right in having your doubts, although considering he scrupulously delivered with his second game (day 1 Linux support included), we honestly think we can cut him some slack.

Trust issues aside, Roguelands could be described in two words as Magicite Upgraded, even though the creator himself promises it is much better than Magicite could have hoped to be. Let's see: it's a 2D multiplayer spatial Action RPG, with procedurally generated planets, crafting of gear and weapons, and a slight TCG flavour. Sounds good, right?

The galaxy is being ravaged, one planet at a time, by an interdimensional ancient beast known as The Destroyer. Amidst this widespread destruction you'll play as a Galactic Cadet tasked with exploring, along with your combat squad (i.e. your friends), planets still untouched by The Destroyer in search of valuable resources. To do so you'll need to make use of droids as you cannot directly gather any resources, but in any case chances are you wouldn't have much time to do it anyway as you'll have to deal with each planet's natural hazards and hostile fauna. Your homeworld will serve as a sort of hub area in which to craft new equipment, learn spells, or simply cook a delicious meal. On top of all that, your character will be able to equip several Combat Chips in order to gain certain combat abilities and skills. So, squads will need to carefully consider their overall loadout of weapons, spells, droids, and Combat Chips, depending on the nature of each mission and destination planet. That's where the deck-building aspect of TCGs lies, in wisely choosing the optimum combination for each occasion among all the available gear. All in all, we can easily see hours and hours of fun ahead with this game.

As Sean did previously with Magicite, here the base goal was a mere $1,000, enough to cover the upgrade to Unity 5 and to pay the composer, w.flux. Needless to say, that amount was achieved with little more than one day into the campaign, so the rest will go towards buying junk food for the developer and, of course, unlocking stretch goals. The entry fee to obtain a DRM-free copy of the game and a Steam key is set at $10, while Beta access costs only $25, so there's hardly any excuse for not being among the first to explore the galaxy and try to save it!

Izle

This is the last write-up of this issue of The Funding Crowd, it's already midnight and we are tired and eager to hit the sack. Given the state of affairs, the temptation of dispatching Izle as «whatever we've just said for Roguelands, but here in 3D instead of 2D» is very high. However, our professional (hah, we wish...) conscience can't allow us to do it, so let's elaborate a little more on this game's similarities with the previous Gem. For starters, it also comes from a Kickstarter veteran studio/publisher like Ynnis Interactive (Mysterious Cities of Gold, Kill The Bad Guy, Shiness, Goetia). Then, it's a procedurally generated Action RPG with a lot of freedom on how to build and play your character, in which you'll have to fight for saving your world from ultimate destruction.

OK, so much for the resemblances, what sets Izle apart then? As we have previously mentioned, this isn't a 2D game but a 3D one; it's got some admittedly low-poly graphics, but that's only because it makes use of its own smooth-voxel engine where literally everything is destructable. It incorporates a certain board-game feel with the strategic map, where the player can grow the world with terraforming powers granted by the Gods themselves. And finally, there's choice. Choice is a central element in this game: apart from choosing the best equipment for the desired play style, or the inherent choice in any game that involves crafting and building, players will have to choose the fate of their world and their people. Indeed, completing quests and cleaning dungeons will reward you with Shards of Light, which can be used to either craft powerful artifacts or to temporarily deter the impending attack of The Shadows, the antagonists of your world of light. Furthermore you can even choose to embrace The Shadows and become one of them (faster and stronger than before), but at the cost of seeing your world being shattered to pieces.

Unfortunately, Ynnis' previous crowdfunding successes haven't been of any use in order to grant a successful liftoff for this campaign. Almost at its half point only 15% of its almost-Biggie $90k goal has been raised, so a truly spectacular second half is needed for it to reach a good conclusion. You can help in that regard with $14 for a Steam key of the finished game and your name in the credits, although the best deal is probably the $25 pledge, which also includes Alpha access, a digital soundtrack, and a digital artbook.

Order of the Thorne and Roehm to Ruin

When we covered Order of the Thorne and Roehm to Ruin in an article on GOL a little over two weeks ago, little did we know that they would show up as a 2-in-1 deal on Kickstarter mere days later. Well, it seems like developer Infamous Quests knows how to work publicity for what it's worth, because this campaign was a hit from the get-go. The $11K target was reached in just a couple of days, and with a current total of over $20K, they have started pushing for a $35K stretch-goal to fund yet another game.

Order of the Thorne is their upcoming anthology, set in the fantasy realm of Uir. The King's Challenge is the first game of the series, and will follow Finn the Bard. Equipped with his magical lute, he will go on a quest to recover the Queen, who has gone missing.

Fortress of Fire is the planned second instalment, which will be funded by the campaign if the mentioned stretch goal is reached. Like the first game, it is set in Uir, but this time you'll assume the role of Patrick the Squire on his mission to rescue his king and mentor, Sir Caradoc.

Roehm to Ruin is the planned prequel to the popular adventure RPG Quest for Infamy. The game follows Mister Roehm and tells the story of how he got himself in trouble with the baron. This game will be shorter than Infamous Quests' other games and will have optional hidden objects to find.

You get a free pick of games with this campaign, as you can pledge $5 for just Roehm to Ruin or $10 for Order of the Throne. If you want both, there's a $15 for both games. To get Fortress of Fire in addition to either of the other games, you have to pledge $10 above the tier you select, and then select the game as an addon through BackerKit after the campaign ends. So that's $25 for three point-and-click adventure games if you decide to go all-in.

Vincent the Vampire

Intuit by Design is back on Kickstarter with another attempt at funding their point-and-click adventure Vincent the Vampire. They have reduced their goal slightly, and are now hoping to acquire $27.500 AUD to fund the game. After a week, they have already surpassed the number of backers from their last go, and are closing in on their previous total of $5200.

What makes this game stand out from most point-and-clicks is that each puzzle will be designed to have three different solutions. The game will also have optional side quests with much harder puzzles for those who miss the challenge of the classics in modern day adventure games. For those interested in choices and consequences in games, this game will also incorporate elements of that, which will have an effect in the sequel they hope to make in the future.

Vincent is an ordinary guy, stuck in a dead-end job, who is suddenly brutally murdered after leaving work one day. When he, to his surprise, wakes up the next day, he realizes he has become undead. His new life sucks him into an underground culture of vampire and he learns that an ancient war is being fought out in the world of folkloric creatures. When no one else can be arsed to do anything about it, Vincent takes it upon himself to save the world.

If you want to get in on this, a $15 AUD pledge will get a DRM free copy of the game once it's ready, plus a Steam key when the game is greenlit. By pledging $35 AUD, you will also recieve a copy of the future sequel to the game when that is released.

Conclusion

One project that we unfortunately didn't find time to cover properly is the dark and atmospheric action adventure Hush. The game aims to draw childhood fears into a story oriented hack-and-slash, sprinkled with exploration and puzzles. Set in a gloomy orphanage, protagonist Ashlyn is thrown into a murky cellar by a menacing bully and must fight all her phobias come to life. There will be a large area to explore and some tricky puzzling as you try to avoid the darkness where you're vulnerable. The game looks amazing, but unfortunately it's almost certainly doomed at this point.

And just like that, we draw to a close. An issue of numbers and of fate: five Gems, one Biggie, two losers, seven winners. Yet one game's future hangs in the balance. Caught between success and failure, its future still undecided. Its fate, your hands, because anything can happen, in the Funding Crowd.


Usual plea for help:

Please PM one of the team: (scaine, Speedster, muntdefems, flesk, and DrMcCoy) if you think you can help or just want to chat about Crowdfunding, or indeed, The Twilight Zone! And of course, remember that you can use the comments, Wiki, or forums to keep us up updated on any suggestions that you'd like to see covered.

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