13th September 2015

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Draft targeted for 2015-09-13

Covers crowdfunding news from 2015-08-02 through 2015-09-13

TFC #50

Volunteers

Collect candidate projects: <NAME>

Nominate projects: <NAME> (others are welcome to chip in a suggestion or two)

Order nominated projects: <NAME>

Writing:

  • Intro: <NAME>
  • What Happened: <NAME>
  • Still in the Running: <NAME>
  • New picks: <MULTIPLE NAMES>

Graphics: <ONE OR MULTIPLE NAMES>

Working space

Nominated projects

Biggies

<PROJECTS OVER $100k>

Outer Wilds - space exploration game with explorable planets. Has playable alpha. Goal: $125k, missing $10k with one week to go. Ends: 18 September

The Dwarves - action RPG, has been covered in separate article. Goal: $260k. Ends: 8 October

Hidden Gems

<PROJECTS UNDER $100k>

Tiny and Tall - Norse mythology adventure game with ridiculous cartoony characters. Goal: €8k. Ends: 8 October

12 is Better Than 6 - hand-drawn top-down shooter that looks very similar to Hotline Miami in gameplay. Goal: £15k. Ends: 9 October.

ESSENCE - surreal 3D exploration game. Goal: 60k €. Ends: 13 October

Omnibus - PS1-style bus rampage physics game. Goal: $5k, currently at $7k with 5 days to go. Ends: 20 September. Notes: Has Windows demo, but will be available for Windows/Linux/Mac

Crashnauts - Twitch arena shooter. Goal: $40k. Ends: 8 October

Megamagic - Odd 80s styled mix of RPG and RTS. Goal: $20k. Ends: 14 October

For the King - Great looking turn-based RPG. Goal: $40k. Ends: 16 October

Tiny Little Bastards - Good looking 2D platformer ARPG. Goal: $15k (flexible funding). Ends: 3 October

Pizza Brave - Mix of retro platformer and graphic adventure. Goal: $5k (flexible funding). Ends: 3 October (and is nowhere near its goal)

Treasure of a Blizzard - VN "dating sim". Has a demo, but doesn't look very good to me. Goal: $3k (flexible funding). Ends: 24 September

Article content

Intro paragraph

Since the last time you saw us, we turned 50, but rather than celebrate, we threw ourselves headfirst into a midlife crisis. Yes, we did get that fast motorcycle we always wanted, but after spending a full month riding through Europe, we're back to bring you a new batch of crowdfunding campaigns we think you might find interesting.

What Happened

Losers

Devastated Dreams had a lot less publicity than Matt Gilgenbach's debut Indie game, Neverending Nightmares. It was clear pretty early in the campaign that the momentum to raise $115k was just not there, and unfortunately no miracle occurred to prevent this dream from fading, at least for the time being... leaving some devoted fans of Neverending Nightmares feeling fairly devastated.

Calm Waters was too hidden a gem, suffering from essentially no media coverage outside of our TFC article, and failed to make even its relatively modest £5k goal.

Winners

The sci-fi strategy game XO ended with a solid $55k out of $40k goal, no doubt aided by having earned publicity help from the Square Enix Collective.

Looks like there are a lot of enthusiastic Gmod Tower players... they drove Tower Unite to be a rare winner among flexible-funding projects with over $73k in pledges, almost 50% over the already-respectable $50k target!

SnarfQuest Tales is another winner with an existing fanbase -- 650 SnarfQuest fans pledged $37k to let these beloved comic characters star in an adventure game.

Biggies

The Dwarves

Banner http://i.imgur.com/a8T02Fp.png Screenshot http://i.imgur.com/vWDLyaf.jpg

KING Art is something of a crowdfunding veteran now, with two previously crowdfunded and released games, and it doesn't look like they'll have any problems getting their story-driven fantasy RPG The Dwarves funded either. This epic looking game with physics-based combat was initially only planned for Windows on PC, but as we wrote about on GOL a couple of weeks ago, Linux and Mac versions will also be released alongside the Windows version.

The campaign is closing in on $200k of their $260k with almost three weeks to go, so there's a good chance it will reach its goal well ahead of schedule. And if that should happen, there are some very interesting stretch goals to keep the funding pace up, like new characters and quests and a local co-op option that will support up to four players. If you haven't already, you can back this campaign by pledging at least $25, and there are some interesting digital rewards in the higher tiers, like a "making of" book and a world map.

Outer Wilds

Banner http://i.imgur.com/zzGog73.jpg Screenshot http://i.imgur.com/HYlF0HC.jpg?1

We did have another biggie this time, but since we took so long to bring you this anniversary issue of The Funding Crowd, the campaign for first-person space-exploration game Outer Wilds has already ended. The campaign also marked the début of crowdfunding platform Fig, which is a new platform specifically made for games, made by games industry veterans and backed by an advisory board of well-known video game personalities like Brian Fargo, Alex Rigopulos, Tim Schafer and Feargus Urquhart. Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, Fig allows accredited investors to support campaigns for a revenue share on potential game sales, and it's also a curated platform where the few campaigns that are accepted won't have to fight over a spot in the limelight.

Outer Wilds barely managed to scrape by its $125k goal during the month the campaign was live, but considering the genre, that seems like a lot more than they could have hoped to achieve on Kickstarter. Additionally, only $51k of that sum was accounted for by regular pledges, with the remainder being covered by investments. It feels like it's too early yet to judge the potential of Fig, and there are several factors at play that could have worked both for and against the campaign. The news value, the members of the advisory board and their fans and the fact that Outer Wilds won the grand prize in the 2015 Independent Games Festival awards are certainly factors that benefitted the campaign. On the other hand, the developers haven't yet made a name for themselves in the industry and many will be reluctant to a new crowdfunding platform with yet another payment solution (Stripe).

As mentioned, this campaign is over and not accepting further pledges. If you're curious about the game though, you can read more about it on the developer's website and you can download the alpha build for some hands-on time with the game. There's a field for an email address right next to the download button, but you should be able to download the alpha even if you leave the field blank.

Hidden Gems

For the King

Banner http://i.imgur.com/wKumBhO.png Screenshot http://i.imgur.com/kdvGble.gif

For the King is a turn-based RPG with a vibrant low-poly style, and an emphasis on strategic exploration and a big variety of tactical options. The game has grown out of a tabletop board game designed by one of the core team members, inheriting from it a strong foundation of co-op mechanics, rather than co-op play being a tack-on feature reserved for stretch goals. Yet it has a strong appeal as a single-player game as well, adding many interesting touches to a combination of exploration, rogue-like, and turn-based RPG genres.

When For the King begins, you are merely an ordinary citizen in your home town Oarton. After the king suddenly dies, you answer the Queen's call for help from the people to aid in solving the mystery and put an end to the turmoil that erupts in the kingdom of Fahrul. The available classes reflect the humble beginnings of the would-be heroes who answer the call: hunter, scholar, or blacksmith. Additional classes (herbalist, woodcutter, and trapper) can be unlocked during exploration to become available as starting classes in future games.

There are tons of creative ideas and intriguing mechanics planned, so take a look at the campaign page to get a better idea of what the developers have in store for this game. Day/night cycle, weather and natural events (sandstorms, rockslides, heavy rain, maelstroms, heatwaves, thick fog), procedurally generated worlds, game-spanning progress: collecting lore to be spent to unlock game mechanics that remain unlocked for subsequent games, crafting rare weapons after collecting across multiple games, unlocking the additional classes by rescuing a member of that class...

In spite of the harsh climate for indies on Kickstarters lately, For the King has already managed to reach their seemingly ambitious $40k CAD goal in the matter of a couple of a days. (It probably helped that IronOak core team members have solid prior experience in the game development industry.) The next stretch goal at $55k CAD sounds rather intriguing: a frost realm that comes complete with an Abominable Snowman, and which requires proper equipment to travel freely (and even to survive) in the sub-zero temperatures. The Beta access at $20 tier sounds interesting, but be warned that the team is not fully confident of being able to get the Linux build in proper beta shape at the same time as the others. Apparently they are new to Linux development.

tiny & Tall: Gleipnir

Banner http://i.imgur.com/NIUftnE.png Screenshot http://i.imgur.com/DGDd4XR.gif

It didn't look like we'd have anything for adventure game fans in this issue, but fortunately, the creator of the tiny & Tall: Gleipnir comic will make the video game adaptation available for Linux. They have started a Kickstarter campaign to fund a handpainted point-and-click adventure game based on the First Book of the story. The game is inspired by the story of Gleipnir from Norse mythology—the magic chain forged by the dwarves to hold the mighty wolf Fenrir. In this game, the two blacksmiths tiny and Tall are tasked with the mission of collecting the six seemingly impossible ingredients for the chain.

There's a demo of the game, but according to the campaign creator, the Linux version needs some more testing before it's made available for download. The campaign is closing in on half of its 8k € (~$9k) goal with well over two weeks left of the campaign, so it's well on track for funding, but depends on more backers to get on board. To get a DRM free copy of the game on release, a 10 € (~$11) pledge will do, but for art upgrades like the comic and a 50 page art book in pdf format, you'll need to pledge either 20 € or 30 €.

12 is Better Than 6

Banner http://i.imgur.com/coYmOVY.png Screenshot http://i.imgur.com/BGR9WNr.jpg

12 is Better Than 6 looks like a Wild West adaptation of Hotline Miami in a pencil sketch style. The hero of the game is an escaped slave, making his way across the border from Mexico to Texas in the year 1873. Head hunters are on his trail, and to avoid being drawn before a jury, you have to help him fend off his pursuers in a top-down shooter with stealth elements.

The game has already been greenlit on Steam, but there's still a good chunk missing from the £15k (~$23k) funding goal. At the moment, only £2.5k has been pledged, but there's still almost three weeks left of the campaign, so anything can happen. It might seem like the developers have devalued their own game a bit, as they have had £2 and £4 slots for early birds, and the regular game copy tier is only £6 (~$9).

Megamagic: Wizards of the Neon Age

Banner http://i.imgur.com/CvSucBd.jpg Screenshot http://i.imgur.com/C0nCZZy.jpg

Ever wondered what an 80s style mashup of RTS and action RPG might look like? The creators of Megamagic: Wizards of the Neon Age aims to answer that question by making a game where you'll both build your character and engage in single combat and have the ability to summon creatures that can be controlled individually like units on the battleground. The game is set on an alternate timeline where a meteor struck the Earth in the 80s and the survivors developed magical powers as a result of the impact. Two millennia into the future, society still cling to the 80s neon style because of this cataclysmic event, and humans are divided into factions like the Punks and the Techno Rangers.

Despite being a Kickstarter staff pick, the campaign has gotten off to a bit of a slow start with only $3k of its $20k goal reached one week into the campaign. If you want to help make the campaign a success, you can pledge $15 for a copy on release. There's also a Steam Greenlight project for the game, where you can vote if you want to help get the game on Steam. The developer, Beautifun Games, has previously given us the creative and fun puzzle platformer Nihilumbra, so the Linux version sounds like a safe bet.

ESSENCE

Banner http://i.imgur.com/XmdQy0b.png

We've seen before that open-world exploration games are struggling on Kickstarter, and unfortunately the surreal and fantastic looking ESSENCE is no exception. So far, only a little over 100 backers have pledged, and the game sits at a meager 3k €, far away from its 60k € goal. A 20 € pledge will give you a copy on Steam on release, given that the game gets enough votes to be greenlit.

Tiny Little Bastards

Banner http://i.imgur.com/PxOZU61.png

Tiny Little Bastards is a 2D platformer mixed with elements from action RPGs, like character stats and skills, looting and crafting. The protagonist of the game is Ivarr the viking, who is the owner of a tavern that has been emptied of beer by a horde of goblins. You're not the only victim of the goblins' beer thefts, but being the protagonist, it is of course up to you to retrieve the stolen goods. The game has been greenlit for distribution on Steam, but more than half of the $15k funding goal is still missing. However, this is a flexible funding campaign, and the funds will be collected even if the campaign fails, so keep that in mind if you're considering a $15 pledge for a copy of the game on release. There are also several $10 early bird slots left at the time of writing.

Conclusion

So that's it for this time folks, but we'll be back in three-ish weeks with more crowdfunding news. And remember that even if you don't have the cash to lay down for a campaign you're interested in, helping spread the word also helps. And on that note, we'd like to direct your attention to three upcoming campaigns that are trying to get a head start on their crowdfunding efforts by launching Thunderclap campaigns to get the word out in social media. So if you have a Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr account, this is one way to support crowdfunding that doesn't cost you a dime.

First up is Skygoblin, who are going the Kickstarter route to fund development of the third and final chapter of The Journey Down, and you'll find their Thunderclap campaign here. The second is a new point-and-click adventure that we've seen a bit of called Demetrios. You'll find a Linux demo on their website and their Thunderclap campaign here. Last up is a planned spiritual successor to the classics MDK and Giants: Citizen Kabuto called First Wonder. The team making the game has some very impressive resumes and are also responsible for the recently released puzzle game Gunpowder, which is available for Linux. Their Thunderclap campaign is here. We haven't received an official confirmation on this last one, so keep that in mind before you get too excited.

And before you go, we'd like to spend a moment to thank scaine, who has been a massive contributor to these articles over the past couple of years, but has decided to retire from the funding crowd because of other obligations. It's not obvious who writes what for The Funding Crowd, but if you ever read a phrase in one of our articles that you thought was unusually well written/thoughtful/funny, there's at least a 20% chance it was written by scaine. He was also the one to cover the The Bard's Tale sequel for GOL earlier this year.

We've had less time to spend on writing all around, so please consider our usual plea for help carefully. Putting these articles together can be a lot of work, and we'd sure appreciate any help we can get. If you don't feel confident in your writing skills, that's OK as there are other ways to help, like helping us track down interesting campaigns to cover. Collaborating on a write-up can also be fun, and is a great way to get some writing experience. So here it is...

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