23rd February 2014

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Draft targeted for 2014-02-23

Covers crowdfunding news from 2014-02-11 through 2014-02-23

Volunteers

Collect candidate projects: Muntdefems

Nominate projects: Speedster, S.D., Liam (others are welcome to chip in a suggestion or two)

Order nominated projects: S.D.

Writing:

  • Intro: <NAME>
  • What Happened: Speedster
  • Still in the Running: n/a
  • New picks: Scaine,

Graphics: Speedster

Working space

Nominated projects

Keep an eye on https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/iqioi/blackmore-a-steampunk-adventure-game since they said "SteamOS/Linux support is under review" in a private message

Now confirmed in their FAQ - they're supporting Linux. However, with 16 days to secure three-quarters of their funding, I'm not hopeful. --scaine.

Biggies

2. Shattered Time

1. The Book of Unwritten Tales 2

Hidden Gems

5. Dysfunctional Systems

The name Dysfunctional Systems will probably be familair, that's because there is already an episode out, and now the developers are looking to create another two episodes in their visual novel series, and due to pricing their first episode too low they need some Kickstarter love.

4. Galactic Princess

3. Catapult for Hire

2. 39 Days to Mars

1. StarCrawlers

Just saw StarCrawlers and Galactic Princess in the latest Greenlight article, that was fast!

Article content

Intro paragraph

Welcome to The Funding Crowd! We're up to issue #28 and our third of 2014! After our post-Christmas lull, contributions are back up to normal strength and so back to our regular fortnightly release schedule. You'll notice that we don't have a Still in the Running section this time around - possibly a consequence of our later edition last time, so we'll kick off straight into the Gems, get the low down on our Winners and Losers, then finish, as always with the Biggies. Read on!

What Happened

Losers

Dungeonforge sadly failed to secure its $60k target this second time around. Despite including Linux from the start (it was originally a stretch goal) and despite also securing Greenlight status on Steam, only just over 600 backers were convinced to pledge and the project failed to raise even a quarter of its goal. Liam covered this project at the start of February and it looks like many of the critical comments on that article reflect the overall lack of interest.

Winners

Tower of Elements had a modestly successful Indiegogo campaign, raising an additional $1k to add on to the earlier $17k kickstarter funds. This was more than enough to reach the next stretch goal, which funded an extra game board to be designed with backer input.

Olympia Rising backers rose to the challenge -- the spike of pledging in the final week ensured victory for this highly retro (as in ancient Greece) action adventure. The next challenge for backers has already been set: helping Olympia Rising get Greenlit.

The Mims: Beginning finally takes the spot we've been holding for it in the winner's circle. This quirky RTS game with awesome penguin-inspired tiers ended up with $8.4k, not a huge sum, but 50% more than the minimum budget. Gaming penguins around the world await this upcoming masterpiece, which has already been Greenlit (thanks to the hordes of gaming penguins, no doubt).

ReVen did indeed end up with enough funds for the HD graphics upgrade, as predicted in our previous issue. Backers will have a bit of a wait for this innovative example of the Metroid genre, since the stretch goals allowing full-time development stayed out of reach.

Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians managed to pull out a late victory, despite an unusually high $600k goal. The goal may have been high, but this turn-based RPG project had a huge fan base to draw upon with Yasumi Matsuno participating as game designer. Yes, that's the same Matsuno famed for Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy XII! We would not have been surprised to see a much higher total for that reason, but perhaps some of the Final Fantasy fans were a little put off by the more western-style RPG feel to this project.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance was a royal hit, with over 35,000 backers recruited! With the promised emphasis on realistic graphics and a large open world with non-linear quests, it should be easy for the developers to find ways to spend the collected £1.1M in funds. It remains to be seen whether this turns out to be one of the first games released for Linux on the Crytek engine, but it is surely one of the first Crytek-based games to announce Linux support.

Still in the Running

This section intentionally left (almost) blank

Biggies

Shattered Time

Open source is something we, as Linux users, care about greatly. So gather round while we shine the spotlight on "Shattered Time". Here's an isometric RPG inspired by the Infinity Engine games of yore (e.g. Baldur's Gate or Planescape Torment) which aims to be completely open source on release! The author, Daniel J. Swiger, is a new developer who is boldly trying to make his living from an open source project. Which begs the question, how do you do so? How do you make money on something you intend will be completely free when it's finished?

Well, there's a number of ways. First, he's offering digital content to download as companions to the game itself - sound tracks, companion novels in PDF form, badges on profiles. Second, he's offering the chance to download the game as a playable game 6 months before its "official" release date - which is also worth noting, as January 2016 is a fair way out. Third, he's offering pledges which will give you input into the final content, as the game is produced. Finally, there's plethora of options for the usual hard mechandise that often accompanies a crowd-funding campaign - mugs, t-shirts and posters.

Needless to say, this is a risky project for two reasons. Of course, as Swiger's first project, will it be good? But beyond that, isn't it tempting just to wait it out and get the game free anyway? And true, you can do that. However, Swiger's vision deserves better. He'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.

So this is a Biggie, in every sense. A bold project which is floundering at the moment with only a couple of thousands of dollars in pledges, but also an almost completely unheard of direction in game development. Open Source... making money. That "almost" is important, of course. Wildfire's "O AD" is built on a similar premise, but using a different model. While both games are offering their game and game assets free of charge, Wildfire don't appear to be interested in making money from 0 AD. Their recent crowd-funding campaign was to speed up development, not pay the bills. Swiger meanwhile intends to make everything available free of charge, but hopes that the convenience of a packaged download later in the day might convince players to cough up some cash.

But that's the future. In the here and now, Swiger needs your pledges to make that future possible.

The Book of Unwritten Tales 2

Our second Biggie comes straight out of left field, taking everyone by surprise. KING Art games, the developers behind the original Book of Unwritten Tales announced their Kickstarter campaign on February 11th and work up the next morning to discover that it had been fully funded!

Already at 200% of pledges, they're now mapping out some bold stretch goals to keep the money pouring in. With Kicktraq estimating nearly a half million by the project's end, they'll need to get creative!

At $25 to secure the game on release, this time next year, it's clear that KING Art aren't under-estimating the costs of bringing a high-quality game to market. But their track record has already convinced nearly three thousand backers to pledge for this one and if the momentum keeps up, this is going to be another huge victory for Kickstarter and for traditional point and click adventure games.

Hidden Gems

5. Dysfunctional Systems

If the name Dysfunctional Systems seems familiar, that's because there is already one episode out, and now the developers are looking to create another two episodes in their visual novel series. Due to pricing their first episode too low they need some Kickstarter love.

They're aiming a little higher this time around, asking $10CAD for episode 2, or (oddly) $25CAD for episodes 2 and 3, implying that episode 3 will be a far bigger project than their second. Finally, if you haven't already experienced episode 1, you can secure all three for $30CAD.


4. Galactic Princess

Looking like the love child of Paradise Lost and FTL and coming in at number 4, we have Galactic Princess! Build your ship, train your team, select your tactics, then build your empire! Will you smuggle for illegal profit, trade legally, or take the bloody route of the pirate? Galactic Princess doesn't care how you do it and will prod you through the journey with self-referential humour, parody and drama, as each moment demands. The studio behind it all, Cecly, has created a full universe of alien races, culture and backstory to help bring the plot alive.

Already funded at the time of writing and with three weeks still to play out, there's plenty of hope that additional stretch goals can be achieved. You only need a £10 pledge to secure a copy of the game, or £15 if you'd also like your name in the credits. The game has already been Greenlit by Valve, so your pledge will also land you a Steam key on release, which is targeted for around Christmas next year.


3. Catapult for Hire

Here's a title that takes a classic title, in this case Sony's Pain, and expands on it. Man a giant catapult and use a variety of projectiles to journey through a puzzle-based landscape to your eventual target. Throw in some beautiful cel-shaded graphics and author Tyrone Henrie is hoping that his relatively low target and reasonably near release-date will win the necessary pledges. As is the norm these days, you can also vote for free to get the title Greenlit on Steam.


2. 39 Days to Mars

Looking for a good casual-ish game, available for both your Linux box and (potentially) your mobile device of choice, suited to short playing sessions? Search no more as 39 Days to Mars is the project you're looking for: sporting a beautiful steampunk-ey hand-drawn art style, along with a co-op survival-slash-adventure-slash-puzzlesolving gameplay, it tells the story of Sir Albert Wickes and The Right Honourable Clarence Baxter, two Victorian era explorers who are on their way to Mars aboard the HMS Fearful. Unfortunately they are certainly not the best men for the job, and steam power isn't also a reliable enough technology for such an enterprise, so trouble is expected to appear sooner than later. And that's what the player's job will be: fixing any mechanical problem that arises as well as attending the two anachronistic astronauts' needs, be it eating, sleeping, or getting entertained to avoid death by boredom.

You'll be able to tackle this challenge either solo or in local co-op mode with a friend for as little as $2NZD and up. What's that you say? You aren't that keen to back a project with your credit card? No problem, as there's now a PayPal backing option available so you've got no excuse left. More than 200 people found this game was worth their money and they helped reach the $2kNZD Linux support stretch goal at the same time. 9 days are left to try to reach the $4kNZD stretch goal which would allow for mobile ports of the game, so you can also try to make Wickes and Baxter reach the Red Planet while you're waiting for the bus.


1. StarCrawlers

We finish our Gems with StarCrawlers, a beautifully realised space-based dungeon crawling RPG. Explore space ships and put together your team of "Crawlers" to combat the various denizens you'll meet. The exploration itself is oddly reminicent of "Legend of Grimrock", while combat appears to take inspiration more from traditional JRPGs, moving into a turn-based combat system where each Crawler can use their skills to deadly advantage.

StarCrawlers will be the debut title from Juggernaut Games, a studio formed in 2011, but contracted by Sony to create content for the Sony Home platform. StarCrawlers will be their first independent release! Your ticket into space starts at $15USD, and goes up from there to include the sorts of goodies Kickstarter love to pledge for. Already Greenlit on Steam and already nearly funded, it would seem that their decision to go independent has paid off!

Conclusion

And that's all for TFC #28! We hope you enjoyed the summaries as much as we did researching and writing them!

Join in!

This one was again brought to you through the combined efforts of s_d, scaine, Speedster, and muntedefems. We're a small team and would highly appreciate new blood. If you love indie games and crowdfunding, there's few better ways to get involved in their development! You'll only need and hour or two per week to spare, so don't hesitate to contact any of us. No, there's no material rewards for your contribution apart from the rosy glow of a job well done! And that's reward enough, right? Right!? Well, we think so, and we'd love you to join us.

See you next time!

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