23rd March 2015

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Draft targeted for 2015-03-23

Covers crowdfunding news from 2015-03-01 through 2015-03-23

TFC#43

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>

Descent: Underground - Spiritual successor to classic Descent. Already covered in a GOL article, so we can keep this one short.

Seven Dragon Saga - RPG by veterans from Strategic Simulations, Inc.

Hidden Gems

<PROJECTS UNDER $100k>

Holobunnies - Relaunch of a former TFC Gem. Already funded. (scaine here: I've moved this to the conclusion, cos it doesn't feel right covering it again, especially since it's already funded, but it would be nice to mention.)

Icy - Survival RPG. Fixed Funding on Indiegogo and nearly tripling its goal. Ends on the 27th, so we may skip it in favor of other Gems. (scaine here : I've dropped this one, cos there are so many other gems)

Nephil's Fall - Metroidvania platformer, with some interesting mechanics about sacrificing abilities. Nearly funded.

The Baader Meinhof Phenomenon - Psychological thriller/horror game, about drug abuse and mental health issues. Most probably ill-fated.

Deadwood: The Forgotten Curse - Action adventure with survival elements, a bit like Zelda+Don't Starve.

Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander - Survival strategy sci-fi roguelike. More than 200% funded with 19 days to go. Linux support guaranteed, but unfortunately not on day 1.

Dungeons of Aledorn - RPG with 3rd-person turn-based tactical combat and 1st-person exploration.

Spectrum - Puzzle adventure based on the concept of synesthesia.

Article content

Intro paragraph

After its galactic 42nd issue, The Funding Crowd is back with a somewhat shorter, but by all means no less interesting instalment. Today's menu consists of some good-looking Gems as starters, followed by the outcomes of our picks in previous issues, as well as the state of the still ongoing campaigns, and finishing with a nostalgia-inducing Biggie as a dessert.

What Happened

Losers

Winners

Orion Trail managed to clear their $90,000 goal no problems, and even hit the first stretch goal: the space-bear race of the Urzans joins the Galaxy Force. If you missed this campaign, no worries, you can still get in. They're currently setting up a Slacker Backer system, including backing with PayPal, and any money raised there will also count against more stretch goals.

The crowdfunding campaign of Tahira, however, was way more close. They did manage to get their $68,000, but only within the last three hours. As such, unfortunately no stretch goals have been met. Still, funded is funded, and now we can look forward to this game early next year.

Still in the Running

At only $15k, Slain!'s moderate goal was eminently achievable and indeed managed their base goal about a week ago. Since then, progress has been slow, but steady, with over 850 backers ensuring that the first stretch goal is met, resulting in an audio makeover. With a few days still to run, it's feasible that we'll see the exciting "Rampage Mode" make an appearance in this wonderfully animated side-scrolling hack-a-thon.

With only 350 backers behind Adopted, it's surprising to note that they've raised more than the 850 for Slain!, above. However, since this project's target was a lofty $140k, this project is sadly certain to fail with only a couple of days to run.

Closing in on half of their ambitious €80K goal and with a month left of their unusually long campaign, hope is not lost for the CrossCode. They have done a good job at enticing backers through frequent and meaty updates, but with such a high goal and an unknown developer team, the future of the campaign is still highly uncertain.

In stark contrast to the energetic protagonists of Clive 'n' Wrench, their campaign was at an almost complete standstill since we last mentioned it. There has been next to no buzz surrounding the campaign, and one must wonder much planning had gone into the campaign before launch. The project failed for a second time, but the developer is still determined to see the game through to completion, so this isn't the last we've heard of it.

With only a couple of days to go, Don't Be Patchman is closing in on $22K CAD of their $25 CAD goal, and are looking at a nerve-racking home straight. We've seen similar amounts getting raised by enthusiastic backers at the end of a campaign, and 48 the hour notifications might bring in new pledges, so this one can still make it.

ToeJam and Earl turned out not to be the sure bet we thought at the beginning of the campaign. There are only a few days left of the campaign and it still has a way to go. It seems as though it might have cashed in on the nostalgia during its first couple of days and that people not already familiar with the original games are less excited about it. With a couple of days to go, it still looks set to crawl past its $400K goal though.

Biggies

Descent: Underground

With an already mighty 4500 backers behind Descent: Underground, and a frankly insane backer average of nearly $60, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this direct successor to the 90's Descent games was a forgone conclusion. However, you'd be wrong!

Which is incredible, really. The studio behind this reboot of the classic games is headed by none other than Eric Peterson, most recently of Roberts Industries' Star Citizen fame, but also the same man behind the legendary Wing Commander series. His studio acquired the rights to the Descent games from Interplay earlier this year, which is a surprising move considering that Interplay were issuing fan-made remakes with Cease & Desist letters as recently as October last year!

This might, however, explain why four and a half thousand backers are only a drop in the ocean of this project's target. Perhaps to help cover the purchase (pure speculation on my part), Descendent Studios are looking for a cool $600k in order to bring Descent: Underground to Windows, Mac & Linux. They are currently around a third of the way to that target. Some good news, however, is that they are using the latest Unreal Engine 4 to achieve their goal, which is reflected in their FAQ regarding platform support. They aim to bring their game to the main three platforms and only later may consider tablet/mobile support.

The game itself is currently very focussed on its multiplayer elements and if you intend to buy into the beta access, it's likely that this is all you'll end up playtesting. However, single-player campaigns are not completely forgotten - they intend a mini campaign initially to introduce you to the full campaign later in development. The game is planned as a prequel to the original series, but with updated gameplay, such as destructible voxel-based terrain. Indeed, one of the game modes will see you mining that destructible terrain for ore.

Get on board and help push this ambitious project over the line! The least you need to pledge to secure a copy of the game is $25, while another $10 will result in beta access. Higher pledge levels will unlock different ships from the start of the game, but the project page notes that all ships will be unlockable through gameplay. The final product is expected in March next year.

Seven Dragon Saga

Hidden Gems

Nephil's Fall

Nephil's Fall is a great looking metroidvania platformer, which takes a unique approach to the genre by flipping the RPG mechanics on their head. Instead of simply unlocking abilities as you progress through the game, you gradually have to make tough choices about which abilities to sacrifice.

The protagonist Nephil is an ancient guardian who has sworn a duty to protect the four essences of fire, water, earth and wind, which gives life to the world. However, dark forces manage to put Nephil in a state of coma, and while he's unconscious, they get away with the essences. When Nephil awakens, he realizes that he has failed his task, and that the absence of the essences has corrupted the world around him. He must set out to reclaim the essences, so that he can return them to nature and restore the balance.

At the beginning of the game, Nephil is equipped with four armor pieces, which are linked to a unique essence power. Each of these give Nephil control over a specific essence which corresponds to an ability, like ground slam and throwing fireballs. At certain points in the game there are portals, where you have to temporarily leave an armor piece to pass through, thus making you momentarily lose its linked ability. In addition to this, you will gradually have to permanently sacrifice armor pieces to nature, which means you'll get weaker as you make your way through the game. What make these choices especially interesting is that you'll have a choice in which essences to do without, meaning the game might be significantly different on two playthroughs of the game, depending on which ability you drop at which point in the game.

The campaign is currently at over $25K of the $30K target, and with about a week to go, it looks set to cross the finish line comfortably during the week. If you want to contribute to receive updates from the project and get a copy of the game when it's finished, you can do so by pledging a minimum of $15 to the campaign.

The Baader Meinhof Phenomenon

Psychological thriller/horror game, about drug abuse and mental health issues. Most probably ill-fated.

Deadwood: The Forgotten Curse

Much like Vincent Vega's account of his European trip, the best about Deadwood: The Forgotten Curse are its little differences. At first glance it could be readily dismissed as yet another zombie game, and it's true, it certainly is a zombie game. Buuut... its zombies -the titular Deadwood- are not your run-of-the-Unity-asset-store walkers, but cutey cartoony little fellas made out of wood. Sure, it implements the typical day-night cycles in which you've got to explore and scavenge during the day and fight hordes of zeds at night. Buuut... this game at least provides us with a plausible explanation: Lathe, the teenage woodling protagonist is accompanied by a stone giant named Roguard. Honoring his name Roguard protects the young hero from the undead during the day, but when the night arrives he inevitably falls asleep and the poor Lathe must fend for himself against the Deadwood --and in turn protect his daytime guardian.

Described by its creators as a blend of adventuring Zelda-style and survival à la Don't Starve, Deadwood was conceived as a quirky and cute open world game with some twists, including the aforementioned Don't Starve as well as the Tim Burton universe as inspirations for the darker bits. And the art style and animations are beautiful indeed (you can see for yourselves in any of the multiple production videos they've shared in the campaign updates).

Even though the story seems tailored for a co-op experience, gameplay-wise the game seems to be single-player only --at least at the moment and future stretch goals notwithstanding. Right now though stretch goals seem a distant utopia at best, with half the campaign gone by and merely a third of the funding goal raised. A real shame, as the shown concept and art are totally sound, and the devs have a shiny CV with experience at big companies like Dreamworks. We guess those little differences are not enough to attract the masses in this post-boom crowdfunding era of today. To those of you who are more observant and appreciate the little things, know that $11 will secure you a Steam key/DRM-free copy of the game, plus a manual and a survival guide. But if you can afford to up your contribution to $100, a physical IndieBox copy of the game will be yours (including a t-shirt, some signed postcards, and several other digital goodies, in-game or not).

Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander

If our previous Gem is struggling to attract attention and funding, this one is having a much easier time in this respect: it's only halfway through its campaign and the raised amount is currently nearing the 300% mark. In light of this huge success, one can only conclude that Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander must be something that appeals to a broad audience. Let's see... It's described as <takes breath> "a rogue-like sci-fi strategy survival game with base building, tactical combat, crew management and emergent storytelling". Yep, we can definitely see at least some of these aspects being of interest to any gamer.

Its list of inspirations includes hits present and past such as Star Control II, Master of Orion, the X-COM and Civilization series, or roguelikes like FTL. The result of this mixture is something not unlike a glorious pixel-art 4X strategy game, with base building, crew management, exploration of a big galaxy inhabited by multiple alien races, deep tactical combat (both with fleets in space or with individual units on the surface of planets), and above all lots of story events that shape the narrative of the experience.

As you can imagine, having nearly tripled the base goal means that many stretch goals have already been unlocked. Most of them went towards adding new content of all kinds (more lore, more events, more alien races, more crew classes for existing races, etc.), but there are others like New Game+ and ship customization options. Modding tools lie in the immediate horizon, behind a soon-to-be-reached $160kCAD goal. The bad news is that, even though a Linux version is guaranteed, it won't be available on our OS for Early Access (which will take place on Steam only). After that, the final version will be released DRM-free as well, and on Win/Mac/Lin.

Dungeons of Aledorn

RPG with 3rd-person turn-based tactical combat and 1st-person exploration.

Spectrum

Puzzle adventure based on the concept of synesthesia.

Regeria Hope

With only a day left to go, the Ace Attorney inspired visual novel Regeria Hope has finally gained some momentum and has rushed past its $6000 goal over the last few days. If you ack quickly, you can still help this campaign reach its $8000 voice acting goal.

Like the Ace Attorney series, much of this game is centered around courtroom proceedings, but it differs from the popular Capcom games in that you will be faced with choices that may affect your current case and also have a ripple effect throughout the five planned episodes of the game. You also get the opportunity to prepare your witnesses by selecting which statements they should make in court, and in which order they should be made.

The first episode of the game is available for free from Itch.io, though if you like the game you might consider paying a little for it or contributing to the campaign. A modest $3 will get you a copy of episode 2 when it's done, while paying $12 or more will give you access to all episdes as they are released. The developers are by their own admittance not very familiar with Linux, but the game is being developed with Ren'Py, which seems to work nicely on Linux. There's also a Steam Greenlight project for the game that could do with some votes.

Conclusion

And... that wasn't all! We wouldn't want to wish you farewell without at least mentioning a couple of projects that didn't make the cut for a full writeup but are nonetheless worthy of your consideration.

First off, there's the Holobunnies relaunch. A former Hidden Gem of ours, it came back to Kickstarter with a lower goal than before and it got funded this time around. You've still got some days left to back it, starting at $10CAD.

Then, a couple more Gems, like The Baader Meinhof Phenomenon (an ill-fated campaign for a nonetheless highly interesting psychological thriller/horror game about drug abuse and mental health issues), Dungeons of Aledorn (an old-school hardcore RPG with a combination of third-person turn-based tactical combat and first-person exploration), or Spectrum: An Elegy for Piano (a beautiful puzzle-adventure based on the concept of synesthesia).


Having said that, this is really the end of this issue of The Funding Crowd. We hope to have entertained you and to have interested you in some campaigns. See you all in our next issue!


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! 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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