24th November 2013

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Draft targeted for 2013-11-24

Covers crowdfunding news from 2013-11-13 through 2013-11-24

Volunteers

Collect candidate projects: Speedster

Nominate projects: Speedster, Scaine, S.D.

Order nominated projects: S.D.

Writing:

  • Intro: scaine
  • What Happened: scaine
  • Still in the Running: scaine
  • New picks: scaine

Graphics: Speedster

Working space

Nominated projects

Biggies

After Reset http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2146421095/after-reset-rpg

Looks like Fallout 3 in a Neverwinter Knights third-person setting. This Vimeo gameplay footage sets the scene.

Hidden Gems

The Girl and the Robot http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2039811773/the-girl-and-the-robot

Gridlock Tactics http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/studioparabole/gridlock-tactics

Sponsor Linux OpenGL Work http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/improve-opengl-support-for-the-linux-graphics-drivers-mesa

The Slaughter http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/510736733/the-slaughter

Ascendant http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hapagames/ascendant-a-25d-roguelike-brawler-for-the-pc

Interstellaria http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/coldricegames/interstellaria

Her Majesty's SPIFFING http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1236117571/her-majestys-spiffing/

Article content

Intro paragraph

A warm welcome to you all from the Funding Crowd team. This is Funding Crowd #24, surprisingly on time and only just over a week since we last updated you in our short supplemental article. There are some wonderful developments to tell you about this issue, and some fantastic looking campaigns already nearing their end, so don't delay! Wallets at the ready!

What Happened

To Be Determined (these will likely move to losers, but probably in the next issue):

Between Me and the Night : http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/between-me-and-the-night

Dragons of Elanthia : http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/simutronics/dragons-of-elanthia

Bolt Riley : http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/soundguy/bolt-riley-a-reggae-adventure-game


Losers

Leading this batch of projects unable to raise their funding is turn-based WWII strategy title War Generals: Panzers and Tanks, showing again the perils of launching a Flexible Funding project on Indiegogo without sufficient and visible effort invested into publicity. The campaign garnered a mere eight pledges, raising a paltry two hundred Euro. On such a campaign, one is left wondering what outcome will befall those eight fans.

Stepping back in history to World War I, a completely different sort of experience sits in limbo, awaiting the next move. Mad Otter Games' bid to resurrect the seminal 1990 PC flight combat-sim title Red Baron, never quite took off. However, the team did raise a small army of over one thousand dedicated backers, and learned a few hard-fought lessons in crowd-funding. The team are poised for a certain relaunch at a later date, and commit to announcing it to great fanfare. By offering backers an updated experience based on the the original IP, as well as being spearheaded by the title's original creator, The Funding Crowd sees future success within their reach.

Continuing the curious theme of warfare correlating negatively to funding, Timothy Zahn's Parallax successfully eXplored, but could not eXpand to capture the resources needed to conquer their crowd-funding galaxy. This much-improved relaunch of the original concept more than doubled the backer count and final funding total of the initial campaign launch, albeit during the course of a full campaign as opposed to cancellation after a week the first time around. In this case, community trepidation ranged from a misunderstanding of the funding requirement to a lack of confidence in the team itself. However, the studious observer would note the detailed Game Design Documents and also that a modest, but realistic budget, were actually the hallmark of a well-organized team having difficulty self-promoting. The team at Prototype X invites interested gamers to join the new community forums and participate in Plan B. We feel that the lack of reliance on linear story-driven gameplay may actually be a boon to the team, as a seed-funded attempt at an iterative alpha-funding campaign may provide a future for this intriguing 4X title.

How?? How did SKYJACKER not succeed in their campaign? The mind boggles at how such a polished, grand campaign could possibly fail. But fear not, there is a glimmer of light in all this doom and gloom. In addition to reaching an incredible #4 ranking on Steam Greenlight, Digitilus, the developer behind Skyjacker, have a store and for the next 60 days, they are honouring Kickstarter pledges for SKYJACKER over there. As an indie developer, they are now looking for other ways to fund the final stages of development, though a future Steam Early Access campaign seems an obvious avenue. In any case, we'll keep you updated on any news that comes our way on this promising space combat sim.

Finally, we have a loser which we never even got to tell you about in the first place! Gridlock Tactics cancelled their interesting X-Com like tactical strategy campaign after they failed to raise publicity on the main gaming blogs. They are hopeful of continuing the game and may one day return to Kickstarter to try again, but we expect that news will be scarce on this one for a while.

Winners

Great news for SCALE fans as this unique FPS made its target and then nudged its way past its first stretch, adding Oculus Rift support. With its tiny $1k target, Magicite was unlikely to fail, but the developers were perhaps surprised to have broken their target 16 times over! Super cute Churbles also hit its target, and then some, ending on nearly twice that target over. They're now accepting further pledges via PayPal, so there's still an opportunity to get on board with the cutest RPG out there. Music fans rejoice: Sentris slid easily over the finish line a few days before the end, as smoothly as it entered. Dropsy also secured its funds, by a decent margin and netting a Devolver Digital publishing deal along the way, so expect some slightly bizarre (and this author's opinion, slightly creepy) clown-based adventures in around 12 months time. And finally, Super Roman Conquest, aided by an impressive graphical makeover as well as a mention by Ctrl-Alt-Del, saw a big push at the end to secure their funds and first stretch goal, adding Commander Traits to the mix.

This period also saw a couple of flexible funding campaigns on Indiegogo come to an end. We have The Solar Games and Secrets of Rætikon both coming to a close. Neither of these projects met their funding targets, but secured sufficient funds that we're hopeful that they will still succeed.

Still in the Running

Only a few days left for The Mandate, but at least it's finally looking likely to succeed. With a week left on the clock and only just over $30k left to meet its half million target, we're very hopeful that this utterly breathtaking space combat sim will get its funds within the next couple of days Then, of course, the downside will be having to wait a year and a half for it to complete development!

Similarly, it's looking very likely that both Elliot Quest and Bloom:Memories will reach their funding targets. Both projects just need a nudge over the finish line and there are still a few days left on each campaign to make that happen.

Lords of Xulima is already a winner twice over - first with their previously successful Indiegogo campaign and now with their already successful Kickstarter. There's still a few days left to pledge on this one if you haven't already.

Similarly, Paradise Lost has met its target and continues to smash its stretch goals, which is great news, because this game, covered in the last Funding Crowd, just looks superb. There's still just under a week left to pledge if you haven't already done so.

Less certain to succeed, we have Deathfire: Ruins of Nethermore, DYSCOURSE: Survivors, The 7th Guest 3: The Collector and Dino Run 2. It's extremely surprising, as it was with SKYJACKER, that so many high-quality projects appear to be struggling to get the word out on their campaigns. However, with the possible exception of The 7th Guest, these projects may yet succeed, so have another read of them in Funding Crowd #23, and cast your vote if you think they're worthy!

New-pick paragraphs

Hidden Gems

Relaunches

New Gems

Dex

The fine folks at Dreadlocks Ltd. have brought us a beautifully painted, 2D side-scrolling action RPG, firmly rooted in a dystopian cyberpunk world. The palette is at once dark and grimy as it is neon and muzzle flashes, hinting at an atmosphere fitting comfortably into any tabletop Shadowrun campaign. Gameplay itself seems split between three primary modes, firstly a 2D adventure perspective familiar to any point-n-clicker, where the player direct their character into dialogue and other NPC interaction.

Once the drek hits the fan, players fight for survival in combat with a hybrid 2D beat-em-up/shoot-em-up mode, almost as if Metroid, or the venerable Abuse, met Klei's Shank games on a Blade Runner back street. The last mode is a Neuromancer-inspired systems hacking mode, bringing the concept back to a core gameplay element, rather than being relegated to an annoying mini-game. And, yes, we seriously mean the 1988 Interplay title Neuromancer. Terms like ICE, avatars, cyber-augmentation, and AR flow freely in the shady world of Dex.

Unsurprisingly, the campaign has resonated with backers, surpassing the £14,000 goal by a healthy margin, with just over two weeks remaining on the clock. A £7 pledge buys your way into the dark alleys of Harbor Prime, and in an increasingly familiar scenario, the folks at OUYA are doubling the Kickstarter funds without affecting our Linux release date, making your pledge twice as valuable to the team. So, feel free to find your way into the world of Dex, no hacking required.


The Girl and the Robot

It's difficult to talk about this project and not make comparisons to the epic 2001 PlayStation 2 title Ico, by Team Ico, and that must surely be a good thing. Indeed, Flying Carpets Games cite it as a direct inspiration for The Girl and the Robot, only in this game, the little girl is being protected not by a little boy with horns, but by a giant sword wielding robot! Featuring Ico's award-winning formula of third-person action-adventure platforming coupled with it's stylized art design, Flying Carpets diverges to render both characters playable, switched at the press of a button. Both the girl and the robot will need to be directed in order to solve the game's puzzles, and in concept art revealed on the campaign page, it is hinted that situations may occur in which the robot needs her help to proceed, as well! Beautiful graphics abound in the gameplay videos which are well worth checking out. There is only a day or two left to pledge on this one and it's already met it's funding target of $15k CAD so we can look forward to next Christmas for this to hit our radar.


Sponsor Linux OpenGL Work

Already covered in these hallowed pages, this project is still important enough to bring to your attention again! Hot on the heels of his last Indiegogo campaign to improve the Mesa drivers, Timothy Arceri has created a second campaign which will see him take another week out from his day job to do it all over again! While the last campaign focussed on the GL_KHR_DEBUG extension, this time around Timothy will focus on the GL_ARB_arrays_of_arrays extension. As before, the work won't magically improve gaming performance, but will concentrate on an important feature that's currently missing from the Mesa implementation of the OpenGL standard. This will bring the free-software drivers closer to qualification on higher versions of OpenGL, making them more attractive to developers generally.

Timothy has already smashed his slightly lower target of $1500 and in fact did so on day one of his campaign! He's already well on the way to raising the same kind of money that the first campaign generated and he's pledged to keep interested parties up to date on his blog with daily progress updates as before.

If you're anything like this Funding Crowd author, you don't have the necessary skills to make a difference in technical matters, so it's great to see coding bounties like this pop up and give us average folks a chance to make that difference indirectly.


The Slaughter

Next up, grim goings on in The Slaughter. Step into the shoes of private investigator Sydney Emerson as he tracks down a serial killer in Victorian London. A retro looking point'n'click in the style of Broken Sword, this one throws some curve balls with it's style and presentation. The haunting music fits the noir setting perfectly and even if this isn't your style of game, we suggest watching the video anyway just to enjoy the ambience it creates.

London-based Alexander Francois is the one-man talent behind studio Brainchild. The Slaughter will be his first game, but as you can see from the video, he's already a fair way along the development path. A mere £8 secures you a copy of the game on release, expected by summer next year and he has set an almost absurdly low target of £8k to kickstart his project. Needless to say, when faced with a quality campaign page such as this, he's aleady raised around half the required funds.

Unusually for a kickstarter, Brainchild haven't launched their Greenlight campaign yet, so although you are promised a key once Greenlit, that would appear to be some way off.


Ascendant

Looking like the lovechild of "Mark of the Ninja" and "Patapon", Ascendant by Hapa Games is unusual to say the least. It's a roguelike, but set in a side-viewed 2.5D universe that you hack and slash your way through, collecting treasures and powering up. The mechanic of powering up has some interesting facets. There's a vaguely familiar "socket" system where placing certain items in a weapon will provide one effect, while placing the same item in, say, armour will provide a completely different effect. But it's the influence system that sounds the most tactical. Pull off great combos to take down enemies and you are rewarded with influence upon their defeat. With that influence, you may choose to have your defeated enemies fight alongside you, or you can store the influence, destroying the potential follower, but perhaps allowing for later, bigger, tougher enemies to become followers later in the game.

Ascendant is in its final week, but is only a tiny distance from their very reasonable $10k target. It's only $10 to join the party, and incredibly there are still a few early bird places available at $8 if you like a bit of a bargain! Hapa Games have their Steam Greenlight page already up and you can vote for it over here.

It's probably worth noting that this game is pretty much complete already and this pledge will see you playing the game in only a couple of months time. This campaign is purely to raise funds for licensing a small number of models, textures or sounds used in the game and once the legalities are ironed out on that front, the game is good to go!


Interstellaria Imagine FTL, make it side on, and throw in some platform elements and you've got a rough idea of how Interstellaria plays out. Leaving it at that, however, would be doing it a huge injustice. Unlike FTL, Interstellaria is a strategy and exploration game, not a roguelike. You'll visit planets, beam to their surface watching for danger and opportunity, fight space battles, dock with stations, trade and ultimately explore the vast sandbox universe.

A mix of several styles then. It's already hit its funding target of $15k and is fast approaching $20k. Another $7k will secure its first stretch goal of having expanded alien territories and with well over a week still to run, there's every chance of that happening! You can vote for it on Greenlight here.


Her Majesty's SPIFFING

Finally, a quintessentially British affair in Her Majesty's SPIFFING. This is a superbly animated point'n'click adventure, which will see you take the protagonist, Frank Lee English, to the stars, by order of the Queen herself. GoL covered this project a few days ago, but the quality on show here more than qualifies it as a Gem. The title comes from Special Planetary Investigative Force For Inhabiting New Galaxies, hence SPIFFING. The development team, Billy Goat, posted a truly cringeworthy, yet excellent "meet the team" section with the sole purpose of demonstrating why they need our money: to afford professional voice actors to bring SPIFFING to life! After watching the video, we can all agree that professional voice actors would be a "good thing".

This is Billy Goat's first foray into the Linux realm, but they've created a number of iPhone and Android titles to date and the team's background is in animation, so a point'n'click adventure seems like a natural progression. You can get involved for as little as £12, and if you can't stretch to that, you can still support their Greenlight campaign on Steam. Tally ho!

Biggies

After Reset

Truly a Biggie in every way, Black Cloud Studios offers backers a sprawling RPG epic in the classic tradition of BioWare's Infinity Engine titles, name-dropping venerable titles like Fallout, Baldur's Gate, and Planescape Torment.

By an event of radioactive financial mutation, a whopping $900k is budgeted to bring After Reset to light, atomically fueling the creation of between 50 and 100 unique areas, an amount boasted by the team to rival both original Fallout titles combined.

Beyond that, it features a unique, nearly MMO-like, concept for crowd-sourcing inspiration for the writing, an exceedingly rare inclusion among deep single-player RPG's. A player may choose to opt-in to an online connection to the After Earth servers, and in doing so, have their gameplay choices included in the writing of a global ending, optionally shared by all players, in addition to that of the individual player. The fate of all may be influenced by the actions of all, in an event that this Funding Crowd member suspects will again demonstrate the Tragedy of the Commons. Quite fitting for the setting, surely?

Unfortunately, an eponymous black cloud hangs over the studio, with practically all of the remaining funding still required. Despite the lack of traction gained so far, this post-apocalyptic epic can be supported for a DRM-free download at the $20 tier.

Conclusion paragraph

Here at The Funding Crowd, we aim to please! Well, at least if your aim is to clear your accounts and wallets of any pesky cash you might have lying around. This issue was lovingly crafted for you by s_d, scaine, Speedster, and yours truly, muntdefems. By nature, we free-software lovers are proponents of collaboration, and as previously mentioned, we'd love to see our team grow. Got a couple of hours to sacrifice each week along with that spare cash? We'll take it! We're still appealing to you for new volunteers, so feel free to offer your talents on the comments section of this article, or by contacting any of the aforementioned people by private message.

Expect us in a fortnight's time, so stay tuned until then. In the meantime, remember to check our crowdfunding wiki if you want to walk the bleeding-edge of Linux game crowdfunding. Until then, be well, dear readers!


New-pick banners

Banner Height = 125px

Banner Width = 300px ± ~25px

Placement number

  • font
    • 30pt
    • Nimbus Sans L Bold Italic
  • shadow
    • gaussian blur radius 10
    • move 2,4
    • dark text only: 60% layer opacity

Hidden Gems 1-6

http://imgur.com/hAP2RwZ,EWoNq2t,11ygpD4,ksk6oCG,EAm4gb0,vqiNYPO

Hidden Gem 7

http://i.imgur.com/ANTljOh.jpg

Biggie

http://imgur.com/lY5hfqp