Form(icidae) A Queue To Kickstart The Ant Experiment

By Craig Pearson on March 14th, 2012 at 7:00 pm.

Adam? Is that you?
The Ant Experiment is one of the more bizarre ideas out there: an MMO in which players will form an ant colony, which means large scale co-operative mandible-ing and ant-based problems, like “Who signed this release form saying David Attenborough was allowed to film us having sex?”, and “How did we get in this person’s pants?” Indie studio BlackCherry are looking for your help to Kickstart the game.

Described as “Minecraft meets Warcraft” (with ants, natch), the idea is to properly focus on the troubles an ant has to face: starting a colony, building a burrow, finding food. All with the tools an ant uses, which means colonies of different ant classes reshaping the their home together as they try to grow their influence in the world. There won’t be any human problems to deal with, and I guess rats are massive so it’s unlikely you’ll be asked to kill ten of them. The five minute pitch video below has none of the game, but plenty of whimsy. At least you know your money would be in silly hands.

Neat, but I do worry about games that haven’t even got the tech to prove their ideas are more than just that. Even if it’s just a Unity concept, prove to me you have the foundations in place.

, , .

45 Comments »

  1. Geist says:

    Though I’m not one to donate my dearly-needed cash-moneh, I would whole-heartedly like to see a MMO-version of SimAnts.

    DEATH TO THE SAND LIONS.

    • deadly.by.design says:

      SimAnt was good enough that I was able to play it and enjoy on the SNES, despite the controller inferiority. Then again, I hadn’t gotten into PC gaming yet…

      • Jumwa says:

        Same. I still have fond memories of nurturing my ant colonies on the old rented SNES copy, when I was far too poor to own a computer of any sort.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Sim ant MMO

      Very good idea, but i am afraid they had a different one.

      You are not master of colony. But lead single ant…

      Not quite sure how that will work.

  2. Geist says:

    Also, lawnmowers. This needs lawnmowers.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Well, it’s been a while since Maxis had a crack at it… but if I could choose which 80′s ant-related game to help fund a remake of, my money would be scuttling elsewhere.

    Nice trailer, though.

    • D3xter says:

      There was also a quite cool WarCraft III map also called “Sim Ant” with Multiplayer of up to 8 players where the Red Colony and the Black Colony fought for supremacy and had to evade monstrous things like giant spiders and leaping frogs while gathering food, it was quite awesome: http://www.xfire.com/video/4f3f83/

      In fact, there were A LOT of game concepts and ideas in WarCraft III that were simply awesome, some of them (like Tower Defense, DOTA or SpellCraft) even spawned off their own fullprice titles and genres. Too bad Blizzard turned rotten and just tries to monetize everything nowadays.

  4. Artist says:

    Animals have been harmed during the filming of the video! NOT FUNNY! NOT BUYING! ANGRY!

  5. HexagonalBolts says:

    I used to keep ant colonies. I know, strange hobby, you’d be surprised how many websites and shops there are out there dedicated to it. The Germans absolutely love it.

  6. Miltrivd says:

    I loved the video, that’s for sure. They beated Double Fine and Fargo on that!

  7. Unaco says:

    I want an Ant Farm Keyboard.

  8. Matt says:

    That reminds me, someone should remake Battle Bugs.

  9. PleasingFungus says:

    I thought you had a policy against posting kickstarters that didn’t have more than an idea?

    But I guess you’ve posted the Schafer and Wasteland 2 ones, so…

  10. sinister agent says:

    Funny, I was just talking about how there should be more games about ants, spiders, wasps, etc. Almost suspicious.

    But bleuch, MMO. Never mind. Sounds like it could be interesting to read about, though.

  11. ukpanik says:

    Avoid the ray of death!

  12. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    My user name is finally relevant!

  13. Valvarexart says:

    Unity? Flash? Mobile?

    Other than that it looked very interesting, but Unity really put me off.

  14. RF says:

    Which would be great and stuff if it was on PC.

  15. dsch says:

    Ugh, they made no effort to check their Latin. I’m going to start a boutique consulting firm for this.

  16. Raticus79 says:

    How about “Sim MMO”: you play as the designer and monitor AI players with simulated emotions who react to the encounters/loot/balance, grind quests, form guilds and beat your encounters. Kind of like ProgressQuest on a grander scale…

  17. Ergates_Antius says:

    I approve of this game.

  18. somini says:

    Music by The Prodigy.

    Make it happen!

  19. Reefpirate says:

    I am crawling with ANTicipation.

  20. Nameless1 says:

    I loved this one, don’t know if any of you had the pleasure :D

    http://uk.pc.ign.com/objects/016/016705.html

  21. BAshment says:

    Pheromone keyboard or no funding.

  22. Discopanda says:

    SimAnt sequel? Maybe? Oooooh!

  23. lordfrikk says:

    Great video, I recommend everyone to watch it.

  24. Dizzard says:

    I don’t see what the real issue with posting kickstarter projects is if they appear well thought out, have fresh ideas and are presented well.

    Don’t forget that people are gambling with money themselves, nobody is forcing their hand. If they fund this and it goes belly up then that is a risk they should have been willing to take if they passed the money over in the first place.

    I haven’t funded a kickstarter game yet (not double fine or wasteland) and I only intend to fund one in the future if I’m so intensely invested in the game idea that I’d be ok with possibly throwing my money into the abyss because of the chance of something truly amazing.

    I’d agree with the blog though, these projects that don’t have the big names behind them like double fine or wasteland really need to bare all to the world in order to get better backing. A funny charismatic video won’t cut it.

    • Dizzard says:

      Oh and….

      http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/355932838/crowdsourced-hardcore-tactical-shooter

      Was just posted over at kotaku and totalbiscuit was talking about it in a video. An old school tactical shooter is completely not my thing…but I felt like spreading the word because it seems like another kickstarter that has strong pedigree behind it.

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        The word has already spread. And people keep mentioning it in every kickstarter-related thread. And no-one’s really that bothered (check the long comments thread there if you’re wondering why not).

    • Aatch says:

      RPS do post a kickstarters if they seem well thought out. The general policy of “Have something more than just an idea” is basically so they can say that “this is our policy, those guys are exceptions because… BLAME JIM!”

      And then they release the hounds, or bees, or hounds with bees in their mouths so when they bark, they shoot bees at you.

  25. Tokamak says:

    Fun video, but the game concept itself not something I see working well, especially as an MMO. I wish them the best of luck either way.

  26. battles_atlas says:

    Wonder when the first Kickstarter vapourware is going to happen?

  27. mechabuddha says:

    They’ll get my money just for putting Gustav Holst in their video.

  28. Vandalbarg says:

    Absolutely stunning concept. Having been fooling around in the team based war game King Arthur’s Gold lately, I’m pretty amazed how well people work together (sometimes). This, extrapolated to ants, would be really damn interesting.

    However there’s no evidence here that the game will be any good. Not even a tech demo, as you said. No past games to judge this off.

    I’m not throwing my money down this particular drain until they prove they can follow through, and I deeply hope they can.

  29. antexperiment says:

    Hey Craig and everyone,

    Thanks so much for starting the Queue and thanks for all the amazing comments.

    Ok yes, you’ve seen the video, we’ve got silly hands but…

    We really appreciate the support. Our core team is a diverse group of game industry and media pros. Our dev team is young for sure but they are incredibly talented. We’ve been working with Unity for 4 years now. While we’ve largely been a work for hire shop, we’ll be launching two games of our own on iPad in the next 4 months. We’ll also be launching a pretty cool browser based history game, with art inspired by the Group of Seven, in beta at the end of March. You can check our blog for info on that project, First Encounters. We’ll be posting more artwork in the next few days.
    We have a pretty huge slate of Unity/Android development underway as well.

    We’d be happy to answer any other questions via antexperiment at blackcherrydm.com. Thanks for spreading the word and please keep the Queue going!

  30. margareet says:

    I think she is more beautiful.
    http://kisalt.be/31vt5l