Kickstarter Katchup 26th May 2012

By John Walker on May 26th, 2012 at 6:46 pm.

And now it is a regular. Below you’ll find the latest on the PC Kickstarters that have caught our eye over the last week, including many that people have contacted us about. Want to let me know about your/a vital Kickstarter? There’s no promise of being included at all, but send an email via the link in my name above, and it’ll go in the pot. I think the theme that really comes out this week is just how much money half a million dollars is. When Schafer pitched at $400,000, he thought he was being crazy. That he made $3.5m I think made it look too easy. A few aren’t going to make it, because the numbers are simply too high for the accompanying interest. On the other hand, smaller indies looking for more modest targets are reaching their totals this week. Which opens up the next question of whether these modest targets are unrealistically low… I think there are going to be a lot of interesting tales told in six to eight months time. So as usual, please understand that our listing games here doesn’t mean we endorse them, or think they’re definitely worth your money – it’s your gamble to back anything.

Spate – Eric Provan

With only six hours to go, the steampunk 2D platformer has made it. The animation is looking quite stilted, but there’s a lovely distinctive style. There seems to be a lot of passion going into this. Also, in informs that robots poop. The man behind it, Eric Provan, has worked on various movies like Alice In Wonderland, and the next Spider-Man project, and clearly has a vision for the surrealist world he’s building. It was a relatively teeny target, and it’s swooped over it by a couple of extra grand.

Two Guys SpaceVenture – Two Guys From Andromeda

Things have really slowed down on this reuniting of the Space Quest developers, at $231k the particularly enormous target of half a million looking troublingly far away. Getting a bit confusing in their updates, going on about “Prototype 2″ when a game of that name just came out, I think the loss of focus hasn’t been endearing. Fortunately by their fourteenth update they realised they should probably discuss the game they’re actually brainstorming. And then didn’t, saying it was all too soon. Two guys who seemingly haven’t spoken for twenty years saying they’re going to make a game, half a million bucks please, isn’t perhaps enough. They’ve hinted the protagonist may be female this time around, and confirmed it will not step on the Space Quest license at all – not even a cameo from Wilco – and promised space-based dogfights. I’m a little concerned by one line in their update, “No recent sci-fi/fantasy related movie, series or video game is safe from our parody scope. We’re looking at you Avatar, Firefly, and Halo.” That’s not a particularly inspiring use of “recent”.

Word Realms – Asymmetric

I’m still bewildered how the Kingdom Of Loathing community hasn’t instantly funded this one a thousand times over. Looking for $100,000, the guys behind the daft MMO are looking to gather funding to develop this new single-player word-based RPG into another online world, essentially selling this one to fund the next. There are still four weeks to go, with nearly half the money raised, but it seems like madness this isn’t draining the world’s wallets more quickly.

Edge Of Space – HandyMan Studios

To describe this as Terraria in space doesn’t really do justice to the fact that this looks just like Terraria, but in space. But this one is a multiplayer explorer. It’s certainly an interesting take, and the video shows an awful lot of original ideas. There’s also the odd twist that another incredibly similar game is in development in the form of Starbound, that has one of the Terraria artists on board – this could get interesting.

Carmageddon: Reincarnation – Stainless Games

With 11 days to go, and a big push from GOG.com, there’s no doubt this will make its target now. At $384,000 of a $400k total, it’ll sail in I’m sure. It seems there had been some grumbling about its being Steam-only, so they’re creating a DRM-free independent version that will work without Valve’s robot arms that will release later on. And it costs the same. The videos have been fairly tacky, but perhaps that’s par for the course with this series.

Tex Murphy: Project Fedora – Chris Jones & Aaron Conners

In the middle of its run, the usual (gosh, there are now things about Kickstarter gaming projects that are “usual”) slowdown is in place. Stalled at over halfway to its target, they’re going to need to do a big push to pick things up on this one, but with just under three weeks remaining there’s still plenty of time.

Rob Swigart’s Portal (1986) Reborn v2.0 – Subliminal Games

I have to admit that Portal (no, not that one) is one I completely missed. The formerly mostly text game is to be reinvented as a third-person adventure, featuring a returning astronaut discovering he’s the last human on Earth (apart from all the ones trying to kill him). It’s asking for a massive $530,000, and while only in the very early stages, hasn’t yet made it to $20k. Which makes their decision to hide half their updates from non-backers a pretty bloody stupid one.

Cloudberry Kingdom – Pwnee Studios

With hours to go, the $20,000 target has been reached for the deliberately incredibly difficult platformer, which they’re claiming has an AI that can develop its own levels. There’s a beta available for those who pledge, to get an idea if it’s as utterly impossible as the video makes it look. $2k over and climbing, there are seven more hours at the time of posting to get in on the tiers.

Drifter – Celsius Game Studios

Drifter has also made it, clearing its $50k goal with over a week to go. Of course, I’m sure they’d be keen to stress that the more they get, the better their space trading game could be, but I’m sure they’re equally happy knowing there’s a big financial injection coming their way.

Skyjacker – DIGITILUS

Things weren’t looking too good for the space-blamming sim, with not a quarter of the hefty $200k goal reached with only five days to go. So they’ve cancelled the whole thing and started over. A bit of a risky move, that. Obviously they weren’t going to get the cash, but it might perhaps test some people’s patience. However, it seems a big part of the relaunch was to address issues with reward tiers (something Kickstarter obviously doesn’t let projects change after they’ve been set.) The game looks splendid, and is almost complete. You can play a demo of it here. They’ve been rejected by Ubisoft, EA, and Square, and are looking to be able to publish it themselves. The issue with their starting again is they’re now on less than half what they’d previously raised, barely a tenth of their goal. But they’ve given themselves 60 days this time, and 57 of them remain. I’ve a feeling this game will come out either way, but if they’re $200,000 short, not making this target means it could be heftily delayed.

Kinetic Void – Badland Studio

There are only four days left for this emergent space explorer with its incredibly varied ships, and it’s still not halfway to its modest $60,000 goal. I’m surprised by this one – I thought it would easily exceed the 60k, but it seems it’s struggling. The last couple of days have seen a healthy extra $6k or so arrive, but it’s going to need a big push from somewhere if it’s to make it.

Always Outnumbered: A Competitive Tower Defense Game – SRRN Games, GO Gaming

One that really hasn’t caught any attention so far, with just over £8k made of its rather big $175,000 goal, Always Outnumbered comes from a team that have had publishing success via Konami. This time they’re looking to go it alone, with a tower defence game based on competitive multiplayer. But its funding has been pretty static for a week now – are people willing to fork out for another tower defence game, no matter how big the twist?

Kitaru – Aoineko Studios

It’s not doing itself too many favours by showing most of its in-game footage on an iPhone screen, but Kitaru certainly looks impressive. Astonishing CG seems remarkable for an elaborate RPG project asking for only $25,000, but this is a team using Kickstarter really to gather pre-orders and a beta crew. There’s eight days to go, and they’re almost there. It looks very professional, with motion capture, voice talent and seemingly a ton of cutscenes. However, despite a promised PC release, the offered preview versions seem to be on iPhone alone.

Paper Knight’s Story – In-Qu Games

Only asking for a teeny thousand bucks, this very cute-if-primitive-looking 2D RPG obviously owes a bunch to Paper Mario. It’s not quite halfway to its goal, but there are still 15 days on the clock. The final game will be free and released on PC only, which makes for an interestingly altruistic funding model – certainly there are tiers, but the lower end are mostly stuff you’d expect to be dished out for free as promos. Although the maximum $200 is splendid – you get to be the main villain in the game!

, , .

147 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Richie Shoemaker says:

    No Conquest 2?

  2. Srekel says:

    You missed on Zombie Playground: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/massiveblack/zombie-playground-zpg-3d-action-online-battle-rpg

    I’ve backed a few projects on kickstarter by now but as a fellow game developer, this is one of those that doesn’t work for me. (though I remain open to being convinced otherwise)

    1) They only have concept art yet as far as backers can tell.

    2) They ask for $100k, i.e. about 1-2 years salary for a San Fran game developer (per person)

    3) They only list artists and designers, no programmers, and even say that they are a “Design studio”. As a programmer, this scares me. Although, I now see this question answered in the FAQ: “It is true that Massive Black has traditionally been an art house, but rest assured we have in-house programming and very close relationships with other extremely talented and experienced game studios (programming and design) that will be working full-time in tandem with us on this game once funding is achieved.”

    4) This is completely irrational on my end but it seems, I don’t know, a bit arrogant maybe, to outline goals up until $2m.

    On the other hand, Massive Black is apparently a house full of skilled people, so maybe there’s nothing to worry about. I just don’t see how $100k is going to get them anywhere for a project of that magnitude…

    • Shuck says:

      Huh, odd. Although it’s lovely concept art, I was unimpressed by the fact that it appears to just be a re-skinned zombie fighting game (with characters and weapons only superficially replaced with children and toys) – seems like a missed opportunity for the gameplay to differ from all the other zombie-shooters out there.
      The funding is odd, but presumably it’s the same situation as almost every other Kickstarter game campaign – the funds being raised don’t represent the whole budget. (In this case, however, I’m not sure what the money is for – audio? extra programmers at the higher funding level?) The Kickstarter conundrum is neatly embodied by two of your objections – 100K isn’t enough to make a game but $2M (which also isn’t necessarily enough) is an “arrogant” amount to demand from Kickstarter.

    • qrter says:

      They have a question in their FAQ about wanting to see a gameplay video, which they then completely ignore in their answer.

      So that’s all good.

    • GTRichey says:

      I don’t think it’s arrogant to outline goals for what to do at certain funding levels. To me it makes it clear that they have clearly laid out their plans as far as where the money is to go. Especially with software projects I actually think this is a very good thing. If there are no clear goals/plans, backers may wonder whether their money will actually go toward production (especially after the kickstarter goal is reached).

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      If any game developers in SF are actually working for 50k, please send me an email or something. I could you find you a much more liveable working wage in programming in other lines of work.

      • Veav says:

        I’ve heard the Big Name gaming industry really lowballs its employees, offering entry-level wages to seasoned applicants. “You can’t get a new software engineer for that price.” “Yes we can, we make video games.” All hearsay though.

  3. Srekel says:

    As for Always Outnumbered, I’m a sucker for TDs but from the kickstarter pitch it was really hard to tell what was going to be great about it – exactly how it was going to be “competitive” etc. I think it’s pretty much a must for these types of kickstarters to have a prototype and maybe even a demo (like Xenonauts) before they start their campaign. This isn’t too much of a request – that’s basically what you always have to do when pitching your game idea to a publisher…

    In their latest update they have a video of the state that the game is in right now – that should’ve been in the original pitch. They also apparently have a prototype written as an SC2 mod, which is great, and it might have possibly been a good idea to share the mod with the community so that people could try it out for themselves to see what’s cool about this particular TD.

  4. Phantoon says:

    I think Word Realms hasn’t been funded yet because the art is terrible.

    • Shuck says:

      Isn’t that part of the appeal?

        • Quarex says:

          Hahahahahah

          Agreed; there is a big difference between “Kingdom of Loathing” having terrible art that was so simple that you could laugh, and this having terrible art that just kind of makes you think they do not have any artistic talent.

          • The Random One says:

            There is a difference between terrible and stylized, and one of us can’t tell.

    • Veav says:

      Have you played Kingdom of Loathing? Terrible art combined with compelling gameplay is practically their calling card.

      • StreetTom says:

        Compelling gameplay, humor, amazing interaction with the community, and just general awesomeness.

  5. psychoconductor says:

    I love the idea of Kickstarter. I love that developers are using it. I just can’t seem to part with my money this way, though.

    • Contrafibularity says:

      You could always buy the games (that interest you) when they’re finished, you know, how videogames have been bought for centuries (well, at least in two centuries.. or three if you believe RPS’ slogan). People might look at you funny and whisper behind your back “would you believe it? this person only buys games AFTER release!” but it gets the job done.

  6. Sheza says:

    Am I the only one that thinks the developers etc don’t think out the rewards very well?

    I see loads of game projects where they promise special boxed editions of the games complete with themed tat from cards and figurines to posters and t-shirts, but for a crazily low backing price of well under $50.

    I can’t remember any specifics, but each time I see the perks and the minimum price to achieve them I cringe at how impossible it’s going to be to fulfil them.

    • CGSColin says:

      FWIW the physical Drifter rewards are all pretty reasonable I think. Though I do tend to agree with you. Producing and shipping physical stuff can get pricey.

      Full disclosure: I’m the guy behind Drifter :)

      • Veav says:

        It’s definitely something to deliberately price and make sure the end results don’t bleed the funding dry. Not all swag is printed equal though; fun fact, it’s more expensive in materials, handling, shipping to print a small poster than to send out a shiny professional-grade DVD in jewel case. So as long as the project guys are clever they can massage which pops when and not give away the house.

        Full disclosure: I’m not the guy behind Skyjacker but I got his Skype. :D

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Yeah a lot of them are REALLY poorly thought out. I have seen several projects where even under the rosiest scenarios the rewards are going to eat 60% of the money if they happen.

      So either they won’t send out the rewards, or if they do send them out the projects will just fail/be crap for “lack of funding”.

      I don’t want $150 of crap for donating $200 for you to make a game, I just want you to actually make the freaking game. I can make a T-shirt myself if I really want one.

  7. PhantomBlade13 says:

    Umm Edge of space does not use the terraria engine at all

  8. Navagon says:

    Carma carma carma carma carmageddon
    You run them over
    You run them ooooover

    Somehow Carmageddon’s GOG-related shenanigans have been significantly more successful than Project Fedora’s. I guess if the promotional offer is in place from the start and the games are already on GOG it’s that much more difficult for people to get excited about.

    I really hope Fedora makes its target. It seems the way to win at the kickstarter game is to not have all your cards on the table from the outset. So they’ve got to think of something.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      Well, I upped my pledge on Carma to $25 because of the GOG thing (now up yours?). Not least because I already tried running my copy of Carma with dosbox in various ways, and got exactly nowhere. The game runs, and on the rare occasion that it doesn’t ask for the CD that’s already in the drive, it starts and immediately corrupts horribly (remember the ‘drugs’ powerup? Like that all the time).

      I can’t speak for why Carma is more popular than Tex Murphy, but it’s certainly something I’ve wanted to come back many times.

      • Navagon says:

        I take it you mounted the DVD drive in dosbox as well as the game’s own directory, right? If not that would account for the disc request problems you’re having.

        The GOG version should benefit from 3DFX support as they recently signed a deal with Zeus Software to use their glide emulator. So hopefully that will mean we’re able to get the game looking its best with minimal effort.

  9. lordcooper says:

    Kenshi has a ‘kickstarter’ going on over here: http://www.indiegogo.com/kenshi

    Great game and well worth a look,

    • D says:

      I looked and saw the same trailer that existed, I think, 2 years ago.

      • lordcooper says:

        So it’s a bad thing that the sole developers spends time working on the game instead of making promotional crap?

        • Kektain says:

          It is if he’s trying to promote the game on Kickstarter, yes.

  10. LordShaggy says:

    LordShaggy here (One of the devs from Edge of space) I wanted to clarify some things said about our game.

    – We are using the UNITY3d Engine
    – We are not using ANY artwork from terraria
    – It is not by any means literally Terraria
    – All assets are original
    – We have a power system that terraria has nothing like
    – The game is much more focused on goals and exploration with focus
    – Our combat is faster paced
    – The game has some aspects that will feel similar to Terraria in the since of what a 2d sandbox is like, beyond that it is very different.

  11. hairrorist says:

    Hey, why don’t I saunter on down to RPS to read about some new and upcoming games? Right… I forgot that they are a kickstarter advertising portal now.

    • Gnoupi says:

      At least it’s regrouped in one article per week now. No reason to be so dramatic, so.

    • subedii says:

      Haha, man I don’t even know what you’re upset about, just that you’re clearly upset about something.

    • John Walker says:

      Oh do stop whining, you silly man. It’s an extra post on a Saturday, on top of the piles and piles of posts exactly of the type you want. If you can’t cope with this post existing, can I suggest staring at your toaster instead.

    • Cryptoshrimp says:

      Aren’t kickstarter games new and upcomming as well?

    • abandonhope says:

      There’s certainly a difference between games that exist, either in release or alpha/beta states, and ones that don’t and might never, but how does this affect whether it’s appropriate or useful for a publication to cover them? Plenty of coverage goes to speculation on unreleased titles, and unreleased titles sometimes get canceled. This doesn’t render their coverage worthless.

      Much of gaming news tends to function as advertising, so the distinction you’re making–that covering existing and potentially upcoming games is good, but covering potentially upcoming games from developers looking for funding is bad–is kind of stupid.

      RPS has given a lot of love to Age of Decadence, which is now accepting pre-orders, with a release that’s probably a year away. There’s little difference between that and projects on Kickstarter–except that Kickstarter has the power to put these kinds of games into the hands of players sooner, eliminating the half-decade-long waits that tend to come with self-funding.

      • hairrorist says:

        That’s a good step then. I didn’t realize you decided to aggregate them. It was only annoying when there were literally 3 kickstarter ads per day that it was intolerable. I stopped reading RPS because that’s all that was being covered.

        And no, kickstarter projects are only ‘new and upcoming games’ in the way that a teenager with a wet dream is having a son.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      Yes, because every article on RPS ever since the Double Fine Adventure thing has been about Kickstarter. Right.

  12. Alphabet says:

    Spate looks amazing. But I always hate it when there’s a Kickstarter tier that doesn’t include the game. These aren’t charities! Plus, I always worry that some busy people will just click on the first tier and not read it in detail and therefore not realise that they’re not getting a copy of the game.

    • Veav says:

      Kickstarters aren’t pre-orders, they’re opportunities to vote with your dollar on what gets made. I routinely blow more on a Kickstarter than I ever would on the finished product because I want crowdsourcing to succeed. And here’s the other side: if someone wants to pitch in but can only afford $5, wouldn’t you rather give them something than say “haha, sorry, your money’s not enough for us to care about”?

      • Alphabet says:

        So give them the game for $5 then? Or perhaps even better, don’t take their $5?

        • Veav says:

          “Don’t take their $5″? I’m sorry, I wish I had something more constructive to say. But all I got is: that’s adorable. Man, when you see a reward tier that you don’t like, and it has a backer on it – you weren’t the target audience. Doesn’t make it a bad reward tier.

          • Alphabet says:

            So you think that it should work as a charity that takes money from people who can’t afford the price of the game but want to back it? They can have a digital wallpaper, after all! I think that’s rather distasteful, myself.

      • Atrak says:

        This seems really obvious to me but I don’t know why the lower tier pledges that don’t include the full game wouldn’t give a coupon for the amount pledged off the full game. Alternatively they could let the person choose to have that instead of a wallpaper or a sticker or some other rather lame item.

        I’m sure a lot of people want to back a lot of these games but dropping $25 bucks on something might not be feasible before the time limit is up, allowing the lower level tiers to at least save the money they fronted you on the finished product seems like it would be the smartest thing to do, yet I haven’t seen a single project do it yet.

        Is there some rule on kickstarter that would disallow this?

        • Veav says:

          This is something we want to do at Skyjacker. Any pledge (even at $1!) is good for $5 off any digital product in the store once it launches, on top of the wallpaper or soundtrack or even the full game. Sadly, you got it right: there’s a rule on kickstarter that explicitly disallows this.

          http://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq/creators#WhatCanBeOffeAsARewa – “There are some limitations on what can be offered as a reward. Investment and loan solicitations are forbidden, as are lotteries, raffles, sweepstakes, and coupons/discounts on future goods.” (emphasis mine)

          I dun get it, because all the rewards on tap are a 100% discount on a future good, but it’s their house and we play by their rules.

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        Given that digital videogame distribution has essentially zero flexible costs, it does seem rather stingy to me.

        If it has some sort of ongoing online component, then I can see requiring a certain buy-in to play.

  13. malkav11 says:

    The Portal kickstarter is a sad story. The original game looks pretty rad, and the things they’re talking about doing sound really compelling. But this is actually the second time around for them (they originally launched with a shorter timeline and $900k goal) and it just doesn’t seem to be taking.

    I think neither goal was realistic in light of the obscurity of the original game and a general glut of Kickstarter projects, but they’ve insisted that even with a tightening of the belt as far as content goes and some rethinking of how to handle development, $550k is the least they could afford to make the game on. And, you know, that might well be true, I can’t say for sure. I definitely think the success stories of Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2, and Shadowrun Returns have colored perception of what constitutes adequate funding and/or a successful project.

    • Richie Shoemaker says:

      Portal is an interesting one. I love the premise, but it seems to me that as soon as they get the funding they’ll be passing the dev torch to a third-party. Not an indie third-party, but a contract team that make it’s money doing rote content for other devs. A win situation, but not for the backers.

    • Ayn Rand says:

      I really like the idea of the Portal, but they’re going about it in the worst way possible. I can’t see anything good coming from this with the absolutely insane amount of physical rewards they’re offering and outsourcing the actual development of the game.

    • JamesPatton says:

      I played Portal a few years ago and thought it was a wonderful little game. Definitely under-appreciated (even if some of the “puzzles” were a bit obscure; they were mostly interface-puzzles, since the whole game is essentially the interface). So I’d love for this to get made, but I just don’t see it happening.

  14. abandonhope says:

    Pretty comprehensive roundup. I too am surprised that Kinetic Void hasn’t cleared 60K by now, especially considering the last RPS article. The Freelancer community is still holding on today; you’d think those people would cut themselves to have a new game that continues in its footsteps. I guess they’re busy changing diapers or something.

    Edit: I also can’t, for the life of me, figure out why Drifter is flying past its goal and Kinetic Void isn’t. I like both quite a bit–they’re both scratching the same itch. That a sizable portion of Drifter’s backers are passing on Kinetic Void is just bewildering.

    • Veav says:

      You got me man. I’ve pledged both of them, on top of my pet project Skyjacker. Maybe Drifter is being discussed in some high-traffic blog that Kinetic Void hasn’t been posted on?

    • Veav says:

      Preference might be given in the roundup to projects that haven’t made it, and Malevolence has reached its goal by now. I know that I’d be pissed off if some kickstarter at 250% of its funding was in and my struggling kickstarter at 50% didn’t make the cut.

    • Navagon says:

      After Grimrock this is very appealing.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Malevolence looks to be the biggest sleeper hit of all the current crop once it’s out. Their premise is basically Grimrock + Minecraft – world editing, or Grimrock But You Can Play Forever. That’s huge potential right there.

    • malkav11 says:

      I’m deeply suspicious of procedural content generation, personally. It’s fine for sketching out basic details or for a bit of dynamism to a world (like how Skyrim uses it to bring you to previously unexplored bits of handcrafted content through procedurally generated quest objectives), but as the core design method for an entire game? I’m going to have to see the final version before I put forward a single penny.

      • Veav says:

        Take a look at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1564776348/the-hardest-platformer-ever – procedural generation does have a place and time.

        • Premium User Badge

          jrodman says:

          Why oh why must the newbs use BMP files on the web. 10x the size, less well supported, no progressive display, and they load backwards.

          Does anyone even make software that spits out BMP anymore short of microsoft paint? It’s sooo easy to support something reasonable like PNG or even gif these days.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        “but as the core design method for an entire game?”

        Minecraft. Elite. Civilization series. Most, if not all, of the 4X genre. Diablo series. Dark Cloud series. Disgaea series.

        I assume you already know about Dwarf Fortress, Dungeons of Dredmor, Binding of Isaac, and so on.

        The biggest question I have for the Malevolence team is not the procedural stuff but what they’re doing for their lighting engine. Almost all lighting engines assume a finite, predefined level which can have a bunch of math done to it which is then saved as data ( lightmaps, shadowmaps, etc.). Minecraft gets away with not precomputing anything by having the whole world based on perpendicular cubes (which is also why you can place an arbitrary number of torches), but Malevolence has more complex geometry.

        • LionsPhil says:

          As long as the lights have finite range (and they do: quadratic falloff and all that, and even static precomputed lighting doesn’t treat them as infinite in any engine I know of) you should be able to chop the problem into regions.

        • malkav11 says:

          Many of those games are -why- I’m skeptical about procedural generation. I found Diablo’s level design to be absolutely appalling in its dullness (because it wasn’t, y’know, designed). Minecraft generates some stunning landscapes but no reason for me to care. Etc.

        • tyen says:

          It looks like they are using dynamic lighting for the game, where baked lightmaps or shadowmaps are not being used. Minecraft uses clumps or regions of data for the information of it’s cubes, but for dynamic lighting this is not required as the lighting is a seperate render pass after the geometry and textures have been drawn on the screen, meaning the lighting step doesn’t need to know about where you are, or what exactly you are looking at, as long as there is geometry and shaders for the lighting engine to hit, light and create shadows, it’s good to go.

          The comparison in the video to Oblivion is a good one in terms of their lighting, as Oblivion also uses a dynamic lighting system. Which can support it’s large open world. As opposed with RAGE, where we have an example of lightmapping gone wild. As currently it sits on my harddrive at a solid 30gigs or so, where almost all of that is very large textures for the world lighting. Indeed unless it was done with some fancy lightmap texture and similar world geometry layout, isn’t really possible for a game of this scale to do static lighting.

          I didn’t really think about how Minecraft did their lighting. But if the lighting that is affecting each face of the cube from the sun, moon, every torch, pumpkin and fire is stored and used to finally light the blocks I’m really curious to know what tricks were done to trim down all that data.

          Kinda sounds like Minecraft should be using some straight up dynamic lighting :)

    • Vinraith says:

      Good find, Zeno. To me, this is vastly more intriguing than anything in the official roundup article.

    • noom says:

      Just browsed into that looking on the kickstarter website, and have to admit two things.

      Firstly (and I’m sure somebody will correct me here on some semantic distinction between random and procedural) it states that the “World is NOT randomly generated, but it IS infinite…”. That, uhh, well… really?

      Secondly, $6000 seems a little low if their aim is to add a great deal of polish.

      These petty niggles aside, I do love the look of this game and will keep an eye out for the eventual release.

      • Quirk says:

        I imagine what they’re getting at is that they’ll be using some pseudo-random number generator that starts from some seed; so if you find some bit of the world you like, you can share its seed with a friend and it will be generated identically for them.

        Looks pretty horrible to me personally – as empty as a roguelike without permadeath. “An infinite number of quests to go on” means all or almost all of them will be permutations of a few basic ideas. I’d expect this game to feel incredibly samey after a few hours of play.

        • malkav11 says:

          There is supposedly going to be a main quest that will be written by the developers. But yeah, that’s pretty much what I expect from the sidequests.

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        They mean it is randomly generated, but every player gets the same randomly generated world.

        Elite was built, more or less, the same way. Of course, it had to be. There was no possible way to store that much content on floppy disks at the time.

        They’re being kind of obtuse in the explanation though.

        And it might as well be randomly generated, except in the sense that you don’t get a world wipe ever (on death, on subsequent games, etc). It will have the same sort of wonky feel as a randomly generated game can have.

        The best games of this nature, imo, focus on non-world aspects. Such as tactics, survivability, profitability, etc. And most have a completable arc, or a high survival challenge. Because the procedural world is never going to hold anyone’s interest that long.

  15. LionsPhil says:

    Not surprised to see Spaceventure struggling, given how awkward and vague everything has been so far with it.

    Still, shame that they couldn’t sort themselves out better.

  16. keedy says:

    Glad to see the correction.

    • abandonhope says:

      This is either the weirdest attempt at spam ever, or I don’t have any fucking idea what you’re talking about. Are you having a hard time understanding why RPS exists, some five years after it was launched?

      • qrter says:

        It’s a parody playing on the bit about Edge of Space in the article.

        And I’m using the word ‘parody’ in the broadest sense possible.

      • keedy says:

        before the article was silently edited, it was a word replacement of their portion on edge of space. I’ve edited the post now that they’ve corrected it.

  17. Veav says:

    Veav here (self-appointed promoter for Skyjacker, seriously, they don’t pay me or anything) – thanks for bringing up the new Skyjacker! We received a lot of community feedback from the original Kickstarter, a huge chunk of it from the RPS community in particular, and we had several round-tables with backers to horse out a new approach that worked for everyone. But at the end of the day the only way to act on it was to pull the plug and start fresh. So we did!

    It’s ballsy yeah but we have nearly half of our previous backers moved over and we’re working to pull in the rest, as well as letting those who were previously turned off know that we did listen and made changes. Response from everyone we’ve reached out to has been overwhelmingly positive so far. So even if we’re not back up to the starting point, we did the right thing. After all it isn’t a crowdsourced game if the crowd says “Change this!” and we say “No, you change.”

  18. Scorpio1973 says:

    I would also like to thank you guys for mentioning Skyjacker. If any of you guys have ever had any love for space combat games, then I urge you to try out the demo. We have the beginnings of an amazing community so far, and the devs do their best to answer any and all questions thrown at them. This will be a fantastic game, give it some love if you can.

  19. thunderpunchstudios says:

    I have to agree with Sheza, that it seems like a lot of Kickstarter projects don’t take into account the cost of producing and shipping their incentives. The following link from the “successful” project, Star Command, outlines some of the major issues pretty well: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/starcommand/star-command-sci-fi-meets-gamedev-story-for-ios-an/posts/208395

    I also wanted to ask what you all would consider the most important aspects of a Kickstarter project before backing? Substance over incentives? Awesome art and/or video over an awesome concept? Digital goodies over physical swag? (My studio is jumping on the Kickstarter bandwagon, so we’re trying to tailor our campaign to the desires of our audience.)

    • Veav says:

      For me personally – there has to be something more than concept art and talking heads. Give me something in a game engine, something to believe in beyond promises. It doesn’t have to be a polished final product! I know stuff is subject to change and if you need a kickstarter it’s not complete. But it’s proof that you’re not blowing smoke.

      (There are seasonal exceptions, like going in for Shadowrun or Double Fine. But most projects don’t have the big name recognition. If the guy who made Full Throttle says he’s going to make a game, I’ll believe in him. :D )

      • thunderpunchstudios says:

        One thing I’ve seen several projects doing is launching a “tech demo” kickstarter to raise a small amount in order to put that stuff together. How do you feel about that practice? I think it’s got it’s pros and cons, and is definitely open to abuse, but I think it allows even budgetless start-ups to stay competitive with the Kickstarters of the major players.

        • Veav says:

          Hmm… I saw the theory mentioned in the kickstarter help files, about breaking down the dev cycle into multiple kickstarters. I don’t think it’s an inherently evil thing to do but I do think there are so many ways it could go wrong and you can’t legitimately offer the same carrot of a finished product at the end. I’d be taking a kickstarter like that with a grain of salt, if not the entire salt shaker…

        • malkav11 says:

          I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, but they won’t get my money unless they’re offering a tangible reward I want that they can deliver at that stage of funding.

          • thunderpunchstudios says:

            So you’re saying that even if a Kickstarter is just step 1 of a 2-step process, you’re cool with it as long as the incentives hold up? In that case, what kind of incentives are you looking for, since they can’t be related to the actual game (since that would be step 2)? Do you prefer physical stuff like t-shirts and autographed art, or the popular “join our dev-only forum; give input on the title”, or something else?

          • malkav11 says:

            If you were kickstarting the development of a stage of a game, rather than the whole game, I’d probably want copies of a previous game, or other related digital goodies like novels, music, etc that already exist and can be provided within a reasonable timeline. I have no interest in physical tchotchkes for the most part and honestly believe that they have no place in the rewards for digital content kickstarters. (Someone that’s kickstarting, say, a board game or other physical object presumably already has access to some sort of manufacturing/printing operation, so the costs bother me less there, and the result is already something that’s going to take up space in my house.)

            It’s purely theoretical, because I haven’t so far been willing to back any Kickstarter that’s not funding the entire project.

            Edit: Wait, no, that’s not true. I forgot that Word Realms is actually funding an MMO, which I have little to no interest in, but they’ve already developed a full singleplayer title, so I backed for that.

          • thunderpunchstudios says:

            But say it’s not really a stage of the game as much as it is procuring the necessary funding to put together the resources to show backers what your project is about. Wow, that sounds confusing, so here’s my attempt at a clarification:

            You want to start a Kickstarter to fund your project because you have absolutely no budget and making a game is exceptionally expensive. However, no one will give you money unless you can show them some eye candy, and least a prototype model of your game. You also need prototypes of various incentives you can show, and you need to cover a host of other expenses just to launch the campaign to raise money for your project. So the idea is to launch a much smaller Kickstarter campaign with low-tier ($1 – $25) incentives to raise the money necessary to develop the assets needed give potential backers the information they need to make an educated decision on whether or not to back your game. (I think I made it sound even more confusing that it did originally…)

            So it’s not really a “tech demo” in the traditional sense, but a new kind of demo oriented towards giving Kickstarter backers everything they look for in a Kickstarter campaign before they make a high-end investment in the project.

          • malkav11 says:

            It comes to the same thing for me. I don’t kickstart things as a charitable endeavour. I kickstart them to get the game (or book or whatever). If a traditional Kickstarter project succeeds, it should have received enough funding to deliver the game (or book or whatever). A project to produce something to show potential investors doesn’t have any kind of inbuilt guarantee said investors will actually produce the necessary funds (or that a followup Kickstarter project will, as you apparently are proposing). It’s not morally wrong to do – if people want to contribute to a project with that goal, more power to them. But I personally am not interested.

          • thunderpunchstudios says:

            Very nice, well-stated feedback. Thanks!

        • abandonhope says:

          I just noticed Embers of Caerus today, which happens to be an investment prototype project–the dev is looking to bring the game “to the attention of the major players in the industry.” I’m not sure this kind of thing really fits in with the spirit of Kickstarter.

          I rather like the standard model–backer invests a small amount of money to receive something that is generally of a higher value later; developer gets funding for its existence, as well as potential profit and growth.

          For a tech prototype, backers are essentially a collective angel investor, bearing the brunt of the risk (albeit small) with no corresponding reward, all so that other investors can take less of a risk and profit more. I think this kind of thing would be more suited to a micro-investor platform, but of course the dev benefits more by selling people a $50 game that they have to wait four years to play.

          All in all though, the dev behind Embers of Caerus is being up front about what it aims to do, and if people want to back it that’s really none of my business.

          • thunderpunchstudios says:

            But assuming the incentives are practical and based purely on the tech-demo campaign and not on the actual game that may or may not be coming out, would you say it can be worth it for backers to invest in such a Kickstarter?

          • abandonhope says:

            I think the tech demo angle worked for the Pathfinder MMO because most of the backers are coming from the tabletop game, which makes the non-game physical rewards of specific interest to them. Beyond that, I suppose it depends on the game, and the rewards. I personally wouldn’t want to pledge for a t-shirt for a project that might never see the light of day; non-game game-specific rewards for a dead project: kind of useless.

            Embers of Caerus actually lists the game as one of the rewards. While letting backers pledge for a copy of the game during the tech demo phase is kind of one step removed from a deliverable promise, I’d rather back for a game I might never play than rewards related to a game that might never exist.

            Additionally, for prototype-style projects for which there is likely to be more risk and more waiting, I’d expect to receive more for my money. Everyone understands that physical rewards cost money, so there’s not a lot of wiggle room there, but giving away a digital copy of a game costs relatively little. If you’re planning on asking people to fund a could-be, sweetening the pot is highly advisable.

            Pledging once to receive some miscellaneous physical rewards and then pledging again to receive the actual game is a pretty big turn-off, and probably not something I’d ever do.

          • thunderpunchstudios says:

            Ok, those are really good points. So basically you’re saying that taking digital rewards that will eventually be seen in the main project and offering them at a significantly lower reward tier for the demo project could be enough to interest you in backing the demo-oriented project? I think that’s a really cool concept. It’s basically giving backing discounts to the early adopters.

          • abandonhope says:

            Exactly. That’s what it would take to get me interested, anyway. However, I think you have to approach it cautiously, and there are some things to consider even if they might not directly affect what you’re doing.

            For most projects, the entry-level, get-the-game tier includes an implied reward–getting the game for less for backing early. You need to be careful not to dilute the value of that tier. Most people at that level won’t care no matter how many physical items you’re giving away to higher backers, but once you start adding things like DLC and other game-altering rewards, it lessens the perceived value of the base tier.

            I’ve also seen one decent-sounding project (which has failed spectacularly) offer limited-edition early adopter specials for much cheaper than the base tier. People don’t want to land on a project page and find that they aren’t getting the insiders deal. If you’re offering early adopter deals as part of a separate project, I doubt your second-phase backers are going to mind, but it’s still something to keep in mind.

          • thunderpunchstudios says:

            I’m not sure I’m following you. Are you saying DLC rewards in general dilute the value of offering the game, or only DLC rewards of a specific tier?

          • abandonhope says:

            I was just pointing out some of the ways a developer might inadvertently dilute the value of the base tier.

            From what I’ve seen, backers have been uncomfortable with the idea of funding a game for which a dev is already planning paid DLC, which sort of amounts to asking for someone’s help so you can profit off of them later (kind of like kids trying to sell lemonade to their parents, who funded the entire lemonade stand operation). The issue is compounded somewhat by the average indie gamer’s stance toward DLC in general.

            Initially promising launch DLC to higher tier backers was nearly catastrophic for Starlight Inception, and separating various game components out for different tiers didn’t do Skyjacker any favors, either (something they rectified in the re-launch).

            Plenty of successful projects have had tiers that included all future DLC, or one future DLC, and there’s nothing wrong with that, per se. In my experience, indie projects tend to win more adoration by making future DLC a free benefit for funders, but this is obviously not a one-size-fits-all option.

          • thunderpunchstudios says:

            Ah, I gotcha. Thanks for the clarification!

    • MondSemmel says:

      In addition to the game idea appealing to me (I personally couldn’t care less about sci-fi space ship fighting stuff, for example), I expect a certain business sense from the developers: Appropriate reward tiers, pricing in taxes, the money going to Amazon Payments and Kickstarter itself (5% and 5% of the remaining 95%), money going to physical goods, etc.. EDIT: I mean, I read the Star Command story, and that was ridiculously unprofessional.

      Also, if you aren’t known for shipping games, don’t expect to get a huge budget. Instead of making your colossal dream game with one gazillion features, make something small and focused. That has a much higher chance of actually seing the light of day once it gets funded, and similarly, a much higher chance to get funded in the first place.

      Finally, if the kickstarter asks for money above, say, 10k $, there need to be _some_ kind of credentials. And “I worked in the games industry for X years and contributed to unremarkable games A, B, and C” may not be enough. Especially in huge teams, it’s really hard to get a sense of what you, personally, were responsible for. I’m comparatively more interested in which small flash games, game prototypes, etc. you personally have finished and shipped.

    • thunderpunchstudios says:

      Wow, you guys are giving some awesome feedback! Thanks! So say the team putting their project on Kickstarter isn’t known for much besides “unremarkable game a, b, and c”; would having their budget and development plan laid out for you to view make you any more likely to contribute to the Kickstarter? For instance, I’m a small business owner who’s run a very successful business for several years, and even though this is my first foray into making a game, our budget and business plan should be air tight. When you see that we don’t really have much of a track record (besides a few team members’ ds and ps1 titles), but that we do seem to know what we’re doing and have a solid plan and budget lined up, do you think that makes up for not having the “shipped games” experience other Kickstarter projects might have? If so, how much information do you think is required before you’re able to look past the lack of worthwhile track record, and focus on the fact that these guys have their shit together?

      • Veav says:

        I can only speak for myself, of course. There are “talking heads” kickstarters that have succeeded. But even if you have an MBA and a strong track record, that’s not something most kickstarter backers will care about. It’s hard to communicate over a youtube vid and the first reaction will still be “cool story bro, what about the game?”

        There are kids in grade school with AWESOME GAME IDEAS and concept art, doodled on margins and on trapper-keepers. Every gamer has had an idea, and since kickstarter ramped off, every gamer has put their idea on youtube and said “if only I had $10k I could make this a reality!” Not really. Money isn’t a barrier – Unity is free, GIMP is free, Blender is free, tutorials are everywhere. If you come to the table and tell me you haven’t been able to do ANYTHING I’m going to write you off as a duffer. The way you describe your position sounds less like someone who is driven to succeed at making a game, and more like someone who is driven to succeed at securing funding via kickstarter.

        On a more positive note – take a look at Poker Night at the Inventory. When Telltale started getting their house in order, they put that together basically as a testbed for making sure the fundamentals work. Then they sold it for el cheapo to raise funding for the next step, i.e. a real game. You could try that! Put together a kickstarter for something that ISN’T going to be your main project, a small silly game, and set a very low goal. You’ll get funding, a small set of promoters, and experience making a game, working together as a team. Then you can use this as a stepping stone for loftier goals.

        • thunderpunchstudios says:

          I can totally see where you’re coming from, and I assure you we’re driven towards making a great game. I’ve personally been working on the idea for over 7 years, and started putting together the Kickstarter plans a few months before Doublefine put Kickstarter on the gaming map. We’ve got Jeff Hebert (designer of Hero Machine) helping us put together an awesome character-creation engine, with Livio Ramondelli (from DC Universe Online and Transformers: Autocracy) designing the assets for that engine, and Dan O’Brien (senior writer for Cracked.com) writing our single-player campaign. I’ve invested about $1,300 out of my own pocket just to get this far. For better or for worse, this is a passion project. All I’m trying to do here is see what potential backers look for in a Kickstarter project; what’s important to you and what don’t you care about. The problem with Kickstarter (if you can really call it a problem) is that it’s becoming so over-saturated with projects that it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. I’m just trying to make sure my team and I give you guys exactly what you want with no wasted “fluff”. After all, every penny I save on our Kickstarter is an extra penny we can spend on the project.

          • abandonhope says:

            I hear what you’re trying to do. Kickstarter is definitely over-saturated at the moment, especially with all the franchise reboots, which command a lot of people’s attention (and money).

            As far as I recall, The Dead Linger is the only project I’ve pledged for that literally had almost nothing to show. I found the concept so focused and original that I backed it anyway. The pitch wasn’t even perfect, maybe a B/B+ when compared to some of the really great ones. Considering where Kickstarter is now, I’m not sure a project like this could make it.

            When the slew of current projects that are failing to ignite interest don’t reach their goals, after all the franchise reboots come out of the woodwork, it’s possible that things will slow down and Kickstarter will become more hospitable for innovative projects from relative unknowns.

          • Veav says:

            Dead Linger! Hah, yes. I ended up backing that but it was uphill. The two things that tipped me over the edge were:
            * the fact that they had done Detour in the past; it’s nothing like Dead Linger of course, but to me that shows that they understand the game development process and can follow through.
            * a tech document one of them posted in the comments. It wasn’t in their pitch and I never would have seen it normally, but I came across it and recognized that they understood what was necessary to do what they’d promised.
            So again for me the emphasis was on “show me you’re for real”. (After that first step of: “do I care?” Because if they’d posted that tech document about a time management toastmaking game…)

          • thunderpunchstudios says:

            Ok, so it does make you feel more at ease to see information like tech docs? How about budget outlines, as far as detailed outlines of how the Kickstarter funding will be spent?

            Right now it sounds like as long as you’re interested in the game concept and are sure the project and team are real and dedicated, you’re willing to get behind the project, despite how good or bad the gameplay footage and concept art might be, or how much of it there is.

          • Veav says:

            That’s about the size of it, with one major caveat. Yes, the proof can be unpolished and obvious placeholders abound – but it should be relevant. If you’re promising an MMO and show me screenshots from RPG Maker, or you say you’re making a fighting game and have a single looping image that could have been thrown together in paintbrush… but really, you’re talking to just one guy. You need a larger sample set. }:D

          • thunderpunchstudios says:

            Ha, I’ll take what I can get. Plus this is an open forum, so I figure anyone can contribute.

          • tentacle says:

            For me, a project gains my love points by achieving ideally three things:
            1. convince me your idea is awesome
            2. and convince me you can do it
            3. and that you WILL do it.

            All are pretty simple. Point 1 means giving me a clear and focused design with detail, at a minimum. Art, prototypes, demos, screenshots, gameplay videos, etc can help a whole lot. Basically, I want to have a good and clear idea of what this is going to be. “Like minecraft, except with these 50 pages of brainstormed ideas” is not going to work for me.
            Point 2 is more difficult. If you’re a person or studio with a proven track record, that’s usually good enough. If not, then I will want to see prior work, a prototype, or even just a proof-of-concept or somesuch. It’s not to show me what the game will be like, it’s to show me you aren’t just all talk.
            If you really have none of the above at all, then I’d say don’t do a kickstarter yet. With the tools that exist today, any vaguely talented person can come up with something to show in a few weeks.
            Point 3 is at least for me, important. Kickstarter is new, and people treat it like a pre-order system. When in fact nothing legally (afaik) stops you from taking our money and blowing it on hookers. Having a reputation helps (Fargo, Double Fine, etc), but if you don’t have that recognition, then it just means what you put out on point 1 and point 2 needs to show me that this is a labor of love for you and that you are driven to do it. FTL and Takedown are two examples.

            That’s just my personal guidelines but judging by the comments I’m not that different from the rest. In the end though, there’s a lot of gut feeling involved and I might throw my money on a whim on completely silly projects just cause they have a good name and one-line summary. “A sci-fi cyberpunk roguelike with sex and robots!” would get easily $20 from me on just that alone.

          • thunderpunchstudios says:

            Wow, thanks for the concise feedback, Tentacle!

  20. TechnicalBen says:

    I’m going to be honest and say, I think Kinetic Void need something to help them succeed.
    Not “more” of something, just better focus on it. Perhaps they just needed to wait a little and get more of a player base before going Kickstarter?

    Games like Minecraft and Kerbal Space Program had no kickstarter, but did have a successful beta/pre-order.

    Games like Legend of Grimlock or FTL had demos or high profile (and high quality) gameplay videos.

    Kinetic Void just needs a really high quality gameplay video and a big influx of players to notice it. IMO anyhow.

    • abandonhope says:

      Agreed. This is something I pushed for this early on. I think one of the things that helped propel Drifter was its poster art–it instantly communicated what the game was about and inspired people to want to play. Kinetic Void has the shipyard demo, which is considerably deeper than a poster, but it doesn’t really do much to grab the attention of casual passersby.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        That’s something that really helps. If not the poster, the game having a clear visible gameplay/visual style. Make it stand out from the crowd with quality.

        But Kenetic Void can still make it. Other games have. The difference is, those games devs waited a little longer, or did it “in house” as a “paid beta/pre-order”. That’s a lot more focused than a 10 tier reward scheme kick starter. Other projects have been slow and steady, with periodic game pre-releases (Xenonughts etc) and worked of word of mouse and small web presence.

        I hope Drifter goes well too. It’s also in the same vein, and I’d like it. But full depth ship customisation in 3d is a wonderful idea. In my book it trumps the lot. :D

      • TechnicalBen says:

        PS, no idea if it’s helpful… but the Kickstarters I backed had no talking heads! ;)

        Gameplay vids or get out! :D

  21. Wang Tang says:

    I’m really thinking about the Paper Knight $200 pledge for a good friend of mine. He is almost a super villain in RL, and cementing this in a game would obviously be awesome.

  22. MSJ says:

    I can handle the tacky Carmageddon videos if they keep putting that lady Sims in them. I could listen to her accent all day.

    • LionsPhil says:

      …I actually found the Carmageddon pleading video one of the funniest I’ve seen.

      Run, Tim, Run!

      (It’d help if their reward tiers made more sense, though. In particular, since both $25 tiers get the original on GOG, what is the point of the first one? And while I know this is a show of support and directs the money differently, the difference to the with-GOG tier is a cent more than the price of buying the reward directly GOG.)

  23. Ta'Lon says:

    As much as I’m looking forward to a new Carmageddon title, the fact that they have a 600bhp Range Rover sitting in the corporate parking lot while begging for money on Kickstarter rubs me the wrong way.

    I mean if you are telling your fans that you need their money to finance the game that thing should also be sold to reduce the amount you have to take in.

  24. Shooop says:

    Carmageddon will happen. My childhood rejoices.

    Suck it Kotaku!

  25. chargen says:

    Cross of the Dutchman looked pretty sweet, a kind of ultra-nationalistic legend of zelda:
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/251995184/cross-of-the-dutchman

    Probably not going to make it though. For some damn reason they only put their gameplay video out 2 days ago, about 25 days after launching their kickstarter. Hopefully it still gets made even if the KS doesn’t succeed :)

  26. andrewdoull says:

    “which they’re claiming has an AI that can develop its own levels”

    What an intriguing way to phrase this. They have an algorithm which develops levels for the game. The claim is whether it is any good…

    • MadTinkerer says:

      All AI programs are algorithms because all programs are algorithms. There’s a book that is literally called Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs and it’s considered one of the seminal books on low level computing.

      What makes something an AI program as opposed to a non-AI program is whether the program (or part of it) attempts to make decisions based on game state(s) rather than user input. Thus “Bots” in FPS games are AI, and so on. Scripted events that only have one outcome, such as the scripts the characters follow in Red Letter Day in Half Life 2, are not AI but scripted events.

      Since level design is a decision-heavy exercise, level design “algorithms” can legitimately be called AI. Yes, Cloudberry Kingdom’s level generator bases it’s designs on player-defined variables such as difficulty, and there’s probably some pseudo-random numbers involved, but it’s still deciding the specifics of the level layout independently of player input and that makes it an AI.

      EDIT: Furthermore, ensuring that the levels are possible to complete requires complex pathfinding, which is a big part of what is considered to be AI in game programming. So, yeah: they’re just using the actual technical language of the subject in question.

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        I rather think Mr Doull is familiar with the topic of procedural content. See Angband.

        I read it as being taken with a particular phrasing.

  27. abandonhope says:

    I should have mentioned this earlier, but I guess the end of page 2 is better than nothing. Edit: okay, the beginning of page 3.

    Lodestar looks like someone took parts of Minecraft and Towns and smashed them together into a sci-fi setting, with exploration, manageable parties, various advanceable classes, tech trees, crafting, a procedurally unfolding story, all in a turn-based, tactical RPG. I’m not presently running Linux, but for people who care, it’s going to be a Linux-first, Windows-shortly-thereafter release.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/41329137/lodestar-stygian-skies-tactical-science-fiction-rp

    • Veav says:

      Sadly, the turn-based is what turns me off from Lodestar. It’s a valid gameplay mechanic but to me I feel like it gives combat all the lethargy and impact of chess. (That and I feel like if they can take those screenshots, they can take some footage. What’s up with that? /seinfeld)

      • abandonhope says:

        I usually hate turn-based combat in JRPGs, where it’s often more abstract, and love it in WRPGs, where it tends to be more directly representative of reality. Overall, turn-based is just more compelling for me than real-time. I could do Fallout-style combat all day; ARPGs entertain me for a few hours at best. Real-time also tends to lend itself to games where combat is ongoing, as opposed to games where it’s broken up by exploration, etc. I think the most brilliant compromise was seen in Dragon Age: Origins, where the choice was up to the player, but this option was pretty unique to how the game played.

        All in all, I think it works for Lodestar’s concept. Trying to manage a party in real-time combat is often fairly annoying, and I’m not sure it would add anything to the game, which seems to have a bazillion more things going for it than the average RPG.

  28. DocSeuss says:

    Kitaru’s CG looks rather gorgeous, but the iphone focus and the fact that they keep confusing RPG with JRPG really bugs me.

    I guess I should have known, with the pseudoJapanese stuff, that they were going for a JRPG thing, but still, confusing the two terms for such radically different genres bugs me. It’d be like saying you want to make an RPG and then making God of War. “Well, it’s got XP and leveling in it, so it’s an RPG!” So irritating.

    Skyjacker looks SWEET, but the colors are really off-putting. They need a better art lead.

    • Veav says:

      Re: Skyjacker – half of those colors are user’s choice. There’s going to be more than one color scheme for the HUD and other UIs, so you can go from “brazilian summer” to something a little less radioactive. As for the rest of the in-game content, well, that’s what a kickstarter is for; funding the development cycle, up to and including fieldtesting/scrapping early decisions on hue and saturation. :D

  29. JamesPatton says:

    Am I the only person here who *doesn’t* want another game by the people who made Space Quest? I’m a long-time adventure game fan – I love Gabriel Knight, King’s Quest, Monkey Island, Gemini Rue, Quest for Glory – but I just wasn’t at all impressed with the SQ games. I’ve played 1, 4,5 and the beginning of 6. 1 was punishing and arbitrary (like all Sierra games of that period, so okay, maybe not their fault); 4 had an interesting premise but didn’t utilise it fully enough, and had some punishingly pointless (and near-impossible) minigames, and the plot was dumped onto you in the intro, outro, and ONE in-game dialogue sequence. And introduced the name “Beatrice W*nkmeister” (without the asterisk; you can see what it is, right? Your mind is that dirty.) 5 was fun but only because it parodied Star Trek – and literally everything I liked about that game was due to the fact that I was, in some sense, enjoying playing a Star Trek game. And my girlfriend and I got so utterly, utterly bored with 6, which has such a slow opening we were just wandering around pointlessly for two hours, that we just packed it in.

    And the *humour*! Ugh! They think they’re hilarious, that their ham-fisted parodies and their terrible puns are the cutting edge of wit, but they wouldn’t impress a six-year-old. I’m constantly bowled over by the fact that this was ever considered *good writing*. It’s more like an embarassing relative at a party who keeps telling people jokes out of the Christmas Crackers to get people to like him and thinks he’s a stand-up comic.

  30. RegisteredUser says:

    I really wish all the KS projects had an option to purchase the basic DRM free release version(usually the $15 mark) past the closing of the KS period.

    I am pretty much out of money constantly and really can only do tiny increments over longer periods of time.

    • Veav says:

      YMMV of course but I’ve seen a few open a paypal account and offer to take further pledges that way. You might be able to coax them into letting you give them your money, especially if you speak up and others chime in.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        Yea, I think I saw it for Shadowrun and maybe 1 other.
        Some change prices past the kickstarter though or don’t give that option at all until actual preorders start or such.

    • malkav11 says:

      Ultimately all of those games are planned to be for sale. If you don’t have the money to back them right now, then you’re honestly probably better off waiting until the game is actually completed and sold through the usual channels, because then you know exactly what you’re getting for that money. It might be a little more expensive, but then again, sales are so common these days…

  31. kalidanthepalidan says:

    I think this Kickstarter looks pretty fun: “Haunts: The Manse Macabre”

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2066438441/haunts-the-manse-macabre?ref=live

    Turn based multiplayer haunted house game. :D

  32. maladroid says:

    I really dig the Katchup idea of a weekly article to help keep track of everything that’s going on over at Kickstarter since I am too lazy to look for interesting stuff myself and just keep F5ing the “Tex Murphy: Fedora” page when I have nothing better to do.

    But even though I’ve shovelled all my money on Tex, I’m really glad “Spate” managed to get funded – it looks like someone’s labor of love who happens to share some of my own sensibilities so I am keeping an eye on it for when it -hopefully- comes out on Steam.

  33. Premium User Badge

    jrodman says:

    It rubs me the wrong way to see Paper Knight talking about their game being built using a “mode 7 engine”. I mean, I guess they’re harkening to nintendo days of yore, but that term was always a marketing buzzword for “bitmap scaling and rotation”. You don’t need any sort of “engine” to rotate or scale a bitmap these days. You can do it with the slowest math ever in software and it will run fine on the slowest mobile phone available, let alone computer. The code needed to accomplish this feat can be executed in a single day. Let alone that every graphics api you care to name does this stuff natively in the form of bitmap handling or texture placement, etc.

    Nevertheless, limiting yourself to a focused idea of visual tricks can certainly bring out the creativity and give a coherence and distinctiveness often missing in modern games. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

  34. Atrak says:

    This seems really obvious to me but I don’t know why the lower tier pledges that don’t include the full game wouldn’t give a coupon for the amount pledged off the full game. Alternatively they could let the person choose to have that instead of a wallpaper or a sticker or some other rather lame item.

    I’m sure a lot of people want to back a lot of these games but dropping $25 bucks on something might not be feasible before the time limit is up, allowing the lower level tiers to at least save the money they fronted you on the finished product seems like it would be the smartest thing to do, yet I haven’t seen a single project do it yet.

    Is there some rule on kickstarter that would disallow this?

    Edit: I meant to reply to the thread started by Alphabet where the person was complaining about the lowest tier not receiving the game.

    • Veav says:

      This is something we want to do at Skyjacker. Any pledge (even at $1!) is good for $5 off any digital product in the store once it launches. Sadly, you got it right: there’s a rule on kickstarter that explicitly disallows this.

      http://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq/creators#WhatCanBeOffeAsARewa – “There are some limitations on what can be offered as a reward. Investment and loan solicitations are forbidden, as are lotteries, raffles, sweepstakes, and coupons/discounts on future goods.” (emphasis mine)

      I dun get it, because all the rewards on tap are a 100% discount on a future good, but it’s their house and we play by their rules.

      Edit: I see you reposted, I’ma repost myself. :D

      • Atrak says:

        Ah ok I hadn’t looked too deeply into it, I just thought it odd noone had offered it before. Well I guess now I know , It does seem a little strange but I guess like you said, you got to follow the rules if you want to be on the bandwagon.

        We are also looking at it from a video game point of view whereas kickstarter has a wider scope and so its rules have to cover all possibilites and avoid any sticky situations where money and or value is involved.

        • Veav says:

          Definitely yeah. I think what they’re trying to crack down is stuff outside of the scope of the project: like, back for $50 and you’ll get a copy of the game AND a $5 gift card at starbucks! Or: we’ll give you this game, and then we’ll give you another game when we make it in a few years! But I’m wildly speculating at this point.