By John Walker on June 2nd, 2012 at 3:00 pm.
The pace of change in Kickstarter is perhaps the most interesting thing. Just a weekly dip reveals enormous changes, successful and failed projects, and perhaps most revealing of all, those stuck and static. So once again, here’s a round-up of what’s going on in PC projects.
A quick note: saying, “But what about X?” in the comments won’t get anywhere. Email me via my name above to bring projects to my attention. And as ever, our including a project here is not an endorsement, and we are in no way saying that you should give it your money. You can make that decision for yourself.
First off, it seems relevant to mention that I was on NPR’s On The Media this week, briefly talking about Kickstarters. The edit is a bit odd, meaning we leap back and forth between talking about KS and the mainstream, but the gist is there. You can also hear Tim Schafer talking about his success with the project here.
Here are this week’s successful projects:
With a week left on the excitedly named turn-based RPG, this has already blitzed its tiny $6k funding goal. Currently at $15,565, that could keep going up in the last push. I’m always wary when targets are so incredibly low – what can you really do with six thousand? But with so much more coming in, the single-player infinite game is actually mostly done. They’re looking for polish, on top of their current team of 39 people around the world. I’m not sure how much polish they thought they could buy for such a tiny amount, but it seems the community has decided to fund them more sensibly. It’s worth watching the film on this one to see their extraordinary claims.
So we should definitely be seeing the iPhone and PC Japanese-styled RPG, hopefully by October. They made just shy of $30,000, while only asking for $25,000, so I imagine they’re chuffed.
Despite only asking for a thousand bucks, this one looked wavering last week. But the Paper Mario-inspired 2D RPG is now clear of that on $1,167, and has eight days left.
This one’s remarkable. It’s not fundraising for a game, but just a tech demo to prove that an MMO based on the Pathfinder table-top RPG is feasible. And despite that, it’s raised $139,000 after asking only for $50k. There are six days left too. This is clearly an incredibly ambitious project, and the enthusiasm demonstrated is surely a good sign as they go on to seek much larger funding elsewhere.
Here are those still in progress:
Despite a non-stop barrage of updates (a ridiculous 29 so far, so many of them not relevant to this project), this one has sat relatively still for a week. While the $50,000 they’ve raised in a week is a lot of cash, it still leaves them well over $200,000 from their half million goal, with only ten days to go. I’m not sure endlessly updating to those who’ve already donated is the route to success for this one, but we’ve seen plenty of projects reach their targets in a big push in the last week. Oh, and they’ve revealed a character. Cluck Y’egger Astro Cock.
Creeping incredibly slowly, this impressive-sounding project has only made about $3,000 in the last week, and when aiming for $530,000 that’s not a great sign. There are still four weeks to go, and this is already a revised attempt, after previously pitching for closer to a million. I’m fairly sure the name can’t be helping. While there will be those who are nostalgic for the original game, I’m pretty sure “Portal” is a name the vast majority associate elsewhere, and the mad muddle of the temporary title doesn’t clear much up. It’ll also be interesting to see if Valve ever reacts to this one. Clearly Swigart has the prior art, and Valve aren’t exactly in the best position with their nabbing “DOTA”, but I can imagine if this were to succeed there could still be a tussle.
Last week’s relaunch of the Kickstarter has seen it pretty much gather back what it had last time, but this time with an enormous 50 days still to go. That’s $43k of their $200k target. They’re being pretty quiet in terms of updates for the space sim, which with so much time left is reasonable, but they don’t want to get caught sleeping.
As ever, I am confused how the Kingdom Of Loathing community didn’t just fund this one day one. And yet it continues to crawl incredibly slowly. With just a few thousand raised in the last week, at $53,500 they are now at least over halfway to their total. And with 19 days to go, I’m fairly sure this will gradually get there. Again, slow to update, and not really responding helpfully to the main objection – OMG the graphics r sux – I think they could probably be doing more to win attention.
I think it’s safe to say this one isn’t going to make it. With less than $10k raised – barely over $1,500 made this week – of a $175,000 goal, and only five days left, it doesn’t look likely that the multiplayer tower defence will be receiving anything. It’ll be interesting to see if they pull the plug before it’s over, and try a different approach.
They’re going to need a big push if the space-based multiplayer platformer is going to make it. At $15,500 of $25,000, the Terraria-alike has only five days to go. But with only $10 netting you a copy of the game when it’s done, hopefully by this August, I wonder if a push to sell it that way might get them there. Touch and go on this one.
It’s a slow plod for these guys, but a convincing one. With just under two weeks left, they’re at $336k with $450,000 to reach. A rather strange tactic was to announce that Tex Murphy has been kidnapped, and will be murdered unless they get 4,500 backers by Wednesday. Currently on 3,900, they may have plotted themselves into a troubling hole there. This is made all the more confusing by its being Jones, who plays Tex, telling us that he’s kidnapped. Er, no, you’re sat right there silly. Anyway, it’s good to see them having fun with it all, and with just over $100k to go, there’s a lot of work yet to do. But I’ve a suspicion this one will get there.
What a confusing one this one’s been. With some saying Al Lowe endorsed it, and others who work with Lowe saying he did not, it’s been a mess. However, the result seems to be a redrafting of the main page to reduce the suggestion that Lowe is working on it – he’s not, but he has in the past – and there’s an update that tries to clarify the palava. There’s a lengthy 43 days to go, and the fuss certainly drew publicity to the project, but it hasn’t really brought in much accompanying cash. Of their enormous half million target, only $4,834 is in there so far, despite all the attention.
Over on 8-Bit Funding, despite not being able to spell “Jeremy”, Walker does seem to have a nice idea for Townseed. Described as a “strategy sandbox simulation game”, you must build a thriving town in a world of monsters. Making the mistake of not cutting straight to the game in his video, once you’re there it does sound interesting. He’s only after $8,000, and is already over half way with 29 days left.
And here are those that unfortunately haven’t made it:
The nice sounding sandbox RPG didn’t manage to hook us, and it looks like it didn’t manage to hook the community either. It’s now definitively unsuccessful, with just $13k of their large $250,000 target reached. Fortunately the team remains optimistic, and plans to continue trying to develop, with a public alpha planned for this year.
Jim is especially sad to see this one fail. It sounded fantastic, a tool for telling stories. But it failed to catch a wave, and ended yesterday on only $23,680 of a large $250,000 goal. They plan to “fight the odds” and continue with development. And they plan to return to Kickstarter when they’ve actually got a game to go with their toolkit, which sounds like a great plan.