Kickstarter Katchup – 20th October 2012

By John Walker on October 20th, 2012 at 12:00 pm.

It’s one of those weeks where lots of projects sit on just over a week left, and a million miles to go. It’s kind of a pessimistic read this week, I’m afraid. But don’t be put off – there’s fresh blood in there too, new hopefuls with sparks in their eyes and a youthful spring in their step. And a great big gaping hole in their wallets.

The Rules

  • Featuring a game in this list doesn’t mean we endorse it. We likely haven’t played, and as such can’t say whether it will be worth your cash. That’s your call.
  • Letting me know about a game (which you can do via my name at the top of this article) doesn’t mean it will definitely be included. Leaving links in the comments is a good way to let other readers know about projects, but please email me if you want them considered for the list.
  • We only include games where pledges reach developers only if the target is met.
  • Projects asking for fifty billion dollars, with 45c in pledges, fall off the list eventually. It gives more space for other games.
  • Projects that have reached their funding get included in the Winners list, and then aren’t featured in the weeks after that, to give more attention to those that are still needing the cash. Tough if you don’t like it.
  • Maximum weight limit: 300lb

The Winners

Sword Of Fargoal 2 – Fargoal

Coo, this one just sneaked in. Making the final fifth of its pledges in literally the final hour, it was down to four minutes before it finally cleared the hurdle. But it just snuck through, meaning we should see the sequel to a seminal roguelike by May next year.

The Losers

SHAKER – Loot Drop

In a rather odd twist, Brenda Braithwaite and Tom Hall have called their million dollar Kickstarter to an early end. Despite raising a quarter of a million already, and with other two weeks left on the clock, Shaker nee Old School RPG is going back to the drawing board. There’s no question that their pitch video was extremely week – as I criticised at the time of launch, rather than saying what game they passionately wanted to make, they instead just said how games used to be good in the old days, as if they aren’t good now. Games are good now, folks! And loads of them were shit in the old days. It seems simply invoking nostalgia has been recognised as not enough, and the team plans to go back and come up with a stronger idea. They say,

“Ultimately, our pitch just wasn’t strong enough to get the traction we felt it needed to thrive. Sure, it may have made it. We could have fought our way to a possibly successful end. In reading your feedback and talking it over internally, however, we decided that it made more sense to kill it and come back with something stronger.”

Blackspace – PixelFoundry

Who can know the collective minds of Kickstarter backers, but this promising RTS never caught on. Finishing with just over a third of its funding, they pledge to now find themselves a Plan B.

The Players

Distance – Refract Studios

Goal: $125,000
Now: $25,921
Days: 27

Three of the Digi-Pen team behind Nitronic Rush return with a new racing game – a spiritual successor to their student project. It’s looking gorgeous already, hopefully embellishing on what made Nitronic special.

Strike Suit Zero – Born Ready Games

Goal: $100,000
Now: $37,525
Days: 27

Oh, people, please check your mic levels before recording videos. If you can make out the whispering over the background noise, you’ll learn that this is Guildford-based Born Ready’s far-into-development space combat game. And it’s already looking pretty damned impressive. They’re after $100k to get it finished, and are already over a third of the way there. We’ve been following it pretty closely for a while, and they’re after the money now to be able to extend the development time for implementing changes based on feedback at shows this year, and to give extended polish.

HotBot – Ink Vial Games

Goal: $75,000
Now: $856
Days: 22

Inspired by classic arcade shooters, HotBod is a 3D scrolling shoot-em-up, featuring random level generation. The game looks pretty far on from the footage shown, the $75k funding the completion of the project, as well as adding a co-op mode.

Timber And Stone – Robert Reed

Goal: $50,000
Now: $39,537
Days: 6

Despite the most sleep-inducing Kickstarter video I’ve ever seen, this is a city building game falling somewhere between Minecraft and Settlers has seen massive funding this week. Leaping from $10k to $40k, it’s tantalisingly close to its target, but with less than a week on the clock. I have a feeling this one’s going to get there.

Nexus 2: The Gods Awaken – HD Interactive/Most Wanted Ent

Goal: $650,000
Now: $137,115
Days: 8

Another $11k has appeared this week, after $36k the week before, but it’s still not making a dent in the target. And it’s diminishing returns, too – more than halving its fundraising each week. It seems pretty inevitable this – as so many tactical space sims have experienced on Kickstarter – isn’t going to get anywhere near it’s utterly enormous target.

Citadel Of Sorcery – MMO Magic

Goal: $700,000
Now: $27,243
Days: 19

And talking of which. With just £7,000 added on in the last week, well, this incredibly ambitious MMO isn’t likely to happen, despite three weeks still remaining.

Dysis – One Dimension Games

Goal: $5,000
Now: $16,199
Days: 15

One that certain has made it is Dysis, a hybrid RTS and FPS, that looks like Minecraft. Want to win at Kickstarter? Make a game that looks like Minecraft, but in a completely new genre. That’s my tip. Already well clear of its tiny (so tiny as to be pretty pointless) goal, backers are ensuring they get a useful amount of money.

Starjacked: The Aventure Begins – Tanuki-geddon Studio

Goal: $25,000
Now: $1,256
Days: 8

But then we’re back to the sadness again. Yet another space sim, yet another project that’s not even nudging at its goal. There’s just over a week left for this one to increase its pledges by a factor of 20.

Divine Space – Dodo Games

Goal: $100,000
Now: $11,780
Days: 34

Not quite a space sim, so perhaps with more possible luck, Divine Space is part space sim, part RPG, and plans to be free-to-play (not free-free as I misreported last week). They’ve more than doubled their total this week, and while there’s still a very long way to go, they’ve plenty of time to get there.

Ars Magica Video Game – Black Chicken Studios

Goal: $290,000
Now: $7,889
Days: 29

Heh. “Ars”. Indeed, it’s yet another table-top game looking for Kickstarter funding to make its way into computerland. They’ve got the license from Atlas Games to do it, but interestingly this isn’t about making a digital version of the physical game, but rather a single-player RPG in the universe. $290,000 is a very tiny amount of money to make an RPG, and unfortunately the video waffles at great length about magic, and not about how they’re going to do it. However, should they do it, this looks like one to watch. So watch it!

Devil’s Cove Adventure Game – Anarchy Enterprises

Goal: $185,000
Now: $6,280
Days: 11

A last one for this week’s depressing list of games that aren’t going anywhere, Anarchy Enterprises’ traditional point and click adventure is stil under $10k while wanting an awful lot more. It’s hard to see how this one will turn around.

Fields Of Fresh – Pawbyte

Goal: $1,000
Now: $712
Days: 17

So let’s finish with one that is going to make it. Albeit one that only last month was trying to get $15,000 with the same video. Now it’s after a fifteenth of that. I really don’t like that they don’t acknowledge any of this on their Kickstarter, and I have no idea what they think they’re going to be able to do with the $900 they’ll have after fees if they make their goal.

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55 Comments »

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  1. povu says:

    Nitronic Rush was awesome, I’ll be keeping an eye on Distance.

  2. SominiTheCommenter says:

    Distance is looking extremely good. Even if it was a straight port of Nitronic Rush it would have been awesome, but they added better stuff, like that UI on the car’s rear window. Torcht is still doing the music, so it’s guaranteed awesomeness.

  3. Jim Rossignol says:

    Shame about Blackspace. I hope they still make it to release.

    • Meat Circus says:

      I backed it too, but then started to worry. The implausible physics and the way they struggled to make it not sound like a tower defence game made me revise my pledge down a tad.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      I hope they take on board the criticism they have received, produce some interesting gameplay to go with the spectacular technology and concepts (rather than just pinning on tower defence) and then either make it to release some other way or start a new kickstarter.

      I think it would have been so much more popular if it was intended to have open world sandbox gameplay.

    • AngoraFish says:

      They asked for way too much, and never clearly articulated how the game would actually play out. They then spent a month bitching about lack of coverage from the gaming media, despite getting coverage that the bulk of games on this list would die for. What we did know was that the developers weren’t entirely clear about the direction of the game themselves, or at least not especially articulate, as every time they tried to clarify things it simply added to the confusion.

    • IdeaLcenter says:

      Yes, it’s shame :(

      But if you want to try space combats, you can also check M.O.R.E. !

  4. Belsameth says:

    Mr Walker! Glad you’re mentioning Timber and Stone again.
    Think of the presentation what you will (personally I love it. To the point and without much flash), but the game has amazing potential!

    As an added note, it seems more Dwarf Fortress than Settlers.

    • VileJester says:

      Yep Timber & Stone has amazing potential, and I believe that as soon as the demo becomes available, it will be all over Youtube.

    • Bobka says:

      I think part of the massive boost was because Jeb tweeted a link to the Kickstarter and said he was impressed. A tweet from a Minecraft dev is almost always a good thing for these campaigns.

      I wonder whether any Kickstarter campaigns have tried to ask or even bribe Notch or Jeb into tweeting about them (not that they would necessarily take a bribe, though, since they aren’t exactly poor). I’d be surprised if none had tried.

      • Scifibookguy says:

        One project (I can’t remember which one) had Notch tied up at the end of their project video, saying how good their game was. It was pretty funny :)

    • whorhay says:

      He complained about the video being sleep inducing but I thought it was actually very well done. There was no poorly done music, flashing of logos, out of game CGI or other fluff that isn’t present in the actual product. The presenter didn’t try to sound like he was super hyped up about it, he was just a normal guy explaining his game so far and what he intends to do with it, he even had a few understated jokes in there.

  5. I_have_no_nose_but_I_must_sneeze says:

    “There’s no question that their pitch video was extremely week.”

    Yes, it was especially Mondayne (I’m sorry, John!).

  6. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    It’s not my kind of thing, but I do admire the guy making Dysis on his own.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      The sequel could be called Dy-son, but hopefully will not suck 10 times harder than the original.

  7. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Anyone know when ROUTINE is planned for release? I know its Steam Greenlight but I am dyin to find out more about it and its 80’s sci-fi explore-em-up-o-scare with apparently lethal 3.5 inch diskettes.

  8. Chizu says:

    I already backed Distance and Strike Suit Zero along with Star Citizen.
    First time I’ve backed anything, but these 3 appeal to me in particular, so figured I’d join in for once.
    Distance in particular is one I will look forward to, Nitronic Rush was great. Very much my cup of tea.

  9. Hoaxfish says:

    As a counterpoint to “Shaker/Old School RPG”, there’s another project (on Indiegogo) by some other people from the Wizardry series:

    http://www.indiegogo.com/grimoireforever

    It has actual gameplay in the video, but is perhaps a little tooo “old school” with the UI.

    • malkav11 says:

      Grimoire has been a running gag on the internet for over a decade now. It may not quite be vaporware, but it’s approximating Duke Nukem Forever levels of “this’ll be out soon, honest!”.

    • Artesia says:

      This game was 17 years in the making, and still not finished. And the author is massive troll and quite possibly insane. For example, he believes that neanderthals are his direct ancestors, and thus he is way superior than all of us, puny Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Also he is racist, misogynist, right wing survivalist nut.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        Well, I guess that makes it considerably more interesting than I original realised (I’ve been reading through the links in the RPS “Shaker fails” article comments)

        Probably best not to accept any water from whatever well Sir-tech built itself on.

        • Artesia says:

          Well, that’s one way to look at it, yeah. But really, that golden baby will never fly.

      • Demiath says:

        Say what you will about Grimoire’s pathologically controversial developer, but that pitch video alone deserves an RPS article of its own as far as I’m concerned. Apart from the low sound quality, it’s actually one of the most well-produced and all-around professional pitches in the brief history of gaming-related crowdfunding (certainly better than both Project Eternity’s bland nostalgia and Wasteland 2’s ill-advised publisher-directed satire, for example).

    • Branthog says:

      Sorry, but no.

      I was going to back that project. It sounded awesome. Then I stumbled onto the following:

      http://brokenforum.com/index.php?threads/cleve-blakemore-presents-grimoire-an-indiegogo-project.3678/

      His interactions with people there and what the general consensus seems to be about his behavior in all leads me to suspect whether that guy can or will ever actually pull a game together. More, I’m not sure I want to back someone actively spouting such hideous drivel. I would question my purchase of other games if their project leads spouted crap like he seems to, too. On top of all that, he spent a great deal of time trolling the Kickstarter comments page of the SHAKER/Old-School RPG project, which was pretty tasteless, if you ask me.

      His pitch video is certainly amusing, but minimal googling makes it really hard to feel comfortable throwing your money at a project where you not only have all the general risks of a crowd-funding project, but all the baggage that comes with this one. I’ve backed several hundred projects, so far. I’ll pass on this one.

  10. Om says:

    Maybe the sceptics were right. Maybe space sims are staying dead

    • Meat Circus says:

      The thing is, I love space games in general, but really haven’t been feeling any of those that have been kickstarted. The Nexus 2 video leaves me cold, but not far any especial reason beyond it all seeming a little bland and unambitious.

      Maybe it’s too much nostalgia, or maybe there were too many of them all appeared at once and it became difficult for any one of them to establish an identity.

      What I’m personally looking for in a space game is for somebody to take the state of the art that Arcen Games established with the wondrous AI War, and attempt to evolve that. So far, nobody’s really attempted that.

    • dE says:

      I’ve got a theory why so many space games and the Sci-Fi genre in general are having trouble. At lot of the old genre fans went ahead and studied physics or other such sciences. While that’s not a problem as such, the Habitus that comes with being a scientist is on the opposite side of what stories and games are. It’s focused on being as precise and accurate as possible. Stories on the other hand are inherently abstract and unrealistic, stories can never depict reality.
      It’s not a problem for fantasy stories, if in doubt just explain it with magic. But it’s a huge problem for sci-fi stories. Folks have literally done the math on things. They know how it works and if something doesn’t work as it should, well it’s unrealistic and according to their Habitus, utter pointless trash. Just pick a random sci-fi product, be it game or book or movie, you will find comments along the lines of “oh my gosh, there’s sound, so unrealistic, is pisses me off” or “what the fuck, those ships aren’t flying like real ships!”.
      The genre’s greatest fans became their mortal enemies, for the sake of realism.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        I like your theory and it has just as much validity as mine, which is the lack of a really successful space movie. Fantasy games are still trading off Lord of the Rings’ recent movies but space sci fi hasn’t seen that much popularity since the golden age of star wars and trek. Of course the core fans will always be there but the fickle majority are still into elves and dwarfs.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Well, Space Citizen seems to be doing JUST FINE despite being Newtonian-physicked up to the eyeballs.

      A genuine hard scifi space sim would be right up my alleyway. Newtonian physics, subluminal speeds and communication, months-long acceleration and decelerations, relativistic length contraction and time dilations, twin paradoxes, multi-decade journey times between even nearby star systems, and space being a vast, empty, lifeless, dull blackness.

      That’s what I want from a space sim. Though unless I do it myself. I guess it’s never going to happen.

      • Claidheamh says:

        This. The game mechanics that would come out of that would be extraordinary, in whatever genre of game they’d be implemented, strategy, shooter or any other. So I highly doubt it would appeal only to us with physics backgrounds. However, I’ll settle for any good new game involving spaceships.

  11. Meat Circus says:

    I get unreasonably angry at space combat games where ships move in a vacuum like planes do in air.

    JESUS CHRIST, MAN. IT’S A SPACE GAME. MAKE IT MOVE LIKE SPACE.

    /physicsrant

    • Mr. Mister says:

      Thing is, fuel would be a factor, since you’d need to expulse mass in order to apply force to your ship.

  12. Meat Circus says:

    Kickstarter loves voxels and hates space.

  13. DyvimTvar says:

    John, you should have at least mentioned that the Divine Space KS is for the iPad game, since RPS is PC centric.
    Yes, they plan to have Android and even later PC/Mac/Linux versions after release, but those aren’t immediately related to the KS project and I’d assume they depend on the game being successful.

    • Voronwer says:

      They are doing a first version for iPad, yes, but they will make a PC centric with PC controls version that won’t just be a port from what I understand. All versions are related to the kickstarter, though, as they’ll be making the game in Unity3D. But yes, the PC version will be a little behind of the iPad.

      • AntiDanilevski says:

        Thank you for clarifying it. Yes, PC game will be not just a port, many things (especially interface) will be reworked. PC will allow us to make a way better picture, effects and post-effects. If we will create a beautiful picture on iPads (and it’s already pretty good), for PC, with many effects and ppost-effects it will be ten times better.

  14. Emeraude says:

    As a fan of the tabletop game, my mind boggles at the thought of an Ars Magica computer game. Need to read that in detail, but how do they even plan to work what makes the game works in computer format ?

    • malkav11 says:

      Black Chicken are the folks behind the wonderful, baffling, and oh-so-spreadsheety Academagia, as well as a similarly designed game I’ve yet to try called Scheherazade. I would strongly suspect that their Ars Magica game will look a lot like those two, though hopefully with a less wretched UI and gentler learning curve than Academagia. Which is to say, a thousand thousand moving parts tracked by statistics, and a format where you commit to certain actions per period with narrative and effects on those statistics (a bit like Princess Maker or similar, except with waaaaay more going on). Academagia is about attending a wizard’s school, shades of Harry Potter but with an entirely different setting, and has you attending classes, researching, studying, taking part time jobs out in the city, exploring, hanging out with any of the dozens of fellow students that are also fully modelled and performing actions of their own, and of course going on all sorts of exciting magical adventures, of which there are hundreds, opening based on things like where in the school year you are, who you’re friends with, what locations you’ve discovered, what your skills are….

      • WCG says:

        I really wanted to like Academagia. It seemed to have so much promise. But it just wasn’t FUN. How could going to Hogwarts (basically) not be fun? That was just astonishing to me.

        But knowing that these are the same people behind the Ars Magica kickstarter actually makes me more inclined to support it. As I say, Academagia really seemed to have a lot of promise. It failed – for me – but I hope they keep trying.

  15. MythArcana says:

    I don’t think I bought one game in a year that has actually been finished yet. My hard drive is cluttered with other people’s projects that are more wet dream than entertainment. I remember the day when they would announce a game, sell said game at that time, and you were done with it all until the expansion comes out in six months.

  16. Solidstate89 says:

    It’s quite depressing to see that Nexus 2 just isn’t going to make it. Their pitch was a tad weak, and they obviously missed the boat on getting the word out there but the original Nexus stands to this day as one of my all-time favorite Space strategy games. I’ve probably played through it no less than 3 times and it never gets old.

    Hopefully they can come back at a later date with a better pitch and a stronger push for media attention.

  17. mwoody says:

    Wow, that Ars Magica one got way more interesting when I read the page. It’s less RPG and more… hell, something else, I dunno. You guide a mage through 100+ years of advancement, build houses, manage other people’s lives in your care… That’s a bit more than “single player RPG.” I hope it’s far more sim and far less linear story, but either way, got my cash.

    • malkav11 says:

      Like I said above, they made Academagia. I think you’re likely to get something far more simmy than linear story. Albeit also probably heavily text-based.

      • mwoody says:

        Oh wow, I didn’t put two and two together on the dev name. Which is hilarious, as I was reading the page thinking, “Wow, the last time I saw something with this sort of potential, it was Academagia.”

        Might need to kick my pledge up a little.

  18. The Pink Ninja says:

    wot, no mention of Star Citizen?

  19. bilharzia says:

    Oh, people, please check your mic levels before recording videos

    Yes, it’s almost as bad as RPS radio. Just kidding, no recording could be that awful.

  20. Stratovarius says:

    Mak has a kickstarter now as well, they”re reaching for 230k
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1125462381/mak

  21. Dominic White says:

    Can’t really see the point in Hotbot existing while Sin & Punishment 2 (possibly the best game in the genre to date, usurping Starfox 64 from the throne) has still gone unplayed by 99.9% of the human race.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iTX8ExEKvg

    Gameplay footage of it running emulated on the PC (old, unoptimized – it runs perfectly now), so if you have a half-decent CPU, you can get it for like £10.

  22. Slinkyboy says:

    The Loot Drop video smells like drugs, lol.

  23. Premium User Badge

    Stormwaltz says:

    Speaking of things not getting any traction, Project Gorgon is a project I’ve emailed about that hasn’t shown up in the Katchup. ¬_¬

    Eric Heimburg and Sandra Powers are a husband-and-wife team of experienced MMORPG engineers (Asheron’s Call 1 and 2, EverQuest II, Perpetual’s original version of STO), who’ve been working on an old school indie MMG and documenting their progress at eldergame.com. The systems are coming together nicely, but they’re running a Kickstart to pay for art, audio, and a beta test server.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1045484633/project-gorgon-an-indie-mmo-by-industry-veterans

  24. AngoraFish says:

    Projects asking for fifty billion dollars, with 45c in pledges, fall off the list eventually. It gives more space for other games.
    * HotBot
    * Nexus 2: The Gods Awaken
    * Citadel Of Sorcery
    * Starjacked: The Aventure Begins
    * Devil’s Cove Adventure Game
    + several more that should clearly in this category by next week…

  25. crinkles esq. says:

    The developers of both Distance and Strike Suit Zero need to go research momentum a bit more. The Distance devs need to go play a lot more Wipeout and F-Zero GX, as well as traditional racing sims. What they’ve built is very pretty, but lacks fluidity of movement. And the Strike Suit Zero guys need to understand that they are in…space. Their battle suit would not jerkily move to and fro. At the very least there would be some easing as counter-thrusters compensate. Overall these developers seem competent at the technical aspects of making games, but nothing in their videos made me say, “I have to play this!”

    I think the retraction of Old School RPG is a net positive for crowdfunding. It shows that the system is working. If they had pitched this to a publisher and got the green light, they would be wasting a lot more time and money trying to build on the bad foundation.

    • Scifibookguy says:

      The updates released for Shaker: An Old-School RPG actually contained some useful information. They needed to restart with a lot more info up front, so people know what the game is about.

  26. Alextended says:

    Ars Magica sounds like a management game with RPG elements. Their last game Academagia looks similar in scope (not style) with a ton of stats and what not (and some pretty nice presentation and art). I don’t know why you put a negative spin on its goal, it’s not like they claim they’ll make a Baldur’s Gate Trilogy with that sum. Perhaps something akin to King of Dragon Pass will be how it plays.

    For actual RPGs, Antharion looks pretty rad, quite a complete realization, and asks for only $15k.