Maia Maker On Molyneux, Marmite & Management Games

By Alec Meer on November 23rd, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

Peter Molyneux’s unnervingly vague but tear-jerking Project GODUS isn’t the only god game revival on the crowd-funded block. British indie dev Simon Roth is in the last mile of seeking pledges for his sci-fi-themed, Dungeon Keeper and Dwarf Fortress-inspired, procedurally-generated management game Maia. Between its rather spangly proprietary engine and the fact that there’s a whole lot of it being shown off already, I’m personally much more interested in this modernised, maximised rethink of the house that Bullfrog made than I am in the wild promises of Dungeon Keeper’s oft-disproved original lead.

With £63,000 of the required £100,000 in the bag and just four days left on the Kick-clock, it’s looking likely that Maia will go down to the wire. I chatted to the game’s lead, Simon Roth (ex of Frontier and Mode 7) about whether he thinks he’ll make it, the game’s procedural cleverness, his 70s sci-fi inspirations, why god games declined and, opportunist that I am, what he makes of Molyneux’s accidental rival project.

RPS: Obvious question, but why are you making a god game? Is it a deep, long-term personal interest?

God games have a really special place in my heart. It is the only genre which really goes out of its way to directly appeal to, and reward, the creativity of a player. So many games force a story on you, but only this genre gives you the proper tools to build your own story, something far more interesting to me. Plus I’m probably a bit of a megalomaniac, so there’s that too.

RPS: How much variety can we expect from the procedural world? Will it be like “oh it’s that biome” or much more random?

Lots – I’m hoping to really push the exterior in terms of detail and quality. One of the key aspects to providing the variation the game demands is the detailed simulation. A small fluctuation in the initial set-up variables can massively change the balance of how the world develops over time. With every single creature and plant feeding back into the system some pretty unique ecosystems could potentially arise.

Below ground I’m hoping to add lots of detail, with lots of archaeology and exploration to carry out, for the players who want to take on the risk of drowning their colonies in lava.

RPS: I’m seeing Silent Running in there, bless its psychotic hippy soul, but what other 70s sci-fi specifically influenced it? And what right do you have to be influenced by 70s sci-fi given you were some time off being even a foetus at that point?

Due to my parents’ strange taste in furniture, interior design and consumer electronics, I got to live through the 70′s all of my bloody childhood. If anything, I’ve earned this.

Alien is one of my main inspirations. Every detail is so perfectly crafted and deliberate that I’ve been watching it over and over, dissecting every shot.

There’s something about the cinematography of the era which has been lost over the decades as action sequences, special effects shots and later computer visual effects came in. Every new layer took the director and cinematographers another step away from the eyepiece of the camera, and further away from their vision.

There is also a dangerous amount of Space 1999 influencing me too, such a strange and amazing show.

On the soundtrack front, we’ve been poring over some fantastic electronic music from around the era. John Carpenter’s soundtracks, Vangelis, Eno… expect a lot of dark, ambient synths, with a modern twist.

RPS: Why do you think management/god games – or at least the more ambitious ones, not the routine Trailer Park Tycoon variety – went away?

I think to create a game this ambitious you need very tight creative control over every aspect of development. The small developers of the nineties died out, absorbed in EA, Eidos and Activision and the control was lost. As studios, publishers and budgets have gotten larger and larger, everyone’s grip on a project becomes diluted and suddenly you have too many ideas going into the pot.

Indies have the creative control, but haven’t necessarily had the means to produce projects like this recently. I think that with AAA quality engines now being accessible to everyone and the funding of Kickstarter popping up I think we will see a massive comeback.

RPS: Have you really never played Startopia?

Someone was so shocked that I hadn’t that they ordered me a physical copy. It’s sitting here on my desk waiting for me to finally get some time off after the Kickstarter.

One of the original Bullfrog/Muckyfoot team actually emailed last week to wish me good luck. I was absolutely beaming all day.

RPS: Dwarf Fortress is something that keeps getting name-checked here – are you looking/expecting to have that sort of long-running, ever-changing project or is this more of a one-shot deal?

I really want the project to be ongoing. Firstly, I have so many ideas to flesh out the game and its world, but in the name of sanity removed them from the core design. I’d love to be able to expand upon things over time and have a more natural, creative approach to development once we’ve reached beta.

Secondly, I feel the more organic development process will let us improve on things that the community finds problematic. I’m not perfect and having the ability to take feedback into account will really help us add the final layer of polish on the game-play.

RPS: You asked for quite a lot of money on the Kickstarter. What was the thinking there, and how much do you stand by that decision?

I really want the game to stand up on its own, as a piece of art. To me this means that everything needs to be carefully crafted and considered, which will take a lot of work. It’s something that I can’t do alone. Having the funding means I can bring in people who share a common vision of the game, to help me deliver. For instance, I want the soundtrack to be fitting for a 70′s science fiction epic. Composing it will take a lot of time and effort, but will transform the atmosphere and experience of the game.

The figure itself is a pretty tight estimate for the costs to deliver the core game with the team I’ve put together. It was a little over the 100k mark so I took it down to a nice round number. I probably should have made it just shy of the mark in retrospect. Potentially I could have started cutting features, but with the design feeling so complete at the moment, I think it would have risked neutering the project.

I didn’t want to take less money than I would realistically need to deliver what I have promised. I was tempted to low-ball it and reduce the risk, and my blood pressure, but I felt that would be unfair to the backers. Honestly, I should have upped the hype factor of my pitch to match the ambitious target.

RPS: Did you expect to race to the prize, or were you conscious that the bloom might have somewhat come off Kickstarter’s rose?

I was pretty realistic from the outset, this was never going to be a explosive viral project and I knew I’d have to really work for it. I’m still very optimistic about hitting the goal.

RPS: A while back I was interviewing Randy Pitchford, and quite by chance he started talking about how he’d designed the physics of the moon in Borderlands 2. That’s the kind of feature that’s important to the creator but the vast majority of players will simply never be aware of, and I suspect the same is true of most games. Got anything like that in Maia?

Oh, so many. I think the little details really matter, especially when I’m using the inflammatory term “Hard Science Fiction”. The game’s prototype started out with more of a bent on terraforming so I had a system simulating local and global warming based on atmosphere composition. I ended up just leaving all the code in there and tied it to the weather systems where it quietly gobbles up CPU cycles.

One of the more apparent things is the lava. I needed a pascal-second viscosity value for its fluid simulation, but after trying several values from geology sites over the course of an evening, I gave up. I finally had a eureka moment and found the exact qualities I wanted. The fluid in question; concentrated brewer’s yeast. So Maia now has the most accurate Marmite simulation ever seen in a game.

RPS: What do you make of Project Godus? And do you see it as any kind of threat to Maia?

While he did pick a hell of a time to launch it, I’m actually pretty excited to see Peter coming back the genre.

I don’t see it as a threat at all. If anything it will have a massively positive effect, introducing a new generation of players to god games. Which is just fine by me.

RPS: Thanks for your time.

Maia has four days remaining to reach its £100,000 goal. (Americans can pay in dollars, fear not). If you want to know more about it, get thee here.

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106 Comments »

  1. Lambchops says:

    I’m kind of surprised to see this one struggling to be honest. I wasn’t the biggest god game player back in the day but this really looked like it was a worthwhile thing to back, particularly as it’s so different from a lot of the other projects out there, and thus exactly the type of thing that should get a bit of help.

    • Meat Circus says:

      It’s them Americans. They see that £ and panic. FOREIGN MONEY.

      • Arren says:

        We are what is wrong with the world, no doubt about it.

        Now: how to blame us for Braben….. or Molyneux?

      • Caiman says:

        There’s also the limited payment options with Kickstarter UK, and even the fact you have to type in your credit card details rather than go through something like Amazon which is putting some people off.

        • frightlever says:

          Absolutely this. I’d back it if they let me pay through my Amazon, Google or Paypal account.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Indeed. Amazon Payments is significantly more convenient and established/trusted, which is massively important for something sort of small and impulsive like most Kickstarting.

      • meatshit says:

        More like my bank sees a foreign address and refuses to process the transaction.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        Could it be lack of exposure? No. Could it be obscurity of the developer himself? No way. Why would that matter? Could it be a lack of concrete information on the game? Nope. Could it be that the test footage doesn’t really illustrate much of any of how the game’s mechanics function? Hardly. Could it be overwrought banking restrictions done to prevent fraud? Nah…

        No, let’s blame it on xenophobic bullshit pulled out of your ass with zero supporting arguments. It must be about foreign money. People hate and look down on anything foreign. As your post so excellently highlights.

        • Hahaha says:

          bow down to your Chinese overlords

        • Belsameth says:

          There actually have been multiple posts on the subject by various americans so it’s not “Pulled out of his ass”. Hell, I can’t even blame them even tho I’m from Europe. Lets be honest, GBP isn’t a widely used currency.

          Sure, it’s not the only thing, but it’s clearly not helping either.

        • Toberoth says:

          I’m pretty sure Meat Circus is being ironic, do calm down.

        • S Jay says:

          Besides the passive-agressive BS, I agree.

          I really don’t understand how this game plays.

    • Xocrates says:

      “I’m kind of surprised to see this one struggling to be honest”

      I’m not.

      Don’t get me wrong, it seems an interesting concept, and I’ve backed it, but the video pitch is kind of rubbish – 1 minute of vague tech-demo-ish game video and 1 minute of name dropping references in a rather creepy way – and there is very little information regarding gameplay other than some very generic or vague descriptions.

      I also doubt that the look and atmosphere of the game to be a selling point to a lot of people. It seems interesting, certainly, but not particularly welcoming.

      • Cooper says:

        I kinda feel embarassed that the tagline was enough for me to get my wallet out. Not even watched the video so far.

        A Dungeon Keeper esque game set in a space station with 70s stylings. Done.

        Usually I am -much- more cautious about funding any kickstarter, and have cleared steer of many of the “big” ones.

      • Brosepholis says:

        The claim of ‘British Comedy’ irks me. From the KS page, Simon’s idea of including comedy in his game is to put in loads of references to other peoples’ jokes. That’s not comedy, it’s just reminding me of all the other things I could be doing.

        Furthermore, the rendering in the game is extremely good looking, which makes everything else (especially the animations) look bad by comparison. The inclusion of a first person mode will probably make this problem much worse in the finished product.

        All in all, I get a sense that this is a great graphics engine and not a whole lot else. There’s really no gameplay there at the moment.

        One thing Simon is absolutely doing right, however, is appealing to nostalgia. As we saw with the Old School RPG furore you can’t be too brazen with it, but the correct way to get money out of kickstarter is to appeal to 30-40 year olds who want a nostalgia trip.

      • WCG says:

        I wanted to back it, too, but there was just no information about the actual gameplay (other than “god game,” which is way too vague for my tastes). I couldn’t find any info on the forum, either, so I’m moving on.

        It’s not the currency. Admittedly, I had to convince my bank’s fraud department that Kickstarter was legit, but that didn’t keep me from supporting other projects. But a game developer has to tell me what I need to know.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Yeah, the videos are all fluff, and barely any actual meaty content.

        And that fake glare thing is actively annoying to put up with.

  2. Belsameth says:

    You forgot an “it” in the first question…

    Also, back Maia peeps! :D

  3. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    I’ve been meaning to back this for a while now. I gave it my “throw at unlikely but cool Kickstarters” money, which is the money I usually get back when the ambitious projects I like don’t get funded :(

  4. Tom De Roeck says:

    This game definitely deserves a bunch of money. Make money go now!

  5. President Weasel says:

    The £7 tier is named after the robots in Silent Running. Take my money!

    • JB says:

      Every tier is named after an AI of some description =)

      (The one missing a name was meant to be called Wintermute)

      • RaveTurned says:

        I was going to post this, but got too distracted identifying the sources of them all. :)

        The only two I can’t identify as electronic beings of some kind are StarGlider and MULTIPASS – I know the former as the ship from the game StarGlider, but wasn’t aware that was an AI? And the latter is the futuristic passport from the Fifth Element.

        • Belsameth says:

          Multipass is indeed not an AI, but named after the passport. It does involve travel, after all.

        • ChainsawHands says:

          Starglider was the name of an AI ship in Arthur C Clarke’s The Fountains of Paradise. All the rest are AIs, except Multipass.

  6. Big Murray says:

    “A full single player campaign and story” is listed as one of the stretch goals. I’m not keen on investing in a project which hasn’t prioritised something as important to me as that.

    • Meneth says:

      It is primarily a sandbox game, so the campaign isn’t as important as in most games.

    • Subject 706 says:

      While I would usually agree with you, a full-fledged campaign is really not as important in a game like this. A set of long term goals can be quite enough for this kind of simulation-sandbox. I hope you don’t think the lack of a campaign means that it is a multiplayer game…

      • Belsameth says:

        I’m not even sure multi[player is a planned feature, Simon never said anything about it, so no worries there :)

    • burn_heal says:

      I agree with the above replies, but also Simon has expressed that he is interesting in working on the stretch goals after the first version is released.

      One of the things that I like about this project is that Simon is planning to work on it long after the release, and all updates will be free :D …(no DLC/expansion-type business)

      This project definitely deserves to make it!

  7. The_Mess says:

    If only I wasn’t completely broke :(

  8. Spoon Of Doom says:

    It’s strange that with all the people crying that they want a new Dungeon Keeper game, or a return to the old Bullfrog style games and all that, along comes a project which promises exactly that and more, even has presentable evidence to back up the claims, and it still doesn’t get funded instantly.
    Makes you wonder if the fanbase of Dungeon Keeper and other god games is only vocal instead of large, and that publishers were right in that they couldn’t sell that type of game.

    I certainly hope Maia makes it, maybe with the typical Kickstarter rush in the last 48 hours, and I have already pledged as much as I can afford. Also, there have been a couple of comments on the project page to the effect of “I came here from GODUS”, so maybe it isn’t quite a threat but might actually help. Who knows?

    • Jockie says:

      Agreed concerning the vocal dungeon keeperers, turns out they’re afraid of putting their money where their mouths are, fucking plastic dungeoneers.

      On a more serious note, I think it must be something to do with it being on the Uk version of Kickstarter, not being as visible perhaps?

      Dwarf Fortress & Dungeon Keeper IN SPACE was pretty much enough to get me on board this project.

      • Spoon Of Doom says:

        I guess that’s part of it, and part of it is probably also the oft-quoted fear of the wibbly wobbly, timey wimey, squiggly L currency, whose symbol I still don’t know how to make with my keyboard.

        Also, the serious restriction in payment methods on the UK version of Kickstarter (not even Amazon is there) is probably a big issue for lots of people.

        • Dark Malady says:

          holding alt, then on the numpad input the numbers.
          £ – (alt+0163)
          ¥ – (alt+0165)
          § – (alt+0167)

          easy.

          • Spoon Of Doom says:

            Thank you! Finally!

            £
            £
            £££££!!

            Sorry, I’ll stop now. Also, I should have thought of checking the code for that myself. Funnily enough, I don’t need that for the § symbol – that’s sitting firmly in the Shift+3 position, where it has never been used in my entire lifetime (except maybe for homework about some law or other back in school).

          • Trithne says:

            What actually *is* §, other than simoleon? I went through xe’s list of currencies and didn’t see it, and it’s bugged me for a while.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            It’s not a currency, it’s the symbol for “section”, used in mostly academic texts to refer to another section (chapter, etc.) of the text.

          • Snakejuice says:

            I’ve got £ on my AltGr+3, using Swedish layout. :)

    • Xocrates says:

      That’s the thing though, they want Dungeon Keeper, not an inferior clone, which most games on the genre have been.

      Doesn’t help that all really good ones of old are now available on GoG. Frankly one of the reasons it took me so long to support Maia was because I kept thinking “why would a back this when I can get Startopia for peanuts of GoG”

      • Spoon Of Doom says:

        I get where you’re coming from, but I would personally say that nothing about Maia looks or sounds like it would be inferior. It’s also not a simple clone of Dungeon Keeper or Startopia and seems to have more than enough things going for it to make it unique and probably on par, maybe even superior to the abovementioned games. And while certainly not the most important point, the modern visuals and ability to play it on modern systems without a hassle (even on GOG, Dungeon Keeper 2 didn’t run on Win7 for a long time, IIRC – they have by now fixed that issue, I believe) should count for something.

        In addition, there’s the “voting with your wallet” aspect of it. Why not show them that there is a market for this genre, if it’s well done?

        • Xocrates says:

          Frankly, from the kickstarter page it’s not even clear what the game is, much less if it’s any good.

          “Probably on par” with Dungeon Keeper and Startopia is speculation and wishful thinking. A good idea does not guarantee a good game, and I’ve seen games fail because the developer became more enamored with the idea than with developing a good game.

          I’ve backed this because I want to give him the chance, but it was probably my riskiest investment on Kickstarter.

          • Spoon Of Doom says:

            You have a point, but going in thinking of it as an inferior, soulless clone is not especially fair either. For me, it’s quite clear what the game is – colony management. You dig for space and resources (hoping you don’t hit lava and flood your colony), build structures, tend to the needs of the colonists and robots, struggle with the local ecosystem (predators or other wildlife causing havok, chaos and disruptions) – basically what is often shortened to “Dungeon Keeper meets (slightly simplified) Dwarf Fortress”, as it’s more or less the main gameplay elements of those two games.

            To me, this sounds like a great game on paper, so it’s basically down to whether you trust Roth and his team with executing this idea well. Unless your game is already half finished and you can give people a demo, this is all you can expect from a Kickstarter, so I’m not sure what more people could want.
            As you say, this “great on paper” is obviously no guarantee for the quality of the final result, but seeing the screenshots and videos of the different elements in combination with hearing details of the plan makes me rather optimistic.

            Edit: But I do admit that what’s missing is a video of actual gameplay, instead of videos of tech demos. But as it is in early alpha (or pre alpha?), the question is if the game is in a state to do this yet.

          • Xocrates says:

            ” I’m not sure what more people could want.”

            Mostly, I suspect they want the information to be delivered better.
            As I’ve noted before in the comments, the video pitch is kind of rubbish and you need to dig pretty deep in the text for the overall gameplay to become clear. Most of all, they need to explain better why this is interesting and how they merge together. You have so many features that quite frankly I’m unsure what the focus of the game is. The management? The survival? The exploration?

            And here’s another thing: Why is first person view so important that we’ve seen more of it than the actual building and management?

            Right now it feels more like a project where the developer is enamored with the idea than one he can successfully pull of.

            Like I said, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but I’m not surprised most wouldn’t.

          • Spoon Of Doom says:

            I see… well, there’s not much I can objectively say against that. I guess I just fell so in love with the idea myself, that I don’t care that much about the presentation. It always seemed to me like a stereotypical programmer/developer thing – good ideas, probably even good execution, but bad presentation in front of people. I just hope I’m right about this, but I definitely understand your point of view better now.
            Thanks for the insight.

    • Trinnet says:

      I’d like to see some evidence of the humour which was such an integral part of those old Bullfrog games. If no part of the pitch is funny, then why would we believe the game itself will be?

      • Hoaxfish says:

        I believe there was mention of “space chickens”

        • Spoon Of Doom says:

          And those space chickens got suicidal and burned themselves in lava, though I’m not quite sure whether that was intended behaviour or a bug in their “seek light, warm places” routine.

          Also, Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is mentioned quite often as an inspiration, so much that the ultimate answer (=42) is even incorporated into the goal and some of the pledge tiers, I think. Granted, no proof of humour in the game, but at least reason to be cautiously optimistic about that aspect, I think.

          • Trinnet says:

            In part, it was the Hitchhiker’s stuff which worried me.

            If Adams is an inspiration, then what we want is for that to show up in the writing. But reading that kickstarter page, that hasn’t happened – there’s no trace of Adams’ style of humour anywhere on that page. Instead what’s happened is that a boatload of Hitchhiker’s guide references have been sprinkled throughout the pitch.

            If the team’s funny, then that seems like the one thing which they can show right now in the way that they pitch – they don’t need to wait for the tech to be ready or the graphics to be done or the build to be stable. So it’s worrying that it’s not there.

            I hope Maia gets funded and winds up being awesome – I’d love there to be more games like that, I’m just not confident enough in this team to buy it before it’s made.

          • LionsPhil says:

            There’s no trace of Adams’ style of humour anywhere on that page. Instead what’s happened is that a boatload of Hitchhiker’s guide references have been sprinkled throughout the pitch.

            Very much this.

            Not one thing in Maia so far has shown any warmth or humour to it.

    • Big Murray says:

      Nothing I’ve seen from this suggests it’ll tickle that Dungeon Keeper itch. Just because it has a few features which look similar doesn’t mean it’ll satisfy the same kind of desires which Dungeon Keeper did. It’s a bit unfair to write off Dungeon Keeper fans just because they don’t instantly throw money at anything which looks remotely like their muse.

  9. Ultramegazord says:

    He shouldn’t have picked £ as the currency, that is definitely scaring a lot of people to back it up, which is stupid I know but that’s how people think when they see foreign currencies, I’m particulary talking about americans since in Europe we are used to pounds alongside with the euro.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It’s tricky for a UK company to get onto US Kickstarter, and Simon is on UK, which is only in £.

      • Fanbuoy says:

        They really should provide the option for developers to decide which currency to use. It can’t be difficult to do, but will probably help quite a bit. More or less everyone knows a dollar’s worth in their own currency, I believe.

        • Hahaha says:

          YES LETS BOW DOWN TO THE GREAT AND AMAZING AMERICANS

          It’s like xe dosen’t even exist

          • stupid_mcgee says:

            Like it or not, the US dollar is the de facto currency of the world. It’s what all other currencies are based upon. If you bothered to look at GDP, you might begin to see why.

          • Ich Will says:

            It’s not really the defacto currency of the rest of the world, certain nations yes including some English territories. I’m more shocked that Americans are still so inwards looking, I thought those days were left to the 80′s and the US was a very cosmopolitan country these days!

          • The Random One says:

            Xenon exists, dude. You can usually find it inside headlights.

          • Toberoth says:

            “Like it or not, the US dollar is the de facto currency of the world.”

            Erm? Care to expand on that a little?

          • Hahaha says:

            :p xe.com

          • Bhazor says:

            Kickstarter should really just use local currency and convert all amounts to it. It would save a lot of hassle.

          • Lemming says:

            “Like it or not, the US dollar is the de facto currency of the world. It’s what all other currencies are based upon.”

            What strange land is this?

            Congratulations on being number 11, I guess.

          • malkav11 says:

            When you go to back, it does a fast and dirty conversion. Or at least it does for me. But I think what’s more relevant than the currency being used is the lack of payment options and banks being paranoid about foreign purchases.

          • Voronwer says:

            @Bhazor I actually think that would be a huge hassle. Exchange rates change every day. So a project with its goal in Pounds would suddenly be showing the goal and tiers in dollars. Two weeks later, the rates change and suddenly people who pledges 20 dollars see it go up to 23 dollars (maybe extreme, but still). That would be rather annoying for the person pledging since you don’t know what you’ll be paying in the end. Alternatively, they could make the tiers static, but then how does that translate to the total amount? Do all those single pledges added up really make the total goal or are we actually under it or above?

            Maybe I’m overthinking, but it doesn’t seem to straight forward to me.

          • Superpat says:

            US dollars was the de facto currency in the olden days (Basically, Dollars where converted to Gold and everything else was converted to Dollars) But for some time now every currency in the world has become more or less independent from the dollar and theoreticaly depend on their country’s economical conditions, anyway, thats how I see it, correct me if i’m wrong.

        • LionsPhil says:

          I suspect the issue is that the kind of escrow-esque deferred payment they’re doing is hard to get past fraud checks when the person ultimately being paid is not in the “right” country. After all, PayPal don’t do it at all, and Amazon Payments apparently only in the US.

          Most e-commerce is much more straightforward.

      • Ultramegazord says:

        Oh, had no idea about that, it’s a shame, Kickstarter should convert the currency based on the country we’re in then, like all the shopping websites do.

        • Ich Will says:

          xe.com – you’re welcome.

          Also, be wary of shopping websites which hide from you which currency you are paying in!

    • Revisor says:

      From where do you draw conclusions about this mysterious and terrifying symbol’s influence, sir?

      • Meneth says:

        A number of people have commented that it has stopped them from impulse-buying Maia. Most Americans apparently go most of their lives without ever buying anything in a non-dollar currency.

      • Tuimic says:

        From my point of view (and I’m guilty of this), I know that my euro money is worth less than pound sterling. The dollar, is even worse against the pound. So when I see £10, I know it’s more than that, (it’s currently only €2 more but it’s still more). When I see dollars, I know I’m getting a bit of a deal. When Americans see dollars, they know that’s what they’re paying, no more no less.

        I have backed this project, but I can totally see people reaching the page and seeing it’s not in dollars and going away. Also there were issues and possibly still are with the british KS not accepting some common payment types.

        • cpt_freakout says:

          You see, I would like to back this game but at ten pounds minimum it’s very expensive for me. In my country’s currency (Mexican peso) one dollar is about 12 pesos, but one pound is about 23-24. It’s practically double of what I’ve invested in other, better communicated KS projects, so I’d rather wait for its release. After all, if I’m probably going to pay more or less the same when it comes out (20 dollars, give or take), at least I want to know if it’s a good game, which I will thanks to reviews and so on.

          The thing is, there’s lots of people around the world participating in KS projects, and you do have to consider that GBP might be a lot more expensive than a dollar in many countries. I think that’s also what the gringo meant by saying that the dollar is “the de facto currency of the world” – he wrote it badly, but it’s true that the most commonly used currency for international transactions is the dollar, and none of the European currencies come even close.

          • Lemming says:

            Well, its not £10 minimum really is it? You’re just talking about the reward tiers, which should be considered secondary to actually pledging.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        They can’t type it, thus it must be evil.

    • derbefrier says:

      are you sure or are you aren’t just making excuses? I keep hearing people say this but what makes you think its true? If i really cared for this project I would back it. But god games, while fun, are not something I feel I have really missed. I mean I played Black and White and had fun but its not a game I couldn’t live without and this game falls into that category. I just don’t care enough to hit the pledge button. Besides its the holidays. pledging on a game I might not even like is a lot less important than Black Friday and cyber Monday sales,(for which I have already got some more RAM, a new CPU cooler and a new Case-with handles!) which is were my money is going this weekend, plus steam sale.

      • Dark Malady says:

        the holidays is kind of a horrible time to launch something that is more a personal buy.
        I’ve backed it… but now I’m concerned that i won’t actually be able to buy my mother the new luggage she wants for Christmas… the only reason I’m gambling like this is because she really has her heart set on a BRIGHT pink suitcase… and oddly enough all the stores around here seem to only have brown or black.
        I have a bit of shopping to do for other people and not all of them are going to be fobbed off with a AUD$15 garden ornament. this reduces my impulse/self kitty drastically.

    • Arren says:

      Meh — this filthy Murikan ponied up the Sterling without hesitation.

      How might one be daunted by such a triviality, yet unfazed by the many more dicey aspects of Kickstarter? Strange…..

  10. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Simon roth has a beautiful beautiful man face.

    Like the professor Brian cox of gaming

    • burn_heal says:

      I wonder if I can request a picture of his face instead of sci-fi art for the £60 poster tier?

  11. The First Door says:

    I keep looking at the Kickstarter page for this and not quite putting any money into it. It’s a type of game I love and I really want to see it succeed, but something keeps stopping me. I think I’m just a little worried that I’ve not seen any real videos of the core game play. The videos of the engine features are lovely, but I really want to see the more of the building aspect, I think.

    • Belsameth says:

      Its still in very early alpha which makes showing off too much stuff really hard, sadly.

  12. Subject 706 says:

    Dammit RPS! Call Molyneux again, and tell him to prove that he REALLY has passion, by funding Maia!

    • Spoon Of Doom says:

      Really, giving a shout out and link to Maia on his own Kickstarter page would probably be enough. I already wrote a Kickstarter message to that effect.

      • Belsameth says:

        He’s been poked in that direction multiple times by various fans. No result tho :(

  13. MrTambourineMan says:

    I really wish Simon success with this project, but I’ll be first to say it: 100 000 GBP seems quite a lot of money for an indie project. Yes I do realize development of such project costs plenty of money but he should have set his goal at the bare minimum required to push Maia to the finish line and I (personally – I could be wrong) believe that 100 quid is well within comfort zone for project of this scale. Anyways, Maia looks great and I’ll keep all my fingers crossed that it passes the required sum.
    EDIT: I didnt read the interview before posting!

    • mickygor says:

      It quite clearly states in the article that £100k is what it would cost him to deliver the game at the quality level people want. You have to bear in mind that cost of living as well as many other things in the UK is higher – you can’t just convert it to $160,000 and think “that’d make a pretty heft game over here!” Our electricity’s more expensive, our minimum wage is higher, our food’s more expensive, hell our fuel is three times the price of yours, and our industry is a lot more heavily regulated which incurs more costs than it does over there.

      Also note, quid is a synonym for pound, not grand. 100 quid would struggle to feed a family for a week.

      • wodin says:

        Well said..infact for a family of four your shopping bill a week will be if buying healthy food around £130 or more..

        People have no idea how expensive it is for people in the UK..country has gone to the dogs aswell..if I had the ability to FOff to the states I would.

        • malkav11 says:

          Considering the state of -our- economy, and the immensely misguided state of huge swathes of our electorate, you might want to rethink that. At least you guys have health care.

        • Superpat says:

          My god, thats nothing, I live in a family of 5 and one grocery trip costs at least 250 (I live in Canada)

          Edit: But I have to say that even if we are having a big corruption crisis right now, I am pretty happy in my little snowy corner of Québec!

      • MrTambourineMan says:

        I get it man, I read the interview afterwards, as I have pointed out post festum. Still, I’m just voicing an opinion which I did stress in my post, that’s just wot I think. I based this opinion on a fact that Sir You’re Being Hunted asked for less than 50% of that sum and on a fact that I don’t really know to whom will the additional work be outsourced, it could be made in USA or cheaper EU countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, Poland etc. which have plenty of talent for a cheap(er) price. Still – I’m no hater, I wish the project all the best, I know that it could be that 100k quid is a tight squeeze, but perhaps they could have done it with less, fact of a matter is that no one will know that until after the project is shipped.

  14. mrd says:

    Crying shame if this doesn’t get funded. It looks and sounds so promising. I think though it’s going to be the first project I’ve backed that didn’t make it. :|

    • Meneth says:

      It is getting pretty close now. Hopefully the last few days will be enough to get it to the goal.

  15. fredc says:

    Pledged!

  16. Synesthesia says:

    It saddens me quite a lot to see this one struggling. It’s one of the few that’s not a remake or a revival, but an orignial creation inspired on a few of the good ones of yore. Simon, i hope that even if the kickstarter doesn’t make it, you still try tu push this thing forward. I know it could do well in greenlight, or anywhere else. Maybe a deal with the GOG guys? This game deserves to exist.

  17. Hoaxfish says:

    Molyneux’s Godus has just passed Maia’s goal…

    I’m waiting to see how close Maia gets on the last day, and will drop some money in if I think it’ll help get it funded. I was more reluctant to do so before Godus turned up (I have my own money issues to deal with obviously), then I saw people laughing at Molyneux’s more recent history but still chucking money at him

    • LionsPhil says:

      Different people.

      Molyneux can just say “Populus” and get a pile of retro nostalgia money from people who haven’t been paying attention to him repeatedly failing to deliver since Bullfrog were eaten alive—the people who won’t be reading or posting on RPS either.

  18. The Random One says:

    The strange thing is that I clearly remember yesterday someone compared Molyneux to marmite, but I just went back to check and can’t find any mention of marmite on either the interview, the interview trailer, or on the comments for either. I think this means marmite is God.

    Anyway I’ll back this now. Otherwise Marmite wins.

  19. S Jay says:

    I wanted to back, but all I see are tech demos and no explanation about game mechanics (that convince me)

  20. Gnoupi says:

    He has never played Startopia prior to this?

    Pledge cancelled

  21. wodin says:

    Funny someone said in this comment thread the $ is the main currency in the world..talk about arrogance..it’s actually the British Pound that everything is measured by becuase it’s the strongest out of all currencies..which doesn’ t benefit people in the UK at all just makes everything more expensive compared to other countries.

    • MrTambourineMan says:

      ^^No it’s not, where did you get this idea for crying out loud.

  22. cptgone says:

    there. i’ve wetted my pledger. now get to work!
    *fetches whip”

  23. AngoraFish says:

    First up, buy-in price is too low to start with, so you need a lot more people to achieve less. You are not competing on price, you are competing on high-concept.

    Secondly, the multi-tiered limited pricing is part of Maia’s problem. Telling everyone who drops by after the first couple of days that they’ve missed the super riot-in-Walmart busting specials is a good enough reason for many on the fence to simply turn and walk the other way. If you walk into Walmart and see a sticker indicating that you could have got the item for half off the day before, you’d rightly feel pretty miffed.

    Why a bunch of kickstarters seem to have got it into their heads that this is a good way to do business is a tragic example of herd thinking gone horribly awry. The only reason this works to a small extent in a retail environment is as bait advertising – to get customers into the store who will then go onto spend more on other things – and even then the sale price ticket disappears after the initial bait quantities sell out.

    Also, the mid-level tiers don’t offer sufficient incentive to kick in more cash above the minimum – high-res wallpapers for another £5? meh. On the other hand, $45 to have my name and bio in Prison Architect, I’m in for that!

    Limited early bird pricing is also another good reason not to jump up a tier – if you happen to have got in at the £5 or £7 tiers you’re actually paying up to an extra £10 for wallpapers, and you “lose your place in the line”.