Kickstarter Katchup – 15th December 2012

By Adam Smith on December 15th, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

I’ve got a terrible headache this morning and I haven’t done any Christmas shopping yet. The temptation is to throw copper coins out of my window at passing urchins, demanding that they purchase food and gifts on my behalf, but instead I decided to tuck into the selection box that is the Kickstarter Katchup to see what’s happening in the world of crowdfunding and gaming. The SPORTSFRIENDS survived, Consortium’s first-person role-playing adventure impressed and much else besides. I would say more but I really need to go and eat some painkillers though and then brave the crowds that are funding Father Christmas’ Commercial Extravaganza.

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. Include the word Kickstarter in the subject line too if you care about making my life even slightly easier.
  • 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.
  • Be aware that there are two currencies in play. Always check!
  • Do not turn over the Katchup until the invigilator tells you to begin and please do not copy from that one boy who sits next to you and always finishes filling in the answers before everyone else. He just makes them up anyway.

The Winners

Unforgotten Quest – Robert Moran

Goal: $100,000
Now: $100,679

Success for the comedic co-op RPG, which has presumably received plenty of support from fans of the web series created by the team. Despite having no knowledge of either the series of the proposed game before last week, I’m keen to see what comes of this. The entire game is built around software that will allow mods, total overhauls and even complete switching of genres. Or at least that’s what it says here:

Create your OWN RPG. Create quests, build worlds, and make your own classes and bosses using the same awesome tools we’ll be using to make UQ
Design Fighting Games. Schmoopy, Nailo, Roamin: Super Smash Bros style? We’ll make it so you have the tools and UI customization to do it.
Tower Defenses, 2D Mobas, re-enact Hamlet. UQ may only be a 4 person game, but the level editor will be able to support 12 to 16 players.

Tiny Barbarian DX – Michael Stearns

Goal: $12,000
Now: $12,587

Victory for Conan-o, as only I refer to the miniature barbarian who will soon be hacking and slashing his way through side-scrolling retro-styled episodes chock full of rippling muscles and slaughter. Backers who pledged enough to receive the game will have the first episode as soon as Michael finishes it and others will follow.

Predestination – Brain and Nerd

Goal: $25,000
Now: $29,340

Predestination has docked into the successo-station and now begins the process of unloading its crew so that they can jump into action. And by action, I mean sitting at their computers for the next twelve months creating a 4X space strategy game. Brain and Nerd reckon this is the first successful Northern Irish gaming Kickstarter project and thereby I politely request that all space strategy fans raise a pint glass in the direction of Belfast if they find themselves in a pub tonight. Stretch goals include multiplayer and modding tools, and there are loads of videos to watch.

SPORTSFRIENDS – Die Gute Fabrik

Goal: $150,000
Now: $152,451

I knew it! When things looked bleak for SPORTSFRIENDS I stubbornly refused to accept the possibility of failure. Probably because more people were tweeting about how much it had to succeed than hilariously sending messages to the Pope. If there’s two things I know about the people I follow on Twitter, it’s that they are capable of rallying the troops around a much-loved collection of multiplayer games and that they think saying ‘bum’ to the Pope’s personal IT assistant is a victory of sorts. Anyone who pledged $30 or more should be receiving alpha versions of J.S. Joust, Hokra, and BaraBariBall soon. Or perhaps they’ve received them already? I did play Joust last weekend and I was terrible at it, as always, balancing a beer in one hand and the controller in the other. I don’t know if I had an opponent other than myself.

The Losers

NONE.

The Players

Consortium – Interdimensional Games

Goal: $200,000
Now: $7,422
Days: 16

Watch the video for Consortium, even if the first thirty seconds or so doesn’t seem all that intriguing. I watch so many of these things a week that I’m practically numb to their charms and I was thinking, ‘OK, sci-fi, space, something something’ before I realised I was looking at something more interesting than another ship-zapping space game. There’s a huge amount of backstory to the universe, much of it explored in the ARG that has been running since January 2010, and the game itself is not what I expected from the first moments of the pitch at all. Built in Source, Consortium is a “first-person narrative RPG”, which looks for all the world like a fully fleshed out, complex and involved adventure that takes something akin to the crew interactions and relationships of Mass Effect and runs with them all the way to the next galaxy. There is tactical combat, but the details in the pitch remind me more of The Last Express than the pew-pew of space-lasers. An experienced team, a superb concept and a great deal of development progress – where have all the backers been?

Dream – HyperSloth

Goal: £20,000
Now: £3,079
Days: 18

Dream was one of the first games to bask in the glow of Steam’s Greenlight and now an extra £20,000 is needed to complete it. Drawing inspiration from Yume Nikki, it’s a first-person exploration game, which I need more of, and it looks mighty impressive. Here’s the setup:

You take on the role of Howard Phillips, a young graduate with no direction in life who develops an obsession with his dreams. Discover dreams and nightmares filled with puzzles and secrets to help Howard find the meaning to his life.

Well, there’s a referential name if ever I saw one. Personally, I’d have gone for Fearston McTerror but H.P. will do, I suppose. The game looks good and I’ve included some unedited footage below rather than the pitch video, although you can of course watch that over at the Kickstarter page.

Tainted Fate – Misfit Village

Goal: $3,000
Now: $134
Days: 40

With apologies, this belated entry (added at 13:45 for those wondering how belated) is a horror adventure with two protagonists, with each exploring the same island at a different time. Actions in the earlier decade, the 1940s, can alter events in the modern day storyline. The funding target is low but that’s because the game is already a good way through development, as the video below and the playable tech prototype demonstrate. The island settings may bring Dear Esther to mind but Tainted Fate contains puzzles and monsters as well as a lighthouse. The video actually reminded me of Lovecraftian Crysis mod, The Worry of Newport.

Days of Dawn – Bumblebee

Goal: $95,000
Now: $19,396
Days: 17

“Hand-painted graphics…16-bit era…original roleplaying game…round-based combat…unique magic system…toddlers hovering in the air, a wife ignites her house in anger.” That last part grabbed my attention firmly, although now that I think about it floating toddlers and pyromaniac spouses are almost certainly common occurrences in The Sims. This isn’t The Sims though, it’s a fantasy RPG, under development by a team of industry veterans based in Germany. The claim of a ‘unique’ magic system had me half-hoping that magic was uniquely absent, just for a change, but instead magic is new to the world and therefore hasn’t been documented and researched. No tomes, no scrolls, just emotion and instinct. There’s more about that here.

Aero – Bill Nye and GameDesk

Goal: $100,000
Now: $25,860
Days: 13

I almost didn’t include Aero for two reasons. First of all, it doesn’t have a great deal of time left to reach its goal and I’ve only just been told about it. And then there’s the fact that it’s an iPad game with PC only included as a $115,000 stretch goal. Despite all of that, here it is because the video, featuring Bill Nye, who American readers likely know as The Science Guy, is too cheerful to ignore. I’m not sure how the game actually works but the intention is to teach players about bird flight by modelling the aerodynamics and flight physics accurately. There is an ‘air molecule viewer’ mode. Far from being intimidating, the game looks jolly and educational, and the project is the work of a non-profit organisation who seem intent on the power of learning, which is almost as cool as the power of flight.

Meriwether: An American Epic – Sortasoft

Goal: $35,000
Now: $13,304
Days: 22

I’m not the only person impressed by the well-researched historical exploration setting of Meriwether, at least not judging by the healthy amount of backers who discovered it this week. And on top of that there’s an endorsement Dr Gary E Moulton, a scholar and editor of The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition:

“Having worked with the core documents of the Lewis and Clark expedition for twenty years as editor of the explorers’ journals, I’m impressed with the dedication Josh has given to achieving historical accuracy. And as an experienced game designer, he also knows how to create elements of challenge and excitement in this endeavour.”

Now, if only more scholars would take games seriously. Where is Professor Herbert Butterstink’s dissertation upon Historiography, Connor and the American Myth?

Forsaken Fortress – Photon Productions

Goal: $100,000
Now: $65,005
Days: 6

Plenty of updates detailing how this survival RPG will work, including videos on combat and vehicles. Not long left, but momentum is building and the team have plenty to show.

Telepath Tactics – Sinister Design

Goal: $25,500
Now: $9,084
Days: 14

Craig Stern’s SRPG, self-described as the offspring of Disgaea and Fire Emblem, has a demo. You can download it for Windows, Mac or Linux, and if you have an interest in turn-based tactical battling that would seem like a sensible thing to do. There’s also new information on multiplayer, which was the original focus of the game, including details in local multiplayer support.

War for the Overworld – Subterranean Games

Goal: £150,000
Now: £66,631
Days: 19

Keeping the flame of Dungeon Keeper lit (or relighting it) is a noble ambition and War for the Overworld’s team aren’t the only developers piling up the kindling. The project is up there with Impire as one of the most promising tunnel-carving, minion-bossing game I’ve laid eyes on recently. The playable prototype has been updated and though it is very basic, it’s still useful to see the tech in action. A recent update also informs us that the game will be DRM-free in all its incarnations.

Project GODUS – 22cans

Goal: £450,000
Now: £305,393
Days: 6

If there’s a criticism of Project GODUS’ Kickstarter that I haven’t heard yet, I’d be amazed. Do feel free to amaze me in the comments. It would be churlish to complain about the updates on the project page though, whether they’re indicative of a game you’d like to back or not. Molyneux and his team are documenting the process in such detail, not all of it flattering, that I’m not entirely sure that the footage itself doesn’t represent 22cans’ second experiment. Here’s a video showing the prototype as it existed earlier this week, with more to come this weekend.

Dizzy Returns – The Oliver Twins

Goal: £350,000
Now: £25,280
Days: 6

The Oliver Twins have publicly stated that Dizzy’s return is unlikely and the figures back them up. They have elaborated on the almost certain failure of the project and their reasoning might be useful to plenty of other people considering Kickstarter:

“When we started the Dizzy Returns campaign we were in the pre-development stage, concepting characters, locations and game mechanics. Many of you have asked to see a demo or some gameplay footage – unfortunately that doesn’t exist yet, because of the simple fact that we haven’t begun actually making the game.”

“The majority of video game Kickstarter projects have been in production for some time, with some having been literally years in the making, and of course this wasn’t the case with Dizzy Returns. As we have learnt all too well, starting the campaign this early in pre-development has made it much harder to communicate our vision of Dizzy Returns, and there’s no denying that we should and could have done this better.”

Kaiju Combat – Sunstone Games

Goal: $100,000
Now: $83,740
Days: 6

Fans of giant monsters punching each other may be pleased to hear that Kaiju Combat has finally found the rich veins of Godzilla-lust that were concealed surprisingly well in Mount Internet. The project was shy of $50,000 last week and the last seven days have been far its biggest yet. Gargantuan days. The sort of days that would stamp on a city block and then poo flames on the commercial district. New videos are still in production but the team are updating the art style from their current ‘cartoon style’ and hope to have something to show before the end of the Kickstarter period.

Elite: Dangerous – Frontier Developments

Goal: £1,250,000
Now: £749,149
Days: 20

Everything is relative, especially in space where Einstein lives in a clock. That’s why Elite: Dangerous raising its pledge total by just less than a £100,000 in a week doesn’t look as hugely impressive as the figure suggests. Although that would be enough to fund plenty of games outright, for Elite it’s a large drop in a larger bucket. I’d be shocked if the final days don’t bear witness to a flurry of activity, so I reckon Braben’s team will reach their target, but they’ve really needed the super-long pledging period they opted for. Or perhaps the final days would still have pushed them over the top. Here’s a new video about the development plan, with info on exploring ships, stations and planets.

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51 Comments »

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  1. ukpanik says:

    “journalist Dan Misener has found that metatags are added to failed projects so their Kickstarter pages are actively hidden from third-party search engines. According to Kickstarter’s own data, almost 56 percent of projects fail, but this information never shows up in the boosterish media juggernaut the company has built around itself.”

    http://www.thebaffler.com/past/whos_the_shop_steward_on_your_kickstarter

    • lordcooper says:

      So?

    • Premium User Badge

      Ksempac says:

      You do know Kickstarter offers detailed stats, just one click away from the homepage ? http://www.kickstarter.com/help/stats?ref=footer That’s not what I call “hiding that not every project succeed”.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      It’s obviously to keep failed kickstarters from leeching attention away from successful or currently active kickstarters.

      • Shuck says:

        Yes, exactly – if your Kickstarter fails, and you start another one, you want web searches to go the active one, not the failed one. This is exactly how it should work. (Although you can still find failed Kickstarter campaigns via search engines.)

    • ShrikeMalakim says:

      I’m suspecting this is to prevent SEO gaming by projects not intended to be successful. If they didn’t do this, it would be foolish for businesses NOT to make fake projects with astronomical goals that will never be met, just for SEO inlinks. And after that had been happening for a little while, it would become unwieldy to manage the fraudulent project reports, and the search engines would eventually downrate links from Kickstarter as a whole.

    • Chalky says:

      ..good? It seems pretty reasonable that people wouldn’t want to look at failed project pages and if you had a failed kickstarter but went on to make the game via a different method of funding, would you want your top google results to be your failure?

  2. Noburu says:

    Damn I think we all emailed you too late about Topia Online:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1784263141/topia-online

    Maybe next week.

  3. Premium User Badge

    golem09 says:

    ONE IMPORTANT KICKSTARTER IS MISSING
    namely LEGEND OF DUNGEON
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/robotloveskitty/legend-of-dungeon

    It ends in 33 hours, and needs your help to get to the online multiplayer stretch goal at 40k.
    Come on, I know it can be done!

    • Noburu says:

      Maybe because its already more than 5x funded? They met their goal in under 24 hours. They do make good games though. Loved Tiny Plumbers.

  4. kaffis says:

    Since the Katchup doesn’t cover hardware peripherals…

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/matterdaddy/wasdiotm-the-pc-game-controller-for-action-games

    It’s a throttle-like peripheral meant to replace WASD with gross motor function movements that offer an analog range. Looks like a great mouser’s alternative to using a game controller for console ports that are designed with analog motion in mind (stealthers, anyone?)…

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Still not giving up my WASD. With WASD, I can immediately go in the opposite direction without having to go through a neutral.

      Regardless, the project’s study on practicality is interesting.

      Have you seen the Logitech G13? It gives you analog control plus 22+ hotkeys near your left hand.

      • Premium User Badge

        Revisor says:

        I have just one tip: Try ESDF.

        I have tried it and have not looked back ever since.

    • MrLebanon says:

      this was covered on RPS not long ago, dont think it was a Katchup but it was covered

  5. Innovacious says:

    I can’t believe nobody is talking about lore! When asked “Can video games be art?”, I think lore shows that they can.

    Falling short of its original 1.5mil goal earlier in the year, it is now back with a more modest goal.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1376466869/lore-0

    • Fanbuoy says:

      Jesus Christ, who wrote their pledge tiers? My head hurts.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Last time I posted about Lore, my comment got deleted. I think maybe it was in the interest of not drawing any attention to it. Amazingly, they seem to have 12 backers now.

      EDIT: Would appear the backers just backed so they could comment. And what heated comments they are, too.

      • ikbenbeter says:

        Those comments are amazing. Somebody give that Timothy Brown a round of applause for doing what he does.

    • Premium User Badge

      Anthile says:

      “Do you remember the days of old when games were hard and made you think.” [sic]

      Yeah, the mythical age of last week.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Art indeed.

    • lordcooper says:

      Bwahahaha!

      This is satire, right?

    • Premium User Badge

      Norskov says:

      This is amazing. He also posted one of the best kickstarter updates I’ve read so far: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1376466869/lore/posts/347888

      • Wolf0x says:

        That is some special stuff right there.

        • MadTinkerer says:

          Lore looks precisely and uncannily like community college student work. I’m guessing the guy is 20-something with ADD or Asperger’s syndrome or something similar and English actually is his first language but he’s just that bad at communicating.

          I’ve taken classes with so many people like this guy, it’s not funny. Not that all of my fellow students are like this, but rather this guy is That One Guy, You Know: That Guy and there’s at least one like him in every graphic design, digital art, and game design class.

    • Ateius says:

      This is magical.

      “Real players grind”, indeed.

    • mwoody says:

      This… wat?

    • int says:

      The good thing about Kickstarter is that anyone can start one.

      The bad thing about Kickstarter is that anyone can start one.

    • Premium User Badge

      colorlessness says:

      Wow, this is great. The comments page is especially good. Thx.

  6. Fanbuoy says:

    “one of the most promising tunnel-carving, minion-bossing game I’ve laid eyes on recently.”

    I’m not really sure that says very much. But yeah, basically this.

  7. pakoito says:

    Why nobody is as excited as I am with Telepath Tactics? IN a couple of years people will continue complaining why there are no TRPGs in the PC, that we are left alone, consolegamers, japan, etc…

    We have a game there. It’s working. It has what was promised and needed. Local and online multiplayer, campaign, deep mechanics and moddability.

  8. Uthred says:

    Anima – Gate of Memories, an action RPG based on the world from the popular tabletop rpg/miniature game Anima:Beyond Fantasy – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1188790300/anima-gate-of-memories-0/

    • Premium User Badge

      strangeloup says:

      Oh wow, that looks really interesting, cheers for pointing it out. I’ve not actually played the RPG, due to it being approximately a million billion pounds per book, but the miniatures are some of the best I’ve seen. Although at first glance it’s anime style, I think with a better look at it the art direction is really great and characterful.

      I’m going to go throw money at this now.

  9. Tesla404 says:

    Kickstarter has been a passion of mine for awhile now. I follow news on it frequently and attempt to look into new projects as they come out. Unfortunately, it feels like the site is being super saturated to the point where the only way projects can succeed now is if they have a funding goal below 5k, have name recognition or get featured on a news site. It is so hard to discover interesting campaigns now.

    I do not know how many of you have been watching Kickathon, but last night I was seriously impressed with a lot of projects I had not even seen before that live stream. One game in particular stood out to me, Galaxy for Hire, http://kck.st/RSopGK .

    That team looks fairly competent based on what they present and the quality of their work, but I think it is going to fall by the wayside because people simply have not even seen the page… I told my friends about it this morning and none of them had heard about it but we plan to donate for a coop pack now. I didn’t used to have this problem, and I think it is a sad state of affairs for crowd funding at this point…

    My 2 cents.. For what it is worth….

    PS: start watching Kickathon!

  10. DrunkDog says:

    If only they’d invent KickStarter vouchers. Now there’s a thought.

  11. Mr. Mister says:

    Of all of the headlines proving how perfect that future was, none of themannounced the release oif Half-Life 3…

  12. mwoody says:

    Aero has made a fatal mistake in making extra platforms a stretch goal. I love the idea, and would absolutely sign up, but I don’t have an Apple device. So until they’ve not only met but exceeded their goal, I’d be an idiot to promise them any funds.

    And that Topia Online sounds fascinating. I’ve played Wurm and other similar sandbox MMOs, but they don’t let you just flat out script an NPC AI on your property. There’s some unanswered questions about platform support, business model,etc. though; posted in their comment section and we’ll see how that pans out.

  13. malkav11 says:

    Consortium seems to be promising an awful lot and asking for rather little (yes, $200k is a lot of money for -me-, but it doesn’t seem like much to develop the game they’re talking about). Still, I backed it just in case. It’s definitely the sort of game I’d like to play, and it sounds like maybe what they’re funding with the $200k would be the first game in an episodic series, which seems more reasonable.

    • Fearzone says:

      Corsortium oozed corporate attitude, from the FPS/RPG content, to the overall team dynamic in the video.

  14. Premium User Badge

    melnificent says:

    So the Elite video is an admittance that this is now going to be a £1.25mil limited remake of elite, and all the stuff they’ve said will be new will be added later.
    He says that he feels it is totally acceptable to release the game unfinished.
    and that the initial promises will be met at “some future date”.

    So for those that have pledged are you happy to be told that the game that will take Another 15 months (expected March 2014) to be released in a more incomplete state than the original Elite?
    And the new stuff you wanted will be added “One day in the future”?

    GODUS > is that a renamed experiment from 22cans? Maybe “exploitation” or “nostalgic cash extraction” or “Molyneux dream crusher” or “I worked at Bullfrog give me money”. though the last 2 seem remarkable similar.

    Dizzy Returns, was never going to succeed when it was so early dev and Spuds quest showed just how little it actually takes to make a Dizzy game

    • Hoaxfish says:

      To be fair, Dizzy Returns seemed a bit more “modern thinking” than just remaking old Dizzy. Spud’s quest is great as pixel indie goodness, but the Dizzy project was throwing around the idea of 3D etc (i.e. a different level of game from what Spud’s Quest is trying to achieve).

    • goettel says:

      What do you mean by ” in a more incomplete state than the original Elite” ? The original had none of the features Braben is talking about in this video:no landing on planets, no ship and station intereriors – let alone stow-aways (a great idea, if seemingly hard to implement fairly).

      As for the march 2014 release: what’s wrong with that ? It certainly didn’t stop me from pledging – in fact, I doubled my pledge from 20 to 40 pounds after this video. Like any kickstarter, it’s a risk, but it’s a calculated risk: I simply pledged because I want to give Braben this shot at making one of the games I’ve been waiting for for ages.

    • mwoody says:

      Now hang on, “nostalgic cash grab” is bullshit. There have indeed been Kickstarters to which that might apply, but 22Cans has updated the crap out of this thing, and are showing a game actively in development. I’m hard pressed to point to a KS less deserving of being called vaporware or resting on the laurels of its big names.

    • Caiman says:

      Unlike you, I can understand that releasing a great gaming experience and then adding extra features over time does not make the game “unfinished”. You obviously never played Elite if you think that their initial release will be more incomplete than the original. In fact, I dare say you posted that response before you actually thought about it at all.

  15. Hoaxfish says:

    I haven’t backed Godus yet but it’s getting more tempting as they show more of the game. The clean cartoony visuals reminds me a bit of Planetary Annihilation’s pitch.

    I kinda wonder what they’re going to do with it if/when the project fails. They’ve put a lot of work into it (even if it might have been a better idea to do it as prep for the Kickstarter) so it’d be a shame to just see it disappear, or bankrupt 22Cans.

    • zbeeblebrox says:

      I get the feeling GODUS is going to be one of those mysterious “Oh wow it made its goal in the 11th hour!” projects. If it isn’t, I’ll give extra props to Molyneaux for not being sketchy. Especially considering how many of those mysterious 11th hour successes happened in the past two weeks on Kickstarter..

  16. Fearzone says:

    These Kickstarter Katchups are really expensive. Each one cost me around $50-$100. I still look forward to Saturday mornings.

  17. hairrorist says:

    Goddammit, Dawn of Whatever has a fantastic art direction and interesting promise but that trailer is an unfortunate and unintended self parody.

    IN A WORLD WHERE ______

    Sigh.
    Here’s hoping that they have a terrible PR director, not a terrible writer.

  18. catherinecatherine says:

    like Edna replied I’m dazzled that someone able to get paid $5103 in a few weeks on the internet. did you read this webpage http://www.ASK22.com

  19. dvzlrnzb says:

    These Kickstarter Katchups are really expensive. Each one cost me around $50-$100. I still look forward to Saturday mornings.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-Y3xHDTTe8

  20. muskieratboi says:

    Sigh. Spammers galore near the end of the comments. ah well.

    What i’m pissed off at is what happened with Kaiju Combat this morning. barely an hour after hitting the funding goal, Two backers worth $18k pulled out. and according to Sunstone, they pulled out at the same time. in other words, someone intentionally tried to undermine the project..