Kickstarter Katchup – 3rd February 2013

By Adam Smith on February 3rd, 2013 at 7:56 pm.

It has been a week of travel, talk and teamwork for me, as I visited the Paradox Convention, met good people and then cursed loudly as they defeated me in everything from The Showdown Effect to Europa Universalis IV. Now that I’ve returned to my computer, I find that Dreadline has failed to reach its goal, which is saddening but unsurprising given how far from its target it was last week. Neocolonialism has reached its target though. The fate of the ‘subversive educational’ game was in the balance for a while and I’m very glad to see it succeed. Unwritten hasn’t found the boost it needs yet but lovely screenshots of the environment art may help to convince the doubters.

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!
  • Anyone falling to the ground and thrashing about in a pretence of agony following minimal contact from the Katchup will receive a yellow card and the scornful disrespect of their peers.

The Winners

Homesick – Lucky Pause

Goal: $8,000
Now: $12,318

I’m a huge fan of narratives that take place in a single location, for reasons of staged efficiency and a fondness for absurdist purgatories, so Homesick’s abandoned building exploration adventure tickles my intrigue. The project was already well on its way to its target last week and has now hit the first stretch goal, which means MORE MORE MORE and Oculus Rift support. $22,000 will provide resources for a prequel, set in a different location.

Artizens – Artizens, Inc.

Goal: $30,000
Now: $30,771

Success for co-op side-scrolling monster basher Artizens. The alpha should be ready in summer, and if the mixture of elements and styles works well it’ll be a decent excuse not to sit in a beer garden pretending its warm enough to sit in a beer garden. It’s a game with robust customisation options and the addition of creature crafting is cause for celebration.

Neocolonialism – Sub Altern Games

Goal: $10,000
Now: $11,049

That was close. The powers that be, in the form of The Man and The Corporation, almost managed to block Neocolonialism’s campaign but in the end, the little guy triumphed. Sub Altern Games are the Jimmy Stewart of the Kickstarter world, although with quite a bit more bite. This is how you end a campaign:

“Thanks to you, I have the means to finish my game, and begin the long adventure towards releasing it and founding a subversive educational games non-profit.”

I haven’t played a subversive educational game since Narc attempted to teach me hard lessons about the war on drugs.

The Losers

Dreadline – Eerie Canal

Dreadline didn’t come close to its $167,000 target, which must be as much to do with a failure to reach a wider audience as a failure to engage with those it did reach. What alternative can there be? It’s evident from comments I’ve heard on RPS and elsewhere that some folk found the time-travelling slaughter distasteful, given its focus on actual historical disasters. While I found the idea pleasantly daft rather than offensive, I can certainly understand that perspective. The project may continue:

Rather than dwell on what went wrong, we’re working to find alternate ways to fund the Dreadline’s development. We’ve invested a huge amount of time and energy, and aren’t quite ready to let go.

The Players

Asylum – Senscape

Goal: $100,666
Now: $30,879
Days: 24

Played Scratches? It wasn’t the most elaborate adventure but it scared the moustache right off my face. Thankfully, I live in a small flat so I don’t have to worry about what’s in the basement. The designer has been working on Asylum for a while now and is ready to raise the $100,000 plus thematically-added extras that are necessary to finish the game. It’s a horror adventure set in an asylum, but then Scratches was set in an abandoned house and managed to unnerve and the location felt at least a little different to all those other abandoned houses. Here’s hoping Asylum is more Session 9 than House On Haunted Hill. Two videos below, one with lots of info and corny effects, and a trailer, the ending of which implies that the Kickstarter money will be used to buy a time machine.

Port Torque 3D to Linux – GarageGames

Goal: $29,487
Now: $9,930
Days: <1

Less than a day to go and it’s hard to see this port of Torque 3D to Linux ending up anywhere but the losers column next week. Here are some words from the CEO of Garage Games:

If you are on the fence, you may be asking yourself, “Why would I support a free product”. We understand why many people would rather wait on the side lines and benefit from the support from others. But that isn’t a sustainable model and we believe that paying developers will always drive better results.

You may remember a soft body vehicular physics demo running in Crytek. BeamNG are now running their physics through Torque 3D.

Number of high speed crashes = 0.

The 90’s Arcade Racer – Pelikan13

Goal: £10,000
Now: £9,450
Days: 14

I wouldn’t be surprised if the bright and cheerful racer had actually passed its goal by the time I publish this post. It’s going to make it sometime soon, that’s for sure. Extra funding will pay artists to create extra content (tracks, cars) and to polish what is already there. Some ‘exciting’ news is teased, but it hasn’t arrived yet, so instead I’m going to use this space to express my amazement that the game is running in Unity. The incredible variety in Unity projects amazes me and playing Cities in Motion 2 earlier this week, I asked the developers if it was really built in Unity on two separate occasions, just to make sure. An incredible, multi-functional engine and part of one of the many exciting futures PC gaming is currently building toward.

Terminus – Harbour Games

Goal: $25,000
Now: $3,856
Days: 17

Remember your favourite Sim City? Not your favourite game in the franchise, but your favourite actual city, the one that you built and it either functioned like a frictionless urban cog-collection, or simply looked the part. Did you burn it down? I always did. I had to see how it all ended. Terminus’ colonies are beset by disasters – plagues, fires, air-loss – so you won’t have to hit the destruction button yourself, realising that contentment becomes ennui, instead the game will do it for you. Or at least that’s the plan. Although there’s time enough, the previous week hasn’t been promising on the funding front.

Fortis Rex – Ancient Realms Studios

Goal: $7,000
Now: $4,087
Days: 5

Ancient Realms ran a survey a few days ago asking the community if it was time to scrap the current Kickstarter and begin again. It’s like crowdsourcing cubed – “hey, crowd, shall we crowdsource now, later, or never again” – and while I can understand their worry, I can’t help but feel that if I were visiting the page for the first time and saw that update, I’d wait for the relaunch rather than pledging straight away. I suspect the plan for a relaunched campaign is tied to the launch of the combat arena beta, which might have been ready for late January but is now due February 23rd. That should be a big boost for the project and will allow people to make a more informed decision.

Wildman – Gas Powered Games

Goal: $1,100,000
Now: $424,303
Days: 12

I’ve barely had a chance to check the internet since Wednesday so I wasn’t sure if the Wildman page would still be active when I clicked on it five minutes ago. It is! But that $1.1 million is speckling about on the horizon. There’s a great feature on the whole story of the Kickstarter over at PCGamesN, which Jim beat me to, and Nathan already posted the mod tools video. Since somebody else has already linked to everything else here, here’s something slightly different. From me, to you.

Unwritten: That Which Happened – Roxlou Games

Goal: $75,000
Now: $27,591
Days: 9

The failure of Unwritten to gain traction baffles me. It’s a game with pedigree, a well-run campaign and a fascinating hook – a game about travelling, exploring, storytelling and gods. The latest update even counters my previous concern about the graphics. The latest screenshots show the work of Amanda Williams, previously the environmental artist on Spider and Waking Mars. They look great.

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59 Comments »

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  1. mwoody says:

    Something on this page is broken; it asked me to download an MP4 on load.

    EDIT: fixed now.

  2. mwoody says:

    Pity Unwritten has stalled. I’ve never seen a game charge so far early on and then just absolutely stop. It’s one of those that should have held off just a bit until they had the better art and some more gameplay details from the start.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      Perhaps yeah. There might be those who clicked once and wont click again. I personally needed the gameplay details before pledging but once they were there I thought it sounded interesting and different enough to back. Plus the new art is rather gorgeous.

      Hopefully it’ll gain a bit more traction.

      Edit: I think I said this elsewhere but I think they did make a bit of an error with the reward tiers. Promises of exclusive content might alienate people who would be willing to back at a lower level more than they encourage people to up their pledge.

      • mwoody says:

        Hrm, true, promises of additional in-game rewards for extra donation are a bad idea, and I’d often not join on in protest for those that opt to do so. That said, here they’re not as worrying as some. Reading the tiered rewards, I see three in-game bonuses available:
        – Get a piece of your in-game history custom-set. It’s done for you only, and doesn’t appear to include any gameplay bonuses. Doesn’t really bother me.
        – Get a code so that your face is guaranteed to show up in-game for you. Really doesn’t bother me.
        – Get a special ending. This DOES bother me, but then, it will only be available at $150 and higher, so it can’t be THAT much of a game-changer.

        So not great, but not nearly as bad as the Elite “pay to unlock different starting ships” bullshit.

      • Gink says:

        I`m one that didn`t pledge because of the exclusive special ending, even though this is the sort of project I`d have no problem pledging 150$ to. I sent a mail to the developer explaining my view, and he was very understanding about it.

        I really hope doing these kind of reward tiers won`t become a trend on Kickstarter. Sure, it might be a tiny little bit of exclusive content this time, but who knows where it`ll go?
        It gave a me a sort of day 1 dlc kind of feel, and I`m so sad about it, because I loved everything about this project, and the music in the video was amazing.

      • Premium User Badge

        Martel says:

        I find myself backing a game “despite” the exclusive rewards (Roam in this case), but I’m with you in that it really irritates me that they do that. Maybe I should be more up front and not ever back games that do the exclusive items bit.

    • abandonhope says:

      Agreed. I was intrigued enough to want to stick around and hear more, but some aspects of the game weren’t particularly well explained to start. I guess there were a lot of components to get across. The pre-alpha image was interesting, but I wasn’t sure what I was looking at at first. I think they’ve since done a pretty comprehensive job of spelling out the gameplay, and the new art sells it for me.

      Fair criticism, regarding the exclusive content reward tier. It’s the kind of thing that usually bothers me a lot more, but I think a single unique story fragment is a relatively tiny thing that I won’t miss in a game that has tons of them.

      Edit: forgot about the special ending tier. Again, I’m not a fan of reserved content at different tiers (killed Skyjacker’s first campaign), but in this case a single unique ending doesn’t concern me. I’d be playing for the range of possible endings based on my decisions, not one in particular.

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      jrodman says:

      I want to like unwritten, there are so many things about it that are fascinating, but the whole thing sounds, for want of a better word, bleak to me. It’s pushing me away somehow. Perhaps it is destined to be one of those games I recognize as very well made but just don’t want to, personally, play.

  3. Premium User Badge

    jrodman says:

    I kicked 50 bucks to “port torque to linux”. I’m not exactly sure why. I’m a Linux user and have been for 17 years now or so, but I’m not ever going to use this library.

    I guess it’s reall the safety in knowing that the funding isn’t going to actually succeed…

    • LionsPhil says:

      You may want to read these two posts about Torque from the previous Katchup:
      * Rikard and Citrus
      * Kaira- et. al.
      Any chance of investigating this and adjusting your KK mention accordingly, RPS?

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        Oh.

      • Adam Smith says:

        Will look into it.

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        Well this has been a double-lesson to me:

        1 – research campaigns a bit more closely before contributing.
        2 – Don’t use indiegogo. You cannot adjust your contribution prior to campaign conclusion if something comes up in the time window to alter your faith in the campaign.

        • Premium User Badge

          jrodman says:

          After 3 days, indiegogo got around to reviewing my request to cancel my contribution and did so.

          On the plus side, they did it. On the minus side, 3 days is kind of awkward compared to kickstarter’s immediate control.

          Maybe indiegogo can do this after a campaign completes? But that seems doubtful. Can people retroactively make a campaign fail?

          Will avoid in the future, myself.

  4. abandonhope says:

    Yeah, Unwritten. Baffling indeed. The new in-game concept by Amanda Williams is a perfect match for the direction of the game, giving it a weird world that begs to be explored. I hope it helps them appeal to more people. I thought this one was a sure thing.

  5. MayhemMike says:

    Thumbs up for Wildman. I really hope they will make it to the goal

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      We hardly need yet another DOTA clone. Perhaps they try to go a little beyond that but… that “little” is just not good enough.

      • abandonhope says:

        Does it really seem like a DOTA clone to you? As someone who doesn’t care for DOTA, that’s not the impression I get from the video. DOTA strikes me as being kind of abstract compared to a lot of strategy games, with a gamey set of rules that I don’t find all that interesting. Wildman seems to have various strategic layers, exploration, expansion, and technological advancement, but centered around an ARPG perspective/experience.

        The less DOTA it is the better, as far as I’m concerned. If you know something I don’t, let me know, because that isn’t something I want to back.

        • c348998 says:

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  6. Buemba says:

    Akaneiro also made it.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Thurgret says:

    I’m not very interested in Wildman, but I am interested in GPG surviving. Somehow, it would sit easier with me were the Kickstarter to save GPG rather than to create Wildman. “Your game is pretty unappealing to me, but I’m feeling charitable” seems like it would be a really depressing thing to hear. Admittedly, I haven’t really read much into the details. Oh well. I’ll probably back the thing anyway.

    • abandonhope says:

      You’re not the only one. I’m still not sure if I’ll increase my pledge, but I think the new pitch video is definitely worth checking out. ARPGs don’t do much for me anymore, but having ARPG action to pass the time while I’m engaged with the more interesting strategy bits could be rather enjoyable.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I can admit I’m not that interested in the caveman theme… but there’s apparently dinosaur people as well, which is tempting.

  8. buzzmong says:

    Hmm, Terminus has faint echos of K240 about it. I’ll have to keep my eye on that one.

  9. Hoaxfish says:

    Roam, featured earlier this week, has hit its basic funding goal, but has 20 days still to go.

    There’s apparently some “legal” thing for Tropes vs Women vs Videogames (X amount of months after it should’ve turned up or something), and an update for some basic tumblr. Not really sure what’s going on with that.

    • abandonhope says:

      http://tropesversuswomen.tumblr.com/

      First video of the series slated for February? I look forward to hearing her ideas, and, of course, the ensuing response, because drama.

      I haven’t found much of her YouTube work persuasive thus far, and I’ve watched a fair bit of it. She seems to be stuck on early-life feminism, the sort fueled by outrage, with an unnecessary incredulous tone and a lot of unsophisticated analysis.

      Her main metric tends to be whether art or advertising has presented strong, non-sexualized female characters, as if every piece of fiction has an implicit obligation to do so, with any aberrations presented as abhorrent. One of her critiques was literally: This ad showed men being attracted to a woman, as if that’s all women exist for. There’s an awful lot of reaching in her work.

      It’s hard to get behind college essay-level feminist theory, but females vs. tropes in games is an area well worth exploring, and I hope she manages to use the funding to improve her analysis and not just the production values of the series. It’s a topic that deserves to be done right, hopefully with some presentation on a viable alternative that is not simply: Every female character in games must be wholly capable and modestly dressed or sexism.

      • The Random One says:

        I’m hoping that, at the very least, her work wil spur someone else to do a similar thing. Someone more comfortable with the medium, or identifying with more inclusive feminist theory, or even someone with better screen presence. (But preferrably, all three.)

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      More zombies!

  10. TinaHiggs22 says:

    Nicholas. I see what you mean… Tiffany`s article is flabbergasting… last tuesday I bought a brand new Lotus Esprit sincee geting a check for $6427 this last four weeks and also ten grand lass month. it’s by-far the most-financially rewarding I’ve had. I actually started three months/ago and immediately started to make more than $80, per-hour. I follow instructions here,, Fox76.com

  11. Premium User Badge

    Crow says:

    I don’t know but doing Kickstarter after holiday season when people are generally less on money doesn’t make much sense (talking about Wildman mostly).

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      Cinek says:

      You propose to close kickstarter for a whole 1st quarter of each year?

      lol

      • Premium User Badge

        Crow says:

        No of course not, but if I would want to do a million $ Kickstarted I would wait a bit.

        • Gnoupi says:

          They are hardly in a position to wait a few months. Or even month.

  12. dsi1 says:

    So sad about BeamNG moving to Torque3D

  13. tomshreds says:

    I’m sorry to see that I haven’t been featured in this edition of Kickstarter Katchup, but I’ve got great faith into next week’s one! Meanwhile please take a second and come encourage us! Thanks everybody!!!

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      So, uhmm, you are asking us to fund your project because you don’t want to gather the money you say you can gather? And the net result of it all is to have the game ready 2 or 3 months sooner?

      I’ve read many stories. But yours…

      • tomshreds says:

        Please take the time to read the whole campaign. This isn’t simply about fast forwarding the whole thing, but it’s more about getting quality instead of getting cheap arts, audio and anything in between.

        If I fail this campaign I’ll have to keep on drawing everything by myself slowly making an ugly looking game that is sure to fail. Else, I get the funds and I quickly get people to help me draw beautiful arts for the game, make a superb catchy theme song and even better, get it done quicker.

        The goal of this campaign is the same as any other indie game funding project, it’s about getting it done, getting our dreams done so you can play them and have a blast. I’m sorry this doesn’t please you, but there’s people who are happy to help me out. I respect your advice. Thanks for commenting.

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          In that case you should review your project page and make the necessary adjustments. Because as it reads right now, what I wrote is precisely what is understood from it. Allow me quote you:

          —–
          So my choices were:

          1) Wait to get enough money, which would push the game’s release for maybe 2 or 3 months.

          or

          2) Get enough funds to pay for an artist which would fast forward the game development and get it released in the next months.
          —–

          • tomshreds says:

            Thanks for pointing this out, I agree it wasn’t clear at all. Sorry about that. I updated the page accordingly.

    • Premium User Badge

      Martel says:

      I wish you luck, but I’m pretty sure this game exists already….a couple of times.

      • ThTa says:

        Yeah, this one came to mind, at least:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_Dev_Story

        • tomshreds says:

          Here’s my latest comments about that matter:
          http://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/17twan/indie_game_story_is_now_fundraising_on_indiegogo/c88svm8

          For the lazy one:
          (this is talking about Game Dev Tycoon but should fit with Game Dev Story anyways)
          I could tell you that my game will feature online rankings with bonuses for the “companies” that perform well. Also, Indie Game Story will feature more interactivity with your employees. You have to actually move your employees around for getting stuff done. You don’t just stand there looking at the screen waiting for your game to get done. You have to move someone to their desk to make him/her work on a project, if tired you have to make something good with the employee, buy him something to eat or simply move him/her to the living room to watch tv.

          It will also feature orthogonal graphics, with high definition textures for a better look. Also the artist I’m working with is going to make that game shine like a diamond.

          Let’s just say that Indie Game Story is going for another level of complexity than other games of the genre. Without being too complex though :P

          • ThTa says:

            Well, best of luck to you.

            Strange thing, though, making games about making games. Tell me, will there be an option to crowdfund within your game, as well? ;)

          • tomshreds says:

            ThTa: that’d be an awesome feature to add indeed! Thanks for the wishes!

      • tomshreds says:

        Thanks for your good luck ;-)

  14. furikaju says:

    If you think Anita`s story is really cool…, last week my sisters father in law basically also recieved a check for $9495 grafting a 10 hour week from home and there classmate’s step-sister`s neighbour has been doing this for 6 months and broght in more than $9495 in there spare time at there mac. use the steps on this link… http://www.Cloud65.com

  15. Phranx says:

    Surprised to not see Roam in this list:

    • abandonhope says:

      I actually heard about Roam on the last Katchup, since the dev posted a comment on it. Seems like it swooped in and got funded while Adam was otherwise occupied.

  16. Valhuen says:

    I keep going through Kickstarter, but have come across no strategy games (Sci-Fi, Historical or Fantasy) since Planetary Annihilation. Any gems out there floating around? Traditional turn-based or RTS?

  17. Hatsworth says:

    Cryamore snubbed once again! Seriously, it’s got some potential…

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      Cryamore seems to be mostly dropping names.
      It’s also more than doubled its target, so it’s almost offtopic for this column until it completes, though a single mention while running seems legitimate.

      Personally it doesn’t look good to me at all, which is why I didn’t contribute, but if the eventual reviews tell me otherwise, I will probably buy.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Klingsor says:

    Just wanted to point out that there are some guys working on Transport Tycoon like game: http://gambitious.com/ideas/2496-train-fever-pc-mac

    It looks really cool but unfortunately they decided to campaign on gambitious.com which is more about professional funding rather than real crowd funding. Also the plattform is currently not accessible from the US. However I wanted to bring it to your attention to create some awareness.

  19. BadHabitGames says:

    Hi all,

    we would like to draw your attention to our Kickstarter: http://kck.st/Y52Ek2

    Also we should mention that we offer a unique prize if the funding is successful. Where most devs offer things like “founder” tags or exclusive in-game content we will get tattoos of a Starbattle motive!
    THIS is what we call dedication! :)