Kickstarter Katchup – 17th February 2013

By Adam Smith on February 17th, 2013 at 11:58 pm.

Two contrasting success stories this week. Dreamfall Chapters didn’t need a full week to reach its target and come the morning, the first stretch goal will almost certainly have been reached, adding Mac and Linux support. Unwritten needed almost every second to reach its goal but did cross the finishing line with a tremendous amount of support in its final days. There are several new entries this week, including the astonishingly compelling Enemy, which generates worlds and stories drawn from the history of gaming, incorporating turn-based combat inspired by X-COM. Sometimes I think my dreams coalesce on the internet and become real.

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!
  • Exercise moderation when consulting the Katchup, particularly if of a nervous disposition.

The Winners

Dreamfall Chapters – Red Thread Games

Goal: $850,000
Now: $889,921

It’s happening! I would have been very surprised if the combined desire of TLJ and Dreamfall fans around the world hadn’t been sufficient to raise $850,000 but this was always a project that could have started incredibly strong and then slowed down dramatically. The wait isn’t over yet, with the game due in November 2014, but it’s OK to be a little bit excited already. For me, the promise of an ending is overshadowed by the anticipation of more from those writers, working with the characters and worlds that threatened to be lost. The mysterious Longest Journey Home stretch goal won’t unlock unless pledges reach two million dollars – could it happen? Stranger things have happened.

Unwritten: That Which Happened – Roxlou Games

Goal: $75,000
Now: $78,017

Speaking of stranger things – hurrah! For ‘hurrah’ context, take a look at previous coverage.

At the Gates – Conifer Games

Goal: $40,000
Now: $58,408

This should have been here last week but I managed to miss it, despite personal interest and RPS coverage. Oops. As well as the Kickstarter page itself, it’s worth checking out Jon Shafer’s design blog for thoughts on strategy, 4X games and At the Gates itself.

The Players

Enemy – Tom Johnson

Goal: $15,000
Now: $4,298
Days: 19

Unwritten tags out of the Katchup with the winner’s purse in hand and a new contender arrives, instantly winning over my heart and mind with its blend of fascinating features and striking intelligence. The worst thing about Enemy is that it won’t be released until December 2013 even if the Kickstarter does succeed, which I reckon it will with such a small target. The combat draws heavily from X-COM (that’s with a dash) and takes place across procedurally generated worlds that reconfigure the history of gaming to create landscapes of imagination and mystery.

The premise of the game is also procedurally generated, using classic game plots. In one play-through, you might rescue the King of Dreams from the captain of the space pirates. In the next, you might avenge your fallen father by defeating a resurrected Dracula.

This could be amazing.

Actual Sunlight – Will O’Neill

Goal: C$2,000
Now: C$1,029
Days: 8

Canadian Dollars! This week’s Katchup is a minefield of alternative currencies, primed to explode peoples’ bank accounts. John has written about Actual Sunlight, which is available and free. Why, then, a crowdfunding campaign?

I’m raising funds to augment the game into a final version that features original art and music, which I’d then like to try and get onto Steam through Project Greenlight. What you’re downloading above is essentially the finished product, except without those things.

Omega – Steve Stanley

Goal: £20,000
Now: £481
Days: 47

Omega reminds me of Okami and Knytt, which are both things that I like very much, although Okami was too long even without the hours I spent fishing. It’s a platformer with freedom to explore rather than a constant urge to go from left to right and there’s a demo available right now. I’m always impressed when developers launch a project with something playable to share but because it’s close to midnight, I don’t have time to play it because I’m about to turn into a pumpkin.

Unlike many other platformers, there are no direct paths or optimal routes in Omega. Instead, levels feature multiple routes to explore, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Exploration is rewarded, with each route designed to feel unique in both how it plays and how it looks.

Tremulous 2 – AAAGames

Goal: $50,000
Now: $485
Days: 27

I didn’t know Tremulous 1 existed until I received an email telling me about the Kickstarter for Tremulous 2. It appears to have something in common with Natural Selection, being a multiplayer FPS with two distinct sides: gun-wielding humans and toothy aliens.

Each team has to build its own base, maintain it, move it, enhance it along the current technological level or even build another one. This opens endless possibilities. It’s not only about choosing a team and a gun to play with, but also what team to choose, to decide between attacking and defending, to decide where to build and what buildings.

Days of Dawn – Bumblebee

Goal: $50,000
Now: $26,691
Days: 7

This is Bumblebee’s second stinging stab, following the faliure of the first Days of Dawn Kickstarter back in December of yesteryear. There’s a pinch of Bastion in the colourful, painted scenery but this an RPG of the J variety. The magic system could be interesting, with spells tied to the characters’ emotions.

Shunned by peasants and chased by mysterious men, travel the lands of Kalea, looking for answers and meeting new friends. What is the nature of these forces? Where do they come from? Who are the strangers on their heels? And what is their intent?

‘Shunned by Peasants’ is the name of my new band. I play keyboards.

Factorio – Tomas Kozelek

Goal: 17.000€
Now: 6.108€
Days: 13

Euro alert! The monetary unit that attempted to completely annihilate the delightful word ‘peseta’ is a rare sight in the Katchup, but Factorio’s Prague-based team have an Indiegogo campaign that has adopted the Euro, even though their country has not. The game, in which the player builds a factory on an alien planet, looks a bit like Dwarf Fortress, Utopia and SpaceChem. It doesn’t actually look much like Utopia at all but I just remembered that game existed today and, man, it was great. Factorio already has a demo.

Delver’s Drop – Pixelscopic

Goal: $75,000
Now: $33,685
Days: 23

The handsome dungeon crawler is well on its way to victory and there have been a couple of in depth updates, detailing game modes (including multiplayer stretch goals) and other useful information. The description of the game’s’semi-permadeath’ is worth a read but it’s the opening of a later paragraph that really caught my eye:

Craig Kaufman brought to our attention the need for more information about accessibility, in reference to http://www.ablegamers.com.

To ensure the game is accessible to as many people as possible, Pixelscopic are including the following: remappable keys and controllers inputs, changeable font visibility, colour-blind usability and (hopefully) mouse-only controls. Good work.

Race the Sun – Flippfly

Goal: $20,000
Now: $2,790
Days: 17

At this rate, the sun is going to win the race and that would be a sad thing, even though I’m not entirely sure what it means. There’s still plenty of time to reach the target but this week, the pickings have been slim. A new video shows the current state of the alpha and new features are on display. You can see that below and if you follow this link, you will find one of the most pleasing album covers in recent memory. That’s one good-looking soundtrack.

Project Awakened – Phosphor Games Studio

Goal: $500,000
Now: $160,381
Days: 16

The right to post any particular newsworthy item on Rock, Paper, Shotgun is granted to the last man standing in a bout of fisticuffs, and it is with a bloody nose and a black eye that I admit that Nathan has beaten me to the punch yet again in regards to Project Awakened. Here are his words on Project Awakened’s latest video. He wrote all of that while standing with one foot on my chest in what I would describe as the pose of an all-conquering man of action. Oh, but what’s this? A new update showing off Phosphor’s motion capture capabilities?

We are one of the only independent studios with our own full-capability motion capture studio, and that helps us get a TON of animations and interactivity into our games at a much lower cost than your average developer.

Your move, Grayson.

Project Cornerstone – Aidem Studios

Goal: $24,000
Now: $6,832
Days: 20

The art of crafting is the focus of the open world physics-driven adventure’s latest update, with a video and some words for your consumption.

Getting the right combinations of the basic resources can get you some new exiting stuff that you can share with your friends. For example, to create an explosive barrel you will have to combine materials such as: Iron, wood and flammables If you increase these amounts the object will transform further, in this case the explosive barrel will become bigger and more powerful so it can be used in different ways.

Exciting exits!

Ritual Dementia – Sithog

Goal: $10,000
Now: $2,978
Days: 11

The more I think about Ritual Dementia – and I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot – the more convinced I become that it’s precisely the sort of thing that makes Kickstarter such an exciting process. Quite clearly as mad as a box of frogs, it doesn’t have an instant hook but such an odd combination of elements tickles my curiosity deliciously. I have no idea what it’d actually be like to play and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The $60 reward has been unlocked, I’ve made a note of all the first comers and they will get their demons in before the game releases. I will now be accepting an unlimited amount of demons for now, these monsters will be added after the game’s release through updates.

An unlimited amount of demons!

Worlds of Wander – Tom Hall’s Pieces of Fun

Goal: $400,000
Now: $42,077
Days: 12

The platform game creation toolset and Keen successor has less money than at this time last week, which is unusual. Could the release of a ‘gameplay video’ have actually caused people to remove their pledges? I sense that people would rather see the editor than the built-in game. I sense this because people say ‘I would like to see more of the actual editor’ in comments. As for the game, you can see it below. It does look a lot like Commander Keen, clunky jumping and all.

Asylum – Senscape

Goal: $100,666
Now: $85,334
Days: 10

Listen! Those voices on the wind are the inmates of yonder Asylum and among the screams and gurgling laughter, there is also IMPORTANT NEWS. The horror adventure will be released on Steam, Good Old Games and Desura, and that particularly stentorian bellow has this to add:

Finally, the game engine powering Asylum went open source yesterday. We have designed it with adventure games in mind and it’s really easy to use. It’s free to use for commercial projects.

Thank you, thundering Asylum voice, this news is most welcome. You can find out more about the engine, Dagon, by clicking here.

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35 Comments »

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  1. D3xter says:

    By the way, Replay Games released the first Alpha version of Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded for $75+ backers, there’s a short video from it over here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coRVqCt8API&hd=1

    • Premium User Badge

      Andy_Panthro says:

      I gave it a quick go, and it’s looking pretty good (for an alpha release). Lots of bits missing of course, and some bugs (I had some music issues).

      Hopefully it won’t be too long before they can finish it!

  2. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Seems to never be any losers on recent Katchup…

    I kind of like that because it removes this idea of competition I wasn’t much in favor with when this series started. Didn’t like then, and still wouldn’t like now. But I wonder, are they removed from good?

  3. nekoneko says:

    I guess it was too late to count, but Artizens is a winner, is finishing up now at around $52k, which is a good deal more than their asking price of 30k. I’m pretty excited for that one since they name checked a bunch of games that I really enjoy. Hope it lives up to the hype.

  4. The Random One says:

    On the one hand, I enjoyed Tremulous and would like to play more of it. On the other hand, I could do that right now, because I already own Natural Selection 2.

    • Premium User Badge

      DeVadder says:

      it took me this kickstarter to even realise that the game i spent so much time with years ago was not Natural Selection 1. ^^
      And i wondered why they would cut alien buildings on the wall and why i did not recognize the aliens…

  5. JabbleWok says:

    Another recent addition is Rogue System, a military-style space sim.

    More proof that space sims are like buses; we wait ages for one and now several come along at once.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      You got me interested. Nothing like the words “space sim” to do that.

      Took a look at the project. I’ll give this a pass for now but it is bookmarked and I’ll visit occasionally until I make up my mind for good.

      I was a little put off by the discrepancies between what’s on the project page and the website, concerning the adoption of “I” and “we”. The website is written on the first person of the plural, hinting a an established team, whereas the project page on kickstarter is entirely written on the first person of the singular.

      He does mention he wants to put a team in place. But he really needs to come up with something more than “I haven’t decided yet”. This is definitely not a one-man project. I can’t trust it will ever be done like that. What I do trust is that men like him are the best in coming up with a space fight simulator than *any* triple-A development company out there. It’s a niche genre that really demands love from its developers, not an eye for projected sales graphs. But he really needs to start talking about this team, put up some names and have those people actively participate on the project page. I need to feel more confident about him and the people that are going to be a part of this project.

      • JabbleWok says:

        What really convinced me was his video where he talks about the project. He’s a one-man team but realises he’d be best to bring in others for certain assets, and that’s figured into the KS pitch. Mostly, he seems very enthusiastic and dedicated to the project, and I agree that’s what’s needed for this type of sim.

        I’m a lapsed hardcore simmer myself (Falcon 4 + superpak) missing a good ramp start, and keen on Orbiter too so this pressed my major interest buttons. It looks like systems will be modelled in-depth, as well as having Newtonian physics, although with “classical” space sim physics and more accessible avionics also an option.

        There are some very attractive space sims already in progress, such as E:D and Limit Theory, and I reckon this one deserves its place too.

      • MJuliano says:

        Yes, I’m sorry about that. At the website I do say “we” a lot, referring to myself and the few volunteers who have helped me out the past two years. And, at the KS page I do have a Special Thanks section toward the bottom where I do thank each of them by name and state what they did (mainly music/sound, some early concept art and website help).

        But, most definitely, to date ALL the coding and ingame art has been done by me alone. This is why I talk about needing a dedicated team to continue. I can’t do ALL the work that needs to be done, art and code, within the proposed 2 year dev cycle to any sort of quality level.

        My base budget allows for myself, the gentleman who’s done my music and sound (for which you can hear the quality he can achieve), and an experienced full-time game artist to create the ingame assets. I have contacts to artists I’ve worked with previously, but I can’t discuss anything seriously with them until I know how this thing will pan out.

        But, you do make a good point and I will make sure the site reflects the same information as KS, and that is, other than a couple volunteers who’ve contributed their services (for which I’m very grateful), this really has been a one-man prototype where code and ingame art art concerned…

    • Jade Raven says:

      Just when I was thinking that I’m starting to get to jaded by all these Kickstarter projects and wanting to wait until something I’ve backed are actually released alone comes Rogue System. An indie flight sim – in space. I get where this guy is coming from, but perhaps the prototype trailer gives quicker overview of the project than the 10 min pitch video.

  6. Hoaxfish says:

    Death Inc has continued to put out updates (12 now). There’s another Q&A session and a new feature for painting down commands for the different unit types (i.e. you can separate out archer-infected from melee-infected)… including some sneaking tactics in the level they’ve previously featured in the videos. They’ve also got some details for the management side of the game, with employees you can send on side-missions and the various rooms you can add to your office-space.

    Bit weirded out by Death Inc being missing from the main article, since its launch was covered (and Tom Hall’s failing 2nd attempt is being included).

    • flashmanandy says:

      I agree I am also upset that Death Inc. is missing from the 2nd Katchup. It is a fantastic looking game and Ambient are working overtime to produce and interesting and informative campaign.
      Please don’t forget them, they need the same love as everyone else.

    • JabbleWok says:

      It does look like a lot of fun! I loved the video of making the minions run in a circle, pushing the wheel around to open the gate. The level design seems rather clever too. Yep, another one I hope gets funded.

    • spacedyemeerkat says:

      Also surprised there’s no Death, Inc. mentioned. I’d have thought it was right up most readers’ street.

      Actually, the quality content included in the Kickstarter Katchup seems to have fallen recently. Less real detail on the projects for increased banter.

    • Bobka says:

      What’s worse is that they are struggling; I’m sure they could use the exposure. I really hope they show up in next week’s Katchup. I don’t understand why they’ve been snubbed twice in a row now.

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      jrodman says:

      I’m not actually very interested in what I’ve seen so far, but for the art style alone I’d love to see it made.

      I’m kind of annoyed it hasn’t gotten into the katchup, as it’s pretty high profile. Seems like an error.

  7. shaydeeadi says:

    An interesting little kickstarter going is the Beyond The Summit Studio on Indiegogo, they reached the target in 24 hours and have since added stretch goals to the campaign. Really pleased for them as they are both smart casters and this will only help improve their coverage of events.

    It was flexible funding (eeekk!!) but they made the target in speedy time and will probably make the $50k goal to host a tourney of their own.

  8. Ricochet64 says:

    I don’t see why the fact that Race the Sun is failing is sad. There are thousands of flash games on the internet just like it. They don’t need $20k to make that.

  9. Premium User Badge

    c-Row says:

    Seems like Terminus won’t make it, but with the last update being 18 days ago they pretty much had it coming.

  10. Tiax says:

    FINALLY someone mentionned Factorio. Anyone who loves Minecraft, the Anno series or Dwarf Fortress OUGHT to play the demo ASAP !

  11. StranaMente says:

    I would like to add The Golem to the list.
    It looks lovely, and the story seems interesting, but the pledges are a bit low and the funding goal quite high. Finger crossed for them.

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      I like the idea of it, but the game design sounds kind of ambitious & vague, and they have no games to their name, so I’m sitting the golem out.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Watched the video and read the main page. Still have virtually no idea what they are pitching.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      They seem to be deliberately vague. I have an interview with them coming up later, actually.

  12. realkruste says:

    I feel this seems worth checking out: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1080471454/continue-magazine

  13. wodin says:

    Enemy looks great..not keen on the whole old games concept..but the combat looks superb.

  14. Joshua Northey says:

    We are getting far enough along now with the Katchup that it would also be good to have a section with mini updates regarding projects which were featured as “funded”, maybe 3, 6, 9, 12 months after they were featured as funded.

    Almost all of the projects I have been keeping up with, and the one I funded (for quite a sizable sum) are badly blowing all their claimed deadlines. Having some reportage regarding that and not just on the “happy anything is possible phase” might provide some balance.

  15. THEiNTERNETS says:

    I don’t know how you guys missed this, but this looks insane and has been getting covered all over the place:

    Throw Trucks With Your Mind

  16. MarsChelios says:

    If you’re going to PAX East this March check out Assassins Ball at PAX East 2013! It just funded this weekend but the more players involved the better the game will be!

  17. Premium User Badge

    Bitter says:

    There’s also a short Kickstarter to bring Ascension Online (a card game from iOS) to the PC and Android, adding tournaments and a campaign. Same folks who did the SolForge KS a while back.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1965800643/ascension-online

  18. megazver says:

    Back to Bed (a game that you guys already wrote about) is Kickstarting a new expanded version. It’s pretty sweet.

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/05/31/sleepwalking-saviour-back-to-bed/

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1216936499/back-to-bed-0

  19. Premium User Badge

    jrodman says:

    Tried the Omega demo. It’s harmed by dangers that don’t look dangerous, uninspired level design, poorly conveyed standing zones for platforming, and floaty weird controls. All those things are fixable for the final release, of course.

    However, the whole concept also seems pointless. Go from left to right in a zone where there’s a fair amount of pointlessness, not much danger, and not much agency or exploration. Climbing to the top rewards me with paths that collapse out from under me? Going to the bottom rewards me with a moose charging into me? It just seems like they have no real idea what I would be playing this for. The art style is great, but that’s not enough to get me to play a game.

  20. AlienMind says:

    The LAN god thanks you for mentioning Tremulous2

    • BlitzThose says:

      I would not be so thankful Alienmind, Tremulous2 is a legal disaster waiting to happen.
      AAA games asked permission to use the Tremulous name from the copyright holder and this was DENIED, Yet AAA Games used the name anyways,

      Secondly, many independent developers have contributed to the artwork (“assets”) and source code of the game, both are released under permissive, but unchangable licenses. commercial use is allowed, but all changes to the source code must be released, and attribution must be given to the artists — this is not just appreciated, it is required. to use the content otherwise (ie., releasing it under a proprietary license), they are required to contact all contributors, asking them if they will grant them an exclusive license to the relevant artwork or source code which of course they have not…

      RPS maybe you should contact Timbo or any other Tremulous developer at Tremulous.net and ask for their side of the story It may make for one rather juicy article :)