Kickstarter Katchup – July 7th

By Adam Smith on July 8th, 2013 at 12:18 am.

There are several failures this week, although most vow to return or to continue development by finding other means of funding. That’s becoming increasingly common by my reckoning. There are also more developers realising that while operating a campaign is hard work in and of itself, the amount of effort expended before even launching can be just as important. New space games make up the bulk of fresh entries and Centration is already at the top of my personal wishlist. Space Station 13 from a first-person perspective? Oh yes.

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 several currencies in play. Always check!
  • This week’s Katchup was composed while listening to Steve Mason and Aidan Moffat.

The Winners

Tesla Breaks The World – M. Robert Hymer

Goal: $5,500
Now: $6,797

I hadn’t set eyes on this handsome chap until last week, when its campaign had six days left on the countdown clock. Despite being yet another platform-puzzler, Hymer’s invention stands out from the crowd-funding crowd by virtue of its attractive hand-painted style, randomisation and tale of Tesla vs Edison vs zombies. It’s due later this year.

Liege – Coda Games

Goal: $15,000
Now: $22,111

Liege is a tactical roleplaying game with grids and attractive character designs. Chess is listed as an inspiration. I am extremely happy that such a thing has been funded and with three weeks of the campaign still to run, John has started thinking about stretch goals:

With the target goal met, my focus will be shifting from getting the game made, to getting it made with the best possible production values and for as wide an audience as possible. I’ll be announcing some stretch goals in the next few days, with a focus on increasing the quality of the game’s art and sound assets, scaling up specific scenes and locations, and porting to additional platforms. I’m still doing some research into the last point, but as soon as I can finish the proper due diligence, I’ll be making an announcement.

I plan to speak to him soon to learn more. For now, here’s a video.

Coin Opera 2: Fulminare’s Revenge – Sidekick Books

Goal: £1,500
Now: £1,557
Days: 2

Poetry inspired by games! I may well end up doing a Wot I Read when I get my mitts on a copy of this. I spent three years studying medieval poetry at university and it’d be fun to see if I can apply any of that learning to something a litlte more up to date.

The St. Christopher’s School Lockdown – Laney Berry

Goal: £9,000
Now: £9,273

One of the most intriguing projects I’ve spotted since taking the reigns of this column, The St Christopher’s School Lockdown combines pointing, clicking and political protest. The wait for the first episode will be a long one – late in 2014 is the expected release window – but hopefully there’ll be no malfunctions delaying delivery.

“…apologize for being a bit late with this, but my laptop actually overheated the very same night we reached our goal, and only seems to be back to normal this morning… I think it was as shocked as we were!”

Cripes.

The Losers

Taxi Journey – Lexis Numerique

Goal: $230,000
Now: $14,027

Cancelled rather than failed, the Gilliamesque adventure will return to Kickstarter on September 2nd. As with many projects aiming for a large budget, the work must begin before the campaign has been launched, attracting attention and ensuring that there will be eyes on the page. The team have this to say:

First of all, we want to thank you for your tremendous support over the past week. Many of you spread the word and we received almost 100 emails with proposals for help and very useful insight. We’re more than thankful for that. On the other hand, we have to acknowledge that we haven’t planned the fund raising campaign well enough. Although a real progression has been made in the past days, it is very likely that we’re not going to reach our goals.

World of Diving – Vertigo Games

Goal: $75,000
Now: $16,595

A calming co-op experience in which the object is to look at things. That sounds grand and thankfully, despite the failure of its campaign, World of Diving is still very much a thing that will happen.

…having read all of your comments and mails, the discussions on YouTube, Indiegogo and Steam we strongly feel that it would be a waste to end this adventure here: we will still make this game!

Details are at the website as is a donation button. Profit from other projects will also be funnelled into World of Diving’s development.

A Vampyre Story: Year One – William Tiller

Goal: $200,000
Now: $77,413

The episodic prequel is dead but not dead. Undead. Like a vampire. I am tired and the day has been long.

…have no fear, my team and I plan to finish the game regardless of this setback, and have not ruled out doing another Kickstarter in the near future. I think we should work on our PR and marketing skills a bit more and make some good progress on the game to show people what we are capable of.

Once again, like Batman or a boyscout, a development team learns the importance of always being prepared.

Fleish & Cherry In Crazy Hotel – Red Little House Studios

Goal: €29.000
Now: €6.693

Gosh. Fleish & Cherry’s old-timey cartoon adventure fell short of its goal but Red Little House are willing to wring their souls like wet cloths in order to realise their dreams.

Today ends our Indiegogo adventure with “Fleish & Cherry in Crazy Hotel”. We did not get the funding, but this doesn’t mean that our project ends here; it has just began. Now we will stop travelling in time, and move into our red little house tinted in greyscale to work hard and build, brick by brick, the Hyperion Hotel. We will invest all our time and dreams exclusively on developing the game, and squeeze our souls to do so with the quality that we want for Fleish and Cherry’s adventure.

Was the soul-squeezer one of the cenobites?

The Players

Centration – Angry Engineers

Goal: £50,000
Now: £3,256
Days: 24

There are certain combinations of game that I dream of – Dwarf Fortress with a decent UI, for instance – and a souped up Space Station 13, with a couple of graphics and a physics or two, is high on the list. Craig [space] alerted me to the existence of Centration, which could be exactly that.

Centration is a multiplayer round-based online survival sandbox horror game set in a solar system far from our own. You’re a crew-member on board a state-of-the-art futuristic space station that’s been established in orbit of a potentially habitable planet. Your goal is to survive. How you do this is your own choice, but generally speaking you’ll be keeping the station operational, working together as a team, and sprinting through sections of the station attempting to escape [masked killers/fire/meteoroids/a very angry monkey].

The project lead is Aaron Challis who has actually worked on Space Station 13. I was amazed to find that he lives in Swindon as I presumed all Space Station 13 people lived somewhere in our planet’s orbit.

Eterium – Andrew Luby

Goal: $25,000
Now: $6,737
Days: 23

I’m always pleased when a space sim pops up in Kickstarter. They feel like natural fits for the site, harking back to the games of yesteryear and also harnessing our dreams of a future when such things will actually be possible. Eterium looks the part and has a demo showcasing several missions in an early build of the game, which Andrew Luby has been working on for five years in his free time. Definitely worth a look.

Lacuna Passage – Random Seed Games

Goal: $40,000
Now: $12,663
Days: 23

This one speaks for itself. I’m fairly sure that most RPS readers would like to spend some time on Mars, exploring and poking a rock with the scientific end of a scanning device.

Lacuna Passage is a story-driven exploration and survival game set on Mars, drawing inspiration from titles like Dear Esther, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and even Pokemon Snap. You play as Jessica Rainer, the only survivor of the crashed Heracles mission, investigating the disappearance of the first ever manned mission to Mars.

As well as having a 25 square mile area to explore based on satellite imagery, Lacuna Passage is also a proper survival game, in which dwindling supplies of food, water and oxygen are the ingredients for success, and exploration and observation are the necessary skills.

Freebooter – Tribunal Games

Goal: £50,000
Now: £2,763
Days: 23

Procedurally generate everything! That’s the way the world is going. I’m going to procedurally generate my breakfast tomorrow, or maybe just empty loads of small variety pack cereals into one bowl. I’m amazed there hasn’t been a procedural pirate game yet, but then I’m consistently surprised by the general lack of piracy in the games industry. Freebooter sounds fantastic – here’s what Craig had to say:

Freebooter follows the Elite model of giving the player a starter ship and a world to explore, finding trade routes between the islands, dodging pirates, helping cities expand and contract via resources. Everything from islands and empires, to quests and weather will be procedurally generated.

Fantastic. It’s early days and hopefully Freebooter will gather some momentum in the near future.

Dark Matter – InterWave Studios

Goal: £50,000
Now: £4,919
Days: 10

I wrote lots of words about Dark Matter earlier this week. Here are some of those words:

…as well as being more than the sum of its inspirations, it’s a proper PC game that wants to be customised and to have a mouse pointed at it. The design is handsome too, with a sci-fi aesthetic that feels lived-in and functional rather than shiny and unreal.

If you like being chased by ‘orrible monsters, do look at the video below. It may appeal.

Satellite Reign – 5 Lives Studios

Goal: £350,000
Now: £190,042
Days: 21

Jim is a staunch chap but his conversation with Satellite Reign lead Mike Diskett almost brought tears to his eyes. Thankfully, the cause wasn’t Diskett’s complete disregard for the possibilities of his Syndicate successor and its cyberpunk city – quite the opposite in fact.

…there’s something else simultaneously tragic and beautiful going on here, which is bound up with the two empty decades since Syndicate Wars. It’s something about the dreams of what games could be. Diskett believes and lives that simulation dream. He is one of the pioneers at the heart of the idea of open worlds and living systems.

Inspirational words.

Frozen State – Snow Arc

Goal: £60,000
Now: £15,833
Days: 14

It’s tempting to say that pledges for the survival horror RPG have frozen. So tempting that I’ve just done it. I quite like the cut of its jib and the latest monster is a a disturbing fellow although it does appear to have borrowed its name from a goth band.

The Hateful – is a massive piece of fleshy conglobation of organisms: humans, dogs, rats and hell-knows-what-else that have been consumed by this giant. Some people argue that they have seen Hatefuls taller than a lamppost. However, very few who have actually seen this monster have escaped alive.

Taller or smaller than a lamppost is how I shall describe the height of all things from this day forth.

Deus Ex Machina 2 – Mel Croucher

Goal: £64,000
Now: £31,179
Days: <1

More time must have passed between Deus Ex Machina’s release and its sequel’s announcement than has been the case for any other game in the medium’s short history. Almost thirty years! I wasn’t impressed by the playable demo but I did like the music – it’s never a chore to hear Ian Drury. Apparently, the PC version of the game is complete so perhaps it will appear sooner rather than later?

As we promised, the game is now completed for PC and Apple Mac, with other formats in the pipeline. And to thank each and every one of you who has pledged your support, we want to reward you right now, no matter if we fail to achieve our fundraising goal this time round.

Anyone who has pledged will receive several items as a thankyou, including three tracks by Drury.

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30 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge TwoDaemon says:

    Lots of interesting things still floating around in Kickstarter territory, to be sure. Thanks for the hard work as always, Adam, appreciate it.

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  2. mwoody says:

    Centration is certainly fascinating, but a couple things going against it:
    1) It previously had an Indiegogo campaign that only got $5k out of a desired $80k.
    2) The indiegogo campaign was flexible funding.
    3) They have tiers of “membership” (oddly phrased) that reward in-game items.

    To be fair, none of these are game breakers. And #3 seems to be in response to how poorly #1 did, if I’m reading the FAQ right. I’m surprised this one isn’t doing better; I think “space station 13″ needed to be “above the fold.”

    • Phantoon says:

      I think Centration’s real problem is the tonal change- whereas before you could immerse yourself in the game and a round could be hilarious and exciting or terrifying and oppressive, this only wants it to be spooky scary tense horror, which is not what the game is about. A narrow focus might be better at bringing the game to people who couldn’t wrestle with the interface, but it won’t bring fans of the original.

      • BeaverBep says:

        Centration is NOT SS13. The only former dev of SS13 is the owner, Aaron. It’s been said before and it will be said again, SS13 is a completely different game with a completely different focus.

  3. InternetBatman says:

    This week seemed pretty dead. Taxis Journey was beautiful, but it seemed like they kept showing animations instead of gameplay. Liege has great environment art, but the character art is pretty bad. Fleisch and Cherry should try again on kickstarter, as should World of Diving.

    Honestly, it seems like most of the likely candidates are already working on Kickstarter projects, and some people might be shy after the news that funding comes with some risk. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a greater proportion of projects fail in the next few months.

    • HadToLogin says:

      I guess people don’t want to go to Kickstarter right now, after Schafer said those millions he get weren’t enough to make that 300k game. Yeah, I know he changed concept and everything, but still that one sentence is enough to bring tons of bad PR.

      • Caiman says:

        What’s sad is that the amateur misreporting of that whole story will probably cause devs to revert back to closed door development in the future.

      • AngoraFish says:

        Yeah, that makes sense. Devs have generally decided to self-fund games and avoid Kickstarter because… Tim Schafer has proved that game development is… too expensive?

        okay, you go with that.

        But how about this explanation instead: The initial gold rush is over because the vast majority of games in development, or being considered for development, pre-Double FIne have now been pitched. Things have now reverted to a more normal pace of mostly crap games and failed crowd-funding reruns, interspersed with the occasional gem.

  4. dsi1 says:

    Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead met its goal!

  5. HexagonalBolts says:

    I made a thread on the forum trying to list promising kickstartered/alphafunding games in development as well as existing successful ones. Would appreciate any help finding the good ones and discussion! http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?10995-Successes-of-crowd-funding-alpha-funding-and-indie

  6. malkav11 says:

    Roguelike fans might find this project interesting: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/56637190/dungeonmans-the-heroic-adventure-roguelike

    There is a preview build available for download.

  7. dgbonomo says:

    My money’s going towards FRONTIERS, a game trying to capture the exploration vibe of first-person Adventure-RPGs such as the Elder Scrolls series, but focusing heavily on exploration,discovery, and survival: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/railboy/frontiers-explore-discover-survive

  8. Bhazor says:

    A new game by Lexis Numerique creators of the *two* most interesting adventure games in decades? Sacre bleu, how did I miss that?

    Not sure about the gameplay but I owe them $40 for not buying In Memoriam at release.

    • Emeraude says:

      I am always saddened to see them never really getting the recognition they deserve. In Memoriam and eXperience112 were really great concepts, relatively novel for their time and nicely executed.

      Not to bemoan them too much, but it kinda saddens me that Quantic Dream seem to do so much better while never delivering (at least in my opinion – I think David Cage and his team have their heart in the right place, they just don’t ever seem able to live up to their promises, nor really push the envelope as much as they should in regard of that), while the Lexis crew remains ignored for the most part.

      • Bhazor says:

        I blame it on publicity. Namely the lack of it.

        I take it you fan of theirs. Consider yourself fairly up to date with their news, right? A fan of say In Memoriam, yeah? Well did you know they just released a spiritual successor to it?
        http://www.alt-minds.com/home.html?lang=en

        Because I sure as heck didn’t.

        • Emeraude says:

          Oh I did know, but then I tend to keep developers I have an interest in under tight scrutiny – hell almost was tempted to give their project on French (awful) sitcom “Plus belle la vie” a detailed look, but I have my limits.

          You’re probably right though, they’re just too niche to hit the kind of outlets other companies have access to.

  9. supernorn says:

    Hey Adam! If you’re looking for a souped up SS13, I’m happy to tell you a couple of us veteran devs from the BYOND version are working on a faithful remake/port to give the game a prettier, less clunky future: http://spacestation13.com/

    • Premium User Badge Harlander says:

      Cool. The unresponsive and lacking-in-feedback controls were the biggest thing that kept me from sinking deep into SS13.

  10. Mdnthrvst says:

    Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror roguelike (a true one, that is) met its goal of $7,000 with a few weeks to spare. Weird it isn’t mentioned.

  11. Emeraude says:

    Thinking back on “A Vampyre Story”, I’m kinda saddened I can’t find it in me to believe in the project.

    I quite enjoyed what the original game had to offer, but to me it committed the cardinal sin a game in its genre can: it finished just as it was starting to hit its stride and connect narrative and game elements.

    By which I mean, a good adventure game will use Narrative as volition shaping not only in the matter of direction/objective, but also in the one of connections/solutions. By the time it has build up its overall background, such a game will present you with problems that would be impossible to solve in another context (apart from brute forcing of course), but make perfect sense in it.

    I ‘m just still not convinced (sorry Telltale ) this can work satisfyingly in episodic form really – not enough room to make it worthwhile.

    • TheTingler says:

      Adventure games can definitely work satisfyingly in episodic form – Telltale gets it right by simply following through and delivering episodes in a short space of time, so it’s like a TV show. A Vampyre Story got it wrong by not saying it was Part One and just abruptly ending, then the Kickstarter got it wrong by waiting too long and NOT making their game the continuation of that story! No one cares about a prequel when the main story is still unfinished!

  12. Muzman says:

    damn, Freebooter looks great. I wish someone would just do a Pirates! remake sometimes though. Everyone seems to wuss out on old fashioned sailing combat. What’s with Triremes and steamers?

    I guess it’s pretty hard to do and even harder to get a contemporary audience into. But dammit I wanna use the sea and the wind against people.

    Let Fly!

  13. wargamer234 says:

    Hey there, saw this kickstarter the other day so i throught i would do a bit of marketing for it
    Its a sort of JRPG about magical boys (think Sailor Moon but with boys)
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/256214959/saintly
    Hopefully it gets funded.

  14. BTAxis says:

    The closest you can get to “Dwarf Fortress with a decent UI” is probably Gnomoria, a game I have sadly seen barely any mention of on this site, even though it’s much better than Towns in my opinion.

  15. Prime says:

    Lacuna Passage is already on my radar – found it on the Steam Greenlight page a couple of days ago. Looks brilliant, will definitely throw some hard-earned at that.

    Satellite Reign looks amazing. Loved Jim’s interview – felt a bit teary myself reading about all their proposed sim aspects that games have been sorely missing since those halcyon days. Plus I’m on a cyberpunk jag right now. Can’t actually wait to see this one released.

    Another one to watch for is American McGee’s OZombie. Basically Wizard of Oz, with Zombies! Sounds weird and wonderful. My GF has chucked a few quid at it and might pledge more if it struggles. Have a look for yourself: OZOMBIE

    • TheTingler says:

      I second OZombie for being one to watch. I don’t believe it’ll succeed as much as I want it to, but they’re about to give it a kick up the arse. And change the terrible title whose main flaw apart from being too confusing was that it wasn’t “American McGee’s Oz”.

  16. Dances to Podcasts says:

    I blame the relatively high amount of failures on the lack of Katchup in recent weeks *stern look*

  17. PegasusOrgans says:

    Frozen State looks soooo good and I’m incredibly sad it isn’t making more money. It seems like exactly the type of game many of us used to beg for… what happened?

  18. petrucio says:

    Adventurezator: When Pigs Fly, and adventure-slash-adventure-creator is still in it’s early days, but kicktraq trends it toward 19k of it’s 20k goal, so there’s a lot of katchuping to do.