Skyjacker Returns Once More To Kickstarter

By Jim Rossignol on October 11th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.


Colourful co-op space-combat game Skyjacker looks fantastic, frankly, but even its good looks and space charm hasn’t yet managed to guide it through a successful Kickstarter. Could the third time by the charm? They’re hoping so, not least because the game is almost finished this time around: “All we need to complete now is mission assembly, multiplayer stress testing, voice work and localization, and that last 5% of art content.”

There’s a trailer with story, game world stuff, and some gameplay footage, below. And it looks rather handsome. But will be bring in the dollars?

The Kickstarter is looking for $150,000.

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61 Comments »

  1. DapperDirewolf says:

    Nice. Looks fun! I don’t know if it’s just me though but a lot of that seemed like the frame rate was kind of bad.

    • Oathbreaker says:

      I would imagine (having no coding experience beyond BASIC 25 years ago) that optimizing code for performance would be done last or near last.

      That said, looks like the game is done more or less already, and this is just a grab for money, pre-orders and attention. I’ll pass.

      • DjekAster says:

        Same question to you (asked to others here) – where did you get that idea that the game is finished? If its finished, don;t you think it would be easier and more efficient for us to announce pre-order there on Steam and to raise money there instead to dive into new KS campaign?

        • chuckles73 says:

          DjekAster: They got the idea that the game was nearly complete by the fact that the kickstarter says “The risks are minimal. All we need to complete now is mission assembly, multiplayer stress testing, voice work and localization, and that last 5% of art content”. That quote suggests that the risks to completing the game are minimal, because there isn’t much work left in making the game; only 5% of the art, stress testing, voice work and localization are remaining. It’s a fairly reasonable assumption that when the dev says their game is nearly done, that you think their game is nearly done.

          • DjekAster says:

            Let’s say: we have minimal risks comparing to other projects, which use celebrities to convince backers to pledge under idea on paper. In our case we promise only thing, which we pretty sure to complete. Btw, to produce even 5% of art content takes several months of work. We started to work on this project long time ago. I have sketches here, dated by 2002, while the idea of SKYJACKER appeared in 2006. We spent few years experimenting with technology of detailed destruction, and it’s really was not easy to get working. That’s the reason why, disclosing all details about this technology, we still met no competitors in space sim genre on the market yet – it’s really complex technology. And it’s really done already. But it’s just technology, which can be used in the game missions, when they will be ready. Who work in the game industry, can confirm: to build interesting gameplay is very hard and long work. And in our case it’s hard to do without art content.

        • Oathbreaker says:

          >looks like the game is done more or less already

          looks like – as in, you can see with your eyes. It’s that whole vision thing where people look at things and process the information with their brain to get an idea about stuff.

          done MORE OR LESS – I’m no expert. I’m no coder. But the game is obviously playable in current state. Sooooo what percentage is left to go, then, would you say? Why do you need my money for this?

  2. Chaz says:

    If they’ve managed to get it very nearly finished, why do they now need the KS money?

    • Moraven says:

      Its the current age of marketing and pre-order system for indie PC games. KS campaigns need to do a better job of showing what and where the funds from the goal would go towards. The ones that show a % breakdown and explain why actually show you are backing something that will not likely exist without you backing it. Now most KS seem to be a pre-order to make development quicker. And well most of those actually extend development due to scope eyes that a big wad of cash causes.

      And bleh at Stretch goals.

      • DjekAster says:

        You wrote “And bleh at Stretch goals.” What about to say this to Chris Roberts (Star Citizen), which campaign there on Kickstarter achieved just a couple of stretch goals, while the rest 18M they raised for their stretch goals? Telling this, you abuse around 200 000 of their backers, who pledged after kickstarter exactly to their stretch goals

        • Moraven says:

          Which added a lot more of random stuff to the game beyond a space universe where you can fly around and do stuff.

          Boarding sounds fun and all, but if you just wanted a space sim universe? Delayed so the FPS portion can be completed first.

          Every $500k they seem to add a handful more star systems. You assume they will hire more people to work on them to hit a launch date, but I have doubts after having seen many other KS get overfund, expand their scope to wide and offer a very delayed game that is beyond of the original funding is. And if they hit a stretch goal much later, what is it going to delay to fit it in schedule?

          I rather see a game delivered near its given launch date and then add content later. Work on the Stretch goals after the base game is release. Think of Stretch goals as free after release DLC.

          I know not everyone sees it that way, but the past few months I have burned out on stretch goals and the effect they are having on the development.

          http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/think-before-you-stretch

          • DjekAster says:

            well, do you need more bad stories? There are a lot of them. And you know why? Because many kickstarters have no experience of the real business, while sometimes it’s hard to be in time even for professionals. I can tell you – we delayed with our release of our previous Kickstarter. Instead of promised deadline in March we delivered almost all the results in August and currently we still owe to backers small add-on (we call it FreeFlight), which we are planning to release probably next week. But in our case the reason of delay was in our wrong decision to use proof app from famous developer (I mean Scaleform GUI plugin for Unity by Autodesk) We lot 5 months fixing their own bugs until we decided to switch to NGUI. So sometimes delay means technical issues, but not the bad work of the developer.

          • Moraven says:

            I know stuff like that happens, but adding 10 more stretch goal features to development time is different than problems with developing the core game.

            Sorry if I feel I think its just your KS but its become the common thing and its hard to back projects with such little information on milestone date goals. Its more of a burn out of constant delayed and failed projects.

            I had backed the 2nd campaign and and have this on remind later. We can use more space sims and a variety is great, reminding me of all the games we had in the 90s and early 2000s. Did not want to take up so much of your time.

      • Uncompetative says:

        I feel you are being overly harsh towards this. If you don’t want to fund it, don’t. What possible ‘White Knight’ reason do you have for trying to stop others freely deciding by their own volition to fund it? Frankly, it is none of your damn business. I like the look of the destruction. I like taking on the role of a pirate. I just feel it is a little too gaudy, too red for its own good. Now, that is just my personal recommendation of something the developers could easily fix with a palette change, but ultimately it is their game to make how they want and everyone’s individual choice whether, or not, to get it. Really, if you haven’t anything constructive to say about the mechanics, dynamics, or aesthetics which includes characterisation and story, then I recommend that you shut up.

    • DjekAster says:

      Just curious to know – where did you get that info that game is ready? Just because our playable alpha looks better than most of other games final release? Fyi, in game industry the stage of art content readiness means beginning of work, but not the end. It’s not the movie, Gamers prefer to play games, but not to watch them. So we have to do lots of work to let you guys play the game, but not only watch our beautiful videos and screens. Isn’t?

      • Leb says:

        you asked the same thing above….

      • Chaz says:

        Well this, “They’re hoping so, not least because the game is almost finished this time around: “All we need to complete now is mission assembly, multiplayer stress testing, voice work and localization, and that last 5% of art content.” really gave me that impression and a large chunk of that quote comes from your own KS page.

        Anyway, I never said the game was ready but nearly finished, as intimated by your new KS campaign. If this is not the case and there is still much work to do that needs funding. Then you need to make that clear on your campaign page and state clearly exactly what the money is needed for. The current tone of your KS page however, makes it seem like you just have a few loose ends left to tie up.

        Instead of being so defensive, a better answer to my question might of been to actually explain what it is you still need $150k for.

        • dE says:

          Instead of being so defensive, a better answer to my question might of been to actually explain what it is you still need $150k for.

          That surprised me as well. Maybe he’s tired of the question or feels wronged by the article or something. The internet can get to people at times, and sometimes the smallest of triggers may cause a full force broadside. Still, I’d love to see a more detailed rundown of what the money is needed for, one way or another.

  3. Moraven says:

    I don’t know what this KS is helping fund since the game seems to have been coming along fine without KS funds. I had interest in those KS and was sad to see them fail. They did get 36k for their starship constructor. All this says is to reach this last mark., which I am not sure what it is I bet that last mark will be reached regardless of this being successful.

    This looks like a pre-order than actually funding development.

    • DjekAster says:

      Totally wrong conclusion, based on wrong accent in article above. 5% of art content remained … well, but no word about how many missions’s done, what is a status of multiplayer mode, etc. I guess, you don’t think that having all graphics complete we can call this a “game”? My friend, what about the gameplay? Did you hear it’s the most important and the hardest part of work in any good game project?

      • Don Reba says:

        My friend, what about the gameplay?

        That reminds me.
        http://youtu.be/oRIsC764Nn4

      • Moraven says:

        I see you updated it. :)

        I still feel what needs to be done and what you are funding needs to be emphasized more. You describe a great looking game with some basic gameplay video and art assets, but are light on the what we actually are funding beyond “helping complete the game”.

        Development milestones left, which funding will help us complete:

        -Complete the remaining art environment art content
        -Finish assembling the single player campaign/missions
        -Multiplayer co-op mode
        -Mission constructor toolset
        -Further gameplay refinement, testing, bug fixes and localization (how many and which languages?)
        -Release date window of Fall 2014

        Have this in the launch/funding goals section so its clear why you Need funding to help complete the game. Otherwise all I know is if I fund, I help it finish. Due to KS burnout and failed KS many people are more weary of KS campaigns. Make it clear and up front on what I am help funding beyond “finishing development of a game”

  4. Aerothorn says:

    These guys have lost their marbles. I also backed an earlier kickstarter and was sorry to see it fail. But how, exactly, do they need $150,000 for 5% of the game? What?

    • Moraven says:

      “All we need to complete now is mission assembly, multiplayer stress testing, voice work and localization, and that last 5% of art content.

      But yah, seems a bit much for those few things.

      • Shuck says:

        Professional voice actors, mission assembly (i.e. making the actual game content), renting server time for multiplayer testing, etc., etc. all sounds potentially quite expensive to me. Seems like they’re at the point where they actually need to start paying people because they’ve run through their savings, too.

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        Are you kidding? 150 000$ is literally nothing in the video game dev world.

    • Cooper says:

      It can be all sorts of things: Wages if they’re full-time on the project or want to be full-time. Debt payments for already incurred debt. Fudning for the comfort to take the time they would like for stress & beta testing (which can take a long time in a multiplayer game) and therefore not need to release earlier than they would like. Voice costs a lot, as does professional localisation.

      This being said, not offering a decent breakdown of wheere costs are being spent is bad of them. but they’re in good company on Kickstarter.

    • Don Reba says:

      They developed the game despite failing two fund drives, which means they are probably well in debt.

    • Shadowcat says:

      There’s a saying in software development (probably amongst other fields) that after the first 90% of the project is done, all that remains is the other 90%.

      In other words, tidying up the “loose ends” and polishing something into a releasable state is hard, and even when you’re ostensibly most of the way there, there’s often a crapton of work left to do.

      I’d also say that if that first 90% was bad, the end result will be bad either way. But even if the first 90% is good, you can still wind up with a bad game (or a very unpolished gem) if you don’t get the chance to finish it properly.

      I don’t know anything about this project, so I don’t want to claim that this is the reason for the new campaign; but if you can’t figure out why someone might be after a significant sum of money at an apparently-late stage of development, this is one of the possibilities.

  5. Rukumouru says:

    I don’t much like the art style, and the across-the-board atrocious framerate in every single in-game clip does not fill me with confidence.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      The bad frame rate might just be a bad capture. But yeah, the game’s not finished and money will buy them time to optimize and improve that framerate.

  6. reggiep says:

    Is this the spiritual successor to Freelancer? It sure looks like it.

    • DjekAster says:

      Well, it is SKYJACKER, which is too a space sim, but definitely different to Freelancer. No doubts, we love Freelancer, but we are working on ne brand, writing new story and – what is the most important – offering completely new gameplay features, totally new for space sim genre. FOr instance, detailed demolition of every space ship on its components. Here you will find more about the game – http://youtu.be/VSRp0_pMK-M

  7. tumbleworld says:

    Any particular reason why the previous attempts failed twice? Makes one a little wary…

    EDIT: Ah, perhaps it’s the dreadful writing that screams “I’m a failed novelist!” — or maybe “co-op is our main emphasis”, or ‘Give us $150k for… uh… Look, just hand it over’.

    Well. Good luck to ‘em I guess.

    • DjekAster says:

      Egene from Digitilus here. Why you mentioned we failed twice? Give me a favor show two failed campaigns please. Otherwise, correct your post please. Furthermore, I’d suggest you to learn our first (and the only) failed campaign updates. Here is an update, which had been posted in right after the end of that first campaign http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/digitilus/al-skyjacker/posts/272866
      I deeply hope you will understand more after reading it and analysing all our steps, done during a year after that.

      • Don Reba says:

        Egene from Digitilus here. Why you mentioned we failed twice? Give me a favor show two failed campaigns please.

        Here you go, just to spare tumbleworld the effort:

        http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/digitilus/skyjacker
        Funding Canceled
        Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on May 26, 2012.

        http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/digitilus/al-skyjacker
        Funding Unsuccessful
        This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on July 23, 2012.

        • Voronwer says:

          Shhhhh, he’s pretending the first one didn’t fail cause he canceled it before it could.

        • DjekAster says:

          did you realized that is the same campaign? We cancelled first one in 3 weeks after start, because backers were unhappy with our rewards balance, so we cancelled first one and relaunched next one in the same moment. But what about this campaign http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/digitilus/skyjacker-starship-constructor
          Did you ever saw it?

          • Don Reba says:

            Yes, I even backed the first campaign. One of those who withdrew their pledges. You might think for yourself that it was just one campaign, but this is not necessarily how it looks to the rest of the world.

            It doesn’t really matter, though. Once or two times — who cares? Calling people out is rarely a good idea to begin with, much less on something so trivial.

          • aldo_14 says:

            I’m not familiar with the Kickstarter interface, but why does the first campaign say you cancelled it with only 5 days remaining? Because if you cancel the campaign due to not receiving, nor appearing likely to receive, enough funding by close to the scheduled end date… I’m sorry, but it does appear a quite-to-avoid-inevitable-failure scenario.

            (Unless the end date is just something inserted automatically after the 26th May cancellation – in which case apologies)

            Not a criticism per se, just an observation that ‘two failed campaigns’ is not an entirely unjustifiable description.

    • Somerled says:

      I’m genuinely curious about how they got so far without the KS money. I mean, I know it’s not all just dev costs, and working on your own dime is better than giving up entirely. But did they ever really need the funding? Could they do without this third attempt? Are they on their last legs or can they go that last mile or twenty as they have been so far?

      Anyway, I’m happy to see them still trucking, and I wish them all the best.

  8. jadejada849 says:

    I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing,,,,●►●►●►●►▶ http://www.max68.com

  9. Don Reba says:

    SKYJACKER is:
    DESTROY starships with mind-blowing DESTRUCTIONS

    Conglaturation!!!
    You have completed a great game.

  10. anark10n says:

    My word, Jim, wrong verb and pronoun before the break of a very short article. You have no excuse

  11. tiredlogic says:

    Hrmm, looks like something I could get into… like for awhile. Question: is there a third person perspective view? Kinda want to see some of my ship, especially after upgrading it with different parts.

    • DjekAster says:

      It’s possible technically, but not very useful on practice, cause we have a very rich set of flying models and it would be very hard to manage the flying process in 3rd person view mode. But (BUT!) in co-op you will be able to see ships of your friends – custom assembled ships, same way as they will see yours :)

  12. derbefrier says:

    It honestly looks like a blast and something my friends and I would love. I have sworn off kickstarter though so I will have to wait till release. I also wonder if these guys have considered steam early access. If the game is almost finished I would think that would be a better platform. Maybe their idea of almost finished is different than mine though.

  13. Tigerrboy69 says:

    I’m a bit disappointed to see the comments here…
    I have backed Skyjacker from the start.. and can honestly say that the game is where it is today because these guys work hard…. keep pushing forward and dont give up..
    They have achieved more in the time I have followed them than most of the successful kickstarters I have backed..
    Having a playable demo does not mean a game is almost finished..
    150K is not a lot to complete a full game with the level of complexity and professional finishing as this.. its not a $2 icrap app.. Its working to complete a dream with a story that’s deep and full of content.. taking out the obvious fees and cost of rewards.. does not leave so much..

    • Moraven says:

      The older KS were a little more clear on What is Done and What needs to be Done.

      Reading between the lines the new KS has the nearly the same stuff other than a little more has been done in 1 year with no KS funds.

      I know development is not cheap, but the KS information is so bare bones on how $150k helps complete the project.

      Grim Dawn has been self funding and fan funding until their KS. While they did not get into budget % they at least made it clear what the funds would be used for. They stated they will bring on a full time animator, artist and designer and outsource for more art and models. It will produce better quality and quicker content. Not a huge about more detail but at least tells people what funding will do to help. Skyjacker just states give us money to help finish the game. I think for something like FTL that works due to the low funding goal but the higher you go the more money you are asking to do more stuff.

      And here’s what we need:

      Game missions for the campaign assembled according to the game design document, and multiplayer load balance and testing. This is the biggest task that needs funding! We have to weave the assets into an actual game.
      The last 10% of art content, including solar plasma clouds, asteroids with armored tunnels for interior battles, more environmental parts to enrich locations, another pass on textures for spaceships, etc.
      Voice recording and localization – especially to English.
      Testing and debugging of the final game.
      We are planning to reach beta in 8 months and a release candidate in 10. Then, another 2-3 months to stress test and stamp out all possible bugs. And then: we go gold!

      vs

      Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

      The risks are minimal. All we need to complete now is mission assembly, multiplayer stress testing, voice work and localization, and that last 5% of art content (solar plasma clouds, asteroids with armored tunnels for interior battles, general touch-ups and refinement).

      Speaking of apps, what was the point of the $36k they made into an icrap app?

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        Are you really too thick to understand what doing the Starship Constructor first did for them? It allowed them to develop the whole multi-part ship technology for the game, while keeping a more short-term goal in mind and getting something in the hand of people. Definitely not wasted money. And putting the constructor on iOS devices didn’t cost them that much extra effort as the Unity engine is cross-platform.

        • Moraven says:

          And was not even released on Mobile anyway due to that being a stretch goal. :) Just pointing out their focus on an app in that KS, which usually means mobile, when the comment was complaining about icrap.

          The starship constructor is pretty much how Star Citizen is going now for future goals, adding new modules to the game. I thought it as a good idea to help fund… phase 2 of 4 of development since they would only need a lesser funding goal. Then maybe with with more development time other people will want to help fund phase 3 or 4. Star Citizen gave us the hangar first, much like Skyjacker gave us a Ship Constructor. Other than the emphasize on putting it on mobile I like the KS. Was not interested to back it tho (Backed the 2nd KS campaign for the game).

  14. jadejada816 says:

    you make $27 per hour…good for you! I make up to $85 per hour working from home. My story is that I quit working at shoprite to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $45 per hour to $85 per hour…heres a good example of what I’m doing,… http://www.max68.com

  15. airmikee99 says:

    It reminds me a lot of the three Colony Wars games for PS1. Since it’s been a pain in the butt to play those games recently, I’ll probably pick up a copy of this, just to satisfy my spacesim jones. :)

  16. MellowKrogoth says:

    Love the destructible ships, I hope they’re gonna improve the visuals though. Also it seems to me that the movement and weapon firing doesn’t feel as good as, say, the X games (ie. X3 Albion Prelude). However, for an early demo it’s impressive.

  17. CatheyBarrett38 says:

    Follow simple steps and earn up too 200$. Just like a part time job.. ⅇ­x­i­t­3­5­.­c­ℴ­ℳ

  18. antcasq says:

    I’m a Skyjacker backer from the “Skyjacker Constructor” Kickstarter campaign and I must say that this game and it’s team are worth our investment.

    Everytime I asked something technical I got a reply explaining the issue with great detail. Sometimes I even get a answer that it can’t be done what I’m asking for because of XPTO.

    The Linux version commitment from the team is real, they might just have said, “Hey, we are sorry but Scaleform does not support Linux, so we cannot make the Linux version of the game”. Instead they changed the GUI technology to be able to deliver. That was a big effort for the team, that cost time and in money. However they proudly fulfilled their promises and the Linux gamers now will have a chance to play a spectacular AAA game.

    Now, to be more specific about why this project called my attention when I saw it for the 1st time:

    1- I really love the idea of being able to build/customize you own spaceships for parts of other spaceships you destroy during the game. How cool is that?

    2- This Kickstarter is a real bargain. You get:
    - A cross-platform game. Yes, you don’t have to pick your version, you can have all 3 (PC, MAC and Linux). It’s true in some Kickstarters you must choose only 1!
    - A high quality original soundtrack. This could be from a movie and hopeful some day it will.
    - For Linux users this is the chance to have a AAA game that we can play.
    - If you are willing to commit yourself in this journey, you will have the option to be entitled to “Expansion Packs and Future Content FREE FOREVER”. It’s not explicit in this kickstarter, but it includes the current 2 books of the Skyjacker saga, although they still need to be translated to English in the future.

    I invite you all to take a look at the kickstarter campaign details (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/digitilus/skyjacker-space-combat-sim) and decide for yourselfs if they deserve your money.

    • Don Reba says:

      - If you are willing to commit yourself in this journey, you will have the option to be entitled to “Expansion Packs and Future Content FREE FOREVER”. It’s not explicit in this kickstarter, but it includes the current 2 books of the Skyjacker saga, although they still need to be translated to English in the future.

      Now, this is a good thing. The backlash in the first campaign was precisely against tiered game content and DLCs sold separately.

    • prian says:

      I’ve backed a few projects and am willing to back more.

      That being written, the responses by the “official” representation of the guys behind this project have put me right off. The inability to explain the previous kickstarter failures. Why they need a kickstarter at this stage in their development. The antagonistic wording. The rudeness… all of that have contributed to my decision not to back this project.

      I have a healthy dose of skepticism for any Kickstarter project. I believe that when I back a project there is a strong chance I won’t see anything for the backing but I feel good for supporting development of cool concepts so it works for me.

      These guys… Nope! No way. Not after reading the responses. I don’t want to support a company that comes off like a jerk. In fact, I made this account just because these guys bothered me that much. I felt it was important for them to learn that everything they write may be read by people who may be interested in their project. They lost a potential backer because of their attitude and behaviour.

      Plus the whole running a kickstarter campaign followed by a kickstarter campaign followed by a kickstarter campaign raises a LOT of red flags. They’ve done nothing to explain why they are doing it this way. To me it seems like they should have just opened up the game to pre-orders and not run yet another kickstarter campaign. If I were to guess, I would guess that third time won’t be a charm on this go around.

      This kickstarter has all the earmarks of a doomed project including the excessive use of bolded words.

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