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Kickstarter Katchup – 29th September 2012

SPACE MADNESS

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I find myself Katching up with the world of Kickstarter again this week. Apparently John is at the Eurovision song contest or something, so if you see him there do give him a hug. Tell him it’s from me and that the restraining order can’t stop me from showing my affection by proxy. This week is SPACE WEEK, with lots of space games happening, or at least trying to happen. Only two winners, both of which were close things. Neither game seems to be set in space though. You’ll have to scroll down a little more to see the space hopefuls, which include the likes of Nexus 2, Ring Runner and Blackspace.

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 John know about a game (which you can do via his name at the foot of the site or on any of his articles) 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 John if you want them considered for the list.
  • 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.
  • While riding the Katchup, please keep your arms inside the vehicle at all times. Failure to do so will result in decapitation next Wednesday while you are sleeping.

The Winners

10,000 Hours – Tiger Sheep

Last week 10,000 Hours had lost $4 over a seven day period. This week it lost at least $1000 when a big backer pulled out. Drama ensued. The Tiger Sheep offices were essentially almost exactly like certain scenes from Sabotage, the Beastie Boys’ video. But then it happened. It actually happened. 10,000 Hours has been funded, with $5390 raised, and I still don’t know what it is.

The 10,000 hour project begins! Thanks for joining us for five years of game design!

The spectre of Molydeux is hovering somewhere around this.

Conclave – 10×10 Room

Last week – “Time is almost out for this emulation of the table-top RPG experience, a way to play with friends wherever they might be. The final push has already started. Yesterday Conclave went from 53% funded to 62%, but there’s going to have be a lot of activity in the next few hours for this to succeed.” And what happened? More than $20,000 in less than seven hours is what happened. Nails were bitten, cider was consumed, tension was observed and leading scientists agreed that a knife might well be capable of cutting it. A dramatic finish and an inspiring one for those Kickstarters that seem to stall in the seventh inning stretch.

The Losers

Portas Aurora: Arrival – Daniel Randall

Sci-fi RPG Portas Aurora: Arrival fell far short of its $25,000 goal, with less than $1,000 pledged. To stand out takes a strong theme or feature, or something concrete to show. Well, either that or a glowing CV or recognisable name. Portas Aurora didn’t manage to demonstrate that it or its creator had any of those things, which isn’t to say that they did’t or wouldn’t have done.

The Players

Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages – Ring Runner

Goal: $12,000
Now: $4,665
Days: 44

This is an easy one. A top-down, fast-paced, space-based RPG that has been in development for five years and needs a little push to get over the finish line. There’s a video showing features and explaining why the money is needed (below) and there’s an alpha demo to play as well. It’s good. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s good/10. I thought the goal was $120,000 when I first read it and was slightly anxious they might not make it in the next 44 days. It’s $12,000 and with everything they’ve got to show, they might make it before the end of next week.

Scrumbleship – dirkson

Goal: $8,000
Now: $4,768
Days: 18

Scrumbleship’s customisable voxel spaceships are coasting toward their goal but let it be noticed that they are heading toward the mid-stretch meteor storm that afflicts many a Kickstarter. Symptoms of passage can include decreased speed and a disheartening sense that the other side may be too far away to reach. The Scrumbleship is stalwart though and journeys on, setting itself more distant goals. A mere $12,000 will see AI ships added to the game. Considering the $10,000 goal will add new music and sounds, it seems $2,000 is enough for AI. That’d be a huge change to the game and would probably make it appeal to far more people, changing it from a multiplayer affair, populating the universe with police, pirates and civilians. How well would it all work? No idea. The co-op sounds ace though and that’s not attached to a stretch goal: “The entire game is intended to be co-op accessible! Ships have multiple terminals, which multiple people will be able to man.”

Nexus 2: The Gods Awaken – HD Interactive/Most Wanted Ent

Goal: $650,000 goal
Now: $24,418
Days: 29

Space week continues on the Katchup with Nexus 2, sequel to…Nexus 1. That was, of course, The Jupiter Incident and it is a beloved tactical space combat simulator. It actually causes me physical pain to admit that I’ve never actually played Nexus, despite it sounding like precisely my cup of tea, which is to say a cup of coffee blacker than midnight on a moonless night. The fact that Nexus 2 requires almost all of the remaining money in this recessionary/post-recessionary/only-just-pre-apocalyptic world is unsettling, but then Fifa 13 just came out and it probably cost more than $650,000 to license Carlos Tevez’ golf-gut. The video is notable mainly because it stars the development team and, in a throwback to the earliest Kickstarter videos, now remembered only by the decrepit and degenerate, it contains quips at the expense of short-sighted publishers. It also contains the greatest delivery of a word I must transcribe as “Kickstarter???!? :/” ever at 0.35-0.45.

Pro Pinball: Revived & Remastered – Silverball Studios

Goal: $400,000
Now: $117,561
Days: 5

And space week ends, just like that. At least for now. What was the last great pinball game? My fondest memories of virtual machines are also fond memories of my earlier years: Pinball Dreams, Epic Pinball, Pinball Fantasies. Good times. Pro Pinball feels like it was from another lifetime. The scrolling flat fields replaced with detailed renders of tables that looked as if they had been modelled from life. Barring a few massive jackpot contributions or a sudden influx of tiny combos, Silverball’s remastering will miss its target in five days. I wanted this but I’m not particularly surprised it still has so far to go.

Blackspace – PixelFoundry

Goal: $350,000
Now: $77,954
Days: 19

Space week is back. The strategy game with destructible everything that almost immediately grabbed Jim’s attention continues the slow progress toward its $350,000 goal. If I could move slow enough to earn $28,000 in a week, I’d be ecstatic, but then my existence isn’t as severely time-limited (I hope) and I’m nowhere near as high maintenance as a geological RTS, and I certainly don’t look quite as exciting as this latest update video. Debris smashes into asteroids and asteroids become debris. This is a neat dream of industrial space.

MORE – IdeaLcenter

Goal: $50,000
Now: $36,827
Days: 29

The self-proclaimed “worthy successor to the classic space strategy turn games” sprinted out of the blocks but apparently didn’t realise that this is the steeplechase, crashing into the first hurdle and currently floundering in a water trap. There’s a long, long way to go though and it might not even need its second wind to pass the finishing line. More videos are on the way soon, apparently, and Linux and Mac support are definitely in. “Linux & Mac versions will be available from the date of release if we reach $80,000 stretch goal. If not, M.O.R.E. will be released to these platforms 3 months after PC/WIN release date.”

Pangenic – The Dada Factory

Goal: $45,000
Now: $10,046
Days: 6

SPACE WEEK IS FINISHED FOREVER. Pangenic is the most desirable of objects: a turn-based tactical tale of conflict between unnatural horrors and Victorian scientists. In a video update, the team show a mockup of gameplay to demonstrate their ideas for “emergent storytelling”. While the idea isn’t new, the implementation looks compelling. Characters build relationships as they fight side by side. Rivalries, friendships and romances can all develop, affecting stats, tactics and story. Emergent story. The Dada Factory admit it’s all experimental and unproven, and I admit that I dearly want to see what concoctions they come up with. Oh, for a turn-based tactical retelling of the entire run of Buffy, or some sort of superhero, Freedom Force type thing that has this sort of idea. The Avengineers.

Papier Adventure – Spycraft Studios

Goal: $140,000
Now: $9,237
Days: 13

An adventure game set in a world made of sketchy paper, Papier should be equal parts The Greatest Music Video Of All Time and The Film That Most Terrified Adam As A Child (what music!). The visual style is the main focus of appeal and you can see a little of what’s intended in the video below. The game itself sounds like a fairly traditional point and click adventure, although with some first-person scenes to manipulate objects up close. Those bits sound like the sort of things that would make a man touch screen, and indeed the game is set for tablets and phones as well as PC and Mac. There’s a long way to go.

Sword of Fargoal 2 – Fargoal, LLC

Goal: $50,000
Now: $17,123
Days: 14

I’ve already written about Sword of Fargoal 2 this week and, with that being the case, I won’t say too much else here. It’s the proposed sequel to one of the earliest roguelikes, a game which already has an updated version on iOS. The new version will have more content and complexity than the original, and some handsome fellow is quoted on the Kickstarter page as saying: “I can see Fargoal sitting in a very desirable middle ground between the accessibility of Dungeons of Dredmor and the likes of ADOM and Stone Soup”. Devilishly well put, sir, devilishly.

Chris Taylor’s Arakion – Chris Taylor

Goal: $25,000
Now: $20,358
Days: 7

The first-person RPG continues its steady progress and there have been a couple of healthy updates in the last week. A new class announcement (battlemage), details on specialisations and the announcement that there will be companion pets. My Torchlight 2 is my bestest buddy at the moment and I think most games would benefit from having pets in them, particularly flight sims. Pebbles the giant otter, no! Leave those buttons alone. You’re getting chaff all over our wingman and his co-pilot and noble steed, Jeremy Hooves. OH GOD THEY’RE GOING DOWN.

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Adam Smith

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