Kickstarter Katchup – 29th September 2012

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.


  1. Mr. Mister says:

    Yei 10,000h! I wanted this to succeed if only for the lulz.
    Wonder what that wall of shame will be though. There’ll be eleven people there: five friends of erach of the two 5$ backers, and the 1$ backer. That guy has my moral support.

    EDIT: Just saw this: “Pledge $150 or more: All previous rewards, plus we’ll list you in the credits of all of our games, under the fake job of your choice.

    So I excpect some presidents of the universe to make those games.

    • jezcentral says:

      Our more likely, the game will end up with several “Lead Designers” for those looking to pad out their CVs, when looking for a job nowadays.

      • The Random One says:

        The trick would be to sound a position that sounds fake enough that they’ll have no problem putting it in, but real enough that a prospective employer might believe it.

        “Extreme Management Expert”

  2. Gap Gen says:

    Nexus 2. Huh. Also yeah, 650k is a big ask.


    (To clarify, I loved the *game* Nexus, but the writing and voice acting was such that you were kinda forced to play it with a group of idiot children pretending to be space captains and aliens in the same room)

  3. AmateurScience says:

    Picked up the original Nexus on GoG the other day, yet to have burn but it also seems like very much my beverage of choice.

  4. lizzardborn says:

    Nexus – its about time.Every games that has proper deceleration in space deserves my pledge. And seems like we haven’t seen this kind of strategy in ages.

    • PearlChoco says:

      Nexus The Jupiter Incident was indeed a superb game. Really hope Nexus 2 makes it!

  5. DyvimTvar says:

    Adam, you forgot to link to Papier.
    Otherwise nice summaries of the projects. Thanks.

  6. dE says:

    I so want Nexus 2 to succeed but oh dear, that is a lot of money for a game that didn’t do too well previously. Here’s to hoping enough Spacegame Nutters have enough money left to make it happen.

  7. Om says:

    I like the Ring Runner people. Not enough to give them my money, obviously, but I hope they do well

    And congrats on a topical football reference. That may be a first for RPS

  8. Didden says:

    Oh I hope Nexus 2 makes it. But yeah, the voice acting. Space ship captains that sounded like Toffs.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I’ll double my pledge if the developers admit that character development doesn’t equal an advanced AI and a military commander bickering over nothing while you’re trying to maneuver spaceships.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Captains do tend to have a fairly privileged background in real life but to be honest I was just pleased to hear British voice acting that wasn’t awful mockney “salt of the earth” sidekick types.

      Nexus 2 will definitely have my pledge.

      EDIT: Because it was a great game, not just because I liked the different type of British accent.

  9. barelyhomosapien says:

    Would love to see a nexus 2 so they can definitely have my moneys.

  10. HexagonalBolts says:

    Blackspace clearly has the technology and they are realistic – I think their major problem is that they don’t actually show what the game itself will be like to play. There’s some vague mention of enemies spawning and heading to your base and being shot at, but I have no idea how it will all actually play out – how long will a mission be, minutes or days? will the AI have a base? I’d love to get behind it, it looks awesome, but I suspect they don’t know the answers themselves.

    • DuddBudda says:

      it’s a shame, but i have to agree with you

      the tech looks pretty cool, and as a fan of space, city-builders and earth-rending explosions blackspace should be my goty

      but then tower defense? u wot m8?

      in their presentation the fairly developed base and excavation systems contrast with the placeholder attackers and nigh nonexistent defense mechanics, which leads me to suspect they settled on a tower defense game fairly late into development – as if there was a struggle to make a game of the mining and building
      this lack of confidence is compounded by their pitch being ‘funds will go towards modelling the enemies’ – when presenting only slapdash and tactically mediocre tower defense elements, I don’t see my investment returning a game I would want to play without considerable development of the game systems

      ultimately, I doubt their [rad] tech can realise its full potential within a TD game, at best I won’t appreciate it

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      I don’t know why they didn’t just make it into an awesome sandbox, maybe where there are AI controlled towns which you can trade with or declare war on

      • AngoraFish says:

        I couldn’t work out why this game was leaving me feeling uncomfortable, but all the above summarise it for me. Something much more sand-boxy would seem much more suitable for the tech…

  11. jezcentral says:

    I put my money torwards MORE. I’m hopeful that I will get a spiritual successor to the mighty MOO2.

  12. Sroek says:

    Played SubSpace and Infantry Online back the late 90’s/early 00’s, and Ring Runner made me squee like a bitch. Blackspace looks gorgeous AND is coming through with some innovative concepts, Backed both. Still waiting to see if Nexus 2 will be worth backing.

  13. FataMorganaPseudonym says:

    Weird, I only just bought Nexus: The Jupiter Incident a few days ago during a GOG sale. Hadn’t even heard of it before that point. And now, here’s a Kickstarter for the sequel. Huh.

  14. skedar says:

    Not related to the games quoted in the news, but three former core members of the development team of Banjo-Tooie (Rare) are planning to do a spiritual successor to the game. They are currently trying to see if enough people are interested in 3D platformers of this kind nowadays here. This might very likely turn into a kickstarter project in the near future.

    I’d quite love a Banjo-Tooie like platformer on PC. =)

  15. Iskariot says:

    What I loved most about Nexus were the early parts of the game in which you commanded realistic looking near-future ships for a large corporation. I loved doing battle against other mega corporations for resources and knowledge. I loved having to intercept a fleeing freighter of a Japanese corporation, or the realistic approach of a space station in an asteroid belt.

    Although I am a true scifi lover, for a game like Nexus I deplored the switch to the alien ship and more futuristic part of the game. I feel the game lost something because of that. Its story became more run of the mill space RTS scifi.

    What I would have liked to see in Nexus 2 is staying more close to home. Doing battle in our own solar system in the cool realistic ships you saw in the beginning of the first game. I would like to compete with other hight tech corporations, oversee and protect valuable mining operations, do intelligence and intercept missions, fight battles against competitors for resources and stuff like that.

    I would have liked to manage my crew, take care of battle damage, upgrade my ships weapon, engine and defense systems etc etc. I would have liked to start as a humble corvette commander, getting promoted to bigger ships, commanding a mixed squad. etc etc.

    What I see in this video does not excite me too much. They believe that adding more aliens is the way to go. But everybody is taking that direction already.
    Instead taking the approach I am suggesting would be unique. Our own solar system is more than big enough to serve as an awe inspiring background of an epic and realistic near-future space RTS. Imagine exploring the rings of Saturn or the Kuyper belt, or assisting in the construction of a huge gasmining complex somewhere in the low orbit of Jupiter.

    And you do not need aliens. A few greedy hyper capitalist mega corporations will do the job nicely.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Agreed. Don’t get me wrong, the Angelwing was very pretty, but the blocky Stiletto will always be special, with its Saturn V boosters both at the aft and stern for acceleration and deceleration and the revolving cabin compartments for centripetal gravity. Not to mention the utter lack of care about aesthetics. Lovely.

      • Iskariot says:

        Yes, you exactly mention the things I liked about it. I loved the roaring sound of the engines when my ship accelerated and I loved the firing of the forward thrusters when decelerating.
        I never played a space RTS in which the ships felt so real. When playing with them I really felt that this might be a peek into our near future in space. But then the alien stuff began and the game lost all that and became more average.
        It seems that the developers want to build on that same ol same average part of Nexus. I think that is a shame because the true power of the nexus experience was in the first part.

        • Raiyan 1.0 says:

          You know what? I would love the idea of a Nexus prequel more than a sequel.

          • BobbyDylan says:

            Take my money!!!

            What I hope Nexus 2 brings into the game is the human story. Think about BSG, B5, Star Trek/Wars… even Mass effect, the emphasis was always on the characters.

            The crew managment sounds especially enticing, even if it were done like the Starcraft 2 Hyperion sections.

  16. InternetBatman says:

    I’m still excited for Project Eternity, which is at $2.1m right now.

  17. Muzman says:

    Space strategy games, Space RPGs, Space 4X games, Spaceship constructor games, Space Roguelikes, Space Shootemups, Space arcade games, Space Sims, Space Combat sims (Wing Commander/Freespace -em ups)…

    Where’s my freelancer game?! Where?!?

  18. Baines says:

    Ring Runner is “good/10”? Is that “rated good out of 10”, which is presumably very good? Or is that “good divided by 10”, which doesn’t sound that good at all? “Why yes, its good. Kind of. Not amazingly so. Just a solid ‘good’. Barely. Slipped through the door crack and promptly hid in the corner, methinks.”

  19. Shadowcat says:

    Where to next for Silverball/Pro Pinball? :/ I’m so sure this campaign is do-able, and I desperately want it, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen this time around. They just need to find out the correct way to leverage the fans of all this stuff (well, the pinball parts, at least).

    Most of their pinball games over the last decade have been for Nintendo platforms, though, which must make it harder to target those fans. Potentially those fans are also less likely to have a Kickstarter account?

    Maybe they should shelve the new game for the moment and focus on just kickstarting the remastered tables — say $5 a table, or $15 for all four — and use that as a way to build the fan base they need to kickstart the new table?

    I want to think that surely the new table would get funded if more people were exposed to the greatness of the existing tables, and it’s hard to know whether the “Big Race USA” freebie will have worked well to that end, given that the old games can be glitchy on modern PCs :/

    • mwoody says:

      Agreed; it’s a shame to see this not come to be, but really, $400k was just too much. I know, I know, “they’re in it for quality” etc etc, but nearly half a million for what is – lets face it – a niche game was just too much. Ironically, if they’d been more realistic in their goals, I’d wager they’d have made far more than they have now – i.e. a $150k would probably be funded by now and on to stretch goals, just because people don’t bother to pledge for something that clearly isn’t going to happen.

      That said, to all who have support the Kickstarter, please make sure you’ve supported their Greenlight as well.

  20. nekkerbee says:

    “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.”

    Yes! A thousand times Yes!!!

    I wonder why someone hasn’t launched a Kickstarter to create a turn-based tactical RPG Maker. My current hope is that XCOM: Enemy Unknown’s modding capabilities are great enough that someone can make a Delta Green version of the game.

  21. LionsPhil says:

    Game where you collect movement and sounds and then go back as a DJ and mix those visuals and sounds back into the environment to progress.

    I really do like PeterMolydeux. I can actually see this one working as one of those glitzier particle-effect music-based indie games.

  22. Solidstate89 says:

    Shit, looks like I’m going to be sponsoring Nexus 2 as well.

  23. Branthog says:

    I’m backing pretty much every one of these projects (I’m at 246 Kickstarter projects and a handful at IndiGoGo, now — *sigh*).

    I caved in at the last minute and raised my 10,000 Hours pledge to $90. Partially because the guys are back in my home town of PDX and mostly because I see it as investing in several years of entertainment as we watch things unfold.

    MxOxRxEx should have raised a hell of a lot more money than they have and, frankly, they should cancel it and start over. At this point, they’ll make it — but won’t blow past it like they could have . . . if it were easier to FIND THE FUCKING GAME ON KICKSTARTER.