Kickstarter Katchup – 17th March 2013

The Katchup contains a delicious new entry this week that goes by the name, ‘The Adventures of Dash’. It stars a narcoleptic boy. Then there’s Back to Bed, a success story that contains a sleepwalking chap. Yet here I am, an insomniac man, writing on the internet at one o’clock in the morning. If computer games can teach people to fire guns and drive cars then why can they not teach me to sleep? But, hey, there are loads of successful projects again this week so that’s good. I’m going to eat a block of cheese and hope for terrible but inspirational nightmares.

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!
  • Do not provoke the Katchup with cruel taunts. It has feelings, you know.

The Winners

Telepath Tactics – Sinister Design

Goal: $15,000
Now: $16,028

When I saw that Telepath Tactics had returned to Kickstarter, I rolled up my sleeves and prepared to rally the turn-based tactic-lovers of the internet to take a look at the promising pitch. When I saw that it had already hit its target with almost a month left on the clock, I gently slid the sleeves back down my arms and peered at the stretch goals instead. And, in a flash, the sleeves are above my elbows again because I’d very much like randomised battlefield generation and extra campaign branches, as detailed here.

Whispering Willows – Nightlife Interactive

Goal: $15,000
Now: $20,747

Even if you didn’t back horror puzzler Whispering Willows, you can try the demo and and try to work out if you might be interested the full game when it’s released this summer. You might even decide to contribute when the Paypal account goes live in the near future.

Ithaka Of The Clouds – Jonas and Verena Kyratzes

Goal: $12,000
Now: $12,509

The Land of Dreams games have been part of my indie gaming life for a long time and it’s a strange thrill to realise that folk who (mostly) allowed people to play the games they had made for free are able to raise thousands of dollars from fans of their work. Kickstarter can bring out the cynic in me, as can almost any process involving money, but it’s still capable of making me smile. Having said all of that, despite considering myself to be a non-materialistic sort, certain processes involving money banish my grump and make me smile as well. They mostly involve receiving large sums of it.

Back to Bed – Bedtime Gaming

Goal: $12,000
Now: $13,312

You can play the demo of the stylish somnambulist puzzler right now and the full version will be happening soon. It’s heading to iPad first and Windows, Mac and Linux versions will follow. Would you like a fact? Almost half of the final total was raised in the final week.

Crayon Chronicles – Outer Grid Games

Goal: $5,000
Now: $6,299

There are still two weeks left on the clock for Crayon Chronicles, a simple and light-hearted roguelike, but it managed to raise all of the ready money before I even discovered it. Always embarrassing when that happens. Here are some words from the developers.

“You are encouraged to play through the game more than once thanks to the random nature of the environment layouts, but also because we keep track of the interesting facts about each play-through (in our newfangled “Heroic Hallitorium”) so you can compare your adventures to each other as well as to the adventures of your friends.”

Looking good and we should find out whether it plays good soon enough. It’s due in June.

The Players

The Adventures Of Dash – Robotoki

Goal: $400,000
Now: $25,282
Days: 16

Robert Bowling, formerly of Infinity Ward, formed Robotoki following years of work on the little-known Call of Duty series. The Adventures of Dash isn’t the studio’s flagship project, that’s Human Element, but Dash does have the advantage of being absolutely charming. It’s a puzzler/adventure that exists to allow artists to express themselves. Really!

What always frustrated me working on Call of Duty or even our own Human Element, was that hiring any of these artists I loved meant one thing, forcing them into an art style to fit with the game universe we were working on. It resulted in stripping away everything I loved about them in the first place, their personality, and personal style was lost in the universe of the game. Why should we adapt an artist to the game, when the game can adapt to the artist?

Each artist has their own world, built in their own style, which the player visits on the many occasions that Dash’s narcolepsy kicks in.

Small World 2 – Days Of Wonder

Goal: $150,000
Now: $147,011
Days: 23

My favourite thing about Small World is the ridiculous combinations that are thrown up when making races for each player. Flying skeletons trying to conquer a world controlled by commando ratmen is a recipe for success. The sequel to the boardgame will (again) receive an iOS port but will also come to PC if the Kickstarter succeeds. It almost has, with three weeks to go. A pledge of fifteen dollars or over will procure a copy when the release date arrives – you can pick your platform but be advised that the PC version will require Steam. Reading about this reminded me of a gorgeous game called Small Worlds and Kieron wrote about that back in the day.

Shackleton Crater – Joe Got Game

Goal: $700,000
Now: $22,946
Days: 23

Crikey, that’s a lot of money. What will almost three quarters of a million go toward funding? Why, it’s Shackleton Crater, a lunar colonisation game. Cara said ‘hello’ to the game earlier this week and wrote the following words, and many more:

Joe Ybarra is a lovely lovely man (his smile makes me want to go out and get Werther’s Originals from the shop) with 30 years of experience making games. He has decided to make a moonbase-building turn-based strategy game (apparently with quite a bit of replay value) to inspire the next generation of wee sciency scamps to use their Brain Powers to bugger off to the moon.

I can exclusively report that Cara is looking at a bag of Werther’s Originals right now and regretting the purchase.

Neural Break – RIP Studios

Goal: $15,000
Now: $1,030
Days: 26

An open world first-person, multiplayer, co-operative survival horror game, eh? You don’t see one of those every day, unless you play Day Z every day, I guess. The Kickstarter ‘video’ is really an audio file, although there’s a small animated intro and a picture of a brain-lump to look at while the team describe their vision. It’s a terrific vision, containing PvE, PvP, hunting, trading, vehicles and crafting. Oh, and horrible monsters of course. It’s not yet clear how well any of this would work but the team reckon they could make it happen for the low price of fifteen thousand dollars, which would procure a Unigine license and allow them to create environments like this.

That’s a Unigine video, not a Neural Break video. You can listen to and read about the pitch on the Kickstarter page.

Humans Must Answer – Sumom Games

Goal: £5,000
Now: £690
Days: 25

Humans Must Answer is a horizontally scrolling shoot ’em up in which the player controls a ship that “is manned by a crew of intelligent and dangerous chickens”. I’d say that’s all you need to know but I should add that the game is heading for completion whether you fund it or not, but will receive an extra bout of polishing if the money arrives, as well as providing you with the opportunity of pre-purchasing for the cheaper-than-launch price of £5. There are many explosions in this game.

The Golem – Moonbot Studios

Goal: $750,000
Now: $85,096
Days: 8

I think I’m too late. In fact, I’m almost definitely too late but that’s not going to stop me from finally drawing The Golem to the attention of anyone who hasn’t already seen it. It’s a game about controlling a giant construct-creature and doing things like this:

…the Golem may be entranced by a butterfly during his time in the city of Prague. You’ll want to play and chase it, but you’ll need to find a way to play and not crush the city of Prague.

That sounds incredible. I was concerned the golem itself would be a little bit like the creatures in Black and White, by which I mean it would do very little apart from the occasional poo, but apparently not.

…you’ll learn to have full control over the Golem’s body. You’ll learn everything from basic motor skills to how to throw boulders at invading armies as you gain complete control of the Golem’s body.

Super Ubi Land – Notion Games

Goal: $5,000
Now: $3,869
Days: 21

Super Ubi Land is coming to Wii U at some point in the future, although the port won’t cause the PC version to be delayed, so it’s absolutely nothing like the Ubi-published Rayman: Legends. In fact, the Ubi in this game isn’t a previously DRM-happy, assassin-churning publisher at all. It’s a small green thing that wants to platform its way into your heart. And, yes, ‘platform’ is a verb, as in ‘Mario loves to platform’ or ‘Rayman loves to go multi-platform causing millions of people to gnash their teeth and throw their hands in the air like they really, really care’.

The Missing Ink – Red Bedlam

Goal: £25,000
Now: £2,820
Days: 31

I feel like I’m cheating a little bit here because the Kickstarter for this MMORPG, with its lovely graphics and player-generated content, is to fund an iPad port. However, the game is free to play on PC and technically still in open beta, so helping to fund development should improve the game for all. That’s not to say you should send any money Red Bedlam’s way unless you enjoy the game and the idea of cross-platform play, presumably because you own an apple-tablet. You can play the game now, for free, so why not take a look and see if it’s your particular cup of brewed leaves?

Shroud Of The Avatar – Portalarium

Goal: $1,000,000
Now: $954,351
Days: 20

If you want to know what’s happening in the world of Kickstarter this week, you’re probably better off asking Hubert Pimpledink Throtsbury, the 17th century Earl of Nae Internet Manor. I’ve barely seen an internet since Tuesday so if there’s been any huge controversies, they might have blown straight past me. Richard Garriott’s not-an-Ultima game seems to be doing quite well, although I did expect it to have passed its target already. Still, close enough. There are loads of updates though and…oh, wait, there is controversy after all!

Shroud of the Avatar has an innovative Selective-Multi-player system, which allows players to select the play experience they want; from a completely offline solo player mode, through a solo player online mode where you can view and contribute to the persistent world

“The play experience they want”? Ridiculous!

Pulse – Team Pixel Pi

Goal: $75,000
Now: $19,854
Days: 25

Pulse uses sound and echolocation to create what a marketing sort might call ‘An All New Sensory Experience’, before trademarking the phrase ‘sensory experience’ and suing everybody else. The only update has this to say:

I’m working in some polish changes and getting rid of some irritating bugs, as well as DRASTICALLY reducing the size of the prototype. The length/levels/gameplay will be pretty much the same.

That’s a handy reminder that there is a prototype, so go play it now.

Another Castle – Uncade

Goal: $12,000
Now: $10,067
Days: 12

Another Castle is a randomly generated platformer, which creates random goals, layouts and plots, and then sends the player hopping and jumping to the right. Whenever a level is completed, the item discovered is unlocked and may be found on the next level. It’s close to victory and has a reward tier that recognises the ludicrous nature of reward tiers.

Just Who the Heck Pledges $10,000 for a Reward Tier, Anyways? – I will fly anywhere in the world (that’s safe), or buy you a plane ticket to here in Richmond. From there I will ask you why the heck you pledged for this reward…Sorry folks, limited to only 10,000 backers.”

There’s an early playable prototype.

Civitas – Brandon Smith

Goal: $250,000
Now: $110,759
Days: 15

I’ve collected my full thoughts on SimCity and will be presenting them very soon in the form of a ‘Wot I Think’. As for Civitas, the proposed alternative city-building game that has all sorts of fancy features, like terraforming and a functional single player mode. It gathered a great deal of attention in its first week, riding the wave of hype that had bounced off Maxis’ wonky toybox, but the pledges have slowed somewhat. There’s an uncertainty about the team’s ability to deliver on their claims and the lack of information about the members of that team doesn’t help. It’s entirely possible that this has been a botched Kickstarter launch, with very little useful information about game or team, and that a second, later attempt might be more revealing, but for now, I’m still as dubious as a Doubting Thomas at a homeopathy conference.

There Came An Echo – Iridium Studios

Goal: $90,000
Now: $83,703
Days: 3

There’s something engagingly bonkers about the idea of an RTS controlled by the human voice. I can certainly talk faster than I can click a mouse, as anyone who has ever had to put up with my many drunken anecdotes will attest to, so I should be brilliant at commanding tiny men by shouting at them. The squads in There Came An Echo are small so perhaps I’ll need to shout clearly rather than quickly, but the game does have alternate control schemes for the more conventionally minded. Hopefully the game is good no matter how it’s controlled, because it looks like the funding drive is going to succeed.

Ultimate Disassembly – Noble Empire

Goal: $30,000
Now: $1,491
Days: 39

Following two of the smallest weekly gains I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen your mum’s weight gain*), Ultimate Disassembly is in disarray. The plan, in short, is to deliver an incredibly detailed 3d modelling kit with support for several vehicles, including a heliblopper and a Delorean time machine. I thought it looked quite neat but apparently only 47 people agree.

*I’m far too polite to make insulting jokes about anyone’s mum, which is why I’m so bad at it

Empire Eden – New Horizon Games

Goal: $19,000
Now: $2,159
Days: 9

Empire Eden is a handsome game that involves both running and gunning, which means it must be ‘GUN’ times better than Daley Thompson’s Decathlon, which is one of the greatest games ever made. The project is perilously close to failure though; even with nine days left, it’s hard to have hope when the funding is so slow. There is a demo now though, so maybe playing will convince people to pledge:

“…we added some interesting elements like a kill counter, and waves of enemies.. But this is not how the game will be when it’s finally released. — It will be much more story driven, and the maps will be linear and ever changing.. Just like Metal Slug or Contra.”

Rogue System – DCI

Goal: $300,000
Now: $44,058
Days: 4

Rogue System would need Father Kickstarter’s Greatest Miracle to succeed at this point and that makes me a little sad because the campaign has been exemplary. The many updates contain lots of information, in both text and video form, and the concept itself is brilliant. Yes, it’s trading/combat thing set in space and we’ve been there before, but it aims to model the crafts of space in true sim style. Even if the unimaginable doesn’t happen, Rogue System won’t vanish.

Finally, RogSys will NOT “die” without Kickstarter funding. I have a full milestone’s worth of tasks to begin as soon as the KS is complete. All a lack of KS funding means is that I can’t go to full time production yet, nor properly hire individuals to help me. Does Rogue System deserve full-time attention? I believe it does, yes. Will it die without it? Not if I have anything to say about it (and I DO).

Var and the Vikings – Brainworth

Goal: $31,000
Now: $12,280
Days: 6

It’s still possible that this puzzle-platformer will raise the thirty one thousand dollars, but it’s also mathematically possible for Manchester City to rise to the top of the table before the season’s end. Both events seem unlikely, although if I had any money, I’d bet it on Brainsworth. The game involves teaching AI vikings to smash robots and that seems like a good thing to do. The latest video shows a player-controlled viking and his AI co-op buddy. The AI tree that controls the body was created by the player so, in a way, everything is player-controlled. Except the robots. They only exist to be broken.


  1. guygodbois00 says:

    And The Losers? Not a single one of those this week, eh? Is that it?

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      Not one. I’m pulling a lot more out before time runs out to make space for new projects without becoming TOO unwieldy. If they’re way off the target and haven’t showed much movement/updates then they vanish before officially ‘losing’.

      • Premium User Badge

        DollarOfReactivity says:

        Still I think it would be interesting (if only in a selfish academic way) to see what kinds of games are failing and in what numbers, with just a hint of analysis. E.g. are 100 Rogue-likes failing each week because the genre is saturated, or only a few games of random genres that had poor updates/unclear presentation? Inquiring minds would like to know, but maybe that’s a feature for Gamasutra.

      • AngoraFish says:

        There are five games on this list that should have been caught by the “Projects asking for fifty billion dollars, with 45c in pledges, fall off the list eventually. It gives more space for other games” clause, most of which are less than 20% of the way in with only days to go. If the clause is going to be ignored, as it consistently has been, it should be dropped from “the rules” entirely.

  2. MentatYP says:

    The Adventures Of Dash – Robotoki

    Goal: $25,282
    Now: $400,000

    Strike that. Reverse it.

  3. Infinitum says:

    After many months of pouring over the Katchup, I donated to my first Kickstarters this week: Smallworld 2 (mentioned above) and the REvolve wireless controller (PS3 controller design + trackball + PC/Android compatibility + bluetooth) for $40-50. I’m a trackball gamer, but my favorite Microsoft model gave out about a year ago and I’ve been bouncing around ever since.

    Not satisfied with being trackball gamer, I pushed myself further to the fringe by converting my gaming laptop to Linux when Steam opened up the beta. It’s a bit of fun, a bit frustrating, but I now understand why Linux users are so hungry for new games. I hope Smallworld 2 will add Mac and Linux versions as a stretch goals to try to catch some of that niche cash.

  4. guygodbois00 says:

    Speedy late night reply, wow. “Queen to bishop 6”. I speculate/wish, Mr. Smith that you are awake because of interviewing someone overseas. Like Brian Fargo on Torment, or Sid Meier on Civ VI (unannounced). If wishes were PC games, eh? Fair enough strategy about Ketchup, by the way.

  5. sass says:

    I feel compelled to direct people’s attention to the re-attempt to kickstart Ritual Dementia -though I think someone else did that last week too, so I’m not the first.

    Does anyone else think it’s weird (and disappointing) some projects reach critical mass, wherein they end up being about popularity -and being involved in the popularity- rather than about what the end product is? I know movies & books get that, but I kinda figured that kickstarter might end up being different, on account of it people taking on a benefactor role -rather than necessarily pre-purchasing a product.

    *edited, ’cause I’m silly.

  6. iniudan says:

    Civitas is out of the race, they supposedly got a private backer to found the project now, so the kickstart got cancel.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      That’s pretty strange. Kickstarter is a powerful marketing tool throughout development even if you don’t need the cash.

      • Shuck says:

        The fortuitously timed Kickstarter campaign already got them lots of media attention, but yeah, the whole thing is still pretty fishy.

    • Shuck says:

      That’s very weird – they had no game to show, seemingly no real team, and no concrete information on what they were doing. I was surprised that people were giving them money; it certainly wasn’t enough to get them private funding. If they really have funding (and didn’t just realize they were running a scam that was going to get them into trouble), then they must have been saving all the good stuff (i.e. the actual information about the project and team member credentials) for the private backers.

      • timethor says:

        I’ve been following that kickstarter a bit, reading the forum etc, and a lot of people (including some of his supporters like the volunteer moderator on his forum) were calling for him to just cancel the kickstarter, prepare some more materials (a video with a clear vision besides “Sim City but better in all ways and made with 1/100th of the budget and employees!”, for example), and restart at a later time. So the KS being cancelled was expected. I don’t believe for a second that they actually got private funding (at most, his mom might have called with a “ok honey you can burn all our savings to work on your game for a year..”)

      • Llewyn says:

        Giving the project the benefit of the doubt (which I don’t believe it merits) it’s perfectly understandable that a private backer would be given much more detailed information about the team. At this stage you’d expect many of the sort of people they claim to have to still be under contract to other employers and hence not willing to broadcast to the world that they’re committed to joining an indie KS project, but their identities could be disclosed confidentially to a private backer.

        As for the project scope, it might be that it’s genuinely still a work-in-progress which would be refined and detailed once the team are able to assemble properly. It might be that the team composition is sufficiently compelling for the private backer to believe they’ll deliver something solid regardless of its current state.

        Of course, if that’s really the case then they were asking for funding for a project that hadn’t been properly scoped, with no concrete idea of whether they would have sufficient funds or time to deliver.

        Personally I still think it was a scam.

        • Shuck says:

          Yeah, I could see the team member details being made available to a potential backer (but then again, the “team members” have other jobs, which means they’re not actually team members unless they’re laid off, so that’s not exactly a selling point for getting private funding), but they still don’t have a game, nor even detailed plans for one, nor a team leader with sufficient industry experience or connections to swing any level of private financing at the early stage of development they’re in.
          Seems like the best case scenario is that the mobile game company that guy works for decided to co-opt the project buzz and make a city simulation game with him on the team. I rather suspect it was a scam (on some level, at least) that fell apart.

  7. Arktor314 says:

    No love for Keep Battles?
    link to

  8. cloudnein says:

    ’bout the only KS campaign that gives me wood is Golem (*checks Monster Manual, is there a wood golem?*) But that’s ok, Golem is worth the money just for the amazing concept and pitch art.

    • Gabbo says:

      It’s the one game KS I care to see make it, which saddens me greatly given it’s current funding outlook.

    • guygodbois00 says:

      They would fared much better without “Guillermo del Toro Believes in Moonbot”. Or so I heard.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Why? Is he disliked? I really enjoy the movies of his that I’ve seen!

        • guygodbois00 says:

          Just by me – the world seems to love him and it appears rightly so. But it’s interesting to see decent (or so seems to me and a few others) project struggling through it’s Kickstarter campaign, even when endorsed by the personage of such, hm, magnitude, shall we say?

          • Hoaxfish says:

            I think the main problem with their project is that they are more Movie industry (e.g. oscar winning animation), so don’t seem to have worked out how to hype their project for the video games community.

  9. malkav11 says:

    Small World 2 isn’t a boardgame sequel (there’s no sign of that), it’s an upgrade to the iOS version (which will support multiple maps and thus the full player count of the boardgame version, plus async multiplayer and some other niceties) and bringing the game to Android and Steam. Not sure why they’ve decided to brand it as #2.

    • Baines says:

      it was a bit confusing reading the Kickstarter page for that reason. They called it Small World 2, but the rewards were saying stuff like “If you already own the app version of Small World, you only need to pledge this amount” and the like.

      At least its not like Defense Grid 2 Kickstarter, where the actual Defense Grid 2 was a $1 million stretch goal to a $250k goal to fund a Defense Grid 1 expansion.

    • AngoraFish says:

      I’m a fan of the boardgame, but others can pick up the tab on this one. Days of Wonder have had no trouble in the past funding electronic versions of their boardgames, which have mostly been very successful advertisements for the cardboard versions anyhow. This is easily the most cynical use of kickstarter I have yet observed in well over a year of ardent kickstarter watching.

  10. Syt says:

    And Civitas have ended their Kickstarter campaign because they’ve secured private funding for their project.

    link to

    It’s still going to be DRM free, so that’s good.

    My guess: some publisher or other saw the SimCity mess and decided to chance it to offer an alternative.

    • JabbleWok says:

      What’re the chances that it’s EA, cornering the market or hedging their bets? :)

      Actually, as it’s DRM-free, not likely.

  11. JabbleWok says:

    Also, a shout out for Xing who reached their target and are now aiming at some stretch goals with two weeks to go.

  12. Aykan says:

    Dropping Barista Blast on here:
    link to

  13. Sintua says:

    Aw… I guess we were just in that awkward phase of hitting our goal before the next round up! Net Gain: Corporate Espionage has hit the rough mid-Kickstarter lull.

    • JFS says:

      I was going to point this out… did so last week, already, cause Net Gain wasn’t featured there either, but at least RPS had a “real” article about it.

      • Sintua says:

        That’s true! Still, every bit helps. I was hoping a mention on the round up would have bumped us up to our second “vote” stretch goal!

    • AngoraFish says:

      backed! Keep aiming for the stretch goals guys.

      • Sintua says:

        Thanks for the pledge! We’ll definitely hit the War Room, but with pledges sinking as they are, I’m not sure we’ll be getting Mobile Ops and #TheFeed.

  14. pakoito says:

    Small World 2 does NOT come with expansions, they will be made available as in-app purchases at around $3 each.

  15. Hoaxfish says:

    Petroglyph cancelled Victory as it apparently got a proper publisher.

    Crayon Chronicles is actually being done by some of the people no longer at Gas-Powered Games (not quite sure if they’re some of the one’s sacked during the Wildman kickstarter)

    Also, Shovel Knight looks fairly fun.

  16. cpt_freakout says:

    Ritual Dementia needs some love! Come on guys, it sounds like an awesome idea, and there’s some videos of the creator playing around too! :)

  17. Dizzard says:

    I was in two minds whether to send an email about this since I thought somebody else would have already….oh well.

    link to

    It’s called Lords of New York. The developers are likening it to Shadowrun except the RPG elements are replaced with Poker. So you level up and get abilities to cheat or perform better at the poker.

    Sounds interesting, doesn’t seem to be getting much so far though.

    • AngoraFish says:

      I’m thinking that the market for a poker/adventure game hybrid is not worth $300,000.

      And I say adventure game, since, despite all their run-on claims about Ultima, Bard’s Table, Shadowrun and RPGs generally, there’s nothing in their pitch or video to suggest that they’re making anything other than point and click adventure with poker minigames.

      This game would be better off pitched as a casual game and sold on Big Fish or Gamehouse.

      • Dizzard says:

        Yeah that’s the only thing making me uncertain. It seems like 300k is an lot to ask for something like this and from a developer we’ve never heard of. (I think…) Even though the game does show some promise.

        I get the impression that the poker won’t be poker as we know it, it’ll probably be heavily RPGified.

        They really need to get a demo and some gameplay footage out because it’s pretty unclear what we’re really looking at right now.

        • Shadeauxe says:

          I am one of the owners of Lunchtime Studios, the makers of Lords of New York. We will have a playable demo at PAX. We hope to have gameplay footage up on Kickstarter soon. For some reason, it never occurred to me how important gameplay footage is to everyone. If I had known, I would have waited longer to start the Kickstarter.

          My role in the company is pretty much everything that isn’t programming and art and while I am an excellent web developer, it turns out I am a sucky marketer and only an ok video editor. As all of you probably know, being an indie developer is tough. You’re forced to wear many hats that maybe you don’t have any business wearing. But, you just have to suck it up and do what has to be done because there isn’t anyone else to do it for you.

          My husband, Dan Higgins, is the programmer on the game and he has worked on many games, mostly RTS. He had to leave the game industry 5 years ago because it’s too volatile and I like to keep a roof over our heads. Too many publishers like to screw over the development companies and fire everyone after the game is done. So, even though he is a phenomenal programmer, we no longer can say, “I just left Famous Studio X” to start my own game company. Not that saying that you worked somewhere really means anything. Someone could say, “I worked at Blizzard” and that sounds impressive until you realize that they were a QA tester or something that has nothing to do with actually making the game.

          If any of you are planning on attending PAX, we’re in booth #688 (inside the Indie Megabooth) and would love to have you stop by, check out the game and give feedback. I am no longer confident that we will make our Kickstarter goal, but no matter what happens, we will make this game. We may have to scale back the content or work on it for another year before trying Kickstarter again, but the game will be made because this is what we love to do. Even if we never make a penny off of it.

          Thank you for reading all of this and if you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them. – Courtney

          • AngoraFish says:

            Is it a point and click adventure game? Are the RPG elements limited to stat boosts and special abilities, or are there core RPG elements like open world exploration and side missions? Does the game offer real poker play, or just poker as a mechanism to advance the story? The video mentions that the player can cheat, do other poker players cheat? Is the poker playable outside the adventure story? How much work has gone into making the poker AI?

      • Shadeauxe says:

        I am replying up one level to AngoraFish since the indentation is getting big.

        Is it a point and click adventure game?
        I am not sure what kind of game you’re referring to. All games have point and click, even RPG games. You mentioned Big Fish Games in your earlier post and this is not the type of game that you would find on there. All of their games are hidden puzzle, match 3, simple card games, tile matching and whatever type of game Diner Dash is. This game has more depth than any game I’ve ever seen on there.

        Are the RPG elements limited to stat boosts and special abilities, or are there core RPG elements like open world exploration and side missions?
        This is not a 3D world, so you can’t go strolling up Broadway to Times square. We will have a 3D rendered map (as seen, untextured, in the kickstarter video) of Manhattan that you can use to travel about NYC to different hot spots. Also, there will be numerous side quests outside of the main storyline for people to complete.

        Does the game offer real poker play, or just poker as a mechanism to advance the story?
        It is real poker. Currently, our demo only shows Texas Hold ‘Em, but we plan to offer other types of poker as well and talents that go along with them so you can focus on whichever game you like best.

        The video mentions that the player can cheat, do other poker players cheat?
        The boss characters and high level poker NPCs that you play will have special abilities of their own and some of them will be to cheat. We have not defined the entire talent trees yet, but we want the game to be challenging without being too difficult.

        Is the poker playable outside the adventure story?
        You can’t just launch the game and play poker, but you can look for a poker games outside of the storyline to raise money. Similar to looking for trash mobs in an RPG to raise your exp. If we are able to write multiplayer (a stretch goal which seems impossible right now due to funding), then the answer to this question might be different.

        How much work has gone into making the poker AI?
        I’m glad you asked about the AI. Dan’s game programming background is AI. He was an AI programmer on every game he’s worked on and has written several articles in books like AI Wisdom, Game Programming Gems and Game Engine Gems. His AI Wisdom articles are often referenced in PhD papers. There will be a ton of AI written for the poker, but it is not currently in the demo. Dan wrote the game engine from scratch (it is not based on anything) because nothing was out there that could do everything that he wanted it to do. He has also written his own 2D animation tool for this game that will allow us to convey emotion smoothly and with little overhead (memory, etc). Now that these foundation items are done, we can focus on the game elements, including the AI.

  18. neolith says:

    I’m surprised there are not more people wanting to support Empire Eden – is there so little interest in Jump’n’Runs these days?

    • internisus says:

      Oh, I love them, but I don’t think its gameplay looks very good. Nice graphics, at least, but even though I back a lot of games on Kickstarter it just isn’t selling me.

  19. Lemming says:

    DA FUCK?! No mention that’s Guillermo Del FUCKING Toro on that Golem Kickstarter video?!!


    • JabbleWok says:

      Maybe because celebrity endorsements carry less weight in the games sector than elsewhere. If I decide to back Golem (which I have), it’s because of what I think about the project, not what a film director thinks, no matter how famous.

      Taste is an individual matter, and I reckon most backers’ decisions are based on their opinion of the inherent nature of the project. Besides, if you’re going to use a celebrity, it’s probably best to use one who’s famous for games.

      I think Moonbot struggled initially because they didn’t provide a lot of details of the gameplay. They have since, but I think the initial chance at momentum was lost. It’s maybe an example of how the type of promotion used in the film industy doesn’t quite work in the crowdsourcing games sector. I feel that providing more detail of gameplay and art is more useful for getting backers than using G del T.

      Mind you, if G del T endorses a film, I may well check it out…

      • Entitled says:

        Yeah, say that to Neal Stephenson and his CLANG.

        • AngoraFish says:

          Maybe if G del T was actually producing the game rather than simply endorsing it, the game would be doing better.

          Alternatively, maybe they should be pursuing an endorsement from Notch of TotalBiscuit.

        • JabbleWok says:

          Wasn’t that his own game rather than one he endorsed?

  20. internisus says:

    I’m really pulling for Humans Must Answer. They just released a demo today, too!

  21. wilynumber13 says:

    Skullgirls, the fighting game coming soon to PC, reached their second major goal, funding yet another free DLC character. With 10 days left it’s very possible they could reach enough money to fund a THIRD character. Biggest gaming-category indiegogo project of all time, and about to break into Top Ten largest projects for the entire site. A $30 donation will get you a Steam copy of the game and beta access to the characters when they’re ready: link to

  22. WBrun says:

    Hello, I’m William Brun one of the devs behind Neural Break. Thanks for adding us to the list Adam.

    We will be adding a new video sometime soon, also be adding some really early game play featuring some of our movement system, environment and buildings.