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Kickstarter Katchup – 17th February 2013

Katch As Katch Kan

Two contrasting success stories this week. Dreamfall Chapters didn't need a full week to reach its target and come the morning, the first stretch goal will almost certainly have been reached, adding Mac and Linux support. Unwritten needed almost every second to reach its goal but did cross the finishing line with a tremendous amount of support in its final days. There are several new entries this week, including the astonishingly compelling Enemy, which generates worlds and stories drawn from the history of gaming, incorporating turn-based combat inspired by X-COM. Sometimes I think my dreams coalesce on the internet and become real.

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 two currencies in play. Always check!
  • Exercise moderation when consulting the Katchup, particularly if of a nervous disposition.

The Winners

Dreamfall Chapters - Red Thread Games

Goal: $850,000
Now: $889,921

It's happening! I would have been very surprised if the combined desire of TLJ and Dreamfall fans around the world hadn't been sufficient to raise $850,000 but this was always a project that could have started incredibly strong and then slowed down dramatically. The wait isn't over yet, with the game due in November 2014, but it's OK to be a little bit excited already. For me, the promise of an ending is overshadowed by the anticipation of more from those writers, working with the characters and worlds that threatened to be lost. The mysterious Longest Journey Home stretch goal won't unlock unless pledges reach two million dollars - could it happen? Stranger things have happened.

Unwritten: That Which Happened - Roxlou Games

Goal: $75,000
Now: $78,017

Speaking of stranger things - hurrah! For 'hurrah' context, take a look at previous coverage.

At the Gates - Conifer Games

Goal: $40,000
Now: $58,408

This should have been here last week but I managed to miss it, despite personal interest and RPS coverage. Oops. As well as the Kickstarter page itself, it's worth checking out Jon Shafer's design blog for thoughts on strategy, 4X games and At the Gates itself.

The Players

Enemy - Tom Johnson

Goal: $15,000
Now: $4,298
Days: 19

Unwritten tags out of the Katchup with the winner's purse in hand and a new contender arrives, instantly winning over my heart and mind with its blend of fascinating features and striking intelligence. The worst thing about Enemy is that it won't be released until December 2013 even if the Kickstarter does succeed, which I reckon it will with such a small target. The combat draws heavily from X-COM (that's with a dash) and takes place across procedurally generated worlds that reconfigure the history of gaming to create landscapes of imagination and mystery.

The premise of the game is also procedurally generated, using classic game plots. In one play-through, you might rescue the King of Dreams from the captain of the space pirates. In the next, you might avenge your fallen father by defeating a resurrected Dracula.

This could be amazing.

Actual Sunlight - Will O'Neill

Goal: C$2,000
Now: C$1,029
Days: 8

Canadian Dollars! This week's Katchup is a minefield of alternative currencies, primed to explode peoples' bank accounts. John has written about Actual Sunlight, which is available and free. Why, then, a crowdfunding campaign?

I'm raising funds to augment the game into a final version that features original art and music, which I'd then like to try and get onto Steam through Project Greenlight. What you're downloading above is essentially the finished product, except without those things.

Watch on YouTube

Omega - Steve Stanley

Goal: £20,000
Now: £481
Days: 47

Omega reminds me of Okami and Knytt, which are both things that I like very much, although Okami was too long even without the hours I spent fishing. It's a platformer with freedom to explore rather than a constant urge to go from left to right and there's a demo available right now. I'm always impressed when developers launch a project with something playable to share but because it's close to midnight, I don't have time to play it because I'm about to turn into a pumpkin.

Unlike many other platformers, there are no direct paths or optimal routes in Omega. Instead, levels feature multiple routes to explore, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Exploration is rewarded, with each route designed to feel unique in both how it plays and how it looks.

Tremulous 2 - AAAGames

Goal: $50,000
Now: $485
Days: 27

I didn't know Tremulous 1 existed until I received an email telling me about the Kickstarter for Tremulous 2. It appears to have something in common with Natural Selection, being a multiplayer FPS with two distinct sides: gun-wielding humans and toothy aliens.

Each team has to build its own base, maintain it, move it, enhance it along the current technological level or even build another one. This opens endless possibilities. It’s not only about choosing a team and a gun to play with, but also what team to choose, to decide between attacking and defending, to decide where to build and what buildings.

Days of Dawn - Bumblebee

Goal: $50,000
Now: $26,691
Days: 7

This is Bumblebee's second stinging stab, following the faliure of the first Days of Dawn Kickstarter back in December of yesteryear. There's a pinch of Bastion in the colourful, painted scenery but this an RPG of the J variety. The magic system could be interesting, with spells tied to the characters' emotions.

Shunned by peasants and chased by mysterious men, travel the lands of Kalea, looking for answers and meeting new friends. What is the nature of these forces? Where do they come from? Who are the strangers on their heels? And what is their intent?

'Shunned by Peasants' is the name of my new band. I play keyboards.

Factorio - Tomas Kozelek

Goal: 17.000€
Now: 6.108€
Days: 13

Euro alert! The monetary unit that attempted to completely annihilate the delightful word 'peseta' is a rare sight in the Katchup, but Factorio's Prague-based team have an Indiegogo campaign that has adopted the Euro, even though their country has not. The game, in which the player builds a factory on an alien planet, looks a bit like Dwarf Fortress, Utopia and SpaceChem. It doesn't actually look much like Utopia at all but I just remembered that game existed today and, man, it was great. Factorio already has a demo.

Delver's Drop - Pixelscopic

Goal: $75,000
Now: $33,685
Days: 23

The handsome dungeon crawler is well on its way to victory and there have been a couple of in depth updates, detailing game modes (including multiplayer stretch goals) and other useful information. The description of the game's'semi-permadeath' is worth a read but it's the opening of a later paragraph that really caught my eye:

Craig Kaufman brought to our attention the need for more information about accessibility, in reference to

To ensure the game is accessible to as many people as possible, Pixelscopic are including the following: remappable keys and controllers inputs, changeable font visibility, colour-blind usability and (hopefully) mouse-only controls. Good work.

Race the Sun - Flippfly

Goal: $20,000
Now: $2,790
Days: 17

At this rate, the sun is going to win the race and that would be a sad thing, even though I'm not entirely sure what it means. There's still plenty of time to reach the target but this week, the pickings have been slim. A new video shows the current state of the alpha and new features are on display. You can see that below and if you follow this link, you will find one of the most pleasing album covers in recent memory. That's one good-looking soundtrack.

Watch on YouTube

Project Awakened - Phosphor Games Studio

Goal: $500,000
Now: $160,381
Days: 16

The right to post any particular newsworthy item on Rock, Paper, Shotgun is granted to the last man standing in a bout of fisticuffs, and it is with a bloody nose and a black eye that I admit that Nathan has beaten me to the punch yet again in regards to Project Awakened. Here are his words on Project Awakened's latest video. He wrote all of that while standing with one foot on my chest in what I would describe as the pose of an all-conquering man of action. Oh, but what's this? A new update showing off Phosphor's motion capture capabilities?

We are one of the only independent studios with our own full-capability motion capture studio, and that helps us get a TON of animations and interactivity into our games at a much lower cost than your average developer.

Your move, Grayson.

Project Cornerstone - Aidem Studios

Goal: $24,000
Now: $6,832
Days: 20

The art of crafting is the focus of the open world physics-driven adventure's latest update, with a video and some words for your consumption.

Getting the right combinations of the basic resources can get you some new exiting stuff that you can share with your friends. For example, to create an explosive barrel you will have to combine materials such as: Iron, wood and flammables If you increase these amounts the object will transform further, in this case the explosive barrel will become bigger and more powerful so it can be used in different ways.

Exciting exits!

Watch on YouTube

Ritual Dementia - Sithog

Goal: $10,000
Now: $2,978
Days: 11

The more I think about Ritual Dementia - and I've been thinking about it quite a lot - the more convinced I become that it's precisely the sort of thing that makes Kickstarter such an exciting process. Quite clearly as mad as a box of frogs, it doesn't have an instant hook but such an odd combination of elements tickles my curiosity deliciously. I have no idea what it'd actually be like to play and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The $60 reward has been unlocked, I've made a note of all the first comers and they will get their demons in before the game releases. I will now be accepting an unlimited amount of demons for now, these monsters will be added after the game's release through updates.

An unlimited amount of demons!

Worlds of Wander - Tom Hall's Pieces of Fun

Goal: $400,000
Now: $42,077
Days: 12

The platform game creation toolset and Keen successor has less money than at this time last week, which is unusual. Could the release of a 'gameplay video' have actually caused people to remove their pledges? I sense that people would rather see the editor than the built-in game. I sense this because people say 'I would like to see more of the actual editor' in comments. As for the game, you can see it below. It does look a lot like Commander Keen, clunky jumping and all.

Watch on YouTube

Asylum - Senscape

Goal: $100,666
Now: $85,334
Days: 10

Listen! Those voices on the wind are the inmates of yonder Asylum and among the screams and gurgling laughter, there is also IMPORTANT NEWS. The horror adventure will be released on Steam, Good Old Games and Desura, and that particularly stentorian bellow has this to add:

Finally, the game engine powering Asylum went open source yesterday. We have designed it with adventure games in mind and it’s really easy to use. It's free to use for commercial projects.

Thank you, thundering Asylum voice, this news is most welcome. You can find out more about the engine, Dagon, by clicking here.

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