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Kickstarter Katchup – 21st September 2012

Some funds for the weekend

Hello, mic check mic check, is this thing on? John has left me in charge of the Kickstarter Katchup while he's holidaying on The Moon so let's kommence this safari through the korridors of krowdfunding. I'm going to stop with the 'k's now lest I inadvertently awaken Midway's legal team. We are here to observe the week's happenings in the world of crowdfunded games and some game-related paraphernalia. There's only two winners this week and one is a big 'un. Can you guess what it is? Can you? Oh, Alec already told the rules and then dig in.

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.
  • Gentlemen must remove their hats while in the Katchup or the presence of a lady. Ladies must leave the toilet seat up in case a gentleman wants to have a wee.

The Winners

Project Eternity - Obsidian Entertainment

This project reminds me of how this whole Kickstarter craze first came to our attention - developers of yore getting the band back together. There was never any doubt that the minds behind Planescape: Torment might be greeted with a fair degree of jollity and goodwill when they proposed a new traditional, party-based RPG. It's still quite amazing how much cold, hard cash is being cast in their direction though. At $1.8 million with 24 days to go, it's stretch goal time. Mac and Linux support are in, as are new races and companions. $2 million will unlock a customisable house for the player's party to loiter in and it looks like every $200,000 above that will lead to more factions, regions and/or companions. More details here, written by John as it happens, so he's still kind of doing all the work even though he's away. Hurrah!

Sealark - Clairvoire

This one has made quite a splash. You might say it's been reeling in the dollars. No red herrings here, there's nothing fishy about such a well-scaled project being anticipated with baited breath. No trout about it, it's a winner. Imagine Harvest Moon but with fishing instead of farming, and then imagine more exploration and adventuring. Imagine lovely music and charming pixel art, romance and friendship. Sealark received a lot of twitter buzz almost immediately after the Kickstarter launched but it's still incredible to see $29,731 raised for a project that was gunning for $5,000.

There are 22 days to go and in a wholly sensible update, the developer has announced that any money after $30,000 cannot possible create more content, because all the content will be in the game anyway and there's a nine month deadline. More of this would be appreciated. Coming up with ideas for exciting features and then scrapping them because not enough cash arrived seems wrong-headed at times. Extra money raised for Sealark will go into the creation of an expansion after release.

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The Losers

Worlds Beyond - chaOs

This 2D pixel RPG isn't really a loser because the developers have pulled the plug on the Kickstarter rather than failing to reach their goal. Josiah, the chap working on the game's art and audio, had this to say:

Due to some recent events in my life that I'm not comfortable discussing, I've realized that I can't commit myself to this project in a way that's fair to you guys or Ruben. I know it's hard to get across in a way that doesn't sound like I'm taking the easy way out or being lazy, but what this project demanded from me I am not able to provide.

Lead designer Ruben Rodriguez will not "be working on Worlds Beyond, but...taking the engine...and continuing work on it." All pledges will be returned. All the best to Josiah and Ruben, and whatever they choose to work on next, whether it be game or not.

The Epic Space Game - Edward Melville

Boo! I'm not happy to see The Epic Space Game here. It reminded me of Subspace and Space Rangers as well as other lovely top-down things that probably have 'space' in the title. With only $7,000 of a $20,000 goal, the Kickstarter is a goner but hopefully progress will continue somehow because this was a game with actual playable builds and a creator who talked the talk very well in his updates.

The Players

Blackspace - PixelFoundry

Goal: $350,000
Now: $49,967
Days: 26

It's a hefty goal but it's a hefty game, this, an RTS with destructible terrain to be mined and exploited. As Jim said, earlier this week "this is a simulation-heavy RTS with destructible everything, meticulous physics modelling, asteroid geology, and an exploration/discovery aspect that is unusual in RTS games". I agree with those statements of fact, but I also agree with the suggestion that it's refreshing to see an ambitious project that looks, well, quite fresh. Just shy of $50,000 raised and almost a month to go, this might be a player in the Katchup up until its final week.

Scrumbleship - dirkson

Goal: $8,000
Now: $1,378
Days: 25

Reminding me immediately of Blockade Runner, Scrumbleship aims to be the "most accurate space combat simulation. Ever." That claim, along with a video and a demo, has been enough to raise $1,378 in a few days, setting the project in good stead to reach it's very reasonable $8,000 goal. Voxelly and delicious, Scrumbleship is already an accomplished piece of programming but AI crews, a persistent multiplayer universe and "organic ships that need food and can heal damage" are among the many things that $8,000 and a great deal of work could add. Reward tiers include physical voxels shipped to your home. That seems kind of cool.

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Pro Pinball: Revived & Remastered - Silverball Studios

Goal: $400,000
Now: $84,717
Days: 12

Just shy of $20,000 raised this week for the revival of the Pro Pinball license, which means unless there's a sudden rush of wealthy pinball wizards, this one is probably going to miss its goal by some distance. There have been plenty of updates, including revised and additional reward tiers, and Silverball are handling the project admirably, but the demand doesn't seem to be there. I love pinball but I'd be more excited by an entire collection of new tables rather than mostly recreations of previous Pro Pinball titles. The latest tiers are $20 and $30, the first providing digital downloads of the four remastered tables and the new one on iOS or Android, and the latter providing the same on any platform.

10,000 Hours - Tiger Sheep

Goal: $5,000
Now: $2,101
Days: 6

10,000 Hours is the most confusing thing ever. Not only does a new video of the progress made seem to take pleasure in showing that almost no progress has been made, that video is for a game called Deceit. Hmmm. The project has also lost $4 since John wrote about it last week. The whole setup reminds me of Molyneux's current experiments and part of me thinks this is a social experiment of a different kind. Watch the video below and see how far 10,000 Hours has come.

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And a spider!

Conclave - 10x10 Room

Goal: $75,000
Now: $47,707
Days: Less than one.

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.

MORE - IdeaLcenter

Goal: $50,000
Now: $30,018
Days: 36

The 4X game that ditches the X's and pops the four elements of play in its title instead, MORE (Military, Organisation, Research, Economy) is doing fantastically well. It's impossible to know if it'll be the successor to Master of Orion 2 that IdeaLcenter want it to be but the backers seem to believe, with steady progress being made toward the less than planet-sized $50,000 goal. Below, a video of the Brutas race. It put me right off my lunch, the Brutas being minotaur-type things with too many limbs and glistening exposed muscle instead of skin. I think they have little bone beards as well.

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Pangenic - The Dada Factory

Goal: $45,000
Now: $7,289
Days: 13

Stuff and nonsense. Pangenic's turn-based Victorian scientists should be raking in the farthings, with a theme and tactical approach that appeal to every man and woman of sense. But with a single update, which contains little information except the admittedly splendid news of Mac and Linux support, the project hasn't attracted a great deal of attention. More videos are promised in the next couple of weeks but we need the videos now! If they were here, I could post one right there, showing you why Pangenic deserves a pledge, but as there's nothing new to show, I don't know that it does, and all we really have to go on is the theme and the style. Which I like very much. It's obviously difficult running a Kickstarter and working a day job as well, but updating early and often seems the best way to go.

Chris Taylor's Arakion - Chris Taylor

Goal: $25,000
Now: $15,143
Days: 14

The other other Chris Taylor's first-person RPG continues its steady trundle toward the $25,000 goal. New stretch goals have just been announced, including a randomly generated infinite dungeon. Those are my favourite sorts of dungeon because I'm a masochistic non-completionist. Stretch goals do seem somewhat optimistic, although I have a feeling this one will squeak over the line.

Portas Aurora: Arrival - Daniel Randall

Goal: $25,000
Now: $382
Days: 6

There was an update two days ago, detailing a slight change in the colour of the GUI, so the project hasn't been abandoned, which is admirable given how slowly the funding has been trickling in. I'm not even sure it's a trickle. The occasional drip, perhaps. Promise of an incredibly detailed, hand-crafted galaxy hasn't made the project stand out and that's likely because there's nothing to make this galaxy stand out from all the others.

Starship Corporation - Coronado Games

Goal: 6,000
Now: $17,021
Days: 20

Still looking for more monies, despite hitting its goal, this Indiegogo powered project is for an RTS with customisable spaceships and planetary installations. The latest news is an attempt to get the game on Steam. You can't argue with David's logic.

Steam > more players > more funds > more game!


And A Couple Of Other Thing

Sensible Software 1986-1999 - Read-Only Memory

Darren Wall's plan to create beautiful books about videogames is a fine one, if expensive, with $38 necessary to secure a copy of the first book, about Sensible Software. With $23,371 raised as of last week, the project looked like a guaranteed success, but this week's figure is only $28,571. It'll still make it, surely, with less than $1,500 and two weeks to go, but maybe all the nineties kids have already made their pledge. I'm quite keen on the Vinyl EP edition, I must say.

Loading - A Gaming Bar For London

There's much more information about this both at the project page and here, but essentially some experienced barfolk are attempting to raise $50,000 to open a games cafe and cocktail bar in London. Obviously, $50,000 isn't going to be enough but it should be enough to 'secure the rest of the funding'. The chaps do have prior experience, currently operating a similar operation in the Southwest of England. I'm mainly posting this because I'm interested to hear how many people like the idea? Do you enjoy going to bars anyway? If so, do you see any reason to have a bar for gaming and gamers? If not, would this appeal more than a regular drinking hole? The Kyoto Lounge here in Manchester offers something of the sort and I've never actually been. Pool's my game when I'm drinking and I'm absolutely, irredeemably terrible at it I'll have you know.

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