A few hours ago, the Kickstarter for free-roaming space extravaganza, Skyjacker, failed to reach its funding target, falling short by just over $70,000. Rather than throwing up their hands and heading for the nearest watering hole to drown their sorrows, Digitilus have vowed to continue development. Having gained so many backers and communicating their ideas for the game to the wider world, they believe this is one of those failures that makes people stronger, so not at all like the many times I've 'failed' to recognise my low tolerance for gin. So development will continue, provided the community of of pledgers continue to spread the word and pass their money direct to Digitilus. Kickstarter might still have a role as well.
It's now possible to donate directly, essentially pre-ordering the game, with the same tiers of rewards available as with the Kickstarter project. This means the shopfront at Digitilus' website is rather complicated to look at, with lots of different bundles and editions with rather vague names. What's the difference between a Pirate Edition and a Captain's Bundle? Well, I hear the Captain pads his out with a crumpled up navigation chart, but there's also something about a t-shirt.
The Complete Edition, for $15, provides the full game, DRM-free, with a soundtrack, so that's simple enough. Any funding through the website will be immediate, which is good in that it can be used right away, but slightly worrying for several reasons. Perhaps the game will never be finished, if not enough is donated, and maybe the team might face some of the problems that afflicted The Indiestone when they started taking payments for an unfinished game.
The role of Kickstarter won't be to fund the entire development in one concerted effort, with this being the second failure to reach the full development target, but there's now a plan to break the process down into several stages. There are no firm details yet but the idea is to have smaller, achievable funding goals, such as porting all ships into the Starship Disassembly app to show their complexity, which would also boost development along by moving the designs into Unity. Essentially, looking for development targets that, when achieved, would provide something modular that could be given to pledgers in return for their money.
Skyjacker could be amazing and the demo, although more of a proof of concept than a fun thing in its own right, can be downloaded at this very moment. I wouldn't expect a project that has shown evidence of so much work done to vanish completely when failing to reach funding, but it'll be interesting to see how many pledgers are willing to give their money direct, and what the response to the staged Kickstarters will be.