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Kickstarters Update: Who Made It and… Who Didn’t – Part IV

By on April 29th, 2013 10:58 am

Time for another Kickstarters update. In our last update (Nov 2012 to Jan 2013) we covered the successful crowdfunding stories of Elite Dangerous – a sequel to the 1984 Elite classic space combat game; Limit Theory – a space combat sim with RPG and strategy elements; the turn-based space 4X game, Predestinaton; Hegemonic, a tabletop space 4X board game; the space combat and ship design app Skyjacker – Starship Construction. And finally, Galcon 2: Galactic Conquest, a simple fast-paced real-time space strategy game.

Let’s now see what our enthusiastic space, science fiction (and their fantasy cousins) devs have been cooking for us for the past 3 months or so.

Battle World: Kronos

Battle Worlds: Kronos – military sci-fi turn-based strategy/tactics  -> Made it!

KING Art Games proposed Battle Worlds: Kronos, a military science fiction turn-based strategy game. It was to be a spiritual successor to the Battle Isle series. Advance Wars and Panzer General were also mentioned as sources of inspiration. It seems that the hexagonal style maps, the 2 single player campaigns, the varied multiplayer options and the availability for Windows, Mac and Linux were more than enough to convince a host of people to help them outsource their art, and speed up the overall development. Before going to Kickstarter, they tried to reach several publishers and failed. On Kickstarter, they managed to get $260,000, which means the “play everywhere” stretch goal (iOS, Android, Ouya) was also achieved. Release is planned for Q4 2013, with Alpha in Q2 2013 and Beta in Q3 2013. More information on KING Art’s website.

Rogue System

Rogue System: space trading and combat sim -> Didn’t make it.

Michael Juliano, an aircraft enthusiast, and a flight sim and space sim lover, proposed Rogue System, a space trading and combat simulation with a realistic flavor and complex flight mechanics. Examples of this complexity would be: clickable buttons on the cockpit, dozens of systems, many different types of damage taken, pilots modeled in detail. Unfortunately, the story-driven single-player campaign, the open-ended trading system and the persistent multiplayer mode were not enough to convince  many people to join Michael’s vision (only ~17% funding of $300,000 reached). The fact that his Kickstarter came right after other space sim Kickstarters, like Elite or Star Citizen, probably didn’t help, as the genre was probably too saturated already. Michael didn’t give up though. In his “thank you” update he said to be moving on to a simpler donation system to be up and running on his site, soon.

Net Gain: Corporate Espionage

Net Gain: Corporate Espionage: cyberpunk  strategy -> Made it! 

Indie developer John Gosling from Level Zero Games, proposed Net Gain: Corporate Espionage, a sci-fi strategy game set on the year of 2043 where you play the role of an agent working for a mega corporation in a cyberpunk world. Your job would be to spy, sabotage or steal your rivals plans, and lead your own teams to success through a series of missions, each with its own set of min-challenges. All this from the heights of a “penthouse view”. John turned to Kickstarter for the chance to work full-time on the game until its completion. And, he was highly successful, achieving 36K from the initial goal of 16K (~225% funding). Net Gain should be available for PC and Mac on Q1 2014, with an early playable prototype around June 2013. We’ll keep an eye on Net Gain’s progress. In the meantime you can check further progress through the game’s blog.

Shackleton Crater

Shackleton Crater: turn-based strategy/space colony simulation ->Didn’t make it.

Joe Ybarra, a 40 year gaming producer, and co-founder of Electronic Arts, went to Kickstarter for Shackleton Crater, a game about developing a sustainable colony on the surface of the Moon. The idea would be go hard sci-fi and seek a more realistic simulation experience. Both single-player and multiplayer were planned, but Joe’s description suggested a more “non-combative” gameplay nature. Meaning, more cooperative than competitive style of play. This may have put some people off. That or the fact that Joe had little gameplay to show to people. He acknowledged this on his last update “we realize that additional gameplay and game details are needed to effectively communicate our product.”. Joe pulled the plug when it was evident that his $700,000 goal could not be hit. He hasn’t  thrown the towel yet though. Joe stated that he plans to continue with the development and pursue other opportunities to develop and publish his game and vision. His game’s site has been down for many days though…

Terminus

Terminus:  post-apocalyptical space colony simulation -> Didn’t make it.

Indie dev Ryan Czech proposed Terminus, a real-time construction simulator about space colonization on a post-apocalyptic setting. Terminus would deliver a city-building experience on other planets, with a focus on disaster management, with details like evacuation procedures and facility inspections. You would need to deal with fires, bio hazards, diseases, air-loss, meteor impacts, and other disasters. Unfortunately, Ryan didn’t make it, achieving only $4,721 of the $25,000 required. Too bad. Gameplay seemed deep, but perhaps many thought it was too deep on the disaster management aspect. That or the lack of actual gameplay to show, perhaps. It’s unclear if development will continue. Ryan suggested that he will continue looking for other crowdfunding opportunities and that progress on that could be checked through their website. In the meantime, and with Shackleton Crater on-hold as well, we’re left with Maia (successful Kickstarter) and Unclaimed World, as possibilities to scratch the space colony management itch.

Beyond Beyaan

Beyond Beyaan: turn-based space 4X strategy (engine) -> Made it!

Indie dev Brent Patterson decided to take Beyond Beyaan, his 3 years space 4X game project to Kickstarter. Brent’s idea was to ask not for a lot of money, but just enough to help finance some art assets for his game. Brent’s original plan was to develop a Master of Orion type of game with his own ideas. Later on, he added modding support, put his game on Desura for alpha funding, went open source, and now doesn’t exclude the possibility to offer Beyond of Beyaan as an engine for other space 4X game projects. Brent asked for $2,000, to be used mainly for art assets, and he got $2,651. A modest endeavor sure, but proof that Kickstarter may also be useful for other activities other than hard resource-consuming development. You can reach Brent or follow his progress through his blog. Beyond Beyaan is currently open source, the code can be found in Google Code here.

Starbase Orion

Starbase Orion (porting job): turn-based space 4X strategy -> Didn’t make it. 

Chimera Software went to Kickstarter looking for support to port its iOS space 4X strategy game, Starbase Orion, to Windows, Mac and Android devices. Chimera asked for $40,000 for the porting job, to be completed in about a five month period. But, they weren’t able to convince enough people to proceed on that direction, achieving only around 19% of their funding goal. However, the devs haven’t given up on the porting goal just yet. They said that, in the time being, they will continue improving Starbase Orion, implementing real-time chat, game replays, cloud-based AI and other features. But, they have plans to “try again later this year” for another go. Let’s see.

SaveHomeworld.com

SaveHomeworld.com: cause to bid for the Homeworld IP -> Didn’t make it.

In January of this year, indie dev teamPixel went to IndieGoGo looking for funds to go after the Homeworld franchise IP, on the scope of THQ’s insolvency auction. This refundable crowdfunding campaign would be an attempt, in teamPixel’s view, to “save” the Homeworld franchise – “to us this means preserving access to the game for fans, both old and new (…) [and] take the classic Homeworld game and re-implement it on mobile devices with touch controls”, and no more no less than go after Homeworld 3 – “we have big plans for Homeworld 3″. Wow! Now that would be wonderful. But, the harsh reality is that it was perhaps too good to be true. In their flexible funding IndieGoGo campaign they managed to get around $13,000 from their initial minimal goal of $50,000. They stated to have already started the refunding process. We now know that Homeworld was bought by Gearbox Software, who have expressed their desire to make the original games accessible once more, and have plans for the future also.

World of Magic

Worlds of Magic: turn-based fantasy 4X strategy -> Made it!

Wastelands Interactive, the developers of games like Strategic War in Europe and Storm over the Pacific went to Kickstarter for Worlds of Magic, a turn-based fantasy 4X strategy game project meant to become a spiritual successor to Steve Barcia’s Master of Magic. The money would be used to buy art assets and speed up the overall development. The campaign isn’t over at the time of this writing, but Wastelands Interactive already achieved its £30,000 goal. The first stretch goal (£35,000) was already achieved  as well and adds a 7th faction. $40,000 unlocks more creatures. Linux and Mac come with the $45,000 stretch goal. $50,000 unlocks a couple more factions. Further goals will be revealed as they go. ETA for the beta is Q4 2013 for a targeted release of Jan 2014.

Infinite Space 3: Sea of Stars

Infinite Space 3: Sea of Stars – space roguelike / RPG -> Made it!

Indie studio Digital Eel went to Kickstarter for Infinite Space 3: Sea of Stars, a 3D sequel to their classic space roguelikes, Strange Adventures and Weird Worlds. The idea is that Sea of the Stars should be very similar to their predecessors. The major difference would be the transition from a 2D to a 3D engine, and some other “fresh new material and gameplay”, said Digital Eel. Modding would be a central aspect, with specialized tools to be specifically developed for that purpose. The crowdfunding campaign isn’t over yet, but their $30,000 goal has already been reached. So, the Digital Eel guys will have their money to help fund their starship models, character illustrations, music and sound effects, and speed up the development. Infinite Space 3: Sea of Stars beta should start around October 2013 with a final release set for December 2013. More details can be found on the game’s website.

Conclusion

5/10 of our Kickstarters have made it. Not a bad number, I guess. But, in our last Kickstarters Update, we got 6/8 achievers. The gross totals seems much lower this last quarter too. The star this time was Battle Worlds: Kronos, which along with the humbler performances of Worlds of Magic and Infinite Space 3, was proof that turn-based mechanics are reclaiming their importance in the gaming scenario.

As always, this update list is by no means an exhaustive one, as there may have been a few other space and sci-fi crowdfunding projects that we missed in this assessment period (between Feb-Apr 2013). The list represents the ones that captured our attention the most. As always, feel free to point them all out in the comments below – only finished and not already covered ones please. All Kickstarter updates can be found here.

And now our little disclaimer. Till our next Kickstarters update, continue helping our indie sci-fi and space gaming adventurers. But, don’t forget to back thoughtfully! :) Crowd funding is still on its infancy, and there’s always high risks involved (delays, change of plans, others). Don’t forget to always have that in mind when backing.

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15 Comments


  1. killias2 says:

    Honestly, I’m not sure Kickstarter is the best funding platform for 4x games. 4x games are complicated and hard to pull off, and the competition tends to be both fierce and relatively.. undifferentiated. I mean, most of these projects are either space-based MOO “revivals” or fantasy-based MOM “revivals.” Also, it’s easy to make big promises on Kickstarter, but God knows it can be difficult-to-impossible to achieve some of these epic promises with small budgets and relatively inexperienced teams.

    I’m not saying it’s all bad. Xenonauts is really shaping up (though not quite 4x, obviously). Star Drive has plenty of issues, but there seems to be a core of enthusiasm/optimism about it still. However, I’m highly skeptical of Worlds of Magic, M.O.R.E., and lots of these other MOO/MOM revivals popping out of nowhere.

  2. RandomBlue says:

    Wasn’t even aware of the Starbase Orion KS campaign or I would’ve contributed. Looks like they didn’t do a good job of making people aware of it. Hopefully they’ll port it to Android anyway. I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Already own it for iOS.

  3. Antiscamp says:

    Planet Explorers is another great sci-fi title that also made it on Kickstarter. In fact, it’s the first game I’ve ever supported over there. If SpaceSector hasn’t covered Planet Explorers yet, it should do so – in-depth. It’s an adventure/exploration/building type thing where you find yourself stranded on a hostile and exotic planet. The game is really promising with some great ideas and enthusiastic creativity going on!

    • Ace of the Stars says:

      @Antiscamp, true, I also think a review of the Alpha should be in this site (it´s just an opinion) because it shows a lot of potential, you can create almost anything if you got the skills and patience.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Wow, I totally missed Planet Explorers. Thanks for the heads up!

      The game seems huge. I mean, a colossal undertaking. Adventure, action, RPG and 4X elements all in one game? Single player, multiplayer, and with so much freedom and so many possibilities?

      No promises that it will get a deep coverage, but I took note of it and will try to check it out in the near future, at the very least for news sake.

  4. Evil Azrael says:

    Hey, the kickstarer campaign for Worlds of Magic is still running with 2.5 days left. They might be able to reach the first stretch goal.

  5. Towerbooks3192 says:

    Yes! That advance wars/panzer general-ish game made it! I wish it would lean towards advance wars more than Panzer General though. I prefer making units and ordering them to their deaths compared to getting preset ones per scenario

    • Evil Azrael says:

      Have you never played any of the Battle Isle Series (1990s)? Battle Worlds claims to be the heir of this famous german game series and it’s clearly derived of of Battle Isle.
      Which in turn inherited much from Nectaris/Military Madness like Panzer General and Co.

      • Towerbooks3192 says:

        Nope! Was apprehensive of getting it off GOG. I prefer more freedom than scenario based strategy but they are welcome though. I don’t know if Battle Isle is like advanced wars or not. I mean if it has a predetermined map plus a couple of points where you could build troops and either wipe eachother out or capture an HQ or depending on campaign objective.

        Panzer General is alright but I kind of hate the turn constraints so the only wargame that really appeal to me was Advanced Tactics Gold which enables you to capture points in map and create your own unit depending on how you want it like an artillery only unit with machine gun as defense support or an anti-tank unit with AT guns, bazooka infantries and etc.

  6. Lens Flares Suck says:

    I’m done with kickstarter. So many games come out and are unfinished, buggy, or just plain not fun. I’m going back to the old way of doing things… you finish your product and THEN I give you money.

  7. Chris says:

    Yeah it looks like a higher fail rate this time.

    I think many of these titles are in the aftermath of very similar ones and that cannibalizes funding.

    Another problem is that many went to crowd fund too early – you have to have at least some working demo to show that there is a good chance that you’ll be able to someday get a working game going.

    Look at the ones that succeeded here for example. What do I see in common? Most of the games that succeeded here had a in game screenshot (Rogue System being the exception). The ones that did not, mostly relied on concept art or were ports/sequels (in a genre right now suffering from lack of creativity).

  8. Marc says:

    Shame that Terminus didn’t make it I thought it was a really interesting idea but as the trend goes they didn’t have any game visualisation and didn’t sound enthusiastic enough about it.

    How ever i think people should give this a look its a pretty interesting concept and blows other Webbased space RTS out of the park in terms of scope and vision
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/72590566/galactic-domination-online?ref=category

    The team have the game mechanics down they are just looking for funds to hire artists to bring their vision to life, one to watch even if you dont fund it.

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