The Crowd-fund Funstravaganza - Lulls and Demos
The Crowd-fund Funstravaganza - Lulls and Demos
Something has happened to Kickstarter and Indiegogo and all the other crowd-funding sites recently. Projects are failing left right and centre. Not all of them, certainly, but many of them. And most of the time they aren't getting close to the wire and just failing, they are making no headway at all.
Why though? One theory is crowd-fund fatigue. People liked the idea of crowd-funding to begin with and everyone was excited to see artists and programmers coming up with entertaining new projects. Now however, people are feeling a little exhausted - particularly since most projects are still a long way away from being complete.
Why put in all that effort, all the work to - basically - help a developer market their game, when you won't see the results for another year or two? Even if you backed a project at the 'access to beta' level (a level I think every crowd-funded project should have) you might not get to play the game for some time yet.
Instead, you get updates on progress - and while that is nice for some people - people who emotionally invested in a game - for many others this is a problem in itself. Backing another crowd-funded project means you'll spend every day until 2015 waking up to yet another inane project update cluttering up your inbox. I regularly wake up to 10 project update emails - and if I back another project does that mean I'll have 11 from then on?
So how do you combat that fatigue? One way developers have been attempting - with mixed success - is by having playable prototypes or demos along with their kickstarter, and launching this year. Let's have a look at some doing that at the moment.
Death Inc. bills itself as a mash up of Dungeon Keeper, Theme Park and Pikmin - you are Grim T. Livingstone, a freelance Reaper who is fighting back against a nefarious plot to discover the secret of immortality. It's silly and fun and you can play the prototype right now via the official site.
The prototype only really shows off the Pikmin type mechanics - you collect and direct your army to wipe out the enemy, but it certainly looks neat. A pledge of £15 will get you access to the game upon release in October this year, while a pledge of £30 will get you beta access as well. Currently at £72,944 of its £300,000 goal and with just nine days to go however, things are looking a little grim. Nevertheless, the developers have said they plan on trying to continue the game even if they don't meet their goal, here's hoping they can succeed.
Race The Sun is sort of like an endless runner take on F-Zero or Wipeout with beautiful stylised minimalistic art and music. This piece would have been up ages ago if I hadn't started playing the demo on Kongregate.
Go play the demo. It's so beautifully simple - you are racing against the sun. Your machine is solar powered, so when the sun sets you won't be able to continue. Picking up power-ups along the way gives you more time and as you achieve different things you gain power ups and upgrades. Race the Sun is currently at $3776 of its $20000 goal, which is a travesty. $10 gets you the full game once it comes out in May and $30 gets you access to the beta, the mod tools, the soundtrack and wallpapers.
Var and the Vikings is a new project by a team who have given Kickstarter a shot once before, making the unfortunately unsuccessful Brainworth - a game which taught people how to make HTML5 games. With Var and the Vikings they are focusing on one element - AI development - by playing the game you will learn behaviour tree and AI skills you can apply to actual game development.
I've talked before about Edutainment games and I think they are an excellent idea - and Brainworth have some exceptional ideas about it. If you play the Prototype of Var and the Vikings (Using Chrome is suggested), I'm sure you'll agree - it's fun and you learn at the same time. Just like robbing a bank. Var and the Vikings currently has $4,461 of its $31,000 goal, but with 26 days to go I think it will succeed. $10 gets you the game upon release in October this year and $20 gets you Beta access and an art pack on top of that.
Omega is our lucky last project today, a beautiful looking exploratory platformer about a wolf fighting a mysterious corruption. Perhaps it's because I am human, but moving a creature on four legs in a platformer always feels a little strange to me - but not so much in Omega.
You can download and play the demo via the Kickstarter - it takes a little getting used to, but I would love to see it become a full game. Omega has only just started and currently only has £823 of its £20,000 goal, but with a little luck it should make it. Particularly since you can get the game for a mere £7, with beta access, the excellent soundtrack and an artbook available at £20.
And that's it for this week. Have you seen any Kickstarters you think are particularly worthwhile? Let us know in the comments below!
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