This time a project for fans of Destruction Derby and FlatOut. As in the old games you can (or have to) take out opponent cars by ramming them. However, now finally PC hardware is fast enough to do this with much better physics and of course state-of-the-art graphics. Actually they had to cancel their Kickstarter campaign because it was obvious they would not get enough money. If you ask me, it’s the game title “Next Car Game” which is hopefully just a working title. I did only learn about this by shear luck. However, they have collected enough money via their own webpage to continue development. Also since January 14 you can get a playable Alpha-Version via Steam Early Access. That’s where they got me. Just two cars and three tracks, but it’s already massive fun:
Planetary Annihilation, another great Kickstarter game from the developers of Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander.The gameplay is essentially pretty close to these games, except with a more comic-like art style as Supreme Commander. The maps are actually whole (small) solar systems with multiple planets and moons…and, well….you can smash planets into planets! Boom, Yeah!
The campaign has already ended with a total of about $2.2 Million. If you did not yet get Alpha/Beta access, you can pre-order the game on their website. It’s expected to be released “when it’s done”, supposedly early 2014.
I still meet people (gamers!) from time to time who did not hear about Star Citizen. Can you believe it? Well, if you liked games such as the Wing Commander series, Privateer, Starlancer or Freelancer then this is it! The next big space simulation game. The crowd-funding campaign started in October 2012 and I was within the first ~4000 backers. The campaign is still in progress and as of today funding has surpassed $37 million from 370,000 backers. It currently holds the record for the highest crowd-funded video game.
As being massively over the original budget the project, feature creep is an real risk. Also we can expect comparably massive delays of the release. However, I trust in Chris Roberts to create an awfully great game, but it might take years to get it polished.
There are a lot of crowd-funded video games out there. Yes, most of them are just crap. A three people team claiming they want to do Battlefield 4, just with better gameplay and without the bugs. A mix of Starcraft and WoW with a $20000 budget? We have seen it all. However, there are a few jewels hidden in the mass of projects. Sadly I mostly only hear about them too late to support it.
For this reason I decided to start blogging reasonable projects, because I think crowd funding is a great way to gather money for a video game. You can easily launch test balloons and gather the money for projects that publishers consider as too risky. Game development is more expensive and time consuming than most people think, so you can’t do serious games without some kind of investor in the background. However, I think the future is a combination of crowd-funding and traditional publisher approach.
I’m working as a programmer on AAA titles in the games industry for two and a half years now. That’s not much, but I think by now I have a good guess how game development works and how much people, time and money it consumes to get an enjoyable game out at the end. So when ever I stumble over another interesting crowd-funded video game project meeting the criteria below, I will try to blog about it. If you found a great project yourself, it is meeting these criteria and you would like to promote it, feel free to drop me a note.
- They have something solid to show off. E.g. a video of a polished playable prototype. At least more than just concept art.
- They have reasonable business plan and budget.
- They have a reasonable team size.
- They have at least some experienced people already on board. Hiring good people takes time.
- They have some interesting and new ideas or they want to revive some great old game genre. But just wanting a piece of someone’s pie without real innovation…sorry.
- Assuming the project gets funded, they have an actual chance of success. Meaning they seem to be able to create an enjoyable, bug-free game in the end.