Kickstarter

A few thoughts on Early Access and Kickstarter Projects

I’m a big proponent and supporter of both Steam Early Access and Kickstarter projects, but they aren’t created equal and not every game has the same level of success in the development process. I’ve backed several projects and so far, most are progressing very well. Some good projects worth mentioning are Assetto Corsa, Plague Inc, Shroud of the Avatar and SpinTires.

However, not all of them have been gems. Many start off great, then hit some sort of wall and everything grinds to a halt. I’ve had this happen with a couple of games such as Next Car Game: Wreckfest and Victory: Age of Racing. Both had solid demos going, but now they’re languishing. From all the comments, Victory is dead and everyone assumes the same for Wreckfest.

Towns would probably be the worst example of an Early Access/Greenlight game gone wrong. It got a lot of support from the community and had a lot of sales. Then the devs kissed the crowd goodnight and walked off the stage. They hired some other sap to take over the work, but he got in over his head and the game was ditched a second time. Problem is, Towns is still listed for sale on Steam and has even been featured on the front page several times. However, check out the reviews and it is nothing but hundreds of complaints from buyers who got ripped off.

Come on Steam, what the hell are you doing? That game needs to be ripped down and those devs should be banned from ever selling a game through your system again.

I also think it’s pretty damn shitty to sell DLC for a game that is in Early Access. During the Steam sale I saw the game TerraTech had beta access to the Early Access code. Um, what the hell is that? Steer clear of that kind of nonsense.

Clearly there needs to be some rules put in place. A game that sits in Early Access needs to come under review to determine if progress is being made or if the game should be pulled. At the very least, check the negative comments and see what the hell is going on. Steam needs to get a handle on some of these games that are going on 2 years in Early Access. Time to kick the kids out of the nest!

It’s games like this that ruin the process for others and more examples are showing up. I’ve become critical of backing Early Access games and watch the updates for awhile before buying a copy. Several games I thought would be fun to support have gone dormant and defunct and the reviews are littered with all manner of pissed off people who feel cheated and ripped off. I guess you have to go with the old saying, Buyer Beware. I actually just tossed a couple of games out of my Wishlist because the negative reviews are stacking up and development has stalled or gone in the wrong direction.

I still think Early Access and Kickstarter are great ideas and allow developers a way to reach an audience without having to saddle up with a big studio who is more interested in pushing out DLC and making a sequel.

I don’t normally put too much stock in negative reviews, but when an Early Access title starts getting dozens of them it’s time to pay attention.

I’ve also become much more judicious about looking for updates and checking the Devs website to see if they’re even still around. The Victory site just links back to Steam, there’s not a single trace left of them.

Live and learn I suppose.

Other articles of interest:

24 Hours to go in Underworld Ascendant. Lizardmen raised, sights set on Companion Creatures Stretch Goal.

Oh my goodness, will you look at this? Whilst I slumbered, the total goal for Underworld Ascendant has passed through the Lizardmen stretch goal and is working it’s way to toward Companion Creatures. This is phenomenal news! But there is an exciting prize halfway to the finish line of the next stretch goal. It looks like Enhanced Music and an titillating new area called the Necrotic Graveyard is at our fingertips. I mean, who doesn’t want to go into the Underworld and pay a visit to the Necrotic Graveyard? What could possibly go wrong in a place like that? I’m sure it’s a lovely place to sit a spell and contemplate the adventures of the day. If there is a day, it is the Underworld after all.

I have to admit, things looked a little sluggish in those early days. Underworld burst onto the scene, then like most projects hit the middle lull. Oh but It’s full steam ahead now! Lots of new backers have come on board and multiple stretch goals have been unlocked.

I think we’re looking at an incredibly exciting game here. I know I keep going back to it, but this reminds me of the excitement I felt over getting and playing the original Diablo. That single player game was absolutely stunning! I was amazed at the graphics, the music, the atmosphere and all the exploration and creatures. Look back, that seems like a minor experience compared to what’s coming in the Underworld.

image I really can’t help but smile at the exciting adventure this is going to be!

With the Companion Creature feature added to the game, players will be able to have a faithful little buddy tag along on their adventures. Companions might be useful in a fight, or in boosting skills and abilities, but they can also help the player in other unexpected ways.

Enhanced Music is also part of this Stretch Goal.  The music of the original Underworld games are memorable even to this day, and now we will be able to create music to inspire the next generation of CRPG gamers!

In addition when we get to $775,000, halfway through the Stretch Goal, we will build in the Stygian Abyss a new area, the Necrotic Graveyard. This dark and foreboding locale seems to hold an allure for the various monsters and creatures of the Stygian Abyss who, upon arriving at the graveyard, pass away only to be reanimated as the undead.

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48 Hours left for Underworld Ascendant – Tracy Hickman novel obtained, within reach of the Lizardmen

Wow, the excitement builds as we hit the last 48 hours of the Kickstarter campaign for Underworld Ascendant. Not only has the game been fully funded with room to spare, it’s pushed through a couple of the stretch goals. The Underswamp will be added and we have set into motion another Tracy Hickman novel. Not only that, we are within striking distance of the Lizardmen, a new race to be added to the game. And speaking of added to the game, several new digital items have been added such as Chattering Bart (and his counterpart Chattering Bertha in SotA), shields, faction banners and t-shirts. And there’s plenty of fun to be had at each pledge level with digital copies of the game, alpha access, design sessions, signed boxes, parchments, art and behind the scenes videos.

But the real fun is about to begin. The underworld has been raised and we will forge ahead with sculpting and creating a fantastic adventure game. Shroud of the Avatar is a great world with lots of adventure and interaction. Underworld should shape up to be a fantastic experience that is ever changing and dynamic. From the videos and descriptions, these guys want this world to be alive and vibrant, not just some game you farm over and over again. It seems like it will react and change. And just because something worked the first time doesn’t mean it will work the second time.

What lies beyond the Underworld? Who knows, but my pledge is locked in, the game has been funded, the ideas and art are flowing and the community has shown some great support. Over 12,000 people think this is going to be a great game.

In mere hours we will put this exciting phase behind us and get down to the real work. I can’t wait to see the first build!

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Kickstarter for Underworld Ascendant is on Now!

A new Kickstarter project has come up and I think it’s well worth supporting. I’m a huge fan of the Ultima series and am a current backer of Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues which is turning into an awesome game with great features and lots of exciting content. I supported that project over a year ago and we are now at the state where the Early Access edition is up and running nearly 24×7.

The fun continues as a new team is poised to resurrect Ultima Underworld. And while this is being done by a different team than Shroud of the Avatar, they worked together on Ultima and have plans to have some tie-ins with each other. This will be akin to the original Ultima series in that it will be a true adventure game and dedicate itself to being an MMO.

I’m really excited about this project and have already pledged my support. If you’re an adventure fan you should check it out and put in a few dollars. The game will be severely discount during Kickstarter. The game looks fun and the Otherside Entertainment team certainly knows what their doing.

In 1992, Ultima Underworld changed the rules of what a fantasy RPG could be. It introduced the concept of 3D immersion, a player-authored experience, and a richly dynamic world to explore. Its influence led to a whole generation of games such as Thief, Deus Ex, BioShock, Skyrim, and Dragon Age.

Underworld has been hidden away in the deepest vaults of its publisher for two decades. Only now have the original creators unchained the franchise, freeing it to innovate yet again.

Backing the game grants you unprecedented front row access to the creation of the next epoch of this storied masterpiece, Underworld Ascendant. With your help, here’s a glimpse at what we can together build:

  • Exquisitely Realized Underworld – Plunge into The Stygian Abyss: dark, ripe with dangers, full of ancient secrets to discover. A vast subterranean fantasy world made startlingly real and alive.
  • Dynamic Factions – Become embroiled in an epic plot, as rival factions vie for dominance in struggles that ebb and flow across The Stygian Abyss. Your choices will alter the outcome in subtle and dramatic ways. 
  • Improvisation Engine – Delight in player-authored gameplay taken to a whole new level, with a suite of technologies that empower you to solve challenges with astonishing ingenuity. Be the ‘MacGyver’ of a fantasy world. 
  • Hero to Call Your Own – Jump right in as a Fighter, Thief or Mage. Then as your Avatar grows, freely mix and match across any skills to develop a unique hero, tailored to your style of play.
  • Pushing Boundaries – Stretch Goals will innovate on co-op play with a friend; letting you build your own corner of The Stygian Abyss; and more.

Underworld Ascendant by OtherSide Entertainment

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Golden Spike Bicycle® Playing Cards

Since the comment was left, I decided to check out a new card deck on Kickstarter and it is indeed pretty cool. I’m a big fan of trains and history so it clearly has my interest. Here is a new deck called Golden Spike Bicycle® Playing Cards by Jody Eklund. I’ve bought several cards decks over the past few months and they are always fun to collect. These are one of a kind decks that won’t be available in any store you go to. If you want to get something unique this is the way to go. The Golden Spike deck looks quite nice and pays tribute to the golden age of rail.

Golden Spike Playing Cards are inspired by the completion of the 1st Transcontinental Railroad On May 10th, 1869. It was the first rail line that connected the east to the west and revolutionized transportation and commerce in a post Civil War United States. A Golden Spike was created as a commemorative piece to celebrate the completion of the 1st transcontinental railroad and was driven into the ground where the Union Pacific met the Central Pacific Railroad at Promontory Point, Utah. When the hammer rang out and the golden spike was driven into the ground, a new era of industry and expansion rang out across the United States.

Head over to Kickstarter and grab a set of these cards.

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