By Jeff Neuenschwander / February 6th, 2013
Two new crowdfunding projects take to the spotlight in this week’s double feature. For your consideration, we have the high speed platformer Freedom Planet and the Audojo iPad Case for Games.
Audojo iPad Case for Games
One of the biggest complaints that gets tossed around for tablet gaming is that the controls are different than with a console (i.e. there are no buttons or joysticks). For gamers that grew up on consoles, this could be a giant blockade that keeps them from purchasing an iPad or any other tablet for gaming purposes. For developers, it requires coming up with unique control schemes for ports to accommodate for the touch-screen only controls (Mutant Mudds) or creating something around touch controls to complete the game (Angry Birds). For the former, this could explain why ports to Android and iOS based devices come well after releases on traditional handhelds and consoles.
Well, the good news is that someone is doing something about it. Let me introduce you to the Audojo iPad Case. It works similar to that of the Circle Pad Pro on the 3DS in that it slids over your iPad and gives you more control options for games. However, where the CPP significantly expanded the length of the 3DS, used the 3DS’ battery and only had one control stick, the Audojo comes with its own rechargeable battery (supposed to last longer than the iPad), speakers, two control sticks, triggers, and, just recently added, face buttons and a D-pad.
Now, there is some good news and bad news with this project. The bad news is that the project seems to be on the outs. You may have seen in the widget to your right but… With 15 days left and a goal of $240,000, the campaign only has just over $28,000 raised.
Now I do have some reasons why this isn’t going to succeed in its funding this time around. First and foremost, it was presented without any buttons (outside of the triggers). It was shown with only the joysticks to begin with. So it’s possible that gamers saw it, saw the lack of face buttons, and wrote it off, never to come across the project again.
Second: the fact that is works only on the iPad. Have an Android tablet, too bad. You can’t use it. And no, it doesn’t work with the new iPad mini either (although if successful, they would have started working on one for that as well).
Third, the iOS gaming crowd and the Kickstarter crowd aren’t the same people. It pretty much has suffered for the same reasons that Howard Phillips’ Know-It-All project failed: it’s marketing itself to the wrong crowd. Although, even if it did market to the iOS crowd, I’m still not quite sure it would make its goal.
The good news: it’s very good tech for a device that needs it. From what I’ve seen in the tech demos, this is well designed and is implemented well with games on the market. Although I don’t think it would shorten development time any (since, if it was on the market, not everyone would have one of these), the Audojo would allow games to be played the way developers intended. In addition, it would truly allow for games that had only been on dedicated handhelds before – specifically, the DS, 3DS, and Vita.
And if tablets are really the wave of the future for gaming, then there needs to be tech like this. Apple, Samsung, and every other tablet maker aren’t going to include game control buttons on a do-everything-machine just because of a few gamers wanting to play things the traditional way.
The reason for bringing this up was never about promoting the project (only a miracle can really save it now) but to promote the tech. This is a promising device in a market that needs it to really thrive.
If you wish to support the Audojo, click here for the Kickstarter Project.
We go from one project that seems doomed to fail to one that has far exceeded expectations with a week left for funding. Freedom Planet is a platform game that promises to mix the styles of Mega Man, Sonic, and Gunstar Heroes while offering full voice acting and intense boss fights.
Here’s a bit about the story from the Kickstarter page:
The ruthless warlord known as Lord Brevon has crash landed on the world of Avalice. His surviving crew learns of three nearby kingdoms – the water city of Shuigang, the forest metropolis of Shang Mu, and the sky nation of Shang Tu – that are powered by an artifact known as the Kingdom Stone. Brevon sets in motion a sinister plan to manipulate the three kingdoms into attacking each other, knowing that when they are weakened, he can take the stone and use it to repair his dreadnought.
Meanwhile, two young girls, Lilac and Carol, are on their way to the annual pilgrimage to the Kingdom Stone – not to pay tribute, but to steal money from the rich so that they can continue to live by themselves in their treehouse. Along the way, they notice an airplane falling from the sky! They race across the valley to rescue the pilot, Torque the Shellduck. Little do they know that Torque is the only one who knows about Brevon’s plan, and he cannot stop him alone…
Freedom Planet promises to be different from the average platformer with offering a mix of high speed action, platforming, and exploration. It will also feature an all-female cast of characters – Lilac, Carol, and Milla – that promise to be quirky and endearing. But you don’t have to take our word for it. The game has a demo that you can try out by clicking the link on their Kickstarter page.
In terms of content, the game is mostly complete. However, they needed an extra push to help make the game more polished and have the ability to offer the game to a wider audience. With the $2,000 they initially earned, they will bring the game to the Xbox 360 through the Xbox Live Indie Games section as well as work on getting the game on Steam (check out Freedom Planet’s Greenlight page here). They’re also looking at getting Freedom Planet onto the Ouya as well. They also have a number of stretch goals reached, including animated cutscenes, extra programmers, a webcomic series, a new playable character, and money towards the next game in the series. Currently sitting just under $18,000, if they reach $20,000 they will have the voice cast do a video playthrough in character.
Rewards start at $5 and include songs from the Demo in a ZIP file as well as sketches and high resolution images of the game. Full versions of Freedom Planet being at $10 and will include a Steam key if the game is Greenlit. Other unlimited rewards include the soundtrack via ZIP file ($20), closed beta access ($30), a digital artbook ($40), closed alpha access ($50), and a physical copy of the soundtrack ($80). As for the limited rewards, all of them are still available. They include making a billboard for the game’s city stages ($100), your own personalized NPC ($150, $200 if you want the physical soundtrack as well), making a robotic enemy ($300), making a boss ($1,000), or one of each ($1,500).
Funding closes on February 14th at 6:53 PM EST. Projected release is February of 2014.
Here’s what else has been going with crowdfunding projects we’ve been following.
Akaneiro: Demon Hunters
Kickstarter Project. Status: Funding Successful
As predicted, this game made its funding goal, sliding in $4,000 above its goal. If you missed out on supporting the game during the campaign, you can do so by way of Spicy Horse’s PayPal store. Akaneiro has been Greenlit on Steam so check out it there as well.
The Magical Realms of Tír na nÓg: Escape from Necron 7 – Revenge of Cuchulainn: The Official Game of the Movie – Chapter 2 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa
Kickstarter Project. Status: Funding Successful
Digital rewards are currently being sent out, with each tier being sent out separately. Oh, and here’s some concept art that Tales of Game’s Studios posted on their Facebook wall, courtesy of Evgeni Maloshenkov (look at more of his work here).
Kickstarter Project. Status: Funding in Progress
The Gas Powered Games project is still trudging along, eclipsing the $400,000 mark. However it still has a long way to go to reach their goal of $1,100,000 in 9 days. However, they’re not going down without a fight. They have daily livestreams going on at Twitch. They also gained a major supporter in Star Citizen and Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts, being featured in a blog spot called Game Changers. Here’s a snipet of the piece:
So why Kickstarter for Chris and myself?
It really has to do with the publisher / developer relationship in today’s world. A publisher will say;
“Here’s $20M to make a game, I’ll own the intellectual property and you’ll have to pay me back that $20M from your royalties. Because I’m advancing you so much your royalty rate is going to be only 20% of the net revenue.”
And that’s it for this week’s Crowdfunding Spotlight. Join us next week when we take a look at more projects. But if you can’t wait for then, take a sneak peak at what we’re looking at.
Akaneiro: Demon HuntersAudojoBarkley 2crowdfundingFreedom PlanetipadKickstarterSteamWildmanXbox Live Indie Games