Ok, we started Kickstarter Highlights to shine a light on smaller or lesser known projects that we wanted to see shine, or managed by people we love, but occasionally we like to talk about projects that we love that really don’t need the help. Case in point, Critical Role, the series that broke MCM London, a bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors who play Dungeons & Dragons live on the internet for a few hours every week and draw massive viewership and crowds, and have been partially responsible to the exponential boom in popularity of the hobby!
I’ve talked about them before. They’re a good – if inaccurate – representation of the hobby, vastly more entertaining to watch as it’s being played by actual performers, voice actors who know about taking turns when talking so that there’s no cross-talking, who can totally immerse themselves in their character so deeply that we can more clearly envision the action, and who get visibly emotional about the narrative, reacting appropriately to every moment of drama and capable of deftly improvising moments of their own.
So it makes sense for a bunch of actors with characters that they love and live, with connections in the industry who also love D&D, to club together and make a cartoon! One to go alongside the comics written by Matt Colville, and all of the other products, the books, the art, the live appearances… you get the idea they’re doing well.
The project will be supported by the studio Titmouse Inc, famous for shows like Metalocalypse, Venture Bros., Tigtone that I put on my to-do list lately, and Avatar: The Last Airbender, alongside a host of other major projects, so the animation will be in excellent hands. The cast will be played by themselves, with Matt Mercer serving the bulk of the NPCs… or rather those characters who are not the protagonists.
The test will be how well a D&D style narrative can be translated into a linear format, as it rarely crosses well into other formats – at least those that endeavour to capture the spirit of tabletop RP. As this project is dedicating itself more to existent characters and a well developed and explored world, things could be very different.
So, to the campaign itself. The target is $750,000 to fund the actual animation to a high standard, with a projected release of late 2020. Backer rewards do not include access to a digital stream or download of the final result, rather heavily implying that the final product will be available for everyone to enjoy, likely via their (newly independent of Geek & Sundry) YouTube channel and probably Twitch as it is their principle platform.
The rewards backers receive are instead encouraged to pledge for loot, some digital downloads of music uniquely composed for Critical Role, including a piece written and (partially) performed by the cast. Dice, sticker packs, art prints, cuddly toys, accessories for roleplay and memorabilia, and of course the upper echelons include personalised artwork by Titmouse, producer credits, and when you hit a five figure sum you get a studio tour and more.
Those upper echelon rewards? All gone. I would not be surprised to find a lot of D&D executives towards the top of that list, and possibly Matt Colville himself. The campaign? When I started writing it was at about $2.1 million, it’s now approaching $2.4M, and the campaign started less than five hours ago. IGN managed to squeeze out an article last night a few minutes after the project passed $1M, and I won’t be publishing this for another ten hours, who knows how much money might have poured into the pot. Stretch goals are disappearing, and the twenty-two minute animated short will be treble the length before I go to bed, and will be a feature length film by morning unless pledges slow down.
Sam Riegel and Travis Willingham have apparently been talking to producers for a while, and the attachment of the hobby still makes studios reluctant to engage with projects, presumably offers may have been made with limitations or changes. Crowd funding may lack security for the consumer… fairly certain the same group have ripped me off twice now… but it does put creativity in the hands of those passionate about a project. The CR team have proven time and time again that they are capable of producing high quality content. Here’s to another one.
Oh… there goes $2.5 million!
Side note…! Hot damn, 514% funding on Lasers and Liches!! Go check out this awesome project blending sci-fi and D&D, and adds bonus dinosaurs, perfect for anyone wanting to RP their way through Kung Fury or a Shadowrun Rave. You still have a week to get involved, and there are still stretch goals left to reach.
~Text message from Tim~
What do you mean it was made by a “different Chris”?
So Psychonauts was the 3D action-adventure/platformer game that mellowed the heart of anglo-ozzie fedora wearing hate-monger Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw so much so that anyone who has not played the game earned his finger crunching torture, and not without good reason. It’s a game that can reignite a childhood of true joy, and an accessible fantasy world filled with wonders, and it’s one of many classic games brought to life by the creative maniac and mogul Tim Schafer of Double Fine, and previously Lucas Arts.
As the young psychic acrobat Raz you learn how to navigate inside the subconscious minds of others, and in the process you uncover a terrible brain stealing plot. You explore rich and stylistically unique levels crafted by the minds of the NPCs whose innermost thoughts you intrude on, solving puzzles made unique by the impossibilities the playground of the mind make possible. The real world is far from mundane, filled with fascinating individuals, and not a cardboard cut-out amongst them. (more…)
Do you like retro video games?
Do you like new twists to retro styled video games?
Do you just like video games in general?
Then you needn’t look any further, it’s time to take a look at an up and coming video game about all that is super and retro, courtesy of a Kickstarter Highlight.
The term “Development Hell” has plagued gaming history for decades. Many incredible game-projects have never seen the light of screen because matters of financing and dispute over intellectual properties have bogged them down to the point where it’s no longer an option to release them. The modern method of circumventing this issue is to release a game to the public while it is still incomplete, under the premise of releasing content for free to those who have already paid.
It’s yet another business model that Minecraft popularized, access to the flat-world alpha version started that popularity train and started money feeding into what would become the modern standard sandbox-survival master-crafter and of course genre-spawner. It extended the lifespan of a project that could have died very early in its’ development because of its’ sheer size and complexity.
It also allowed Minecraft to stay in development for many years, in fact it had a convention and a product range to its’ name before boxes even appeared on shelves. Mojang were doing so well before the official release of Minecraft that they had even begun work on their trading card game Scrolls.
A lot of people have justifiable concerns that the method could be exploited to make a great deal of money on a game that may never actually be completed. For example, Grim Dawn when I first purchased it was around £17.99 for a single act of narrative, a dozen or so enemy types and very little by way of original features. Since then two acts have been added, as have a great many aspects of gameplay that are building to a very complex and interesting hack-and-slash, but the game remains in development three full years after its successful Kickstarter Campaign.
Games like these are changing the nature of the industry, and how funding can be found, directly from those people who would be interested in playing them rather than publishers who only speculate on the market’s wants and desires. It’s a good thing, and it’s a bad thing. Publishers have a certain resilience against the financial sink-holes that development hell creates, and often a studio will get another chance, or an idea will be remolded and repurposed into something new and possibly improved. Our money is somewhat less secure, and if a studio fails to deliver on an early access game or Kickstarter, we’ve invested money and have nothing to show for it, or something subpar and not worth what we put up for it.
Lego Worlds is also in early access, adding one of the worlds biggest manufacturers in entertainment to the list of mainstream publishers making use of the new format of funding. It’s a future that comes with incredible risks to the consumer, but also offers the opportunity of a future without Starcraft Ghost, the proeject we all wanted that never happened; or Duke Nukem Forever, which sadly happened.
A game staying eternally in development comes with its’ own challenges, no piece of art, or any other major project is ever truly finished, as anyone who has ever written a book to completion will tell… anyone who’ll listen. Even when a project successfully makes it from beginning to end it can always be tweaked somewhere in the middle, and again, and again, until it’s something unrecognizable. It’s a difficult skill to master, knowing when to stop, but when your art is your business, then you have a problem.
The short version of what I’m rambling my way around is that I don’ know what to make of the “Early Access” phenomenon and its’ inherent risks and complexities. The industry is changing, but is it for the better, or just for the different? Talk to me in the comments or on Facebook! You can also share your opinion on Twitter, where Tim will tell me what you think…
Do you like Sci-Fi?
Do you like tabletop gaming?
Do you like tabletop gaming with tiles as a visual way to represent your worlds? Then look no further, welcome back to Kickstarter Highlight.
What is it?
Those of you who have been reading this website for a while will be aware of one of our longest standing series of 2014, the Kickstarter Highlight series. It was during the duration of the highlight posts that we found out about Julian G Hicks, a guy who was producing some sci-fi storage containers for his soon to be launched Tabletop Towns tiles.
He’s back once more with Phase One of his Sci-Fi Tiles Kickstarter Campaign, which you can check out here. This time, he was after just £950 which he has already passed at nearly £1250 as of the time of writing.
These are simply double-sided 3″ square plasti-card floor plan tiles. That might sound like a lot of gobbledegook at first, but basically these are 3″ by 3″ square tiles which are used as floor plans for your tabletop RPG campaigns and skirmishes. Being double sided and with all of the different tiles and products within the Tabletop Towns repertoire, you can truly begin to imagine this is going to become a large range of products for Tabletop Towns.
Heck, what if you just wanted to design your own game and wanted a visual way to design it? These would give great visual feedback for the novice game designer, so it’s worth noting how these could have more uses than first meets the eye.
What do they need funding for?
Well the £950 the creators were requesting were to guarantee the first production-ready print run of these tile sets. The money will also be going towards paying for the art that is on the tiles.
It’s a really small ask for some really beautifully presented tabletop campaign tiles.
What are the backer rewards?
Pledge £18 or more
Single: set of 24 scifi geomorphs, doublesided plus 12/18 door strips
Pledge £33 or more
Single+: set of 24 scifi geomorphs, doublesided plus 12/18 door strips
Plus set of 8 Hab Units with wraps and windows
Pledge £35 or more
Double: Double set of 24 scifi geomorphs, doublesided plus 12/18 door strips
48 3″ square tiles
Pledge £59 or more
Quad: Quad set of 24 scifi geomorphs, doublesided plus 12/18 door strips
96 3″ square tiles
Pledge £60 or more
Double+: Double set of 24 scifi geomorphs, doublesided plus 12/18 door strips
48 3″ square tiles
Plus set of 16 Hab Units with wraps and windows
Pledge £99 or more
Quad+: Quad set of 24 scifi geomorphs, doublesided plus 12/18 door strips
96 3″ square tiles
Plus set of 32 Hab Units with wraps and windows
Pledge £110 or more
Reseller Single X10
Single: set of 24 scifi geomorphs, doublesided plus 12/18 door strips
Pledge £200 or more
Reseller Single + X10
Single+: set of 24 scifi geomorphs, doublesided plus 12/18 door strips
Plus set of 8 Hab Units with wraps and windows
Hopefully this gives you a small idea as to the sorts of products the Tabletop Towns Kickstarter Campaigns will be delivering in future. Have you ever used tiles for your tabletop campaigns? Have you pledged towards these campaigns in the past?
A while back, I decided to back a game from IndieGoGo that went under the name of Tulpa. Well, it seems that Tulpa pulled through and they sent to me a copy of the game, along with a key to get the game cheaper. Wonderful!
So how were my experiences of this game, that actually I couldn’t remember too much about? Read on!
We love a good interview here, especially when it’s with some brilliant content creators. Today is no exception. Last week we did our last Kickstarter Highlight for the year, which was about Remember ur Nature (R.u.N), a shonen styled manga about parkour. This week then, we’re following in our urban running adventures to get to know the team behind R.u.N, Mangatellers.
I’ve been talking to Fillis quite regularly and I’ve been learning a lot about the team and their desire to create great content. So be prepared as we look to get geeky, have a look at some manga, talk about their Kickstarter campaign, get festive and then get advice for the rest of us.
Interview with Mangatellers
1) Welcome to GeekOut South-West! Can you first introduce the team and who you all are?
Hello GeekOut South-West!
Mangatellers are Hatzopoulos Kariofyllis Chris, and Voutsidis Raphael. We’re the screenplay writers/creators and producers of the manga series we publish. The other two members of the team are Lagouvardos Manos, the main artist and Efimidis Nikitas, the 3D graphic Designer/assistant artist.
2) It’s fair to say that the Mangatellers crew have been extremely busy with their Kickstarter campaign. Can you explain the inspiration behind your shonen-esque R.u.N?
It’s true that we are really busy with the promotion of our Kickstarter campaign for R.u.N. Volume #1, which is a shonen sports manga about Parkour in Japan. It’s our first time joining a crowdfunding platform and it’s really stressful, but we are positive for the final outcome!
All the members of Mangatellers Team are fans of shonen manga. We the writers especially love; Naruto, One Piece, Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist and Fairy Tail, but our passion are sports manga, like Hajimme No Ippo, Hakyui, Kuroko No Basket, Eyeshield 21 and Air Gear. Sports manga have a different feeling in them and it’s very challenging to create a sports story, which will intrigue the crowd!
3) When did you decide you needed to turn to Kickstarter to help your manga reach new audiences?
Kickstarter is currently the best crowd-funding platform for comics. We haven’t seen a lot of Kickstarter manga campaigns though. All the funds that the campaign will raise, if it is successful, will be used to cover the printing cost for R.u.N. Volume #1 and of course the shipping cost to the backers worldwide. The amount of money we needed may seem big for an independent team, but Greece has a heavy taxation system and with the Kickstarter fees a big portion of the funds will go there. Also crowd-funding isn’t very popular in Greece, that’s why we chose Kickstarter to reach new audiences from across the seas.
4) What was the driving factor behind being a Greece-based manga team?
Indeed! We are a Greek team, which creates Japanese manga!
The driving factor is our love for this art form and our passion for the Japanese Tradition and Pop Culture. That’s why we are officially working with the Japanese Embassy in Greece. The Cultural Section of the Japanese Embassy in Greece has acknowledged our efforts to promote manga in Europe and to organize events related to Japanese Pop Culture, Tradition and Art.
Also the anime and manga community in Greece is very active lately and it is expanding. We are happy to see a rapid development in our country regarding our beloved hobbies.
5) How did the Mangatellers team first meet?
We (Fillis and Raphael) have been best friends since kindergarten! We have known each other for a very long time and our love for anime and manga started at an early age. When we graduated from high school we decided to study screenplay writing and direction tutorials on our own. After four years of reading and studying, we decided to write the screenplay for R.u.N. and become an official team.
In 2010 we met Manos Lagouvardos in a Greek convention. Manos had published the first Volume of his personal work, Galaxia. His art style was amazing and we decided to reach out to him and propose for him to become the team’s main artist. When Manos read the screenplay of our works, he gladly accepted the position of the main manga-ka and together we have published two manga one-shots (“Wifi Wars” and “Thessaloniki Through Time”), followed by eight chapters of R.u.N.
In 2010 we started working with Nikitas Efimidis, because we wanted a graphic designer for our site. Nikita’s passion for anime and manga was also huge and that’s why he started working with us.
Finally in 2012 we reached Elijah K, who is the music composer of our team in order to create a song for the animated intro of our second manga series Mythos.
Mythos is currently under development. Since 2012 Elijah K has composed numerous songs for our site and he is the main composer of nine tracks of R.u.N. OST, which we give as a prize in most of the perks of our Kickstarter Campaign.
6) Here on GeekOut South-West, we are fascinated by peoples passion for all that is geek. What other geeky interests do you all have?
We love movies and video games! Raphael loves playing League of Legends and watching anime series and movies. His personal favourite anime is Hunter X Hunter and his favourite movies and books are the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Game of Thrones! Fillis loves playing video games in general, especially J-RPGs and his favourite anime series is Hajimme No Ippo. He is also a huge fan of Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
7) We are in the festive mood here, so do you have any plans for the Christmas holidays?
Yeah! Same here. We are planning to publish a Christmas mini manga for the Kickstarter campaign. Other than that we are spending Christmas Holidays with our loved ones and our families.
8) Why did you make R.u.N free for everyone to read online before this campaign?
We want to share with everyone our stories online for free. We want readers to have full access to the online content. The printing versions of our stories have the form of a collectible that the true fans would like to have.
It’s not easy for anyone to accept that a Greek team can create Original Japanese Manga stories. What’s more is that it’s a team that seeks funding for their manga! We believe that the viewer should first read our work and then if he/she likes it, then donate!
9) Before we wrap up this interview, what ways can we keep up with the Mangatellers team?
You can always check our site: Mangatellers.
And watch our videos in our youtube channel!
10) Finally you are our Super Sensei Guru for this week and a new group of manga-ka are looking for advice about running their own manga. They want to know more about an effective team for their series, what makes Mangatellers such a good team?
Friendship, effort, lots of research and luck. We spend countless hours researching stuff for our stories and we are lucky enough to have in our team such talented artists as Manos, Nkitas and Elijah! All the members of Mangatellers are friends, who are trying hard to accomplish their dream!
We wish a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!
I’d like to extend my thanks to the whole of the Mangatellers team as well as wishing them a merry Christmas, along with a happy new year!
So once more we’ve had an exclusive interview with great content creators. We hope you’ve all enjoyed looking at the artwork from R.u.N. as well as hearing what the Mangatellers team had to say. Remember, their comic is online for free for everyone to read, so what’s stopping you from reading it?
Have you read R.u.N.? What did you think of it? Do you like the direction the team have gone in? As always, please comment below and we’ll see you again soon.
Merry Christmas everybody!
We all know that Kickstarter is not alone out there. There are plenty of means for start-up businesses and smaller groups to gather the funding they need, such as Indiegogo and Patreon, but here’s one that may have passed you by.
Cast your intrigue yonder, dear reader…
I think we can all agree that the Lego corporation do not need any additional money, it has a net annual income of $1.1b, and recently made the decision to reject a deal with the Shell corporation in order to adhere to the will of their fans and maintain a certain ethical standing. We may view their products as a little over-priced, but they have remained market leaders in quality, durability and product diversity appealing to seemingly every demographic. (more…)
Do you like dice?
Do you like chests of the storage variety?
Do you like chests that are hand made for you and your dice storage and rolling needs? Well then look no further as we return to Kickstarter Highlight!
What is it?
It’s quite hard to make anything up about this one, so instead let’s give you the cold hard facts. These storage chests for your dice can hold up to 96 dice. The chests have been expertly crafted and look beautiful.
These chests are made out of high quality, sturdy woods. One important point is that with the custom made chests from $50 and up, you get to pick your own wood. As it stands the lower priced chests are made of white ash. The standard chests contain a natural finish and they look phenomenal! With a felt interior, you are guaranteed a smooth roll for your dice. But these chests are able to do more.
The chests are not only awfully convenient for carrying your dice around and rolling your dice in, they are perfect for making them sneaky rolls in, for all you Dungeon Masters and sneaky roguish players out there. The lids double up as a great screen guard against your dice rolls. Plus, you get a lovely looking emblem and the corner pieces. I honestly don’t see my DMing campaigns being so cheap looking any more! What’s more, the designers of these boxes are promising to have the boxes out by Christmas. So, this is especially good for those of you who want a present for your dice-loving maniac friends and family.
How much do they need?
They are asking for just $500.
… What I didn’t tell you reader is that at the time of writing, these boxes were already up to $13,064 with 32 days left on the clock! There’s no real surprise here as the designers, Dog Might Games, are already on their third campaign with this dice box set.
Couple their knowledge with the quality look and feel of these ergonomic chests of dice-rolling glory, you can be sure we’re nowhere near the finish-line with these boxes.
What are the rewards?
You don’t get many “cheap” options here for good reason:
CLASSIC DICE CHEST $30 – Strength and quality without the frills. This Dice Chest is made from White Ash with natural finish, and green felt.
CUSTOM DICE CHEST $45 – Epic and unique. This Dice Chest is made from White Ash with your choice of finish option, felt option and corner option. See all available options below.
DICE CHEST & SYMBOL $60 – Add a custom hand cut metal symbol to your Dice Chest. Symbols are available in brass, and aluminium. This Dice Chest is made from White Ash with your choice of finish option, felt option, corner option, and hand-cut metal symbol option. Use one of our designs or submit an image and have one made specifically for you. See all available options below.
These are the three more affordable options and I admit, I am going to dig deep into my wallet as I know one of these are perfect Christmas presents for a few friends of mine.
So, what do you think about the quality of these rolling and storage boxes? Do their looks entice you to play more tabletop games? Have you got a storage box that looks anything like this? Does the concept interest you?
As always, please drop us a comment and we will see you all again for another awesome Kickstarter Highlight!
Are you the nostalgic type?
Do you remember the days of the Commodore 64?
Think these next-gen graphics just can’t compete with the joy of the C64? Then look no more!
Commodore 64 – a Visual Compendium
A book (or compendium) that has been devised by Bath based Sam Dyer is looking for £20,000 to fund. At the time of writing, over 90% of the funds have already been secured with 21 days remaining, but what is the Commodore 64 visual compendium?
Avid fans of the Commodore 64 will undoubtedly remember the game Sensible Soccer. The foreword of this book is from Stoo Cambridge, the Graphic Artist of titles such as Sensible Soccer. If you don’t know of this timeless classic video game, you probably should look it up. I’m not even a fan of Soccer(or Football as we call it here in the UK) yet I still found Sensible Soccer to be a very enjoyable game.
A friend of mine highly recommended Elite as an all time great game from the Commodore 64. People certainly do reminisce about the C64 as a pioneer of computing. But, what does this book contain?
- High quality illustrations
- 200 nostalgic pages
- Interviews with Commodore 64 developers/designers
- Double page spread of classic game maps
What does the funds go to?
A large amount of the £20,000 will go toward the postage and printing of these books, which will be done with quality (rather than quantity) in mind. The rest of the funds goes towards other costs behind the project and the Kickstarter fee.
Pledge £5 or more
A BIG THANK YOU: A massive thank you from me! As an official backer of the campaign, you will get your name in the book and access to updates. You will also get an exclusive handwritten ‘Loader’ postcard right after the campaign finishes.
Pledge £10 or more
PDF: You will get a PDF version of the book. As an official backer of the campaign, you will get your name in the book and access to updates. You will also get an exclusive handwritten ‘Loader’ postcard right after the campaign finishes.
Pledge £25 or more
THE BOOK: You get the book in all it’s full colour lithographic glory! As an official backer of the campaign, you will get your name in the book and access to updates. Also included will be a PDF version of the book. You will also get an exclusive handwritten ‘Loader’ postcard right after the campaign finishes.
Pledge £30 or more
THE BOOK AND FULL SET OF ‘LOADER’ POSTCARDS: You get the book in all it’s full colour lithographic glory and all 5 ‘loading screen’ postcards. As an official backer of the campaign, you will get your name in the book and access to updates. Also included will be a PDF version of the book. You will also get an exclusive handwritten ‘Loader’ postcard right after the campaign finishes.
All backers of this project get “Loader postcards” which will be personally written by the campaigner Sam Dyer himself to all of the backers. One great thing about this project, is Sam is a Graphic Designer and he accredits most of this to his Commodore 64.
I’ve put in my pledge for this awesome project and I hope we can help finish the remaining funds needed for this. After all, who wouldn’t like to own a lovely, visual little piece of gaming history?
What do you all think of this Kickstarter campaign? I personally think this is an awesome use of Kickstarter, to look for funds for a compendium of one of the most pivotal gaming systems ever made. After all, the Commodore 64 is a system worth talking about, even today.
Take note, future consoles! We want to talk about you in the same nostalgic.