Sunday, 13 May 2012

Kickstarter - Sport of the Future.

With apologies to Lloyd Dobler. Hmm, now I want to go watch the whole thing.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Kickstarter, the crowdfunding website, has started to draw indie developers like Woody's MMO bug zapper in reverse. These are three I'm watching:

Storybricks

You probably know about this one already. It's the 21st Century equivalent of Gilsoft's 1980s masterpiece The Quill. No? Just me then. Designed by Brian Green among others, (you may know him from Meridian 59 and Psychochild's Blog) Storybricks aims to handle all the heavy coding and design lifting in the background, leaving you free to tell your own stories in any way that fits, from single-player RPG to dynamic, persistent MMO.

There's an "open alpha demo" on their website if you want to poke around. I fired it up the other day and it runs in a browser. Takes just a few seconds and you're in. I once lost a summer to NeverWinter Nights so even thinking about what could happen with this one makes me nervous!

Panzer Pets

I read about this one on Massively and it grabbed me instantly, the way Wildstar did. Kaozz at ECTmmo likes the look of it too. The opening line of their Kickstarter pitch pretty much sums up why I feel these guys deserve to succeed: "There are three things each gamer likes, collecting stuff, customizing characters and leveling up!" That's me sold.

The design aesthetic looks exceptionally solid and counter to what you might expect from an MMO focused on collecting pet robots and making them fight each other, the whole thing oozes worldiness.

I'm really, really not sure about that name, though...

Dark Solstice 

This one may well have passed you by. I've been following Dark Solstice for what seems like forever. Years and years. I was in the closed alpha for a while, although I rarely logged in. It was one of the straws that broke my alpha-applying camel's back.

I fear the candle I once held for this game may have burned too long. I'm not sure I'll be playing even if they do make their target, but I hope they make it all the same. They've been pushing this stone up the hill for so long they deserve to see it roll down the other side.

The competition is stiff, though. At time of writing Storybricks has yet to hit 10% of its $250k target and there's only two and a half weeks left before the cut-off. Panzer Pets has about the same, with three weeks to get the rest of their $85k. Dark Solstice only just started. So far they have one backer. They want $50k and they have a month left to get it.

I wish them all the very best of luck. I'm going to pledge something to at least two out of the three but I hope they all end up getting made even if the Kickstarter thing doesn't work out. If it  does, expect to see more and more small studio MMOs going down this route. If not, well, games got made before Kickstarter...






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