Monthly Archives: July 2012

Robert Cummings from Simian Squared, co-developers of  The Other Brothers ,sent me a message asking me to spread the news about their kickstarter project which will have a GNU/Linux client if the campaign is successful.


The Other Brothers is a family fun adventure game of running, jumping, collecting, racing against the clock, all in retro pixel glory!

It was just another day at Jim and and Joe’s Garage when, outside, a ruckus was heard. The mechanic duo rushed out the door to investigate the disturbance, only to find a beautiful redhead, Tavy, being forced into a car at gun point by a couple of Mafia thugs.  Joe, having seen Tavy around town, fancied her a bit, so the guys immediately set out to rescue this Damsel in Distress.

Who is this Tavy and what does the Mafia want with her?

                                           3D Attack Presents

The Other Brothers is an episodic family adventure game of running, jumping, collecting and racing against the clock, all in retro pixel glory. That’s right… retro pixel glory!  You know what we are talking about.  Remember those glorious days of the Commodore 64, Amiga 500, NES/SNES etc., and the hours, upon hours,  of side scrolling pixelated fun?  We are bringing it back with, The Other Brothers!  Not only are we going to bring it back, but enhance it.

Technology today allows us to do things we couldn’t do in the past, so why not incorporate some “fresh/modern” ideas.  The Other Brothers is an homage to the golden era of gaming, and yet stands on it’s own feet due to strong visuals and game play. Making a retro game using Pixel Art is a style choice. It’s an art form.  It’s an experience we were captured away with in our young years and want to bring back to you and your family.

We invite you to join Joe and Jim, on their wild and crazy adventure, as they horizontally scroll junkyards, cities, streets, allies and sewers. As they, collect pigeons, avoid obstacles, take on bad guys and fight the big bosses all in an effort to rescue our damsel in distress, Tavy!  Not only do we want you to enjoy The Other Brothers, we want you to be part of it.

Why Kickstarter?

Game development is an exciting, fun and enjoyable process, but it’s also an expensive one. To make The Other Brothers something truly special, we need you.

Being indie developers allows us the freedom to develop unique games without publishers intervening, but also means that we are doing this entirely out of our own pockets with the money we pay the bills and feed our kids with.  Things like localization, hardware for testing and audio production all require money and there’s only so far we can get with our MacGyver hats on.

The Kickstarter funding will improve The Other Brothers with:

  • Your backing will allow us (4 people) to work solely on completing the game for a fall 2012 Release. First to iOS, then Android, MAC and PC.
  • Additional Localization Languages (Japanese, Spanish, Italian, French and more).
  • Classic Multiplayer Support (2 people, 1 device).
  • Various controller support.
  • An original soundtrack written exclusively for the game along with custom made sound effects.
  • Great performance on a wider range of devices (hardware testing).
  • Various Power Up Items.
  • It will allow us to start work on further (FREE) DLC content.
  • Buying Unity 4 licenses to support Linux, Ouya and more!

Most importantly, it enables us the ability to organize and open a Beta Test community for Backers, like you.  Here, not only will you test the game in its beta stage, but you will be able to convey to the developers your likes, dislikes, comments and suggestions.  You will actually take part in making The Other Brothers a Retro Pixel success!  And yes, you will receive “in game” recognition for your contribution on our Backers Wall of Fame in the credits.

 

Castle Story is a strategy castle building game in which you control Bricktrons and build your castle brick by brick.

You need to gather resources and prepare your defences because when the night comes – beware !

 

Castle Story managed to reach it’s goal of $80k in under 5 hours, and as most games today it uses the Unity game engine -  so a GNU/Linux client is very likely. 

Castle Story is a creative voxel-based strategy game in which you can build castles one brick at a time using an army of little characters called Bricktrons.

Your goal will be to explore a vast landscape full of mysteries and dangers, and defend your castle against onslaughts of hostile creatures and possibly other players.

The world of Castle Story takes place on flying islands, high above an infinite ocean. The islands are made of voxels, cubes made of various elements, which means you can dig, carve and build anything you can imagine in the landscape. Digging underground to gather resources, stacking bricks on top of each other to build a wall or even tunnelling through a mountain is all possible and even necessary to keep your Bricktrons safe.

Carefully designing your castle not only requires creativity and imagination, but thanks to pathfinding AI and physics simulations, Castle Story has layers of strategy and depth on top of an otherwise free-form sandbox experience.

Castle Story will be released for Windows & Mac (with possible Linux support once Unity4 is released).

  • Build any structure you can imagine! Using 2×1 blocks, create structures that are not only good-looking, but also functional. Your Bricktrons need to be able to navigate your castle to build it and to keep the monsters out!
  • Physics! Watch a tower crumble to the ground realistically when its foundations can no longer support it. The entire world obeys to the laws of physics which means that you need to build cleverly so your castle can withstand attacks from projectiles and explosives.
  • Sandbox! Build a huge sprawling fortress, a single impenetrable bunker or a network of underground tunnels. The choice is yours. Castle Story rewards imagination and ingenuity.
  • Strategy! Command your Bricktrons as they build your castle brick by brick. Manage the way they work, what resources they gather, and the places they explore. Use your resources to build weapons and armor for your Bricktrons and all kinds of upgrades for your castle.
  • Combat! Using shields, swords, bows and lots more, your Bricktrons can defend themselves against the hostile creatures inhabiting the world of Castle Story. Lead your Bricktrons through tough fights, and use your wits to gain an advantage. You can even build catapults to rain destruction on your foes!
  • Magic! The world of Castle Story is permeated with all kinds of magic. Discover resources with magical auras and learn to mix them to create effects. Explore strange places and find mysterious artifacts left behind by unknown civilizations.

 

Gameplay Video of early alpha

Detective Grimoire: Adventure Game is a detective adventure game for GNU/Linux and all other platforms, even mobile !

The objective of the game is to find the murder by investigating and talking to interesting people.
It features great voice actors and interesting combinations of commands you can create, not only “click a person to talk with” or “click eye and click object to look at it”, but you can combine different options, subjects and even present clues to the people you speak with, and as it looks like Sherlock Holmes style of game, you will need to interrogate lots of people.
There are also many puzzles in the game, and clues to find.

It only costs $4 per platforms – PC or mobile, you can have both  (all 5 : GNU/Linux+MacOS+Windows+Android+iOS) for $8 !
For more info and a demo,  go to their official website

As for now, $13,879 pledged of $25,000 needed and only 7 days left ! you can help this game a reality.

 

 

Original Story

Grimoire is called to a mysterious tourist attraction in the middle of a swamp…
As he prepares to use all his skills to solve a murder mystery, one problem arises – the main suspect… is a mythical creature that might not even exist!

It’s your job to hunt for clues, interrogate the suspects, solve puzzles along the way and uncover the secret of the swamp… The gameplay is a little like Phoenix Wright, a little like Professor Layton, but with a focus on solving a mystery! Available for iPad, iPhone, Android Tablets and Android phones! Now also available for Windows, Mac and Linux!

The game has been in development for over a year and a half now, and the finish line is in sight! We need your help for the final push though, as we’ve been self-funded for the duration of the project. Firstly, we want to pay our voice actors for their amazing work, and to fund the final few months of development. Just $4 or more will mean you’ve pre-ordered the game!

With your help, we can make it! It’s all too true that putting the finishing touches on a game is one of the hardest and most intensive parts of making one, but we’re determined to make this game the absolute best game it can be. Your pledges will help us push it just that little extra bit from ‘good enough’ to being really and truly complete.

Who Are We?

Our team is pretty small. There’s us, brothers Adam and Tom Vian, the lead artist and sole developer respectively. Then there’s Catherine Unger, the second artist, Raphael Benjamin Meyer our composer, and the game is voiced by a team of 7 voice actors: Arin ‘Egoraptor’ Hanson, Josh ‘Tomamoto’ Tomar, Faye ‘Princess Aura’ Mata, Kimlinh Tran, Amber Lee Connors, Michael Patterson and our star, Edwyn Tiong! Yep, more voice actors than developers…

Since 2002, we’ve been known as The Super Flash Bros. I blame Sakurai. That’s been great for the 26 games we’ve made together (like Haunt the House, The Arrow of Time and Blue Rabbit’s Climate Chaos), the 12 games we’ve made with others (including Help the Hero, Monster Bark and My Almost Famous Family) and the 26 animated shorts Adam has produced (such as The Decline of Video Gaming series and the Another Day series). Recently though, we decided to change that slightly to become SFB Games!

Catherine Unger is a talented artist, designer and animator – and a good friend of SFB Games! She brings the swamp to life by providing all the background art for the game, as well as helping with development decisions along the way.

Arin ‘Egoraptor’ Hanson is known for his many popular creations such as the Sequelitis series, the Awesome Series and GirlChan in Paradise. His work with SFB Games goes all the way back to the Decline series!

Josh ‘Tomamoto’ Tomar is known for voicing many online cartoons and games – and more recently, the announcer in Skullgirls!

Faye ‘Princess Aura’ Mata is known for voicing Lulu in League of Legends and appearing in WCG Ultimate Gamer. She’s also been in many SFB Games in the past!

Kimlinh ‘Hnilmik’ Tran is known for voicing many videogame and cartoon characters including Ms. Fortune in Skullgirls and a character in Dust: An Elysian Tale.

Amber Lee Connors is known for voicing Ginger in Dust: An Elysian Tale and Death Metal Rhapsody in Heroes of Newerth.

Michael ‘Musical Mike’ Patterson is known for the Whachow podcast but is a relative newcomer to voice acting in games.

Edwyn “Omahdon” Tiong voices Detective Grimoire himself, and is known for playing many characters in games including Trapped, Dust: An Elysian Tale, The Journey Down and Dungeonland.

We found an amazing composer for this game: Raphael Benjamin Meyer. Based in Switzerland, Raphael has his own studio, “Nautilus”, where he composes, records and mixes soundtracks for film, TV and games.

 

3D Dictionary SanJiten is a game that teaches you new languages.
Already $21,774 have been pledged of $12,000 needed, so you can join in and help to fund the support for even more languages.
62 hours are left to pledge !


Level up your language skills by playing a video game! It’s the most fun you’ll ever have learning a new language. Try the demo now!

In a nutshell, SanjigenJiten, better known as simply SanJiten, is an interactive 3D Language Learning Video Game.

Take your character through an interactive environment, packed with tons of selectable objects. Learn words at your own pace, adding them one by one to your Vocab List as you go. Challenge yourself in Time Attack to improve your vocabulary, and try to beat your high scores and best times.

 

Sanjiten Gameplay Trailer

Hi! I’m Rob Howland (the guy writing this stuff). I am a research student living in Japan with my fantastically artistic girlfriend. Her name is Emily Olmstead and she’s got mad skills yo!

You may already know this but… We’re making a game!

I am just finishing up a two-year research project at the University of Tsukuba’s - Entertainment Computing Laboratory. My research there focused on discerning what elements make regular video games fun and how they can be applied to making educational video games equally, if not more, entertaining and rewarding. You can read more about that here in our research paper, which was recently published by the Information Processing Society of Japan.

Since I was already learning Japanese on my own, I decided to design a game that would teach both myself and other players whatever language they were interested in learning. The game is loosely based on a method I used to teach myself the names of everyday things in my apartment by taping flash cards to various objects. I  had a bit of an “Aha! Moment” and realized the very same idea could quite easily be applied to a 3D game environment, where the system provides the names of Objects simply by selecting them, like so.

The game’s working title is SanjigenJiten (?????), Japanese for 3D Dictionary. We’ve shortened it to SanJiten to keep things simple. It has all the elements one might expect from a standard non-educational video game including an item collection system (with hidden items), a player scoring system, a complex rewards system incorporating a game economy with unlockable content, and also some fun achievements. An in-depth storyline is in the works for the final version and will be completed and included if we receive enough support.

The game is currently in the alpha stages but we have many great improvements planned. We have a number of awesome redditors from the LearnJapanese subreddit currently assisting us by translating the game into new languages and giving good advice as the game grows.

You too can help us out by downloading and playing the demo! You can then upload any suggestions, ideas, or horrible bugs here. We also have a quick 10 question survey that will greatly assist us here.

We believe our game will have an enormous worldwide impact on both the serious games community and the language education community. SanJiten has been designed with the new “gamer generation” in mind, and is part of an attempt to really show the world that video games have some serious potential to bring about real change in the way we learn and acquire new information. This game is a first in that it really attempts to incorporate everything that makes a real video game fun into something with a real-life purpose beneath the surface.

 

So if you want to support the project, you got 62 hours left to pledge !

As I wrote earlier,   Legends of Aethereus is a co-op (and solo) action RPG game.

I was hoping that they will get more more of the modest 25k they asked, but as long as it’s funded (~28k) it’s good enough.

Also I want to point out the interview my friend Todd from LinuxGameNews.com had with  Legends Of Aethereus marketing manager Sean Kauppinen several days ago.

 

There are even reachable stretch goals :

Stretch Goal 1 – $27,500.00  

Ouya Elite Developer Package 

This will let us stay connected with OUYA development and see if we can produce some version of LoA that works on the platform. Unity 3D is Android compatible so we hope that we can get something to work on OUYA. We’re also reaching out to them to see if we can setup something more “Official” with them if we hit this stretch goal.

Stretch Goal 2 – $30,000.00 

Exclusive Kickstarter Secret VIP Room 

Only for players that buy the game through Kickstarter. We will have a secret door in your Nexus City-State that only Kickstarter supporters can enter. In this room we will give you bonus materials, gear, weapons, gems and other goodies. Periodically we will add a goody bag in the room so you will get a nice little surprise from time to time. Only available to Kickstarter Supporters.

Stretch Goal 3- $35,000.00 

Legendary Game Designer Scott Foe Designed Quest Line

Legendary game designer Scott Foe from Phantasy Star Online and Reset Generation fame will create a bonus quest line campaign. He’s a friend of ours and has said if we hit this level, he’s in! This new campaign will add hours of extra game play and be downloadable completely free. Of course Scott will add his own touch that will create a whole new twist to the LoA story line.

 

Here is an awesome gameplay video – watch till the end (Not in English).

 

And for those who want to know even more about this wonderful game :

Fact Sheet

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Legends of Aethereus is a high action low fantasy RPG with four player coop and a variety of PvP game types.
Join forces in on-line multiplayer cooperative expeditions as the Inventor, Astrographer or Officer and venture into uncharted wilderness of Aethereus seeking fame, glory and untold riches.
Invite your friends to your own customized Nexus City-State to battle in your arena or just to show off how cool you have personalized your city using the statue-maker, banner creator and other customization features.
Embark on a variety of story driven hand-crafted expedition levels or explore the wilderness through a variety of procedurally generated exploration quests. Design and build new gear and weapons while you develop your character with diverse and expansive skill tree allowing for a multitude of character strategies.

________________________________________________________________

 

Features

-Physics-based combat system including traps, set-up weapons and interaction with environmental objects
-Expedition system combines hand crafted levels with procedurally generated areas that allow for virtual infinite replayability
-The Statue-Maker, Banner Creator and other customization features allow you to personalize your own city environment
-PvP, CO-OP and Single Player combat in your own City-State Combat Arena.
Crafting and Materials system allows for virtual limitless customization

________________________________________________________________

                                                    Character Creator

Character Classes

The Inventor Class is focused on powerful explosives including bombs, rockets, mines as well as other ingenious contraptions…

The Astrographer has a variety of Aethergem based weapons including a flame thrower, Molotov cocktails and other chemical based ordinance.

The Officer is an effective Tank with high powered melee assaults but also has a range of strategic skills such as defensive barriers and punji sticks.

The Character Creator allows you create your own unique player characters with a variety of physical and visual options.

________________________________________________________________

The Nexus City-State is your base of operations. Each player will be able to customize their own city using banner makers, visual options as well as creating personalized statues, using the statue maker game feature.

                                                 The Nexus City-State

________________________________________________________________

The Statue Maker Game Feature allows players to make and pose a variety of statues including that of their characters including equipped gear and weapons.

                                                        Statue Maker

________________________________________________________________

The Extensive Crafting System allows you to design customized gear with a variety of component and material options. This allows for a virtually unlimited amount of strategic options to be explored.

                      Crafting System

________________________________________________________________

Alana – Captain of the City-Guard is your mentor and contact for the main quest line. This plot line revolves around seeking out seven ancient relics of great power and maintaining power over the nexus.

                                          Alana – Captain of the City Guard

This won’t be easy as the Ghalian Shaman and their minions the Khagal are also frantically searching after the relics…

Not to mention the fact that the Evil Venata Faction is not only planning to find the powerful relics before you … But also plotting to take over the Nexus and maintain totalitarian rule over all of Aethereus.

As a new Recruit in the Nexus City-State Guard you will be charged with protecting all that is good on Aethereus and cast into perilous adventures against powerful forces that will see the fall of the Nexus and the return of tyranny.

               Venata Warrior

________________________________________________________________

As well as embarking on quests and expeditions that you will also be engaging in a variety of game types in the City Arena.

These include PvP, Coop and Single Player game types including: King of the Hill, Death match and Last Stand just to name a few.

                                      Arena Action – Last Stand Game Type

 

Legends of Aethereus : Kickstarter Q&A 1 – Character Attributes

 

Legends of Aethereus : Kickstarter Q&A Procedural Quest Generation

 

So show your support for this great project, pledge and get a wonderful game/s !

Heroes of Newerth (HoN)  is a DOTA inspired game that has a native GNU/Linux client (some say it’s much more stable than the Windows client).

HoN begun in 2010 when it officially came out, as a pay $30 , play forever (no monthly fee).

At 2011 HoN went free to play, but new players (with the free account) had a limited pool of heroes each week.

Today HoN finally released all it’s heroes (except the “early access”) for free, to everyone !

So now you can enjoy this game as those you payed for it, and play all 100+ (lost count) heroes for free.

Every 3 weeks a new hero is added to the pool.

Warning  :  this game is highly addictive !

 

Announcement

Today we have an announcement of epic proportions for the HoN community. On Friday, July 20th, Heroes of Newerth will become Free-to-Own, with all heroes released becoming free for all players. This is a major step forward in the development of HoN and after months of careful consideration and direct input from the HoN community, the time has come to make the HoN gameplay experience open to all users.

We agree with the community that HoN is best played with a full hero pool available to all players and that both the new and the longtime, dedicated players alike can benefit from the change. We want players to have the freedom to invite their friends and to recommend heroes based on playstyle and not a free hero pool. Players will no longer be limited by which heroes they can afford, so when a line-up calls for a certain hero, you can answer the call and focus on what’s important in each game of HoN.

This change is equally important in our mission to revitalize the myriad of game modes in HoN. HoN offers so many other fun twists, options, and strategies outside of All Pick that any passionate fan can attest to. We recognize this and don’t want players to be turned away from these modes due to restriction. With all heroes and game modes, players will have the complete HoN experience at their disposal.

Last, but not least, with this change we seek to have a significant impact on the competitive HoN scene. All players will now be on equal footing during competitive play. As a competitive title, we know this is going to be a beneficial change for the scene and we hope you are as excited as we are. We sincerely appreciate all of your support and dedication over the years and for contributing to the success of Heroes of Newerth. This is our way of paying that commitment forward and taking our game to the next level.

To reward the loyalty of our users, all players who purchased a hero for gold coins will be given an exclusive Mecha Gemini Alt Avatar for free. Legacy players will also receive the exclusive Mecha Gemini, PLUS a very special thank you in the form of the Legacy Bonus which rewards Legacy accounts with an extra two silver coins for every ranked (i.e. non-Mid Wars) matchmaking game they play. We will also be restructuring the pricing in the HoN Store. A majority of items will have a price adjustment making a significant amount of content easier to earn with silver coins. Coupling this with the recent increase in silver coin gain from Match Rewards, you will be able to unlock free content faster than ever!

We would also like to take this opportunity to announce that we are also working on an all new “Gated Mode” that will feature a static hero pool of iconic heroes. Gated Mode will offer the perfect controlled environment for players new and old to hone their skills and familiarize themselves with the HoN gameplay experience.

Both the Free-to-Own hero system and repriced HoN Store will be going live with the patch on Friday, July 20th.

Here’s a very special note from Director of HoN, DivA:

“As part of our continuous efforts to make the HoN gaming experience better, we set out to improve our Free-to-Play rotation and Hero unlocking model. After careful deliberation and tremendous feedback and suggestions from our community, we have come to what we all truly believe to be the best solution for enhancing the HoN experience for every one of our players. We are extremely grateful to all of our dedicated players for helping us take this massive step forward, and look forward to all of you joining us in the celebration of HoN’s natural evolution from Free-to-Play to Free-to-Own. It is an amazing privilege for us to entertain all of you, and with decisions like this we hope to entertain millions more moving forward. Thanks again for all of your support, feedback, and passion. Game HoN!”

Mini-FAQ

Will Early Access continue?
Yes, Early Access will still be available in the HoN Store.

Will I continue to receive heroes for free after Early Access ends?
After Early Access ends, the hero will be added to the general hero pool and will be available for free to all players.

What will happen to Verified and Basic?
Verified and Basic will continue to be in place to protect against trolling players and players who create multiple accounts. As with before, you must either reach account level 5 or make a purchase in HoN in order for your account to become Verified.

How does the new Legacy Bonus work?
All Legacy accounts will receive two bonus silver coins upon completing a ranked (i.e. non-Mid Wars) matchmaking game.

What happens if I purchased a hero in the past?
On top of now having access to all heroes for free, players will be refunded for hero purchases made since July 5th. Refunds are scheduled to be applied shortly after the patch on July 20th.

How does this benefit me?

  1. All game modes will become available to all players, no tokens or passes required. This means you should see shorter queue times on your favorite modes outside of All Pick.
  2. All players will be on a level playing field. HoN is a competitive game and having access to more than 16 heroes is crucial to a fair gaming experience.
  3. New players will now have the ability to play heroes and learn how best to utilize their abilities through gameplay, rather than trying to figure it out playing against them.
  4. When you invite your friends to play the game, you know that your friend will be able to have the same experience as you.

So what are you waiting for  ?!  create a HoN account and start playing !

 

Jack Houston and the Necronauts is a traditional point & click  adventure game being made with stop-motion animation using physical models and made sets, like in the old days of movie making !

$38,262 already been pledged of the $56,000 goal with 24 more days to go.
I’d say it’s a sure bet that this game will be made – so it’s your chance to preorder, get better rewards and help make a better game.
While their new stretch goal for GNU/Linux at launch is 90k, they are still committed to make a GNU/Linux client even if they won’t reach that stretch goal – but it will only be after the release.

About this project

Jack Houston and the Necronauts is a pulp sci-fi inspired adventure game where you portray Captain Jack Houston on his deadliest mission: to man the first rocket to explore a savage, alien world!

The Concept

Think “The Dig”, if Ben from Full Throttle gut-punched Boston Low and commanded the mission in his place. The interface will be a fairly streamlined verb coin point & click system. The setting should be familiar to anyone who’s seen Tom Corbett: Space Cadet or Perry Rhodan: bubble helmets, rockets ‘n ray guns galore.

Image-135983-full

The Story

In the year 1999, a retired Jack Houston is recruited by the Venture Aeronautics and Space Transportation (VAST) corporation for one last mission: to man the first rocket to Venus. The rocket is designed to penetrate the hazy atmosphere and land on the surface, where some believe Jack may find the first signs of life in our solar system. En route, something goes terribly wrong and Jack’s rocket crash lands in an alien ocean, where he rests in cryogenic sleep for 1,000 years. The world he wakes up to is one of savage beast men who worship a devil god with the power to control the dead. These strange entities are able to inhabit the remains of any creature after death, fortifying and building upon their skeletal structures until they are virtually indestructible war machines. With the tribal inhabitants of the entire planet under their crushing heel, the undead Venusian warlords threaten to pulverize Jack like an ant. But our clever test pilot will uncover a shocking revelation about the origin of these “Necronauts,” a connection between the creatures and himself that could be their undoing… and his.

This isn’t the mission Jack signed up for, and even if he finds a way off the planet, the Earth he knew is gone. What Jack will find, however, is a whole new universe where space travel is common place and aliens are everywhere. A galaxy of adventure he could never have dreamed is waiting for him, if only he can survive the perils of this vicious planet!

The Setting

Jack’s adventure takes place not far from home, on our neighboring planet of Venus. But this isn’t the lifeless planet we know today, this Venus is a sweltering vine jungle teaming with strange beasts of horn, tooth and claw. This is the world of adventure imagined and glorified in sci-fi magazines and novels of the 40′s and 50′s, by science fiction authors and artists whose legacies include John Carter of Mars, Carson of Venus, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Tom Corbett: Space Cadet, Perry Rhodan and many more. In this future world, humans have conquered space and found a new frontier beyond our imagination.

 

The Production

 

In film production, it’s always the same deal. We pitch a project to investors, raise money, make the movie, and then cross our fingers that we will a) get a great domestic distribution deal, b) have lots of luck at the international markets selling foreign rights, and c) become profitable enough to repay all our investors and make enough for ourselves to launch another picture.

That way of working is frankly crazy. With Kickstarter, you as the fans and players can make a project like this a reality by backing it ahead of time and, as long as we do our job, there’s no taking chances on market fluctuations, agent fees, greedy distributors, tea leaves, fortune cookies or the ramblings of the Voodoo Lady at the International House of Mojo. We get to create the best game possible and put it right into the hands of the very fans who backed us. No middle men what so ever.

Within three weeks of the project being funded, we will go into production full time and begin filling YOU in with regular updates and behind-the-scenes videos keeping you involved in the project every step of the way. You’ll have exclusive access to the dev team through the private backers’ forum, and high level backers will even have certain perks including quarterly producer reports and the opportunity to vote on critical in-game content.

Platforms and Localization

At the base goal, we will be using Adventure Game Studio as the base engine, which supports PC and has limited support for Linux. If we continue that path, we will do all we can to support Linux at launch, within the capabilities of that engine, and begin work on a Mac port after launch.

However, we are also formulating a stretch goal that will allow us to develop the game using a different engine that will fully support PC, Mac and Linux at first launch, then iPad and Android tablets soon after. We are committed to seeing Jack on multiple platforms no matter what, but exceeding our funding goals will allow us to do so immediately at launch.

At the base goal, the game will be released with English voice over and on-screen text. We are currently formulating a small, attainable stretch goal that will allow us to translate the game text into many other languages at launch. Again, we are committed to supporting as many languages as possible. If we do not attain this goal, other languages will follow sometime after launch.

 

Questions & Answers

Q: You have mentioned pulp sci-fi writter Edgar Rice Burroughs. In his Barsoom series he approached the themes of race and religion among others. Are there any specific moral themes you’ll be considering in this game?

A: Thank you for that great question, and you are not the first to ask so I’m glad to give a public response to this concern.  It’s true that many of the pulp adventure writers, Edgar Rice Burroughs included, often wrote and created their worlds and characters with racially charged overtones. As a lover of pure adventure stories, I’ve always taken these pulp stories with a grain of salt. When it comes to adapting these kinds of stories for the 21st century, I look to others who have tread this path before me.  I think Weta has always tried to walk this line carefully in creating the races of Middle Earth especially, trying to steer clear of influences ripped directly from actual Earth cultures so as not to create a shallow parody of anyone’s cultural traditions, designs or ancestors and offend people in the process. I think this is a challenge anyone faces who attempts to create worlds and cultures from whole cloth. It’s important to always design these cultures deeply, and let their culture rise from the design, rather than leaning on ready-made earthly cultural influences. In a similar way, I believe in being careful not to fall into similar traps when writing female characters, but I also believe that writing characters to simply pander to a perfect ideal of political correctness can come off as heavy handed. The solution, again, is to let depth and background define the role and personality of characters, male and female, human or otherwise. Every character must be true to their nature as defined by their background, and every character’s actions must in turn serve the story. That’s the nature of drama.

Q: Pulp fiction/magazines is sometimes remembered by their exploitative stories or the overly dramatic art cover. Is this “cheesy” aspect something you’ll be trying to capture in the game?

A: My take on pulp sci-fi is dark, gritty and unflinching. Zero cheese.

Q: The game will feature a powerful god: someone who can raise the dead. Death in itself is an heavy subject. What role will it play in the game? And will any extra genres come along with it? Should we expect horror? Dark humor? Shocking violence? What mood/atmosphere do you intend to bring into this game?

A: Expect the same level of subtle but dark humor you saw in Full Throttle, expect the same level of violence you saw in the Dig (anybody remember what happened to Brink’s hand?)

Q: Your own background as well as the video show a strong influence from cinema. Will the game be more of a “cinematic experience”? And how will you prevent the “game” from becoming a “movie”?

A: I have worked in games, and I have produced and directed films. A game is not a movie, not in the least. In fact, what excites me about games is the way they can be better than movies. Sure, I can watch Luke Skywalker rescue the princess and blow up the death star, but I don’t feel like I was a part of it. I didn’t make any decisions, I just sat and watched. I don’t feel like I did those things, or even helped. But I guarantee you, if it weren’t for me, Roger Wilco would be somewhere in the back of ScumSoft encased in green jello. Seriously, ask him.

Q: Will the game play in a linear fashion or will there be situations of conflict that will require the player to choose sides and create his own story? Put into other words, will there be branching gameplay and multiple endings?

A: There will be branching gameplay with multiple characters. This will be done similarly to the way Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the later Tarzan novels, where one character would come to a cliffhanger at the end of one chapter, then we would rewind a bit and another character would interact with the same events from a new perspective, and new elements of the story would surface, changing the meaning of what transpired in the previous chapter. It was a common technique in pulp fiction, and was even used in the actual film “Pulp Fiction” to delicious effect!

Q: Adventure games come in different flavors as far as interface is concerned. The first adventure games made use of text parsers. In Monkey Island 2 we had a 9-verb box. In Monkey Island 3 a more simplified verb coin. Recent games only have a single action. While there may be advantages and drawbacks to each one, it is true that the former ones provided more opportunities for interaction. Is this an important factor to you? What type of gameplay interface do you have in mind?

A: I’ve been enjoying watching Tim Schafer work through these very issues in the Double Fine Adventure documentary series. I think one “interact” action is a bit too simple. I always enjoyed the Full Throttle verb coin, and will be looking at that primarily for inspiration.

Q: If I understood correctly, you’ll be filming and animating real life miniatures (like Wallace and Gromit movies). That seems to be a fairly expensive and lengthy process. I’m not aware of any game that attempted such thing.
Isn’t this too risky? Why not go for 2D and set the art direction accordingly? (for example: Machinarium discarded the cartoony look and kind of reminds the use of real life miniatures).

A: The most direct answer I can give you is: because I’ve already seen that. I want to break new ground visually and, while stop motion certainly isn’t a new concept in game graphics, I do think it has been an underutilized technique. I also think it’s perfect for the adventure game genre. I also just love stop motion monster movies. :)

Q: Will the game have voice overs? Yet another expensive element.

A: I’ve recorded ADR (Additional Dialog Recording) to replace an average of 60% or more dialog in every film I’ve made, so I’m certainly comfortable with recording dialog and directing actors. Directing and recording great vocal performances is an area I feel has always been a bit neglected in the games industry as a whole.  I’m really looking forward to bringing subtly powerful performances to Jack Houston.

Q: I saw a lot of awesome concept images there and that makes me wonder on how far game production is. Has the game design bible been written yet? Or the game story script? Maybe you could share the first chapter or an in-game encounter as an update?

A: The game has been outlined and certain areas have been fleshed out extensively, while others are looser in concept. However, I have been making notes for a lot of new story elements that I think will really take this game to the next level and I can’t wait to wrap up the campaign successfully so I can spend a couple of weeks just completely overhauling and updating the design doc to bring it up to date. The backers will all get to peek in on this process on the private forums and literally watch as the game is created.

Q: You mentioned The Dig. In it you explore an alien world that was inhabited by a now lost civilization. The Venus of Jack Houston and the Necronauts looks like a very hostile and tribal world, although it is also the home of an intelligent alien civilization. (at least that is what I assume from looking at some of the artwork)
What else can you tell about this world? What factions or races inhabit it? What characters will you interact with?

A: Venus is the home of several races. Among them are a primitive race of slow moving, four-armed elephant-like creatures called the Junga, a race of cat-like predatory hunter beast with elongated necks and four gazelle-like horns, and the god-like beings who are best comparable to the snake cult in Conan, with a bit of the palace of Jabba The Hutt. A few misc. alien races also pop up here and there, and even a few humans.

Q: What game engine will you be using? AGS?

A: We are currently using AGS, but we will soon be posting a stretch goal that will allow us to develop on a cross-platform engine to be determined.

 

 

 

 

 

Devil Gene R – Episode I is an upcoming free visual novel that is being developed using the cross platform Ren’Py engine.

It’s very hard to get pledges when your project is going to be free, but they managed to reach their goal of $3k with 3 days left.

So if you want to help and make this project even better, now is your chance !

 

Photo-full

About this project

========== What is Devil Gene R? ==========

A dream project that has been worked on for the better part of 10 years now, it has been drafted out to be adaptable to many different types of medias and genres, but of course we all have to start small. This version of Devil Gene R is an episodic visual novel, which is of course a genre well known in Asian regions as a way to convey book length stories accompanied by a visual (and sometimes audio) element. This brings the reader deeper into the world and acquire a unique connection with it.

Devil Gene R follows the story of a young woman known as Raven Blackheart, she was birthed as a biological weapon to be used to bring the end to a long war between humans and demons, however shortly after her birth the war concludes on it’s own. Despite this her father, the one who turned her into a weapon, chooses to keep her on her original path, but Raven refuses to live a fate decided for her and escapes.

2 years have passed since she fled her father’s side, and the world has known a shaky peace for nearly 20 years now, but now these hard fought for halcyon days are being threaten. Either though cruel irony or twisted design, the man who would shatter this peace is the one who helped bring it about, praised as the hero of the great war—Kyosuke Blackheart. And with a declaration of genocide against humanity and the rise of his augmented children, the world slowly begins to churn and crumble anew.

Raven rushes to meet with her father, but not to join him, she wants to stop his insane ambition and free her sisters from a destiny of being weapons, the only way she knows how… But she is unaware of the spiral on conflict that Silent City, her destination, is about to become.

You can learn more about the world and characters by visiting the project’s official site (which should be seeing a remodel soon~)

========== Demonstration ==========

At the end of our last Kickstarter campaign we released a test demo, this time we made sure to launch with a much more comprehensive sample of the project. This latest demo build combines both finalized assets (such as the character sprites) and free-use assets (like the music and sounds), we wanted to make sure to have a clear representation of what we’re striving for and we hope that if nothing else this will convince you to help us further advance the project!

And of course we are interested in any and all feedback regarding the demo:

[ Windows version ]   [ Mac version ]   [ Linux version ]

========= Talented Artist & Powerful Software =========

Devil Gene R is being developed on the Ren’Py visual novel engine, which has been around for over 6 years, is widely supported, and has helped created over hundreds of games both free and commercial. It allows for many great options and fine polish.

The project also has two very skilled artist; Flora “Shadilyn” Li who serves as the lead character designer and has been drawing professionally for over 5 years. Chris “A Bad Idea” Lee and OverlordJC both serve as CG Artists on the project. Chris Lee is also apart of a small team known as SugarPunch Design Works and was a contracted Clean-Up Artist for the indie fighter Skullgirls.

And the team is always growing as we want to provide the highest quality product we can to our supporters!

========== Free to Play! ==========

That’s right, upon completion Devil Gene R will be released 100% free to download and play! Why? Well as much as I could use direct funds, seeing how I am offering a different product from the original one proposed, I would feel wrong to charge for it.

Besides money isn’t everything, thanks to the support of backers such as yourself I get the chance to work on something I’m passionate about, and if you like what you play and would like to see more than please donate. But if you (unfortunately) don’t enjoy it, at least you can walk away scott free.

Anything I make off this project will come from donations, and if I receive enough I will continue to make more, but I pretty much want this to be my only Kickstarter (for Devil Gene R at least).

Your feedback and support is worth a lot more than turning up a profit!

========== A Goal Already Once Met ==========

This is actually the 2nd Kickstarter campaign for Devil Gene R so you may be asking “if it failed once, why try again?”

The original goal was for $10,000 which was a very ambitious range and while the project didn’t make it to that point it was able to raise $4,187 thanks to 93 supporters, which is a lot more than I was expecting to raise being an “unknown” project. Tons of great people showed interest in the project and I appreciate any and all support, that is why I restructured the development process and cut back on some features to make sure I could complete the first act for $3,000. Of course if we can hit the goal any beyond that just ensures a finer quality project!

To original supporters please back us once again, and to new pledgers thank you very much!

========== Stretch Goals ==========

$5,000 – I want to improve the higher tier list rewards, shipping out physical artbooks and soundtracks, it was always in the budget to set aside $2k for making rewards in the original Kickstarter, thus it’s higher entry barrier.

$6,000 – We can start immediately on the next chapter of DGR (visual novel sequels are often a bit cheaper to make considering you aren’t making a whole new cast of characters since you can reuse old sprite and just worry about making new CG).

$8,000 – I would like to also start working on a more interactive game based on DGR (the project was NEVER intended to be solely a visual novel, we actually have ideas for a “bullet hell”, classic Megaman style platformer, and even a fighting game).

$10,000 – Dedicate $2k to funding others Kickstarters (both big and small)

========== Supported Platforms ==========

Thanks to Ren’Py this project can and will be released and ready to run on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

 

I was planning to write about this great game today, but other GNU/Linux gaming websites managed to do it faster…;)

So in case you somehow missed it, Legends of Aethereus is an excellent looking hack-n-slash-n-shoot-n-bomb-n-throw-n-destroy cRPG game that will have a GNU/Linux client.

$15,000 of the $25,000 already been pledged, and this game deserves much more, so back it up !

If you pledge $40, you get the Expedition Pack Level which includes four digital copies of the game !

Kickstarter Video

Gameplay Trailer

Beta Sizzle Trailer

About this project

Youtube HD link

ThreeGates Studios was formed to focus on developing great games for core gamers.

Over the last few years the trend in the gaming industry has been to remove complexity and intricacies from their products. In short, a lot of triple decker banana splits with all the trimmings have turned into bland vanilla syntheto-mush.

We realize game companies do this because they want their products to be accessible to the broadest mainstream audience possible. This however has come at a cost. We’ve seen many disappointed gamers as we watch beloved titles get watered down or console-adapted to the point where the gaming experience is no longer appealing to the original fans.

We believe that the core Gaming audience is really hungry for a game that can deliver a deep experience, interesting choices, and more control over how you look as an individual, as well as how you play the game. We’re committed to delivering quality games that include these elements.

This video shows one of the many, Legends of Aethereus Field Tests, that we do to ensure we can deliver the absolute best product for our supporters. It is an example of how our team is willing to give the extra effort it takes to make a great game.

By popular demand another Realistic Field Test Video. The Tuskboar Impact Simulation

Legends of Aethereus is a high action, low fantasy RPG with four player co-op and a variety of PvP game types.

There is a full single player campaign with an engaging story. Check out the GamerSector Indiecast Podcast (http://gamersector.com/podcast/indiecast/indiecast-3) for more info on the story and factions.

Join forces in online multiplayer cooperative expeditions as the Inventor, Astrographer or Officer and venture into the  uncharted wilderness of Aethereus seeking fame, glory and untold riches.

Invite your friends to your own customized Nexus City-State to battle in your arena or just show off how cool you’ve personalized your city using the statue-maker, banner creator and other customization features.

Embark on a variety of story driven hand-crafted expedition levels or explore the wilderness through a variety of procedurally generated exploration quests. Design and build new gear and weapons while you develop your character across a diverse and expansive skill tree allowing for a multitude of character strategies.

  • Physics-based combat system including traps, set-up weapons and interaction with environmental objects
  • Expedition system combines hand crafted levels with procedurally generated areas that allow for virtual infinite replayability
  • The Statue-Maker, Banner Creator and other customization features allow you to personalize your own city environment
  • PvP, CO-OP and Single Player combat in your own City-State Combat Arena
  • Crafting and Materials system allows for virtual limitless customization

Why Unity

We chose working with the Unity3D game engine as we see it as the engine of the future. They are constantly adding features and the large and open community allows for meaningful knowledge exchange. We are confident that Unity3D is the correct long-term platform due to its incredible growth curve, living community and active technical support. Our experience has been very positive and we encourage new developers to choose Unity3D.”

We will offer a DRM Free version with single player, LAN, and direct ip connect. So you’ll be able to play and enjoy Legends of Aethereus in a stand alone version free from DRM.

We will support Linux! In our opinion the Linux Community has been somewhat forgotten by game developers despite its growing popularity. We also believe that Linux users will enjoy the game play style in Legends of Aethereus. Since our aim is to make a product for core gamers we felt it is very important to cater to the Linux Community since such a high percent have the same philosophy as ThreeGates. Nothing could make us happier than to provide a great game for the Linux Community.

We definitely don’t want to forget about all our good friends and supporters that prefer Mac so we are also offering a Mac Version of the game. We are happy that we have had such a positive response from Apple users and we are glad to provide a version just for Mac.

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Screenshots

Screenshot 1

Screenshot 2

Screenshot 3

Screenshot 4

Screenshot 5

 

 

 

Screenshot 6

 

Concept Art 1 - Nexus overview

Concept Art 2

Concept Art 3 - Blacksmiths Shop

Concept Art 3 - Armor

Concept Art 5 - Sword

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Wallpapers

Wallpaper 1

Wallpaper 2

Wallpaper 3

Wallpaper 4

 

 

Z. is a Zombie vs Survivors (digital/physical) card game that will be released on GNU/Linux and Android (as well as some other platforms).
It will feature celebrity cards such as Tim Schafer, Ron Gilbert, Tex Murphy and more…

Currently $75,000 of the $100,000 have been pledged and only 62 hours to go, it’s difficult – but possible.
With your help, we can make it happen !

 

Z. is a zombies-versus-survivors downloadable trading card game best described as “Magic: The Gathering meets The Walking Dead” (and Left 4 Dead, and Dawn of the Dead, and Highschool of the Dead, and pretty much anything with “Dead” in the title). Are you a zombie, or are you a survivor? Choose your side!

Z. comes in two flavors: digital and a Kickstarter-exclusive physical boxed edition, but you can get both of them with a single pledge.

The Digital Version

What’s that? You hate reading 100-page rulebooks? You hate shuffling cards every 10 seconds? You hate sorting through all of your cards trying to create the “best” deck possible? This is the version for you — just start playing!

  • Cross-platform play for iOS, PC, Android, Mac, Facebook, and Linux
  • Single-player episodic story mode w/ live-action cutscenes!*
  • Single or cooperative “RPG” mode with random loot, XP, and more!
  • Turn-based multiplayer duels — take your turn whenever you want!
  • Auto-sort your library: instantly create custom decks to fit your playstyle!
  • Intelligent matchmaking — play against people with the same power decks
  • Killstreaks, traps, and equipment sets bring elements of your favorite games to the trading card genre
  • Unlock new cards naturally through gameplay!

 

ZOMBIES

RESOURCES

Zombies don’t use supplies like survivors do. Instead, they gain “Aggro” each turn — the idea being that the longer you’re in the same area making noise and fighting against zombies, the more you’ll attract.

Each zombie turn, the aggro counter goes up one, and that acts as the resources from which you can summon units and lay down traps or instants. Unlike supplies, the Aggro refills after each turn, so if you’re on turn 7, you’ll have 7/7 Aggro to spend.

There are ways to both temporarily or permanently boost Aggro, and you can also boost the rate at which the counter increases. When survivors use certain cards like attacking with a particularly loud and powerful weapon (grenade, minigun, etc.), that usually increases Aggro as well.

ZOMBIES (UNITS)

Weak meatshield zombies are easy to spam early on, but they can be taken out without much effort. The trick is to pile them up and overwhelm the survivors, since each unit can (usually) only attack once per turn.

There are some unique zombies with special abilities, though. Here’s two examples:

Barbed-wire zombie
A zombie that got itself tangled in a barbed wire barricade. It can’t move or attack, but has high HP and if a survivor uses a melee attack on it, they will also get tangled and sustain -50 damage each turn until the zombie is killed.

Sword-stabbed zombie
This unit is slightly more powerful than generic zombies but just as cheap to summon. The trade-off is that it drops a sword weapon card when killed. Luckily, only certain survivors can efficiently use a sword.

THE HORDE:
The Horde is a special zombie unit unlike any other unit in the game. It starts out with moderate power (roughly equivalent to three generic zombies in order to simulate a “small crowd”), but that can be increased exponentially in a number of ways.

The most common way is to sacrifice other units in order to have The Horde absorb their stats (HP and ATK). The idea being that those units joined the small crowd and made it bigger and more dangerous. The Horde does not gain any special abilities from units it absorbs, but the increase to health and attack can be more than substantial enough, especially if you sacrifice a Hero.

Loud weapons and explosions or traps/events like car alarms can also add to The Horde’s power. Sometimes the survivor player has no choice over the matter, and sometimes they have to decide whether it’s worth shooting their minigun or rocket launcher or whatever. Of course, if there is no Horde card in play, there’s no risk at all.

The Horde is also immune to a lot of negative effects or cards that would normally affect a single zombie unit. For instance, you can’t handcuff The Horde to another zombie — it just doesn’t make sense, so you can’t do it.

The downside to The Horde is that it can sometimes be destroyed or heavily crippled with a single trap, instant, or when facing off against a Hero or two. It also requires a bit of effort to build up The Horde, so if you sacrificed a bunch of units and then lose The Horde, you’re probably going to be in trouble.

You can only have one The Horde in play at a time…. usually. ;)

HEROES:
Zombie heroes, like their Survivor counterparts, come packing boosted HP and ATK, plus a slew of special abilities. Perhaps they can infect survivors, gain an extra attack after a successful kill, etc. The Bride, my favorite concept character in the entire game (so far), can instantly turn a survivor if she kills them with a single attack (assuming they had max HP).

Zombie Heroes are also some of the more unique zombie characters in the game, and we’ll hopefully be showing off a few cool ones before the Kickstarter comes to a close (they take a lot more effort to make than survivors do).

INFECTION

Zombies wouldn’t be much good if they couldn’t infect survivors, right? So of course you can do that. Right now only certain cards and units cause infection, but we’re still toying with the possibilities.

Currently, an infected unit has two full turns before they “turn” and become controlled by the zombie player. This adds an entirely new dimension to the game, as both the survivor and zombie player have to decide how to handle that situation.
If the zombie player wants that card to turn, they have to risk going two more turns where that unit can still attack them. Playing an instant like “The Calm Before the Storm” will prevent both sides from being able to attack, so that’s a good way to bide time while the infection goes through.

If the survivor doesn’t want that card to turn, they can decide to attack it with one of own their units (something zombies can’t do except for in extremely rare cases). One card that’s a lot of fun to play is the “Dark Secret” instant, where a survivor unit is secretly infected (the survivor player isn’t notified). So at the end of two turns, oops, he/she’s a zombie now!

When they do turn, the zombie player usually gains a generic unit in their place and the original card goes to the survivor player’s graveyard. Some survivors will have zombie versions (similar to Whitney/Zombie Whitney), and there are ways to turn units into those more powerful versions instead of a generic. This is especially useful when infecting heroes.

Turning the survivors against each other is a very rewarding and evil gameplay mechanic. :)

KILLSTREAKS

Whether you’re a fan of Call of Duty or not (or The Grid, if you’re old-school!), Killstreaks were a good idea when Infinity Ward first implemented them. I’m a firm believer that players should be rewarded for being good at something, not punished like you would be in Mario Kart, for instance.

Killstreaks in Z. are less about being a bad-ass lone wolf and more about adding an extra layer of strategy to each match. Killstreaks are one of the only card types that can be played face-down, meaning the survivor player won’t know what Killstreak is in place until you start earning kill rewards. The Killstreak you choose should support the type of deck you have, so if your main strategy is infection, you’d probably want to put the Outbreak Killstreak in play as soon as possible:

  • 3 kills: Put two generic zombies into play for each unit in the survivor player’s graveyard.
  • 6 kills: Infection time is halved.
  • 9 kills: Sacrifice Outbreak to instantly turn any survivor unit.

There are also Killstreaks that only grant a single reward, usually at a very high kill count (at least 10). But the reward is very powerful, and can shift the tide of the battle if the zombie player can achieve it. One example would be the Apocalypse Killstreak, where after 10 kills The Horde will automatically double in power each turn (200HP/ATK, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, etc.). This would be a good time for the survivor player to use a trap or instant that limits The Horde’s growth, otherwise….

Two other important rules about Killstreaks:

  • Kills are not counted until a Killstreak card is in play.
  • Your kill count can be broken, but not by losing a zombie card (unlike Modern Warfare, for example, where a death would reset your killstreak).

We’ll actually do an entire post on Killstreaks down the road, in case you’re interested to hear more about them and see some of the other Killstreaks we’re currently playtesting.

TRAPS

Traps and Instants are the only cards that work exactly the same for both survivors and zombies. Traps are always played face-down, and activate whenever the other player triggers their requirements. Because zombies don’t get to use weapons or items, a lot of their “special attacks” come from traps and instants.

For example:

  • Backfire – When a survivor unit uses a gun weapon, it backfires, killing them and removing the weapon from play.
  • Shock and Awe – When two or more survivors are killed in a single turn, all other survivors are stunned for their next turn.
  • Bloodlust – When a zombie unit kills a survivor unit, that zombie can attack again during the same turn.
  • Scathed – When a survivor kills a zombie, this card causes that survivor unit to become infected.

INSTANTS

You guys probably get how Instants work now, so I’ll just list a few of my favorites. ;)

  • One Lone Zombie – Use this card to trigger any placed survivor trap.
  • Resurrection – Put a survivor unit in the graveyard into play as a generic zombie.
  • Twisted Ankle – Target a survivor unit. That unit cannot act for 2 turns.
  • Car Alarm – For 3 turns, the Aggro counter is increased by 2 each turn.
  • Dark Secret – Target a survivor unit. That unit is now infected. The survivor player is not alerted to the infection.

SUMMARY

The Horde, the ability to infect, and Killstreaks are the three most unique and important aspects of playing as the zombies. Survivors get a lot of cool toys to play with and things to do, but that can also be their downfall. Without having to worry about supplies or equipping and reloading weapons or choosing between searching and attacking each turn, zombies are a much more focused and offensive faction than survivors.

 

SURVIVORS 

With survivors, we tried to capture a lot of elements that you’d expect if you were watching a horror film or playing a zombie game. Unlike zombies, they cannot sustain on moans and groans alone, so they need to constantly seek out supplies to use their equipment or bring in reinforcements, so that’s where we’ll start…

RESOURCES

Survivors require “supplies” to use items and weapons or summon new units and lay traps. Supplies are a finite resource that can be used up, so careful management is a must.

You will automatically get 1 ration of supplies each turn, as well as another for each survivor unit on the field. Units can also give up their turn to “Search” for supplies. Read the SEARCHING section below for more details.

Lastly, the Survivor player can scrap unwanted cards (or, if you’re brave, you can even scrap good cards) to gain immediate supplies, but you can burn through your deck and options pretty quickly this way. It’s a definite risk-vs-reward system that seems to work well in our playtests.

SEARCHING

Searching is a unique survivor ability that any unit can do in place of attacking (though some cards can do both in the same turn, or even search twice).

However, searching is not always beneficial. It’s a risk each and every time, since the Search pile contains supplies, weapons, items, traps, and events. You never know what you’re going to draw. Not all events are bad, but many are. You can trigger a car or fire alarm and alert nearby zombies, giving a boost the zombie player’s forces. Your character can get caught on barbed wire for X turns. Perhaps a zombie was hiding in the closet or inside a car? Now you’re infected. Etc.

But sometimes you can find a cool weapon or an item that saves your life, or a cache of much-needed supplies. And in the advanced modes, you’ll NEED to search to complete objectives, so this mechanic quickly becomes a key pillar in the game.

We’re also considering allowing the zombie player to play certain trap cards directly into the Event pile, increasing the chances that something bad will happen when you search.

SURVIVORS (UNITS)

Beyond the low-cost generic survivors who are basically meat shields, you’ll be able to add a large variety of class-based units to your deck. They normally have one or two special abilities that cost extra supplies to use. A few examples are below:

  • Nurse: Can heal a single ally for X supplies each turn.
  • Mechanic: Can reinforce a barricade for X supplies.
  • Cop: Can drawn and equip a Handgun for X supplies.
  • Cop (Veteran): Can drawn and equip a Shotgun for X supplies.
  • Lookout: No ATK power, but can flip one unflipped zombie card (such as a trap) per turn.

HEROES 

Right now heroes are very costly to summon, but can usually search the deck immediately for a specific weapon at any time and once equipped with it will easily topple weak or medium zombie opposition.

They pack 3-5 solid abilities that really make them formidable opponents. Here are just a few to give you an idea:

  • Nimble: Dodge one attack each turn if unarmed.
  • Bloodlust: Attack again in the same turn after killing an enemy.
  • Charge: Charge up for one turn to deal double damage with your next attack.
  • Trained: Always attack first if equipped with a (specific weapon)

Balance notes: Heroes are probably the single biggest aspect of Z. that will be continuously and heavily tweaked over the next few months. 

WEAPONS

Weapons and items are unique to survivors (Lore: zombies no longer understand how to use objects or what they even are). They require supplies to put into play from your hand, and must be equipped to a unit or else they are discarded.

Melee: 

Melee is a risky approach to fighting zombies, as any zombie that survives a melee attack will automatically counterattack. Zombies can also more easily infect or use traps on melee attackers. On the other hand, melee weapons are all quieter than a ranged weapon, which has its benefits.

In Z., pretty much every weapon you can imagine will eventually find its way into the game. From fire axes to katanas to shovels and, if you’re particularly unlucky when searching, even a spork.

Durability - When a melee weapon’s durability is depleted, the weapon breaks and is automatically discarded. Each attack lowers durability by 1. 

Ranged: 

Ranged is a much safer way to dispatch zombies, but it comes at a higher price. Ranged weapons are usually more expensive to equip, they may have limited ammo, and firing guns almost always alerts nearby zombies, which has a variety of unwanted effects.

Like certain melee weapons (katanas), there are some ranged weapons that are ineffective when used by anyone lacking the proper training. So a nurse is not going to pick up a sniper rifle and suddenly be able to hit zombies like a trained marksman or military unit would.

Ammo – Ammo replaces durability for ranged weapons. When a weapon’s ammo is depleted, the player can either scrap the weapon for supplies or pay its summoning cost again to reload it. 

ITEMS

Items are consumable non-offensive weapons, such as medkits. You’ll mostly encounter items when searching, and they ideally should be the most common card that gets scrapped for supplies.

An unique item that produces some pretty interesting results is the Handcuffs card. It’s used to chain two zombie units together so that they can be targeted as one. Though this item will probably be changed to an Instant-type card based on our playtesting.

Equipment Sets: 

One aspect of RPGs and MMOs not typically seen in card games is the notion of Equipment Sets. That is, a set of items that grant bonuses for each additional piece of the set you have equipped. So if you have the entire set equipped, you’d gain all of the different bonuses. We’re still working on the implementation of this in the various game modes of Z., but a couple examples right now would be the Riot Gear set, and the Samurai set. The Riot Gear includes the helmet, armor, shield, and riot gun. It could also include the boots and gloves/pads, but six pieces is a lot to try and get on one character in a single game.

More likely these will only really come into play in certain modes, or in certain fields where you can more easily search for set items. We’ll make them available in every mode, though, in case there’s a few brave souls who want to go for it anyway!

TRAPS 

Traps and instants are the two cards that work the same for both survivors and zombies. Traps are played to the field face-down, just like in Yu-Gi-Oh!, and can only be triggered on the opponent’s turn. Unlike other games, traps are automatic, so if the other player triggers the trap’s activation requirements, it goes off (as opposed to asking you ever five seconds if you’d like to play a trap or interrupt).

Here’s a few examples of Survivor Trap cards:

  • Plan B – When three or more survivor cards are destroyed by the zombie player in a single turn, instantly draw five cards.
  • Scavenger (item) – When any unit is killed, draw a random item card from your deck.
  • Scavenger (supplies) – When any friendly unit is killed, gain +2 supplies.
  • Firehose – When a zombie unit attacks, firehose pushes them back, preventing the attack.
  • Satisfaction – When a zombie kills a survivor, it is “busy” for X turns.
  • Martyr – When a survivor unit is infected, that unit immediately kills itself.

Traps are a lot of fun, and always keep your opponents guessing. In live games with the physical cards, we usually have a lot of bluffing going on. Like, “Oh please play that card, I’ve been waiting for you to! Mwuhahaha.” I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

INSTANTS 

Instants are kind of like trap cards that you can play on your turn (instead of your opponents) and activate their effects immediately. Here’s a sampling:

  • A Little Too Quiet – Zombie player cannot attack for the next turn, but gains +2 aggro.
  • Boom, Headshot! – Deal 999 damage to any single target.
  • The Calm Before the Storm – Neither player can attack for the next two turns.
  • Back-to-back – Allows any two Hero cards to team up together, sharing health/stats and preventing rear attacks.
  • Recalibrate – Select cards in your hand to discard, then draw the same amount of cards from your deck.

Permanents:There are many different permanent cards (played as instants) in Z. They act as modifiers (or mutators, for the Unreal crowd), and can greatly mix up the way the game works, even multiple times mid-match.

  • Adrenaline – Allows any survivor unit to act twice in the same turn if wounded.
  • Bottleneck – Only one new zombie unit can enter the field per turn.
  • Scavenger – When any unit is killed, draw a random item card from your deck.

SUMMARY 

Playing as the survivors requires a bit of strategy, as they have a lot more to worry about and take into account than zombies. If you stack your deck with too much clutter, you might end up with no one to use it, or worse yet, no one who can use it properly.

On the other hand, if you make efficient use of your supplies, you can heal the wounded and keep zombies at bay with reinforced defenses while taking them down with heroes and powerful weapons. Searching is also a lot of fun, even when things go horribly wrong. It keeps you on your toes! 

 

Some Game Modes

STORY MODE
Versions: Digital Only

The Survivor Campaign follows the story of a few key characters as they try to survive and find their way in a post-outbreak world. The inspiration for Z.’s story is mainly from Lost, The Walking Dead comics, and 24. It’s going to be very realistic — shockingly so, I think. I want to have that same episode-to-episode “OMG, did they really just do that!” and “How are they going to get out of this?!” impact that my favorite shows have. No one is going to split up because they heard a strange noise and no half-naked girls will run off into the woods to have sex — I strongly believe that the more intelligent, relatable, and believable your characters and scenarios are, the more suspenseful it is when they genuinely find themselves in danger.

Note: ALL of the more fantastical cards you’ve seen like Ayane and the Gatling Gun will not make an appearance in the story mode, only in multiplayer mode.

The story begins three months after the initial outbreak, and a thorough five-year outline has already been made for the first major story arc/volume. A second and far more ambitious five-year arc is also being outlined should Z. be popular enough.

In addition to in-game cutscenes and gameplay, there will also be live-action cinematics produced by Northern Five Entertainment to accentuate key story moments.

Each chapter within an episode is a carefully-crafted narrative-driven scenario with pre-set Survivor and Zombie decks using one of the many objective modes you’ll read about in tomorrow’s update. There are also scripted events and dialogue/cutscenes that do not appear anywhere outside of story mode.

Each chapter is ranked based on your performance, from D to S rank. Higher ranks give better rewards, and completing all chapters with at least an A rank will open up a bonus chapter that tells a compartmentalized side story. We hope to have guest writers and actors for these side stories, so imagine a standalone zombie tale by Joss Whedon or Max Brooks within the Z. universe, for example.

Simply completing an episode with any rank will open up EX versions of all chapters, which allow players to use their own custom multiplayer deck in story scenarios. Completing an EX chapter unlocks EX Hard difficulty, and completing EX Hard unlocks EX Master difficulty, each time the rarity and power of the Zombie deck increases substantially, but so do the rewards (ie. unlockable survivor/zombie cards and booster packs!).

A new episode with roughly 5-7 chapters will be released each month, along with new location decks and new cards to obtain based on the locations and characters from the story.

 

The Depths (aka “RPG Mode”)
Versions: Digital Only

The Depths mode is an entire game within a game. Where the primary game has hundreds (and eventually over a thousand) cards, The Depths will have an infinite number of card possibilities. Like Diablo and many similar dungeon-crawling loot-happy games, cards are randomly generated in The Depths, and can have special stats not seen in the normal modes.

For instance, a Flaming Chainsaw of Delight +5, or an Angry Sawed-Off Shotgun of DeathSpray. o.O

The Depths will feature 100 levels of progressively more difficult enemies and rarer treasures. The inspiration for the 100-level layout is probably most directly from Persona 3, Onimusha, and Disgaea.

Like any good RPG, weapons can be customized and upgraded, while character cards can gain experience, level up, and learn new abilities or traits. You’ll also be able to select your starting party of characters each level, and then draw instants and traps and other cards from your deck instead of always looking for units.

Each level will have three random location decks to search through, as well as its own objective to move on to the next floor. If you complete the objective, you can stay and look for loot/level up, or GTFO to the safety of the armory/shop screen. There will also be a special boss stage every 10 levels.

This mode is also where you’ll see some of the most fantastical and special homage cards, like Block of Wood (which turns into a new item every level that you have it, eventually ending as a Diamond Sword — pending Notch’s approval):

That’s the general idea of The Depths, and we’d like to introduce one new dungeon (100 levels) every 3-6 months. I think this mode would also be great for cooperative 2-player since you’re always playing against the AI, but I can’t make any promises about that so early on. The Depths was meant to be a stretch goal for this Kickstarter, but I want it so bad it will definitely end up in the game no matter what, just probably not right at launch.

And for the truly brave, we’ll include a rogue-like hardcore mode where death is permanent and the only extra reward is appearing on a special leaderboard and knowing you’re a badass for even trying. :)

Zombie alternatives to The Depths and Story Mode are still in the conceptualization phase, so I don’t want to talk too much about them now and then end up Peter Molyneux-ing myself later on. Both sides will get equal treatment when all is said and done though — we don’t play favorites on Z.!

 

Why Pledge ?

1. CREATED WITH YOU, FOR YOU!
We’re not asking for your money and then running off to make our game in the corner somewhere. Z. is meant to be a community project– we’ll be talking to you every day, asking and listening to what you like or don’t like, going out to local comic shops and events like PAX and Comic-Con to play the game with you and get your feedback, and much more.

We’re creating this game with you, for you (assuming you’re a hardcore geek who loves zombies, that is). And of course, some of you will even be creating cards for the game or becoming survivor and zombie cards yourself!
2. CREATIVE FREEDOM!
Content was taken out of the final game and sold as Day One DLC? Publisher. Game was rushed out to meet an arbitrary holiday release date without being properly tested? Publisher. Entire studio gets closed down after releasing a solid game that failed to meet absurd sales targets? Publisher. Your company is voted the worst in America by the Consumerist? And so on and so forth.

Downward Viral will always remain independent, no matter how many personal heirlooms or comic collections or vats of plasma we have to sell to do it, or how many hours we have to work an extra job on the weekend to pay the licensing fees for our engine. We’ll do whatever it takes. And that independence will result in better games and the creative freedom to work directly with our fans and supporters like you. We want to have full transparency about what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it, and that’s just one thing among many that you’ll never get once a publisher is involved.

 Celebrity cards !

Exclusive to this Kickstarter campaign are a number of special guest survivor and zombie cards. We’ll be announcing as many as we can throughout the campaign, and they are automatically included at ALL backer levels ($15+), on top of any other bonus cards.

Announced so far: