Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Crowdfunded: looking back at 2014

Screenshot of Broken Age

As I mentioned last week, I wanted to take some time to return to the projects I wrote about last year, to see where they’re up to now. In the original ‘series’ of Kickstarted, I wrote about 13 projects, and so here’s an update:

Broken Age

Broken Age was the first project that I ever backed on Kickstarter – a new game by Tim Schafer, creator of games such as Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. The game ended up raising far more money than expected and as such has ended up being a much bigger project than its creators envisaged. When I wrote about it in January last year, the first half of the game was available to play on Steam (‘act one’), with the rest of the game (‘act two’) to follow in 2014. As yet, that hasn’t happened, although it’s due in a few weeks. That being said, it’s an ambitious game with great hand-drawn graphics and a celebrity voice cast. Sadly I haven’t had more time to play it since writing about it.

Since then, fellow LucasArts alumni Ron Gilbert launched another Kickstarter campaign for a game called Thimbleweed Park – I’ll be writing about this later in the year.

Amanda Palmer’s ‘Theatre is Evil’

Amanda Palmer was probably the first big artist to crowdfund her new album, Theatre is Evil, and whilst I’m not a big fan I ponied up $1 to get a digital copy of the album upon release. Since then Palmer has released her memoir but as I don’t follow her closely I’m not sure if she’s working on a new album yet, and whether she’d consider crowdfunding her next release. It seemed to go quite well but Palmer has a very devoted fan base who would probably buy a self-published album.

Gamedock

Gamedock

Gamedock is one of a number of projects that was successful in getting funding and achieved its objectives, but didn’t result in a marketable product. Shortly after the project launched, Apple changed the connector on its portable devices from 30-pin dock connector to Lightning, and so there wasn’t much of a market available for the Gamedock.

Project Godus

A new game from Peter Molyneux? This should have been a hit but in the end it only just met its funding goals. It went into beta in September 2013, and is now available on iOS and Android. I admit that I haven’t played it, but Christine seems to play it quite a bit and enjoys it. Dave2 is less favourable towards it, thanks to following the ‘free to play’ model. Which isn’t necessarily bad but the game pushes you towards making repeated in-app purchases to progress. I’ll probably not play it for this reason – I’m happy to pay to play a game, but hate being pestered to pay more money once purchased.

VLC for Windows 8

When I last wrote about this in February 2014, this project was almost a year behind with no public release available. Thankfully, Windows 8 users can now download it, and it’s been updated for Windows 8.1 as well. Work continues to port it to Windows Phone 8.1 too. The changes to modern and classic apps in Windows 10 may mean that having a native modern app isn’t necessary but at least it means that VLC has a place in the Windows Store.

Elite: Dangerous

Another gaming project saw the classic game Elite updated for the 21st century. It was finally released at the end of last year to generally good reviews, but I haven’t played it myself – I only pledged £1 to help the project along when it looked like it might not reach its target.

The Cyanide & Happiness Show

Last week saw the end of the first season of the Cyanide & Happiness Show, an animated version of the delightfully horrific daily comic. The series started about a year late although shorter videos were posted in its run-up. I’m guessing a second season is planned but there doesn’t appear to be any indication of how this will be funded.

Code Monkey Save World

A comic series inspired by the characters from songs by Jonathan Coulton, this would be the first time that I’d actually read a comic book. Not the last, although I’m still not a major consumer of comics. The bonus material that wasn’t ready last year has now been finished.

TransParent

This project was a documentary film about a transgender teenage who was murdered in 2011. Originally due out in September 2013, 18 months on and not much is happening. Backers got an update in August last year stating that work was continuing, but nothing more. We’ll see what happens – if I do another review next year then I’ll hopefully have more to say.

Doctor Cat Books

Doctor Cat books panelDoctor Cat is one of my favourite web comics so I was happy to back this project to put them into book form. Whilst the web comic has been quite of late, the project itself was a success.

Greedy Wizards

Argh – I’ve had this for over a year and still haven’t got around to playing it! And sadly it looks like anyone else who didn’t back the Kickstarter campaign can’t play it either. Backers got their packs but it doesn’t appear to be on general sale anywhere – and the web site for the game has disappeared off the face of the internet.

Frisky & Mannish’s Pop Education Trilogy

A straightforward Kickstarter to raise money to edit and post videos of this duo’s first three shows to YouTube. Which they did. They toured their fourth show last year – Christine and I went to see it and it was awesome. Perhaps there will be another Kickstarter to get that on YouTube at some point.

Master of the Seven Teas

This local game studio shares my alma mater and so I was happy to back their game Master of the Seven Teas. It nearly failed to reach its target – ultimately it made it with minutes to go before the deadline.

Sadly it’s another game that’s running late – due in September 2013, but right now it’s still in beta and currently exclusive to the Ouya console. Hopefully a final release on other platforms will be available later this year.

The Awkward Yeti’s Great Big Project

And finally the last project that I wrote about in 2014 was for various books based on the Awkward Yeti comics. I got a PDF of one of the comic books as requested in the reward, and the comic is still going strong. A later Kickstarter campaign raised money for plush toys – I didn’t back it but the most recent update is called ‘Delays’ which doesn’t sound so promising.

Next week, I’ll start reviewing the projects that I have backed since April 2014.

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