Defense Grid Kickstarter Success January 29, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Other PC Games.
Tags: Containment, Defense Grid: The Awakening, Kickstarter, O.G.R.E., Planetary Annihilation, Steve Jackson Games
The buzz around Kickstarter seems to ebb and flow.
When there is a Kickstarter going around something that gets you excited, it can seem like a great way for supports to get involved in a way that helps the development process.
And then there is the reality.
There was an article a couple months back (that I wish I could find) which reported the results of a study of Kickstarter projects and found that not only do most projects not get funded (which one would expect given the quality of a lot of the pitches), but that a large percentage of those that do fund subsequently fail to deliver anything (call it “take the money and run”), fail to get even close to their projected timeline (everything takes longer than you think), or deliver something that does not match what was promised in the initial pitch.
Now some of projects in the study seemed to be stuck in a category without considering mitigating factors. The Steve Jackson Games O.G.R.E. Designer’s Edition project has been delayed because they asked for $20,000 and ended up with nearly a million, so they actually expanded the scope of the project so that the end result will be even better that they had initially planned. But that has pushed out the timeline, so it appears on the “failure due to missed dates” list despite keeping backers fully appraised of the project status with regular updates.
(And I cannot emphasize how important updates are for such projects.)
In my own case, of the four projects I supported that actually made their funding goal (out of eight total) two appear to be stuck in the failed project timeline dimension.
Now, in one case, I know what is going on. The Jason Scott documentary three pack, which I first mentioned way back in September of 2011, has been delayed because of his Internet Archive work and because he got paid to do another documentary ahead of the ones funded on Kickstarter. I cannot say that the latter makes me very happy, but the documentary is being made available for free, so if you squint your eyes and look at things with your head turned sideways, it seems like maybe we’re getting a fourth documentary as part of the deal. Plus the other three are under way and I consider them getting made to be more important than me getting my copies in a timely manner.
On the flip side, there is a book I helped fund that has gone to the editors and hasn’t been heard from since. Such is life.
And then there is Planetary Annihilation, which I pitched in on because they invoked the name of Total Annihilation, one of two RTS games I still drag out and play to this day. (The other is Age of Empires: The Age of Kings, which I wish would get a screen resolution update and appear on Steam or GOG.com.) But this project has no real set timeline and, frankly, I have been burned before by people invoking the TA lineage. Supreme Commander was not at all satisfying to me, and so I stand ready to be disappointed again.
But amidst all of this “someday” level of hope, the fourth Kickstarter on my list delivered. The new content for Defense Grid: The Awakening arrived last week. As a supporter I already had my key and had access to pre-release versions of the new content, though I did not spend much time with them. I wanted to experience them as finished product.
The product is now finished.
It showed up a little late. The target was initially December. But progress updates were frequent and if you entered the Steam key you got as a supporter, you could see the new levels evolving from raw layouts to fully formed encounters. And once it was done, Steam updated you to the final version.
So I now have what I really wanted; more levels for my favorite tower defense game.
Appropriately enough, here is the first achievement for the Containment DLC for Defense Grid: The Awakening:
I am off to conquer the new levels in their various modes.
Now if Hidden Path can just get funding for their Defense Grid 2 project. They did not reach that level of funding as part of their Kickstarter and so must seek the money via more traditional channels.
We Will Get Some More Defense Grid… August 20, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Other PC Games.
Tags: Defense Grid 2, Defense Grid: The Awakening, Kickstarter, Steam
But not as much as I had hoped for, and probably not as soon as I had hoped either.
I posted a while back about Hidden Path Entertainment attempting to fund further installments to their exceptional tower defense game, Defense Grid: The Awakening by taking their plans to Kickstarter. They had a detailed plan with four tiers of funding that would mean specific deliverables.
Even at the base level $15 pledge, you got a code for the original game on Steam, which goes for $20 when Steam isn’t doing one of their sales, plus any content eventually funded. So if they made it to a million dollars and you kicked in $15, you would get all of it.
They also teamed up with AMD and Razer to offer up special deals and incentives. The team running the Kickstarted project put out plenty of updates. And they ran in-game contests where, if you achieved a certain goal on a specific level, you were entered.
It was quite an event.
Still, a million dollars seemed like a pretty ambitious goal, even for a game this good. It just isn’t that well known. Still, I was pretty sure that the first tier would be achieved easily. The initial surge of pledges got it half way there pretty quickly.
That would get an expansion to the original game. I would be all for that.
The second tier was a new engine for Defense Grid 2, which would include putting the old game on it to test it out. Infrastructure is never very sexy though. Try telling marketing that the major feature for a release is a new version of Visual C++ and see how excited they get.
But multiplayer was going to be part of the whole thing. That… that I could go for. And the second tier seemed possible given the initial momentum.
The third tier was offering up cross-platform compatibility and a level editor so end users could create their own content. A level editor, hopefully tied in with the Steam Works user content system, would be cool. But that seemed a long way away, being priced roughly the same as my house. (In Silicon Valley that means a run down place in a decent school district.)
And then there was the magic million dollar goal. All of the above plus a completely new game, Defense Grid 2, the full sequel.
As unlikely as it seemed, a man can dream can’t he.
And, as I said, the early momentum in the campaign was quite brisk.
Then it slowed to a trickle. When the time left was under a week, I didn’t think they would even make their first tier goal. This in a world where Penny Arcade can bring in double that by offering too… um… take some stuff off of their web page? Really?
Then there was a last minute rush, accompanied by some outstanding video card offers that were no doubt subsidized by AMD, and the threshold was crossed at last.
The whole thing ended with $271,727 in funding.
That meant the production of the Containment expansion to the original game, which all backers will get once it is available. An update says they are working on that even now.
But we will also all get Defense Grid 2. A note was posted to the Kickstarter page towards the end of the event saying:
You’ll Get DG2
We’re working to cross the minimum and fund Defense Grid: Containment. But please also understand that by joining the team as a backer, you’ll also get a copy of DG2 when we release it. We’ll need to do extra work on our end to earn or raise the remaining funds in order to complete DG2, but when we do, you’ll still be a part of the team. Crossing $250,000 gets you DG:Containment this December, and DG2 when it is complete.
That seemed to me to be a pretty generous offer since the commitment, as originally stated, was that only items that were funded would be available. I am just happy that they still have a Defense Grid 2 in their plans.
I am not sure what will becomes of the other items… cross platform, multi-player, level editor, and such… but at least there is a new game to look forward to and some new levels to play in the mean time.
Now I have to figure out what to do with my Steam codes for the original game. I already own it. Hrmm.
Defense Grid: The Kickstarting July 31, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Other PC Games.
Tags: Defense Grid 2, Defense Grid: The Awakening, Kickstarter, Ogre, Steve Jackson Games, Wasteland, Wasteland 2
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While I do not think Kickstarter is necessarily stealing money from 99 cent app developers, I do remain skeptical of a some of the stuff being offered up for financing.
Sure, some of the stuff is great. It was all I could do to keep myself from throwing money at the Steve Jackson Games Ogre Designers Edition kickstarter. I played Ogre and G.E.V. back when they were in zip-lock baggies at the hobby shop on the peg next to Snit’s Revenge.
Only the realization that I did not need another huge board game I would never play overcame nostalgia and stayed my hand.
But Steven Jackson Games is a known quantity to me. I trust them to do what they say. Likewise, I trust that Jason Scott will produce the three documentaries that I helped fun. It would be way, way outside his behavior norms to not do so.
Other teams I remain less sure of. Despite being a fan of the original Wasteland, I could not bring myself to toss money in for Wasteland 2. I’ll be happy if it comes out. I just don’t have any sort of way to evaluate the chances that team can pull it off or whether the game can make the transition directly from 1988 to 2014 and retain the same spirit. Some games are only great within the constraints of their time frame and technology.
And I am waiting for the big crash, some big seven figure funding effort that fails to deliver. It will happen. You know it.
So my donations via Kickstarter are few and far between. But today, thanks to Zubon, I have one I cannot resist.
Defense Grid: The Awakening is one of my all time favorite tower defense games. It is simple, clever in a Valve sort of way, looks good, plays well, and has all manner of different modes to play and defeat once you make it through the main storyline. My hours played for the game, as measured by Raptr, are at the MMO end of the spectrum.
Well, Hidden Path Entertainment, the makes of the game, want to make Defense Grid 2. However, according to their tale of events, normal funding paths just are not panning out for the indie level profit margins.
They have thought this out. They have four levels of goals ($250K, $500K, $750K, and 1 million dollars), each of which will yield up a different result. They have the many levels of support, each with various and sundry cool things.
And they have a video with endorsement from other game developers.
But here is the key. For the minimum pledge of $15 you get a key to unlock the original game on Steam. It is a $20 game, and you get that. And you get it the moment you pledge. And you get to keep it even if they don’t fund.
So even if this turns out to be vaproware, you are ahead at the base pledge.
Plus, you get a copy of whatever software they end up being able to fund. So if it succeeds, you get the new stuff too.
Of course, I would prefer that you go pledge more money. I would really like to see this run off the end and fully fun.
Still, if you were thinking about getting the original game, go support it on Kickstarter. You can have it now.
I have already pledged and have a code for the game. Of course, I already own the game. I will have to have a contest or something at some point to dispose of the code. But after the Kickstarter funding closes. That runs until August 14th.
TL;DR – Go here, give money.
Steam Summer Sale – Time For Damage Control July 13, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment.
Tags: Defense Grid: The Awakening, Endless Space, Harvest: Massive Encounter, Portal, Portal 2, Steam, Steam Summer Sale
Oh, it is that time of temptation again. It is the dread Summer Sale at Steam.
For 10 days Valve will tempt us with incredible discounts on a wide variety of game titles.
This will lead many of us to buy titles we might not otherwise consider… and, often enough in my case, games that I certainly should not have considered.
But the price… the games can be so cheap! I have seen things marked down 80% or more off of retail. For example, the first day’s featured deals.
This is how I ended up owning the entire PopCap library despite the fact that I really only wanted Peggle Nights. And no, it was not cheaper to buy the whole library. I was just swept up in the moment and 90% discount.
This year I am going to stick to things on my Steam wishlist. That is a reasonably well vetted list of games I am actively interested in, though I do see a couple of games I left on it back when Valve had a contest that would win you the top 10 games on your wishlist, but only if you had at least 10 games. I will have to drop those, as my wishlist is now big enough not to need padding.
And, on day one, right out of the gate, two items from my wishlist came up.
Also popping up on day one was Harvest: Massive Encounter, a little game that looked interesting, but not quite interesting enough until it was marked down. I put it there as park of my search to find more tower defense games, though honestly nothing has stacked up to Defense Grid: The Awakening so far.
Total cost for the pair, $7.49.
I haven’t had a chance to look at Portal 2 yet, as it was a sizable download. But Harvest was small, so I was able to launch it almost right away.
It appears to be a mix of RTS and tower defense with a few game mode and level choices, but otherwise very simple in design. It is kind of what I hoped Gratuitous Space and/or Tank Battles would more like. (Neither of those titles quite clicked with me.)
Anyway, worth the $2.50 it was list at.
Now what will Valve throw at me next? And can I stick to my plan?
I am kind of hoping that Endless Space will make the cut for a discount, because I really need yet another game like that to distract me. (Isn’t the updated Civ V enough? No?) I have seen a bit posted about it. However, it just launched, so it might be too soon.
What is on your list for the Steam Summer Sale?
Raptr Gets Analytical or Only 18,999 Hours to Go! March 1, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Need for Speed World, Rift, World of Warcraft.
Tags: Defense Grid: The Awakening, Raptr
Raptr put up a several blog posts and sent me two email messages, all about the new stuff they are launching that lets you… well… compare your epeen against your friends. Click on the picture below to see it in full size.
I think Raptr must be primarily a console gamers destination if 36 games on my system puts me 26 games ahead of the average Raptr PC user. Either that or Steam users… those of us who must resist their insane sales… are not well represented.
And the last bit, my summary, makes me think they haven’t quite got their system tuned:
Lightning Bolt! You and 0% of Raptr users have more RPG games than anything else in their game library. You put on your robe and wizard hat…
I suppose it depends on how you define the games. I notice that that Raptr still seems shy about calling out MMORPGs. Of course, that might be because MMORPG players are batshit insane. I offer this up as proof.
While I might be an Elite World of Warcraft player, I have still been measured and found short a whopping 18,999 hours and/or achievements to be the #1 WoW player on Raptr. If we take that as just hours of play, that is over two years of constant, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week play.
Meanwhile, on the EVE Online front, I am 103 hours shy of Elite status.
Other games in which I rank as elite for one reason or another:
- Lord of the Rings Online
- Need for Speed: World
- Defense Grid: The Awakening
- EverQuest II Extended
Elite status seems to be a pretty arbitrary thing.
Addendum: And if you want to be my friend on Raptr, I am wilhelm2451, as usual.
October in Review October 31, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment, EverQuest, Facebook, Month in Review, Need for Speed World, Rift, TorilMUD, World of Warcraft.
Tags: Defense Grid: The Awakening, WordPress.com
I think the biggest internal site news was when WordPress.com made some change and messed up my stats for a few days.
Well, I hear they messed up a lot of people’s stats.
For the last five years page views have been counted in pretty much the same way. I’ve kept them all in a spread sheet, every single day, since I started the blog. The consistency is verifiable via third party page view counters I have used off and on.
Then, on the 18th, something new crept into the mix.
Basically, page views have been counted and displayed on the stats panel in a way such that the total page views for a given day were displayed in two places. One is the big chart at the top of the statistics page (a section of which is shown above) and the other is in a table that breaks out which posts were viewed how many times, including the main page.
These two charts always added up, until October 18, when suddenly people started asking why they were getting so many page referrals from WordPress.com and why those referrals seemed to be added into the total on the big chart, but were clearly absent from the Posts and Pages table. (The sum worked out to exactly WordPress.com referrals + Posts and Pages total = Big chart value.)
So the Posts and Pages table, for the three days indicated with arrows in the picture above, showed the same number of page views (well, not exactly, the tallest column is actually over 100 views less), while the main page views chart showed very different results.
This became a burning question on the help forums where the main volunteer who handles the forum, in a demonstration of getting exactly what you pay for, was less helpful and more clueless than usual.
Eventually one of the paid staff (Macmanx the Hapless Engineer) came along and said that they had started including pages viewed via email subscriptions RSS in the mix, and this was where the boost in page views came from. Since RSS tops site visits by 4 or 5 to 1, that seemed possible. He said that views not getting matched to actual posts would be fixed soon, and off he went.
Then, a couple of days later, the founder of WordPress.com showed up and said, no, this wasn’t just RSS views.
Hey guys — founder of WordPress.com here.
Good news: We’ve historically been vastly undercounting your stats, and we’re starting to fix this.
Bad news: There are some bugs with how things add up, meaning that they don’t. I apologize for undue excitement this may have caused.
More good news: Although support is closed, we’re working on this. We’ll fix it ASAP.
When asked why the sudden boost in views did not match what third party counters were reporting (like my flag viewer on the side bar, which lined up almost exactly with the Pages & Posts report of page views for the 21st), he blustered about such page view counters being inaccurate and eventually said that all page view counts were just approximations and no two would ever match.
Tell that to the people who get paid for page views and the like. I am sure that would make them very happy to use WordPress.com stats.
And then the next day wordpress.com referrals in the stats started to fade away, so by the 26th things were pretty much back to normal and the great mid-October page view spike was over. (Other people posted pictures with similar spikes.)
In my WordPress.com stats, October 21, 2011 is now listed as my best day ever. However, I am pretty sure that June 29, 2011 is still the actual champion, which happened at the peak of the great Incarna bitch-fest.
And life goes on.
One Year Ago
I asked if people ever look at the items in the blog side-bar. People mostly do not.
I finished building my new computer. It has been live a year and Windows 7 hasn’t completely degraded into a pile of blue-screening ooze the way XP used to when not constantly attended to.
The instance group was playing in LOTRO, which had been live as a Free to Play game for one month. In-game, we were subjected to the disturbing habits of some of the residents of the Lone Lands, while I indulged in one of my own habits, the mid-game character swap. And then I made one post completely unreadable by making anagrams out of all the proper nouns. I had to repost a corrected version.
And my daughter and I were drinking new and interesting sodas.
Five Years Ago
I decided in EVE Online that covert ops would be a good career choice. It certainly sounds cool. However, the effort was cut short when I got to some of the pricier skills.
I felt that fall urge to run around in EverQuest, plus I wanted to take some pictures of Faydwer in order to compare them to the upcoming EverQuest II expansion, Echoes of Faydwer.
I also jumped into EverQuest II and got all confused (nothing new there) about the trade skill changes that occurred during the 10 months I was away.
There was some talk about which pen and paper RPGs would make good MMOs.
And I spent some time carping about MMO pricing plans. I still feel about the same on the subject five years later.
New Linking Sites
I would like to thank the following site for linking here.
Please take a moment to visit them in return.
Most Viewed Posts in October
- Beastlord to be the New Class in the Next EQ2 Expansion
- How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
- Blizzard Endorses the Transfer of Capital to the Proletariat
- Play On: Guild Name Generator
- Tobold Prediction – CCP Bankrupt in 2012
- Panda Reactions at Our House…
- And Then I Told My Daughter About Pet Battles…
- Post BlizzCon Thoughts on Pandaria
- Despite Rampant Hacking and GM Shennanigans, Fippy Darkpaw Server is Still Stuck on Velious
- Azeroth Travel Poster Contest – Win a Sparkle Pony!
- Civ II – Found the Disc, Can’t Use the Disc
- The Most Wiley WoW Phishing Attempt Yet…
Spam Comments of the Month
I’m just done looking at your posting and I fairly enjoyed it….
[A long comment from somebody linking back to "Write Comments, Get Paid." I wonder if he got paid.]
i cant believe you are coming to Burlington, VT !!! andddd Albany, NY. im totally going to see you twice!
[Not if I see you first.]
Search Terms of the Month
3d gay porn
[Sorry, I don't cover Second Life here.]
lou attack report
[Who did Lou attack?]
I have written enough about EverQuest this month that you might think I am actually playing it. But I am not. I am, however, keeping as close an eye on the Progression Servers as I can manage and reporting on forum fun. I hope, in the end, to have a decent sketch of what happened on the Progression Servers based on that. You can keep an eye on the Fippy Darkpaw tag for the story as it unfolds.
Need for Speed World
As I mentioned in a previous post, I am starting to play this less and less. Not a bad game, and it really can be free to play, but there just isn’t much to do once you’ve sort of hit the walls that surround the world.
The instance group is slowly coming online with Rift. The general reaction from the group has been positive. Primarily that has been about the look and feel, which stands up to WoW level of polish, unlike EverQuest II and Lord of the Rings Online which, for all their merits, are still rough around the action bar.
There was some excitement generated by big changes at TorilMUD. A bunch of people surged back on, dug out old characters or rolled up new ones, and then said, “I seem to remember this being a lot more fun.”
Well, that is what I said in any case. There is still a lot to love about MUDs, but it was a time of very raw fun and few online multiplayer fantasy roleplaying options.
As a sign of how things have changed, TorilMUD had a double experience event this past weekend.
World of Warcraft
All this talk of pandas, pets, and BlizzCon got my daughter and I to resubscribe. She really wanted to play, and when she plays I play. We ended up doing a bit of the Hallow’s End stuff because she wanted the creepy crate pet.
Facebook games in general, and Zynga games in particular, are really fading with me. I used to try every Zynga game, then every other, then every third or so.
I end up playing them all about the same amount of time, but they seem to be cranking them out faster and faster. I think this might be hurting them.
Two years, Zynga meant FarmVille and Mafia Wars. They had a strong identity. Today Zynga is a new game a month and I couldn’t tell you what the stand-out game for them really is.
I am sure there is a lesson in that.
Anyway, my Empires & Allies neighbors will have to understand. I left everything harvestable, so they can reap (literally) the benefits of visiting, but I am done.
I have been playing some Civilization II, now that I have it working on Windows 7 64-bit. I miss some of the enhancements that came with the later games… and unit pathing just sucks… I have to find the patch that fixed some of that… but it is light and clean and still a damn good game.
And, finally, I have been meaning to write about Defense Grid: The Awakening, a $10 tower defense game on Steam. But every time I go to write about it, I launch it and just end up playing. I have thought about picking up Dungeon Defenders, because I like the tower defense genre, but I doubt I would play it any time soon because I am not done with Defense Grid yet.
Well, the instance group will actually have to do something together in Rift.
There is a screen shot contest to judged! You still have until November 6th to get your Azeroth travel poster submitted!
I am sure there will be something to note on Fippy Darkpaw. Right now the forums are just boiling about the whole rotation thing, but there might even be a vote on the next expansion, the Shadows of Luclin. If waking the sleeper was the gating item to trigger the vote. If it was “finish all tasks listed on the chart,” then… well… all those tasks are not done yet, and we’re still stuck on Velious.
And we’re getting to the end of the year wrap-up season. All those predictions… erm demands… will be coming home to roost. For some of them, the companies were listening, while on others I apparently did not make myself clear.