Tag Archives: Jason Scott

Reviewing My Kickstarter History

With some Kickstarter campaigns of interest running of late, like the Massively Overpowered funding campaign and the much-talked-about Crowfall campaign, I decided to look back at the projects I had funded to see how the whole Kickstarter thing has treated me.

NOT the official drink of Kickstarter

NOT the official drink of Kickstarter

Fortunately Kickstarter has a nice little page that lists out the campaigns you have supported.  It was then just a matter of figuring out where everything stood.

Successful Campaigns

1 – Campaign: The Jason Scott Documentary Three Pack

  • Date Funded: November 11, 2011
  • Date Promised: December 2015
  • Project Status: Not late yet

My first ever Kickstarter.  Jason Scott, who did the documentaries BBS: The Documentary and Get Lamp had a plan to do three more.  He wanted to cover tape as a recording medium, the 6502 processor, and video game arcades.  What is not to love about those three topics?

I was a little annoyed when he went out and did another documentary after getting funded, but the man is like a force of nature and cannot be controlled.  And I have no doubt I will get all three documentaries.  We’ll see if it happens by December.

2 – Campaign: Defense Grid 2

  • Date Funded: August 14, 2012
  • Date Promised: December 2012
  • Project Status: Delivered January 2013

Hidden Path Entertainment wanted funding to do a sequel to their game Defense Grid: The Awakening.  They only made their initial goal, which was enough to fund an expansion to the original game as opposed to a whole new game.  That got delivered just a month behind schedule, which is pretty good for a Kickstarter so far as I have seen.

Then they went on to get other funding for Defense Grid 2 and eventually everybody who backed the Kickstarter beyond a certain level got a copy of that, including me.

3 – Campaign: Planetary Annihilation – A Next Generation RTS

  • Date Funded: September 14, 2012
  • Date Promised: July 2013
  • Project Status: Delivered September 2014

Here was the promise of a successor to Total Annihilation, one of the three great RTS games of 20th Century, along with StarCraft and Age of Empires II: Age of Kings.

Of course, the project ran long, Uber Entertainment thought it was a good idea to sell pre-orders on Steam for less than the cheapest Kickstarter backer price, and when the game finally showed up I found it kind of blah.  Still, not the worst $20 I ever spent.

4 – Campaign: Project Eternity

  • Date Funded: October 16, 2012
  • Date Promised: April 2014
  • Date Delivered: March 26, 2015

Obsidian Entertainment said that they were going to make a spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate and a few other great single player RPGs.  What is not to love about that.  And, again, $20, what the hell, right?  And while it is nearly a year late, it got there and I should get my Steam code next week for Pillars of Eternity, as the game has been christened.  We’ll soon see how it turned out.

5 – Campaign: Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls

  • Date Funded: February 5, 2013
  • Date Promised: August 2013
  • Project Status: Soon

Tunnels & Trolls was the first RPG rules set that I spent a lot of time with.  We started with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, but getting all three books was expensive back then and there was Tunnels & Trolls all in one book at less than half the price of of the TSR tomes.  Also, you could plunder that copy of Risk in the back of the hall closet and have all the dice you needed.  Anyway, I’ll write more about the rule set when I get the new edition.

Getting the new edition though…  The promised date was August 2013, and that was viewed as conservative because they were sure it would be done by July of 2013.  Well, here we are in March of 2015 and they keep sending out updates, but it is still somewhere over the horizon.

6 – Campaign: Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

  • Date Funded: April 7, 2013
  • Date Promised: October 2014
  • Project Status: Alpha releases available to backers

The Lord British successor to whatever aspect of the Ultima series he is speaking about at the moment.   Clearly optimistic on dates, it is still in an unoptimized alpha state that does not run very well on my CPU.  But it is there and you can poke at it if you want, and it has been in that state for more than a year, improving slowly while trying to raise more money.  I am still waiting for it to get more solid before I devote any real time to it.

7 – Campaign: Camelot Unchained

  • Date Funded: May 2, 2013
  • Date Promised: December 2015
  • Project Status: First alpha just available

At some point Kickstarter became “spiritual successor” central.  Anyway, like the previous entry, I have written a few posts about Camelot Unchained, Mark Jacob’s run at capturing all the good of Dark Age of Camelot in an updated package.  Promised for December of this year, it just had its first alpha last week if I read the update correctly.

8 – Campaign: Planet Money T-shirt

  • Date Funded: May 14, 2013
  • Date Promised: July 2013
  • Project Status: I got a shirt in December 2013

Planet Money is one of the few podcasts I listen to regularly, in part because it covers a wide range of interesting financial topics, and in part because shows tend to run 20 minutes or less so I can listen to a whole episode during my rather short daily commute.  Their Giant Pool of Money episodes on the financial crisis were great stuff.

Anyway, Planet Money decided to do a practical project on how T-shirts are made, starting with the basic materials, raw cotton for example, and ending with people actually getting a shirt.  So there is a series of shows in their backlog about this.  The shirt showed up late, but it is nice.

Men's and women's versions of the shirt

Men’s and women’s versions of the shirt

I wear it around the house on weekends because, while it is soft and I like the graphic, it is a bit snug on me.  I am not sure anybody at the office needs to know that much detail about my body contours.

9 – Campaign: A History of the Great Empires of Eve Online

  • Date Funded: May 25, 2014
  • Date Promised: May 2015
  • Project Status: Still has two months to run.

Andrew Groen’s epic attempt to write the story of the null sec conflicts in EVE Online.  The campaign, which only asked for $12,500, funded in seven hours and hit nearly $100K.  I am not sure we’ll get the books on time, but his monthly updates have covered his progress in some detail.  He is even now up in Iceland, having given a presentation about his work.  But when we do get it, you can be sure I’ll review it here.

Failed Campaigns

And then there were the campaigns I backed but which did not fund.

1 – Storybricks, the storytelling online RPG – May 2012

I am still unclear as to what I was actually getting in exchange for backing this project.  They were working on a development tool, which doesn’t translate well for end users.  Believe me, I know that pain.  I have been working on development tools for the last 17 years.  But Brian Green was part of the project, so I kicked in before the campaign ended.  Eventually Storybricks got in bed with SOE for the whole EverQuest Next project, then the buyout happened, Daybreak ended their contract, and they folded up shop… dropping a final bit of crazy on us on the way out the door.  I am not at all sure what the trajectory would have been had this campaign succeeded.

2 – Project: Gorgon – An Indie MMORPG by Industry Veterans – October 2012

The first Project: Gorgon campaign.  Eric Heimburg wanted $55K, but barely got past the $14K mark.  Too obscure to get the backing it needed, the project soldiered on without it.

3 – Tinker Dice from Project Khopesh – June 2013

Tesh makes some dice.  While this first campaign did not fund, he later went on to have success in subsequent campaigns.

4 – Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen – January 2014

Brad McQuaid decided he was going to get into the whole spiritual successor funding thing with a throw back to EverQuest.  He asked for too much money… at least more than his name and reputation could draw… and spread his focus too wide in my opinion.  The project is theoretically still going, but post-campaign funding has been problematic at best.

5 – Project: Gorgon – A new approach to MMOs – August 2014

The second coming of the Project: Gorgon kickstarter campaign.  By this point there was a solid, playable game to be supported.  Asked for $100K, got just over $23K in pledges.  Eric Heimburg just isn’t a name with much draw, and as has been discussed before, the project name itself isn’t doing him any favors.  The project doesn’t even have a page on Wikipedia.  Still, Project: Gorgon lives and you can go play it right now.

Summary

Overall, Kickstarter has worked out pretty well for me.  I have managed so far to back only projects that have come to fruition. (I don’t count the failed campaigns.)  I like to think that I have chosen wisely, picking only campaigns run by teams with a track record of success.  But it is probably more likely that, in backing just a few projects, I managed to get lucky.

There was clearly a stretch of time where I was more enthusiastic on the whole Kickstarter thing.  That has faded somewhat, and you will no doubt notice some omissions from the list, popular projects I opted to pass on.  There is no Crowfall on my list, as an example.

The only project I have mild regrets about not backing is the Ogre Designer’s Edition campaign from Steve Jackson Games.  I played Ogre and G.E.V. back when they came in a zip-loc bag, so there was a strong nostalgia factor present when the campaign launched.  That said, I am not sure what I would do with the 29 pound box that resulted when the campaign raised nearly a million dollars when they only asked for $20K.  I don’t have anybody to play table top games with and I have more than enough stuff around the house I do not use, so another huge box in a closet probably wasn’t necessary.

So that is my Kickstarter tale.  I am still waiting on some projects to finish, and every single project I have backed has been late to one degree or another, but things have still turned out okay so far.  How have you done with Kickstarter?

Items from the Mail Bag – Everybody Wants Some Edition

Another look into the TAGN in box to see what has come my way in the last month or so.  Nobody wants to write a post for my site or come write for their site this month.

  • Raptr wants me to tell me about all the statistics they have about ‘ville games in their Raptr Report on Zynga Games.  One of the things they note is the high conversion rate of players from one ‘ville game to another.  Is that a good thing?
  • Zynga wants me to please come back and play FarmVille.  They need to read the Raptr report above.  I have long since converted through other Zynga games.  I am currently at Empires & AlliesVille, and there is no going back.  Ever.  For me at least.  I am Tom Joad, traveling west to the promised land of California.
  • Zynga, taking the opposite tack, also wants me to come play their new-ish game, Adventure WorldVille.  At least somebody gets the whole conversion direction thing there at Zynga.
  • Outspark wants me to know that Luvinia Online is out of open beta, online, and the race to level 78 is on!  Just what I needed.  Has anybody been waiting for this?  It looks very Anime.  Somebody tell Darren.
  • BlogTopSites.com wants me to know that as a registered user, I can also get on their Bloglog.com listing.  While I tinkered with their site at one point, and even had their chicklet on my side bar for a while, I decided being listed against sites promising “Club Penguin Cheats!” and what we would have referred to back in the BBS days as “waerz sites” probably was not in my best interest.  So we’re done with that, but I am still on the mailing list.
  • Merle Klein, the SEO specialist at Bigpoint GmbH, wants to do a link exchange between this site and three of Bigpoint’s game sites, Drakensang, Farmerama (really?),  and Dark Orbit.  Which is kind of strange.  It is like Safeway coming over to my house to discuss a cross-promotion between their chain of grocery stores and the garage sale I am going to hold in two weeks.  While the deal seemed to be much in my favor, I don’t really play the SEO game here.  I’m not that interested in traffic and Google already sends enough people here based on weird search terms as it is.
  • Erika from somewhere around Dallas wants to put a banner ad on my site and wants me to send her a price list.  Since she did not mention what sort of ad, I am going to guess that this is either a scam or that the ad is clearly something I wouldn’t want to post in the first place.
  • Raptr also wanted me to know that they have surpassed 10 million registered users.  Good for them.  I still only have 17 connections on the service and it primarily serves as a warning that I am coming to pee in their bushes in The Sims Social.
  • And finally, Jason Scott, legendary collect of all computer related documentation, founder of The Archive Team,  free range archivist at the Internet Archive, and creator of BBS: The Documentary and text adventure documentary GET LAMP, both of which I totally want to see and actually tried to order but they never got delivered despite Jason insisting they had been shipped and eventually I got my money back but now I am afraid to simply try and order them again lest things go awry again… *breath*… he wants me (and you) to know that he has a Kickstarter pageto help fund three new documentaries he wants to do.The planned topics are the medium of tape (cool), the 6502 Processor (very cool), and video game arcades (cool cool cool).  You can read about his plans, hear about why he needs the money, see how much he has collected so far ($72K at this point), and donate if you would like to help out by going to his Kickstarter pager here.   There are 45 days left to go and the minimum pledge is $10.

 

Infocom Memories

Jason Scott posted a set of scanned Infocom ads from the 1980 on his blog, ASCII, today.

It Is What It Eats

Those of us old enough will probably remember at least a few of the ads he has posted.

Those not old enough might not know who Infocom was.

Infocom, if you didn’t bother to go to the link up in the first sentence, made a series of text-only adventure games in the 1980s starting with Zork, a game I purchased in the college bookstore for my Apple II in… the early 80s.

The games were a bit of an acquired taste.  You either liked them or you didn’t, but they were popular enough both by virtue of their cleverness and the fact that their simplicity allowed the games to be ported to a wide variety of operating environments.  Look at the list of supported computers in the lower right of that ad.  This was what we faced in the early 80s, back when Microsoft was mostly known for its BASIC compiler and its Flight Simulator.

I owned a pile of Infocom games over that decade, though the one I enjoyed the most was Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Getting the Babel Fish was an event at least as memorable to me as killing Archaedas in Uldaman was.

So a big “Thank You!” goes out to Jason Scott for his ongoing effort to find and archieve things like these ads.