BiteMyApple.co has announced that they will begin shipping their new iblazr today. iblazr is a synchronized flash for iPhone, iPad, and Android that allows users to take better illuminated shots.
Chris Johnson, Founder of BiteMyApple, said “Smartphones and tablets allow us to take high-quality photos anywhere, but the built-in flash isn’t enough during low-light settings. The iblazr provides users with the same illumination capabilities that a high-end camera provides. You can use the small external flash with your front or back camera so you’ll get the perfect shot or selfie every time.”
The iblazr has its own built-in, rechargeable 200mAh battery that provides more than 1,000 flashes or up to 40 minutes of constant light mode for videos. This means it won’t kill your phone’s battery while you take a video of your cat doing something ridiculous.
GMT Games wants to bring Twilight Struggle, the 2-player cold war strategy game, to iOS. They are Kickstarting the project with a goal of $50,000 to fund Playdek’s development of the game. Backers of $15 or more will receive the ‘What If?’ Expansion designed by the original game’s developers Ananda Gupta and Jason Matthews.
What If? is a new mini-expansion that lets players explore alternate starting situations for the two superpowers. This expansion will contain eight cards, one set of charts and tables, and the rules on how to play.
So far the Kickstarter has reached $169,019 of the original $50,000 goal, five of the stretch goals have been met and several more scenarios have been unlocked.
13th Lab has launched a Kickstarter for their upcoming Rescape accessory for first-person shooters on iPhone. This rifle-esque accessory is built for quasi-ARG applications: the game uses the gyroscope and camera attachment, and the software can map out real world areas to be turned into game levels. As well, the software can be implemented into existing games – the prototype allowed players to play with a prototype of Quake at their GDC booth. The 3D printed prototype lacks the planned d-pad on the controller and the Kickstarter is looking for $150,000 at a $129 buy-in for the prototype and SDK access for developers with the demo Office Defender game.
Unsung Story, Playdek’s upcoming tactical RPG, seems to be moving along quite nicely. The Kickstarter project, which only started last week, is already past the halfway point with 24 days to go. I think it’s safe to assume that a fair number of people want to play it, yeah?
Playdek CEO Joel Goodman was gracious enough to answer a few of our burning questions regarding Unsung Story. Specifically questions about the game itself, the Kickstarter project, and the involvement of Yasumi Matsuno.
148Apps: Playdek has one heck of a repertoire filled with a TON of great ports of some classic games. Do you think the mechanics of any of those games, or what you’ve learned while creating them, may have had an influence on what you’ve done with Unsung Story? Joel Goodman (JG): The AI system we have created as well as our asynchronous gameplay mechanics will most definitely have an influence on what we will be able to do for Unsung Story. We also maintain a high quality level for all of our games.
148Apps: A tactical RPG seems like a fairly big change in genre from Playdek’s typical work. Was it a challenge to start developing something so different or was it an idea who’s time has come? JG: It was a ripe opportunity that just sort of happened. When the opportunity came, we jumped at it. Plus tactics gaming fits our wheel house.
148Apps: Was Yasumi Matsuno a part of the project from the start or did you have the basic idea for Unsung Story in place first? JG: Yasumi Matsuno developed the concept entirely from the start. We only asked for a tactics game and he took that request and hit the ground running. It is amazing to see the concepts and ideas he is able to come up with when given creative freedom.
148Apps: Will there be any form of multiplayer mode or is it being designed as an entirely single-player affair? Personally I wouldn’t mind the latter in the slightest. JG: There will be multi-player, but the core experience for the story is single player.
148Apps: It must have been difficult deciding where to place stretch goals for the Kickstarter project. Were there any goals you would shift around if given the opportunity? Any that you wish you could have included in the base game? Are you finding that backers are generally being receptive to them or has there been some pushback? JG: The response has been incredible, and our backers are giving us tremendous feedback on the rewards and goals. We will be making modifications to those as we go based off of the suggestions we are seeing come in.
148Apps: Regardless of how the Kickstarter campaign goes (I’m guessing very well based on how much it’s made so far) Unsung Story will still be coming to mobile, right? JG: Yes, however we hope to get the game into as many player’s hands as possible on their platforms of choice.
We’d like to thank Joel Goodman for answering our questions, and are anxiously looking forward to getting our hands on Unsung Story.
There’s been more than a fair bit of buzz surrounding Playdek’s upcoming Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians project. It’s a pretty big departure from the developer’s usual (and excellent) ports of physical card and board games, a Kickstarter campaign to bring more talent on board and expand onto several other platforms just began a few days ago, and Yasumi Matsuno (Vagrant Story, Ogre Battle, Final Fantasy Tactics) is involved. However, the legendary game designer’s level of involvement in the project has been somewhat unclear. Up until now, anyway.
Last night Matsuno broke it all down over Twitter in order to clear it all up. He isn’t spearheading the development. Rather, his involvement “is limited to the original game proposal, world design, and story.” It’s not a bad thing in the slightest when you consider that those three elements are pretty much what he’s known for in the first place, but he won’t be overseeing the project directly.
He does go on to state that, while his involvement with Unsung Story is pretty much finished at this point, a successful Kickstarter campaign could see him jumping right back into it. So if they end up hitting their goals to bring Unsung Story to the Mac, PC, Vita, and 3DS, we’ll be seeing a lot more of him.
Octofire 8 Port Turbo Smart from Skiva Technologies is a USB charger that comes equipped with eight ports to allow users to simultaneously charge eight different devices at once without missing a beat. It comes with safety features to protect against overcharge, over-voltage, overheat, and short circuit, and it’s capable of charging smartphones, tablets, GPS, Bluetooth headsets, and any other USB device.
Octofire is wrapping up its Kickstarter campaign where it has blown past its target goal of $20,000 by receiving more than $70,000 from over 1,000 backers.
EchoChamber is the title hoping to be funded by it. It’s described as a rhythm game with a “unique twist.” It’s a free-to-play local multiplayer title that uses positional audio to get players to follow various cues and perform gestures in time with the music. I took the time to learn more from Cody Lee, co-founder and developer at Little bit Games.
148Apps: How did the idea for echoChamber come about? Cody Lee (CL): The idea for echoChamber came about after playing the game SpaceTeam with friends. It seemed like such a unique and original idea and utilized your phone for multiplayer in a way that I’d never seen before. It kinda blew my mind and I started to think of other ways we could use mobile devices for multiplayer experiences that you couldn’t get on any other platform. I spent a lot of time picturing people physically standing around with friends, trying to come up with games that required that physical space, and that used the capabilities of modern cell phones.
148Apps: Why the decision to be free to play? CL:echoChamber is a multiplayer only game, and is more fun the more people you are playing with. It seemed natural for us to release the game as a free download so people can start playing it as easily as possible with their friends without requiring everybody to commit to purchasing it. We’ll be releasing additional tracks as paid DLC for people who want to extend their experience beyond the base tracks.
148Apps: How hard has it been to implement the positional sound effects? CL: Doing the positional audio itself isn’t too bad. It’s really just a matter of adjusting volume for the different devices to get the desired effect we want. The hardest part has been synching the playback of the track on all of the devices while accounting for network latency. If the sound is out of sync at all, the positional effect is lost, and you get more of an echo. If it’s REALLY out of sync it just sounds like garbage!
148Apps: What other challenges have you faced? CL:echoChamber started out as more of a Pong-like game where sound would move around and players would have to tap their screens to hit the “ball” away. The problem is it’s hard to know when the ball has reached you. It get’s louder so you know it’s closer, but how loud is the “loudest” and “closest”. That’s why we ended up going the rhythm game route. When there’s a set beat, and the ball moves to the beat, it’s easier to know when the sound will “hit”. We’ve since moved away from the Pong aspect of the game and are focusing more on an overall fun musical experience instead.
148Apps: When do you hope to release echoChamber? CL: If the Kickstarter goes well, we hope to release some time early next year. If it doesn’t go well… we’re not sure.
The Kickstarter campaign runs until December 27, with a wide selection of backer rewards to cover everyone’s budget.
Thanks to Cody for taking the time to answer our questions. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on echoChamber‘s progress.
Forgotten Memories – Alternate Realities is a third-person survival horror game that has players adventuring through dark environments with only a flashlight in hand. The gameplay is based on a fear mechanic consisting of tough fights, few weapons, a weak character, and a scary and dangerous world to explore.
Forgotten Memories will soon release a preview of the game for players to try for free, giving them close to an hour of gameplay. This is being done to help support the Kickstarter campaign once it launches.
Ever wanted to play Super Smash Bros. while on the move? Of course! Anyone with sense would want that! While Nintendo haven’t quite made the move to mobile just yet (but we can hope, right?), that doesn’t stop a similar experience from hopefully coming to iOS soon, courtesy of zGames. That title is Fright Fight, a horror-themed game inspired by Mario’s brawling ways.
The zGames team.
As is increasingly common these days, Fright Fight‘s development is being supported by a Kickstarter campaign which has just launched. As the project page explains, the hope is that Fright Fight will be the first 3D cross-platform mobile fighting game, with the plan being to port it to systems such as OUYA and Nvidia Shield as well as iOS and Android. Free-to-play, many of the pledge rewards relate to the acquisition of in-game coins or the unlocking of characters in order to give early backers an extra edge. It’s shaping up to look pretty good so we had a word with Game Designer, Pavel Shtangeev, to learn more.
148Apps: Inspiration has clearly been taken from Super Smash Bros. but what other games have inspired Fright Fight? Pavel Shtangeev (PS): Devil May Cry series: Additional inspiration for [the] battle mechanics, Diablo series [for the] RPG elements, Pokemon series for some gameplay elements and RPG mechanics, Awesomenauts [for some of the] gameplay elements, world and level design, art style. A lot of other games have minor influence on the game: Marvel vs. Capcom, DOTA, Quake III, etc. The list can go on forever.
148Apps: Has anything non-gaming related inspired it? Such as in terms of the choices of characters available? PS: A lot of classic horror novels and movies influenced our decisions for worlds to include and characters to add. Still, we added twists to most of them. For example the vampire character is a combination of Carmilla from a classic novel of the same name and a mad variant of Luigi Galvani.
148Apps: How long has Fright Fight taken to develop? PS: Right now, it’s been 9 months in development.
148Apps: What challenges have you faced with making Fright Fight cross-platform? PS: Unity3D makes things much easier, but certain problems still occur. These problems are mostly related to different form-factors of devices. NVIDIA SHIELD uses hard buttons instead of gestures so we put some tweaks here and there and remade all menus to fit both control schemes. OUYA uses bigger displays and this requires more advanced camera behavior, etc.
148Apps: The trailer suggests there will be RPG elements to Fright Fight. Can you elaborate on these? PS: The game introduces a lot of classic RPG elements to the fighting formula: stats, skills, perks, etc. Right now, all characters already possess a full set of stats that can be upgraded through the course of the game. Moreover, each character is packed with an individual skill tree that allows customization of his attacks and play style. We have plans to introduce even more RPG elements by adding gear with different skins, items, and accessories and create pets that can aid characters in battle.
Thanks to Pavel for taking the time to answer our questions.
With the game already offering 3 different arenas, 4 different characters, and a fairly strong gesture-based control scheme, Fright Fight is shaping up nicely. Hopefully, by meeting its Kickstarter goal, the game will soon enjoy bot AI, and if the goal is beaten, new characters and arenas. For now, why not check out the teaser trailer and consider supporting the campaign?
Lords of Discord is a new turn-based strategy game that just began its Kickstarter campaign. It takes place in a fantasy world where Humans and Demons battle it out. There are also the familiar orcs, giant spiders, and other nefarious creatures.
Players can play as humans or demons in two campaigns that feature 12 missions each. There is also a character development system for each race with around 30 units each. Get a glimpse of battle in the trailer below!
One of the consistently most positive things about the rise of the App Store is the ability for one-person developers to get somewhere and release their own titles, under their own steam and hard work. Sacrifices might need to be made but it’s encouraging to see so many creative spirits work so hard at achieving their dreams.
One such person is John Stricker, developer of Captain Casual, a title that he’s declared to be an ‘epic science fiction action adventure comedy’. Its Kickstarter campaign has just launched so we had a word with John about how the project came to be.
Captain Casual’s developer, John Stricker.
148apps: How did the idea for Captain Casual come about? John Stricker (JS): I was doing some pretty intensive work as a software consultant, and at the end of the day it would be difficult to take my mind off of the projects I was working on and get some sleep. I found that imagining stories helped me relax as I was trying to sleep. Maybe this was part of me trying to take my own mind off work, but I liked to create characters that were very relaxed, take-it-easy kinds of people and then imagine them being put into situations where they had to play the role of a hero. Captain Casual started with the idea of putting a laid-back person into the role of a starship captain, so instead of someone like Patrick Stewart playing the role of the captain it was someone more like Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski.
148apps: Why the name Captain Casual? JS: Because it’s awesome! I mean, why has no one created a game character named this yet? It’s also fun to take the word “Casual” and use it for a character name in a mobile game since in the gaming community there’s a stereotype of mobile games being too “casual” for “serious” gamers.
148apps: Have any other games or other forms of media influence your idea? JS: A lot of the backstory for Captain Casual takes cues from Iain M. Bank‘s fantastic Culture novels, and the comic tone of the game can’t help but be influenced by Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books (which I have read countless times). In terms of gaming influences, Bioware‘s RPGs (e.g. the Baldur’s Gate Series, Knights of the Old Republic) have probably influenced me more than any other games. They do such a great job of storytelling, dialog, and gameplay, and while Captain Casual isn’t an RPG, I hope to convey something of the same sense of being part of an epic adventure while playing the game. And, of course, Star Trek in all its incarnations is a big influence.
148apps: How big a game will Captain Casual be? JS: It’s going to be bigger than The Beatles! We’re talking blockbuster, here. You’re probably looking for more of an answer about the game’s length though. In terms of game length, Captain Casual is designed to be a relatively short game, with a full playthrough lasting a couple of hours. The main reason for this is that the story in the game unfolds more like a movie where there is a minimum of repetitive action. Every mission is going to have the player doing something that they haven’t done before. To add challenge and extend the life of the game, there will also be a hardcore mode where if a player fails a level they have to start the game from the beginning.
148apps: Are there any plans for in-app purchases or will Captain Casual be a one-off payment kind of game? JS: There are no plans for in-app purchases as I feel that would ruin the tone of the game. Its hard to keep a sense of atmosphere and engagement when you’re also periodically asking the player for more money. Also, I don’t want the game to be a different experience for different players depending upon how much money they put into the game.
148apps: How hard has it been to juggle your work life and this project? JS: Since April of this year I’ve been working full time on Captain Casual. I am fortunate enough to have a time-limited period (my wife and I have agreed on a one-year limit) to do this, but this is why I really need the extra support from Kickstarter as I have no income at this point. I’ve taken my hobby and made it my work, so in some ways now I feel like I’m working all of the time. Still, it feels great to be able to put so much effort into something I love. Hopefully the Kickstarter will go well and I’ll be able to continue working on Captain Casual full time!
Captain Casual’sKickstarter has just under a month to go, with John asking for a fairly low $5,000 to complete the game. With only a $5 pledge needed in order to have some input in terms of what ship models and color schemes to use, as well as a free copy of the game upon release, that’s a pretty tempting offer if you ask me. Higher pledges offer more benefits, too, with t-shirts, beta invites, and even custom digital images up for grabs.
The campaign is live now, so do consider contributing. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on Captain Casual‘s progress.
For at least the past fifteen years I’ve been bellyaching about the lack of a follow-up to Mutant League Football. The ridiculous (and ridiculously violent) Genesis classic was the perfect football game for someone like myself who enjoys video games but could care less about the NFL. And here we are, twenty years later and it looks like that decade-old dream might come true.
Series creator Michael Mendheim recently began a Kickstarter project to try and fund the spiritual successor to MLF, titled Mutant Football League, and it looks phenomenal. However, the project still needs a fair bit of help. Mr. Mendheim was gracious enough to talk to us about the game, the project, and the future of Mutant Football League.
148Apps: After 20 years it’s great to finally see a successor for Mutant League is in the works. Did the success of other similar Kickstarter projects help to influence your decision to start a fund for Mutant Football League, or was it more of an idea whose time had come sort of thing? Michael Mendheim (MM): Fans have urged me to do this for some time now and it’s also the 20th Anniversary of the original Mutant League Football, so we felt like the timing might be right. We chose Kickstarter because it seemed like it would be our best shot to get the game funded. We launched a couple weeks ago but right now it looks very difficult for us to succeed. So if anyone out there reading this is a fan of the original game, or just wants to play a really fun and violent game of Football where NFL Players are replaced with wise-cracking mutants and monster all-stars, please back us today.
148Apps: Any chance you’d be able to confirm or deny various teams and races that will be making it into the final build? MM: Kickstarter backers will actually be helping choose what types of mutants and monsters we have in the game. We know we want to have some kind of undead, heavy metal type of skeleton players. We’ll also have a variety of Monster characters and Humanoid Mutants – think Road Warrior-esque type humans. We also want to include Battle Robots for more of the technology driven races. These will be big bruising robots that are good at football and even better at obliterating the opposition.
We’re also introducing a new character called, Enforcers. Generally, mutants are big, mean, ugly SOB’s… so what do you do to keep them in line? You get bigger, meaner, even uglier brutes to monster the bejeesus out of them. And that’s exactly what Enforcers are; They don’t catch, they don’t throw, they really have no talent to speak of… they just go after the opposing team’s stars like a wrecking ball. Eventually these creatures are subdued and taken to the penalty box where they are uhm…eliminated. Each team will be allowed to have up to 3 or 4 different race types on their rosters. It’s too early to talk about teams names yet but we know we’re going to have some fun parodying real team names (example: Pittsburgh Steelers = Blitzburgh Stealers).
148Apps: Kill the ref plays are still going to be in there, right? MM: Of course, with a few new twists that I’m not going to mention or else I’m going to have to kill you, too.
148Apps: You’ve recently teamed-up with Run Games Development Studio to source their engine for Football Heroes. Aside from the changes that have already been mentioned – making the gameplay more realistic, less casual, and super fun – have there been any other significant tweaks? I really hope you decide to keep the RPG elements. MM: Run Games provided the game to me, and I spent a lot of time playing and I loved it. I thought it was the perfect stepping stone to create a Mutant League-style game. It’s very easy to play and delivers a lot of fun, but also has layers of depth because of the RPG system that the Run Games integrated into it. We absolutely will be keeping the RPG Elements in the design. We can put these to good use and it will give the game layers of depth for those who want it. More casual gamers can just ignore it and the game will take care of itself underneath the hood. The art direction will look completely different than Football Heroes; Mutant Football League will have a much grittier art style.
By working with Run Games and using their tech as our starting point we will substantially reduce our development risk. Instead of building everything from scratch we can build on top of an existing game, which is already fun and has all the core elements already in place (Dynamic Camera, User Interface, smooth and intuitive controls, consistent frame rates, Online play, AI, Power-ups, RPG Elements, ratings and stats, Audio, Physics and Collisions, etc.).
AppSeed provides users with the ability to turn their sketches into functioning prototypes. It uses a function called Computer Vision that helps speed up the process of loading a working design. It’s currently trying to get Kickstarted with the goal of $30,000. It’s nearly halfway there with only 9 days to go (as of this writing), so potential users should check it out if they have any designs laying around.
EverDock is a new docking station for your iPhone 5S, 5C, 5, 4, iPad, and iPad Mini. It’s currently in the middle of its Kickstarter campaign but has already been kicked far beyond its goal of $50,000. Sitting currently at $228,445 with 17 days to go (as of this writing), the docking station has clearly reached the hearts (pocketbooks) of backers with its aluminum design and single or dual dock option. Check it out!
There is a game that’s been in the making for around 10 years now that’s finally coming to the App Store. Alteil: Horizons is a card game that takes strategy elements inspired by tactical RPGs. It features over 2,000 pieces of card art from guys who have worked on The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy X. Make sure to check out their Kickstarter campaign for more information and images.
Mipwr has launched its Kickstarter campaign for its hand-operated charger, backup battery, and protective case for the iPhone 5 and 5S. It’s a great idea for anyone who needs to find alternate power for their iPhone. There are 22 days left in the Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $78,000, so make sure to check it out if this is something of interest to you!
Auris launched a new Kickstarter campaign yesterday for a WiFi music receiver called Skye. The new device will allow users to stream their music through AirPlay or DLNA, providing high quality audio from their iOS device. They have a goal of $56,000 and have already obtained over $50,000 in its first day, so it is certainly appealing to many!
Mutant League Football is probably one of the (if not the) most beloved alternative football video games in history. At least as far as an adoring, nostalgia-driven cult following goes. And after what feels like decades, because it has been decades, the ultra violent and gloriously twisted take on one of America’s most popular sports is back! Or at least it’s trying to come back.
Series creator Michael Mendheim has turned to Kickstarter to try and bring the spiritual successor of the EA classic to multiple platforms, including iOS! The project is still in the early stages, but the plan is to keep all the violence and tongue-in-cheek humor fans have been craving intact.
As one of those fans who’s been lamenting the distinct lack of Mutant League over the past 20 years, I could not be more excited about this. Of course it’s too soon to know how it’s going to turn out, or even if it’s going to meet its $750,000 goal in time, but simply knowing that the series’ creator is interested in bringing it back is more than enough for me!
ActiveReplay is trying to provide “action sports” enthusiasts with the kind of data collection most runners and bikers have been making use of for years already. Their answer to the problem? A (almost fully-funded) Kickstarter campaign for Trace.
Think of Trace as a kind of advanced pedometer. It’s packed with all kinds of sensors that allow it to track complex movements such as a snowboarder catching air off a jump or surfer taking sharp turns in the water. The tiny device simply snaps on to a mount that can be installed on a skateboard, surfboard, snowboard, or skis. Then you just go out and do your thing while it collects all the data. Once you’re finished, just open up one of the three free apps for Skate, Surf, or Snow and all the information from your session will be displayed automatically. It even shares that info online so you can compare your own speed, height, and so on with other users from around the world.
As of now, Trace is well over two-thirds of the way to reaching its $150,000 goal with 9 days remaining. If you’re into any (or all) of these action sports, or if you know someone who is, it might not be a bad idea to stop by ActiveReplay’s Kickstarter page and contribute.
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 2.0 inches diameter, 0.86 inches tall
- 7 hour rechargeable battery
- Mounts to any hard surface
- Durable, Shockproof, Waterproof
- Ridiculously adhesive
- Exports GPX data
Everyone loves interactive fiction, right? Ok, I might be a little biased due to my huge love of the genre, but I’m certainly not alone there. Plenty of people love the dark world created by H.P. Lovecraft, too, and his work has proved a fantastic inspiration for many great games and other forms of media. One such title that’s set to capture this spirit is The Moaning Words: a game currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign and looking rather promising.
The game is written by Science Fiction author, Alan Dean Foster, and follows a dark investigation across 18 episodes set to be released daily. Players will be able to shape their own adventure through the choices they make. Uniquely, the app will also offer a form of social adventuring with the ability to share one’s story with others as well as invite friends to unlock new content.
Continuing with an original twist on the interactive fiction idea, a card game of sorts will also feature alongside numerous riddles and conundrums. Plus, there’s set to be even more options thanks to the free writing tool that will allow users to create their own story! Not bad, eh?
We talked to co-founder and designer, Manea Castet, to learn more about this ambitious project.
148apps: Did any other books, games, or films influence The Moaning Words, besides H.P Lovecraft? Manea Castet (MC): The design of The Moaning Words was influenced by the Choose Your Own Adventure series of books and popular video games Heavy Rain, Baldur’s Gate, and the Dragon Age series. In fact, our interactive fiction is built around different video games mechanisms. These mechanisms were specifically taken into consideration when writing the alternative [choices] and when designing how players interact with the story.
The first influence of our story is H.P Lovecraft’s body of work. Our app is designed to be a tribute to this well-known author. We believe it will please veteran readers of the “Lovecraftian” stories. It will also be a very good start for people who discover the Cthulhu Mythos for the first time. The story, written by Alan Dean Foster, is contemporary and its events will take place in many countries around the globe.
148apps: Some of the Kickstarter pledge rewards involve gaining a pack of gold to use in game, how will these help in game? Are they crucial to progression? MC: In The Moaning Words, gold is the virtual currency. It can be obtained for free through card games for example. Users will not necessarily have to purchase gold to progress. Every time a user wins a card game, he or she will gain gold.
When people purchase our “Curious” Pack on Kickstarter, we will provide a ‘huge pack of gold’ to start with. Players will then experience the game with more freedom at the beginning. However, anyone can experience the whole story and progress through the 18 episodes without having to purchase anything with actual money. As in many free to play games, the players will have access to premium optional content if [they] decide to purchase it.
148apps: Will it be vital to recruit friends in order to progress, or will it be possible to see everything the game has to offer without? MC: Although recruiting friends will never be vital in order to progress in the game, we think this feature is a lot of fun. Friends will help you shape the story in a different and meaningful way. They have the ability to transform your own adventure. They can also give you information about what happened in their story. You can experience the whole story without inviting any friends.
148apps: How open-ended is the story? How many different endings will it offer? MC: The story has 6 different main endings arcs. However, each arc can and will be modified by the player’s decisions. Each one will be drastically modified by previous choices and by the final decisions. Different characters in the story can disappear or become insane for example. The changes can affect the environment on different scale, grand or small.
148apps: How simple will it be to create your own story? MC: At any time in the app, players can access our writing tool for free. They can either use it directly in the mobile app or on their computer. It is a simpler version of the tool we use. We want it to be as complete as possible. Users will be able to write their fiction, add choices, grant mental sanity points and implement card games in just a few clicks.
No development skills are required to create an interactive fiction; the writer will only need to have a clear idea of the kind of interactive fiction he or she wants to write. Writers can publish their stories directly through the app and will be rewarded if the story is well reviewed by other users.
The Moaning Words sounds like it’s shaping up to be quite an interesting twist on an increasingly popular genre. Keen to be a part of it? Take a look at their Kickstarter campaign for the pledge rewards available.
We’ll be sure to keep an eye on its development. It’s currently set for release later this year.
Behold Studios, creators of the IGF-nominated Knights of Pen & Paper are in the process of making their second game, Chroma Squad; a turn-based manager game that is heavily-inspired by the “sentai” shows of the 80′s and 90′s – such as Power Rangers. And of course, it will feature plenty of the pixel art that helped to define Knights of Pen & Paper as well.
148Apps: How did the idea of Chroma Squad come about? Saulo Camarotti (SC): After making a project like Knights of Pen & Paper, with a lot of references from our childhood, we thought that we could make a game with a theme that inspired us very much when we were ten. So, after thinking about the sentai team, we realized that we could go meta-language with it, and that came to the idea of managing a sentai TV studio.
148Apps: What are you attempting to do with the gameplay of Chroma Squad that you didn’t do with Knights of Pen & Paper? SC: We want more depth. We know that Knights is a great game, but it’s limited when you try to customize your experience. In Chroma Squad, we want that the player could customize everything in his studio, and make a sentai team of his dreams. So we’re planning in skill trees, items, color and jumpsuits options.
148Apps: Why go with Kickstarter for Chroma Squad? Did the popularity of Knights of Pen & Paper push you in one way or the other with this decision? SC: Yeah sure! We wanted to make a game with the help of the community. With a Kickstarter project we would listen to all feedback and promote a game where the community felt that they belong to it. We want to create a nostalgic experience, and for that, we need all the help. With the previous experience with Knights, we managed to get a lot of posts and reviews in major websites, and this was one the biggest reasons for our project success on Kickstarter.
148Apps: Now that the Kickstarter is a success, do you feel any different pressure in developing this game versus Knights of Pen & Paper? SC: Sure thing. When we did Knights, no one knew that the game was being developed, and no one had great expectations from our team. But now, we need to deliver what they expect us to. We really hope that we don’t frustrate any one =) For us, the game is already awesome!
Why target PC platforms before mobile this time around? SC: We wanted to make a deeper experience, and for that we wanted to use a bigger screen for the game. That’s why we’re just releasing it for PC, Consoles, and Tablets.
Thanks to Saulo for his time. If you’re interested in helping Behold Studios to get Chroma Squad (hopefully out in December of this year) funded, head on over to their Kickstarter page!
As a huge fan of interactive fiction thanks to a childhood full of Fighting Fantasy and Choose Your Own Adventure books, it’s been a pretty exciting time on the App Store of late. Besides Tin Man Games’s steady conquering of all things Fighting Fantasy, the release of Sorcery!, and Visual Baker’s Underground Kingdom, things have been kicked up a further notch.
Founder of the series, R.A. Montgomery and publisher, Shannon Gilligan.
That’s thanks to the latest Kickstarter campaign, focused on Choose Your Own Adventure books aimed at younger readers and now known as Choose ‘Toons. With the Kickstarter just launched, we took some time to chat to Shannon Gilligan, publisher at Chooseco.
“Choose ‘Toons are interactive cartoons, plain and simple. There are very abbreviated amounts of text at the choice points, but that’s it. Otherwise, you are watching an animated story, with choices!” explained Shannon.
The first app is based on Your Very Own Robot in which the reader uses their parents’ robot lab to put together a robot named Gus, leading to some entertaining mishaps. While Shannon told us that there are some “slight amendments and additions”, the app is set to follow the book “pretty faithfully”.
“It was interesting to adapt because I actually found that typical cable or Saturday morning cartoons are much more physically violent than what’s in our books,” Shannon noted. “It has something to do with watching vs. reading I think. And it’s nothing new. I watched Roadrunner as a kid and it’s quite violent, sometimes to the point of sadism. Our eyes are trained to be entertained which might demand certain kinds of less cerebral plot points.”
So, young readers and their parents should have nothing to worry about when it comes to the content of this forthcoming adaptation!
The Kickstarter comes with some fairly typical pledge awards, as well as some rather exciting high-end ones such as being able to pay to have one’s voice featured in the app. Most thrilling of all, though, has to be the one-off $10,000 pledge. Unlike anything else I’ve seen before, it gives the buyer their very own Choose Your Own Adventure for real. Throughout the campaign, backers and followers will be asked two questions each week, which will eventually lead to the adventure of a lifetime. While Shannon explained that Antarctica is out because of costs, pretty much everything else is up for grabs. Adventurous spirit and $10,000 to spare? You know what to do.
On a serious final note, anything that encourages kids and their families to read together has to be a hugely positive step. Even better, for this series, it looks set to combine nostalgia for the parents with new discoveries for the kids. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on this Kickstarter’s progress. For now, check out the campaign page if you’re interested in participating or you fancy a $10,000 adventure of a lifetime. The campaign ends on September 12.
I have very fond memories of seeing the sights of the world through a View-Master, with its fancy stereoscopic imagery. In a way, that’s the sort of thing that Poppy is set to offer, with the added bonus of users being able to create and share their own 3D videos, rather than be constricted to pieces of cardboard acting as film.
It’s the brainchild of Joe Heitzeberg and Ethan Lowry. Both previously have a solid background in software, with Ethan having co-founded Urbanspoon, and Joe establishing Snapvine and MediaPiston, but this is their first step into physical products.
“I’ve always been interested in products that let people express themselves and be creative,” explained Ethan. “At the same time, I love how the Viewmaster lets you lose yourself in another world. Poppy really came out of a desire to let people capture and share their own experiences in that same immersive way.”
It’s certainly proven to be a wise idea, given that Poppy hit its Kickstarter goal of $40,000 in less than 9 hours. As Ethan told us, “The success on Kickstarter has definitely exceeded our expectations. We’re thrilled that there will be thousands of people with a Poppy. [We] can’t wait to see how they use it.”
Sketches of the Design’s Evolution
The excitement is understandable, too. Poppy is set to be an inexpensive solution for those who love the look of technology such as the Oculus Rift, but not the price. Currently, for Kickstarter backers, Poppy only costs $49 with the full retail price set to be a respectable $69.
Despite that low price, Poppy looks like it’s going to offer a lot of functionality. A matter of placing one’s iPhone inside the device, the Poppy’s mirrors capture two stereographic images with the iPhone’s camera, before combining them into a single 3D video. It’s clever stuff, indeed.
Besides the photographic potential, users will be able to take in 3D imagery, such as the 3D videos available on YouTube, with future possibilities in the realm of augmented reality and in the use of other 3D applications. Indeed, numerous game developers have expressed an interest in the technology, so there’s the hope that Poppy could be used as part of a virtual reality world game in the future.
Currently, there’s still a little time to order the Poppy at the Kickstarter promotional price of $49 plus shipping, but for those who miss out on the offer (the campaign ends on Friday), Ethan told us that a pre-order system should be up after it ends. Bear in mind though, the price will be higher at $69 and Kickstarter backers will be shipped to first. The current plan is that Poppys will be shipped to backers around November/December time, with pre-orders to be shipped after that time.
Learn more about the project at the campaign page, and we’ll be sure to keep an eye on the Poppy’s progress in the future.
Hail Studios has launched a new Kickstarter campaign for a mobile twin-stick action RPG. The name of the game is Unnamed 101, which has a choice-driven story that’s set in a steampunk universe. Unnamed 101 has 22 days to go with a goal of $40,000, yet has only received a small amount so far. Be sure to check out the Kickstarter page to know the full details of the campaign!
By the way, if you back $100, you can receive a coffee mug! #ilovecoffee
Besides there being something intrinsically cool about having a projector and showing off imagery on a huge screen, it’s also immensely useful for a variety of different purposes. Portability isn’t a projector’s strong point, though. At least, that is until Bem Wireless came along with their new product: the Kickstand.
Currently, and rather appropriately, part of a Kickstarter campaign, the high-definition projector is both portable and packs quite a punch. It’s set to offer 720p resolution, with it possible to view media almost 96 inches across from 10 feet away. More conveniently, the light source used to project images will boast a 20,000+ hour lifespan, which should prove plenty of time for its users.
There’ll be an assimilated remote control too, doubling up as a lens cover for convenience and functionality. Connectivity is assured, as well, courtesy of an HDMI port, USB port and Auxiliary Audio Out.
The Kickstarter campaign has 17 days to go to reach its $100,000 goal. It’s a little distant at the moment, but for those keen to pledge, there’s quite a significant discount involved. Set to usually retail at $799, those who pledge now can get one for $750, along with a limited edition embroidered bag and a Bem t-shirt.
Mike Nakamura, co-founder of Bem Wireless, told us how going the Kickstarter route seemed like “a very interesting channel to speak to the consumer”, citing the “real passion” amongst those who get involved with the site. That passion is something that’s clearly come through in the design process at Bem, given the 5 months of “high energy” work it took to achieve the stylish look for the projector, and the strong focus on being inspired by what “made sense from a portability factor [as well as] ease of use”.
Bem Wireless seem pretty confident that regardless of what happens with the Kickstarter, the Kickstand will go ahead. As Mike put it, “One way or the other, I believe it will get to the consumer!” For those keen, though, I’d recommend taking the plunge now. The discounts available through pledging are quite good for a potentially invaluable device, both for business and personal purposes. Lower pledges can also reap users some great mobile speakers, as well as helping towards the Kickstand.
The Kickstarter currently has just over 2 weeks to run with plenty of useful backing options to consider. We just can’t resist cool looking product design here, so we’ll be sure to keep an eye on its progress. Check out the prototype testing video below.
Sometimes it seems like the majority of free-to-play games focus more on arbitrary time limits and less on actually making a compelling experience. Dave Calabrese, President and CEO of Cerulean Games, feels pretty much the same way. Not content with many of the current freemium sim-style games out there, he and his team set out to create something more akin to one of those meticulous “tycoon” style games that were all the rage back in the 90s. It’s a tall order, but it looks like Vineyard Valley is coming along quite nicely.
148Apps: What inspired you all to create a virtual free-to-play rendition of that “build a vineyard” dream most world-travelers seem to develop? Dave Calabrese (DC): This entire venture actually started because a friend of mine from school contacted me one evening. She informed me about a large community who used to play a game called My Vineyard. That game went offline over a year ago, however the community has been dying for something new, and nobody would listen. So I did the research, and felt it was a viable business direction! We spent 3 months just having fun and planning out something awesome. So we took all our notes – everything from the community, all of our own ideas, and ideas of what the general public wants and nobody is giving them – and assembled it into the Vineyard Valley that you see planned today!
148Apps: I see in your Kickstarter description that Vineyard Valley won’t be using typical free-to-play “pay to win” models or rely on energy. So how *are* you making use of the freemium model? Is it primarily through Vinos? And what exactly are Vinos, anyway? DC: We have a pretty cool system that we are using to monetize the game. We call it the Five Point monetization system. The concept is – as you may have guessed – something where we monetize on 5 separate levels. Only one of those actually has the players spending real money – and that is where Vinos come into play. You earn them by running your business properly, and you can purchase them using real money. Aside from that one and only currency exchange, the player won’t have to spend physical money – which allows us to keep it freemium. The other four methods incorporate partners, advertising and more.
148Apps: I’m intrigued by the more classic approach to a business sim you’re using for Vineyard Valley, especially the idea of trading wine between players. But why exactly would players want to buy and sell wine from each other? Is there some sort of added incentive to exchanging with someone else aside from simply seeing what other players have created? DC: Good question – and I think you are going to really dig the reason. Part of your vineyard is you have a shopping village. This shopping village is something you design and build just like anything else in the game. You start from essentially a wooden stand on the side of the road, and build it into a full blown village with shops, cafes and more. This is where some of that classic business sim comes into play. Your vineyard in the game – just like when you go to a real life vineyard – sells bottles of wine. This wine shop is located in your shopping village. You choose what is sold there. Now, each wine will have a type of rating which denotes its quality, uniqueness and more. Say you create a wine that has a very high rating. You can choose to put a bunch of its bottles in your shopping village, however you could also sell a bunch of bottles to your friends. Just like in classic business sims such as Theme Park, NPC visitors come and tour your vineyard, and shop in the shopping village. The higher rated wine you have, the more it will attract more visitors. Not just rating, but also the proper time for the right wine – a pumpkin wine might attract more visitors around Halloween, while a refreshing Ice Wine might attract more visitors in the middle of summer.
148Apps: Since you’re obviously trying to avoid making Vineyard Valley too much like the majority of other freemium sims, what other games might you be using for inspiration? My guess is older PC business/tycoon titles, which I’m all kinds of okay with. DC: Exactly, older business sims. Specifically, the original Theme Park from the mid-90s. Today’s business sims are nothing more than seeing how well you can follow the leader while mindless clicking things. See, that’s also what made My Vineyard different – there was a lot more you could do than just mindlessly click and follow the leader. We’re of course staying as far away from cloning My Vineyard as possible, however the base inspiration is still there – design and build in a sandbox environment, and have fun with your friends.
148Apps: Are there any pointers you’d like to share with prospective winery managers eager to jump in to Vineyard Valley once it’s released? DC: Once you finish watching the game introduction (yes, the game has an ongoing story), think through the base options and decide on the initial kinds of fruit crops and wines you want to develop. Just like the wine, you can also sell and trade the raw ingredients with your friends. Maybe your vineyard will specialize in grapes along with citrus fruits, while your friend’s vineyard specializes in grapes and stone fruits. That’s a great opportunity to trade with each other. Maybe you will also become an expert in citrus fruits and have very special fruit types available that others won’t so easily get…
Thanks to Dave for setting aside a few minutes to discuss digital wine with us. Anyone interested in backing Vineyard Valley’s multiplatform development can do so on its Kickstarter page, and the sooner it gets funded the sooner we can all presumably start with the fruit fermentation.
CatLand turns your smartphone into a virtual kitten that can interact with the real world. You will be able to take care of your pet by visiting real locations. If your pet is hungry, you’ll need to visit a restaurant. You can also visit a library to teach your pet new skills and a mall to provide it with entertainment. There are even secret locations that will affect your pet in a unique way. Thankfully, you don’t need to be at a restaurant every day to feed your pet as it takes 10 days before virtual kitty goes to virtual heaven. Still, be a good owner!
CatLand has launched its Kickstarter campaign which has a goal of $15,000 dollars that will be used to complete the development process of the game. If you want a virtual pet on your iPhone, Tamagotchi style, then you should check out this campaign.