Here’s a crazy thought: with commercial game kits (game source code products) being popular and financially rewarding – why not crowd-fund an iOS game by selling it’s source code, resources and development insights while you’re creating it?
Marcus and I will give this idea a spin. Marcus is a game designer I worked with at Electronic Arts Phenomic for 6 years. I’m sure you know me. Together we’re going to create a tilemap-based physics game using cocos2d and KoboldScript (Lua scripting for cocos2d). And we are going to sell everything we’ll create practically from day one.
If that sounds even slightly intruiging to you, we’d love to get your feedback!
Visit the launch page and take our survey which has already helped us tremendously to focus on what’s important for you. For example I’ve converted the entire KoboldScript library to use ARC seeing how important ARC is to you.
But do keep on reading for more details …
No one has dared to sell and teach the experience of creating a game in order to finance the game itself. But why not? The two biggest concerns are the idea might get stolen, or a competing game using the same technology might steal the show.
We’re not worried about someone stealing our game idea – for one the Simpsons already did it! And if the game is successful Zynga will steal it anyway. Actually we’d be grateful to get THAT attention!
We’re not worried about giving others a head start with our technology either. If you create a new technology, you have a natural advantage in using the technology. And we like to get KoboldScript in your hands early so we learn the best ways to improve it. At the end it will be a product in itself, and therefore sharing the technology is mutually beneficial.
As supporter, you get the game project and all of the project’s source code like in a regular game kit. But we’re also giving you access to all the documents we create. You’re going to experience the progress we make first hand. You’re going to get to see the design experiments we undertake to figure out what’s fun and what isn’t. You’re going to learn about the tools and tricks we use to speed up development.
You’re going to get to know all the things going on behind the scenes. We’re going to create regular video presentations about new features, changes to the code, game design experiments, web design, marketing, the tools we use, new artwork, behind the scenes stories and more. We’re going to be responsive to your questions and suggestions.
What’s more, before the game is published to the App Store we’ll charge only 50% of the regular price, you’ll get updates for a lifetime, early access to KoboldScript, you can share the product with your entire development team (site license) and you can create a game using the same game idea and assets – minus certain assets we like to use exclusively, for example our logos, main characters, theme music and such.
The Technologies & Features
Although we don’t have a complete game design – nor do we want to commit to one just yet – we do know or determined certain inevitable technical parameters and features that we’re going to utilize and implement.
o Cocos2D for iPhone v2.0 (Kobold2D v2.0)
o KoboldScript (Lua scripting for cocos2d, via SWIG)
o Physics (Box2D or Chipmunk – depending on your feedback)
o Automatic Reference Counting (ARC)
o Orthogonal Tilemaps (created with Tiled Map Editor)
o Tilemap HD/SD resolution converter (on-the-fly or tool)
o Game Center (Achievements & Leaderboards)
o In-App Purchases (free to play, pay for additional content)
o Universal App (iPhone & iPad) with Retina support
There are other things we could use or build, but they’re not among the critical features. Take our survey to influence our decisions in the right direction.
There may also be a few surprises in terms of workflow tools that I intend to build to speed up development. Marcus is not an Xcoder – I have a few ideas how I can make it easier for him to make gameplay changes, add or remove resource files, and run tests. If they pan out as planned you’ll benefit from those too.
• 3rd Party Tools
o Tiled Map Editor (free)
o TexturePackerPro ($25)
o PhysicsEditor ($20)
o Glyph Designer ($30)
o Particle Designer ($8)
o SWIG for Lua bindings (free)
The 3rd party tools are what we’re going to use. You are not required to use or buy any or all of them, but we highly recommend using them. You can certainly use different tools. The only downside is that you won’t be able to load the data/settings files created by these tools.
The development of the game is planned to take about 3-4 months. We don’t have a deadline but we’d be stupid not to submit the game to the App Store in time for the Xmas season.
I will work on the game technologies side of things full time, that means gameplay code, KoboldScript and documentation. Marcus and an artist will spend their free time after their day job working for a social webgame development studio. That is impressive dedication to the profession.
After release of the game we like to continue updating the game and source code product based on player feedback and of course depending on sales. We’ll definitely continue to improve KoboldScript, regardless of the game’s success or lack thereof. In the latter case, I’m sure we learned enough to make a better, more fun game the second time.
We also have great ideas we like to be doing after the game’s release. But first things first …
In turn we hope that this unique approach will also help to market our game and turn KoboldScript into something awesome. We have a tiny budget and BIG plans – so let’s give it a shot!
Go to www.koboldscript.com and sign up to the mailing list. If you can spare 5 minutes of your time, we appreciate it if you also take the survey.
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