Life After Navdy

Navdy was a brilliant piece of hardware. Unfortunately, the company has gone belly up, and now my Navdy is just a very expensive paper weight. Or is it?

Back in 2014, I pre-ordered a Navdy unit, an automotive head-up-display (HUD). We owned a Škoda Superb at the time1, and while it was a great car overall, it lacked a lot in the user interface and navigation department.

As with most cars, you had to take your eyes off the road to get any information about the car. The Navdy HUD solved this by projecting everything you needed to know in your line-of-sight. The brilliant device connected to the car via the OBD II port, and used that information to show about how the vehicle was doing. With Navdy, there was no need to move your attention from the road to know how fast you were driving, or how much fuel was in the tank.

Navdy also connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth. This opened up a wide range of features compared to what Škoda, and most other car manufacturers, provided at the time. Navdy provided turn-by-turn navigation using Google Maps, a smooth Spotify integration, phone notifications and more.

With support for both hand gestures and voice commands, operating Navdy was a breeze. Skipping to the next Spotify song was done by simply swiping your hand to the right.

Navdy was a genius piece of high quality hardware and software. Unfortunately, Navdy didn’t manage to bring in enough money to keep the company afloat, and in December 2017 it was bankrupt.

Do You Even Understand How Crowdfunding Works?

So you think you understand how crowdfunding works? Spoiler alert: You don’t. Now let me enlighten you so you don’t look like a dumb-ass.

Crowdfunding is a brilliant way for individuals and companies to raise money for a project they want to get going. Not everyone can – or will – go the venture capitalist route, and for them, sites like Kickstarter is an alternative way to fund their adventures.

The Kickstarter posts I’ve published over the last year have been exclusively about the dark side of crowdfunding. They have told the stories about game development campaigns that have either failed miserably, or are long overdue on their estimated delivery dates.

Although it might very well look like it, I’m not trying to shame anyone (too much) in these posts. Software projects are incredibly complex endeavors, and getting everything you promised delivered on time is basically impossible1.

In this post, however, I’ll do something a little different. I won’t focus on the crowdfunding campaigns themselves. Instead, we’ll turn the spotlight the people pledging to them. A lot of these people don’t seem to understand how crowdfunding actually works, and it’s really grinding my gears!

The New Atari VCS – Is It Really Happening!?

Can the long awaited Atari VCS take Atari back to its heydays, or will it be the company’s doom?

I was absolutely sure I’d posted about the new Atari VCS in the past. Since I couldn’t find the post, I though that perhaps I’d shared an article about it on my Twitter feed. But I couldn’t find it on Twitter either! Then I realized I’d shared an article on Facebook, and that post was deleted with my Facebook account. So let me tell you about the Atari VCS right here, right now!

If you’re a nerd of the late 70’s and early 80’s, there’s a good chance you remember the Atari 2600. The 8-bit home video game console was the first commercially successful unit with microprocessor-based hardware, and games stored on ROM cartridges. Atari, Inc. sold over 30 million units during the console’s 14 year lifespan.

Quite a lot has happened to Atari, Inc. since the Atari 2600 was released1. The company was split up into a software and a hardware company, which were then sold, sold again, and sold some more, before going bust, then being re-born with another Atari-name.

Today’s Atari is a mere shadow of its former self. But perhaps the planned re-issue of the Atari 2600 can take the company back to its heydays?

Core Worlds Digital

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and I’ll just continue to naïvely throw money at campaigns on Kickstarter.

As you probably know by now, Kickstarter is one of my favorite sites. As one of the first crowdfunding sites, it enables people with a good idea a delusional fantasy to find the money to turn their mushroom induced hallucination into something real. Not everything Kickstarter touches turns into gold, though. Campaigners more often than not underestimate the scope of their plans. That leads to massive delays when the project is funded, and the actual work starts. Sometimes, the project even derails completely, and while most of them don’t turn into a spectacular train-wreck the size of Confederate Express, there is often some entertainment value in the aftermath.

Here’s a look at another Kickstarter campaign I pledged to that promised the moon, but turned into hot air: Core Worlds Digital.

Shallow Space: Insurgency

Do you remember Homeworld? I sure do. I played the hell out of the original Homeworld, the Cataclysm expansion and Homeworld 2. The franchise is without doubt my favorite science fiction 3D real time strategy franchises set in space. But that’s a very limited niche, to be honest, and there hasn’t been many games in that particular genre since. One of the few games is Ancient Space, which looked very promising, but only received mixed reviews. Also, remastered versions of Homeworld and Homeworld 2 were recently released in the Homeworld Remastered Collection, but I haven’t touched those – for once I’ll let a fond memory stay a fond memory. At least until the collection is on sale for 75% off.

Now there is another game in the works that fits the description: Shallow Space: Insurgency. The game has been Greenlit on Steam and it’s among the most popular projects on IndieDB. The developer, Special Circumstance Games, is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to get “a burst of funding to polish up the game, pay some of our contractors, and acquire the needed assets”. Unfortunately, the campaign doesn’t look too encouraging right now. Well over half way through their campaign, they have only raised 10% of the funds they are asking for, and with a fixed funding campaign, it’s unlikely that they will see any money coming in.

Compared to many other games that seek crowdfunding, Shallow Space: Insurgency actually has a playable demo available. It’s far from feature complete, but I hope it gives an idea of what kind of game it will be when it’s finally released.