AI War 2 Kickstarter Campaign, Take Two.

You might remember Arcen Games‘ first AI War 2 Kickstarter campaign. I wrote about it when the campaign launched, and while I threw quite a lot of money Arcen’s way, I didn’t really think they would reach their very ambitious $299,400 funding goal in time.

When people say “I hate to say I told you so”, they rarely really do. But when Arcen Games founder Chris Park cancelled the campaign on November 10, I felt really bad for him. I don’t know Chris personally, and I’ve never talked to the guy. Still, by following what he’s been doing to promote both his company and the AI War 2 Kickstarter campaign, it’s obvious that this is a man who lives and breathes for making games he really believes in. Park is not a guy who gives up, and lays down in the fetal position under a desk when the world kicks him in the nuts.

Instead, he goes back to the drawing board, takes good advice from the people around him, and returns with a new, better, and refined AI War 2 Kickstarter campaign.

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The AI War 2 Campaign is Now on Kickstarter.

Arcen Games entered the strategy game stage in 2009 with AI War: Fleet Command. The genre confused grand strategic 4X tower defense RTS title turned a lot of heads in a time when great strategy games weren’t exactly in abundance.

AI War has received no less than 6 expansions since the release in 2009. Arcen Games has developed a number of other games as well, but none of them have seen the same level of success as their inaugural release. Their latest endeavor, In Case Of Emergency, Release Raptor, failed to meet sales expectations, and is now available as a free-to-play game.

In Arcen founder Chris Park’s autopsy of the Release Raport failure, he revealed that the company’s next project would be a sequel to AI War. Now the campaign has finally launched on Kickstarter, which means you can start throwing money at it.

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The Norlan Whisky Glass.

I can’t quite figure out if the Norlan guys are for real, or if it’s just a very elaborate hoax. Either way; now I want a glass of whisky.

I’m tempted to pledge a few bucks to their Kickstarter campaign, because the glasses look really cool. But the imminent failure of one of my more expensive crowdfunding endeavors have made me a little bit more cautious with who and what I throw my hard earned money at.

Is it all just a load of hipster and highbrow bullshit, or do the features of the Norlan glass actually have any basis in reality? Have a look at the campaign and judge for yourself.

Planetary Annihilation Collector’s Edition.

Planetary Annihilation was once the greatest financial success story in the computer games category on Kickstarter. When the campaign was launched back in August 2012, creator Uber Entertainment had nothing except for a concept video and a need for $900,000. It was a long shot, but with promises of Total Annihilation-inspired gameplay on a planetary scale, and planets with rocket thrusters, the PA campaign quickly gained massive traction. After 30 days, Uber Entertainment had raked in an impressive $2,229,344.

I was one of the 44,162 backers who got caught in the headlights of the shiny Planetary Annihilation campaign. Not only did I pledge enough to get the game as a digital download when it was released, I also got access to the alpha and beta versions, the opportunity to name a planet in the game (I named it “vegard”, of course) and a physical collector’s edition game box. All in all, I threw $175 at the campaign, more than ten times what I’d usually spend on a game.

Then the waiting game started. Two years later, in early September 2014, after over a year on Steam Early Access and numerous delays, Planetary Annihilation was officially launched. But the reception was mixed. While the game had some original ideas, it turned out that it was quite hard to implement them. Planetary warfare, for instance, sounds great, but it’s very hard for the player to handle such a vast battlefield. Also, the game lacked a proper tutorial, and for a complex game like Planetary Annihilation, a good tutorial is essential to give new players – at least those of us who prefer single player – a little help to get off the ground.

The Kickstarter backers didn’t responds too well to what Planetary Annihilation turned out to be. In fact, when Uber Entertainment, just one month after the Planetary Annihilation launch, created a new Kickstarter campaign, Human Resources, it quickly became apparent that the campaign would bomb. The timing was terrible – players were using most of their time complaining about Planetary Annihilation – and the Human Resources campaign was pretty much created using the same mold as the campaign for Planetary Annihilation: No actual gameplay, just a lavish concept video and stellar promises of “insanely huge battles”.

But gamers tend not to allow themselves to be fooled twice1, and just shy of three weeks in to the campaign, Uber Entertainment admitted defeat and cancelled Human Resources.

It’s safe to say that Planetary Annihilation did not live up to the high expectations set by Uber Entertainment themselves both during the Kickstarter campaign and later during the development process. Now that the company has finally managed to provide their higher tier backers with physical rewards, can the arrival of the Planetary Annihilation Collector’s Edition make up for the disappointment?

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Kung Fury.

What do you do if you have started work on an over-the-top action comedy featuring arcade-robots, dinosaurs, nazis, vikings, norse gods, mutants, but need money to finish the project? You turn to Kickstarter, of course.

That’s exactly the situation David Sandberg found himself in late 2013. He had started work on a project called Kung Fury, spent $5,000 out of his own pocket, but was running out of money. On Kickstarter, he asked for $200,000 to finish a 30 minutes version of the movie, but the internet decided they really wanted to see a movie about the super kung fu-cop called Kung Fury, and threw well over $600,000 at Sandberg.

Now it looks like he has actually delivered on his promises. The movie was released yesterday, and it has already racked over 3 million views on YouTube. Enjoy:

There’s also a Kung Fury game available on Steam: Kung Fury: Street Rage.