Kickstarter Spotlight: Pixel Sand

Kickstarter Spotlight: Pixel Sand

Feb 1, 2012

Editor’s Note: Kickstarter Spotlight is a new weekly column spotlighting promising Android-related Kickstarter projects. Have any suggestions for projects to be featured on Kickstarter Spotlight? Leave them in the comments or send an email to the author.

The great thing about Kickstarter is its ability to give under-funded app developers a chance to create great, innovative apps. Last week I wrote a blog post about a great website called Kickstarter, and in it I mentioned a developing app, Pixel Sand. There are a few “falling sand” games scattered around the internet, and for those unfamiliar with them, they are basically an open sandbox with small particles that react to gravity and to each other. These particles can be anything from water to fire to nitroglycerin. Here, take a look. The problem with these games, other then being a black hole to free-time, is that there has never been a foray into expanding these games from simple sandbox to full, story driven, co-op titles. As is probably obvious by now, one man, Trevor Sundberg, is trying to tackle this very thing. Already with a working game for the PC, Xbox, and Windows Phone 7, Trevor is trying to expand his game by adding a campaign and of course, expanding to iOS and the little green robot.

The proposed new game elements are genius and are sure to have users stretching the limits of the platform. As I stated in my earlier review of Apparatus, from prior experiences with games such as Little Big Planet, Halo, and Minecraft there are no limits to what the community can create if given the right tools. Seriously, click on those links, the Minecraft one specifically is that perfect internet mix of impressive and sad.

That is what makes the stunningly simple inclusion of electricity so smart; it is such a simple yet absent addition in the few other “games” in this genre. Other great elements include power-ups and doors that only open after a select number of coins has been collected. I personally am excited to see some of the user-generated content, and one thing that is a definite is that someone, somewhere will re-create the iconic first Super Mario Bros. level.

Unfortunately, as of now, Pixel Sand still needs funding. There is still time, however, and I strongly encourage everyone to click on the link in this post, head over to Kickstarter and help this game out because it deserves to be realized to its full potential.

KickStarter: The Perfect Opportunity for Small Developers

KickStarter: The Perfect Opportunity for Small Developers

Jan 27, 2012

The hardest part of creating a breakout app from your great idea is finding funding. Let’s face it, if you’re independently wealthy the odds of you going out of your way to create the next Angry Birds are small. Most of the greatest games on the Xbox Live Arcade, Apple App Store, and, of course, the Android Market are indie games: pet projects of people risking a lot on the success of these innovative games. Competition necessitates innovation; this is what drives the gaming industry. Sure, EA can manufacture hundreds of sub-par mobile puzzle games, but the real innovation comes from startups; young college kids looking to get their foot in the door with some novel idea. A quick look at the top 24 paid games in the Android Market shows just 9 titles by the traditional big players in gaming: EA, Gameloft, and Rockstar. Of these nine titles, six of them are remakes of classic games like UNO, Monopoly, the Sims, and GTA III. Look up the Wikipedia page for EA and then look at the Wiki for the developer of one of the most popular games on the Market, ‘Cut the Rope’. That’s right. Two whole sentences.

What I’m saying is that people love fresh, indie games, but getting backing for indie games – similar to movies – is hard and usually frustrating. That’s where an increasingly popular start-up called KickStarter comes in. You’ve probably seen them on the news or read about them online; they’re a great tool for anyone looking to get an idea off the ground. What KickStarter does is provides a place for normal people to help fund a startup. Instead of getting one company to invest $10,000 into the next Braid, KickStarter allows 1000 people to each invest 10 dollars. For your payment there are tiered rewards that are chosen by the developer. For donating over $5.00 you might get a personalized hand-written letter, and for going over $25, maybe an advanced copy of the product. These tiers go all the way up to $1,000 which could include a trip out to the launch party (not that I have $1000 to throw at a cool project). The way KickStarter regulates this system is by a.) Approving every application that is submitted and b.) Making it that if a project doesn’t reach its target amount in it’s allotted time then no money is given and the backers don’t pay anything. It’s kind of a cutthroat system, but it is a necessity.

KickStarter is the perfect opportunity for Android developers, building a fan base while also funding your project. One promising Android project that needs your help is Pixel Sand. As you can see with their video, this developer is attempting to revolutionize the relatively new falling-sand genre by adding unprecedented RPG, puzzle, and mulitiplayer elements to it. Other, non-app products include an initially impressive phone grip, iSLIC and the already funded phone platform/tripod adaptor Capta. KickStarter also allows developers to expand their business and work on developing for multiple platforms. A perfect example is an already-profitable PC game Hexxaxix XXI. Reaching the goal on KickStarter would allow for this game to be available for download across a large range of platforms including Sony’s new Play Station Vita.

So I encourage all of you to check out all the projects on KickStarter, not just Android ones. There are plenty of great projects out there that just need a little “kick” to get “started.”