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Glorkian Warrior vs Dino Run 2: Crowdfunding before and after Double Fine

Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork is a different game than the one Pixeljam promised in its Kickstarter campaign. It's not unrecognizable – the Saturday-morning-cartoon artwork is still done by graphic novelist James Kochalka and it still stars a three-eyed alien blasting baddies from the sky, but the adventure aspect Pixeljam wanted in Glorkian Warrior didn't make it to the final game.

"We really wanted the Glorkian Warrior to have an epic journey, blasting aliens like Galaga, rolling around like Sonic, exploring like Metroid, making the player feel they were inside one of James' comics," Pixeljam co-founder Miles Tilmann tells Joystiq. "How we thought we could get this going with just $10K, I honestly have no idea. Somehow at the time we thought it was possible. It's interesting how the sheer excitement of starting a new project and raising money for it can make you blind to what's actually realistic."

Pixeljam's Kickstarter campaign concluded on March 22, 2010, after raising $11,200, and Glorkian Warrior launched on March 13, 2014. That timeframe is relevant for two reasons: Pixeljam took to crowdfunding before Double Fine Adventure broke down the barriers for gaming Kickstarters in 2012, and four years is a long time to keep backers waiting for a game.

"A couple of backers have told us that it was worth the wait, which is the best compliment we could possibly receive for the game," Tilmann says. "It reinforces the idea that the backers were simply excited to help us make something with James Kochalka, and were less picky about what the game would actually do. I think that's only the case with niche or small-budget projects, though. If something that raised $100K+ on Kickstarter took four years to deliver and didn't do everything that the original plan entailed, there would be much more of a backlash."

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Microsoft announces Age of Empires: World Domination for mobile

We've known since last summer that Microsoft was looking to bring its Age of Empires series to mobile, but earlier this week we were given an official announcement and title. The game, which is being developed by KLab, is called Age of Empires: World Domination. It's coming to iOS, Android and Windows devices this summer. You can check out the announcement trailer above.

Unfortunately, there's not much else to go on at the moment, other than the game will feature Celts, Huns, Vikings and Franks. It's not clear if gameplay will follow in the series' traditional real-time strategy footsteps or be something else, but the trailer promises "an all new battle system reimagined for mobile."

Cry havoc and let slip the fingertips of war.
[Image: Microsoft]

Harmonix's free-to-play Record Run planned for May release

Record Run, Harmonix's free-to-play, rhythmic runner that builds stages from the music library on a player's device, was announced yesterday at PAX East 2014. According to Polygon, project director John Drake announced today that the mobile game will reach Australia and Canada within a few weeks, with a wider launch on Android and iOS devices following in May.

As a song progresses, players will switch between lanes of pavement to snatch up levitating discs of vinyl. Aside from accumulating a massive record collection, Record Run-ners can take on missions with more specific objectives, like collecting a certain amount of records or points. Weekly leaderboards are planned as well, but all-time scores will also be viewable.
[Image: Harmonix]

The Internet is your storytelling campfire in Storium [Update]

Ever tell ghost stories around a campfire? Or recount your life's adventures at a party? Storium by Stephen Hood aims to recreate those experiences, with the Internet acting not only as your audience, but your collaborators. You begin by choosing a world with a unique setting and history, and from there, create your own tale to tell within it. Other players can then join in on your story, contributing their own characters and actions.

The game is focused on writing, but mixes in game mechanics such as cards representing characters, items, obstacles and goals to keep players focused and the story moving forward. Think of it like a session of Dungeons & Dragons where the focus is less on killing monsters and more on acting out a scene.

The game has already been funded via Kickstarter, though more funding means more worlds for users to play in. So far, Storium is supporting worlds and settings like Bram Stoker's Dracula, a Red Dawn-like world where Russians invade the US, post-WW2 Los Angeles, and a near future where criminals and law enforcement alike alter their genes to become superhuman. There are no solid release windows or platforms given on the game's Kickstarter page, but it is advertised that players will be able to access Storium "with just your computer, tablet, or smartphone."

Update: Joystiq reached out to Storium creator Stephen Hood for more details, and he has responded. While backers who donate $10 or more gain instant access to the Storium beta, the public launch is expected in November. Storium is also browser-based instead of a standalone client, so any compatible browser, be it on your smartphone, tablet, PC or other device, should work.
[Image: Storium / Stephen Hood]

Harmonix announces 'rhythm-runner' Record Run for mobile

Harmonix announced the development of a new free-to-play game at PAX East in Boston today called Record Run. Described by the developer as a "rhythm-runner," the game is "coming soon" to as-yet-undetermined mobile platforms.

Record Run features gameplay that compares to Gaijin Games' Bit.Trip series, according to Harmonix head Alex Rigopulos. The game uses songs from players' mobile devices as the backdrop for its levels, which features a character running down a sidewalk, avoiding obstacles and collecting music records, all seen during Rigopulous' presentation. He noted that Harmonix has "lots of other irons in the fire on mobile" aside from Record Run.
[Image: Harmonix]

Four new tables join Star Wars Pinball on April 29

Zen Studios continues to expand its nigh-ubiquitous virtual pinball offerings with the April 29 debut of four additional tables for Star Wars Pinball.

Included in the quartet of tables, collectively dubbed "Heroes Within," are Han Solo, Star Wars: Episode 4 - A New Hope, Star Wars Pinball: Masters of the Force, and, newly-revealed today, Star Wars Pinball: Droids. As its name suggests, that last one is a table focused on the adventures of R2D2 and C3PO. While you'd think an effete stereotype and a beeping trash can would live sedate lives, as the trailer above demonstrates, our plucky metallic duo must contend with Jawas and inexplicably dangerous machinery while attempting to escape the iconic Sandcrawler.

Though no price has been assigned to the Heroes Within DLC, Zen Studios notes that these four tables will be available to all Star Wars Pinball platforms on April 29.

Hitman Go launches April 17 on iOS, Android 'shortly after'

Square Enix Montreal will launch mobile strategy game Hitman Go on iOS on Thursday, April 17. Based on the publisher's popular Hitman series, the diorama-style, turn-based game will cost $5 (£3 / 4.50 euros). Announced in February, the first game from the developer has players navigating fixed, grid-like spaces while using familiar tools from the series, such as Agent 47's Silverballers.

Hitman Go will include eight special "Curtains Down" levels based on Hitman: Blood Money. While Square Enix didn't set a release date for it, the Android version of the game will arrive "shortly after" it launches on the App Store.
[Image: Square Enix]

Minecraft Pocket Edition chips off 21 million copies

Minecraft Pocket Edition has sold more than 21 million copies, developer Jens Bergensten says in a tweet. To celebrate this ridiculously large number, the Minecraft mobile team will host a live panel broadcast from Mojang offices on Monday, April 14, allowing fans to ask them anything. Whether they'll answer anything is up to them.

Players can submit questions to this reddit thread. Mojang will pick the best ones and address them live online – there's no specific time for the stream yet, but it will be archived. Mojang says to check the site for more info as it comes in.

"We're extremely grateful to all players for your dedication and creativity," Mojang writes. "Without that, Minecraft wouldn't be anywhere near as significant as it is today."

Minecraft recently passed 12 million sales on Xbox 360 and 14 million on PC. In its first month on PS3, Minecraft hit 1 million sales. In total, Minecraft has sold roughly 576 squidillion copies across all platforms.
[Image: Mojang]

Digital board game Armello blends furry critters with strategy-RPG mechanics

Australian indie developer League of Geeks announced the upcoming release of Armello, a digital board game and strategy-RPG hybrid due to launch in 2015 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS.

As we previously saw at GDC, gameplay in Armello unfolds in the context of a multiplayer board game with card-based mechanics. Players choose among multiple playable clans, and can forge temporary alliances with other players as they quest for a ruling seat at the royal palace. Defining gameplay components include a day/night cycle, a dice-rolling combat system, and an in-depth equipment system that can be managed between turns.

Armello seeks $200,000 AUD to reach its initial funding goal. Ports for Android and Windows tablets are also being considered, pending stretch goal funding.

[Video: League of Geeks]

Game of Thrones: Ascent studio developing strategic mobile Star Trek game

Disruptor Beam, the developers behind Game of Thrones: Ascent, announced the development of Star Trek Timelines today. Published by CBS, Star Trek Timelines is a story-driven strategy RPG for iOS, Android and browsers in which players explore galaxies and resolve conflicts through diplomacy, combat and science. Players will build a starship and crew and go on missions with characters from the many series of Star Trek TV shows and movies.

The studio's CEO, Jon Radoff wrote a blog on the developer's site detailing its vision for the multiplayer game, comparing it to Game of Thrones: Ascent. While Radoff said the game will be familiar to Game of Thrones players, Star Trek Timelines will feature a "more immersive exploration system" as well as "a more detailed tactical system" for conflict resolution. Disruptor Beam currently doesn't have a release schedule for the game.
[Image: Disruptor Beam]

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Cartoon Network publishing Kickstarted Zelda-like Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake

Indie developer SleepNinja will get a little help to bring Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake to Steam and mobile devices later this year, as it agreed to a publishing deal with Cartoon Network Games, the publisher confirmed to Joystiq. The developer earned $26,091 on Kickstarter in February 2013, enough to reach a stretch goal that will bring the game to Android in addition to PC, Mac and iOS.

"Cartoon Network have been great to work with and have definitely kept our backers in mind," SleepNinja Creative Director Justin Baldwin said via email. "Our publishing deal with them will not affect our backer's rewards; everyone will still be getting what was promised, and the game they were promised."

Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is an "environmental puzzler" in the same vein as Nintendo's Legend of Zelda series that features a colorful 16-bit aesthetic that "doesn't rely on pixel art." While Cartoon Network Games primarily focuses on games related to its current properties such as Adventure Time, Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake will be its first original IP on Steam. Cartoon Network said it plans to publish "more than 10 mobile titles and at least four on Steam."

Telepathic crime and noir stealth due in spring with Third Eye Crime

Third Eye Crime, the telepathic stealth game from a team of former Bungie developers at Moonshot Games, is due out in spring for mobile devices from publisher gameblyr. Moonshot will have a playable iOS build at PAX East later this week.

Third Eye Crime stars Rothko, a criminal with the ability to predict the moves of his enemies – Rothko must use his telepathic powers to set up false leads for the authorities, allowing him to get away with nasty deeds. It's top-down puzzle and stealth in a noir setting, and it was almost a completely different game.

Moonshot Games entered the indie industry with Fallen Frontier, a downloadable co-op shooter for consoles, but funding fell through. Moonshot switched up its business plan, targeting the mobile market, and until now it funded Third Eye Crime from the team's own pockets.

"Post-PAX [2011] we came to the grim realization that the market had shifted pretty substantially since we first started working on the game," Moonshot co-founder Damian Isla said in 2013. "The console downloadable platforms had plateaued somewhat, and publishers were less excited about investing there. A game that had sold itself easily the first two times all of a sudden became a much harder sell the third time. By that time, the real interest and the accompanying dollars seemed to had moved on to mobile and social."

We'll see if Moonshot is still on the right path with Third Eye Crime in spring.
[Images: gameblyr]

Frozen Synapse to form strategies on iPhone this year

Frozen Synapse, Mode 7 Games' top-down, turn-based tactical strategy game that challenges players to not get shot, is using its next turn to head toward your iPhone. Mode 7's Paul Taylor shared the news on Twitter, adding that while he wasn't sure of a specific release date, he expects the port's release should "definitely be by the end of the year."

Previously available on PC, Mac, Android and iPad, Frozen Synapse lets players work through a campaign or try and outwit a friend's strategy in its multiplayer modes. With destructible sections and varied weapons including explosives, Frozen Synapse seems like the sort of game where a strategy can crumble in a single, well-played turn from your opposition.
[Mode 7 Games]

Halo co-creator gets $5 million investment for tablet shooter

Accel Partners has invested $5 million into Alex Seropian's startup studio, Industrial Toys. Seropian previously co-founded Bungie, where he acted as President and CEO during the creation of Halo: Combat Evolved. His new game, Midnight Star, looks to be something of a spiritual successor to the Halo games; a sci-fi first-person shooter (with some familiar imagery, judging by screenshots) for tablets.

Accel has previously invested in studios like Rovio (Angry Birds) and Supercell (Clash of Clans). A representative of the company told GamesBeat that the investment was "about the game," and that "[Industrial Toys] have a vision and focus on quality. They made their first product on a scrappy budget, but it is going to be very polished."

Seropian also commented to GamesBeat, saying that it seems "obvious" that core gamers will migrate from consoles to mobile platforms.
[Image: Industrial Toys]

Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff destroys Quahog next week

Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff is due out for iOS and Android devices on April 10. It's free-to-play and comes from FOX Digital Entertainment and TinyCo.

The story (yes, there is a story) follows Peter and other Quahog residents as they attempt to rebuild the city after Peter destroys it in a fight with the Giant Chicken. You can make a living in Quahog and send characters on "ridiculous adventures," TinyCo says. Given it's a Family Guy game, the "ridiculous" part is a tad redundant.

Watch a robot play Threes better than you can, live on Twitch

Threes is the adorable, addictive puzzler from Greg Wohlwend and Asher Vollmer, neither of whom are robots. Team Colorblind is the studio behind Aztez, the bloody beat-em-up in development for next-gen platforms and Steam, and no one in that group is a robot, either.

Threesus, also known as Threepio, is a robot, and it's playing Threes live on game broadcasting platform Twitch right now - and it's doing a really good job. Matthew Wegner, one half of Team Colorblind, designed the robot playing Threes, while Way designer Walt Destler programmed the AI's logic.

We enjoy Threes very much, but we've never reached the ridiculous numbers this robot can. A lot of other people haven't, either: Less than half of players have seen the tile 384, but Threepio has made it to the thousands. So far.

Get your own private Spaceteam in new funding 'experiment'

The developer of Spaceteam is creating a funding club, of sorts, for fans sucked in by the game's exuberant blend of starship management and verbal gibberish. The iOS and Android hit hinges on loud cooperation, with players getting just a section of the ship's control panel on their screens and bellowing orders that would barely make sense on Star Trek. That bold spirit of cooperation is being sought for the "Spaceteam Admiral's Club," a Kickstarter that seeks to ensure a year's worth of free games.

Dubbed an "experiment" by Spaceteam designer Henry Smith, the Admiral's Club is asking for $80,000 CAD to create several free games – for everyone, not just backers. "I want to continue making interesting, accessible games but I don't want to charge money for them," Smith says. "I want them to be free, for everyone. By joining the club, you're making it possible for me to keep working on free games for a whole year."

Smith proposes two games to start with: a locally cooperative treasure-hunting game called Blabyrinth, and another spaceship game, Shipshape, in which players pilot ships crafted from modular components. Those will take up the first year, alongside a few upgrades to Spaceteam, like additional languages and adjustable difficulty.

There are several Kickstarter reward tiers, as usual, but these are strongly focused around Spaceteam merchandise, like embroidered patches, and customizations of the game itself. Smith is offering not only custom commands ("Incentivize core competency!"), but a fully personalized, private Spaceteam made from the graphics, words and sounds you send over. After you send $5,000 CAD over, that is.
[Image: Sleeping Beast Games]

Star Wars Pinball taps Episode 4 - A New Hope for its latest table

Image While you'll have to wait a bit for the official debut of Zen Studios' pinball table based on Star Wars: Episode 4 - A New Hope, the developer offers the above primer demonstrating just how faithfully it has captured the beloved film in its trademark world of bumpers, lights and rolling metal... Continue Reading

Kids webcomic Dreamland Chronicles gets trading card game for iPad

Indie developer Protobird Games launched its Kickstarter project for The Dreamland Chronicles, a trading card game for iPad, Kindle and Android tablets this week. The game is based on the long-running, kid-friendly fantasy webcomic of the same name, and has players collecting animated trading cards featuring characters from the series.

Protobird is seeking $35,000 by May 2 to fund the game, which features card battles in which players summon allies, cast spells and use items, similar to other popular trading card games. The game is in development for iPad first, and the project's $40,000 stretch goal unlocks the game on Android tablets. The developer plans to offer character customization features as well as multi-screen support, so players can watch their card battles play out on TVs.

The project is led by Protobird Games CEO Scott Hyman and President Parker Davis, each veteran developers with credits in games such as Tony Hawk's Motion on DS, Tomb Raider and Red Dead Redemption. Both are also parents, and cite a partnership with Privacy Vaults Online (PRIVO) along with a planned series of parental controls to harbor safe online play for younger players. The duo self-funded The Dreamland Chronicles' development since late 2012. According to the Kickstarter page's reward tiers, the developer plans to deliver the game to backers in June.
[Image: Protobird Games]

Tropico publisher creates mobile division, launching three games this year

Kalypso Media, publisher of games such as Anna, Rise of Venice and the Tropico series, announced the launch of a new mobile division today. Based in Berlin, Kalypso Media Mobile GmbH will develop games for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

While the publisher didn't unveil any projects in the announcement, Kalypso did note that the mobile studio plans to launch three games this year. The developer also intends to "port and/or re-design our own IP for mobile platforms such as tablets and smartphones." It will focus on paid content at first but will also look into the free-to-play model "as this will also play an important role in our growth strategy."

As for the publisher's other games, satirical construction sim Tropico 5 received a May 23 release date for PC just yesterday and Kalypso revealed the "comprehensive" Gold Edition of Omerta: City of Gangsters in late March.
[Image: Kalypso Media]

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