Wednesday, 26 December 2012
May you live in interesting times [Elite: Dangerous]
The Elite Dangerous kickstarter campaign is closing in on the £1 million mark (four fifths of the target) but with only 9 days to go there's still some question as to whether they will succeed. The video above was released a few days ago, and together with the concept art already on the site, really gives a feel for what Elite Dangerous will be trying to achieve in terms of epic atmosphere.
It's a relief to see evidence of such clear vision, when earlier in the campaign the team seemed to be more focussed on how good the clouds were going to look (impressive though that might be.) It's also encouraging to see profiles of team members and quick and reasonable answers to questions from backers. This campaign has suffered from a slow start - but in a way that's encouraging too, we're not backing a slick marketing job but a small company with genuine enthusiasm.
Interestingly, there's also a kind of meta-fundraising going on that I haven't seen before on KS. One of the KS pledges is the "writer's pack" - a £4,500 license to write a novel set in the Elite universe, with co-operation from the programming team who can add elements of the novel such as planets into the game. Amazingly it's working - several writers, such as Drew Wagar, have come forward and have started their own mini-Kickstarter or indiegogo campaigns, most have hit their targets and added their pledges to the main E:D campaign. The latest author to join the fray is BBC tech journalist Kate Russell - check out her Kickstarter page here.
The videogame market is alive and well. There's no shortage of casual jewel-matchers, FPS and MMO lookalike wargames, or quirky indie concept games. And sadly there's also no shortage of games with a magnifying glass on the cover. What's missing from the computer gaming world at the moment is the epic. And Elite: Dangerous is one project that just might produce one. Would you like to know more? Main Kickstarter page here. You can also read more on programmer Michael Brookes' blog, The Cult Of Me.