Tonight we sailed past our initial goal, with over a week to spare- a more than generous backing from the mysterious Wayne Foundation pushed us well into the black. Now we have funding to keep our artists and animators working without worry. Every additional dollar we make past our goal will go directly into the game, making it bigger and better- and there are still prizes left for those of you who still want to become a part of the project.
I am really humbled by the amount of goodwill there has been towards this project, and I can't wait to deliver on our promise to you- that we'll be making a game that will surprise you and make you use your brain and be worth your time.
Again, you guys are all awesome. We will keep pushing on until the closing of the campaign in a little over a week, then I'll have more information about when you can expect prizes (T-shirts and posters will be going out first, soundtrack is still being finished, game of course will be some time in the making. You'll be the first to know.).
Check out this Austin Chronicle article about our pal Bob, and his awesome new animation toolkit for the Nintendo DSi: Inchworm Animation.
I've known Bob for about twelve years, and he's had problems in the past with being pushed around and ripped-off by those less talented than he- so it really meant a lot to us when he agreed to let us use his software and hire veteran animators from Flatblack Films to work on our game.
We were emboldened by our new surge in funding yesterday, and spent some time shooting better reference footage for our animation.
This time I got Josh and Toto from The Octopus Project to come be actors, and they did a really great job, despite the unseasonably cruel heat (It got to 100 degrees yesterday and we were out in a big expanse of asphalt parking lot that turned into a big heat reflector). I'm going to post a little video of process soon to show how that video footage gets used by the animators and then gets turned into a game sprite.
We're also just about ready to bring on a new animator! Mary Varn worked with Susan and Bob and I on Waking Life, so she's a familiar face, she's experienced with the software, and she's also crazy about video games. We're excited to get started working with her!
So, I hinted at it before, but not everything in the game is from that alternate-future that designers and science fiction purveyors envisioned in the 1970's. The four protagonists, (prefects of a futuristic psychic academy) travel through a tesseract to "our time". Here they conveniently pad out their ranks with new cadets, before taking back off on their interstellar missions.
This important game dynamic (four skilled and valuable characters that must be used sparingly and protected, and an ever-replenishing supply of low-level characters that can be trained, but have a high "turnover rate") meant that we needed to implement some random character generation for the jr. high kids.
This has been a lot of fun. We started here- http://www.wileywiggins.com/blog/?p=2890
Basically I did a very rough prototype of randomized combinations of features on a lumpy potato head drawing. Then we went to Rachel and had her make us modular sets of bodies, facial features and hair. Lists of first and last names are randomly rolled, skin and clothing colors are procedurally tinted, and then we get our cadets- kids you might have loved to hate were you in school now. In-game there will be a classroom that automatically stays filled with these kids, ready to volunteer. Here's some offspring from the prototype generator Scott put together for our test build:
We just got our first Thunderbeam Partner, pushing us to the halfway mark with 21 days still to go! This is huge- and we can't say enough thanks to our new backer, Adam Lichi, of Will Wright's incubator group The Stupid Fun Club, adding to the great roster of game folks who were willing to help out a scrappy basement upstart. We won't forget!
Update - Hero Jamie Durrant just partnered up! What a rally today, after yesterday's slump! This is fantastic, thank you Jamie!
pledged of $20,000 goal
seconds to go
May 9, 2011 - Jun 8, 2011 (30 days)
Pledge $8 or more
A copy of Thunderbeam for iPad when it's released, & our hearty thanks for helping indie gaming on iOS.
Pledge $10 or more
A digital copy of the soundtrack by The Octopus Project along with a 10 page digital Thunderbeam mini-comic by artist Pete Toms.
Pledge $15 or more
A silkscreened Thunderbeam T-shirt in your choice of size. Designed by Mike Saputo and printed by Bearded Lady in Austin TX.
Pledge $18 or more
10 backers All gone!
Register as a beta tester for the game when we enter that stage of development- be a part of the game's direction and help us make it as awesome as it can be. Plus we'll throw in a Thunderbeam T-shirt in your choice of size.
Pledge $25 or more
111 backers Limited (189 of 300 left)
The Thunderbeam original soundtrack by The Octopus Project, on a limited edition playbutton wearable micro-mp3 player, and a copy of the game for iPad when it is released.
Pledge $30 or more
54 backers Limited (6 of 60 left)
A numbered, limited edition Thunderbeam screenprinted 18"x24" poster, by Rachel Morris and Mike Saputo, printed by Nakatomi Inc. in Austin. Also- A free copy of the game for the iPad when it is finished.
Pledge $50 or more
33 backers Limited (17 of 50 left)
By demand- a Thunderbeam shirt in your choice of size, a Thunderbeam poster AND your choice of a digital download of the soundtrack, or a copy of the game.
Pledge $400 or more
9 backers Limited (1 of 10 left)
THUNDERBEAM HERO Your name will appear in the game (maybe as a character, spaceship or a monument), plus a copy of the soundtrack by The Octopus Project on a limited edition playbutton wearable micro-mp3 player AND a copy of the game when it is released on iPad. PLUS a limited edition Thunderbeam poster, numbered and signed by artist Rachel Morris and the members of The Octopus Project
Pledge $1,000 or more
THUNDERBEAM PARTNER Let's talk. Would you like some cream in your coffee? Can we fetch your slippers? No, you can't change the content of our game. Yes, you can have just about anything else you want. All the prizes: Poster signed by The Octopus Project, Rachel Morris, Wiley Wiggins, Shirt in your size, soundtrack on a playbutton, and all digital downloads. We'll lean on The Octopus Project for a random assortment of their merch as well. Appreciative tweets all about how radical you are, and we will be your best friends forever. Please be gentle.