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Design, build, and manage space settlements.  Build an empire of orbital cities to span the solar system!
Design, build, and manage space settlements. Build an empire of orbital cities to span the solar system!
319 backers pledged $13,630 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$13,630

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High Frontier is a space settlement simulation game for Mac and Windows (and maybe Linux!).  Based on real physics, you design your space colony, select an orbit, and build.  Then you enter the colony and run your orbital city: lay transportation lines, assign building zones, place trees and lakes, provide power and air, and keep your residents happy and healthy.

Stretch Goal: at $12,000, we will commit to a Linux version!

Why You'll Love High Frontier

High Frontier takes the city management genre to a whole new level (literally!).  Each city is, in some ways, isolated, and constrained by the physical limits of your design.  But all your cities are connected economically, and impact a larger background simulation of the entire solar system.  Materials and technologies will become available in an expanding wave, determined in part by where and what you build.

In sandbox mode, you can build whatever and wherever you want, without being constrained by trivial things like budgets.  In career mode, you start off with a small colony in low-Earth orbit, and use the revenue from that one to fund the next, and the next, expanding upwards and outwards.  Play well, and the solar system is your oyster — your colonies will grace the many moons of Jupiter, and sparkle like jewels among the rings of Saturn.

Why High Frontier Matters

High Frontier is a game, and designed first and foremost to be fun.  Yes, it's also the most detailed and accurate space colony simulator ever built, and has already led to important scientific insights (such as the compelling benefit of building early colonies in low-Earth orbit, or the advantage of inverted endcaps on a cylindrical colony).  But it's not a CAD program, nor is it edutainment; it is a game, and it will be fun to play.

But High Frontier isn't just a game.  It's also really important.  Too many people these days have forgotten that our beloved Earth is only one small rock in a vast, rich solar system.  Even those who look up at night often believe that we need planets to live on.  In reality, we can build our own places to live, anywhere we have a good supply of materials, energy, and human ingenuity.  These will be custom-built worlds, complete with trees, grass, lakes, and wide-open spaces.

That's what High Frontier is about.  By supporting this project, you not only get a fun game to play, but you're helping to spread the idea of humanity expanding into space.  Kids will look up and dream big dreams.  Teachers and parents will be able to point to a bright future ahead.  And we all move a little bit closer to the day when Earth is our cradle, but not our cage.

What You'll Get

We've lined up some great rewards for our supporters.  First, everyone who pledges $5 or more will get one full license to the game.  This is a DRM-free game for both Mac and Windows; you'll get the current version of the game as soon as the KickStarter is over, and then get all future updates to the game as well, at no further charge.

But wait, there's more!  Supporters at the Founder level or more get a special in-game monument, available only to KickStarter supporters, which provides a local happiness bonus to your residents.  Or, if you want to give High Frontier as a gift, the Giver level is essentially the same thing, but somebody else gets the license and a special Gift Shop building with your name on it.

Beyond that, the rewards start to get really cool, because you'll be creating content that goes into the game for all players to see.  You could have a transport ship named after you, or a major building, or even an entire store chain!  For real celebrity, you can have your likeness appear in the in-game Portrait Museum, appear as the star on a billboard, or even have a statue crafted in your honor, and again, these will appear for all players of the game.  We also have limited-edition signed CDs and T-shirts for whose who prefer something physical.

Check out all the details on the right, or refer to this handy matrix to see what you can get for each funding level.  (Click the chart for a bigger view.)

Current Status

We've been following the iterative model of development since early summer (2014).  That means we build a little, then release an update, and repeat.  We've done 10 releases so far, each one richer and more playable than the last.

We've now completed all the essential functionality of the "design" and "build" phases of the game.  You can design a colony, considering factors like gravity, radiation, air pressure, and more; then build this colony in any of several near-Earth orbits.  We have a custom physics engine that correctly handles rotational dynamics, and we accurately simulate things like solar power, radiation, and shielding effects.

Right now, management mode is strictly external; you see your colony from the outside, against an accurate backdrop of the Earth and Moon, with passenger ships coming and going.  If you've done well, residents will flock to your colony; if not, they'll let you know why they are unhappy!

What's Next

We're ready now for the next big part of the game: the internal colony simulation.  This is where you manage the city: laying paths, building public works, zoning for residential, commercial, and agricultural areas, and setting public policy.  You actually get to see what life in your space colony would be like, and shape the life of your residents through hands-on directorship.

This part of the game requires a lot of artwork.  There will be many sorts of buildings, monorails, stadiums, statues, plants, boats, and much more.  All that artwork is expensive — and that's where you come in!

We Need Your Help

High Frontier is going to be a truly unique game, both important and fun.  But for that to happen, we need your help.  There are two things you can do right now:

1. Pledge your support.  Pick a level and one of the cool rewards at right.  The money used will go directly into development of the game (primarily, art assets needed for the internal colony view).  Remember, this is KickStarter; if we don't reach our minimum funding goal, then you won't be charged anything at all (and we will all be sad).

2. Tell your friends!  Projects like this succeed mainly through word of mouth.  Send your friends and colleagues email, post about it on your Facebook page, tweet about it — do whatever you can do to help folks find out about it.  Some of them will want to get involved in High Frontier too!

With your help, High Frontier will be a fantastic game to play, and will also have a significant positive impact on our global outlook and how we think about the future.  Thank you for your support!

Risks and challenges

We've already prototyped the most difficult parts of the High Frontier game, including the physics of space colonies, traffic simulation, population growth, and the weird particulars of life in space, such as water that curves around a wall.

The biggest risk to this project is that some misfortune my befall the developers. We're a small team — one chief developer, one junior developer, and a tester — so, if somebody is hit by a bus, the project would probably stop.

However, barring that, the risks are all quite minor. If the simulation gets bogged down for large cities, we will divide it into larger chunks, and reduce the detail where that has the greatest benefit. If artwork proves more expensive than anticipated, we will reduce the initial scope — for example, reducing the variety of buildings somewhat to stay within budget. None of these would have a big impact on the value of the game, and we will continue to extend it later.

[We commit to supporting the KickStarter community: http://kickingitforward.org]

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    SUPPORTER --
    You'll have our thanks, your name or handle on the HighFrontier.com website, and one license for the High Frontier game (current and all future versions).

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    BACKER --
    Your name or handle will appear in the in-game credits; you'll receive a High Frontier digital wallpaper image; and you get one license for the High Frontier game (current and all future versions).

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    53 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    FOUNDER --
    In addition to all the BACKER rewards, you will also get a special "Founder" monument in-game. This is a special building only available to founders, which you can place in your colonies to provide a happiness bonus to nearby residents.

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    78 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    GIVER --
    This is similar to FOUNDER, but tailored to giving to someone else. They'll get their name in the in-game credits, a High Frontier digital wallpaper image, a license to the game, AND a special in-game "Gift Shop" building named after you, which provides a happiness bonus to their colonies. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

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    16 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    SQUAWKER --
    In addition to all the FOUNDER rewards, you will also craft a "squawk" (a message from one of the colony residents) to appear in-game. This will be built into the game and appear for all players! (Messages subject to approval, of course.)

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    Limited 14 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    TRANSPORTER --
    In addition to all the FOUNDER rewards, we will name one of the transport ships after you. Just imagine: "The S.S. YourName Here has arrived" will appear for all players (but with your actual name, handle, or approved quip)!

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    BUILDER --
    In addition to all the FOUNDER rewards, we will name a significant building (stadium, theater, etc.) after you. This will be built into the game and appear for all players.

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    DISC JOCKEY --
    In addition to all the FOUNDER rewards, you will receive a limited-edition CD of the game, hand-signed by the development team. This CD is not available any other way!

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    7 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    WIZARD --
    In addition to all the FOUNDER rewards, we will make your name, handle, or approved quip into a cheat code available to all players. Cheat codes may be useful (add money, increase population, etc.) or whimsical (turn people into giants, make it snow, etc.), but they'll all be fun.

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    Limited 6 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    MAGNATE --
    In addition to all the FOUNDER rewards, we will name a shop chain (restaurant, department store, etc.) after you. Because these are chains, multiple shops with your name, handle, or approved moniker on it may appear in each colony! This will be built into the game and appear for all players.

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    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    MODEL --
    In addition to all the FOUNDER rewards, you will receive a high-quality, limited-edition High Frontier T-shirt. Show the world your support for settling the high frontier!

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    10 backers
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    PORTRAIT --
    In addition to all the FOUNDER rewards, we will craft and name a portrait in your likeness, and place it in a special Portrait Museum which all players will have access to in-game. This will be one of the few buildings players can actually enter and explore, so it will have special interest.

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    Limited 2 backers
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  13. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    HERO --
    In addition to all the FOUNDER rewards, we will craft a statue in your likeness, to which residents will come to honor you (for a local increase in happiness). This will be built into the game and appear for all players. Note that we can only make a small number of these, so act now!

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    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    CELEBRITY --
    In addition to all the FOUNDER rewards, we will craft a billboard in your likeness, and have it appear in colonies as they develop. It will look like an ad for some movie or show in which you are the star. In addition, we'll send you the signed CD and T-shirt.

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    Limited 0 backers
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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    SPONSOR --
    This reward is for companies or non-profit organizations that want to show their support for space development, and advertise their organization or group at the same time. We will work with you to craft an in-game billboard that appears in colonies as they develop; players will be able to select this billboard and go to a URL you specify. (This reward is subject to approval; we have to keep things family-friendly, of course.)

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    Limited 2 backers
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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    PARTIER --
    Join us in Fort Collins, Colorado for the High Frontier release party! This will be held when we reach a significant milestone (such as version 1.0), and will include only the development team, their friends and family, and our most ardent supporters — that means you!. (Also get the signed CD and T-shirt; travel and lodging not included.)

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    Limited 0 backers
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  17. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    DESIGNER --
    You become an honorary member of the development team, listed as a designer in the in-game credits, and consulted on all major design decisions. Help shape the course of a game that may shape the course of history! (Also get the signed CD, the T-shirt, and join us for the release party, travel/lodging not included.)

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Funding period

- (30 days)