Var and the Vikings: Smash Robots & Learn AI
Build artificial brains for your Vikings. Crush robots with powerful team combos and learn real game design skills.
REWARDS UPDATED - we have new and unique rewards! Check out the Rewards Section below.
"Best of all, it is fun!" - Forbes
"I do like teaching vikings to hit things." - Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Note: this early Prototype is not fully featured or polished. It does not reflect the product’s final quality. Artwork, gameplay and level design are not final. Keep reading to find out how awesome the complete game will be!
In this web-based 2D action puzzle game, you play as one Viking and build artificial brains to control the rest of your squad, using a tool called Behavior Tree.
You decide how your heroes behave and work together and what variation of awesome team combos they can perform. Develop countless strategies for them to battle hordes of intelligent enemies.
You’ll practice fundamental logic and learn practical Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) design skills in the process. Get ready to apply it in your own games after playing, or just be proud of the fact that you’ve taught your Vikings the art of robot smashing, monster slaying and puzzle solving!
Runs on all major browsers on Windows, Mac and Linux (current prototype only works in Chrome).
Friendly A.I. EXACTLY how you want it.
More details in the Play Style section.
You start the game as Var, a wild and fearless Warrior. Equipped with a giant hammer and heavy armor, Var’s on a quest to find out where all these mysterious steampunk robots and scary monsters came from and why they are invading his homeland.
Your Viking Squad
Along your journey, you will form a powerful Viking squad of characters, each with their own unique special abilities. First is the artful Archer - quick, agile and precise, she specializes in piercing enemies from afar with her fast and deadly arrows.
Your mindful Mage will wreak havoc on the battlefield with his massive area-of-effect spells and give your team the ability to look into the enemies’ brains and control their minds.
The burning Blacksmith can forge weapons mid-battle, such as a shield for Var, a ballista for your Archer or extra armor for the whole team.
Last but not least, your enchanted Elk with shapeshifting antlers can form a durable shield to protect his friends, sharp drills to cut through the enemy’s line or even a giant ball to squash them flat.
5 Unique Skill Sets
These skills can be unlocked and upgraded as you level up and you can customize them.
For instance, choose between shooting many arrows at once that will hit multiple targets or charge up a single powerful shot that will instantly destroy an enemy. Each character brings a different skillset to the team and it’s up to you to maximize their powers.
These are just some examples of what will be in the full game. More details will be released in later updates, look forward to them!
You can only have a maximum of 4 members in your party, so choose wisely!
Pick which Vikings you want to take with you at the start of each level. Some levels require a certain combination of characters in order to solve the puzzles present, but most will let you complete with your favorite team combination.
Choose your own playstyle
You can choose between two styles of play:
Assume direct control: Tired of playing with stupid friendly A.I. that would rather hurt than help you in other games? No more. It’s time to take matters into your own hands. Play as your favorite Viking and program the A.I. for rest of your team to (hopefully) support you. Perfect for those who love to get their hands dirty.
Regardless of your preferred play style, you’ll have to program how all 4 characters work together as a team.
Combine their attacks to form devastating combos, heal and protect allies when they’re on low health, go full offensive when you have the upperhand or advance carefully when the odds are not in your favor. You decide how you want to approach monster slaying and robot smashing.
You have the freedom to choose and develop your own style and strategies, what will you come up with?
Fight Smart Opponents
Var and his friends will face multitudes of monsters and robots throughout the game. They are weak and uncoordinated at first, but will get smarter and stronger as you play.
The enemies are capable of employing a vast number of tactics in battle. They can attack you in teams from multiple directions, focus on your weaker team members, retreat temporarily when low on health and even use special abilities to perform combos of their own.
Sometimes rare monsters or robots with distinct appearance will appear to fight you. They are exceptionally more powerful than other enemies in the same level and will give you a hard time. At the $75 tier you can adopt and name one of these bad boys and track how many times your cute monster has been slain by heartless Vikings worldwide.
Help Design End-Game Monster A.I.
Play with Friends
Want to see what kind of brains your friends have built for their Vikings? You can! Pick one of their characters and put him/her in your party. Fight together!
Player-vs-Player ($50,000 Stretch Goal)
Vikings vs Vikings - battle your friends and other Viking teams online! Choose 4 characters for your dream team. Build their brains from the ground up and fight against other teams. Improve your strategies and abilities as you battle more and more players. We’ll hold tournaments regularly to determine the best Var and the Vikings team! Matches and replays may perhaps be even shoutcasted.
We’d love to do PvP, but it requires a lot of planning, coding and character balancing that we won’t be able to do if we only fulfill our current Kickstarter goal. If you really want to see this feature in game, help us push past the line! Back us, tell your friends about Var and the Vikings, or just give us constructive feedback. We appreciate all the help we can get!
Var and the Vikings is an exemplar of how educational games should be made. The educational content is intertwined within the actual mechanics of the game. Creating and modifying behavior trees is effortless with our intuitive drag-and-drop interface. You’ll teach yourself behavior tree logic by playing through interesting levels of puzzle solving and stylish combat instead of reading walls and walls of boring text. This, in combination with a rich original storyline, immersive music and captivating graphics, creates a fully engaging learning environment where players won’t even realize they’re learning because they’ll be having too much fun crushing robots.
The game inspires creativity, exercises logical-thinking and problem solving skills. And more importantly, it teaches a real, applicable skill. Game A.I. design will come as second nature as you come up with creative ways to defeat various types of enemies. You can then be confident of using it in your own games if you so choose.
$5 - Thank you for your support!
Your name is immortalized on the credits screen of the game and the Var and the Vikings website.
$10 - The Complete Game & ALL Future Updates
You will receive access to the complete Var and the Vikings game in the browser & all future updates! ($5 off the suggested retail price). Includes all previous rewards.
$20 - EXCLUSIVE Digital Art Pack & Beta Access
You will get the Kickstarter Exclusive Digital Art Pack, a high-resolution collection of beautiful concept illustrations by Cartel Artists, initial character and enemy concepts by the talented Al Dayan, in-game art assets by Yosha Noesjirwan and glorious wallpapers by our creative design team. Also get early Beta Access to the Var and the Vikings Beta. Be a part of the development. Includes all previous rewards.
$25 - EXCLUSIVE Action Pack & Custom In-game Message carved into Stone Tablets.
Receive an Action Pack of 5 badass Viking Taunts, exclusive to Kickstarter. Beat robots up and tease them while you’re at it! Also have your own 140-character Custom Message carved into randomly spawned Stone Tablets. Other warriors can view it and appreciate your punny joke/Viking wisdom. You can track how many times it has been viewed. Includes previous rewards.
$30 - Developer Forum Access & Weekly Google Hangouts with the Developers
Get insider access to the development forums and invitations to a weekly Google+ hangout session to meet our top developers. Get informative insight into our game development process. Includes previous rewards.
$50 - Soundtrack & Picture Stone & Viking Battle Essence
Receive a digital version of the majestically scored Var and the Vikings Official Soundtrack of Hiroaki Yura’s talented team
Get your name eternally engraved in a Norsome Picture Stone. Other players can activate it to summon your Viking Essence. Your Essence, a Viking in spirit form, is eager to help passing travelers for a short duration, fighting monsters while shouting a Custom Battle Cry, written by you. You can track the number of Summons and Kills by your Essence. Includes previous rewards.
$75 - Name a Rare Spawn Enemy.
Adopt and name a mischievous rare enemy that will terrorize all those who encounter it. Your monster, with the name you chose displayed on top, stands out from the rest with its unique abilities and distinct appearance. It will randomly appear when players least expect it. You can track the number of Player Kills by your Monster and how many times it has been killed. Includes previous rewards.
$100 - Authentic Thank You Parchment & Giant Viking Statue with a Custom Battle Cry & Limited Edition Poster
You will receive an authentic Var and the Vikings parchment with a sincere hand-written thank you message presented with a beautiful wax seal and personally signed by the team recognizing your major contribution to the game. Delivered straight to you.
You are immortalized as a Giant Viking Statue in game, randomly spawned near harder battle sequences. You come to life when poked by other Vikings. Your Statue, with your name displayed on top, will help them fight robots while shouting a Custom Battle Cry until it is completely destroyed. You can track how many times you’ve been summoned, number of enemies you’ve slain and how many times you’ve been brought down. Additionally you will get a Var and the Vikings Kickstarter-Edition Poster(A3 size, Limited Edition!) which is numbered and personally signed by the team. Includes previous rewards.
$150 - Classroom license for Var and the Vikings (stand-alone reward tier)
Sponsor your students and receive the Var and the Vikings classroom-license for your class of up to 30 students. Your students will have so much fun, they won’t even realize they’re learning. Inspire creativity, exercise logical-thinking and problem solving skills through challenging and engaging Viking puzzles. Stand alone, does not include any previous rewards or stack with other rewards.
$300 - School license for Var and the Vikings (stand-alone reward tier)
Sponsor your students and receive the Var and the Vikings school-license. Stand alone, does not include any previous rewards or stack with other rewards.
$500 - Name a Boss & $100 Reward Tier
Name an official Var and the Vikings Boss! You get to name one of these big, bad and scary robots! Keep track of how many brave Vikings have fallen before The Boss. Includes $100 reward tier.
$1,000 - You ARE a VIKING
Be in the game. Our talented artists will render your likeness as one of the main Vikings or other non-player viking characters in game. Includes the $100 reward tier.
$10,000 - Hire an artificial intelligence designer
Need an expert A.I. designer on your team? We will recruit one for you sourced from our top ranked players. Includes the $1000 reward tier.
Click to enlarge:
$40,000: Level Editor
Level Editor for everyone! Use it to create new and unique levels that you can share with other players online.
$50,000: Player vs Player
Vikings vs Vikings. battle your friends and other Viking teams online! Choose 4 characters for your dream team. Build their brains from the ground up and fight against other teams. Improve your strategies and abilities as you battle more and more players. We’ll even hold tournaments regularly to determine the best Var and the Vikings team!
$60,000: 2 new character classes
2 new character classes! We’ll show you a bunch of character concepts and you’ll get to choose which two we should put in the game. This means even more cool abilities, combos, strategies and more interesting PvP!
$100,000: iPad Version
Epic Art and Music
We have been working full time on the game with our own money. Being a team of programmers with limited artistic skills but high standards, we want Var and the Vikings to have the best art and music possible. We have great artists and musicians who would love to work on this project but cannot do so for free. Therefore we will use the funds we get to produce higher quality art assets and soundtracks for you to enjoy.
Better Game Engine, Dev Tools and more Game Content
We have the game prototype and concepts down but we need to switch to a more powerful engine that can handle huge levels, better graphics, cool special effects, the complete Viking squad and large groups of enemies with smart AI. We also need to create other core features such as more polished tree creation tools and interface, saving and exporting trees and other development tools. At the same time we have to finalize the character classes and skill designs and build the rest of the levels.
Extensive Testing and Quality Assurance
Our team also plans to conduct more extensive testing. This is because we want the game to be fun and accessible to all, including young children and older adults, so anyone can jump in, play for fun and gain real game design skills.
The first step of an ambitious education project
All of this will take time and cost money to implement. Our goal is to change education forever with serious games that are incredibly fun and engaging. Complete a game and realize that you now know a real and practical skill that you can apply right away? Awesome! This is the first step required to make that happen and we cannot do it without your help. So Kickstarter, lets do this together!
Risks and challenges
The project is very ambitious as it aims to teach valuable skills and entertain simultaneously.
To address the issue of whether we can deliver a game we produced a prototype with a moderate level of polish and play tested it over several months. This is available for backers to evaluate to assess our team's ability.
We are planning a port to a new more powerful engine, that can handle more characters and more complex audio and graphics. This could take longer than expected which would delay the game, however our programmers are all committed to building the game and seeing this project through.
We are incredibly dedicated to this project and ensuring that no matter what happens a solution will be found. Over the lifetime of this project and our other educational projects we have inspired 60 volunteers to contribute their time and we are confident our mission and ability to inspire will help us overcome any obstacles.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)