Cole is a 2D dark-comedy platformer adventure we’re developing for iOS and Android. In Cole, you play a cloned alien slave whose job it is to shovel coal into the furnace that powers the S.S. Spaceship, which you are trapped aboard. Break off some coal, pick it up, throw it in the furnace, repeat forever until you die!
What sets our game apart from other iOS coal-shoveling simulators? The setting: space, dummy!! Never before has the tedium of servitude been so “out of this world”!
Break off some coal and throw it in the furnace. Don't bump into the other clones or you'll get zapped!
Gradually the speed will increase, and every little mistake you make is gonna HURT. Can you keep up??
CAN YOU... break free from captivity and start exploring the massive, imaginative S.S. Spaceship?
CAN YOU... use your gesture-based acrobatic maneuvers to traverse the ship in an effort to find the captain?
CAN YOU... fend off relentless guardbots with your shovel in frenetic aerial combat?
Please note that our game is only about shoveling coal, and interactions such as the one portrayed above are nowhere to be found.
Cole is a game that started development as part of USC’s Gamepipe Program. I pitched the game to USC, it was accepted, and with a team of over 30, we worked on the game for two semesters. I'm immensely proud of what we were able to accomplish, but the game is far from complete. We only told about a quarter of the story I'd written, the art direction is a little scattered and the gameplay isn't as satisfying as it could be. I estimate the game needs at least 6 more months of full-time attention before it's ready for primetime.
Now that we’ve graduated, we’ve whittled the team down to a much more streamlined, focused unit of four members. We’ve extensively planned an ambitious, fun, and meaningful experience we aim to finish and release by mid-2015.
Our goal with Cole is to create a game that's as thought-provoking as the artgames we admire (like Rod Humble's The Marriage or Jon Blow's Braid), as fun as the platformer and adventure games we played growing up (like Mario or Pokémon), and as well-written and dryly funny as Catch-22 or Dr. Strangelove. Our aim is not to get filthy rich, but to contribute something genuinely worthwhile and special to gaming culture. But we can't do it alone!!
We’ve sat down with a few traditional publishers, several of whom mentioned that we’d have to tone down the game’s darker content, focus on platforms we weren’t interested in working with, or remove the “coal-shoveling” aspect and make Cole a more traditional adventure game in order to set up a deal with them. But Cole is so special to me that I'd rather make the game right or not at all. By turning to the gaming community, we'll free ourselves from the artistically stifling, commercial nature of the modern games industry and allow ourselves to create something risky, adventurous and never before seen.
Now that we’re no longer working with USC, we have no equipment, office space, 2D animators or time with which to continue development. Games aren't cheap or easy to make—your typical indie game is usually going to cost a few hundred thousand. We ran the numbers and determined we could barely scrape by with $64,500 for seven more months of development. But every cent we go over our goal will go toward making Cole a stronger, more polished experience.
Enjoy this promotional video for our original prototype—we've come a long way since then and plan to go a lot further!
Rewards are cumulative unless otherwise noted!! Outside US has to pay shipping on physical items.
For a measly $10 (the price of two hamburgers), you can own Cole: A Game About Coal when it's released for a platform of your choosing!
For the cost of four hamburgers, you will own a copy of the game, the digital soundtrack, digital artbook, AND a thank you credit in the game!
The official Cole t-shirt, in a size of your choosing, sent to a location of your choosing! When you stop and think about it, what would you rather eat: eight hamburgers, or this shirt?
A luxurious, physical artbook containing eighteen hamburgers' worth of exclusive concept art, storyboards, sprite sheets and whatever else we can shove in there. Signed by everyone on the team!
Hear me out on this one: my name is Alan and it is my singular goal in life to make stuff. I love making films, love making games, and if you choose this tier, you will get a copy of whatever thing me or our company makes for as long as you and I are both alive AT NO EXTRA CHARGE! Your name will go on a list that I'll have forever and I'll sign a contract to this effect so you can even sue me if I don't follow through, potentially making millions. Is that worth 30 hamburgers or what??
Past this point, rewards are no longer cumulative, though they all do include tiers 1 through 5.
Work with director Alan Wagner to design a character interaction in Cole! Only two available!
Spare yourself the bodily harm of eating 100 hamburgers and choose this tier, in which we will hide a picture of your butt-ugly face SOMEWHERE in the game! Only five available!
Eat an EXCLUSIVE power-brunch with the entire Cole team at a Denny's* of your choosing! Only four available!
* or an actual restaurant
Writer/Producer: Alan Wagner
Animated Intro Art Direction: Elizabeth McMahill
Animated Intro Backgrounds & Stretch Goal Graphic: Rob Chandler
Animated Intro Programming: Alan Wagner & Chitvan Gupta
Title-card and all header text: Donna Vu
"What is Cole!" & "Sretch Goals" Animation: Plamen Ananiev
"Tell me more!" Animation: Jonathan Eden
"Why Kickstarter?" Animation & "Facepicture" Reward: Katherine Duffy
Coal-Shoveling Concept Art and ?-face clone : Hannah Escobar
"Who Are You!" Animation: Jeffrey Blouin
"Rewards" Animation: Andrei Sopon
Cole N64 Cartridge: Neil Patel
iPhone around the cartridge, Laptop computer, & Cole Artbook cover: Justin Schut
Cole Shirt gifs & 3D book and CD models: Anh Dang
Cole Artbook book illustration: Meara Buehne
Risks and challenges
Look, videogames are hard! I'm gonna be straight with you and say that starting on the development of any videogame is a highly risky enterprise. But I can assure you that we know what we're doing. Joel, Chitvan and I just graduated from USC, the top videogame school in the nation according to Princeton Review, with degrees in various aspects of game development. Our art director, Elizabeth, studied at Ringling College, widely regarded to be the world's premier animation school. You can see from the video that we already have a very solid base of a game we simply need to expand on.
While attending these schools we've built up a strong and vital network of game developers, artists, filmmakers, writers, musicians and professors who will be providing us with feedback and encouragement as we continue our development. I would not have gotten this far with Cole without the help of these insanely talented, compassionate and pleasant-smelling people, whose love and support I do not take for granted.
I just spent the last year directing a team of over 30 to make what we have so far of this game. This process was at times demoralizing, at times inspiring, and I graduated having learned a number of tough but invaluable lessons about leadership. My love for this project has not wavered in the past two years, and it would personally destroy me to never see this game released.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)