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$1,813 pledged of $25,000 goal
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By Fever Brain Studios
$1,813 pledged of $25,000 goal
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About

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Hot Dog Heartache is a tribute to a time when games were truly challenging, but not impossible to beat.  We believe that there are many gamers who recall those days fondly, and are still hungry for the stern challenges of the 8 and 16-bit era of games. It will be released as a Java application for Windows, Linux and Mac in August 2014.

Chef B. Hole was a lonely soul looking for a little comfort food, when he prepared to feast upon his favorite snack: a Hot Dog.  Lo and behold, as he placed the dog upon its bun, something magical happened:  The Hot Dog came to life!  The two became fast friends, with Chef B. Hole teaching the Hot Dog everything he knew of life, love, cooking, and karate.  Perhaps Chef B. had finally found a way to fill the hole in his heart.  But wait...  "A Tofu Dog!?  He's not even a REAL Hot Dog!"  screamed Chef B. Hole.  Or at least, he would have, had he not been strangled by his own emotions.  It was the worst kind of betrayal he had ever experienced!  For this, Chef B. banished the Hot Dog from his home, and so begins our tragic tale of a love denied.

Our alpha demo might have been a fun and quirky rage game, but we are nowhere near finished. 

A number of gameplay elements are being refined and revised.  We have already implemented numerous improvements such as using your enemies as weapons and increased terrain friction. In addition, Hot Dog Heartache has undergone a complete graphics overhaul, new game mechanics and systems are being developed, and the story has been fleshed out.  

We've decided to migrate away from GameMaker Studio because we've reached the technical limit of what it can do for us and Hot Dog Heartache. It's in the best interest of the game to move to the language Greg is most comfortable with. And so, we will be moving the game to Java and our primary game development stack will be Slick2D. This affords us more flexibility in using open source libraries and the custom libraries we have created to bring assets into the game.

The final game will have more enemies, more power ups, new environments, changes in season, progression of time, cut scenes, wacky boss battles, challenging physics based puzzles, more music, and a slew of kitchen utensils that, after defeating, can be picked up and weaponized.

Our lead artist, Cory Gorham, has created some beautiful pixel art for our story progression and cut scenes, which you can preview in our Kickstarter video and brand new HDH teaser. You will also be able to see the revised "Lonely Hills" environment featuring rocky and grassy landscapes, and sunrise to sunset progression.

We plan to challenge the player with additional obstacles, including:  

  • Hungry hobos 
  • Cats, dogs, insects, and other wildlife
  • An unrelenting army of kitchen utensils, comprised of spoons, chopsticks, spatulas, and more
  • Environmental dangers like falling spikes, rolling boulders, and a wide variety of terrain behaviors 
  • Wind, snow, rain, and some other "unconventional" weather effects

We are excited to have each game environment represent a different season, some in uncommon ways.  Additionally, new game features will include:

  • Ability to pick up downed utensils for use as weapons 
  • Enhanced controls 
  • Better physics 
  • More dynamic physics environments 
  • Collectibles 


With your support, if we reach our stretch goals, we can make this game even MORE fun than what we already have planned.

Even though our overhead is relatively low, we still have software licensing costs, hardware purchases we need to make, server costs, and of course our day to day sustenance to account for. The entire team being able to focus on game development full time is extremely important to the creation of this game. We would seriously like to thank you in advance for any support that you may give.  With adequate funding, we would have approximately 6 months of development ahead of us to finish HDH.  With that in mind, we have also planned some stretch goals, which may require slightly more time to incorporate into our game.

Fever Brain Studios was founded in late 2013 when four game-loving friends came together with the dream of seriously producing a wickedly fun game of their own.  After the initial concept art was completed, the plan was to produce a new game engine.  With limited time and resources, we settled on GameMaker Studio to begin development of Hot Dog Heartache.  After only three months of work, a demo was released to gauge interest and introduce players to the world of Hot Dog Heartache.  It's safe to say that effort was a resounding success.  Now, its time to take Hot Dog Heartache to the next level!  The Fever Brain Team is composed of:   

Gregory Lewandowski (Grego) - Programming, Game Design, Sound 

Cory Gorham (Bory Borham) - Lead Artist, Animator, Story   

Kyle Williams (Fun-Kay) - Level Design, Music   

Chad Morrin (Chad) - Level Design, Music

Dustin Walker - Additional Art   

We are incredibly passionate about producing fun, enjoyable games.  Each team member, in their own way, has been building the skills to make games their whole life.  Greg, in particular, has been programming for 20 years. He obtained a degree in computer engineering and wrote enterprise software for five years while learning the ins and outs of object oriented, modular, and reusable programming.  Each team member also has a virtual lifetime of gaming experience, which is reflected in our focus on detail and intuitive gameplay.  Combined, Fever Brain will make this game happen.

While Hot Dog Heartache has been in development for five months now, the world has already been exposed to our game. At three months of development, a demo and our Steam Greenlight page were released simultaneously to raise interest. To date, the demo managed to get over 7,000 downloads, dozens of YouTube Let's Play videos adding up to over 700,000 views and our Steam Greenlight page has already received over 1,000 upvotes! In October, development of Hot Dog Heartache started with GameMaker studio. While nowhere near a perfect engine, its capabilities gave us a base on which to start our work.    

From that humble start, we achieved numerous technical milestones:

  • parallax scrolling
  • a dynamic and versatile input system
  • level design system  
  • robust particle effects  
  • dynamic and permanent blood  
  • physics changes per environment (less control over ice)

 We've taught ourselves and mastered many skills:

  • Game Design  
  • Level Design  
  • Graphic Design  
  • Music and Sound effect production  

We keep learning, and are more productive by the day. We also took advantage of a multitude of different open source tools:  

  • GIMP  
  • Reaper  
  • Tiled  
  • Spriter  
  • Audacity  
  • Lightworks
  • Gamemaker  

Download Hi-Res Valentines:  

Risks and challenges

We need to make the move from GameMaker Studio to a new development system. We have evaluated numerous game development systems and we have chosen Slick2D as our primary software stack. There is a ton of graphics, sound and music left to be made. And of course a considerable amount of programming left to be done. We feel we are uniquely positioned to address each of these challenges due to our history of large development projects.

Fever Brain Studios is a big believer in the open source community. During initial development, and all future development, we want to contribute back to our community. Sometimes, this isn't always possible. In order to get the game out in a timely fashion, we might need to buy some conventional software. With support from you, we will be able to afford such tools.

The entire team is working for free right now, with other jobs still taking the majority of each member's time. A successful Kickstarter will allow the team to work on the game full time while still acting like responsible adults.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    COCKTAIL WIENER TIER

    Be slathered with our eternal gratitude, with your name plastered to the "Special Thanks" of Hot Dog Heartache's final credits.

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    HOT DOG HERO TIER

    Receive a digital copy of Hot Dog Heartache, once complete, along with your name in the Special Thanks.

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    LE CHEESE DOG TIER

    Access beta versions of Hot Dog Heartache, and share feedback through our bug tracking system + All Previous Rewards!

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    CONEY DOG TIER

    Detroit's favorite! Gain access to downloadable wallpapers and icons + All Previous Rewards! With Extra Mustard.

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    CONEY DOG WITH ONIONS TIER

    Don't forget the onions... I mean, digital instruction manual (featuring artwork, controls, hints, and tips) + All Previous Rewards!

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    FOOTLONG

    Become immortalized as a utensil of terror! Have an enemy named after you + All Previous Rewards!

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    CORN DOG TIER

    Press Chef B. Hole's face against yours. Get a limited edition paper mask of his visage (only available to backers) + All Rewards except Footlong Tier.

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    CHILI CHEESE DOG TIER

    Be the top dog! Get an ultra-rare Hot Dog Heartache T-shirt (only available to backers) + All Rewards except Footlong Tier! Please specify your size.

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    CHILI CHEESE W/EVERYTHING

    Be the owner of a one-of-a-kind hand drawn poster signed by the entire team + All Rewards except Footlong Tier!

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    FOOTLONG CHILI CHEESE TIER

    Still hungry for more? Join the developers in a celebratory feast + All Previous Rewards! (travel/lodging not included)

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Funding period

- (24 days)