Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 15, 2013.

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A romantic adventure comedy set in a fantasy MMORPG

Hello!

In case you're just joining us, welcome to the campaign! Thanks to the generosity of our backers, we are fully funded and have been able to pursue and reach several of our stretch goals. Thank you one and all! 

If you're new to the project and are wondering what all this is about,  feel free to poke around the page: watch the video, check out our rewards, or read a sample chapter from the novel below to see if you like it.

--> PWNED Sample Chapter <--

Stretch Goals 1: Novel Upgrades

We've achieved 4 out of 5 of the Novel Upgrades, and the fifth has been revealed. If we hit that last one, it's on to the bonus books!

$16,500 - Novel Upgrade #1: THE ILLUSTRATED COVER - All versions of the book will feature this full-color illustrated cover by fantasy artist Rob Carlos:

ACHIEVED! - $18,000 - Novel Upgrade #2: THE MAP - All versions of the novel will include a map of Fartherall, the game world of the book's fictitious MMORPG, Fartherall Online, and the setting of the Gamers films and JourneyQuest. All zones created as part of this campaign will be included on the map and become canon in the world.

ACHIEVED! - $20,500 - Novel Upgrade #3: THE GLOSSARY - All versions of the novel will include a glossary of internet lingo and MMO pidgin, presented dictionary-style. 

EXAMPLE: pwn (pone)  v. [trans.]  to "own" (informal), i.e. to defeat; to defeat by a wide margin; to humiliate one's opponent

ACHIEVED! - $23,000 - Novel Upgrade #4: THE EVIL COVER - In addition to the regular dust jacket, backers who pledge at $100 and above will receive this alternate dust jacket cover by Rob Carlos. The alternate cover features the logo of <Something Wicked>, the antagonist's guild, and is presented from their point of view, so the back cover will feature quotes and a synopsis talking crap about the heroes and the author.

ACHIEVED! - $27,500 - Novel Upgrade #5: GOODIES GALORE - Something for (almost) everyone:

  • All backers at $25+ will receive a double-sided bookmark featuring the good and evil versions of the illustrated cover, autographed by artist Rob Carlos (pictured below) (the bookmark, not Rob Carlos).
  • All backers at $50+ and above will receive a folded, full-color poster version of the map (Novel Upgrade #2) from the front of the book.
  • A mini-pilot version of the story that I wrote for Machinima will be added to the screenplay reward (part of the $100+ levels). This version, written for a web series audience, features a very different take on the characters and the story.
  • All backers at the (new!) $125 level will receive everything from the $100 level, AND their alternate Evil Cover dust jackets (Novel Upgrade #4) will come wrapped around an additional hardcover of the novel. Folks pledging at every level above $125 will also find hardcovers tucked in their Evil Cover dust jackets as well.

Stretch Goals 2: Bonus Books

Here's how the Bonus Books work. For every one we reach, I will write an additional book (novel or otherwise; see below) as part of this campaign. Everyone pledging at $25+ will receive an ebook copy, and everyone pledging at $50+ will receive a softcover version, of all bonus books unlocked as part of this campaign. There will be no additional shipping fees.

At the moment, I've included a brief writeup of the potential bonus books. I will expand on these and include character and story bits in future posts.  

$47,000 - Bonus Book #1: HEROES ANONYMOUS

After a competent supervillain (dubbed "Evilman" by the press) appears and trounces Seattle's superhero franchise, the Superunion goes on strike and threatens to leave the city, forcing the mayor's office to throw together a new superteam drawn from the worst of all possible sources: Heroes Anonymous, a recovery program for superhuman burnouts, bush league pretenders, and SHUPs (Superhumans with Useless Powers). A superhero comedy.

$67,500 - Bonus Book #2: HOPJOCKEY

When a college kid investigating a campus mystery stumbles into a secret society of cross-world travelers, he accidentally gets their leader captured by a reality-hopping warlord and winds up with the most sought after artifact in existence -- the Map of the Omniverse -- stuck in his brain. If he can't extract the Map or learn to read it, he will cause the hopjockey to fail their longtime mission: to prevent the return of a dark supreme being known as the One True Jim. A science-fantasy adventure across time, space, and reality, and my dream project.

$88,000 - Bonus Book #3: TEACH YOURSELF ORCISH

I will write the companion piece to the Orcish-English Dictionary, a language guide for teaching yourself how to speak Orcish. The guide will include new conjugations and declensions, new voices and moods, new constructions, and irregular verbs. The Orcish passages and paragraphs to be translated will be written in the Orcish alphabet (which will also be taught), and will tell an incremental story across lessons of ever-increasing complexity. Additionally, everyone pledging at $25+ will get to coin one or more new words in Orcish, and those pledging at $100+ will get to submit expressions and idioms to be Orcified in the guide's phrase book section.

Stretch Goals 3: The Movie

$8,500,000 - THE MOVIE - Zombie Orpheus Entertainment will produce the movie version of The Gamers: PWNED with a fully CGI fantasy world. Yes, this is here as a joke. No, I don't expect us to get here. Yes, we will absolutely make it if it happens (but it won't, and that's okay).

ORIGINAL INFORMATION

Who are you?

I'm Matt Vancil of Zombie Orpheus Entertainment, and I'm a writer and filmmaker specializing in comedy and speculative fiction. I'm primarily known for writing and directing the Gamers films (The Gamers, Dorkness Rising, and the upcoming Hands of Fate) and the web series JourneyQuest. If you're interested in seeing my past projects, and past Kickstarter projects I've been involved with, here are some links:

What is this project?

My goal is to turn an unproduced screenplay -- The Gamers: PWNED -- into the first novel in the Gamers franchise. Unlike the previous installments in the series, the fantasy world of PWNED is set in a fictitious MMORPG (a massive multiplayer online role playing game) rather than a tabletop RPG. It's my favorite Gamers story so far and one I've been aching to tell for years.

Why a novel?

As I mention in the video, the budget for a PWNED movie has always been in the low millions due to the amount of CG animation required to bring the world of the video game to life -- and that was exactly the plan, to bring the game world to life and the big screen. For five years, our friends at Epic Level Entertainment had the option on the film rights and took it to market in Hollywood. But even though people loved the script and it found a home at a string of production companies, the movie never got made. 

The rights to the project have since reverted back to me, and I don't have the millions of dollars it would take to make the movie. But after all the years I've poured into these characters and their story, I can't bear to just file PWNED away and forget about it. So I'm taking a step that will allow me to tell the story, the complete story, in a medium unconstrained by cinematic budgets. I'm thrilled at the possibility of finally bringing this story to light and sharing it with all of you.

Where does the money go?

Any funds raised as part of this campaign will go towards the production of the novel. Apart from the writing, this includes content and copy editing, graphic and visual design for the cover(s), project management, ebook file conversion, printing and shipping, worldwide rewards fulfillment, and a paper bag for me to hyperventilate into.

I have some other questions...

You can ask me anything, related to the project or not, via the "Ask a Question" tab below. I'll answer to the best of my ability and add your question to the FAQ.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a gander at my project.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The main challenge with this project will be hitting the projected release date. If it's just the one novel I'm writing, that shouldn't be a problem. If we reach any of the bonus novel stretch goals, however, that might change things. My plan in such a case would be to get PWNED out on time, and then release the bonus books as they're completed.

FAQ

  • Yes. We recut the video after several backers suggested that it could be more streamlined. They were right, so we made the change.

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  • Not at all. This is a story anyone can enjoy, not just gamers or fans of the films. Some characters do cross over from previous works, but you don't need to have seen the movies to get the full range of what's going on. The sample chapter is a good example -- if you enjoyed that and had no trouble following it, the same will be true for the book.

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  • No comment.

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    TIP JAR - Thank you! Every little bit helps.

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    INITIATE - An ebook edition of PWNED in both ePub and Kindle formats, and your name will be immortalized in the supporter pages of the novel.

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    JOURNEYMAN - The previous reward level (ebook, supporter pages), plus an autographed softcover version of the novel.

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    FREELANCER (Due to popular demand!) - You will receive the ebook, be immortalized in the supporter pages, and you will receive a copy of the expanded edition of the Orcish/English Dictionary. (NOTE: This rewards level does NOT stack with any following levels. The Orcish/English Dictionary becomes available again at the $100 level.)

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    STALWART - All previous rewards levels (ebook, supporter pages, & softcover), plus an autographed and personalized Kickstarter-exclusive hardcover edition of PWNED.

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    VETERAN - All previous rewards (ebook, supporter pages, softcover, & hardcover), plus a print or PDF version (your choice) of the original screenplay the novel is based on, AND a copy of the expanded edition of the Orcish/English Dictionary.

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    JUNIOR OFFICER (New, by popular demand!) - Exactly the same as the $100 level, but your alternate Evil Cover dust jacket (Novel Upgrade #4) will come wrapped around an additional copy of the hardcover.

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    OFFICER - All previous rewards (ebook, supporter pages, softcover, hardcover, screenplay, dictionary), and you will be thanked in the Acknowledgements section in the front of the book.

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    5 backers Limited (15 left of 20)

    COMMANDER - All previous rewards (ebook, supporter pages, softcover, hardcover, screenplay, dictionary, acknowledgements), and you will join the novel's Development Team and be credited as such in the book. As a member of the Development Team, you will receive early drafts of chapters and the full manuscript, and will have the chance to submit feedback and notes about the project (i.e., inconsistent tone or characterization, not enough pirates, etc.) to Matt.

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    MASTER HISTORIAN - All previous rewards (I'm going to assume you've read them all by now), and you get to name and co-create a character who will appear in the novel as a member of one of the featured guilds or a major NPC. Your character will become canon in the Gamers franchise and forever be a part of the wider Hopjockey universe (and has the potential to appear in future related projects!).

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    MASTER CARTOGRAPHER - All previous rewards (including the last one), and you will co-create and design a zone in the game world with Matt where action will take place. Your zone will become fully canon in the Gamers franchise and forever be a part of the Hopjockey universe (and is very likely to appear in future related projects, such as the JourneyQuest RPG).

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    GUILDMASTER - All previous rewards (including the last two), plus Matt will fly anywhere in the world to hand deliver your rewards to you -- at your home, favorite game store, chosen convention, or anywhere else you choose -- read excerpts from the book; run an RPG session for you and your friends set in Fartherall, the results of which will become canon in the Gamers franchise; and otherwise have a whomp-assin' good time.

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Funding period

- (28 days)