About this project
***We're FUNDED! THANK YOU, from the bottom of our hearts!***
We're currently building a website so you can stay updated as we build this funk-tastic game! (see link bellow)
This site will also be where people can stay in contact with us after the Kickstarter is over and where our backers can leave their awesome feedback! We'll see you there!!
*Allow us a few weeks to get it ready*
NOTE TO FANS: This is a VERY EARLY demo of our prototype. Please overlook the 2D/3D inconsistencies, and missing animations for now.
The above video was filmed and edited by 2 Dark Dudes Productions. Performances were done by the talented Tonez the Prince (ToeJam) and the funky Greg Brown (Big Earl). Animation was done by the awesome James Farr.
The MP3 of the production is available here (right-click and "Save As").
So what’s this all about? My name is Greg Johnson, and I am one of the two original creators and owners of the ToeJam & Earl property. I, along with some bright and talented friends, are finally going to make that ultimate ToeJam & Earl sequel that the fans have been asking for all these years.
Oh right, I almost forgot... and we'll have funky music, and more funky music, and... then we'll add in more funky music.
Funky Bass by Cody Wright
Game One Gameplay: As you can see we're going with a game one rogue-like play style. We'll have the stacked, randomly generated levels, and all the old Earthlings and presents, plus a pile of new ones.
A New Look: We're going for a retro vibe with this game. That's why it all looks like underground comics from the 90's. Neat, huh? That's all thanks to our awesome artist Nathan Shorts. .
3D Terrain: Don't worry we won't make you sick and confused with an over-the-shoulder POV camera like we had in game 3. Nevertheless, 3D terrain will let us do some really FUN stuff. We can zoom in to see characters better, or zoom way out to see the stacked levels. You can now see the levels way below you, and when you fall, where you land on the level below makes sense. Also, we'll have hills! So what? I can answer that with 2 words... ROOOCKET SKAAAAATES!!.
Game Two Elements : As we said, this is mostly like game one, but we'll be bringing back some of the things you've asked for from game 2. Things like the Jam Out, hidden presents, and buttons and coin meters. Maybe we'll even be able to bring back the Hyperfunk Zone!
Platforms: Initially we are focusing all of our efforts on the PC (Windows, Mac, and Linux). We hope to eventually put this onto all platforms but this will, of course, depend on what funding arrangements we can line up and on meeting our stretch goals.
4-Player Coop Play: Toejam and Earl is a multi-player game at it's heart. We're going to allow for 4 coop-players, and online play. We will have split screen.
Meta-Play: Unlike the original TJ&E game, we now have elements that carry over from game to game, and players can gradually build up as they play repeatedly. We'll be introducing the idea of secret winged presents. Find and catch these to introduce new presents into the game. Collect hats that you keep from game to game, that boost your stats or give you abilities.
THE STORY: ToeJam and his homeboy, Big Earl go out for another joyride in their RapMaster Rocketship, and this time Peabo and Lewanda and a few other friends come along. Of course, TJ and Big E. have to take their friends to see Earth, where all the craziness started. While in orbit around Earth, TJ can't resist showing off and pressing a mysterious new button on their ship called "Black Hole - DO NOT PRESS!"
The Earth now breaks apart in one of those Time-Warp-Black-Hole-Displacement thingies. Who could have guessed, right? Well, TJ, Big Earl, and their playable-character-friends must once again put that darned ship back together.
A strangely familiar bassline - by Cody Wright
Risks and challenges
As a kick starter backer you probably already know that video game development entails some risk. Still, there are good risks, and not-so-good risks. This is one of the good ones. Here's why...
1) I've (Greg) been making games as an independent developer for 34 years now ("How is that possible when he looks so young," you say?) And I've run a studio for a few decades.
2) I'm a big supporter of experimental games, but this isn't one of those games. There's a ton we want to get in, but it's pretty well understood territory. Also, I have a pretty good track record for being on time and on budget for my projects. (Check out the list of past games up above)
3) I will be personally designing and managing this project and not doing any other projects.
4) My plan for this project is to keep the team size as small as possible. This is really an indie project. More dollars will mean more time for us to add features and content, polish, and play test. Lots of pay-testing from an early date is the key to a truly fun game.
5) I'm working with some great people, who are passionate about this, just like I am. TJ&E has always been a game of the heart for me. It holds a special place that no other game does. This particular game is sort of a love letter to the Fans. (sorry for getting mushy on you there fans.... hug hug :). What does that mean? It means that I'm going to be giving it my all, and so is my team. Here's hoping we get the chance to make something awesome.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
YES! We decided that this is only fair. You no longer need to be the peanut tier. Anyone who spends $60 on add-ons will get VIP access! Praise the Funk!
If you want an add-on simply add the amount to your pledge, by going to the top left corner of the kickstarter page where it says "Manage Pledge". Clicking here will allow to do things like change your pledge, and you can specify the amount you want to add. Just add the cost of the add-ons you want. (If you are outside the US or Canada see the section below about added shipping costs). Your new total should be your reward tier pledge (if any) plus the add-on cost, plus any international shipping extra. This added money above your reward tier creates a "pledge credit". At the (successful) conclusion of our kickstarter campaign, you will be sent a survey from Backer Kit and a link to our TJ & E page on Backer kit. Backer kit will collect information from you via the survey (things like shirt size and color, or name for the credits, mailing address, etc.), Backer kit it also functions a little like an on-line store. On our TJ&E page you can spend your pledge credit for the add-ons you want. What this means is that you actually select your add-ons at this point. You will have a credit from the "extra" you pledged (above your tier-amount). Don't worry, you can also add more money at this point if you find that you are short. So you can't mess up!!
More information about how backerkit works can be found here: https://www.backerkit.com/faq_backer
To add more to your pledge, see: https://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq/backer+questions#faq_41767
If you live in the U.S. or in Canada there will be no additional shipping charges. These are factored into the cost of the tier and the cost of the add-ons. If you are outside of the U.S. or Canada, then there are additional shipping charges. For the tiers, each tier has it's own additional shipping charge.
For the add-ons, each individual add-on has an associated shipping charge. You may add the shipping charge to your pledge (this is actually good for us because it helps us reach our goal) or you can add the shipping charge later when you go to the Backer Kit page (you will be sent a link for this by Back Kit). Here are the added shipping charges:
Vinyl Figures: $10
Boxed Game: $10
If you purchase multiple add on items these may or may not get shipped together so we can't accurately predict the shipping charges - we need to roughly estimate and hope it all averages out. We offer our apologies in advance if you end up paying more in total for shipping than it ends up costing. We need to work within this system and that's how it works.
More info on shipping is in the backerkit backer faq: https://www.backerkit.com/faq_backer
Please notice that there is a limit of 5 for each add-on item. This is because these are intended for you, and family and friends. Not for you to buy and re-sell.
Even though we haven't gotten funded yet we have already started production on thousands of vinyl figures, so that backers wouldn't need to wait too long. These things normally have long lead times. We can't say for sure (so please don't yell at us if we're wrong) but we're hoping that it won't be more than a few months before you get your physical rewards. The boxed game of course is another matter. That is shrink-wrapped with the finished game and music CD inside so we sort of need to finish the game before we can send those out. Those will be awhile so we recommend not waiting by the postbox.
This is certainly our intention, or perhaps a better word at this stage would be "hope". This is why we are building in Unity. Also, building for multiple platforms is part of the reason for doing this as an indie project. That said, it will depend on how much funding we get, and on what arrangements we can make with the platform vendors. Even if we are able to bring it to other platforms, that won't be for quite awhile, as we plan on focusing on just the PC/Mac/Linux version first. This will allow us to really focus on the quality of the game and not on porting issues, and yield the best results in terms of a really fun game. In regards to which platforms, we hope to bring the game to pretty much all of them. Right now it's sort of cart-before-the-horse because we need to build a game first, but it is a VERY understandable question. We will do our very best, but at this stage we can't offer any promises.
ToeJam and Earl are both about 5 inches tall (Earl is slightly taller) and the ship is 6 inches tall.
You have a lot of physical rewards. Have you accounted for shipping costs and for the work needed to package and mail everything?
The domestic shipping costs have been factored into the tier pricing structure and International shipping has added costs which vary with the weight of each tier. (So the added shipping costs you see aren't what people of other tiers see). In regards to fulfillment of the items we are working with some really excellent partners, one called Amplifier (in Austin, Texas) and another called Backer Kit. Our goal is to spend our time on the game and not on packaging and shipping. Thankfully we can be pretty hands-off.
Simple answer: "we don't know yet". What you see in the videos is a very early prototype that was made by one engineer and one full time artist (with some part time art help) over the course of several months. We have a long ways to go. We really want to do this right, and deliver a game that is a worthy sequel, and this is our priority over doing it fast. So... it may be awhile. What does this mean in practical terms? Well, I'd guess probably somewhere between 1 and 2 years.
As I said in the above response, this is a very early prototype. We plan to have the character animations work from different angles (front and back walks for example) and better frame rate and we may do some more experimenting with the environment look. If you have any suggestions or ideas of what you think might be cool we'd love to hear it. Just message us via Kick Starter or via the ToeJam and Earl Facebook page. We're pretty busy at the moment but we'll get to all of the comments.
We intend to look into that (it's on our list) and will if we can.
We need to do some R&D on this still, but that is also on our list of things we hope to accomplish.
We read all of the KickStarter messages and respond to all of them, and also respond to all of the messages on the Facebook page. You can also email Whatever@humanaturestudios.com. Feel free if you are press, or if you feel like it's something important. Otherwise please use the email channels and Greg gets LOTS of email.
You can now get the vinyl figures as add-ons if you have made a pledge at any level. Check the page above for this. As to purchasing them after Kick Starter...we're still considering this. One thing we can say for sure, is that after all of the stock we have made for KickStarter is gone we won't EVER be making any more with this same packaging. We want these to become collectors items, if people want to think of them that way.
Why aren't you developing for multiple platforms at once? What about Xbox One, and WiiU, and PS4 or PSVita?
We absolutely plan to put this on as many consoles as we can. Hopefully all of them.
When you are a big publisher, or a large developer with a fat bank account, you have very large development teams, and porting architectures that let you build for multiple systems at once. Aside from the costs, and requirements for big teams, one of the downsides of this is that you can't really adjust and play test the game as you make it. It is much harder to experiment when you're building for several platforms at once. You have to be much more cookie-cutter in your approach.
Indie development is different. You build with a small team on one platform at much lower cost, and you play-test a lot. In Indie development you build for the love of it, and your priority is on making a truly great game, rather than on maximizing revenue and hitting all markets fast.
Then, once you have a game you're proud of, you try to port it to as many systems as you can. We have chosen to build in Unity for just this reason. Perhaps we can start this porting process before we're totally done and before we release, if we can line up funding deals for the ports and relationships with vendors like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. And perhaps we can get some 3rd party help with the ports to speed that up. Still to get the best game possible we want build on one platform first until we're satisfied with the game. Usually that’s the PC.
There is absolutely NO reason why people who aren't in game development should know all this. It's understandable that everyone wants the game on their specific platform as soon as possible. This is an indie project though. TJ & E fans have waited a long time for a new TJ & E game. I want to make sure we deliver a game that will be worthy of that wait.
Unfortunately that will take a little time. Sorry for the wait. We are only just getting started, which is why we need the KickStarter funds. We'll work as hard and as fast as we can, and we’ll make the best game we can. That, I can promise.
Yes, no worries. We are working with a great company called Backer Kit. If and when we fund, they will send out a survey that lets you specify the name you want to have in the credits.
We do not intend to put any DRM in the product. The only caveat to this is that it is conceivable that our distribution partner may have requirements. We will almost certainly use Humble Bundle and probably Steam as well but this hasn't been signed yet. Until it is it would be irresponsible of us to make promises we can't be 100% sure of. The more cynical minded may see this as an excuse to add DRM, but hopefully we've shown in our campaign that we're trying at every turn to be open and straightforward, and we feel it's critical to only make promises that we know we can keep. We can say that we don't like DRM either and if we can get by with having none then we will.
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