Words of Power: A voice controlled game in your web browser project video thumbnail
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$1,270 pledged of $12,000 goal
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By Thad Phetteplace
$1,270 pledged of $12,000 goal
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About

Words of Power is a unique, adventure packed video game, designed to be playable by anyone, even those with physical challenges. It will run in most modern web browsers and incorporate voice recognition technology to allow full hands free voice control. It will also serve as a platform for the creation of many more great, accessible games.  Words of Power is a role playing game that drops you into a danger filled dungeon armed with only your wits and your magic to help you survive. It embodies a concept that we at GLACI, Inc. have always believed, that words are powerful things, and with them, we can change the world.

GLACI co-owner Kirsten Carter is a programmer and avid gamer who suffers from Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that often results in spontaneously dislocated joints such as wrists and fingers. Words of Powers was conceived to allow her and other game enthusiasts to continue having fun even when it is not possible to use a mouse, keyboard, or joystick. That is where the voice recognition comes in. It brings a greater level of freedom and independence to the gaming experience. The game will also include traditional key and mouse controls for those who prefer it, but it is being designed from the ground up to allow hands free operation.

The idea for this game was born from the marriage of two different projects. Motivated by Kirsten's struggle with EDS, we began examining the Google Speech Recognition API to create web based applications that replace typing with speaking. Around this same time, we began looking at the Phaser game framework for developing video games in HTML5 and Javascript. That’s when the light bulb went on… we realized we could combine these two technologies to create a web based video game controlled by voice commands. Amazingly, it seems nobody has done this yet. Voice control in a game is not a new idea, but one that runs completely in a web browser… that is something new. Immediately, we knew we had to make this game.

Once the basic concept was there, the ideas kept coming. Soon we had the outlines of not just one game, but a wide variety of games that harken back to the dungeon crawlers, mystery adventures, and puzzle solving games we grew up with. As a dungeon crawler, Words of Power is a perfect starting point, allowing us to develop a rich set of tools and infrastructure that we can build on for future games in this and other genres.

Click the screenshot to try the voice command demo
Click the screenshot to try the voice command demo

In many ways, Words of Power will be a modern take on the classic tabletop role playing game. Play is turn based, with moves alternating between a human controlled wizard and computer control monsters. You will explore dungeons, find treasures, discover secret doors, and fight a variety of strange creatures. Your primary weapon is your magic, and you will have many opportunities to increase your library of spells. While basic game play will incorporate a classic ‘kill the monsters / collect loot / level up’ dynamic, it will also have an element of storytelling and puzzle solving. And If we achieve the Multi-player stretch goal then you can do that with up to 3 of your friends.

For those that like a faster paced, higher tension experience, the game will also offer a ‘rapid play’ mode with a countdown timer. If you don’t initiate your turn before the timer expires, you miss your turn, and the monsters take their next turn instead.

We already have a demo that shows how the voice recognition system integrates with the game. You can use a few voice commands to move a red sphere around a small sample dungeon. Currently it only works with the Google Chrome browser, but we are working on support for other browsers. The demo uses only a small subset of the graphics and features being developed for the final game, but it does demonstrate the basic interface and potential of what we are doing.

The concept of accessibility is the heart and soul of this game. The Google speech recognition tools allow people with various physical challenges to play it. We chose to make it a web based game utilizing HTML and Javascript so it would be accessible to anyone with a modern browser, on any computer platform. Finally, we hope to include the voice narration stretch goal so that even the visually impaired can enjoy this game.

We will use an iterative, open design process with frequent playable demos where you, our supporters and partners, can provide feedback and help shape the final design. We are using open source tools like the Phaser game framework, and the final game software will also be open source. To increase accessibility we will use localization techniques to allow multiple language support.

Artistic components will be made available under various licenses. Some basic graphics and sound files will be licensed under the Creative Commons license to help others learn and adapt our open source framework. Most will remain under a more restrictive license that allows them to be used only with our demo or full game. Some artwork and game levels will be available only to YOU, our supporters and co-developers.

Ultimately, we see this as not just a fun game that anyone can play, but a platform to allow the creation of many more great, accessible games. We will be documenting our progress and communicating with you as we work, and we will use that experience to create a tutorial to help others create similar games.

We are really focused on making a great video game, so most of our rewards are directly related to the game itself, but we did come up with a couple of reward ideas that were just too fun to not include. We think these perfectly reflect the magical feeling we get from creating a great video game. They are available only to our Kickstarter backers at the CONJUROR and higher pledge levels.

Our exclusive 'Use Your Words' Bumper Sticker
Our exclusive 'Use Your Words' Bumper Sticker
The 'Yes I am a Wizard' bumper sticker
The 'Yes I am a Wizard' bumper sticker
Our Exclusive 'I Am A Wizard' Rewards
Our Exclusive 'I Am A Wizard' Rewards

We’ve created the following Reward Matrix to make it easier to understand exactly what you get at each pledge level. You actually have a bit more flexibility than what the chart indicates. At the ENCHANTER level and above, you can mix and match physical rewards to have two coffee mugs, two t-shirts, or one of each.

If you would like your pledge to go even further check out the "Matching Funds" option described after our Project Budget chart.

We've actually got a lot of work done toward the gameplay and basic voice interaction of the game, so really this campaign could be all about the stretch goals. At our minimum funding level, we could make a really good game. But why stop there? With a bit more effort, we could make a really GREAT game on a versatile platform anyone can use to create fun accessible games! That is why the following stretch goals are so important to us.

At this funding level, we will create an additional dungeon with a different tile set and layout. It will include a few new unique items to interact with, treasures to find, and puzzles to solve.

At this stretch goal, you get three new heroes to choose from, plus the ability to make some customizations to your hero. Much of this additional funding will go toward paying an artist.

At this milestone, we will add a random map generator feature to the game. If we hit the Game Creator Tool stretch goal, this feature will be integrated with that as well.

When we hit this funding milestone, we will create a standalone PC version of the game. This will allow you to play even when you have no Internet connection. Versions for Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, and Linux will be available.

When we reach this funding milestone, we will add multi-player functionality to the game. Quest with up to three other players... Good thing we reached the Bonus Heroes stretch goal so you don't all look the same.

When we reach this funding level, we will deliver an expansion pack with a bunch of new monsters. This will include monsters designed with the assistance of our NECROMANCER level contributors. As with the Bonus Heroes stretch goal, this additional funding will mostly go toward paying an artist.

At this stretch goal, we will create an interface that allows you to essentially create your own custom games. Tap into your creative side and create a world all your own. You will be able to design your own dungeons, tile sets, heroes, monsters, and loot. The editor will also allow you to upload and share your levels with other players on the Words Of Power website.

We are really excited about this idea, and really hope we hit this funding target. Basically, we will add optional voice narration that describes the layout of each room and the events of the game to allow the game to be played by the visually impaired. This will mean additional programming and a lot of extra work for our voice actor Colin, so your support is really needed and appreciated to reach this target.

OK, so playing on the PC is great, but when we unlock this stretch goal, it's time to commit to an Android version of the game. We have a lot of experience doing android work (mobile and embedded work is our bread and butter), so we know that with your financial help, we can make this happen. Not only will this game be ported to Android, the open source framework we are developing will come with it, enabling countless other accessible Android games to be developed as well.

If you push us up to this level, we will respond with a mega pack of additional mazes, monsters, music, artifacts, puzzles, and heroes. Let's keep our designers, programmers, illustrators, and modelers busy and make this happen!

OK, so we really want to make our games available for Apple devices, but up until now haven't had the time or resources to do it. Hit this funding target, and we will invest in the development hardware and time to make this happen. As with the Android port, this will carry over our entire accessible framework and lay the groundwork for future games.

LANGUAGE STRETCH GOALS

At every additional $20,000 after $86,000 we will add compatibility for another language.  This is labor intensive and will involve significant outside help.  After a translator does their magic we will need to have it edited and reviewed. We will also need to create a Beta version for each language then test it and integrate improvements over several months.

BACKER QUEST STRETCH GOALS

Your financial support is critical to making this campaign a success, but it is only half the story. We also need your help in getting the word out. That is why we’ve created several social media related Backer Quest Stretch Goals to help with that. As the total number of retweets, facebook shares, and other activities reach specific totals, additional features and rewards will be unlocked. Summaries of the social media quests follow, but be sure to go to the Backer Quest Web Page for up to date details on how to contribute.

With your help we can increase the flexibility of our game.  Use your own voice or help us hire translators and native language voice actors to craft a new library of commands, narration and more.

If we get 100 retweets, we will add a feature to the game that allows you to record your own voice narration, replacing any of the voice prompts included in the game with your own version.

At 1000 retweets, we will add voice input and subtitle support for an additional language to the game, allowing you to give commands in that language.

Narration support in that language will be unlocked at 10,000 retweets, and that includes room descriptions for the visually impaired if we’ve reached that stretch goal.

When we unlock these stretch goals, we will use your facebook profiles as inspiration to add unique zombies to the game. These twisted versions of our human supporters will infest our game like maggots on a corps

The first 100 Facebook shares unlocks 5 zombies randomly selected from our facebook supporters.

At 1000 shares, we add a Necromancer hero class with the power to raise undead minions and other unique magic skills.

At 10,000 shares, an entire zombie themed bonus level is unlocked, with new maps, new tile sets, and various undead creatures.

Send us your interpretation of the monsters you would like to encounter in game. This can be almost anything. Dress up your pets and snap a picture. Encourage your kids to draw something or explore your own art skills. Send it in along with a text description. What do you call your monster? Does it have any unique abilities? Weaknesses? Likes? Dislikes?

The first 10 people to send us a picture will get their reward upgraded by one level (only one upgrade per person).

At 100 pictures, we will pick our favorites to develop into actual creatures in the game. There will also be the opportunity for you, our backers, to vote on your favorite monsters.

If we get 1000 pictures, we will create a whole new bonus level based on the best creatures. These surreal new maps will include new tricks, treasures and your various undead creatures.

This diagram shows when we plan to reach various milestones in the project, including any of the stretch goals that are funded. The basic game development, culminating in the Version 1.0 Release, will be completed in July. The rest of the milestones depend on reaching stretch goal funding levels… so let’s make it happen! We want the opportunity to deliver every single one of these goals, especially those that increase accessibility, like the mobile app and the Audio Scene Descriptions feature for the hearing impaired. That is why those Backer Quest Stretch Goals are so important.

The graph reflects our budget estimates for completing version 1.0 of the game that we plan to release in July. These estimates naturally change depending on which stretch goals we reach, with bonus level packs pushing up the artwork percentage or voice narration pushing up the audio percentage, but overall the numbers should stay pretty close to this through the life of the project.

We started GLACI back in the mid 90’s to develop some of the first commercial web server software. Since then, we’ve branched out into the mobile and embedded markets, developing software for aerospace, automotive, smartphones, and tablets. But our real love has always been games. Our entire team shares that enthusiasm, and each one brings their own unique skills.

Matching Funds helps others help us

If you would like to pledge matching funds please email us at WordsOfPowerGame@gmail.com. This is a great way to help a great project AND encourage others to do so as well. Organizations Welcome! Get a group of people together and match as a group. Because of you people who donate to Words of Power will feel like they are donating twice as much. It’s a simple way to empower others.

How it works for you:

Email us saying that you or your group would like to become a Matching Funder and pick a monetary level to match (Minimum $500). In addition to our joyful praises you will also receive simple instructions on how to submit your special pledge. After submission your picture or group Logo will be added to our Words Of Power page’s Partners section and you will receive an official Word Of Power Matching Funder badge for your website. Once your funds are used to match pledges then you will get the rewards up to that total’s pledge level plus receive an original Words of Power Matching Funder Certificate and be listed as a Matching Funder in the game credits.

NOW the magic starts!

Updates, tweets and posts will go out proclaiming YOUR (unless you wish to remain anonymous) generous pledge of matching funds. In those proclamations we will let everyone know that the next $XXXX of pledges at $20 or more will be matched. Many people will be spurred on by your encouragement to pledge knowing that you have doubled its value. Someone who only felt comfortable pledging $25 will now feel they have pledged $50 adding to the positive feeling of supporting something they believe in, and that’s all because of you.

Joint our team and add matching funds to your pledge today!

We would like to thank all the friends and family that have encouraged and supported us as we’ve gotten this project off the ground, especially our friends in Nerdfighteria. You are all awesome.

We would also like to thank the people at AbleGamers.org for their advice and encouragement. You’ve helped fuel our motivation for doing this: the idea that games can be more than just fun, they can make the world a better place.

Risks and challenges

Cost and schedule estimates on a software development project always comes with some uncertainty. Sometimes integration efforts or bug fixes end up being more challenging than expected. With more than 20 years of computer consulting and software development experience, we’ve become pretty good at estimating, but we’ve included some slack in the schedule to handle the unexpected, just in case.

We plan to hire an additional artist if we reach various stretch goals. Adding staff comes with it’s own uncertainties and risks. Finding a qualified candidate might take longer than expected, or an individual might not work out as well as expected once hired. This could impact the delivery schedule. This risk could be be mitigated by hiring multiple artists on a part time or per asset commission basis to find the best fit.

Our open design/development process depends on testing and feedback from a very involved community of supporters. If the community is smaller or less involved than we hope, it could slow the development process, particularly the finding and fixing of bugs. The best way to mitigate that is for YOU our backers, to spread the word and get more people onboard.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    NOVICE: become a backer!
    You receive a special Words of Power DIGITAL IMAGE for your website or social media page proclaiming your level of support.
    PLUS receive EMAIL UPDATES describing our progress and receive access to the WEB VERSION of the game upon final release.
    you'll be listed in the game credits as a Novice level backer.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    APPRENTICE: Join our team!
    You receive all the NOVICE level rewards,
    PLUS early BETA ACCESS to the web game and access to the DEVELOPER FORUM to provide feedback.
    You will also receive a Personal thank you POSTCARD with a special Words of Power picture.
    Game credits- Apprentice level backer.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    ILLUSIONIST: Become our partner!
    Receive APPRENTICE rewards,
    PLUS you are invited to participate in our DEVELOPER Q&A. Become a vital member of our team and shape the development of the game!
    You also get access to a Kickstarter exclusive BONUS LEVEL as well as early access to other bonus levels that are unlocked by stretch goals.
    Game credits- Illusionist level backer.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    CONJUROR: Bump it up!
    Receive ILLUSIONIST rewards,
    PLUS you also receive the stand-alone PC GAME (playable on Mac, Windows, or Linux) and MOBIL versions IF we reach those stretch goals.
    Also choose a special Words of Power BUMPER STICKER for your car, laptop, or dungeon wall. Designs are pictured in the campaign description, updates, and game website.
    Game credits- Conjuror level backer.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    SPELL CASTER: Learn the tricks of the trade!
    Receive CONJUROR rewards,
    PLUS Receive a detailed TUTORIAL on writing your own HTML5 video games! This includes videos, references and additional content describing how we created our game. Also included are guidelines on making your games ACCESSIBLE to everyone who loves games including the physically challenged.
    Game credits- Spell Caster level backer.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    MAGICIAN: Drink from our magic Cup!
    Receive SPELL CASTER rewards,
    PLUS choose an exclusive Words of Power COFFEE MUG as pictured in the campaign description, updates, and game website.
    Game credits- Magician level backer.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    WIZARD: Wear the wizard's robes!
    Receive SPELL CASTER rewards,
    PLUS our exclusive Words of Power T-SHIRT (or Coffee mug) as pictured in the campaign description, updates, and game website.
    Game credits- Wizard level backer.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    ENCHANTER: Master mixer!
    Receive SPELL CASTER rewards,
    PLUS mix and match 2 PHYSICAL REWARDS... select 2 t-shirts, 2 mugs, or 1 of each.
    Game credits- Enchanter level backer.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SORCERER: Be a project insider!
    Receive ENCHANTER rewards,
    PLUS additional EXCLUSIVE CONTENT including music, concept art, and video out-takes as a digital download.
    Also, an additional Kickstarter EXCLUSIVE LEVEL.
    Game credits- Sorcerer level backer.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    MAGE: Be enshrined!
    Receive SORCERER rewards,
    PLUS you get a STATUE or SHRINE dedicated to you somewhere in the dungeon.
    Also, IF we reach the Super Bonus Level stretch goal, you receive exclusive EARLY ACCESS to those levels and get to participate in the development & testing process.
    Game credits- Mage level backer.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    ARCHMAGE: Name a monster!
    Receive MAGE rewards,
    PLUS you get to name one of the MONSTERS. That name is displayed whenever a player encounters that creature. Final name subject to our approval.
    Game credits- Mage level backer and the one who named that specific monster.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    NECROMANCER: Summon your own creature!
    Receive all the MAGE rewards,
    PLUS you get to help design and name a CREATURE. Even if you are not an artist we will work with you to design the perfect beast to express your inner creature. Final name and design subject to our approval.
    Game credits- Necromancer level backer and designer of your creature.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    DEMIGOD: The Ultimate Hero!
    Receive NECROMANCER rewards,
    PLUS we create an EXCLUSIVE HERO based on your design with unique abilities that only you can play as (unless you choose to share it). IF we reach the multi-player stretch goal, other players will see your unique avatar and know that you are a Demigod!
    Game credits- DEMIGOD and, if you choose to release your unique character class for all to use, you will be listed in the game credits as the designer of that hero.

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Funding period

- (30 days)