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$1,430 pledged of $15,000 goal
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$1,430 pledged of $15,000 goal
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About this project

Hi everyone.  My name is Nathaniel.  I'd like to tell you about the game I'm working on.

Himeko Sutori is a tactical JRPG for Windows and Mac that puts the player in control of an army of over 100 unique named units that you can customize, equip, and level-up as you uncover the schemes and betrayals that have thrown the kingdom into civil war.  Himeko Sutori will also come with all the assets and code needed for players to build their own campaigns using the Unreal Development Kit.

The game plays out in two general modes:  exploration and combat.  In exploration mode you'll be able to wander through city and countryside, talk to NPCs, get quests, buy equipment, hire and promote soldiers, and discover new places.  The events in exploration mode can thrust you into combat mode, where you and your AI opponent will take turns moving your armies squad by squad across the battlefield, positioning them for the best tactical advantage.
The player's squad has a mage.  That's bad news for the enemy.
The player's squad has a mage. That's bad news for the enemy.

In combat, each of your individual and unique characters will use his or her special abilities automatically to heal allies, pick off weak enemies, or deal out massive damage to enemy commanders.  As you build your squads, you will have to make strategic decisions:  Do you make a squad of all archers in order to maximize your ranged damage?  Or do you mix in knights and clerics to make the squad more rugged in close combat?  It's up to you.

About a year and a half ago, something happened at work that really disappointed me.  I had started off college studying computer science, but in the post 9/11 world, I switched to Arabic and started a career as an Arabic translator in the DC area.  My education and work experience didn't really lend itself to starting over somewhere new, and I felt stuck.

I used to play a lot of video games and I would frequently play just so I could tune the world out.  I realized though that sitting around and playing video games wasn't going to get me into a new career.  And as my family's primary breadwinner, I didn't feel I could just quit and go back to school.

Then it struck me.  I knew what I wanted to do.  I know how to program.  I know how to write and tell stories.  And I could see a major gap where no one else was making games.

I liked Mount and Blade, but I thought the army commands were underdeveloped.  I liked Final Fantasy Tactics, but the scale of the battles just somehow didn't feel very impressive.  I liked Ogre Battle 64, but it was ancient and there had to have been a better game made during the last 15 years.  There were plenty of recent offerings in the tactical JRPG subgenre but they all seemed to be for handheld systems, and not the PC where I do most of my gaming.

So I decided that I would make the game I wanted to play:  tactical, turn-based, fantasy, with a deep storyline.  Detailed character progression.  Massive battles.  But it had to be controlled at the squad level so that the player doesn't get bogged down making hundreds of individual orders every round.

And so with a pen and a notebook, I started Himeko Sutori.

 The game is going to feel immediately familiar to anyone who has played tactical role-playing games before--games like Final Fantasy Tactics, Ogre Battle 64--but there are going to be a few things that are totally new.

Scale:  Tactical RPGs have to strike a balance between epic scope and personal involvement with the characters.  Before, this has meant that either the battles have to be very small, or the progression very impersonal.  Now though, you'll get the best of both worlds.  You'll have control over a massive army.  And you'll get individual control over every character's progression and equipment.  This will require a bit of a simplified level-up system so that you don't get bogged down with all the details of managing hundreds of characters.  And that leads me to...

Character Abilities:  In order to keep things interesting, and to let you obsess over character optimizations (Come on!  You people know who you are!), I'm introducing a new, simple, but deep character ability progression system.  It's easy:  Every character class depends on an Attribute, a Skill, and a Power source.  Let's say you have a Warlock (Attribute:  Intellect.  Skill:  Spellcraft.  Power:  Red) and she seems to have reached her potential as a Warlock.  What do you do?  Have her fight a few levels as a Barbarian (Attribute:  Strength.  Skill:  Heavy Weapon.  Power:  Red) or an Illusionist (Attribute:  Charisma.  Skill:  Spellcraft.  Power:  Black).  With an increased Red power source and Spellcraft skill, your warlock will be stronger than ever!  And for those who would rather play through the game without obsessive optimizations, there's always the difficulty slider.

Story:  In true tactical RPG fashion, I have a complex political thriller for you, with scheming nobles, mysterious arcane colleges, and more.  But beyond that, you're free to make your own stories with the included...

Campaign Editing Tools:  Just download the free Unreal Development Kit, and you will be free to use all of my code* and assets to make your own campaigns!  The EULA will say that you're not allowed to make your own standalone executable, but aside from that you'll be free to make any kind of game you like using all the same tools I'm using.  (*If I can figure out a way to keep my own source code, then I'm doing that.  But I can't think of any way for me, with my resources, to make a custom editor that protects my source code, so I'm not going to worry about it.)

I've been working on Himeko Sutori in my spare time for about a year now.  I would really like to work on it more and produce a finished game, but in order to do that, I'm going to need your help.

I'm asking for $15,000 to cover professional licenses for the various software suites I'm using, to purchase some additional assets, and mostly to fund some full-time development.

I'm hoping that with a couple more months of full-time development I'll be able to do the work of roughly a year's worth of night-and-weekend development, and that I'll have something ready for you to play by this fall.

Risks and challenges

Alright, let's be honest here: You don't know me. This is my first game. How do you know I'm going to see it through?

I have personal reasons for wanting to finish this game. Without going into too much detail, I'll just say that I'm considering a new direction and I think that Himeko Sutori can guide me there.

Beyond that, take a look at what I've done so far. Take a look at my Himeko Sutori Development Blog on YouTube to see how far I've come (latest entry at https://www.youtube.com/watch…). All of the shine and polish went on just within the past week. Before that it was months of working on the unglamorous stuff. Really, I think I'm at a point now where finishing the game is just a matter of time.

To protect my project against possible mishaps, I'm keeping multiple online and offline backups. But beyond that, there are things outside of my control, so I'll promise you this: I'm going to give all of my assets and source code to a friend. In the event that I get run over by a truck or if for any other reason a year goes by and it looks like I'm not able to finish the game, I'm going to have him opensource the whole game, free for anyone to play, mod, and develop, and hopefully you'll still get Himeko Sutori one way or another.

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    My Heartfelt Thanks

    Every dollar counts. Thank you very much for your support.

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    A Copy of Himeko Sutori

    You will receive a digital download of Himeko Sutori on your choice of available distribution platforms. I'm guessing Steam will be the most popular option.

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    Digital Deluxe Himeko Sutori

    You will receive Himeko Sutori, a thank-you in the credits, plus lots of extras, including desktop backgrounds, pdf maps, anime-style forum avatars, and if I reach the stretch goal, you'll get a download of the Himeko Sutori soundtrack.

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    All of the above and a T-shirt!

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    All of the above and a T-shirt, international shipping.

    Get everything in Digital Deluxe Himeko Sutori plus the game's logo on a men's or ladies' style T-shirt. I will send your shirt anywhere on earth.

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    Be in the game!

    You'll get everything in the digital deluxe version, plus the T-shirt, plus I'll put your name on an interactive NPC. You could be a guard or a shopkeeper in Himeko Sutori!

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    Be in the game!

    You'll get everything in the digital deluxe version, plus the T-shirt, plus I'll put your name on a hero who will join the adventure in Himeko Sutori!

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    Be listed as a producer in the opening credits, right after the executive producer, in addition to the digital deluxe download and the T-shirt. You know what? For a thousand dollars, you tell me how many T-shirts and game downloads you want. I'll see what I can do.

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    Be listed as the executive producer! Your name will appear first in the opening credits: "Joe presents... a game by Nathaniel Ayer... Himeko Sutori..."

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Funding period

- (30 days)