About this project
Two reasons why the universe would be better off with Captain Casual in it:
1. Touch controls in a sophisticated action game so good that you will not wish for a controller.
The most common feedback that I have gotten from gamers when I am demoing the game is that they are impressed with how well the game controls. Instead of trying to make the game control like there was a control pad on screen (e.g. having the player touch a simulated joystick and buttons), the controls in Captain Casual are designed to capitalize on the advantages of a touch screen over typical game pad controls: much like using a mouse allows gamers to be more precise in FPS shooters than a joystick due to the ability to match a constant motion with game response, Captain Casual uses touchscreen drags to create precise and fluid control. The custom graphics and game engine that I have built for the game allows for creating a seemingly immediate relation between user input and game response. This is accomplished by ensuring that all game action runs at 60 frames per second (twice the speed of most games), and also ensuring that user touches are captured and processed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
2. Bringing a cinematic game experience to mobile gamers.
The overall goal of Captain Casual is for you to feel like you are part of a great science fiction story. This means that in addition to providing an entertaining and involving story, there also needs to be a minimum of repetitive action. The game is designed to provide short but intense gaming action within each level. Part of this intensity is provided by requiring you to be careful with your ship: your ship is fragile, you do not have lives or shields, and if you run into anything too fast, your ship will explode (there will be an 'extra casual' mode in the game's release that will make adjustments to decrease the games difficulty, including turning off most collision explosions). The game will also have a hardcore mode that is designed around increasing the cinematic experience in a number of ways. For example, in hardcore mode if your ship explodes then you are treated to an epilogue scene which completes the story depending upon what you have accomplished in the game so far, and the game will move seamlessly from one level to the next.
-- Challenging action/adventure, in space!
-- Deep storyline & entertaining characters, also in space!
-- Fluid control at 60 frames per second, where at? You guessed it!
-- Hardcore mode for those wanting an enhanced cinematic experience
and extra challenge
Don't believe me? Then watch the following video where I will walk you through one of the game's levels (NOTE: you won't see the game in all its buttery-smooth rock solid 60 frames per second glory due to my cheap streaming setup):
You are Casey S. Casual, formerly of the Conglomerate Flight Academy. They told you that you were just a little too erratic to be a pilot. They tried to offer you positions more suited to your temperament. They cried a little and gave you uncomfortably long hugs as you were leaving.
While contemplating your lack of future in Blind Burt’s Space Bar (& asteroid shooting range), you were approached by Derin Serious. He said he was looking for a pilot to help with security contracts, mostly just the affluent bored wanting to have a fighter ship escort for show while they’re on a space cruise. Oh and he does birthday parties too. He’s got some spiffy looking uniforms. You put them on, you take the kids on a (perfectly-safe-don’t-you-worry) thrill ride, then you give them some candy and a little plastic captain’s badge and everyone’s happy.
And so you joined Serious Security Services. And while your dreams of being a Conglomerate pilot are now as realistic as those little plastic badges, there was a small amount of relief. This, at least, was going to be easy...
There's a host of enviable rewards available! Here's a handy chart describing all of the goodies offered:
And here's a rough idea of what the physical rewards will look like (the ship model will be about 100mm--or 4 inches--long, I'll also ask for donor feedback on the shirt & cd designs):
Ever since getting an Atari 2600 for Christmas I have loved video games, and ever since reading my first fantasy book (A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony) I have loved science fiction and fantasy stories.
While I was working as an undergraduate research assistant I learned Turbo Pascal in order to build some reaction time experiments, and I discovered I had a knack for coding. Since then I've always had at least some kind of side project going on that involved programming. For this game, I've built a custom OpenGL ES graphics engine and game engine in C and Objective-C.
Making games allows me to focus on all of the things I love, and over the course of my life I feel like I have now acquired the technical and artistic skills needed to make games that are worth playing. With your help, I hope this will be the start of a new career.
The $5,000 dollars I have asked for will allow me to work full time on the game. In addition, funds raised will be used for covering additional software costs, trademark & incorporation fees, PR and merchandising.
If any of the following stretch goals are reached, they likely will be applied after the game is released in April of 2014:
10,000: Addition of online leader boards that can be viewed in game as well as via the Captain Casual website. These leader boards will provide performance scores for each level of the game, and will also include include a special leaderboard for those who have beat the game's hardcore mode (in hardcore mode pilots have to start the entire game over if they explode). There will be a scrolling text bar on main menu screen that will dynamically update. So if you've just beaten the game in hardcore mode, or set a new record score on a given level, for example, then all the other players will learn about it.
Additional stretch goals: Right now, the story for Captain Casual covers 6 episodes, and additional money over the 10,000 mark will be used to fund the next episode of the game, if I am able to reach 100,000, then I will use that to fund and publish the 2nd episode of the game, with a release date of April 2015. In this case, anyone who donated $5 or more will also get a copy of the 2nd episode as well as the 1st.
Risks and challenges
The majority of the game engine and gameplay mechanics are complete. I currently have 5 out of 10 planned levels built in the game engine, and if I'm able to get the minimum funding, nothing, barring bodily trauma, will stop me from eventually completing this game. The timeline, however, is something that is slightly less certain. Since I will solely be handling all aspects of game development, story, graphics and sound, I do not anticipate any interpersonal conflicts or artistic disagreements within myself (or overly long meetings and even longer bureaucratic decision making). Based upon my work to date I have estimated the amount of time it will take me to finish, and then I added two additional months for good measure, making the final target month of release April 2014.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
To ensure that I will be able to deliver the game on time, I've kept a record of the number of hours that it has taken to get the game to its current state. This record also contains information about the different primary activities I was engaging in (e.g. game engine development, writing, level design, etc). I then used this data to project how long it would take me to finish the game, and then added an additional 60 days. This gave me the current deadline of April 2014.
Another decision that I have made to make sure that I finish the game is to concentrate only on a single platform: iOS (i.e. iPhone & iPad). While I may pursue porting the game to another platform in the future (most notably Android), I do not want to commit to additional versions of the game until after I have finished this first version.
Finally, the game is already well beyond the prototype phase, as I already have a complete game and graphics engine built around the game and have implemented 5 levels of the game in it (you can watch a walkthrough of one of the levels on the kickstarter page).
As I note in the Risks and Challenges section, there may be unforeseen events that delay me, but given that I'm a one man team, I have no doubts about my own commitment to finishing the project as soon as possible while ensuring that I'm delivering a quality game.
Since I am the sole developer on the project, I have chosen to concentrate on a single platform (iOS) for the first version of the game to help ensure that I complete the game within the timeframe I have set. Once I complete and release the iOS version of the game, I will then look into porting the game over to Android.
- (30 days)