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Years after the U.S. falls, the world is on the brink of war once more. A 2D action platformer for PC, in the style of a late NES game.
Years after the U.S. falls, the world is on the brink of war once more. A 2D sidescroller for PC, with gorgeous pixel art and zipline action! (NOTE: The game has changed art direction since the campaign ended, so the original campaign here is outdated.)
Years after the U.S. falls, the world is on the brink of war once more. A 2D sidescroller for PC, with gorgeous pixel art and zipline action! (NOTE: The game has changed art direction since the campaign ended, so the original campaign here is outdated.)
406 backers pledged $8,706 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Steel Assault is a 2D side-scrolling action game for PC, set in the year 2040 after revolts and fascist uprising have shocked the United States.

As technological advances continued into the 2030s, the United States's economic foundations caved in. Peaceful protests devolved into riots and all-out civil war, as people starved in the streets. One man rose to power out of the rubble: General Magnus Pierce, a cruel and ruthless tyrant with delusions of restoring America's former grandeur. You play as a resistance soldier equipped with a powerful robotic suit (one of the last of its kind), dropped into a long-abandoned enemy-occupied Washington, D.C.

The game mainly focuses on close combat, but the player is also equipped with a variety of different weapons. Its aesthetic is inspired by late 8-bit games on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), such as Shatterhand and Batman. These games utilized heavy dithering and details in negative space to create a dark atmosphere within the primitive system's limitations.

If you can't back our project, please consider sharing our Kickstarter page around to support us, by e.g. retweeting/reblogging our Twitter/Tumblr announcements! Every little bit of exposure counts.

  • An arcade-style game. What that means is: tight length, tight design, and high difficulty.

  • Multiple difficulty modes, from Expert (the hardest mode, which the game will be initially designed around) down to Novice mode (which most people will be able to beat).

  • You have one life (on the hardest difficulty), and there are no levels per se. Instead, the game will be one unbroken "shot" from start to finish, beginning when the player is dropped off in the first level (or last checkpoint, on lower difficulties) and ending when he/she either dies or defeats the last boss. (Remember how Sonic 3 & Knuckles had Act 1 and Act 2 levels seamlessly connected? Now extend that to an entire game.)

  • "Flow" is extremely important to us in designing Steel Assault. Many modern 2D platformers take the route of "bite-sized" design: hundreds of levels or checkpoints, each less than a minute long, and with infinite lives. But while "bite-sized" design is now a popular paradigm for platformers, we believe that this design choice severely limits a game's flow and tension, and (even more importantly) player immersion in a game's atmosphere and world

Fundamentally, we believe that retro styles should be an invitation for developers to push the limitations, not an excuse to fall back on them. We don't have any nostalgic pretenses or axes to grind with modern videogames, and we're not trying to sell you some tired rhetoric about "the good old days". We just want to make a kickass 2D action game.

And we need your help to do it.

Whoops, that was rude — we haven't even properly introduced ourselves yet! We're currently a team of 2 people working on this game:

I'm Sri Kankanahalli, the programmer, designer, and composer for Steel Assault! I'm currently a 20-year-old junior studying Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. I've been interested in game development ever since I was a kid, when I used to play around with Clickteam game making toolkits (Multimedia Fusion, anyone?) and fangames.

Growing up, I also gained a background in the emulation, ROM hacking, and homebrew scenes, which is partially why the styles of old game consoles came to appeal to me. For example, in 2009 I worked on a Sonic the Hedgehog ROM hack called Dustin Wyatt's Epic Adventure, which completely changed the game from a Sonic platformer into a fully featured Megaman clone. Despite its bizarre Internet-forum-based aesthetics and theme, it still stands as one of the most technically accomplished ROM hacks ever.

I'm Daniel Garcia (also known as Dnilo), the artist for Steel Assault! I'm a 30-year-old computer engineer from Mexico, planet Earth. Currently, I'm a full-time pixel artist working primarily on videogames, with the goal of bringing awe and joy to anyone who crosses paths with my designs and animations. In my childhood, when I wasn't preparing for my future life as an astronaut or superhero (and growing up, in-between comics and videogames), I picked up freehand drawing. Later, I fully migrated to digital art.

There are more than 10 distinct areas currently planned for Steel Assault. Here are a few of the early levels:

Washington, D.C. This is a relatively short first level, meant to give the player an introduction to the game. The city's destruction is still ongoing; flying robots regularly drop down heavy blocks, which crash through the ground and create new pits.

D.C. Metro. The D.C. metro is somehow still roughly functional, "doors opening" voices included. At least, until you get on it. Then things start really breaking and falling apart.

Club Pavilion. This is the location of the first real boss fight (rather than a full level). It's inspired by the opening shot of Boogie Nights.

National Harbor. A lot of stuff seems to be moving around on these docks, for some reason. Looks like you're gonna have to jump across those boxes (while they're being moved around and picked up by cranes and pulleys), then start boarding and moving from boat to boat.

Underwater Cavern. This is where the game begins to diverge from "real life" locations and enter weirder territory. Giant eels will of course be present.

We're serious with our commitment to retro style. Steel Assault has an extremely detailed internal style guide, with lots of info on NES restrictions:

Sri is composing all of the game's music using Famitracker, a NES music creation tool:

So, all of the music composed for the game will be able to run on an actual NES!

We're aiming to create a more atmospheric type of chiptune soundtrack than the standard Megaman-esque retro stuff. The music's cues and influences cover an extremely wide range, from well-known pop artists to obscure post-rock bands to (of course) actual NES game soundtracks from companies like Konami and Natsume.

Here are a few sample songs from the Steel Assault soundtrack!

Temple - a song for an intense and creepy temple level later in the game, where eyes watch you from the shadows.

Boss Fight #1 (Club) - the theme for the game's first boss fight, which takes place in a club. Notable for maybe being the only chiptune track ever to sample Kanye West and LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem.

Regret - a song for a climactic late-game sequence which we're not going to spoil. This song uses the NES's terrible-quality DPCM channel to sample, among other things, Jason Robards' regret monologue from the movie Magnolia. (It makes sense in the game, we promise!)

Hope you guys enjoy them! We also have a SoundCloud with even more completed tracks available:

At the end of this Kickstarter campaign, we're going to release a video thanking our backers, in the form of a NES ROM. Your name will be listed in it!

Plus previous rewards: Your name in our backer thank-you ROM.

You'll get a digital copy of Steel Assault. Also, if we get through Steam Greenlight, you'll get a Steam key.

Plus previous rewards: A copy of Steel Assault, your name in our backer thank-you ROM.

You'll get a digital download of Steel Assault's instruction manual, in PDF format! Your name will be listed in a credits section in the back.

Plus previous rewards: The game's instruction manual, a copy of Steel Assault, your name in our backer thank-you ROM.

You'll get a digital download of Steel Assault's OST, in MP3 and NSF formats! In addition, you'll also get the Famitracker source FTM files, so you can see for yourself how it was made and how the music works!

If you're an early bird, you can get this reward for just $20! Check to see if any slots are left!

Plus previous rewards: The Steel Assault soundtrack, the game's instruction manual, a copy of Steel Assault, your name in our backer thank-you ROM.

You'll get regular access to beta builds, as we work on the game! In addition, you'll be listed in the game's credits as "backer"! If you find a notable bug or give us awesome helpful feedback, you'll be listed as a "beta tester" instead!

Plus previous rewards: Beta access, your name in the game's credits as "backer", the Steel Assault soundtrack, the game's instruction manual, a copy of Steel Assault, your name in our backer thank-you ROM.

We'll include a digitized photo of you in our backer thank-you ROM! (You get to choose which photo, of course.) The portraits will turn out similar to the 4-color photo of Sri up above, though maybe with a different color palette.

Alternatively, Daniel will make a pixelized version of you!

If you're an early bird, you can get this reward for just $59! Check to see if any slots are left!

Plus previous rewards: Beta access, the Steel Assault soundtrack, the game's instruction manual, a copy of Steel Assault, your name + a digitized photo of you in our backer thank-you ROM.

You'll be listed in the game's credits as a "special producer"!

Plus previous rewards: Your name in the credits as "special producer", beta access, the Steel Assault soundtrack, the game's instruction manual, a copy of Steel Assault, your name + a digitized photo of you in our backer thank-you ROM.

Help us create an enemy of your own design, to be included in Steel Assault!

Plus previous rewards: Your name in the credits as "special producer", beta access, the Steel Assault soundtrack, the game's instruction manual, a copy of Steel Assault, your name + a digitized photo of you in our backer thank-you ROM.

Help us create a miniboss of your own design, to be included in Steel Assault! (Probably in a special boss rush level of the game.)

Plus previous rewards: Create-a-miniboss, your name in the credits as "special producer", beta access, the Steel Assault soundtrack, the game's instruction manual, a copy of Steel Assault, your name + a digitized photo of you in our backer thank-you ROM.

Sri will create an 8-bit NES cover of a song of your choice. This cover will be painstakingly designed from the ground up in Famitracker; no "special conversion tools" (such as GXSCC) will be used.

Sri would prefer for the songs to be around 4-5 minutes or less -- for his own sanity, please don't ask him to cover a 15-minute post-rock masterpiece or psychedelic pop suite in chiptune haha. Also, he personally really dislikes death metal or any music with growling/screaming lyrics. Other than that, pretty much anything goes, within reason. Even Nickelback.

If Sri finds that he can't accurately represent a part of a song within 8-bit constraints, or if for some reason he wants to take my cover in a different direction than the original, then he'll consult with you first to ask your creative opinion.

If you can't think of anything you want us to make, here's a list we've made on Spotify of songs we like and think would sound cool in chiptune. If you like any of these too, let us know!

You can read a bit more about this tier and listen to some sample covers here!

Plus previous rewards: 8-bit song cover, create-a-miniboss, your name in the credits as "special producer", beta access, the Steel Assault soundtrack, the game's instruction manual, a copy of Steel Assault, your name + a digitized photo of you in our backer thank-you ROM.

A special NES ROM made just for you! What's going to be in it? Well, it's personalized, so that depends on you! Think of it like a Secret Santa gift. If you want, you can give us a list of things you like, and we can work with that -- or, if you want to keep it a surprise, we can try to Internet-stalk you and make something for you based on what we find!


Art - 37.5% [$3000]. This covers all of Daniel's sprite work, animation, level backgrounds, and other art assets he makes for Steel Assault from this point on.

Programming - 30% [$2400]. The costs of coding Steel Assault, which includes Sri's rent and food, etc. (This number is relatively low because Sri is lucky enough to have received a full academic scholarship from his university, meaning a significant portion of his food and living expenses are already paid for.) This also covers the time required to code the personalized NES ROM backer rewards.

Business - 20% [$1600]. This includes Kickstarter/Greenlight fees, taxes, marketing/PR, legal costs, and any other costs related to the business side of game development.

Music - 12.5% [$1000]. The money required to finish the OST for Steel Assault. This also covers the time required to create the 8-bit song cover backer rewards.


Risks and challenges

A significant portion of Steel Assault is already outlined and designed; almost the entire first half of the game is asset-complete currently (art and music are finished). So progress on the game is already well underway. However, there are still challenges in the coming months ahead.

The biggest "risk" is that Sri is a full-time university student. That's why the expected delivery date (May 2016) is so far into the future; it's a kind of "worst case" scenario, as in "I really want to finish this before I graduate". However, there hasn't been much of a problem balancing this game's development with classes and social life so far.

We have accounted for most monetary risks in the budget above, such as Kickstarter and distribution fees. In the unlikely event that we run out of funds before completion, the game will still continue development, just at a slower rate.

Any delays or other unforeseen obstacles will be communicated to backers as soon as possible.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Thanks for showing your support! At the end of our campaign, we'll release a NES ROM thanking all of our backers, and you'll be listed in it. <3

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A digital copy of Steel Assault! Plus, the previous rewards:

    1. Your name in our backer thank-you ROM.

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    184 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    A PDF download of Steel Assault's instruction manual, with your name listed in the back! Plus, the previous rewards:

    1. A digital copy of Steel Assault.
    2. Your name in our backer thank-you ROM.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    EARLY BIRD FOR $25 TIER: A download of Steel Assault's soundtrack in .mp3 and .nsf formats, as well as the source .ftm Famitracker files! Your name in the game's credits as "special thanks"! Plus, the previous rewards:

    1. A digital copy of Steel Assault.
    2. Your name in our backer thank-you ROM.
    3. A PDF download of the game's instruction manual, with your name listed in the back.

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    Reward no longer available 30 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A download of Steel Assault's soundtrack in .mp3 and .nsf formats, as well as the source .ftm Famitracker files! Your name in the game's credits as "special thanks"! Plus, the previous rewards:

    1. A digital copy of Steel Assault.
    2. Your name in our backer thank-you ROM.
    3. A PDF download of the game's instruction manual, with your name listed in the back.

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    57 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $39 or more About $39

    Beta access! Your name in the game's credits as "backer"! (If you find bugs or give us awesome feedback, you'll be credited as "beta tester".) Plus, the previous rewards:

    1. A digital copy of Steel Assault.
    2. Your name in our backer thank-you ROM.
    3. A PDF download of Steel Assault's instruction manual, with your name listed in the back.
    4. A download of the game's soundtrack in .mp3, .nsf, and .ftm formats.

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    Pledge $59 or more About $59

    EARLY BIRD FOR $80 TIER: Get a digitized 4-color NES photo of you showcased in our backer thank-you ROM! Plus, the previous rewards:

    1. A digital copy of Steel Assault.
    2. A PDF download of Steel Assault's instruction manual, with your name listed in the back.
    3. Your name in the game's credits as "backer".
    4. A download of the game's soundtrack in .mp3, .nsf. and .ftm formats.
    5. Beta access. (If you find bugs or give us awesome feedback, you'll be credited as "beta tester".)

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    Reward no longer available 15 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    Get a digitized 4-color NES photo of you showcased in our backer thank-you ROM! Plus, the previous rewards:

    1. A digital copy of Steel Assault.
    2. A PDF download of Steel Assault's instruction manual, with your name listed in the back.
    3. Your name in the game's credits as "backer".
    4. A download of the game's soundtrack in .mp3, .nsf. and .ftm formats.
    5. Beta access. (If you find bugs or give us awesome feedback, you'll be credited as "beta tester".)

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Your name in the game's credits as "special producer"! Plus, the previous rewards:

    1. A digital copy of Steel Assault.
    2. Your name and a NES-digitized photo of you in our backer thank-you ROM.
    3. A PDF download of Steel Assault's instruction manual, with your name listed in the back.
    4. A download of the game's soundtrack in .mp3, .nsf, and .ftm formats.
    5. Beta access. (If you find bugs or give us awesome feedback, you'll be credited as "beta tester".)

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    4 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $199 or more About $199

    Help us create an enemy of your own design! Plus, the previous rewards:

    1. A digital copy of Steel Assault.
    2. Your name and a NES-digitized photo of you in our backer thank-you ROM.
    3. A PDF download of Steel Assault's instruction manual, with your name listed in the back.
    4. Your name in the game's credits as "special producer".
    5. A download of the game's soundtrack in .mp3, .nsf. and .ftm formats.
    6. Beta access. (If you find bugs or give us awesome feedback, you'll be credited as "beta tester".)

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    Estimated delivery
    2 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $299 or more About $299

    Help us create a miniboss of your own design! Plus, the previous rewards:

    1. A digital copy of Steel Assault.
    2. Your name and a NES-digitized photo of you in our backer thank-you ROM.
    3. A PDF download of Steel Assault's instruction manual, with your name listed in the back.
    4. Your name in the game's credits as "special producer".
    5. A download of the game's soundtrack in .mp3, .nsf. and .ftm formats.
    6. Beta access. (If you find bugs or give us awesome feedback, you'll be credited as "beta tester".)

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    0 backers
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $399 or more About $399

    Sri will create an 8-bit NES cover of a song of your choice, and send it to you along with the source .ftm file. Plus, the previous rewards:

    1. A digital copy of Steel Assault.
    2. Your name and a NES-digitized photo of you in our backer thank-you ROM.
    3. A PDF download of Steel Assault's instruction manual, with your name listed in the back.
    4. Your name in the game's credits as "special producer".
    5. A download of the game's soundtrack in .mp3, .nsf. and .ftm formats.
    6. Beta access. (If you find bugs or give us awesome feedback, you'll be credited as "beta tester".)
    7. Help us create an enemy or miniboss of your own design.

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    1 backer
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $499 or more About $499

    Sri will create an entire personalized NES ROM for you as thanks, and send it to you. Plus, the previous rewards:

    1. A digital copy of Steel Assault.
    2. Your name and a NES-digitized photo of you in our backer thank-you ROM.
    3. A PDF download of Steel Assault's instruction manual, with your name listed in the back.
    4. Your name in the game's credits as "special producer".
    5. A download of the game's soundtrack in .mp3, .nsf. and .ftm formats.
    6. Beta access. (If you find bugs or give us awesome feedback, you'll be credited as "beta tester".)
    7. Help us create an enemy or miniboss of your own design.
    8. An 8-bit NES cover of a song of your choice.

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    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
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Funding period

- (30 days)