This project's funding goal was not reached on April 9, 2014.
About this project
Update: Backers at the $30 tier and above receive a Kickstarter backer-exclusive character, vehicle, and weapon!
It is the second decade of the 21st century. A deadly global pandemic threatens to destroy the human race entirely, replacing them with hordes of shambling undead. You and your team of travelers are the only survivors of your recently destroyed fortress. You must navigate your anti-zombie vehicle across what was once the American Midwest to find a safe haven.
Positive Press for DMT
"I reckon you should keep an eager eye out for [Dead Man's Trail]"
~Chris Priestmann - PocketGamer.co.uk
"Dead Man's Trail is a pretty fun looking zombie survival & travel game in the spirit of Organ Trail, with plenty of differences to keep you interested."
~Liam Dawe - GamingOnLinux.com
Featured on WorthPlaying.com
Interview with the developer on GrabItMagazine.com
Dead Man’s Trail (DMT) is a zombie survival travel game in the tradition of The Oregon Trail and Organ Trail: Director's Cut.
Beginning with the classic versions of Oregon Trail as inspiration, our game diverts from this formula through several unique selling points:
- Choose your vehicle: the nimble 4-Wheel Rocket, the balanced Grave Digger school bus, and the powerful Ark tractor-trailer.
- Keep your team of travelers healthy and happy. Each has their own job that will help the party along their journey: firearm expert, melee expert, paramedic, and mechanic. Lose one and you'll be limping down the road!
- Loot randomly generated 3D cities for supplies and weapons. Get in and out quickly or you will face the horde (and maybe join them.)
- A vast arsenal of weapons including revolvers, tactical shotguns, field hockey sticks and katanas will enable your players to survive and thwack Zombies!
- Artwork and easy-to-use interface designed by experienced game developers.
- Keep your senses about you and your ear to the ground: Ambient sound changes when you're being hunted.
- Travel mode: Players must balance their resources throughout their journey through the zombie-infested wilderness with a touch-control interface. These resources include fuel, food reserves, ammunition, and medical supplies. Players have full control over their journey: travel speed, food rations, party health, and morale. Players use scavenged parts to fix their vehicle and medicine to cure illnesses. Throughout their journey, players encounter hazards such as nasty weather, zombie hordes, biker gangs, and other unexpected surprises!
- Looting mode: Resources must be scavenged in abandoned towns littered with traps and zombies. Players use touchscreen controls to move characters around a randomly-generated town, fight zombies, and manage their inventory. Players have a limited time to loot and return to their vehicle before the horde attacks! If players carry too much, they will slow down and be easy lunch for the walking dead.
- Character Roles: Unlike older Oregon Trail-based games, where the player character had a role at the start and the rest of the party were inactive, each character in the party has their own special skills. These roles include nurse, mechanic, melee weapon expert, and firearm expert. These will come in handy as the player progresses through the game - nurses prevent disease, mechanics fix your vehicle, weapon experts fight better in looting areas.
- Party health management: Player characters each have their own individual health. A weak party member is more susceptible to zombie attacks. This affects their performance in looting mode - forcing them to carry fewer supplies.
- Barter-based economy: Bullets are the only currency that matters in the world of Dead Man's Trail so they are traded like money. Players will barter resources for better ones but must weigh their shopping needs against their needs in the field… leading to the challenging question: bullets or beans?
Why should you back our game?
We are a group of extremely skilled and experienced game developers. We're also big zombie nerds. We want to deliver a zombie survival game that reflects our passion for both great zombie media and great games.
We're big fans of the genre and want to create something that embodies the human-centered "survival in desperate situation" feeling of books like World War Z, shows like The Walking Dead and the classic George Romero Dead films. We want to engage the community to find what makes them passionate about the genre and to hone our gameplay elements to deliver the best nail-biting experience we can!
We are offering a number of digital and non-digital rewards for backing our game. We will update this section as we finalize design of specific items. Some highlights include:
- Backing our project for $2 or above gives you access to our developer forums. Giving $75 or above gives you forum voting privileges.
- Backing for 5$ and above gets you copies of the game for you and your friends, as well as HD wallpapers of our concept art for your computer.
- Backing for $20 gets you exclusive backer posters of our artwork.
- Two $25 levels offer a soundtrack download and a digital artbook each. Backers receive both at $40
- Backing for $30 and above gets you an exclusive character, weapon, and vehicle
- Backing for the $50 gets you an exclusive BACKER T-SHIRT
- Backing at the $75 and $175 tiers get you plushies of characters in the game.
- $250 backers receive a toy model from the game.
- $350 backers receive an exclusive Backer hoodie
- Starting with the $500 tier, you get to contribute to the game itself!
Our main obstacles in getting this game completed have been time and money. We are hoping that the Kickstarter community will give our team the freedom to make this game what we want it to be. Specifically, your contributions will help us accomplish these specific things:
- Company and operation costs - We need money for licensing fees, software, and general expenses for getting our studio up and running.
- Improving and fixing - Testers, feedback, and the ability to add extra features to the game.
- Marketing - One of the most expensive parts of game development. We’d like to gain some visibility for our game and extra marketing funds will help for this.
We're also participating in the Kicking It Forward initiative (http://kickingitforward.org/) so we can devote some of our earnings once the project is out to other projects and indie games on Kickstarter so help us help others!
- End of April 2014: Alpha of looting mode
- End of July 2014: Beta of looting mode, Alpha of travel mode
- End of August 2014: DMT in Beta, Kickstarter rewards go out
- End of October 2014- Targeted release date
Access to the Game
We will collect information from backers after Kickstarter for testing and ensure that backers have the game for the appropriate platforms. For Alpha and Beta access on mobile, we will utilize TestFlight (https://testflightapp.com/) to get backers early versions of the game.
WHO’S WHO on the team
Chris Totten: Chris is the team lead and art director. He is also a DC-based game design professor. He has worked on several indie mobile and serious game projects as an artist, art director, animator, and producer.
Navjot Garg: Navjot is one of the gameplay programmers on the team. He has a lot of experience as Unity 3D developer and graphics programmer.
Taro Omiya: Taro is the other gameplay programmer on the team. He’s an active indie game developer in the Washington DC area that has developed more than 15 games.
Melissa Manlutac: Melissa is a contractor who has worked for various game companies such as Riot Games and EA Maxis. At present, she is contributing to the development of the Sims 4 as a UI Artist.
Chris Magher: Chris Magher is a concept artist on DMT. Based in North Carolina, he graduated from Westwood College with a BFA in Game Art and Design. Previously, Chris studied at Savannah College of Art and Design for Sequential Art!
Sean Taliaferro: Sean is a student of Dakota State University for Game Design with a focus on Narrative . He has been involved in multiple aspects of the gaming industry; gaming journalism, Doing QA for Activision, and doing narrative design work for indie games.
Alex Estep: Alex Estep is an environment artist on DMT. He has comprehensive experience in 2D digital art, 3D modeling, animation, and user interface design.
Michael Kenderian: Michael is the lead environment artist on DMT. He graduated with his BSc in architecture from The Catholic University of America, but his passion for gaming lead him to receive his BSc in Game Art from Full Sail University.
Akash Thakkar: Akash Thakkar has been playing games and making music since the ripe old age of 3. He is a graduate from the Berklee College of Music, where he was both an instructor and leader of the game audio community.
Bill Sims: Bill is the Marketing Manager and producer of e4 Software. He arranges QA testing and ensures games reach their maximum playability potential.
Risks and challenges
We have been working on this game on-and-off for a while now. As such, we’ve seen most, if not all, of the pitfalls indie development teams go through to bring a product to fruition.
Our biggest risk is maintaining our current development schedule with the team members’ other life commitments. Likewise, we are constantly reminding ourselves to adjust our project’s scope to ensure that it is at a level that can be accomplished with the resources we have.
Another huge challenge for us is getting the word out about our game. We would like to see this game succeed and allow us to develop other games. We are at a place where we are going full steam ahead to finish the game, but with your help our chances of succeeding will greatly increase.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes, you're thinking of Organ Trail: Directors Cut - a 2010/2012 remake of the 1984 Oregon Trail game with zombies.
We're very aware of the existence of Organ Trail and are actually very big fans of the game. We were in early planning stages when Director's Cut came out but decided to move ahead with DMT anyway because we had ideas for things that differentiated us from Organ Trail, such as giving each party member a specific role, having procedurally generated 3D looting levels, having one resource perform several different functions (bullets are ammo and currency), etc.
Where Organ Trail elicits its charm from using mechanics and presentation elements from the original, think of ours as an expanded follow up that wants to go beyond the original Oregon Trail to create a Walking Dead/World War Z atmosphere. We're hoping that several years on from the release of Organ Trail, fans of that project will see our game and want to play it as a next step.
I don't have an iOS or Android device but I love the project idea - are you going to be releasing on other platforms?
Since we're developing the game in Unity, we have the capability to launch on a variety of platforms and are evaluating options now. We will update the Kickstarter page as we make some of those decisions.
As many of you are aware, Apple gives developers a limited number of codes for distribution of their game. However, there is precedent for crowdfunded projects to be distributed through the App Store such as releasing a free version of the game that has an in-game code that unlocks all the features of the retail version.
We're discussing these methods right now and will be contacting Apple to set things in motion when the game nears release.
- (30 days)