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Currently available for PC and Mac, the single-level demo shows off the game's core mechanics and controls. The final game will have over one hundred levels, dozens of enemies, ten bosses, and five playable spiders with different abilities, with the possibility of more level packs and characters later down the road for premium players.
Jumping Spider is a unique, mobile-friendly puzzle/physics platformer. It stretches the definition of the genre with wild physics tricks, go-anywhere movement, and touchscreen-friendly controls. I am planning to release it DRM-free to PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and who knows? Maybe even Steam.
Here are some of the game's planned features, some of which can already be seen in the demo above:
A minimalistic, fiercely intuitive control scheme.
Click, drag, and doubleclick on a PC or Mac.
Touch, swipe, and multitouch on a touch device.
It is as easy as that! Jumping Spider is mobile-friendly without the need for an onscreen "gamepad." Most every command in the game is some sort of tactile interaction with the game environment itself.
Fun, tricky mechanics. Pull up the demo level, start playing with silk line swinging, and see if you can stop. Even basic movement is addictive in Jumping Spider.
Venom-based damage. Venom causes damage over time. This will add a unique strategic element to the game. When you bite stronger enemies, you may need to run away until they die. If you're fatally stung, you might have a few seconds to catch a fly or grab a health powerup before your own innards liquefy.
Powerups. Cid will learn new abilities from his felled enemies, which will translate to collectible, consumable powerups in some levels. The Web Shot is a completely original concept, and you'll never guess what it does! Four Pairs of Ice Cleats will allow you to climb even very slippery surfaces. Spitting Spider Spit lets you spit spot on like a spitting spider spits.
Hats. Because hats. Do you really need any more justification than the prospect of seeing Cid sporting a top hat, quadrocle, and jaunty moustache? Hats will likely act as an in-game "upgrade" system, with different hats boosting different stats. There will be an exclusive hat available only to backers at the GAME level and up that will grant some nice boosts off the bat.
Classes. Tired of playing as boring ol’ Cid? Premium players can unlock access to radically new genetically engineered spider species’, each of which will be able to play through the entire primary campaign for increased replay value, as well as a level pack designed to test their particular abilities to the limit.
Arthropod Education. Your enemies will include vinegaroons, pseudoscorpions, amblypygids, and other sectors of the arachnid family that, if you aren’t an arachnid enthusiast, you might never have even heard of before now. Many of the in-game bugs’ defense mechanisms and behaviors will be true-to-life, genetic modifications and laser eyes notwithstanding.
Also, every level will be prefaced by an amazing Araknofact, which may or may not teach you something cool about bugs. For instance, did you know that a scorpion’s anus is located in its last tail segment along with its stinger, instead of at the base of the tail as you would expect from a vertebrate? So really a scorpion’s “tail” isn’t a tail at all, but a long, skinny, flexible butt! Wow!
A non-grabby business model. No matter how you buy it, whether it's here in the campaign, in the App Store, on Google Play, or wherever else, $10 will get you the Exoskeleton Key, which means that on top of the main campaign (which I am considering releasing for free), you will receive all premium content. All level packs and additional spider classes will be yours at no additional cost. Forever. Past, present, and future.
Araknotek, Inc. Your friendly neighborhood insane, bug-obsessed mad science company (every town has one). Their genogybernetics lab was without peer: a state-of-the-art complex housing both laboratories and huge bug habitats with exotic arthropod species' from around the world, as well as a few homegrown monstrosities that didn't belong in this or any world. Then one of the deadliest test subjects escapes, and soon afterwards the employees started to become ill from fast-acting spider bites. Soon they were dropping like flies. So, for that matter, were most of the flies.
None of this matters to Cid, a humble jumping spider whose only concern is catching his next meal. Then a fly-related incident lands him in the heart of the Araknotek lab, where the last surviving scientist injects him with a mysterious evoserum, increasing his intelligence and allowing his body to develop new abilities. The scientist then charges Cid with tracking down Salty, the slightly short-circuited cyber spider responsible for this whole mess.
Which, really, is an extraneous order, because the only way out of the Araknotek lab is through the labyrinth of habitats. Mutated and robotically enhanced bugs rub their chelicerae together with glee as new prey stumbles into their midst, and something with a disconcertingly happy face lurks in the shadows. Cid, his tiny mind still stretching from the effects of the serum, thinks the spider equivalent of, "I could sure use a fly right about now."
I will be doing the bulk of the work on this project. Thanks to my work generously allowing me to work on a side project after hours and on weekends, I have access to Adobe Creative Cloud software and 3ds max, which is everything I need to code and create graphic assets for the game.
What I don't have is that most precious of resources, time. I am a father of two, and both of my children have significant birth defects. While they're both doing well, we've had a lot of unexpected expenses this year; plus it's hard for me to be away from my family all of this extra time.
So out of the basic funding for this project, 10% will go to Kickstarter and Amazon fees, up to 15% will go to fulfilling physical rewards, and 15% will be set aside for taxes. Another 10% will help me purchase a good computer and license some software so I can bring the project home and devote more time to it. This section will also go toward purchasing royalty-free sound effects and music and paying my brother to paint background artwork. The rest of the funds will supplement my income, allowing my family get caught up on bills so I can continue working only full-time. It's the bare minimum I need to guarantee that I can complete the game.
All funding beyond the initial goal will be used to make the game even better, whether it's by purchasing more assets and software, hiring people to help me with aspects of the game, or allowing me to reduce my hours at my day job so I can work on the game even more.
I am also using Kickstarter because I've fallen in love with Kickstarter and what it stands for. For that reason, I'm taking the Kicking it Forward pledge to contribute 5% of the post-release profits from Jumping Spider toward other Kickstarter projects should I reach my goal.
Rewards are described on the right, but below is a graphical summary of what you will get at each tier.
The t-shirt design will be up in the next couple of days. If demand is high I will be able to add more designs to the poster and/or t-shirt rewards, and you will get your pick at the end of the campaign.
T-shirts and posters will be fulfilled by Teelaunch.
Eric Newland: Graphic design, 3D animation, and web coding ninja by day. Secret crafter of spidery video game arts by night. I am a husband and father of two. Oh, and I've been known to play a vidya game now and again.
Craig Newland: Spray paint artist, owner of Craig's Creations, and my baby brother. He whipped up the cover image for Jumping Spider, and He'll be helping me with other promotional artwork, level backgrounds, and software version control.
Risks and challenges
First, as is a requirement for this discussion, let me set the mood by making some blindingly obvious statements.
Every project has risk. You might be wondering whether backing this project will ultimately be worth your while. The classic necrotic lesion caused by a brown recluse bite can last for several months.
But let me put your mind at ease. First, necrotic lesions only happen in a minority of bites, and more serious systemic reactions are rare. Second, if this project is backed, I WILL complete the game barring something catastrophic. I already have most of the software I need, and I have a support system if something gets in the way of finishing the game.
The worst case scenario will be that not everything is release-ready by June. If that's the case, as long as enough of the game is ready that it won't feel incomplete, I will release with what I have and add the rest of the core content via game updates after the fact. That way, only a small portion of the game will get delayed instead of the entire product.
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