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$1,347 pledged of $20,000 goal
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By Red Foe Games
$1,347 pledged of $20,000 goal
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About

Inspired by both the approachable action of classic top-down shooters and the complex economic interactions of massively multiplayer games about internet spaceships, Profit Colony offers a massive industrial sandbox that doesn't demand players make a second job out of it.

The client is built upon Panda3D, supporting Windows, Mac, and Linux, all players sharing the same virtual world. Windows support is fully tested, and testing of Mac and Linux support will begin during the backer alpha.

If the game is greenlit by Steam, all backer copies of the game will also include a Steam key at no additional charge. You can help make that happen by voting for us today!

Players are "voluntarily" recruited to an expedition to a new planet, where they must work until they've paid off the cost of their transportation. Inconveniently, the fees subtracted out of their mission payments seem to be steadily increasing. It's almost as if they're not intended to be able to pay off that debt...

Rather than increasing level, characters advance by getting ever closer to buying their freedom. New ways of playing open up as debt decreases: mining, manufacturing, construction, defense, and takeover of outposts, more and more ways to project their power over the world.

Eventually, enterprising players can find ways around some of the security systems attached to their drones. While Responsible Ventures ensures the area around the quantum portal remains safe for trade, out on the frontier some players may decide to pursue less friendly ways of interacting.

The server has been built from the ground up to enable smooth scaling to the player numbers this sort of game needs to support. While there are a lot of excellent existing game servers one can license that can comfortably support 32 or 64 players, a game like this needs to support hundreds or thousands of simultaneous players when running on production hardware.

In its current state on non-production hardware, in debug mode with all optimizations turned off, the server has been tested to support well over 100 concurrent players (using automated clients) without dropping below real-time. More importantly, the load curve is such that adding better hardware will scale very well without hitting a wall.

A great deal of work is already complete. The primary focus up to this point has been ensuring the infrastructure and core technology is in good shape, ready for art and content. This is in excellent shape, with the server side nearly beta-ready (and some parts nearly release-ready) and the client in the early stages of alpha-ready.

* Shipping Steam integration will require the game being greenlit

The focus for alpha is gameplay content and mechanics. This largely involves additional mission parameters, more drones, equipment, and enemies, and a wider variety of outpost structures. While graphically alpha will likely remain rough, several improved models to take advantage of the new composition system and many user interface improvements will make it much more comfortable. The goal for alpha is to bring the game to a state where the "feel" of the game comes through, even if the "look" does not yet.

The focus for beta is to polish the game enough that both the look and feel are appealing. Much of this includes artwork improvements and additional content and tuning. This will also be the first time enough players are involved for the strategic level to become really important, so much of its balancing will take place here.

There are some unavoidable non-development costs that will need to be taken care of before anything else. While the exact numbers for some depend on details like the precise amount raised and average pledge size, reasonable estimates can be made in advance.

Most development expenses have already been paid for. Working hardware is already in use, so the primary external development cost is server hosting. A small percentage will be used to fulfill the physical reward tiers and as a reserve for unexpected expenses, and the remainder of the goal is used to keep the primary developer working on the game full-time without the electricity or heat being shut off.

Any funds raised beyond the goal can be used to bring on more developers, but the percentages for most costs will remain approximately the same.

Rick Luddy is a software engineer with years of experience in the defense and games industries. He spent three years at 38 Studios working on the client and server of a massively-multiplayer game and learning firsthand how to overcome the challenges they pose.

Ever since the first time he played Trade Wars in the early 90s, he's been fascinated by multiplayer game economies. Over time he moved on to text MUDs and then graphical sandbox MMOs, but it became more and more difficult to commit the amount of time needed to meaningfully participate. Profit Colony aims to be a competitive economic sandbox that people with other full-time commitments can still fully enjoy.

Risks and challenges

GAME DEVELOPMENT IS HARD:
No matter how far the progress gets, there are always unknown challenges. While experience and outside advice come together to produce good estimates, some uncertainty always remains. If the kickstarter is successful then the game will be completed, but it's impossible to guarantee in advance how closely it will match the original vision.

GREENLIGHT IS NOT GUARANTEED:
It is possible the game will not be greenlit on Steam (although you can help by voting for it, even if you're not a backer). That would mean no Steam keys would be distributed unless it is greenlit at a later date. This is unlikely if the kickstarter is successful, a backup system is already in place to provide game access.

DEVELOPERS AREN'T IMMORTAL (YET):
If the lead developer were to die, it is very unlikely he would be able to continue developing the game. Fortunately, I intend to remain alive and complete the project, but it remains a real (although unlikely) risk.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    CANDIDATE

    No backer reward, but you still get a thank-you by email. Every bit of support is appreciated!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    DRONE

    GAME + BACKER FORUMS + ALL LAUNCH CONTENT + NAME IN CREDITS

    The game, backer forum access, all gameplay content available at launch, and your name in the credits.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    MANAGER

    PREVIOUS TIERS + ALL FUTURE CONTENT + BACKER BETA

    Everything at the DRONE tier, plus your game account will include access to all current and future gameplay content at no additional cost, and access to the backer beta (planned for April 2015).

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    DEPARTMENT HEAD

    PREVIOUS TIERS + BACKER ALPHA + NAME A FEE + MAILED WINDOW DECAL

    Everything at the MANAGER tier, plus access to the backer alpha (planned for January 2015), a Profit Colony window decal mailed to you, and the opportunity to name (within reason) one of the fictional fees Responsible Ventures deducts from mission rewards.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    DISTRICT MANAGER (EARLY BIRD)

    A special early-bird discount on the DISTRICT MANAGER tier (details below) for early backers.
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    Add $10 for shipping outside of the US.

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    Limited 6 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    DISTRICT MANAGER

    PREVIOUS TIERS + 4 EXTRA BACKER ALPHA KEYS + MAILED T-SHIRT + NAME AND DESCRIBE A DRONE + BRAIN VIRTUAL HAT

    Everything at the DEPARTMENT HEAD tier, plus access to the backer alpha (planned for January 2015) for four friends, a backer-exclusive t-shirt mailed to you, the opportunity to name one of the models of drone and decide what it looks like (within reason), and a backer-exclusive virtual hat for your character. As your character is still a brain in a bucket, extra care will be taken to ensure the virtual hat fits comfortably.
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    VICE PRESIDENT

    PREVIOUS TIERS + ALL LAUNCH AND FUTURE COSMETIC ITEMS + NAME A REGION + DRONE VIRTUAL HAT

    Everything at the DISTRICT MANAGER tier, plus access to all current and future cosmetic content at no additional cost (in addition to the access you already have to all current and future non-cosmetic content), the opportunity to name one of the regions of the game world (within reason), and an upgraded backer-exclusive virtual hat. Unlike the DISTRICT MANAGER hat for your virtual brain, this one may also be worn on your virtual drones. Possibly with magnets.
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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    CEO

    VICE PRESIDENT TIER x 10 + BE THE CEO

    Ten of everything at the VICE PRESIDENT tier to share with your friends (or enemies), plus your game character will be the CEO of Responsible Ventures. This gives them an unreasonable amount of control over the entire brain-drone system, so we will work with you to come up with and implement some sort of unreasonably powerful ability associated with it. Unreasonably within reason, of course.

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Funding period

- (30 days)