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The UnEarth Initiative is a humorous science fiction sandbox-sim game set in the far future. Earth's government is dealing with a crisis of over-population by taking what it considers to be the least desirable citizens and blasting them into space on poorly equipped and untrained colonization missions.
As the leader of one such colony, you'll need to rally your team of misfits and lead them to glory! Or, at the very least, to not become an alien's breakfast.
Every new game of UnEarth Initiative begins with your ship suffering an unfortunate crash landing on an alien world - a testament to the United Earth Alliance's interest in its colonization program and in your personal safety. Each game takes place on a procedurally generated world, where you'll try to survive by digging deep to build an underground base, finding your own food sources, exploring the outer reaches of the planet, and dealing diplomatically (or aggressively) with a variety of alien life you discover there.
The UnEarth Initiative is a single player game (at least for now!). Some of its features include:
Procedurally Generated Worlds!
Programmable Rovots (with sharable programs)!
Dead colonies become archaeological sites in other players' games!
Unique alien races, plants, and creatures!
Colonists with personality quirks and upgradable skills!
We will support PC, Mac and Linux, so you can play on the platform of your choice.
Unique Planets For Each Game
Each game begins with a unique world, providing new challenges with resource distribution. This will be critical to surviving in the new world. Some of the resources will be familiar, while others will be so alien that you will need to determine what will help you survive, what is useless, and worse, what may be actively harmful. However, even items that may have no immediate use to you may be important to one of the many spacefaring races that passes through, so the composition of your planet is just as important for trade as it is for building.
In Depth Tech Tree
A deep tech tree is critical to making colony development feel continually fresh and interesting. As you expand your colony and explore the planet further, you will discover new resources to help create new items for the colony. At a certain point, though, you will find your knowledge of possible items to build capping out, and you'll need to start developing research facilities in your colonies to invent new blueprints - or develop your trading empire enough to trade for them.
Complicating life on another planet is contact with new alien races. These races have their own agenda. Your communication with them may bring new friendships, trading partnerships, or unending hostility. Some of the alien races may even be sharing your planet with you!
Story Events are one of the ways we keep the game feeling continuously interesting as you explore the environment. We will have written a number of Story Events, from small to large in scope, that can occur randomly during any given game. They can range from anything as simple as a mysterious moss that spreads throughout your compound and makes all of your colonists scratch uncontrollably, to discovering a bizarre new sentient lifeform with unusual goals. Story events can result in new bonuses for the colony, such as new technology, additional resources, new skills and quirks for the colonists, or other, stranger additions.
Unlike most other sims, which assume you have started with a team of hardworking and self motivated individuals, you begin the UnEarth Initiative with a challenging team of very unique people. In addition to their list of skills, every colonist begins the game a unique set of Quirks, which dictates part of their behavior. On the surface, your quirky colonists may appear unpromisingly flawed – the kleptomaniac, whose sticky fingers aggravate fellow colonists, the video game addict who eschews her chores, the eccentric who would rather talk to his imaginary friends than make real ones. But Quirks usually have positive sides to them, and as the player works closely with his colonists, he can find ways to channel these Quirks into more productive traits that strengthen the colony. In time, the Kleptomaniac may swipe some advanced alien technology, the Gamer could become a deadeye with a real laser cannon, and the Eccentric might start perceiving something that the others can't!
Sometimes colonists will acquire new Quirks, as a result of trauma or accomplishments. Your team's Quirks will be continually evolving throughout the game!
Fully Programmable Rovots
Rovots are what today's Mars Rover has evolved to in the future. Part vehicle, part robotic assistant, part man's best friend, these little guys are a great addition to any colony. Once players start building Rovots, they will be able to outfit them with a variety of useful (or less useful, but entertaining) tool attachments.
Players will also be able to program Rovots to take care of some of the more tedious or dangerous tasks at the colony. While there will be an interface for a casual player to give straightforward instructions to a Rovot (such as harvesting plants and placing the food in designated storage), players with an interest in coding will have access to a more direct programming language that can be used to enhance their Rovots with more complex behavior. Rovots can even take data from outside the game, so if you want your Rovot to follow your colonist and report the latest news on Miley Cyrus, that's possible (though maybe not recommended.)
Best of all, Rovot programs can be exported and shared with other players, so even players who don't consider themselves programmers can enjoy some of the weird and wonderful creations of the skilled Rovot gurus!
Sometimes your colony won't succeed. Perhaps everyone was killed in an alien attack, or contracted some xenogenic illness, or just outright starved. When your last colonist dies, you'll have the option of saving your settlement as a "dead colony". These can then be uploaded and incorporated into other players' games, where their colonists may encounter them as archaeological relics when they explore their own world. They may gain new technology or a lonely Rovot in the process.
To add depth to the colony's story, we'll give players the option of writing epitaphs for their dead colonists, and writing journals. All of these will be available to players discovering a dead colony.
We intend to have a server available after launch for players to download more dead colonies, which they can then add to their universe. Any colonies available through our server will have been screened for appropriate content. Dead colonies can also be directly exported to share with just your friends.
Inkling Games was founded by industry veterans Peter Hastings and Lesley Mathieson. For the creation of The UnEarth Initiative, they decided to team up with a couple of fantastic artists they had previously worked with - John Lally and Janice Chu. Sadly, none of their names worked well to create an interesting acronym for the team.
Peter has been obsessed with videogames since he was five years old and his dad sat him down in front of a Commodore 64 to show him how to play 'Adventure'. After graduating from college, Peter abandoned a promising career in the United States nuclear weapons program in order to pursue his lifelong dream of making even bigger explosions in software. He was hired by Insomniac Games, where he made 9 of the Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet and Clank, and Resistance games. But he was not yet satisfied. Sensing that the time of the fabled Indie Game Developer Renaissance was at hand, Peter sojourned from Insomniac to start his own studio with Lesley Mathieson, where they have conspired to make quirky, clever titles with small teams ever since.
Lesley grew up on a steady diet of Hoyle's books, obscure board games, text adventures and MUDs. After earning a degree in film from UCLA and finding herself as a hazmat-suit-wearing extra in a rap video, she began to suspect that her true calling lay elsewhere. She soon found herself settling down at Insomniac Games as a senior designer on the Ratchet and Clank series, and lead designer/project manager on Resistance: Fall of Man. When she co-founded High Impact Games, she jumped right back into the Ratchet universe, a series close to her heart. After several years, Lesley saw an opportunity to create new and unique worlds in games with Peter Hastings, and joined together with him to found Inkling Games.
Like many guys who make and play video games, John was a prominent figure on the football field during his high school career. Throughout that time, he was renown for his creativity, work ethic, and overall mental toughness on the gridiron. But he knew that marching band could only take him so far, and so he went on to earn degrees in Mass Communication and Animation from Boston University and USC. After graduating, John went on to work for several top game companies, including Square USA and Insomniac Games. During his 9 years at Insomniac, John created rigs, animated characters, and/or wrote cinematics for the Spyro, Ratchet & Clank, and Resistance series. For reasons even he can't explain, John has recently taken to distance running and has managed to complete three full marathons. He is now possessed of a Sir Robin-esque ability to outrun any marching band-hating bullies. John is thrilled to be working with Peter, Lesley, and Janice again at Inkling Games.
Janice has been playing games since she was in kindergarten. Her first taste of video games was playing with her very own Mr Game & Watch that had been passed down through the family. She grew up collecting as many video game magazines and and gaming manuals as she could possibly find and drew from them continuously. Rarely will you ever see her without a sketchbook; she’s always scribbling something crazy in there. During her years in university, she figured out that she wanted to be a concept artist in the gaming industry. After graduating with a Bachelor in Art and Animation she was hired by Digital Extremes as a concept artist working on Warframe. On the side, she does fan art and works with Inkling Games doing concept art! Her fan art has been featured on Kotaku.
During the last several months, we've had a fantastic experience working on this game and taking it to its earliest stages of actual gameplay. We've smiled, laughed, and been thrilled at the depth of gameplay we can achieve. Our own time and money have been invested in building what we have so far.
But we can't finish this game alone. And we can't rely on a publisher relationship either. Simply put, games of this type and genre tend not to get funded by publishers these days. At the same time, we know that there are fans out there who would love to play a game like this. So we decided to turn directly to the fans, and Kickstarter was the perfect place to do this.
Our goal is to build a relationship with our players now. We can share updates, new features, and even builds. And in exchange, we get your opinions and feedback on what you are excited about or want to see more of. We can take this journey together, and create a fantastic game!
Risks and challenges
Making a full featured video game isn't easy, and we know this because over the past decade the four of us have created over a dozen AAA games.
Many Kickstarter titles these days are backed because they have a great idea. But when it comes to execution, a great idea is not enough. Fortunately, we not only are veterans at developing games, but also have the planning and budgeting experience necessary to deliver them on time and on budget. Our past projects have consistently been delivered reliably to publishers, and this project will be no different in that respect.
It's a big job, but we've done it before and we're confident we can do it again.
We currently do not have the resources to localize The UnEarth Initiative ourselves. If we end up with a successful Kickstarter and a lot of demand, we would definitely consider it! But if we're unable to do that, we will make the files accessible so that fans would be able to localize the game themselves and make the new language files available to others.
BACKER- In return for your support, you'll receive a digital download of UnEarth (for PC or Mac, or any other platforms we have agreed to support) on the day it launches, and special thanks in the credits of the game.
BETA BACKER- By pledging this amount, you'll have all previous rewards offered, plus free access to beta versions of the game, updated regularly until we launch. Help us balance the game by playing and breaking it! In addition you have a chance to have your creativity in the Beta rewarded by having your colony be selected as one of 10 from the Beta to be shipped with the game as an archaeological site. And as an extra reward for your bug finding efforts, you’ll receive the in-game blueprints for the Exterminex 3000, a specialized weapon that is especially effective for eliminating insects.
ALPHA BACKER - With this pledge, you'll be thanked profusely in the game's credits, and also receive free access to Alpha builds of the game. Play the game in its infancy, tell us about your experience, and help shape the game before the Beta even begins. And lastly (and most importantly!) a Space Dog will accompany your colonists on their crash landing! Naturally, you'll receive all earlier rewards, too.
60 - ART AFFICIONADO – Backers who pledge this will receive all rewards described in the Alpha Backer tier, plus a digital art pack consisting of a PDF copy of an art book of the game, plus several images suitable as wallpaper for your desktop, or as printable posters to hang in every room of your house. And we do mean every room. Your colonists will also receive 3 pieces of in-game art to decorate their rooms with (not available at launch).
COLLECTOR – This tier receives all the rewards in the earlier tiers, plus a special Collector’s Game Object pack consisting of 5 extra objects that the colonists can fabricate and interact with, plus a new Rovot tool (not available at launch.
COLONIST - In addition to all of the rewards in the Collector tier, you may immortalize yourself further by becoming one of the UnEarth colonists. By pledging this amount, we'll use your name - or any name you choose - as one of randomly generated names for colonists in the game. (Subject to our approval, basic decency and common sense.)
PLANETARY PIONEER – On top of all of the rewards in the Collector tier, you may provide one of the randomly generated default names for a newly discovered planet that colonists are doomed to crash upon. (Subject to our approval, basic decency and common sense.)
PSYCHOLOGIST – By pledging this amount, you receive all the rewards in the Colonist tier, plus you can work with Inkling to design a Colonist Quirk. (Subject to our approval, basic decency and common sense.)
CARICATURE – With this pledge, you receive all the rewards in the Colonist tier, plus our concept artist Janice Chu will make a custom caricature of you based on a photograph, dressed as one of the UnEarth colonists.
ARCHEOLOGIST - Interplanetary colonization has been going on for hundreds of years. Players will even sometimes discover the ruins of past colonies. By pledging at this level, you'll not only receive all the rewards in the Colonist tier, but we will also work with you to develop one of your colonies as an archeological site for other players to discover in the final game. (Contents of the colony are subject to our approval, basic decency and common sense.)
ROVOTICS ENGINEER - Rovots are the faithful, mechanical companions of UnEarth colonists. By pledging this amount, you will receive all of the rewards described in the Colonist tier, and we will work with you to design one of the Rovots’ unique tools or weapons. Anything is valid, from Quantum Teleportation, to dispensing soft-serve ICE CREAM. (Final design is subject to our approval, basic decency and common sense.)
XENOBIOLOGIST - The universe is full of life, and at this level, you get to help make some! At this tier, you will receive all the rewards in the Colonist tier, plus we'll work with you to design one of the myriad creatures that inhabit UnEarth's worlds. (Final design is subject to our approval, basic decency and common sense.)
DIRECTOR - By pledging this amount, we'll work with you to develop one of the possible quest-lines that could unfold throughout a game. This could be an invasion by annoying alien neighbors in mobile homes, an insidious creature that invades the minds of your colonists, or an encounter with an alien to other-worldly to comprehend. You get to decide! Oh, and you also get access to all rewards described in the Colonist tier, of course.