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The infamous cult Action RPG by one person- The last great 16-bit game! A mix of "Zelda," "Pokemon," "Harvest Moon," and "Earthbound." Read more

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This project was successfully funded on May 23, 2014.

The infamous cult Action RPG by one person- The last great 16-bit game! A mix of "Zelda," "Pokemon," "Harvest Moon," and "Earthbound."

About this project


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What is "bob's game?"

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"bob's game" is a Multiplayer Adventure RPG for PC, Mac, Linux, and Android (Phones, Tablets, OUYA, nVidia Shield, Kindle TV, and more!)

"bob's game" is a forerunner and founder of the indie games movement, originally announced in 2008 for the Nintendo DS, campaigning against the treatment of developers by the big console companies, and overshadowed by the incredible success of Minecraft and games like Angry Birds on the iPhone App Store. 

Developed from scratch in C and completely rewritten in Java as an MMO, as far as I can tell, "bob's game" may still be one of the largest games (if not the largest) by one person!

Just as I stated then, I intend it to be the last great "16-bit" game- perhaps the greatest of all!

"bob's game" is a game about a puzzle game called 'bob's game,' developed within the game by the virtual "bob" character, the "final boss" of the game.  It is a hybrid between Zelda, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, and Earthbound, with massively multiplayer elements.

The 'bob's game' puzzle game inside the "bob's game" RPG is a puzzle game in which you can build your own puzzle games, including all existing types!  It is the greatest puzzle game ever made, and the only puzzle game objectively better than Tetris.

"bob's game," however, is far more than just a game.  It is a living work of art, a decade-long art project that spans websites, consoles, videos, music, books, alternate realities, and real-life events.  It is a product of the heart.  It is a lifelong aspiration and a true tour de force masterpiece.  (The work an apprentice makes to become a master.) 

It is a game within a game about the development of itself in realtime, paralleled with a real life tournament to coincide with the virtual.  "bob's game" blends the line between reality and simulation, and reality and extra-dimensional reality.  "bob's game" breaks both the so-called "4th wall" and further yet- the "5th wall," unlocking the secrets of "the Matrix," or "the Womb" as it is referred to in some editions of the Bible.

"bob's game"
reveals the nature of the universe for what it really is to a generation that needs it the most.  "bob's game" is the most important thing to happen to mankind in hundreds, if not thousands of years. 

"bob's game"
is the vehicle for a prophecy, written by a "self taught" "genius" "prophet."  It carries within it a message that will revolutionize society and change the world.  It is the beginning of a new era for mankind.

"bob's game"
actually alters reality itself for those who play it.  It is a key into another dimension.  It teaches the secrets of the heart, the secrets of mind control and psychic power to a generation that has has the wool pulled over their eyes by criminal syndicates.

"bob's game"
is the ultimate cult game.  It is a new religion for the modern world, inspired by and intended as a natural spiritual successor to previous disguised religion games such as Earthbound and Zelda and movie retellings of an ancient spellbook (The Old Testament) such as "The Matrix."

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Demo Download

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My focus was always on shipping a large fully playable world and I spent 100% of my time running towards that goal- however, there were a few small demos released.  Keep in mind the last demo was years ago and the game is quite different and improved now!

2009 - Demo 1 (NDS) bobsgame_demo.nds
(This requires a Nintendo DS emulator or flash card.  The PC demo below includes this demo, so I recommend that one!)

2009 - Demo 1+2 (PC) bobsgame_demo_2_final.zip
(Don't give up on Tetrid, there is a trick to it!)

2013 - Project 2 ALPHA (Demo 3) (PC/Mac/Linux JAR) [PC JAR courtesy of GranPC: bobsgame_demo_3_dist_win.zip]
(This was playable as a Java applet and is dependent on Amazon EC2 servers that I cannot afford at the moment.  I am working on building it into a downloadable JAR.)

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How did this happen?

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For a longer, more detailed version of this story (with pictures!), go to my website, bobsgame.com.  Warning: Explicit and mature content!

Back in 2004 I started working on an RPG for the Game Boy Advance, written from scratch in C.  I got really obsessed with it, and I had a huge playable world for the Nintendo DS by 2007.  It was a massive project, and I had been isolated and pushed myself insanely hard on it for several years, 12-16 hours a day.

In 2008, after demoing it to Nintendo and turning down a job offer (I'd rather work on my own game!), I showed it on the internet in hopes that I would attract some publishers.  Several of them were interested!  After deciding on one and moving near their headquarters in New Jersey, unfortunately, Nintendo was hesitant to license me- even though I had an office, funds, and met all the qualifications.  I really just wanted to get my hands on the official SDK so I could keep programming on the DS, or decide on a different platform, but they were stringing me along and I didn't understand why.  The iPhone and Android had just come out and it was clear that it made more sense to jump to an open platform.

In early 2009, stuck with a hard-coded game written in C specifically for the DS hardware, and knowing I would have to rewrite the whole thing to get it on other platforms, I threw a meta-protest viral ad thing.  Trying to be like my favorite band Nine Inch Nails recent "Year Zero" viral campaign, I devised an intense and clever alternate reality website that tied into the game story to drum up some attention and try to get Nintendo to license me anyway.  It got the attention I had hoped for, but I still didn't get licensed.

Unfortunately, I hadn't anticipated that the gaming websites wouldn't understand what I was doing- or that they would but wouldn't be sports about it!  After reporting on the beginning of the campaign, they didn't report on any of the reveals, leaving the internet littered with headlines of faked videos with me acting as the villain.  Some jealous people wrote some cruel articles about me and smeared my Wiki pages, trying to ruin my reputation and frustrate me.  It worked- I got defensive and retreated.  I moved away from the publisher and isolated myself in Austin, Texas, trying to fight off my disappointment.

At the end of 2009, I applied for the Sony PSP after talking to a developer representative at GDC who assured me I would get approved.  They declined too, probably because of the wiki articles.  After porting the game to PC, I applied to Steam, who also declined.  Unfortunately, Greenlight wouldn't come out for another few years.  The tabloids and trolls had won!  I moved to Silicon Valley, on the advice of a friend.

During 2010, I met up with some game industry people who said they would try to help me.  They introduced me to the heads of GDC and several companies, but unfortunately, it didn't help me get published.  I only learned that the "game industry" (like most other industries) was a criminal cult, and I was being brainwashed!

In late 2010, stuck, confused, and frustrated, I had the desperate inspiration to make my own handheld console.  I talked to the Dingoo company, a Chinese handheld maker, and got them to agree to a $25 price point on a rebranded device with Gamecube-like controls, which I called the "nD."

At first I thought I would only scream the idea out to the world with an outrageous video, my last "battle cry" before my dreams were crushed, but then I realized I was in Silicon Valley- the heart of the tech investment industry.  It was worth a shot!

In 2011, With some models, a website with pledged games, a flashy custom game loader, and my game ported to a hacked up Wiz prototype, I got the attention of some former toy company executives and then sought venture capital.  Unfortunately, although I did get one meeting with one of the "big guys," I didn't get funding in time.  Somehow, they had torn me apart almost immediately, leaving me confused and with no confidence. The investment industry was even more criminal than the game industry!  In retrospect, that should have been obvious- it's all about money.  I had no idea what I was doing, and I had run out of money and had no place to live.

In 2012, I moved into my friends' spare bedroom and decided to try and make a "portal" application for the prototype nD to connect to, a sort of online "hub world" where people could walk around and play games against each other.  I called it "nDworld" and decided to make it in Java, so it would run on Mac, Linux, and PC without much work.

After six months, I was so excited by what I had made that I decided to make it the full game client, and put the nD on hold.  Android devices were getting so cheap that it would make more sense as an Android handheld anyway, and I could use the same Java code on both!

At the end of 2012, My friends moved to a new apartment and I needed to find a new place to go.  After staying in a scary extended stay motel for a month with my stuff piled in boxes in the tiny room, I asked my parents to pay for a place in the cheapest area I could find.

In 2013, I put myself on webcam again for 6 months and got a huge MMO world running on Amazon EC2.  Unfortunately, my parents suddenly decided to stop paying my rent.  Totally cornered, my confidence completely shattered!

Terrified, broke, and living across the country with nobody I could count on, I drove back to my parents' house in Michigan, emotionally devastated.  I stayed for two weeks before flipping out and driving back, abandoning all my equipment in an argument.  I had no plan and I was confused and in total emotional shock, but I knew I couldn't give up.

In total despair, I stumbled around in a confused haze for a couple of months, and then got stronger.  I've spent the last 9 months sleeping in my car and running at the gym, building myself back up.  I've had to humble myself and learn to accept life as it is, to live with almost nothing, to appreciate what I have, and to truly value existence itself and see the world around me as it actually is- an illusion.  I slowly learned how we are tricked by desire and greed and kept weak and blinded by criminal syndicates.  I realized that is what I had been fighting against the whole time, subconsciously!  Even more incredible, I learned what humans are truly capable of- discovering that we are indeed magical creatures with psychic powers!  It's the greatest trick in history- we are all great wizards, reduced to spending our lives so distracted, we never even realize our own power!

I spent the last month writing a longer, detailed, and explicit version of my journey, live on my website at http://bobsgame.com.  I've tried to be as honest and accurate as I could, and I will continue editing and updating it as my memories come back.  Disclaimer: mature and explicit content!

This Kickstarter is my last chance to continue working on the "bob's game" project.  It is more than a game at this point!  It is real art in an industry where there is none.  It is my whole life!

It's OK if it isn't hugely profitable or cutting edge, or even modern at all- even though it was up to par or better than the vast majority of (the thousands of shovelware) retail games for the DS back in 2008.  Without having closure on this project I know that I will never be the same again.

So, I am asking for a small amount of money in order to get a new laptop and to build a "hack van," a cargo van or shuttle van fitted with solar panels, extra batteries, and a bed and workstation inside.  It is extremely sustainable, and turns out to be a pretty common practice in Silicon Valley!  This way I can continue working on and releasing updates for my game for the foreseeable future, without having to worry about bills or a place to live.

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"bob's game" is made up of several parts:

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C Client ("bob's game" classic)
-This is the original Nintendo GBA / DS homebrew code, which has been ported to PC using SDL and OpenGL.  Because it was originally written for GBA, ported to DS, and then ported to PC (with a complex wrapper system over all the DS graphics code), by now the code is very hacked up and hard to work with.

All the rooms were hard-coded one by one, as I had no scripting support in the tools, thinking I would only have to make a single version - and the goal from the beginning was to program a game the way they programmed the games I grew up playing.  Most of the old NES and SNES games were hard coded this way, room by room, and it seemed like it would be fun!  By now, it's a mess, and all the graphics have changed, breaking all the hard-coded rooms.

This code is deprecated, but I am willing to pick it back up, drop the hard-coded stuff and backport all the scripting support, redo all the graphics code, and refactor it into something nice and clean for an iPhone, PS Vita, or 3DS port.


bgEditor
- This is the hacked up, refactored and rewritten "editor.java" that my friend Phil started writing in 2004.  Originally a neat and fully featured 4-layer GBA tile and sprite editor in a single huge Java file, by now it is an advanced Eclipse project and much of the original code has been replaced.

There are 10 different tile layers including shadows and overlays, support for advanced lighting, an advanced door, hotspot, and portal system, NPC AI and pathfinding, a dialogue editor, support for sprite hitboxes and named animations, a custom scripting language and system, a JSON based file format, and direct preview which loads the current room inside the game client. 

This is the heart of "bob's game" and is essentially a custom alternative version of "RPG Maker" written in Java, which can be released and made open source so that others can create their own games- but this would take a lot of cleanup of the code to make it user friendly.  Only I know all the hotkeys and bugs, and I would have to write documentation and provide tutorials as well.


bobsgame_v88xx.zip
- A massive bgEditor project file with all of the "bob's game" assets- maps, sprites, NPCs, scripts, and so forth.  Since all of the rooms were originally hard-coded into the C code, I have a lot of work to do re-scripting all of the original concepts into the new scripting system.  (Only a thousand more versions to go!)

Java Client ("bob's game" online - nDworld) - This is the completely remade Java game client which I started work on at the beginning of 2012. It was originally intended to be a "hub world" portal system for the nD handheld console. 

It has full game controller support and uses OpenGL for graphics, using the same library as Minecraft, LWJGL, and moving to use libGDX.  It is a very polished and advanced client with full Facebook and Google+ integrated multiplayer built in.  It includes a virtual nD console with a multiplayer version of 'bob's game' packed in by default.  The main character is no longer "Yuu" from the single player game, it has a full customizable character editor.

It has a very innovative design, it downloads all assets from the server in realtime as you play, which are very tiny highly-compressed "tileset" formats, which are then generated into graphics on the local PC.  This means that the bandwidth used is incredibly low, suitable for mobile phones being able to load worlds on the fly over a slow data connection.  It also means that hot-fixes to the game in realtime are supported- if a room is changed on the server, the client will download the new version as the player walks in and out of the room.


nDlib
-This is the new Java nD API / SDK that all nD games would be made in.  The 'bob's game' puzzle game is written using this.  This would make third party games very simple to create and list in both the virtual nD game store inside the "hub world," and also eventually be playable on a real physical Android-based "nDroid" handheld game system. 

I had found that working in Java was so much more convenient than C/C++ that I closed the nD website, hoping to surprise the users with a much more advanced Eclipse based SDK, after the "bob's game" online: nDworld MMORPG had launched.

Users could use the nD API to list their games on both the nD virtual game store and the Android Google Play Store!  However - By this time, I think that it makes more sense for aspiring game developers to use an engine like Unity3D, not Java.  It was a lot of fun to learn to make an engine all myself (both in C and Java!), but I ran out of time because of it!  If I was starting over today, I would probably use Unity3D (or Unreal 4 for a higher end PC title) for the sake of faster development.  For small games or just for learning, it is still a good choice to use Java / libGDX (which the nD API is based on), but I don't recommend these for anything larger than a simple arcade-style minigame.  It is just too much complexity to juggle so many platforms available today for an indie game that needs to reach as many players as possible, practically the opposite of the problem before!

'bob's game' - This is the world's most advanced and scriptable puzzle game, written using the nDlib Java library.  Almost any puzzle game can be created using the highly customizable rulesets.  Anyone can create their own dream puzzle game, and mix and match them with anyone else's, making for the ultimate tournament experience.  It fully supports multiplayer games, and anti-cheating verification on the server was in progress. 

This will be made into a standalone Java version for PC and Android devices, and a Javascript port is in the works for browser based tournaments!  I may even make a Unity3D version, or even go back to C++, so that it can be made a standard for the rest of computer and gaming history, included with open source game packages and upgraded forever.

"bob's game" online: nDworld intended to let players participate in a monthly virtual online 'bob's game' tournament, the winners of which would be invited to a real life tournament and play on a physical 'bob's game' arcade game.

Server, ServerIndex, and P2PServer - These are a small trio of Java servers that run on Amazon's EC2 platform.  It is designed to autoscale and handle large amounts of users, making use of Elastic Load Balancer and Auto Instance scripting.

Server is the game server itself, which handles securely sending game assets to the client, after checking authorization.  This means that no amount of client-side hacking will allow a player to access areas they aren't allowed in yet or to modify their stats in the game.

ServerIndex is a "supervisor" program which monitors the stats of all the other servers and connects them together, allowing players to connect with friends across the entire server stack.  It monitors resources and boots up new server instances as needed.

P2PServer connects clients to other clients in a secure manner for multiplayer minigames, and provides verification and anti-cheating for in-game tournaments.


Misc. Assets

Notebooks - A stack of paper notebooks full of doodles, ideas, and to-do lists.  As I spent years working on graphics, I always kept a notebook next to me. Consequently, every time I had an idea for a cutscene, character, or game event, it would go in here - I would eventually fill more than half a dozen notebooks.  Most of them are stained by coffee and ashes.

The Design Document - Several large Excel and Word files of dozens of pages of condensed game ideas from the notebooks.  I attempted to hard-code many of these ideas into the original C code, but never managed to tie everything together into a coherent, linear narrative.

Motivational Wall Posters - A cardboard box full of handwritten motivational posters which once covered my walls, written in the throes of desperation and madness.

To-Do Lists - In the past few years, I have kept several PNotes notepad windows open on the right hand side of my screen.  All insane frustrated rants, conspiracy theory ramblings, and various divine prophesies go in here, along with carefully organized To-Do and Completed windows for each subproject.

Journal and Changelog - During the first 5 years of "bob's game," I kept a private development journal, which grew to 7000 pages.  I also kept a manual changelog until I switched to Git commits, which made it a more automatic process.

Emails - My collection of emails- varying from brilliant and courageous to hilariously insane and disturbed- to important corporate executives and investors across the world.

All of these projects will eventually be made open source, ensuring that they become a part of computer and gaming history and continue to be developed and supported forever!

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Stretch Goals*

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*I am going to try to do all of these regardless of the "stretch goal" achieved.  However, it would be nice to make it to one or two of these, so I have a bit of extra leg room. (Literally!)

<$10,000
- I will give up on "bob's game," go back to Michigan, get a job at Best Buy, get my GED at night school, and go to community college.  I will work my way up to a degree in computer science and get a job at a video game studio, where I may someday work on my dream game idea: "bob's game."

$10,000
- "Hack Van" - Used cargo van rigged with solar panels and batteries.  It will be cramped in there but better than working in a library or coffeeshop.  This is the bare minimum for indefinite and sustainable (but slow) development of the Java RPG Client and Puzzle Game.

$15,000 - Super Hack Van - Upgrade to a Sprinter van with a full size desk and ability to stand up and walk around.  This should make development a lot more comfortable, and I will prioritize Android development of RPG Client and Puzzle Game for phones, tablets, Ouya, nVidia Shield, etc.

$20,000
- Real Office - Instead of a van, I will get a cheap office back in Michigan for at least a year or two.  I will livestream at least one year of development, and prioritize a Javascript port of the 'bob's game' Puzzle Game for browsers- turning bobsgame.com into an in-browser worldwide puzzle tournament.

$30,000 - I will pay some (volunteer) artists and programmers to help with development.  I will prioritize adding collaborative network support to bgEditor and distribute the tools to a small group of trusted enthusiasts.

$40,000 - I will open source the classic C engine (PC Demo 1+2) for curious hackers and enthusiasts to modify.

$50,000
- I will develop the Official 'bob's game' Arcade Game, both hardware and software,and make them available for sale to your local arcade or home - making the 'bob's game' Interdimensional Championship possible in real life!

$75,000
- I will develop a C++ backport (or possibly a Unity3D version) of Java RPG Client and Puzzle Game, possible to port to iOS, PS Vita, 3DS, WiiU, XBOne, PS4, etc.  I will attempt to get my game published on these systems.  (But it's up to them, not me!)

$100,000 - I will open source everything- the entire Java bgEditor, Client, Server, and Puzzle Game.  This will eventually make possible an open source "RPGMaker" system, in which anyone can create and run their own MMO Game and Server, accessible through a Java, Javascript, (and eventually C++) Client!  I will also release emails, To-Do lists, "Motivational posters," and other various personal and private assets for public examination. ("The unexamined life is not worth living.")

$150,000
- I will host the First Interdimensional "bob's game" Championship in a convention center, eventually recurring regularly with regional, national, and global tournament events!

[The further stretch goals previously posted here are mostly outside of the realistic scope of Kickstarter and, while amusing (but for the most part not actually unrealistic for a large technology company), they don't belong here.  The fact remains that I have no place to work or adequate equipment to proceed, and this Kickstarter is a serious attempt to resolve that situation.]

Risks and challenges

I'm going to release constant live progress so that people understand where the project is. I may also release and commit source code as it is written.

There is no guarantee that the project will ever be truly 100% complete, but I can release something tangible and playable right away and continue updating it indefinitely.

My means of supporting myself are extremely modest and with even a small amount of funding I should be able to get the ball rolling and keep it steady with regular donations and purchases from a small fan community.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    11 backers

    Original "bob's game" business card from last remaining box, signed by Bob in gold ink. Dumped on the hardwood floor of Bob's apartment in New Jersey and made to look as if it was dumped in the Nintendo World Store in a widely panned video.

    (Any existing $5 or greater backers will also receive a card.)

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    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    184 backers

    You get access to the full single player campaign when it is available, a premium account for the online service, access to a special forum, and other goodies!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    1 backer All gone!

    Original NPC character sprite with your name placed somewhere in the game, drawn by Bob.

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Funding period

- (30 days)