Project image
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$4,520
pledged of $100,000pledged of $100,000 goal
74
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, March 29 2019 12:00 AM UTC +00:00
$4,520
pledged of $100,000pledged of $100,000 goal
74
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, March 29 2019 12:00 AM UTC +00:00

About

*** Heads up! We've moved to Patreon! ***


Spycursion is a sandbox "edutainment" MMO centered around hacking and espionage which takes place in a near-future world that has been ravaged by cyberwarfare. In the world of Spycursion, you will use strategic subterfuge and technical craft to carve your own path in this universe which is both strange and familiar.

When we initially began prototyping Spycursion, the very first component we built was the in-game programming language, Slang (short for spy-lang). Slang is a key part of the game: All in-game software is written in Slang, and Spycursion is largely a game about the role (positive and negative) that software plays in society, both today and in the future. Check out this post to learn more about Slang.

Spy

 
     A game where you do all of your hacking from a computer is not a complete experience. Real-world spies have to do things like dumpster dive, eavesdrop, gain physical access to air-gapped systems, and get close enough to targets to attack via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. That's why Spycursion has a 3D world to explore, where you will be able to spy on or work with other human players and NPC's.

Learn


Spycursion is designed to be fun, challenging, and also educational. The Slang programming language, designed to be easy to learn and use (among other goals), can mimic real-world programming. Complete newbies can use Spycursion to learn about programming and cybersecurity, while tech-savvy engineers can use the game as a sandbox which will reward them for their skills.

Play Your Way

In Spycursion, there will always be other players around with whom to interact, befriend, scheme, hack, deceive, social engineer... or completely ignore. There's no one way to play Spycursion, nor is there any one way in which to advance your character. The game will have a flexible skill-based system, allowing you to mix and match the skills that make the most sense for how you wish to play. You will never be locked into any given role.

... Or Play It Solo

In the past, some indie MMO's have failed due to an over-reliance on interactivity -- not enough players online at a given time means there's not much to do. Spycursion will avoid this problem by incorporating plenty of content for you to explore all on your own, regardless of who is (or isn't) online. Between the world's mysterious lore and automatically-generated missions involving NPC's (which can't go offline... we hope), there will always be fun to be had. Plus, just because your friends are offline, doesn't mean their servers are...

Dynamic Economy

Spycursion will include an in-game economy based on supply and demand. You may find that some of the tangible items you can buy with your money -- such as hardware upgrades, wearable gadgets, or cosmetic items -- are a bit over your budget (or out of stock entirely) if they become very popular. Non-tangible software and services don't suffer from supply problems, but they, too, can have their prices change based on demand.

Play and Replay 

 
Spycursion will be a continuously evolving MMORPG. As long as we have enough subscribers, there will always be something new to do in the game, and the game quality will keep improving. And since a lot of the gameplay will be player driven, the players themselves will create unforeseen interactions which will translate into a richer dynamic experience.

FOSS-Friendly

A snippet of Slang code. (Don't worry, it comes with tutorials.)
A snippet of Slang code. (Don't worry, it comes with tutorials.)

Lisp is arguably one of the most powerful programming languages in existence, sometimes called "The Programmable Programing Language", and it is what we are using to develop Spycursion.

We will be releasing the full source code to the Spycursion client, in all of its Lispy glory. In addition, we're treating Linux gamers as first-class citizens: Spycursion will be available for Linux on day one -- beta included. No porting, no wine hacks (wine drinking is just fine). Just open source goodness, the way you like it.

The Long Game 

Our vision for what Spycursion can become is quite extensive in scope -- far more so than a two-person studio like ourselves can reasonably accomplish on our own. It's arguably more extensive than what this Kickstarter campaign is likely to fund (of course, we'd love for you to prove us wrong!).

What we've described here is just the "minimum viable product" (MVP) for an even more intricate and beautiful game. That's why when you back our campaign you're not just backing a game that we're going to release and forget about -- you're backing the earliest seeds of a game, and a world, that will continue to evolve for years to come. The only question is how much of that grand vision we'll be able to create, and how soon!
 

 
     Aside from the obvious benefit of letting us "kick-start" our game (rather than us being an established studio that's going to end up making the game regardless), Kickstarter allows us to not compromise on our vision. By getting the capital from the people who will play Spycursion, we only accrue a debt with them -- the debt of building the game that they want to play.

But Kickstarter is more for us than just a way to get funding. It also serves as a barometer to understand whether we have a critical mass of people who have enough interest in Spycursion to spend their hard earned money on it and to share their enthusiasm with others. (Hint, hint!) Meeting or exceeding our goal means not only that we can continue to work on Spycursion exclusively, committed only to the backers, but also that we know that there are people waiting to play and help us improve the game. And of course Kickstarter is also a good platform to promote a product, and we, as a tiny new studio, need as many eyeballs as possible on Spycursion.
 

Team (defun games ())
Team (defun games ())

 
Scott made his first game in BASIC on a VTech Pre-Computer Power Pad, circa 1994, and has still not fully recovered from the incident. He was a systems engineer in a past life, and spent seven years as a hobbyist Lisp developer before starting work on Spycursion in 2017. His knowledge of networking and cybersecurity as well as software development make him well-suited to build this game.

Mauricio's passion for coding started at a young age in 1986, and by then he was already interested in games and game development, writing some unpublished 2D games as a result. Mauricio fell in love with Lisp about ten years ago, and joined (defun games ()) in 2018. He also enjoys blenders, for making both smoothies and 3D models. The skills he has learned throughout the years make him a well-rounded generalist, which is valuable in any startup.

Dan is the (defun games ()) community manager and PR guy. He has nothing to do with Spycursion directly, so feel free to scapegoat him for anything that goes wrong.
 

 
     Given that we're developing with open-source software and have no supply chain to worry about, the majority of our budget is dedicated to ensuring that our small team can eat while working full-time on the game. (And potentially hiring others and ensuring they can eat, if the campaign goes well enough.) The next largest expense will be 3D assets and art. Observe our tasty pie chart:
 

Mmm, pie.
Mmm, pie.

That "Sustenance" calculation comes from a combined living wage (not market wage), for two developers, of $4000 USD per month. $4000/mo x 18 mos = $72,000. And of course the entire chart is only relevant for the $100k goal. Should we be so fortunate as to rocket past that goal, the numbers will change, subject to what backers request.

Risks and challenges

(defun games ()) has very few outside forces impacting our ability to release Spycursion. We have no outside investors (other than you!) and no manufacturing or supply chain headaches to worry about. Of course, that certainly isn't the same as saying we have no *risks or challenges* to worry about. Let's go over some of them:

1) We could run out of money before finishing the game. This is always a possibility with software projects. If it happens to us, we will either have to seek more funds or go back to working for The Man™, which would certainly delay Spycursion's release. However, we are dedicated to releasing the game even in that circumstance, and even if it is years behind schedule.

2) We could run into technical issues (possibly with third-party software libraries) which make certain features infeasible to include, or which significantly delay the game. Again, this is always possible with software projects. However, we hope that our collective experience with development and use of open-source libraries -- which we can modify ourselves, if necessary -- will minimize these risks. In either case, we will communicate transparently with backers whenever we expect significant delays or feature reductions.

3) We could fall victim to our low "bus number." The bus number is simply the number of developers who need to, erm, "get hit by a bus" before a project collapses. Currently, we have only two developers -- should one of us need to back out due to a serious illness or family situation, Spycursion would almost certainly be delayed. This is also the only real reason the project might be canceled altogether. In the unlikely event that Spycursion is canceled after being funded, we will release the game server, *in addition to the client*, as open-source. So, no matter what (barring a nuclear apocalypse), you're guaranteed to get *something* out of this deal.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Floater

    A person used one time, occasionally, or even unknowingly for an intelligence operation.

    Includes:
    • Name in the credits
    • Post-campaign survey
    • Our eternal gratitude
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    Pledge $8 or more About $8

    Babysitter

    A bodyguard, in spy lingo.

    Includes:
    • One-month Spycursion subscription
    • Name in the credits
    • Post-campaign survey
    • Our eternal gratitude
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    Pledge $14 or more About $14

    Throwaway (Early Bird!)

    An agent considered expendable. (But not to us!)

    Includes:
    • Three-month Spycursion subscription
    • Name in the credits
    • Post-campaign survey
    • Our eternal gratitude
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    Pledge $16 or more About $16

    Throwaway

    An agent considered expendable. (But not to us!)

    Includes:
    • Three-month Spycursion subscription
    • Name in the credits
    • Post-campaign survey
    • Our eternal gratitude
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    Pledge $28 or more About $28

    Cut-out (Early Bird!)

    An agent who functions as an intermediary between a spymaster and other subagents, or who is used to allow members of an operation to pass messages securely.

    Includes:
    • Six-month Spycursion subscription
    • Closed beta access
    • Name in the credits
    • Post-campaign survey
    • Our eternal gratitude
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $32 or more About $32

    Cut-out

    An agent who functions as an intermediary between a spymaster and other subagents, or who is used to allow members of an operation to pass messages securely.

    Includes:
    • Six-month Spycursion subscription
    • Closed beta access
    • Name in the credits
    • Post-campaign survey
    • Our eternal gratitude
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    Pledge $56 or more About $56

    Asset (Early Bird!)

    A clandestine source or method.

    Includes:
    • One-year Spycursion subscription
    • Customized NPC
    • Closed beta access
    • Name in the credits
    • Post-campaign survey
    • Our eternal gratitude
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $64 or more About $64

    Asset

    A clandestine source or method.

    Includes:
    • One-year Spycursion subscription
    • Customized NPC
    • Closed beta access
    • Name in the credits
    • Post-campaign survey
    • Our eternal gratitude
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    Pledge $112 or more About $112

    Controller (Early Bird!)

    Officer in charge of agents, also known as a handler.

    Includes:
    • Two-year Spycursion subscription
    • Quine Society membership
    • Customized NPC
    • Closed beta access
    • Name in the credits
    • Post-campaign survey
    • Our eternal gratitude
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $128 or more About $128

    Controller

    Officer in charge of agents, also known as a handler.

    Includes:
    • Two-year Spycursion subscription
    • Quine Society membership
    • Customized NPC
    • Closed beta access
    • Name in the credits
    • Post-campaign survey
    • Our eternal gratitude
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    Pledge $224 or more About $224

    Chief of Station (Early Bird!)

    The officer in charge of a CIA station.

    Includes:
    • Lifetime Spycursion subscription
    • Quine Society membership
    • Customized NPC
    • Closed beta access
    • Name in the credits
    • Post-campaign survey
    • Our eternal gratitude
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    Pledge $256 or more About $256

    Chief of Station

    The officer in charge of a CIA station.

    Includes:
    • Lifetime Spycursion subscription
    • Quine Society membership
    • Customized NPC
    • Closed beta access
    • Name in the credits
    • Post-campaign survey
    • Our eternal gratitude
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    Pledge $896 or more About $896

    Spymaster (Early Bird!)

    The leader of espionage activities, and an agent handler extraordinaire.

    Includes:
    • Lifetime Spycursion subscription
    • Custom story arc
    • Quine Society membership
    • Customized NPC
    • Closed beta access
    • Name in the credits
    • Post-campaign survey
    • Our eternal gratitude
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    Pledge $1,024 or more About $1,024

    Spymaster

    The leader of espionage activities, and an agent handler extraordinaire.

    Includes:
    • Lifetime Spycursion subscription
    • Custom story arc
    • Quine Society membership
    • Customized NPC
    • Closed beta access
    • Name in the credits
    • Post-campaign survey
    • Our eternal gratitude
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Funding period

- (30 days)