Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on July 27, 2012.
About this project
Alpha Colony: A Tribute to M.U.L.E. is a family-friendly economic video game, similar to SimCity or Civilization, combining the Settlers of Catan board game with the historic M.U.L.E. video game, all playable on your favorite desktop or mobile device.
THANK YOU ALL FOR HELPING US GET THIS FAR, THIS PROJECT IS NOT DEAD!
VISIT ALPHACOLONY.COM FOR UPDATES ON ANOTHER KICKSTARTER FOR A SCALED-DOWN PROJECT TO BE LAUNCHED IN AUGUST.
My favorite video game growing up was M.U.L.E. and my favorite board game of all time is Settlers of Catan. Both games actually share a lot of similar game mechanics. For those Catan players (especially my fellow gamer dads out there), I will outline some of those mechanics below:
- Resource production - In Alpha Colony there are 4 resource types that you can produce, just like both Catan and M.U.L.E. Rather than building a settlement like in Catan, you buy a plot of land and then purchase a M.U.L.E., outfit it for the resource type you want to produce, and then install it on your plot. Certain land types produce some resources better than others, but, unlike Catan, you can change what resources based on your needs as well as the supply and demand economy.
- Trading resources - This is probably my favorite part of both Catan and M.U.L.E. Are you a good negotiator? Do you like trash-talking or helping out a weaker player? You will find both the auctions and the trading ship in Alpha Colony will give you plenty of this exciting dynamic to enjoy with your friends and family.
- 4-player family/party game - One of my favorite quotes from Danielle Bunten (the original designer of M.U.L.E.) was that No one ever said on their deathbed, 'Gee, I wish I had spent more time alone with my computer.'" The great thing about Alpha Colony is it is best played with your family and friends either live and in person or via asynchronous turns similar to Words with Friends.
- Merchant / port trading perk - One of my favorite aspects of Catan was both the trading ports and, in Cities and Knights, the merchant token. This added more depth for later game play and added more strategy in building your settlements. Although M.U.L.E. did not offer this mechanic, Alpha Colony will by having both a trading ship and racial trading perks to affect resource trading.
- Rob / handicap the leader - One of my favorite aspects of M.U.L.E. was that it naturally helped the weaker player and handicapped the leader so that the stronger players were challenged but newcomers will still welcomed. Catan does this through the use of the robber as well trading where the leader (usually me) gets ruthlessly picked on and gives them a more challenging game. Alpha Colony will follow M.U.L.E.'s lead on this and have the random events in the game naturally help the weaker player and challenge the stronger player. This makes Alpha Colony a perfect family game!
- Build longest road - Anyone who has played Catan or numerous other board games understand this favorite mechanic. Although M.U.L.E. did not offer this, Alpha Colony will give bonuses to resource production as well as other subtle game effects for the player with the most plots of land purchased and outfitted next to one another.
- M.U.L.E. - A supremely fun game with addictive strategy that combines real-time and turn-based styles as you compete for land and resources on a newly colonized planet. Have your thinking cap on on!
- What is M.U.L.E. about? - In the game, four players attempt to colonize a distant planet. They do this by using Multiple Use Labor Element to harvest food, collect energy, and mine minerals. The goal of the game is to amass the greatest wealth, but you must develop a successful colony first!
- The big deal? - M.U.L.E. has been hailed as one of the most influential games of all time and the foundation for many game genres today. Published by Electronic Arts in 1983, It was groundbreaking when released. Will Wright dedicated his game The Sims to the memory of the designer of M.U.L.E. PCWorld notes M.U.L.E. as #5 on their list of the top 10 greatest PC games ever. A list that includes StarCraft, The Sims, Civilization, and World of Warcraft.
- Who created M.U.L.E.? - The game was designed by Dan* Bunten who was a game design visionary. Bunten was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Computer Game Developers Association and inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 2007.
In this Kickstarter we are offering BOTH a faithful remake of the classic for mobile platforms (with an iOS or Combo pledge of $25 or more) and a modern tribute for mobile and desktop platforms. You get to choose: play the award-winning original untouched, or play the inspired update with similarities to Settlers of Catan and Civilization!
See what's in store in this faithful reproduction of the original hit; this time, for the mobile platform.
- Android, iPad, iPhone mobile platform support
- iPad 3 / iPhone 4 HD support
- Social gaming integration, including Apple’s Game Center
- Fast paced and challenging game play
- Three difficulty levels
- Easy one-handed navigation
- Downloadable 8-bit skins
Visit the M.U.L.E. Returns website for even more information, previews and discussion.
Alpha Colony: A Tribute to M.U.L.E. is an economic video game for your iPad or desktop, similar to Sim City or Civilization. It offers an interactive experience you can share with your family and friends. The basic game play is simple but mastering supply and demand on a remote colony is not. Deciding what to produce and when to trade it makes for a compelling experience for the whole family.
- Windows XP or newer
- Mac OS X 10.5 or newer
- iPad, iPad 3, iPhone 3, iPhone 4 HD support
- Social gaming integration
- Full 3D environment
- Up to four players, including cross-platform network play
- Interactive tutorial
- Eight character races with unique race benefits
- 4 different resources and variations of each M.U.L.E.
- Beginner, Standard and Tournament levels of play
With a license granted by and partnership with Dan Bunten’s family as well as special access to previously unseen designs, DreamQuest Games aims to raise these funds to bring a modern update of M.U.L.E. to life.
"M.U.L.E. is a landmark in the history of video games worthy of a modern 3D sequel for mobile players," relates Christopher Williamson, Creative Director at DreamQuest Games.
M.U.L.E. was originally developed in 1983 by Dan Bunten and his
company Ozark Softscape. It was the first major hit game published by a
young upstart at the time, Electronic Arts. The original Atari 400/800
game allowed up to four players to simultaneously select an alien race,
outfit robotic workers called MULEs, and take turns producing,
managing, and trading resources on the planet Irata.
"We look forward to seeing our dad's legacy continue," shares Melanie Bunten, the oldest of Dan Bunten's three children.
We wanted to make sure we raised enough to do the game right. For example, we have experimented with both a simultaneous play prototype and an asynchronous turn mode similar to Words with Friends and both were fun. Do our fans want to play this way or something more like the hot seat turn-based original?
We would like to see:
- more clear race benefits (such as one race being able to move a little faster, better at catching wampus, producing food, etc.),
- a more intuitive auction trading interface,
- a beginner tutorial,
- and more story.
- Perhaps even an interactive single-player campaign, like we are used to seeing in hit games like Starcraft, Diablo, and Civilization.
This is why we wanted to go for a more aggressive fundraiser so we could really add some special AAA-level features, music, and visual polish to a game that deserves it. There have been several attempts at remaking M.U.L.E. in the past and they have always been on the cheap. I really want this game to shine and give the creator's family and the fans something as awesome as the original game was.
Digital Edition - Our most basic pledge level still gets you a copy of the finished Alpha Colony: A Tribute to M.U.L.E. video game on the platform of your choice!
- Mobile - This includes our iPad, iPhone, and Android versions.
- Desktop - This includes our PC-Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux versions.
- Combo - This includes all SIX platforms above so you can play it wherever you like!
Retro Edition - Receive everything from the Digital level above. In addition you will also receive:
- Mobile - This includes our iPad, iPhone, and Android versions.
- Desktop - This includes our PC-Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux versions. Note that M.U.L.E. Returns is not available on Desktop.
- Combo - This includes all SIX platforms above so you can play it wherever you like!
- M.U.L.E. Returns bonus game: a faithful recreation of M.U.L.E. for mobile devices (not available for Desktop platforms)
Digital music download - Enjoy the musical score from the game in all it's DRM-free glory to play wherever and whenever you want!
Fan Edition - Receive everything from the Retro level above, including both Alpha Colony and M.U.L.E. Returns for the platform of your choice. In addition you will also receive:
- Hi-res digital wallpaper early on to get a preview of what's to come!
- Digital documentary of Alpha Colony and M.U.L.E. history
- Alpha Colony: Exclusive bonus race
- M.U.L.E. Returns: Exclusive Bonus 8-bit retro skin
- Early Beta access to BOTH games
- Community forum access to share your requests
- Alpha Colony: Exclusive in-game extra race perks
- Name in credits in BOTH games
Collector's Edition - Receive everything from the Fan level above, including the game for all SIX platforms (iPad, iPhone, Android, PC, Mac, and Linux). In addition you will also receive:
- Collector's Boxed Edition of both games in a pretty box to put on your bookshelf and make your friends jealous.
- Collector's game music soundtrack on CD
- Collector's project and M.U.L.E. history documentary on DVD
- Collector's keychain to show how much of a real fan you are!
- Collector's chip/card protector showing your support for both games
- One other random goodie that we will throw in
- All of this shipped to you at our cost (International: please add $20 to your pledge level for the extra shipping costs)
Our limited rewards contain everything from the Collector's Edition pledge level above plus ALL below also get unprecedented behind-the-scenes VIP access to our forums and will be invited to partcipate in our design sessions and get a sneak preview of our earliest game Alpha. YOU WILL BE A PART OF OUR GAME DEVELOPMENT TEAM!
Plus, you will also receive a one-of-a-kind special bonus, listed below.
- Heroic Edition - Receive a limited-edition numbered and signed print of BOTH the original M.U.L.E. artwork with Dan Bunten's digital signature, as well as our Alpha Colony artwork with our team's original signatures. This poster sized artwork is ready for framing and will look great on any game enthusiast's wall.
- Angelic Edition -Work with our writers and artists to craft your own in-game positive event to assist the colonists! Maybe you will rain money from the heavens or create intensely rich resource deposits?
- Troublemaker Edition - Work with our writers and artists to craft your own in-game disaster to befall the poor colonists! Perhaps a terrible meteor shower, sand worms, or an alien invasion is in the colonists future? You get to decide at this pledge level!
Have a new reward level you would like to see? Leave us a comment and we'll see what we can do!
Christopher Williamson - Creative Director and Lead Programmer
Christopher Wiliamson founded DreamQuest Games in 2000 and has been leading mobile game development since 2004. His Masters in Software Engineering leads to delivering projects on-time and under-budget. Under Christopher’s direction, DreamQuest Games has shipped over 30 successful game titles on mobile game platforms, including IOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Symbian, including being awarded 2 US Patents and PocketPC Game of the Year in 2006 for Championship Spades. At Idol Minds, Christopher was Lead Programmer on Madagascar 2, a 3D game which sold over a million units for Activision in 2008. Most recently, he has ported DreamQuest Game’s catalog of 13 family-oriented card and board games to iOS and Android, including Championship Hearts, which was released in January 2012.
James Haynes - Art Director
James Haynes holds an AA in Computer Information Systems and a BA in Media Arts and Animation. His unique mix of technical and creative savvy make him excel as a technical artist. With his extensive pipeline optimization experience and outstanding rigging and animation skill, James adeptly and efficiently leads the DreamQuest Games artistic vision and team of artists using Unity3D, Maya, and the Crysis engine. James has worked with Christopher for over 10 years on various projects, including our recently-released Championship Hearts game for iPad, iPhone and Android. James helped DreamQuest Games win PocketPC Magazine’s Game of the Year in 2006.
Chris Tabb - Community Manager
Chris Tabb is an innovative and results-oriented community manager with proven leadership success and expertise in digital, social, and emerging technologies. In this role Chris develops, executes and oversees Alpha Colony’s social media presence. He is also the point of contact for all press inquires. Chris is a graduate of North Carolina State University (’06) where he earned his B.A. An avid reader, writer, and sometimes speaker, Chris loves to mix it up with bloggers, online entrepreneurs, and those making a difference in the world of social media. At DreamQuest Games, Chris is honored to work along side some of the most passionate, hilarious, and dedicated people you’ll ever find under one roof. He’s inspired daily by their personal and professional dedication to a mission greater than themselves.
Stuart Compton - Comes to us with 4 years as Art Director at SOE on the previous king of MMORPGs, Everquest II. Stuart will help us deliver a compelling 3D world with that AAA level of polish.
Megan Fox - Comes to us after having spent several years as a Graphics Programmer at NetDevil and, later, LEGO Universe working on their 3D worlds. Megan will help make everything look all pretty and run fast on mobile devices.
Arnold Nesis - Fresh off of doing the music and sounds for the Diablo III trailer, Arnold will be creating an original soundtrack for Alpha Colony and make sure our audio is as immersive as the game play and art.
Thanks and legal stuff
Thank you to the creative artist, Niklas Jansson, for some of the original MULE concept art shown in the video.
Original M.U.L.E. gameplay shown in the video is c1983 Electronic Arts. Used with permission from Bunten family.
*Dan Bunten was the creator of the original M.U.L.E. game in 1983 and the family would prefer that we refer to him as Dan instead of Dani.
"No one ever said on their deathbed, 'Gee, I wish I had spent more time alone with my computer.'"
Since there is no desktop version of M.U.L.E. Returns, all iOS or Combo pledge levels at Retro ($25) or above will include this bonus game.
We are committed to some form of multiplayer in Alpha Colony for sure. I personally want to play with my family (and I'm sure many of you do too). There are several options we could pursue and we want to involve the fan base in helping decide which form makes the most sense for our fans. Get involved with the Beta testing at the Fan level or above to make sure you get your voice heard on this!
Yes, in fact, you can! M.U.L.E. Returns will be made available to all Retro or higher supporters in early Fall 2012, our VIP supporters will get an Alpha preview of Alpha Colony very early in 2013, and all Fan or higher supporters will get access to a playable Beta in Spring of 2013. Our license agreement states that we cannot release publicly any earlier than June 2013, but our awesome Kickstarter supporters won't have to wait that long. If you haven't already, up your pledge to at least the Fan level and get the game earlier!
Officially, probably not. Unofficially, probably yes. I personally love Linux and have been long lobbying Unity3D to support it. So far, they have not officially supported it. Please cast your vote to help us convince Unity that Linux is worthy of it's own client here: http://feedback.unity3d.com/forums/15792-unity/suggestions/164961-linux-player-web-player-support…
That said, our current prototype runs under Linux using both WINE and in Google Chrome natively. We will do our best to support it, but we cannot guarantee it since Unity has no official support for it at the moment. If you pledge for the Desktop version, I will do my best to deliver a Linux version that works, but since I don't have control over the client development by Unity, I can't promise it.
Yes. My apologies that we neglected this in the rewards at launch and are trying to get it modified now. For international shipping of the Collector's and above (that have physical rewards), please add $20 to ship internationally. For rewards that don't have a physical delivery (less than $100), there is no extra charge. Please either $20 on to your pledge or you can wait and we will request it via PayPal after the campaign is over.
Absolutely! Both M.U.L.E. Returns and Alpha Colony have a license to use the name M.U.L.E. and all aspects of the game. Alpha Colony is a new game, paying tribute to the original M.U.L.E. and we also wanted to avoid confusion with M.U.L.E. Returns, so that is why we chose a different name. Since the original creator, Dan(i) died in 1998, the family has entrusted THIS PROJECT to help fulfill the M.U.L.E. legacy.
- (30 days)