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DBB is an innovative runner where you control the environment instead of the character. Featured on The Next Game Boss!

DBB is an innovative runner where you control the environment instead of the character. Featured on The Next Game Boss! Read More
pledged of $28,000 goal
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Funding Unsuccessful

This project's funding goal was not reached on March 22, 2013.

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About this project

Download a 3-level demo of Death Boulder Bones here!

Death Boulder Bones is a revolutionary runner where you control the environment rather than the character. This means that, unlike most runners (such as Temple Run or Cannabalt), you are not directly choosing where the hero runs. Instead, you create walls, jumps, and more to keep him alive.

You play a spirit who is inextricably linked to an unsuccessful cryptozoologist named Dr. Indianapolis Bones. He has never made any meaningful discoveries or posed any groundbreaking theories. His wife, on the other hand, Evangeline Bones, is at the top of the cryptozoology field. But now she's gone missing.

Bones is not the shiniest apple in the tree. In fact he's rather dumb. He also happens to be quite near-sighted. All of these things combined means that he has a rather pronounced tendency to run directly into oncoming traffic, off of cliffs, and worse. Now he's following a faint trail that Evangeline has left to find her, and this trail just happens to lead through some of the deadliest places in the world.

It's up to you, the spirit, to keep Bones safe. Block traps from hitting him, force him to turn away from lava pits, and keep him safe. If you do, he might just find out what happened to Evangeline.

  • Lead Bones safely to the end of each of 50 levels
  • Collect all the hidden items in each level to advance
  • Left click and drag to draw walls
  • Right click and drag to draw jumps
  • Hold space to reverse time, as far back as you desire
  • Unlock more abilities as the game progresses

The goal of the game is to get through all 50 levels and track down Bones's wife. In doing so, you will encounter many different sorts of locales. Every 10 levels represent a different theme and poses new challenges. In order to progress to the next locale, you will need to gather most or all of the gold, artifacts, and clues scattered through each level. This means that the primary goal in each level is to get to the end, but the secondary goal is to collect everything along the way. If you don't, Bones won't know where to go next.

All interactions are performed with the mouse (or the touch screen). Click and drag to draw a wall, or right-click and drag to draw a jump. Walls are multi-purposed: they can be used to guide Bones in certain directions, keep him from running into pits and lava, and protect him from crushing walls, arrow shooters, and other traps. Because of this, you need to carefully decide how to draw your walls in order to both protect Bones and guide him.

Jumps are unlocked a few levels later and are another very important part of the spirit's toolbox. They can be used to get over chasms that must be crossed, to avoid tripping unavoidable traps, or even just to get Bones out of a dead end. Eventually you will find yourself using jumps perhaps more than anything else, especially to get some of the better-hidden treasures.

Unfortunately, Bones will often do his best to get himself killed. No matter what you do, it's bound to happen. This is why it's quite handy that as a spirit you have control over space and time. At any point, you can rewind time as far as you want to go. Did Bones run himself onto a spear? No worries, just rewind time to before he did so. Did he completely ignore a clue sitting right next to him? Rewind and course-correct.

The challenge is not in avoiding death; it's in figuring out how to get to the end of a level having gathering all the items along the way. In some levels, getting 100% completion is extremely difficult. Whether it's because accomplishing a certain feat is hard to perform or because that last chest is deviously hidden, no level's challenge is ever the same.

As you get to new areas, you will encounter many power ups and abilities that are beyond the usual wall and jump fare, such as slow-time areas, stasis fields, boss battles, and more.

We appeared (and are currently appearing) on The Next Game Boss! You can watch us duke it out with some really cool indie devs, and in the mean time read some things that the judges have had to say.

"I love the flavor, I love the idea. Any game where you can just pick up and are immediately engaged and having fun... your game has that." - David Jaffe, creator of God of War, Twisted Metal, and more

"These voiceovers are hilarious. Death Boulder Bones is, just, fun. I had a great time playing it." - Lisa Foiles, redhead from All That and Kotaku editor

"I really like the mechanics. I've never seen any games like this in the past." - Jenova Chen, creator of Journey, Flower, Flow, and more

Watch us win episode one, but take it with a grain of salt, it being reality TV and all:

Death Boulder Bones is currently in alpha. This means that the gameplay is almost – but not entirely – complete. It also means that we still have placeholder art we need to replace, levels to create, and ideas to hash out. Fortunately, Death Boulder Bones progresses in a way that allows us to release new levels while fans are playing earlier ones. New levels can have new mechanics, art, and the like.

As it stands, we have walls, jumps, time reversal, slow time fields, and stasis areas all coded. We also have lots of traps, like fall-away-floors, arrow shooters, saw-blade shooters, crushing walls, boulders, ghosts, spinny traps, and more. This all means that we have plenty of content to release with the first 10 levels (the first world), that we have already created.

We still need to touch up the art and fix some bugs that are around before we're ready to call this game beta, however. We expect the beta to happen in early June. All beta backers will get access to whatever levels are completed at that point. The great part about this is that we'll be able to get direct feedback from all of you.

The game also already runs on iOS and Android, but will need an additional optimization pass and gameplay tuning before it's ready for prime-time. Because of this, we will be releasing these a bit later than the Mac and PC versions. In addition, we will be releasing on Linux at around the same time (any potential Linux testers are welcomed).

We work on Death Boulder Bones completely part-time. This means that development goes rather slowly. We've been working on Death Boulder Bones for around a year now, but if we had been able to work on it full time we could have gotten to our current level of progress in 5 months. If you help us, that means that we can do an awesome final 3-month sprint on the game to make it really awesome.

If you don't help us, who knows how long it will take to finish the game.

We are currently running trial versions of many softwares, including Unity and Photoshop, all of which cost thousands to get licenses for. We will need them in order to release Death Boulder Bones.

Another important factor of game development is marketing. We have absolutely no money to promote Death Boulder Bones, and being able to do so is an important part of its potential for success. We want to be able to tell people to back it on Steam Greenlight, to download it on their iPhones, and more.

If you help us, Death Boulder Bones will absolutely get released, and it will be fun.

At least $10,000 of the money will be used to pay for licenses, web hosting, and other hidden costs. We will also use it to buy more animations to make the game more lively, get some art help here and there, etc.

The rest of the money will go to the most important place it can go: the developers! If you watched the video, you saw that we have stretch goals already, and these directly reflect the people that we will have working on the game.

$28,000 - Initial Goal

If we make our initial goal, then we will be able to pay one artist, Dave, to work full time on Death Boulder Bones. That means he's really going to be busting his butt to make the game gorgeous and give it lots of pop. As we all know, right now it's a little sterile. We want to give it real character! We want vines and skeletons everywhere!

$39,000 - First Stretch Goal

This gives us enough money to pay a second artist, Darrell, to work full time. We will use his manpower to craft some really epic boss battles at the end of every world. That will become an excellent way to finish things off and transition into a new area.

$50,000 - Second Stretch Goal

Our final artist, Seth, who is also the art lead, will be able to jump on full time. That would be awesome because we'd be able to focus on some of the more extraneous parts of the game, like comic-book cutscenes before every single level. That's a heck of a lot better than telling the story with RPG-style text boxes.

$68,000 - Third Stretch Goal

This is our final team-based stretch goal, and it means that Eli can work full time on Death Boulder Bones. That results in much much more time that can be spent on engineering and design. One big feature is that this enables us to implement is simultaneous multiplayer! We have ideas for both cooperative (one player is Bones, one player is the spirit) and competitive (one player controls all the traps) modes. Plus different non-multiplayer modes are possible, like needing to fend off monsters for a set period of time while Bones opens a chest (think indirect tower defense).

We have plenty more ideas. If we make the third stretch goal, we will be sure to post them here.

If you're amazing enough to back us, then we've got plenty of bangarang rewards for you. They run the gamut from in-game currency all the way up to a forty-eight hour game that we'll implement, all for you. You can look at the tiers on the right to see how to get these different rewards, or look at the bottom of each reward to see which tier(s) you can get.

You get a digital copy of Death Boulder Bones for Mac, PC, and/or Linux! We're expecting this to be delivered in late July. The July delivery includes the first two worlds (20 levels) of the game, and all additional levels will be delivered as they are made, for free. We expect a stride of 10 levels per month (assuming we're all working full time). ALL TIERS get this reward.

Woot, you get a cool ninja outfit! The game will include plenty of custom skins and hats that you can buy, but this one is exclusive to higher level Kickstarter backers. That means all those lamers who missed backing us won't ever be able to get this costume! When multiplayer is implemented, think how jealous you'll make everyone! THE TRAILBLAZER and above tiers get this reward.

Wow, 500 in-game coins! Normally getting this many will run you a few bucks. You can absolutely complete the game without buying or spending a single coin, but with this extra 500 you'll be able to get yourself some cool in-game swag! This includes power-ups that can expose new parts of old levels, as well as nifty hats. THE TRAILBLAZER and above tiers get this reward.

Beta! Better than alpha! Once the game is in beta, meaning that it's mostly done minus some bugs and polish here and there, you'll get exclusive access to the game on your Mac, PC, and/or Linux. Lucky you! Now you don't have to wait! We expect the beta to be ready some time in June. THE PIONEER and above tiers get this reward.

On top of getting the game early, you get a special forum account in Grandendroit's developer forum! This means that you get to ask whatever you want, or make any comments you can think of. "I think that Dr. Bones should be named Dr. OWNS because he's so awesome." If you post that, we promise we'll do our very best to give you a response! Even if it's, "I dunno, my good fellow. I prefer BONES." THE PIONEER and above tiers get this reward.

Are you one of those people who loves to touch and caress things? Is a mouse and keyboard just something that makes you innately unhappy? Well then this is the reward for you. You will be one of the very few exclusive people who gets to play Death Boulder Bones early on your mobile device. We can't offer this out to just everyone because we have a limited number of devices we can test on. Just remember that if you choose this, you'd better be ready to send us some early bug reports! THE MOBILE PIONEER, THE SCULPTOR, THE IMMORTAL, THE DESIGNER, and THE AWESOME are the only tiers that get this reward.

Do you wish that you could get more mail? Are you sad that your grandparents stopped sending you $5 bills in envelopes for your birthday? Well here is your solution! You will get a personally addressed postcard from us, the people at Grandendroit. It will say something like, "Hello there. Thank you for being awesome." Imagine, getting a card in the mail one random day telling you that you're awesome! That would be, well… awesome. THE ADVENTURER and above tiers get this reward.

Tired of ninjas and all their hengay-no-jootsoos? Are you much more interested in eating brains than you are in wearing all black and climbing through windows? Are parts of your body periodically falling off? Then we've got the reward for you! Similar to the ninja skin, the zombie skin is an exclusive skin that only higher level Kickstarter backers will get. In multiplayer games and leaderboards, you're going to show up as an Indianapolis Bones with half his head missing. And what's cooler than that? THE ADVENTURER and above tiers get this reward.

Do you enjoy yelling? And beards? And pillaging? Oh, don't forget cutlasses and peg-legs. If ninjas and zombies aren't your cup of tea (because you prefer a cup of rum), then this is the skin for you. Dress Bones up in some cool pirate regalia and do it in a totally exclusive backer-only way. This comes hand-in-hand with the zombie outfit too, so feel free to switch between them whenever it meets your drunken fancy! THE ADVENTURER and above tiers get this reward.

If you want to go down in the annals of history as someone who made a difference in the best game ever (well perhaps one of the better games), then we've got you covered. All higher level backers get their names in the credits, alongside whatever tier they were a part of. That is pretty darn awesome. THE ADVENTURER and above tiers get this reward.

If you love the Death Boulder Bones logo or you just love wearing game shirts, here is the reward you're looking for. A limited edition totally custom 100% cotton and 100% awesome tee shirt. I'm not sure about the cotton part. But it's bound to have some cotton in it. Anyway, it's black print on a white shirt. If enough people request it, we may look into different mono-color combinations. THE COLLECTOR and above get this reward.

You're already getting a postcard, why not level it up by putting a one-of-a-kind ink drawing on it? One of the three artists here will draw whatever you request (within reason) underneath the "oh hello, you're awesome" writing. It's the perfect thing to frame on your wall. Don't worry, Eli won't draw in lame programmer art unless you request it. THE COLLECTOR and above get this reward.

What's this? A limited edition comic published by the limited edition Grandendroit Comics factory? Now that's mighty interesting! All of the cutscenes, plus extras like bloopers and "letters from the editor" are included in one fancy comic book. Trust me, it will be mega-shway. Note that we don't expect this to ship until October at the very earliest, because it depends on all 50 levels being done. THE ART AFICIONADO, THE BONES, THE GUARDIAN SPIRITTHE IMMORTAL, THE DESIGNER, and THE AWESOME get this.

It is what it says it is. 2,500 in-game coins. Holy moly! If only those were real dollars, you could buy, like, a decent computer with that. Or a crappy used car. I wouldn't buy that used car, it would probably be a lemon. THE ART AFICIONADO and above tiers get this.

Now this is pretty cool. Pretty gosh durn cool if I do say so myself. You get a limited edition sandstone statue of the man, the myth, the legend, Dr. Indianapolis Bones. It is created for your enjoying pleasure, and it's 6 inches (15 centimeters) tall. That's as tall as a very small dog! It is full color, and has a stand built-in. He is doing an action (running) pose. THE DOCTOR and above tiers get this.

Sometimes when comic books are really truly special they get printed in hardcover. Well this comic is so special that it DOES come in hardcover! If you want to see the story of Bones unfolded on pages that are much less likely to get destroyed by the passage of time, then this is the reward! THE BONES and higher get this.

Seth has been making totally awesome vinyl figurines for years now, and is well known in the Northern California toy scene for his work. He likes to take well-known characters and give them neanderthal brows and an intensely brooding look. If you get this reward, that means you get an absolutely one-of-a-kind figure of your choosing. Any character can be done, provided they are humanoid. Note that it takes Seth a long time to do these, so a delivery date cannot be set. You'll get it when you get it! THE SCULPTOR, THE DESIGNER, and THE AWESOME get this.

Did you ever want to be in a video game like in that movie where they get sucked into one and have to throw around light discs and stuff? Well we can't do that. But what we CAN do is slap your face on a character in Death Boulder Bones! It will not be a major character, but it will be someone somewhere. We will even give out a list of character options and allow you to choose from it. THE GUARDIAN SPIRIT and above tiers get this.

Death Boulder Bones will unfortunately not come with a level editor, but this is the next best thing! You can lay out any level or game mechanic however you want (with photos of legos, or drawings on paper, or whatever) and we will put it into the game! That means you get to try your hand at game design and have it put into a professional game. Note that if your idea is too much work, too imbalanced, or just too insane, we might tweak it or ask you to come up with something else. Your name will also be included in the credits as a "guest game designer." Awesome! THE IMMORTAL, THE DESIGNER and THE AWESOME get this.

This, as far as we know, has not been offered in any other Kickstarter ever. The team at Grandendroit loves doing game jams. In fact, the concept and prototype for Death Boulder Bones (originally called Death Boulder Jones) were cooked up during a Ludum Dare 48 hour game jam. Real wonderful games can come out of these jams, and they're almost always fun for everyone who participates. If you get this reward, that means you get to be the lead designer on a 48 hour game jam with the entirety of the Grandendroit team. You call the shots, and then we implement whatever you asked for. Even better, you keep the IP and absolutely all rights to whatever material was developed during the jam. The jams will not happen until after all 50 levels of Death Boulder Bones are out the door. THE DESIGNER and THE AWESOME get this.

The final and biggest reward is to be the very prominent face of the antagonist. He is a cryptozoologist rival to Evangeline Bones, and now to Dr. Bones. Rumor has it he has something to do with Evangeline's disappearance. We will take photos that you supply and use them to create the look of the big bad villain. This is not a promise, but he is also extremely likely to appear in subsequent games by Grandendroit. THE AWESOME is the only one who gets this.

Grandendroit is an indie game development company that consists of Eli Delventhal, Seth Robles, Darrell Atienza, and Dave Feng. We are based in the San Francisco bay area. We often have various friends and loved ones help us out too, like Eli's brother Zac who has supplied some voice acting and is the community manager for Grandendroit. We all have professional game industry experience and have worked on some really interesting and high profile titles for consoles, desktop computers, and mobile phones. We also have vast experience with game jams and experimental gameplay.

Check out all this great stuff we've worked on!
Check out all this great stuff we've worked on!


Please follow @drindiebones on Twitter!

Please like us on Facebook!

Check out our website for more information:

Also check out our company website:

Risks and challenges

As with any video game, hitting a release date is not an exact science. In fact, we've worked at studios before where the trend was to late, rather than on time. That being said, we're very confident that a July release is a reasonable and safe target. This is for several reasons.

The biggest is that we have the core game mechanics down, they are proven to be fun, and we have a clear vision and roadmap for the future. That means that all we need to do is keep refining and building out levels, rather than make any major revisions along the way.

The next reason is that Death Boulder Bones can easily be (and will be) episodic, with subsequent level packs being released for free each month after our initial release. That of course means that we don't need to cram in 50 levels over the next 3 months, instead we can start with a much more manageable 20.

One last risk would be if one of our team members were to spontaneously combust or be set ablaze in some other fashion. This would no doubt be bad and may even result in the death of Death Boulder Bones. But I think the odds of that are extremely low, don't you? To keep you assured, we pledge that none of us will take any large risks to our health until Death Boulder Bones is out the door. The skydiving will have to wait., if you insist! :-(

We've got a lot of experience in the industry, and between all of us we've released more than 50 different games, big and small. Because of that, we're very confident that we can do this final pass on Death Boulder Bones and get it out to you, the aspiring user, on time and in good shape.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $9 or more About $9 USD

    THE EXPLORER: • A Digital Copy of Death Boulder Bones, plus enough in-game-currency to unlock all 50 levels. Woah!

    Estimated delivery
    23 backers
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15 USD

    THE TRAILBLAZER: • A digital copy of the game, all 50 levels, and an additional 500 in-game coins for buying powerups and other outfits. • Plus, receive an exclusive in-game ninja outfit! Mo' cash. Mo' ninjas. Word.

    Estimated delivery
    7 backers
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20 USD

    THE PIONEER: • Beta access on Mac / PC! • Access to a special forum where you can give direct input to the devs! Plus, all of the above tiers.

    Estimated delivery
    13 backers
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25 USD

    THE MOBILE PIONEER: • Beta access on mobile devices (iOS and Android)! You will be added to our device portal, so your iOS version is free! • Plus, all of the outfits and coinage from the above tiers. Rockin'!

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 15 backers
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50 USD

    THE ADVENTURER: • A thank-you postcard, signed by your friends at Grandendroit! (hold onto that, it'll be worth something some day) • An exclusive pirate skin to do battle with that nifteh ninja skin! • Beta access + forum, and all of the previous coinage and outfits. • But wait, there's more! Your name will be forever etched in the credits as one of our key backers! Fantasmagorical!

    Estimated delivery
    8 backers
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75 USD

    THE COLLECTOR: • Awesome Death Boulder Bones tee shirt! You'll be looking stylin' in black on white. • Get a custom doodle on your postcard! • Add a nifty-matic zombie to the pirate and ninja skins (zombies are in now!) • Plus you'll get all the in-game currency, beta access, and your name in the credits from previous tiers. The swag, it overwhelms!

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100 USD

    THE ART AFICIONADO: • Get a physical art book of all the in-game cutscenes so you can relive the hilarity anytime; dedicated to YOU with a custom ink-sketch on the inside cover by Darrell Atienza! • Never worry about in-game monies again, with a massive 2,500 coin wallet! • Not to mention, you'll get all the skins, the beta access, your name in the credits, and that nifty post-card! Just what are you going to do with all this stuff?

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150 USD

    THE DOCTOR: • You will receive a 6" tall sandstone model of the man himself, Dr. Indianapolis Bones! He can weigh down papers, stare at you from your desk, get thrown into lava, whatever you desire! • Not to mention, you will get all the in-game currency, exclusive skins, beta access, and thank-you card from previous tiers AND you will be thanked in the credits as a very special high level backer! I can't handle the wonderfulness!

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300 USD

    THE BONES: • Receive all of the gifts from the previous level: figurine, coinage, N,P+Z skins, beta access, postcard, your name in the credits • Plus, you'll receive all of the awesome swag from the other tiers: the sweet tee shirt, and a HARDCOVER version of the art book,with your custom sketch! I'm blinded by the sheen!

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500 USD

    THE SCULPTOR: • Have we mentioned that we love you? In thanks, Seth Roble will make you a custom vinyl figure, in his iconic style, of absolutely any humanoid character! Hooray! • That will go great with your tee shirt, art book, sandstone Dr. Bones, NPZ skins, doodle-card, beta access, mega-monies, and your name in black and white as a super-generous $500+ level backer! I'm so excited for you!

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500 USD

    THE GUARDIAN SPIRIT: • You're so awesome, you're saving Bones single-handedly! Your likeness will be featured in the game, imposed on one of the NPCs! • Plus, your name will be included in the credits as the most generous of backers! • The tee shirt! • Sandstone figure! • NPZ skins! • Postcard with drawing! • Beta! • Forum! • 2,500 shinies! • Could there be more?

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000 USD

    THE IMMORTAL: • Let us steal your ideas to make Death Boulder Bones better! Design a level on paper, a new power-up, or other mechanic and have it implemented in-game! • And of course, you will receive all of the benefits from the previous tiers, including the iOS beta access, but not Seth's custom figure. Finally, you can die happy!

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000 USD

    THE DESIGNER: Conceive a simple game concept and have it made for you by our expert game jam team in 48 hours! Join us via Google Hangout to act as the lead designer during this time. Plus, you will get all IP rights to the game! Woah, epic opportunity! • AND your name will be enshrined in the credits in a super-sized super-snazzy font of your choice, as one of the game's key backers. • Plus, for your unbelievable level of support, you will receive all of the gifts from all of the above tiers as well, including: the iOS beta access, the custom game mechanic, AND the vinyl figure! Oh Frabjous Day!

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000 USD

    THE AWESOME: • Wow. You are like epically awesome. No, even more awesome than that. You are so awesome, that the antagonist from Death Boulder Bones will be modeled and named after you! • PLUS, so that we may bathe in your awesomeness, we will fly you from the lower 48 states to us in San Francisco, for lunch with the team and a weekend away. • EVEN BETTER get to hang out with us for a day as we develop Death Boulder Bones. • FINALLY you will be showered with every single one of the gifts from every single tier above. May we be worthy of your awesomeness!

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers

Funding period

- (30 days)