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About this project
Check out my new campaign.
The Spaceteam Admiral's Club
-- "More than just a Spaceteam Admiral's Club"
The Spaceteam Admiral’s Club is a community of friends and fans making Spaceteam better and continuing to bring free games to the world, by supporting me directly as a developer for a whole year.
If we make this campaign a success then I think this model could work sustainably for other indies as well. It could bring more innovation and diversity to the industry, and create meaningful relationships between people who play games and people who make them.
I’m Henry Smith (@hengineer on Twitter). I worked as a programmer in the game industry for 10 years, at BioWare and Irrational Games, on games like Dragon Age: Origins, Dead Space 2, and Mass Effect 3 before quitting my job in 2012 to start my own adventure. I specialize in UI (user interface) but I love playing with all aspects of game design. I also love board games and they’ve been inspiring a lot of my ideas lately.
I share my experiences as an indie developer on my blog.
Spaceteam is my first project as an independent developer (“indie”). It’s a cooperative party game for phones and tablets in which you shout technobabble at your friends until your spaceship explodes. You can get it right now, for free, on iOS and Android. It has won several awards, including:
- GameCity Prize 2013
- IndieCade 2013 (Interaction Award)
- A MAZE. Indie Games Award 2013 (The Most Amazing Indie Game)
- International Mobile Gaming Awards 2013 (Innovation Award)
- PCMag Editor’s Choice Award and Android Game of the Year 2013
- Macworld Editor’s Choice Award
- Finalist in the Independent Games Festival 2013
- Selection in the PAX East Indie Showcase 2013
It was recently exhibited in the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. It has been used by children and grandparents, teachers, therapists, businesses, and medical schools. See the Spaceteam Retrospective for a look at Spaceteam’s success over the past year.
Unlike traditional campaigns, the Spaceteam Admiral’s Club is not about one specific game. I want to continue making interesting, accessible games but I don’t want to charge money for them. I want them to be free, for everyone. By joining the club, you’re making it possible for me to keep working on free games for a whole year.
Spaceteam will be getting some upgrades, namely:
I’m also working on two brand new games, Blabyrinth and Shipshape, which are still in the prototype stages but I can share some of the ideas with you now:
Blabyrinth is a cooperative local multiplayer game for phones and tablets (like Spaceteam) about working together to follow clues and find secret treasure in a mysterious labyrinth. It will feel a bit like the board game Escape: The Curse of the Temple. I’m also inspired by Spelunky, Escape the Room-style games, Indiana Jones and TV game shows from my childhood The Crystal Maze and Knightmare.
Shipshape is a single-player game for phones and tablets about exploring a quirky galaxy in a spaceship that you snap together from modular components. It’s designed to be easy to play with simple gestures. It’s inspired by the board game Galaxy Trucker and the video games Escape Velocity and Star Control 2.
Here's where I'm expecting to spend my time over the year, but the Admiral's Club will give me the freedom to make smart decisions about my work, and pursue unexpected opportunities.
Put your own word lists in the game and share them with your friends! You’ll have access to an editor that lets you change the words and phrases in the game. Business buzzwords, medical jargon, inside jokes, whatever you want!
Physical Membership Package
If you pick this tier you will actually get these physical objects in the mail: an embroidered NASA-style mission patch, a 3D lenticular membership card, and a printed certificate with the Admiral's Club gold seal (so you know it’s authentic).
Digital Membership Package
This package comes with digital versions of the rewards from the Physical package:
- Digital Patch
- Digital Membership Card
- Digital Certificate
It also includes:
Spaceteam Instructions Fridge Magnet Set
The next best thing to actually being in space is manipulating Magnetic Astrocouplets on your refrigeration unit. You will become a physical embodiment of the technobabble generation algorithm. Isn’t that something you’ve always wanted?
Custom Spaceteam Character
Design and upload your own character to use in the game! No longer will you be forced to annoy your teammates by repeatedly leaving the waiting room and reloading until you get a speckled felinoid wearing a lab coat.
Spaceteam Control named in your honour
The Lexicogulator will let you customize the words in your own private games and share them with friends, but how would you like to name an official control to be used by Spaceteams across the planet? Over one million people have already downloaded Spaceteam. They could be activating the Chen Flushclamp or the Johnson Hyperspigot. Why aren’t they??
Spaceteam Medal named in your honour
Spaceteams everywhere will be awarded a medal or trophy of your choosing. Will it be “April’s Medal of Awesomeness”, “Emily’s Commemorative Space-plaque”, “A Crystal Statue of Sara”? Only you can tell… me. And I’ll put it in the game.
Connect with other Spaceteams across the galaxy. This will be the best way to keep up with Spaceteam and my other projects. You can share stories, ask questions, and make new spacefriends! You’ll get a special badge in the forum indicating your support level.
Forum link: http://spaceteamadmiralsclub.com/forum
I’ll be keeping a Captain's Blog (at least once a month) and sharing inside information on my development process. I’ll post about game design, programming, as many business details as I can share, and anything else I might learn along the way.
What? Nobody said anything about this you ask too many questions.
A Fully Customized Spaceteam mod for your company/team/family/cult
A stand-alone, private version of Spaceteam with your own words and graphics, to share with your group. You can customize any or all of the following:
- Word lists
- Other text such as the introduction blurb, anomaly names, medals, etc.
- Control panel images
- The ship and the “threat” (supernova)
- Waiting room
- Logo and app name
- Even the sounds and music (if you want)
You will be responsible for creating the new images/text (I’ll provide templates, instructions and support) and then I’ll package it up into a custom version of the game for you.
PLEASE NOTE: On iOS your app will be delivered through Apple’s Volume Purchase Program for Business. Make sure you are eligible by visiting http://enroll.vpp.itunes.apple.com/. On Android it’s much simpler: I can just send you an APK to install directly.
If you press the right buttons on this page, one of these columns could belong to you:
*Everyone (even non-backers!) will have access to the Discussion Forums, Developer Diary, and the games produced by this project: Spaceteam, Blabyrinth, and Shipshape.
Where Will The Money Go?
This is a rough breakdown of how the money will be allocated:
I really hope the campaign makes sense to you too and that together we can make it work…
...as a spaceteam!
Risks and challenges
The project is structured to minimize risk by giving me the freedom to make smart decisions about my work and pursue opportunities that might come up. I can't predict exactly how much time or money a specific game will take, but I *can* predict how much money I need to live on for a year. I'm actually expecting the contents of the year to shift slightly during the flight... :)
The schedule may change for exciting reasons, eg. to support a special Spaceteam event, or to accommodate a small collaborative project that seems cool.
Or, I may have underestimated how much time Blabyrinth will take, but Spaceteam has taught me some valuable lessons about project scope and I plan to reuse most of the Spaceteam networking code, which will save time since it's the most difficult part of a game like this.
Whatever happens, I'll be sure to share it with you and it will all be documented in my Developer Diary.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Patreon is a great service and I use it as a supporter, but I decided it wasn't the best fit for me for a few reasons:
- Kickstarter has a much wider reach
- Patreon is tailored for short-form works that are produced once a month or more. I can't make games that fast!
- On Patreon you typically get the money *after* the work is produced, not before
- On Patreon, supporters can cancel at any time, which makes it more unpredictable. I think I would worry constantly about the upcoming month and feel the need to always be promoting myself. One targeted campaign feels more manageable.
- I needed an all-or-nothing goal to see if this funding model is even possible. The alternative is charging money for my games, and I can't just decide to do that at a moment's notice (eg. if my Patreon support dries up). I need to plan for it and design the games around it.
Yes! I purposely tried to keep the physical rewards small and light so they would be easy to ship. I factored that into the price so there's no need to add extra shipping cost if you live in a different country.
Pledge $5 or more
Forum Badge + Secret Handshake + all free rewardsEstimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or more
Digital Membership Package (soundtrack, ringtones, digital patch, membership card, and certificate) + all previous rewardsEstimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or more
Spaceteam Lexicogulator (put your own words in the game!) + all previous rewardsEstimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or more
Physical Membership Package (embroidered patch, 3D membership card, and printed certificate) + all previous rewardsEstimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $100 or more
Spaceteam Instructions fridge magnet set + Design your own Spaceteam character + all previous rewardsEstimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $250 or more
Spaceteam control named after you + Spaceteam medal named after you + all previous rewardsEstimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $5,000 or more
1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)
Fully Customized version of Spaceteam for your company/team/family/cult + all previous rewardsEstimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
- (30 days)