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TUG is a multiplayer open-world sandbox-RPG using new technology and social sciences to directly involve players in the game’s design.
7,231 backers pledged $293,184 to help bring this project to life.

Player Death... and Stretch Goals!!!!

Posted by Nerd Kingdom (Creator)

In designing the death system for TUG, we wanted to avoid a lot of the standard cliches: corpse runs, revival systems that essentially function as a free ride back to the respawn point near town, or a completely unforgiving permadeath. We wanted to create something that was fun and unique, but not without penalty... yet not so harsh that it would discourage players completely or negate all their in-game accomplishments.

As many of you have guessed, the stone embedded in your Seed’s hand is the vessel for his or her life energy... or more simply put, a soul. Wisps are manifestations of this energy, e.g. souls, that have no stone to embody them. When a Seed dies, their soul exits the stone in the form of a wisp. The wisp will be dim and weak, but will immediately begin to regenerate its energy.

The wisp will grow brighter as it gathers energy, and you must gauge when the best point to re-enter your stone and revive your Seed will be. You may choose to awaken at any point during this energy regeneration process.

The wisp will pass through four rough phases as it gathers energy:

  • Dim - Re-entering early while the wisp is still dim will cause your Seed to awaken in an extremely weakened state, far below the baseline for their current stage of life. It will take quite some time to heal and recover.
  • Glow - If you wait a bit until the wisp has accumulated a medium glow, when you revive you will be in a semi-weakened state. Many character-specific body changes will be lost, and your Seed will be reset to the baseline state for the stage of life they were at prior to death. However, you won’t lose learned skills... your body will be weakened, but you won’t have magically forgotten how to craft!
  • Bright - This is the optimal window! Revive here, and your Seed will awaken in his or her prime state, no worse for the wear (well, maybe with a couple new scars or bruises here and there)!
  • Overload - Watch out! If TOO much energy is collected and the wisp becomes too bright, re-entry will cause the stone in your Seed’s hand to overload, destroying your Seed’s body and reviving them instead as a newly formed child Seed.

So, to revive your Seed in an optimal state, you’ve got to have an excellent sense of timing! For many, this may mean it is “safer” to simply awaken quickly and in a more weakened state rather than attempt to time it exactly right to be revived at full strength.

In Survival mode, with every death your Seed has, the regeneration process becomes trickier and the window to successfully awaken at full strength gets smaller. In Adventure mode, the optimal window is indefinite, making it much simpler to regenerate in your prime state.

Players will eventually be able to create or obtain special devices that will act as a sort of “back-up drive” for your accumulated physical stats; upon revival, you may activate this device to restore yourself to your former physical state. Certain companions may offer similar services, and players may eventually be able to learn these techniques themselves to perform on others.

And, of course... there is a secret lore behind all of this; discover that, and you may be able to leverage some of these systems to your advantage!

Corpse Camping and Looting

While your Seed lies “dead,” any gear or materials they were carrying may be looted by other players in Survival mode, unless they have been secured in some way via magic or technological security devices. Additionally, upon revival, there will be a massive off-loading of energy from your Seed’s stone as their soul re-enters. This blast will temporarily incapacitate all players and creatures in the immediate vicinity. The blast won’t actually cause any damage or harm anyone, it will just incapacitate them temporarily, giving the newly revived Seed a chance to escape enemies, hide, or find a safe place to heal. Essentially, it should discourage and minimize the effectiveness of corpse camping. It's also useful for stopping thieves in the act; if you’re trying to respawn at full strength and waiting for optimal energy regeneration, but see someone show up and try to steal your stuff, you can choose to awaken your Seed right then to trigger the blast and knock them flat so you can grab your stuff and run... but at the cost of emerging early, and therefore extremely weak. You may only be strong enough to carry a few things, so choose carefully!

Companions can be programmed and modified to be immune to this blast, and eventually there may be ways players can craft shields to protect themselves from it as well. Friendly players in the area will also be temporarily incapacitated, but if they’re really your friends, hopefully they won’t mind! Unless they’re attempting to revive you, they should have ample time to clear out of the way.

And yes, you read that right. Eventually, you may discover ways to instantly revive other players... however, we can’t reveal anything more about that just yet!

Companion Death

All critters and companions in TUG also become wisps upon their deaths. If your companion has a high level of affinity with you, when they die, their wisp will continue to follow you around and act as a companion. You may choose to keep them as a wisp, or perhaps discover a way to return them to their former body... or maybe even build them a new one!!! All Kickstarter companions automatically have a high affinity for their owners, so they’ll be with you, in some form, for as long as you want them.

Untamed wisps can also be caught in the wild via certain methods... but they are only visible at certain times of day, and are very elusive! Who knows what mysterious agendas these creatures may have?

Obviously, these are all systems we are still working on, and we will continue to tweak, balance, and fine-tune with your help and feedback. And hey, this is just our version of TUG… we will provide you with the tools to re-work and alter your own games and servers in whatever ways you’d like. We want TUG to be a world full of real, satisfying challenges and rewards, and look forward to creating that together with you.


TODAY’s GIFT!!! If you are in any tier with alpha or beta access (that is, any tier $30 or higher), we’ve added the following gift to your rewards:

  • Special Aether II Baby Moas! - In honor of our collaboration with Kingbdogz and Saspiron of the Aether team, we would like to introduce you to your 2nd goody, your own baby Aether Moa! As this creature roams the worlds of the Aether, so too will it roam the lands of TUG, but this unique feathered Moa is one of a kind and will not be available outside of this Kickstarter campaign. Raise it, ride it, or cook it... but be careful, the resulting wisp may not be so easy to get rid of! If you are in any tier with alpha or beta access, you now receive one of these adorable baby moas for your personal copy!

REMINDER: ADD-ONS!!! If you add the following amounts to your current pledge at your current rewards tier, we will add on:

  • An Extra Pre-order Copy of TUG (final game deliverable in January 2015): $10
  • KS EXCLUSIVE Baby Sabre Tiger Critter (deliverable by January 2015): $15
  • Rare Beast Pelt (deliverable by January 2015): $20

We'll offer more of these a la carte items during the PayPal campaign next month. Items purchased individually, both now and during the PayPal campaign, will be linked to the email addresses that were used to purchase them. However, no items will be bound to accounts and can be traded freely.

Stretch Goals!!!

These goals will stay up throughout the remainder of the Kickstarter campaign, the duration of the Paypal campaign, and into Beta! WE CAN DO IT!

$300,000 Alchemy / Equivalent Exchange
Ready your laboratories of the dark arts... an intermediate to advanced process of creation that may lead to darker practices, and unlock things you perhaps should not have. Alchemy is a system that allows for an alternate method of crafting and reverting objects into base materials, and experimentation into abstract creations.

$400,000 Advanced Civilization
Rooms for Rent? Build homes that wandering travelers may inhabit to offer you services, gear, or insights into the mysterious world around you. Cultivate relationships, for better or worse, with those that inhabit your towns. Adv Civ allows players to create and decorate homes in unique ways, to attract travelers with unique skills, professions or wares to expand your civilizations.

$450,000 Animal Breeding
D’aawwww, so cuuuuute... wait... no, that’s TERRIFYING! Can you breed the perfect breed of beast? Intermediate to advanced methods of care, breeding, and development of critters and beasts. Animal Breeding allows players to breed animals and raise them to refine stats and beast types.

$550,000 Advanced Magic Crafting
Tired of just pewpewing fireballs? Why not FIRE STORMS!? Refine and harvest pure elemental energy orbs and cross powers with other elements to create unique powers and expand on your tactical approach of the world and against your foes. But be careful, what may hurt others may also hurt you. Advanced Magic Crafting allows for multiple variations of elemental orbs to be equipped at once to offer a variety of outcomes.

$600,000 Enchanting
Swinging swords is fun... but swinging LIGHTNING SWORDS IS WAY MORE FUN! Use refined elemental energy orbs to enchant and enhance effects of your weapons, armor, tools, and contraptions! Enchanting allows all magic orbs systems to be used to alter the abilities of existing tools and contraptions in TUG.

$700,000 Shadow Realm
Prepare yourselves for darkness... enter a realm of shadow, where light flees from darkness. An alternate world with unique biomes, materials and discoveries to be had. The Shadow Realm adds an alternate world that adds more content to TUG that expands on how the tools and contraptions of the existing world work.

$850,000 The Core
Hellfire and Brimstone... venture to the burning belly of the world to find rare materials, take on fiery beasts, and unlock forbidden secrets to unleash upon the world. Explore unique and violent underground biomes. The Core adds more content to TUG that expands on how the tools and contraptions of the existing world work.

We’re coming up on that first one already... let’s get to it! 

As always, please help us spread the word... the more you guys share and help push this along, the more support we can gather. Every penny we earn lets us make things better and faster... and we can't do it without you.

Be sure to check out and share our Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube Channel, and feel free to join the discussions on our Official Forums!


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    1. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Liam, if you donated more than $30 before the end of the campaign, then yes, you will get a moa. :)

    2. Missing avatar

      Liam Springer on

      @Nerd Kingdom, So, I saw that you were offering a Moa to anyone who donates $30, so I clicked donate $30. There was 25 hours left when I clicked the donate button, but I had to go somewhere and I never paid until 6 hrs later when it said 19 hours left. Will I still get a moa? The Aether 2 mod is one I have been eagerly awaiting, but this game seems like its going to be so much better than minecraft! I have kinda begun to think of it as a minecraft with less limits, more stuff to do, better graphics, realistic physics(thats a big one for me, I love physics) and overall a ton of cool not-minecraftness. But I'm moving off the original question, will I get the moa? Even if not I'm going to enjoy this game soooooo much :D

    3. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Daniel, yep!

    4. Missing avatar

      Daniel Pena on

      @Nerd Kingdom, so if I paid 25 extra dollars I get both the extra copy and the tiger correct?

    5. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Liam, actually, my mistake, each item is sold separately. $20 will get you the beast pelt, $15 the baby tiger pet, and $10 will get you an extra copy of the game. Sorry for the confusion!

    6. Missing avatar

      Daniel Pena on

      So if I paid 15 dollars do I get the tiger and the copy or do I pay for each individually

    7. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Cooper, yea, its whoever is in those tiers by the end of the campaign :)

      @Liam, BOTH! *high five*

    8. Missing avatar

      Liam McMahon on

      Quick question, if I added $20 to my pledge would I get the additional copy of the game, the baby saber tiger and the rare beast pelt or just the beast pelt?

    9. Missing avatar

      Cooper Gottschalk on

      Wait, if I pledged today, do i get a moa?

    10. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      Know* double post ftw! Pewpew

    11. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      Hey guys, these stretch goals are things we will eventually get to. As @Christina identified in her comment, these are just larger complex systems that we would need some additional help with, or plain old get to down the road. We know this game has a lot going on, and we already no what we can and cannot do with this campaign, as well as us working on some of our own budgeted funds.

      Also, do keep in mind that these goals will always be up, as a way to represent some milestones for us as well. These systems are just some added levels of varying complexity, that can in fact, be completely overlooked and have no negative impact on your experience... Except... Ya know, you maybe would never breed the fastest moa or cross breed some crazy dragon or something :)


    12. Christina G. Smith on

      I'd imagine if the stretch goals aren't gotten it will just be things put on the back burners. Where if they do get more money they might be able to have an extra programmer or time allotted to coding those things. But for now they don't have those funds. I think they will come eventually. Its just they aren't at the top.

    13. Matthew D Geldman on

      Wow this looks epic

    14. Chaonic on

      And another important question.
      If the stretch goals won't be reached... I guess, we will never see this kind of stuff ingame?

    15. Chaonic on

      The stretch goals are awesome!!! I want them all ingame!!!
      Everything of it is so damn awesome!!!
      I could totally imagine Pahimar working on TUG as well.
      That's the absolutely best update!

      But one question!!
      Bringing the wisp of my companion back to his body would be my preffered method, but I guess, in many cases, it will take a long time. Can I take the dead body with me, until I find a way?

    16. Amirul Khalid on

      Would you lose learned skills as a newly formed Seed?

    17. Missing avatar

      Saylor Omalley on

      Finally backed this amazing project! Wanted to say I think everything you guys are doing is awesome and I'd of backed earlier if it wasn't for a lack of money.
      Though I might find myself backing again because I really want Advanced Civilization!

    18. Kenneth Mitchell De Leon on

      I like where the game is heading... i like the approach and the direction overall...

      although i am a bit skeptic maybe because as i'm reading all the current/future features that will be included in the game, i'm thinking it might be too much to deliver and they might loose track of what the main focus or core game play they intended it to be...

      i'm also hoping they'll pull it off and make it really be enjoyable... my imagination is already running wild... hunter, explorer, breeder/tamer, crafter, all that different things to do and focus on...

      i'm looking forward to the animal breeding and the hunting part... hoping they will make the exploring fun too, instead of just players running around not taking time to even take a look (because there is nothing there)...

      also, i hope there will be like a monster hunter system, wherein monsters you hunt down can be carved for their parts (looted) instead of monsters that drops sword, money and other impossible nonsense... and then those parts will either be used, sold or bartered to gain or make whatever else in the game,(weapons, decorations, armor, other resources, tools, etc.)

    19. Oh Zhi Wei

      as i've supported this game since the beginning, i'm glad that its funded and we all have to just wait for it, but the recently posted stretch goals just seem too much for me.
      you guys might want to look into tweaking those stretch goals.

    20. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Igor, Sure, you COULD.... but some wisps may not necessarily WANT a new body... :P

    21. Igor Sapijaszko on

      In your previous update you've announced thaumcraft wisp as a companion of players, I assume it will be possible to make/find a new body for the little fella? :)

    22. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Junior, we certainly have a few things we have up our sleeves.

      @Daniel, we certainly will do many of these systems. However we are speaking a multitude of additional complexity, not just a general approach to them. And do keep in mind, we also must make these systems intertwined, with functional AI, animations, models etc, so it can take up some man hours :)

    23. Missing avatar

      Daniel Isaac on

      So if I wanted to reset my seed for whatever reason I could just kill myself and overload my 'soul stone' =P

      Those stretch goals seem pretty weak... I'd expect you guys to do most, if not all, of that stuff in 2015+ regardless...
      I don't see why hundreds of thousands of dollars are needed to make these small modifications in gameplay such as alchemy, enchanting or animal breeding...

      You should probably combine or rethink some of these as the bar was set pretty high after everything else you've come up with... (Maybe think about things like Oculus Rift support or alternate OS compatibility instead of so much in-game content that we won't see for years)

    24. Junior on

      @Ino I would have hated to be forced to make a definite cross on one of those feature. The evolution and development toward these feature and beyond is what gonna make TUG truly exceptional. I have been hoping for a game for year now and I believe TUG can be that game, I wanna do what I can to help make this true.

      Beyond the two realm you just put up for goal did you plan any other one already. In the cloud, in the spirit land, in the elemental plane on other planet. I know you probably won't give info on the specific but is any of that on the rooster?

    25. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Junior, for as long as we can get support to create these things, we TOTALLY will keep building it! Hey, who knows, it could be that in a couple years, maybe we kickstart new big feature updates for TUG if we just keep a tight knit community, and more people get to see all the progress we make! We wont give up on this, so long as you guys don't.


    26. Junior on

      I understand that if those project are in stretch goal it's because they are very time consuming and getting them out with release would need more manpower, but can we hope to see them realized further down the road as I doubt we will stop supporting you anytime soon. I would really love to adventure in other plane be they shadow realm or the core one day.

    27. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Leftbeard, well we can always shoot some video in TUG when we get multuplayer up :D

    28. Thomas Johansen on

      HOLY . . . . My Creativity just Came a little . . . *wiping away Waterfall of Drool*

      So many things to ask . . . First of all, Congratulations and may Success Never Drop Thee.
      I really fancy all these updates and awaits eagerly and faithfully every night for another one (03:00 am)
      I would Honestly become a Game Reporter, so I would be able to be with You Devs and TUG for ever. I Really would want to Interview you guys to Put in a video on Youtube and just make my Channel for exclusively for TUG. My Channel isn't really something big as it is now, but i would like to cover TUG anyway and inform all and one about all the wonders I discover in-game and hear from you guys.
      My optimal dream on this part would be Interview You guys through Skype, or If I ever could find the money (And you the time) to Travel to You guys in Person and Do a interview (Far fetched Dream) Make it Into a video and Put it on Youtube.

      . . . . . A bit too much fan boy??
      Anyway, Hope this travel to Eternity and Beyond (hehe)
      Looking forward to next Update

      Best regards

    29. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Raymond... chimaeras, you say? :P And yep, you'll just have to wait and see!

    30. Raymond Lee Hardy on

      Is breeding going to be just stat enforcement, or will it be able (on the more tech end) to be a more impossible creatures style thing where you can mix and match creature parts and the stats from that "area" are added and then multiplied by size? Or is this one of those "not to be disclosed until game is out" sorta things?

    31. Missing avatar

      Bobsjobisfob on

      i would kill a man for that advanced magic crafting system

    32. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Kyle, No equipment will be automatically carried over, but you'll be able to retrieve whatever you can carry! As far as physical characteristics being carried over, that will vary from server to server. If you're on a server where your Seed's looks were randomly generated, your new Seed will also be randomly generated (though some traits may reappear... we might do something so it looks like they could be your character's son/daughter, etc... haven't totally worked this out yet! :P )

    33. Missing avatar

      Ken Burwood on

      Interesting death mechanic. Nice to see a fresh approach. I like the idea of even being able to wander around as a wisp for a potentially long time in the adventure mode, if you choose.

    34. Missing avatar

      Kyle Sanders on

      I'm really excited about these player death mechanics. Finally an mmo-like game that handles death in a way that provides choices and strategy rather than purely a time sink or skill penalty. I hope the shrinking "optimal" window in survival mode makes death a more grave matter for those hoping for more of a hardcore experience like you'd find in perma-death. Will there be any permenance upon rebirth? Will any characteristics or equipment carry over on default server settings?

      Absolutely falling in love with the baby moas. You guys are doing a great job at sweetening the pot, and I'm really looking forward to some of those strech goals. Keep up the great work guys!

    35. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Patrick, perhaps! But if we just dumped all the secrets of the after life out, it would not be much fun for the community to tear another world science to pieces!

    36. Patrick Scott on

      Will we be able to do anything when in wisp form?

    37. Missing avatar

      Hap Perry on

      Man, I really hope we hit Alchemy. That sounds like fun. Not to into animal breeding myself, but I can see people who would have fun with it.

    38. Cody Brown on

      I was going to post about both of these topics on the forum, but it got answered for me, thanks NK. This game is going to be epic!

    39. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Toby, we will handle everything through your preferred main email down the road. So we can sync those things up if you guys wanna help out and get some other stuff from the paypal campaign. We will figure it out; with all of you we are a problem solving force to be reconned with ;)


      @Patrick, these are where the opportunity of alpha and beta testing with you guys come into play :D... stop looking at it as a problem, start looking at it as an opportunity to experiment and find LOTS of neat solutions ;)

      @Sharky, ya know... I have happened upon it once in a video, but never dug into it! Totally should go back and run it soon!

    40. Missing avatar

      Sharky on

      @Ino thanks for the response! Loved Terraria, amazing game! Have you ever heard of the "Millenaire" mod for Minecraft? That might also be something you guys could look at for NPCs. It added a lot of life to Minecraft, and was slightly more complex and organic than Terraria's system. Really hope this makes it into the game though! Great idea!

    41. Patrick Scott on

      I have a couple of gripes with this death system. Perhaps I'm a bit harsh for preferring permadeath, or a system like EVE's. Still, what's to say that players won't take the opportunity to kill everything around them that they've stunned by respawning? I can see a back and forth of counter-ganking, and that's not pleasant.

      Additionally, players might lay ambushes or traps by intentionally timing their deaths and subsequent stuns. Though, I suppose such creativity should be encouraged.

    42. Missing avatar

      Lisa J. Black

      @Nerd Kingdom, this now means that someone somewhere is going to run a Whovian server. ^_^

    43. Missing avatar

      Burnen_thyme on

      The wisp idea is really interesting but sounds like a glorified time penalty, so how long will it take to get to the bright state? Because sitting there staring at your dead seed sounds boring.
      But all the same I'm sure you guys will sort out something fun :)

    44. Dylan Gareth Steenkamp on

      I love the way you guys are handling death and all of the other mechanics as well actually. Keep it up, I can't wait to start playing this! :D

    45. Toby on

      Will we be able to link our Kickstarter Account with another (Nerd Kingdom?) account when the Paypal campaign begins? I'd like to leave my Kickstarter where it is for the moment, but donate more (when I have the money) via paypal in the future and extend my pledge to a higher tier.

    46. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Peter, One way to find out! :P

    47. Devon Mullane on

      I admit the basics of the death mechanic seems okay. My question is: is there a minimum level at which you can revive? Are you able to simply revive immediately at a high penalty or does your wisp have to gather a little power first? Also are you just 'charging up' or is the wisp doing something to gather energy?

    48. Missing avatar

      Kerry Wilcox on

      NK mentioned earlier that they're already developing some of this stuff, but it takes time and money. I imagine this means that even if the stretch goals aren't met, we'll probably get these things once the devs have the resources they need. At least, I hope that's the case!

    49. Marioface5 on

      If the stretch goals aren't met, does that mean that we'll never see that content officially added? I think at least most of the goals will be reached since the time to do so is extended into Beta, but it'd be a shame if we ended up being just short of some of it. Also, is the content added by stretch goals something that would be added to TUG before or after the official release?

    50. Lorenzo Gaetani on

      i'm so happy for you and the project. Now for the death mechanics ... they seems quite odd, but is one of the most lightly regarded mechanics in most of the game, i hope to see in tug something fresh and new. For the stretch goal they seems awsome, i really would love to see them all completed, but it will be very hard, enchanting and animal breeding are my two favourites, hope you get there gl hf!