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What happens when an indie game studio joins forces with a hip-hop crew? A free online sidescroller with funky-fresh beats, awesome raps, and aliens.
25 backers pledged $2,107 to help bring this project to life.

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Rapstar Heroes; A Hip-Hop Infused Videogame project video thumbnail
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$2,107

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WHAT IS THE GAME? Rapstar Heroes is a sidescrolling adventure game starring the Shindiggaz, a real-life hip-hop group in Pittsburgh, who will be recording original music to soundtrack the project. We will initially be developing Rapstar Heroes as a browser based game to be published on our site, and all the major online game portals. If the game is successful there is the possibility of using the assets, engine and game universe for an iPhone spin off or even an XBox Live multiplayer version! The basic story goes:


The year is 2011. Aliens are invading, earth is in chaos. We open in Pittsburgh, where a vicious war between anarchists and martial law has weakened the city's defenses against the approaching alien hordes; it barely seems to matter, as all conventional weapons have failed to seriously halt the extra-terrestrial advance. Hope is all but lost.


Enter the Shindiggaz:



Play as Soul, Dutch Rollin Rebel, and DJ Thermos (1st, 2nd, and 3rd from left above, followed by Zigzag, Greazy Duzit, Kid A, and Mr. Brink, who will help out along the way) to save the planet from imminent destruction. Battle a diverse array of enemies using musical weapons, unique specials, and group attacks.


Rapstar is set in two worlds, each with a distinct mode of gameplay: Pittsburgh, where the Shindiggaz have to fend off the aliens in a fast-paced "beat-em-up" (think Turtles in Time, Streets of Rage) sidescroller; and an alternate hip-hop and video-game inspired platformer universe (like Super Mario), where the player will quest to find the mystical Beatmaker--a mad-sound-scientist with the power to repel the aliens and save the day. Here are mock-ups of what these environments might look like (click for larger images):





Warp between the city and the hip-hop dimension to unlock characters, weapons, and abilities.The game will include a persistent leveling system, so players will be able to save their progress and characters, and earn rewards for playing and revisiting levels to find hidden bonuses. These bonuses will include player specific abilities such as double jumping and bending time, unique weapon upgrades and team attacks.


Aesthetically, we are trying to reference some combination of classic video games and hip-hop culture. All of the in-game art is first drawn and inked by hand, and then colored and composited digitally. All the characters are being made in components to function as animation sprite puppets.





Here are some walk cycle tests for the playable characters and some aliens.



These animations are being made using spritesheets like this one:



To see more art and animation from Rapstar Heroes, take a look here.


WHO ARE WE? We are Nitric Burn Studios, a small game studio in San Francisco. It's a four-person team--two programmers and two artists--trying to publish web-based games that are not only fun to play, but also promote music, art, and film. As 75% of our team attended college at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, our current focus is based on our creative contacts there. This collaboration with the Shindiggaz began as a music video for a track off of Adventures on Gunstar9 (which you can listen to and download for free here), a mixtape built on samples from a classic video game. We realized that making a video emulating a game was nowhere near as exciting as an actual video game based around their music, and so Rapstar Heroes was born.


For more information on our team, please visit our studio website. For more about the Shindiggaz, here's a word from DJ Thermos:


"Prepare to get live. After 40 years of hip-hop, many acts have become more concerned with perfecting their craft than the spirit that carries it. Enter the Shindiggaz, who take passion over polish any day of the week, and are busy building up a charge to jumpstart this whole thing one more time.  What does it sound like? It sounds like a cipher of 6 wild MCs over some 21st century neck breaking production. It sounds like Pittsburgh from the hood to the hills to the bridge to the campus. The Shindiggaz consist of 6 MCs and 1 DJ: SoulDivide, Greazy Duzit, Kid A, Mr. Brink, Dutch Rollin Rebel, Zigzag, and DJ Thermos. They came together in Fall 2009 during the recording of the Therm&Soul mixtape: Adventures on Gunstar9. With a common work ethic and goals in mind, they decided to unite powers to break down the hip-hop scene's door. The plan is to unleash a barrage of mixtapes, videos, singles and special projects until the world is footclapping along with them."


WHAT'S THE MONEY FOR? A large part of the artwork for Rapstar Heroes is already complete, but there's still a ton of work on all fronts before we produce anything playable. Besides programming two engines (beat-em-up and platformer, for the two game environments), we'll be spending the next several months of our lives finishing animations, designing and building levels, writing and scripting cutscenes, dynamically linking gameplay to soundtrack...the list goes on. We are serious about making this a great standalone game, and a solid promotional tool for the Shindiggaz and Pittsburgh hip-hop.


To make it happen, we're asking for enough money to keep the studio running (largely, to keep four people fed/caffeinated) while we complete the game.


ANY QUESTIONS? Please feel free to contact us at team@nitricburnstudios.com. Thanks for your time.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Inclusion in game credits as a special thanks.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Inclusion in the credits plus your name (or whatever) in graffiti in the background of one of the Pittsburgh levels of the game. We'll also e-mail you an image of the tag to use wherever you like.

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    All of the above, plus we'll mail you a copy of "Contraband," a forthcoming Shindiggaz mixtape, on CD.

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    All of above, plus inclusion as a background character in one of the game levels. We'll base the character on a photo you provide and even mail you the original concept art of your character.

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    All of the above, but instead of being just a background character we'll include you as an enemy character with an original movement animation and unique attack. In addition to the concept art we will mail you a signed one of a kind boxed copy of the game and you will have life time access to all Nitric Burn Studio BETAs.

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    All of the above, however your character will be a FULLY playable character in the game with unique attacks, abilities and skills. We'll also send you everything above AND a one of a kind signed t-shirt of your Rapstar Heroes character! Finally, you will get a producer credit and your very own page on the Nitric Burn Studios website as a patron.

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

    Everything above (including background character, enemy character and playable character). Plus, we'll fly you out to San Francisco to tour the Nitric Burn Studios, and party with the team. Offer includes one night accommodation at the studio and only applies from within the continental US.

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Funding period

- (32 days)