About this project
We've had a number of requests for Paypal pledge options, so we've now opened a paypal page here: http://predestinationgame.com/paypal/
If you're finding this Kickstarter page after the campaign has ended, you can still buy any of the tiers still available on the Paypal page. We will eventually remove some of these pledge options and go back to accepting standard pre-orders without the Kickstarter perks such as free DLC for life or beta access.
[UNLOCKED] $5,000 - A Mirror tool for the ship designer: This tool will allow you to place a ship part on both sides of your spaceship at the same time, producing perfectly symmetrical designs. This goal is the cheapest of the new features to add, as it just requires some additional development time and testing but no extra artwork.
[UNLOCKED] $8,000 - Space Stations added to the ship designer: This stretch goal will let you create new designs for space stations, allowing you to specialise them both visually and in terms of gameplay. You could have industrial shipyards with a high ship production speed, orbital research labs that sacrifice weapons for research points, or battle stations to protect your most valuable colonies. This feature will require significiant additional 3D artwork, game design work on the station modules, and programming overtime to implement, but we really want to get this into the game.
[UNLOCKED] $12,000 - Non-combat ship parts: Not every ship you build has to be a warship. Since the size of your fleet in Predestination is limited using a command point style system, each ship represents a finite strategic resource that you might want to use for something else! With this stretch goal, we'll be able to add non-combat ship modules designed for exploration, science, manufacturing, colonisation, and spying.
[UNLOCKED] $15,000 - Advanced Mode Editor: This milestone will unlock a toggleable advanced mode for the editor that includes more CAD-like tools for higher precision designing. This stretch goal has no additional artwork to produce for it, but a significant amount of new code will need to be developed.
$20,000 - Custom decals on ships and other personalisations: Custom artwork and logos on ships is probably the most common suggestion we've been sent since we hit 8k and locked in space stations, and we'd love to make it happen along with a few more personal touches.
Predestination is a turn-based space 4X game that significantly modernises and improves on the gameplay of classic games like Master of Orion II, Civilization and the Galactic Civilizations series.
The core Predestination game was successfully funded on Kickstarter last December, which has paid for the ongoing development of the game. We have now released our first two mini-beta stages, showcasing the first complete iterations of our fleet combat and colonisation gameplay, and we'll soon release a third combined beta that integrates these systems into the galaxy-level gameplay.
We have made a lot of progress in the last year, are currently in the Top 100 games on Steam Greenlight, and have even won the 2013 DANI Award for Best Gaming and Animation Project of the Year. Our Kickstarter success opened these doors for us, and has recently helped us secure some additional funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to contribute towards a 3D ship designer. This project aims to raise additional funds to improve the ship designer and let fans of 4X games make a creative mark on Predestination.
We've come a long way with Predestination this year, and now we need your support to help fund a 3D ship designer tool to take the game to new heights.
"As a fan of science fiction and broad open-world games, I find Predestination an exciting prospect and the crowd-sourced nature of its development makes watching its growth and development a fascinatingly transparent process and perhaps - without a hint of irony - a glimpse of the future direction of game development." -- Mat Westhorpe, GameSkinny
"From the looks of these screenshots you guys really seem to be strong contenders for the crown of MOO!" -- Chris, SpaceSector commenter
The reasons for a second Kickstarter are wholly positive -- we're significantly expanding on the original plan with a new feature.
This Kickstarter is to help us bring a new feature to life that would not have been possible without a £10,000 grant we were recently awarded. This is in addition to the Predestination budget we secured on Kickstarter for the core game.
The initial plan for Predestination was to have a customisable ship design feature much like Master of Orion II's ship design. We really wanted to extend this into a full modular 3D ship designer in which you could create unique designs and see the weapons or other add-ons you install, but we didn't reach our final stretch goal during the original campaign and didn't have the required funds.
Thankfully, we were able to use the great amount of positive interest in Predestination to successfully apply for a small grant from the Creative Industries Innovation Fund, which is managed by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. They have given us £10,000 towards this new project, and now we need your help to add to this solid figure in order to realise the full potential of our ambitious plans.
Many people missed out on our first Kickstarter, and we want to give them another chance to be rewarded for their early support.
When we released our Kickstarter last year, Predestination was in the very early stages of development, and Brain and Nerd was in its infancy. Understandably, there were those who were interested in our work and our story, but couldn't bring themselves to back a company without a playable game to show or track record of making solid progress. Now we feel like we have a much better claim to credibility, as we have brought Predestination much closer to completion and have started to put it in the hands of our supporters in the form of mini-betas.
Our first campaign also faced additional unique challenges: The media was feeling a sense of Kickstarter burnout at the time, but many sites have since embraced Kickstarter projects as viable. There was also a huge amount of stiff competition for backers' hard-earned dollars at the time, with massive projects like Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen. So close to the holidays, some backers were hard on funds and simply couldn't stretch to financially support such a small niche project.
Since our reputation has grown and Predestination has hit Steam Greenlight, we have gained a much larger following than we had this time last year, and many people have expressed disappointment on finding that they had already missed the Kickstarter. We also have some genuinely early supporters who still missed out as they couldn't pledge at the time. This new project has given us a chance to include those people in some of the same reward benefits our existing Kickstarter backers will already enjoy, without opening up these perks to the market at-large.
This will be your last chance to become a Kickstarter backer of Predestination before the game is released.
We have independently secured £10,000 from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to work on this 3D ship designer project. That budget is enough to complete the basic project, but we need your help to fund additional features and make it even better. The ship designer has a separate budget that has been approved by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and all expenditure relating to the ship designer is being reported to them to ensure accountability and transparency on where that money is spent. It will not, and cannot, be spent on the core game or any other activity.
Lorraine McDowell, Director of Operations at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, had this to say about the project:
“At the Arts Council we want to put our support firmly behind local businesses and to help them develop and transform their creative ideas into commercial success. The source of our wealth, job creation and economic competitiveness here in Northern Ireland is shifting to our burgeoning creative sector and we need to make businesses such as Brain and Nerd as well equipped as possible to compete at the forefront of the global market. As such, we were delighted to have the opportunity to support this 3D ship designer project that will help take the already successful Predestination sci-fi game to a whole new level.”
Supported by the Creative Industries Innovation Fund
When it's finished, we'll be releasing a standalone cosmetic ship designer application and the ship designer will also be fully integrated into the main Predestination game. We have already started developing the prototype for the 3D ship designer using our starting budget. The 3D models are still mostly placeholders that will be replaced soon when our commissioned 3D models are ready, but the designer is already starting to take shape. We hope this solid progress gives you confidence in our ability to deliver the project.
The first prototype of the ship designer seen below was a bit like lego, with pre-made blocks slotting onto fixed clip points on the ship. This technique works really well but is quite restrictive and would be difficult for players to mod. The holy grail of ship designers would be a completely freeform system in which players can place items anywhere on the ship they want and resize/rotate them any way they like, and that's the goal we set ourselves. We've developed a new rendering technique that makes pixel-perfect placement of ship parts possible, and the early results are very promising!
Below is a list of the most important features that will be in the ship designer. All of these features are already in development and a few can be seen in the videos above. Some of these features are extra on top of the original proposal we made to the Arts Council, and so will not be possible without your support pledged through Kickstarter. I've marked these features with **:
- Simple drag and drop interface: Design your ship by snapping together predesigned ship parts.
- Freeform system: No more join points! Attach ship parts to anywhere on the base hull or any attached parts with pixel-perfect accuracy. You will have 100% creative freedom with your designs.
- Customisability tools: Rotate and rescale ship part models for a diverse aesthetic and complete creative control.
- Visible weaponry and modules: Attach weapons, shields, engines, plating and special ship modules directly to your hull. This isn't just a visual editor, it's also a ship design mechanic similar to MOO II.
- Save and load: Save your designs and reload them in a later game.
- Various ship classes: Diversify your fleet by designing small fighters and frigates, or creating larger cruisers, battleships, titans or deathstars.
- See your designs in-game: Your creations will come to life through Predestination's fleet combat.
- **Ship refitting: Upgrade your existing ships with a new design, weapons and modules for a small in-game cost -- old ships are no longer obsolete!
- **Racial ship designs: Each race archetype will have access to race-specific unique ship parts that truly represent the race (eg. aquatic races will have access to several iconic ship parts that are different to humanoids).
- **Share your designs online: We'd like to set up a website that allows players to easily share their ship designs online.
We have already made an investment in creating the initial prototype of the 3D ship designer, and the Arts Council have provided us with a £10,000 grant. To bring out the best in the project, however, we need to enlist your support. We need just $3,500 to add polish and implement some of the more advanced features listed above, like ship refitting and new race-specific parts.
If we raise more than our $3,500 minimum goal, we'll be able to enhance this ship designer even further with some additional features. The following is a list of further additions that we feel would make the ship designer a real point of excellence in Predestination and that we'd be really excited to be able to work on:
- Animated components and blinking lights: Animation and lights would really make your creations come to life, so we hope to be able to deliver on this goal.
- Capacity to design space stations and weapon platforms: Design custom space stations and weapon platforms like orbital cannons to customise every facet of your arsenal.
- Additional ship modules and parts: We want to be able to commission more parts and modules to make the possibilities for your designs even greater. As it stands, additional ship parts will be included in expansions and DLC, but we'd love to do more for the game's release.
- Transparency and tinting ship parts and modules: This extra layer of customisability would really enhance the ship designer and would further distinguish your fleet from your opponent's.
- Customisable banners to display on ship hulls: We'd love for you to be able to visibly mark your ships as your own creation with banners, allowing you to take pride in your creations.
- Packaging the ship designer for use with other XNA games: With additional funds, we would be able to make a reusable ship designer that has applications for more games than just Predestination, and with your help we'd be able to package it for use by other developers.
If we reach our funding goal, we'll announce the next stretch goal based on your suggestions and the list above. You can help us reach our current goal by sharing a link to this page on Twitter or Facebook, or by sending news of the campaign to gaming media sites.
Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing funding platform that lets you pledge support for projects, so if we don't reach our minimum goal of $3,500 we won't get any money from this campaign, which will affect the quality of our ship designer.
$3,500 isn't a lot of money, but our team has low costs and a significant amount of money has already been secured. Below is a list of the things we will need to spend funds on for this project:
- Concept art: To commission initial sketches for the 3D modeller to use as a guideline. This will set each race's individual theme.
- 3D models: To commission 3D models of ships and ship parts based on the concept art. This is obviously where the majority of the ship designer's budget is assigned.
- Programmers: We need to contract our new programmer Lugh for additional hours to take pressure off lead developer Brendan Drain, which will ensure a swifter release for Predestination.
- Advertising: We're now so far along in development that we need to spread the word and increase our sales potential through advertising in order to make Brain and Nerd and Predestination a success and ensure we can continue working on the game after release.
- Fulfilling backer rewards: We need to leave aside money to give our higher-tier backers the rewards they deserve.
- Other: Every project should keep aside a small amount of its budget to act as a buffer in case something unexpected happens.
More money means a more polished product as an end result. As ever, we'll be constantly looking for ways to stretch your pledge further and secure additional funding without taking on board equity investors or a publisher.
We are still as committed as ever to remaining fully independent developers, and your pledges through Kickstarter help us to do that.
To thank you for backing the Predestination Ship Designer project, we have a selection of rewards to choose from. You can support the project for as little as $1, but larger pledges will get you additional rewards. Note that the $10 tier will get you the standalone ship designer application, but you'll need to pledge $20 or higher to get the full Predestination game with the ship designer integrated into it.
Listed below are the key players involved with creating the 3D ship designer. 3D modeling work will be carried out by paid contractors that we're currently in the process of selecting.
Predestination was initially slated for a late 2013 / early 2014 release. Since we now have the ability to produce the ship designer and we're further along in development, we feel that we can more accurately pin down a month for release.
With the addition of this new feature, we're aiming for a March 2014 release.
If there is any change in this date, we will let everyone know. We'll aim to launch with the 3D ship designer in place, but if it looks like this will delay Predestination's launch, we may launch without the ship designer and then release it soon after as a free update.
After our 2 beta tests, we also now have a more solid idea of the technical requirements needed to run Predestination. The provisional list is below:
- OS: Windows Vista, 7, or 8
- Processor: 1.7 GHz single-core
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- GPU: Any 512MB or greater card
- DirectX: Version 9.0
- Hard Drive: 1GB available space
- Sound Card: Any
Our sincerest thanks to everyone who backs or shares this project, and a special thanks to everyone who has previously backed or pre-ordered Predestination. This game simply would not be possible without your support pledged through Kickstarter, and we're humbled that you've supported us to get this far.
If you want to follow the game's development, check out the links below:
Risks and challenges
1. COMPETITIVE FAILURE
The games industry is one of the most saturated and competitive of modern industries. We have dealt with this by over doubling our original Kickstarter target and by hiring a dedicated Project Manager / PR lead to continually work on exposure and funding. Our Programmer is forging a game in a niche genre that is in high demand due to a lack of AAA titles in the same genre.
2. HUMAN FAILURE
The project could fail to release due to lack of focus or effort. To minimise this risk, we factored the basic living costs of the core team members into the original Kickstarter budget so that financial pressure does not detract from the project and those members can work full time on the game. The ship designer is a separate project and has a developer dedicated to it.
3. TECHNICAL FAILURE
The project runs the risk of an irreparable fault with the technical components, such as the game engine and coding. Since the engine is our own creation, any issues with compatibility, coding etc. can be dealt with immediately in-house, thus eliminating that potential risk. We keep backups of every stage of development to minimise the risk of major errors ruining progress.
Our lead programmer is also very well qualified: he has a First Class Masters Degree in Computer Science and his thesis was directly related to the game engine. In fact, our entire team is either currently pursuing third-level education or has already gained an equivalent qualification, thus providing a solid skill base for our project.
4. DISTRIBUTION FAILURE
Our project is not guaranteed to be accepted by a digital distributor, which could block our entry to market. Kickstarter success and a strong Steam Greenlight campaign have helped minimise this risk: we have a strong case that demonstrates substantial interest in the game and makes the game more attractive to distributors. We are currently in Steam Greenlight's Top 100 list, which puts us in a good position for consideration by a huge distributor.
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