About this project
We are building Chain Gang Chase, a 1-8 player couch co-op game for OUYA and PC/Linux/Mac (and potentially Android, iOS, and Web!).
Each player in the game is one member of a chain gang that escapes and runs in search of a timely train to cut their chains. On the way to the tracks, they must work together to avoid trees, solve puzzles, evade detection and capture, and just not get stuck. Once there, it is a race to stretch the chains over the tracks while not getting so close as to be hit by the train (and thereby killed to death).
In addition to the game, anyone may register for a free account at http://www.chaingangchase.com/ and use our map editor to create levels to be downloaded and played in the game!
Joe Pietruch is a professor with the School of Interactive Games and Media at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He was an OUYA backer, and Chain Gang Chase started as his idea for a game to create for that platform. Joe built the current prototype and companion website over a 25-day sprint in June of 2013, but had to stop because his other obligations caught up with him.
Fast-forward to August 2013, when OUYA announced its #FreeTheGames Fund. Joe saw this as an opportunity to continue working on his game and provide an educational experience for his students. RIT requires that students complete co-ops (think internships) as part of the degree requirements for certain majors. A successful Kickstarter campaign, with the added help of OUYA's #FreeTheGames Fund, would provide Joe a way of funding a team of students on co-op. Here's a quick blurb about the #FreeTheGames Fund:
Double Our Fun(ds)!
We're participating in OUYA's #FreeTheGames Fund, created by OUYA to support developers making new and creative console games. OUYA will match your pledge dollar-for-dollar up to your goal amount (and a max of $250,000), so help us get there and make a great game for everyone! To be eligible for this match, we commit that this game will be an OUYA exclusive for a period of time. To learn more about OUYA, go to www.OUYA.tv.
With your generous support we can form a team of students and faculty to make a great game for you to enjoy!
Plans for the Future
As you can see in our campaign video, the prototype does a great job of proving that the main mechanic of the game works… but the rest of the game needs to be fleshed out! The game still needs to go through a more thorough design process, with added elements and play-testing. We have plans for gates and fences and puzzles, different types of terrain, and even a line-of-sight / spotlight sneaking component.
Beyond what's shown in the prototype, each match will eventually take place across multiple map-track sprints, so players will have multiple chances to cut their chains (or die trying). Prisoners that are killed by the train will re-spawn as Rookie Cops (see the limited reward tiers) and be able to chase the surviving Prisoners.
After a selected number of map-track-map-track-map-track segments, the surviving Prisoners will face an end-level boss in the form of The Law (see the limited reward tiers). They fight The Law ... but who will win?
The MAGIC Center at RIT
This project will be managed through the brand new Center of Excellence in Media Arts Games Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC) at RIT, and published through MAGIC Spell Studios. You can find out more about MAGIC at http://magic.rit.edu/.
You've already heard from Joe Pietruch in the video, so we'd like to introduce you to some other people who are currently putting time towards the project:
Alberto Camacho, a Game Design and Development student, is working 10 hours per week helping Joe with the process of launching and maintaining this Kickstarter campaign.
Elouise Oyzon, a Professor with the School of Interactive Games and Media, has created concept art and in-game assets for the facebook page, this campaign, and the prototype.
Cathy Razim, an RIT alum, has signed on to illustrate the character mugshots.
Patrick Steele, a New Media Design student, created the game logo.
Kurt Venezuela, a Game Design and Development student, wrote the music for the campaign video.
Funding and Stretch Goals
A successful $10K campaign allows us to hire one student developer full-time for the spring semester at RIT (and pay for backer rewards, fees, taxes, and overhead). If the project continues with the current distribution of backers, we will be able to hire two students upon reaching the $10K goal.
You reached the 75% milestone! Joe shaved his head. You can watch the recording at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoxosaSrudw
The rest of our stretch goals look something like this:
We're not ones to complicate the Stretch Goals. Every additional $5K of funding above our goal lets us hire another student. In a perfect world, we'd like at least five students (an artist, audio specialist, gameplay developer, UI/UX developer, and web developer). We aimed low with our goal because we'd much rather produce a scaled-back version of the game with one student than to try for five and end up with none! More students means more person-hours means more room for fancy features!
If you feel there is a reward we're missing, or a stretch goal you would like to see, please get in touch!
We'll be publishing regular updates through Kickstarter, of course, but that's not the only way to stay in touch. We have a Facebook page where you can go back in timeline to see how this party got started. Check out https://www.facebook.com/chaingangchase. This is the best place to go for up-to-the-minute status updates, images, videos, and play-testing event announcements.
Also online is the game's companion website, http://www.chaingangchase.com/, where we have a forum set up to take suggestions, stories, bug reports, and even a special "Backers Only" section accessible once the campaign closes. This is also where you can go right now to try out the map editor.
We will respond to all messages and comments as soon as physically possible. Please be aware that Joe is a full-time professor at RIT, and Alberto may only devote 10 hours per week to the project. We want to answer all the questions, it may just take us a while!
We tried to keep the rewards summary at the right of the page as simple as possible. Each higher tier receives all of the rewards from the tiers beneath it (except, of course, for any duplicate or limited rewards). As a quick summary, check out this matrix:
The rest of this section contains a more detailed look at each of the tiers, and explains any extras, errata, or inconsistencies found after the campaign started.
$5 - Criminal Record
Your name will appear in the final game, under a menu option for backers. This list will be manually scrolled, automatically scrolled, and searched. Your name will also appear on a special page of our website, and among all of the other backers' names at the end of our Production Book.
All backers will also receive an invitation to our launch party in May of 2014 to be hosted on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus.
$15 - Welcome to the Gang
We'd like you to buy our game, and feel that you shouldn't have to buy it more than once. You'll get an unlock code for all of the platforms that are available at launch, and a new code for every future platform release. It's just. That. Simple.
$25 - Inner Circle Cellmate
Everyone on the team will be keeping a development blog with progress posts. These blogs will be made public at launch, but this reward gets you early access to the blogs as the project unfolds.
We will also hold at least 15 weekly Hangout On Air sessions with the team during the spring semester. These videos will be made public on YouTube at launch, but this reward lets you stream them live and watch them later as the project unfolds.
$35 - Prison Bookie
We will make a Production Book to contain process work, concept art, excerpts from the blogs, team member bios, and other stories from the process. The idea is this Production Book will be a beautiful documentation of the entire project.
As an added bonus, this will have full pages dedicated to each backer whose alias and likeness appear in the game (see the 24601!!!!!, Rookie Cop, and The Law rewards). The last pages will list the names of all backers, organized alphabetically.
Erratum: The $35 Prison Bookie reward is now a physical book! This book is unsigned, and please add $10 for international shipping. (If you want yours signed, you'll need to bump up to a Care Package or more - or attend the launch party in May!)
$40 - I WENT TO JAIL AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS T-SHIRT
This one is rather self-explanatory. You get a T-Shirt, and everything included at or below the Welcome to the Gang reward. We do want to mention that this is a stand-alone tier. The T-Shirt becomes a part of every tier at or higher than Uniform.
$45 - Convict Concerto
All of the music you hear in the video was created by Kurt Venezuela, a Game Design and Development student at RIT. Kurt has produced audio for several student game and film projects, and also sang with RIT's Brick City Singers. He knows how to music. Backing at this tier or above gets you a digital version of the game's complete soundtrack, as well as select Voice Overs and Bloopers.
$50 - Parole Hearing
We know some of you are itching to get your hands on the demo. As soon as we can, you will have access to our stable builds so you can watch the project come together. Backers at this level will also receive access to all other platform versions of the game a full 2 weeks ahead of the public release.
$65 - Prison TattOUYA
We will mail you a custom Chain Gang Chase OUYA console skin!
$75 - Early Jailbird Limited to 50
This tier gets you everything in the Care Package reward, at a sweet price for 50 early backers.
$100 - Care Package
Do you remember that beautiful Production Book mentioned in the Prison Bookie reward? This Production Book has been autographed by our entire team. The Soundtrack will be on a CD with a label, jewel box, and insert. The Survival Bracelets will be made by the local Boy Scout Troop #37 (Seneca Waterways, Genesee Crossroads), as a fundraiser.
In addition to all these goods you also get some Special Surprises. We're not going to tell you what the "special" surprises are. That might tip off the warden and then you'll never get out.
We aim to have these Care Packages assembled and available for personal pick-up for any backers who attend the launch party in May. Those who can't attend the party will receive their Care Package by mail.
$125 - Uniform
This is just like the Care Package listed above, except better because it includes a T-Shirt with the Chain Gang Chase logo. Patrick Steele, a New Media Design student, designed our logo and is locally famous for his "Make Moves Son!" shirt: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/268837772/make-moves-son?ref=live
$150 - 24601!!!!! Limited to 50
Cathy Razim, illustrator and 2008 graduate of RIT's New Media Design program (and Joe's fiancée!), will be taking backer-submitted photos and creating mugshot illustrations for use in the game. Here's an example done on Joe:
Backers at this level will be asked for an alias and back-story to help add additional character to the mugshot. We had to place a limit on this one, because Cathy can only produce so many in time for launch, and we can only fit so many on the character selection screen!
We already have 10 backers at the 24601!!!!! reward tier who will have their likeness displayed in the game on the Character Select screen (as you can see Joe's is). You can play with the above mock-up live at: http://www.chaingangchase.com/media/characterSelect/ (you may need to click in the window area before the key presses work).
$250 - Rookie Cop Limited to 8
Backers at this level will get a treatment similar to those at the 24601!!!!! reward level, only on the other side of the law. When players die over the course of the level, they come back as one of these Rookie Cops and chase the surviving criminals.
$500 - The Law SOLD OUT!
One lucky backer will be immortalized as the end-level boss. We're not quite sure on the details, but rest assured this role will command more fear and respect from players than all of the Rookie Cops combined.
$1000 - At Large
Backers at this level get. V.I.P. treatment and special recognition at the launch party including (but is not limited to): joining the development team on-stage during the main event, having your name and bio read to the crowd, giving a prepared statement (if you wish), a special token of appreciation, and any reasonable request you make.
$5000 - Most Wanted
If we promised all that to our At Large backers, just imagine the welcome your five-fold contribution would receive! By backing at this level, you also get the warm fuzzy feeling of single-handedly ensuring that a deserving student gets hired on to the project.
Risks and challenges
We've done the math and if we reach our goal we will have enough funding to fulfill all of the rewards, fees, taxes, and overhead for the project with enough remaining to pay one student full-time for the spring semester. This is true even if ::all:: of our funding comes from the most costly reward tier and we just barely meet our campaign goal. The project is financially sound.
We don't know exactly ::who:: will be working for us in the spring. What we do know is that RIT has a rich pool of talented students. We're confident we can find a stellar team who are fully capable of bringing this project through to production. Joe already has a list of 15 eager candidates, and we'd like to hire them all!
The detectives among you may have noticed on his percipient24.com website that Joe is looking for work in the New York City area. This project is meant to be his RIT swan song, and he has committed to finishing this project and the 2013-2014 academic year before breaking his chain and hopping the train to the city.
Many things could unexpectedly go wrong during development. That said, we already have a solid prototype with a fun mechanic and a base to build upon. We've done everything we can to ensure success. Our biggest risk is a failed campaign. Our biggest challenge is convincing you that we can do it. We already know we can.
Thanks for reading, thanks for backing, and have a lovely day!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
If you're in the US, then shipping is included in the cost of the add-on.
If you're outside of the US, then please add an extra $10 for shipping a shirt or a book, $15 for shipping a shirt and a book.
Yes, totally! That's how we'll keep our content fresh!
Once released, the game will be free-to-play with a limited set of stock maps. Anyone may register for an account and make maps online for free.
Anyone who backs at the $15 level receives an unlock code that will allow them to download community maps on all current and future platforms for which we release the game.
Non-backers will be charged a one-time fee to unlock access to the community maps. We're unsure whether this will be platform-specific, or universal, or some hybrid thereof.
Certainly not! The game art that you see is a rough pass done to give it some character for the play testing.
We plan to create the illusion of height by using sprites that are broken into three segments: base, middle, and top. These segments will be stacked on top of each other (think snowmen) and splayed in one direction or the other based upon how far away the element is from the vertical center of the screen.
So, things towards the top of the screen with slant up, things towards the middle will be stacked nicely, and things towards the bottom will slant down. The visual effect this achieves is an illusion that players are running over a cylinder that is spinning with things sticking out of its surface.
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