Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 17, 2013.

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FRONTIERS - Explore, Discover & Survive in a massive, relaxing open world that emulates the tone of classic first person RPGs.

(Pledging through Kickstarter is your best option, but for those who can't use Amazon Payments PayPal option exists. Make sure to read the FAQPayPal contributions so far: $1,753

Greetings!

Hello, I'm Lars Simkins. I'm a VFX artist by trade and an indie game developer by passion. I'm here to make that first person exploration/survival game we've all been dreaming about.

I can still remember the first time I played Daggerfall. Yes, it was uglier than a monkey's armpit and controlled worse than a bumper car on a frozen lake. 

But it also created the feeling of a world that lived on even after I'd stopped playing, and that feeling still sticks with me all these years later. A world where you could spend hours searching every pixelated nook and cranny. A world of potential. A world of EXPLORATION...

...and then a Dragonling would chomp my face because I hadn't spent ten hours grinding in the easy regions. Arg! So frustrating! 

Other games have touched on that elusive feeling, especially Elder Scrolls and early Fallout games, but as fun as they are and as much as I love hardcore RPG mechanics, I've always dreamt of a game that emphasized exploration above all else.

FRONTIERS is that game

Dalarna - North Tower View
Dalarna - North Tower View
Benneton Gateway
Benneton Gateway

In 2011 I finally decided if no one else was going to make it, I'd give it a try. For a full feature list check out the 'Game Features' section below. The trailer you see is the result of hundreds of hours of work and many thousands of dollars out of pocket.

I'm close to finishing this thing. Another six months ought to do it. But it needs a push - and that's where you guys come in.

I've taken stock of exactly where the game needs attention and I've already got a small team of hand-picked programmers & artists lined up to flesh out the content that will take this game from scrappy Alpha to polished final release. Finishing the base feature set will take $50,000, broken down roughly like so:

Beyond the bare minimum to finish the game there are stretch goals. These are features that aren't strictly necessary, but which I scream, you scream, we all scream for because they're awesome and fun. As many of you know I've spent several weeks listening to and discussing your feature requests. Until now I've avoided making promises about most of them (especially when it came to co-op, the most requested feature of all), but after crunching the numbers I can finally tell you what we're shooting for, and what we need to make it happen:

PayPal contributions so far: $1,753

Can't pledge with Kickstarter / Amazon? You can use PayPal! All PayPal contributions are put towards stretch goals.

Major features

Here are the base features that are already prototyped / in progress / completed in the alpha.

Other cool features

Relaxing Pace & Tone This isn't a hack & slash game or a deep, complex RPG. It's an exploration game, and the pace & tone reflect that. There are challenges and tense moments, but they're something you seek out, not something that's thrust upon you. And while there is some complexity to be found in the skills and weapons system, it's not overwhelming.

Immersive Fast Travel ● Unlike most open world RPGs where fast travel feels like teleportation, fast travel in FRONTIERS won't break your sense of immersion. You get to watch as your character makes the journey, with the sun rising & setting and the landscape rolling by. (To see it in action check out the Videos section.)

Survival & Hunting ● Stay fed & warm using your Survival skills. Hunt live game with bows & traps, or gather nourishing mushrooms with book smarts. Eat it raw and damn the consequences or become a master chef and prepare filling recipes  The survival elements in FRONTIERS are engaging and fun without being oppressive. Whether you want to hunt, gather, buy or steal, you'll be able to find a play style that matches your tastes.

Minecraft-Style Crafting ● Craft almost any item in the game - from weapons to potions to chocolate cake - with grid-based blueprints.

Beautiful Fantasy Soundtrack ● Steve can't wait to get started on new tracks for each region. I don't even have to tell you how good he is, just give the trailer another listen.

Immersion Settings ● My goal is to let nothing break your immersion. Everyone has a different threshold for GUI intrusion - you'll be able to tweak sounds, your HUD, glowing paths, your crosshair and even object highlighting styles.

I'm shooting for January 2014 - but take that with a grain of salt. Even the least ambitious, most experienced teams can slip behind schedule. And if we start hitting some of the bigger stretch goals all bets are off.

The good news is that a venn diagram between game dev and VFX has a lot of overlap, broadly speaking, and no skill carries over better than time management. After six years of delivering complex shots for TV shows & films with pressure cooker deadlines, I know a thing or two about creating high quality material with changing requirements under intense pressure. I've also got a great infrastructure for working with an offsite team.

Platforms & Distribution

FRONTIERS will be available on PC, Mac and LInux.

If all goes well the plan is to distribute the game on Steam, but I will also be trying to make it available on GOG.com for folks who like to keep their games totally DRM-free. (If your reward includes a copy of the game, I'll make sure a DRM-free option is available for you.)

Generic Assets

Quick side note for all you game developers out there: I plan to make any generic assets I create or commission for the game freely available - tree models, textures, weapons, C# scripts, etc. I wouldn't have made it this far without support from sites like Open Game Art and the Unity community, so this will be a chance to contribute to the growing pool of high quality art & code available to aspiring game developers.

If you want to know more about the game, check out these links, videos and screenshots! I talk about features in a lot more detail elsewhere, especially on Greenlight.

Official Pages / Information

Articles


  • PC Gamer - Exploration, discovery and survival in a one-man made indie RPG
  • Polygon - How one man is creating open-world exploration in Frontiers
  • Indie Game Magazine - Trailblazing with Lars Simkins
  • Indiestatik - Do It Yourself: Frontiers Is An RPG-Sized Exploration/Survival Game Made By Just One Person

Screenshots

For all kinds of pretty images, check out the Greenlight gallery.

Videos

For more videos, check out the AAD Productions YouTube channel.

Enough of the jibber jabber! Let's get to the good stuff!

Add-Ons!

What are add-ons? They're fun extras that you can add to your existing pledge, regardless of the reward you claimed.

If you want an add-on, just increase your pledge without changing your existing reward. For example, if you already have an Early Bird Ranger reward and you'd like to add a Butterfly, pledge another $50. Then at the end of the campaign you'll receive an official backers' survey asking which add-on you wanted.

(Using PayPal? Same basic procedure - just make sure to shoot me email after you've contributed the difference!)

Standard Rewards

If you have questions about any of these rewards let me know and I'll answer them in the FAQ.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

I'm proud of the fact that I've never missed a VFX deadline, but with a game this complex there's always a chance that January 2014 will slip through my fingers.

If I ever feel the deadline slipping you will know before anyone else. My policy is the simplest policy - transparency across the board. (I can guarantee you'll be sick of hearing about my problems within a month.)

I should also address the elephant in the room - is it even possible for one guy to create a game this big? The short answer is no, and that's why I'm bringing on a small team! But the other thing to keep in mind is how simple this game is compared to its influences (like Daggerfall). The focus on exploration allows me to prune mechanics and prevent the game from getting overwhelmingly complex. That's how I've been able to make it as far as I have, and that's how the team will be able to finish the game in the end.

Thanks for reading!

FAQ

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    APPLICANT ● Thanks for supporting the game. Here's some cool desktop art and hi-res digital maps of the game world for your trouble. Plus you'll have access to all the backers-only content, polls and feedback sessions.

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    NOVICE ● Get everything listed in the Applicant reward AND get a copy of the finished game when it's released on PC, Mac and Linux!

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    DOUBLE PACK ● Get the art pack plus TWO copies of the finished game when it's released on PC, Mac and Linux!

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    APPRENTICE ● Get everything in the Novice reward PLUS a digital download of the soundtrack and access to the limited beta when it's released!

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    EARLY BIRD RANGER ● Get everything listed in the RANGER reward, but for a special early bird price!

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    211 backers

    JOURNEYMAN ● Get everything in the Apprentice reward PLUS an extra copy of the game, your name in the credits, AND a digital book authoring kit that allows you create readable in-game books, journals & letters that will appear in the final release! (See FAQ for details!)

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    274 backers

    RANGER ● Get everything in the Journeyman reward PLUS have your name inscribed on a towering memorial in the game's largest city! Your character will also start the game with a blueprint for the APPRENTICE BLADE, an exclusive backers-only weapon! (See FAQ for details!)

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    NEW REWARD ● BOTANIST ● Get everything in the Ranger reward PLUS create your own in-game plant that will appear in the final game! We'll send you a Botanical Creation Kit™ to create & name a unique plant. Mix & match a huge variety of options - edible or poisonous, colorful or drab, scraggly or flowery, medicinal or groovy hallucinogenic. You'll even get to choose its favored climate! (This new reward is automatically included in all higher tiers, including Barkeep.)

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    SPECIALIST ● Get everything in the Ranger reward PLUS I'll work with you to put your face on an NPC (with a name based on your name) that will appear in a random location in the official release!

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    BARKEEP ● Get everything in the Ranger reward, PLUS your own in-game tavern! With this reward you can choose the name of one of the many wayward taverns in the game world. I'll design a logo inspired by that name and it will appear on the tavern's shingle. What's more, your copy of the game will come with a 'deed' to that structure, which you will own from the start!

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    173 backers

    NEW REWARD ● ISLANDER ● Want an Island? Get everything in the Botanist reward, PLUS inherit a small, mysterious island at the start of the game - including the strange, ruined estate that was once built on it! Players without this tier will also have access to this island, but your copy of the game will establish you as its legal owner, and you'll be able to choose the island's name on the world map! You'll also receive a digital booklet of hi-res sketches of the island & ruined estate in PDF form. (This new reward is automatically included in all higher tiers.)

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    ENGINEER ● Get everything in the Specialist reward PLUS I'll model and hide one object of your choice somewhere in the game world! After the game's release you'll receive a sealed map revealing its location in case you can't find it on your own. Of course to read it you'll have to cut the seal like a cheater! ☺

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    MASTER ● Get everything in the Engineer reward PLUS I'll create one building of your choice (within reason) that will appear in game world. It could be your childhood home or a favorite real-world castle - I'll work with you to ensure it ends up in the finished game! (See FAQ for details!)

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    NEW REWARD ● INNKEEPER ● Get everything in the Master reward PLUS you can name one of a few select Inns in the game world. I'll design a logo inspired by that name and it will appear on the Inn's shingle in the final game. Your copy of the game will come with a 'deed' to that structure, which you will own from the start! (This new reward is automatically included in all higher tiers.)

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    COMMANDER ● Get everything in the Master reward PLUS I will send you a 30" x 30" map of the game world, printed on quality paper and aged by hand for guaranteed uniqueness! Your name will also appear in a special 'Cartographers' credits section! I'm really looking forward to making these, folks. They're going to look gorgeous.

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    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    ARTISAN ● Get everything in the Commander reward PLUS a signed, hand-painted 3D-printed model - your choice of either an Obex Waystone or an Obex Gateway! (See FAQ for mockup.) Each will be unique, painstakingly detailed and crafted for longevity. A true collector's item. (This reward is automatically included in all higher tiers upon request.)

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    STARWALKER ● Are you a cigar chomping, money burning, tweed-wearing baller and shot caller? This option is for you. You'll get everything listed so far, plus A CO-EXEC PRODUCER credit in the opening titles and one of three World Regions will be given a name based on your name (Only three slots available for obvious reasons.)

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    SPYGLASS ● Get everything in the Starwalker reward PLUS the one and only FRONTIERS spyglass. This 12-power, 18," leather-sheathed, hand-aged spyglass served as a reference model for the all-important in-game spyglass. Even in a world filled with precious items and hidden treasures, this spyglass (which is passed down to you by your uncle, the renowned explorer) carries immense history and prestige - and now you can own its real-life counterpart. (See FAQ for images.)

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Funding period

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