About this project
[NEW!] You can now back the project via PayPal: bit.ly/DistancePayPal
CONNECT WITH THE TEAM
- Vote for us on Steam Greenlight: bit.ly/DistanceSteam
- Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/refractstudios
- Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/refractstudios
- Subscribe on YouTube: youtube.com/officialrefract
- Distance website: survivethedistance.com
- Refract website: refractstudios.com
Update #16, November 16th: Blasting past $150k! Stretch Goal #2: Random Track Generation.
Update #15, November 15th: 24 Hours Left! The Final Countdown and New Concept Art.
Update #14, November 14th: WE DID IT!! Update Video, Stretch Goals, PayPal, and Tons More!
Update #13, November 13th: Mini Update! The Final Stretch.
Update #12, November 12th: $100,000! Video Update and New Digital Tiers!
For previous updates, visit our Updates page.
We can't change the description of tiers once the campaign's started, but all of these modifications are effective as of now:
- All tiers now include the option of Windows, Mac, or Linux [NEW]!
- Every tier includes a DRM-free version for whatever platform you choose.
- All tiers $70+ now include 2 copies of the game and access to the backer vehicle (everything from the $50 tier instead of from the $25 tier).
- We included a new $35 backer tier for those that want the backer vehicle but don't want two copies of the game.
- The game now includes split-screen support for at least 2-4 players!
- We included two new digital only tiers at the $55 and $75 level for those that only want the digital goods and access to the alpha.
[UNLOCKED!] $150,000: Replay/Spectate Modes
- Loading/saving of replays
- Many different camera angles including cinematic modes
- Free camera
- Fast forward/rewind/play/pause
- Slow motion
$165,000: Random Track Generation Mode
- Create a vast number of unique tracks at the click of button
- Providing a few parameters allows you to tweak the overall type of track being generated
- You can share specific seeds with your friends so that they can play tracks you've discovered
THE RESPONSE SO FAR
- "I think it's going to be a fantastic game. They're very talented guys and they deserve your support." Cliff Bleszinski, Co-creator of Jazz Jackrabbit, Unreal, and Gears of War
- "Please, try and support this Kickstarter and let's see what they're going to do next. I know I'm excited and I hope you are too." Aaron Hightower, Lead Programmer on Rush 2049 Arcade
- "Considering the level of quality this group achieved as students at DigiPen with the excellent (and free!) Nitronic Rush, the promise of making a more ambitious follow-up with more money and staff is exciting." Allistair Pinsof, Destructoid
- "The themes of Nitronic are repeated here – gravity-defying racing on impossible tracks, this time far more pretty, along with multiplayer, and driving upside down, like in real life." John Walker, RockPaperShotgun
To see more, check out the news roundups in our Updates!
Distance is a Windows/Mac/Linux survival racing game that combines the intense action of arcade racing with the exploration of an atmospheric world. You control a unique car that allows you to boost, jump, rotate, and even fly through a chaotic and twisted city. The world has a mysterious history, and as you explore you'll be able to uncover pieces of its past.
The roads are treacherous and unpredictable with obstacles around every corner. Instead of doing laps on a loop, you'll be trying to survive to the end in the quickest time. Since your car has several abilities, it allows you to not only drive fast on the track but also upside down and on buildings and walls! You can also fly to discover new shortcuts and paths.
You can take on the roads alone, or in multiplayer with your friends!
The game is a spiritual successor to the multi-award winning game Nitronic Rush, created by ourselves and 8 others while attending DigiPen Institute of Technology. It was released in 2011 on PC, and it was widely praised for its innovative mechanics, visual style, audio design, and atmosphere.
Nitronic Rush was a student project and in many ways only a prototype for what Distance will become. You can try it out for yourself (for free) by downloading it on the Nitronic Rush download page.
- “Even if you’re not a big racing fan, the intuitive controls and fun atmosphere will keep the pedal to the metal for some time to come." Rob Manuel, G4TV
- “It’s a fun, slick, and professionally designed game, and I’m looking forward to more from the Nitronic Rush team.” Todd Kenreck, MSNBC
- “If you haven’t already guessed, this game’s kinda awesome” … “It’s brilliant, it’s an incredibly good racing game.” JohnBain, TotalBiscuit
- “If you like a unique, challenging racing game, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn't download it." Allistair Pinsof, Destructoid
We recently graduated from DigiPen, and several of the other developers on Nitronic Rush took jobs in the AAA game industry or went to work on other projects. When looking at what the three of us wanted to do, we decided to go indie and focus on games we're really passionate about.
We tossed around a few ideas of what project we wanted to work on next and we always seemed to come back to arcade racing. There are very few developers working on arcade racing games, let alone small indie teams, so we saw it as a unique opportunity to push this genre.
Nitronic Rush demonstrated to us that arcade racing games can be incredibly fun and there's still a lot of room for innovation in the genre. We learned a ton from creating that game, and we're really excited to make a spiritual successor that will blow away the original.
Since we've created a game similar to this before, we're building upon what players found fun in the previous game, and taking that to the next level.
Our focus is on making the solo and multiplayer tracks incredibly fun, which means that there's much that we're iterating on in terms of designing a deeper city and atmosphere, as well as creating entirely new game modes, obstacles, and track designs.
On top of the many features and modes in the original game, such as the parkour-inspired Hardcore mode, nail-biting Challenge mode, and heart-pounding Stunt mode, we're now including many fan-requested features that weren't possible before:
- Multiplayer: LAN, Online, and Split-Screen [NEW] play in several modes, such as Classic Race mode as well as Tag, Capture The Flag, Stunt mode, and many others including cooperative modes. We're targeting to support as many players as is fun for each game mode!
- Level editor and modding tools: We're developing a powerful, user-friendly level editor where you can create levels from inside the game and share them with players around the world. We'll also be releasing other tools used to create content in the game in an effort to best support modders.
- Exploration: Since the car can jump, rotate, and fly, you're able to explore the city to find hidden paths, as well as find secrets that reveal the city's past. Fans loved this aspect of Nitronic Rush and really want to develop a deeper city with a backstory of its own.
- Updated visuals and atmosphere: The game is now being developed in Unity (as compared to creating Nitronic Rush entirely from scratch). This allows us to mature a lot of visual elements, and really go for a detailed look that supports the atmospheric world we’re building.
- New dynamic soundtrack: Jordan (aka TORCHT) is back composing a new electro/ambient dynamic soundtrack. Expanding upon his experience from composing the dynamic music in Nitronic Rush (as well as in Solace and Solstice), he's really excited to create a new sophisticated soundscape.
- Controller support: Similar to Nitronic Rush we'll be supporting Xbox 360™ controllers and the keyboard, but we'll also be doing our best to support as many controllers as possible, such as steering wheels and various gamepads, alongside re-mappable key configurations.
- Windows, Mac, and Linux: Distance will be released for Windows, Mac, and Linux, all with access to DRM-free versions of the game.
While the core of the game is similar to Nitronic Rush, Distance is a much more expansive game offering including far more modes, levels, and vehicles, not found before. On top of that, we're aiming for a level of polish that greatly surpases anything found in the student prototype.
We're using Kickstarter because we see it as an incredible opportunity to get players involved in the development of the game right from the beginning. You get to come behind the scenes, feel an ownership of the game, and be a part of the development process.
Since graduating from DigiPen, we've been working on setting up our studio and building the prototype of the new game. The prototype has shown us that multiplayer with this type of game is incredibly fun, but it still needs to be improved and polished.
We want to add more modes, more tracks, and more vehicles, as well as truly craft the city and atmosphere. To make this into a fully realized and polished game, we need the financial support to continue the development further.
We'll use the money for:
- Software Licenses : Since we just started our studio, we are missing a lot of software that we need to make this game. Unfortunately, software isn't cheap and the costs add up quickly.
- Multiplayer / Hosting: Based on the heavy load on our servers from Nitronic Rush's minimal use of networking, we're wanting to properly prepare ourselves for the mulitplayer and server load in this new game. This is also the first time that we've worked on multiplayer at this scale so we want to spend the proper time and effort to get it right, which includes proper protection against cheating since we're on PC.
- Art : We contracted a concept artist to help us with look and feel and working with him has been great. We'd love to continue working with him going into the future, as well as contract a few other artists that have enlisted to join development down the road.
- Stipends: We'll need to take minimal-survival-level salaries, and our hope is that the success of the game will allow us be profitable enough to make other games after we ship Distance.
- Polish : Any funding in excess of our goal will be invested into refining the game even further.
If we're able to surpass our initial goal, we have several stretch goals we'll be excited to announce!
(Jason, Kyle, and Jordan from left to right)
REFRACT is a studio formed by graduates from DigiPen Institute of Technology. We all met through working on Nitronic Rush after working on several separate experimental games. We're all incredibly passionate about fusing beautiful audio/visual design with engaging gameplay, and we're putting our experience from our past games right into the development of Distance.
Kyle Holdwick really excels at developing and growing teams. He's incredibly passionate about working with others and pushing them to reach new heights. As one of the most varied members on the team, he's worked on AI systems for the ASCII game Sowlar (IndieCade), functioned as a visual engineer and world designer on Solstice (presented at Tokyo Game Show for Sense of Wonder Night), and created various 2D and 3D graphics engines from scratch.
He was the Producer for Nitronic Rush. He wrote tons of gameplay logic including much of the obstacle logic, created many of the Challenge and Stunt levels, functioned as a liaison between artists and coders, and managed the day-to-day operation of the team.
Jason Nollan has had a history in-game development from both the technical and artistic aspects of creation. He spent several years developing skills in Blender creating models, textures, and several game prototypes well before coming to DigiPen. Over the past few years he's created low level graphics and physics engines from scratch, as well as providing 2D and 3D art for all of the games he's worked on. He did the art and graphics programming for the 2D stealth game Subsonic (finalist in IGC) and most of the work on a Tetris prototype which ended up winning $20,000 and Grand Prize in the Tetris Design Challenge.
He was the programmer behind the entire physics engine in Nitronic Rush, as well as implementing the car controls, obstacle logic, many of the Challenge levels, and tons of other game logic. He also created the art for all of the vehicles and several in-game props.
Jordan Hemenway (aka TORCHT) is really passionate about gameplay that makes a deep emotional impact on the player. He's been programming since he was 10, and at DigiPen he was one of the developers/composers behind several experimental games. He was the Producer, game logic programmer, and lead composer for Solace (winner in IGF, PAX10) and Solstice. He also contributed music to the soundtrack for The Fourth Wall (finalist in IGC, Freeplay).
On Nitronic Rush, he composed the music for the Story mode and main menu, developed an adaptive system for the in-game music, implemented the sound design, and helped with milestone planning, marketing, and community management.
The team's also been working with Chin Fong,an environment artist on the upcoming Halo 4, to develop the look and feel for the game. He did all of the beautiful concept paintings and the poster shown above.
Working together and with others, the games we've worked on have been nominated for over 35 awards including:
THE RELEASED GAME:
Everyone who backs the project (first tier and higher) will get a copy of the final game on Windows, Mac, or Linux when released. You'll be able to race to the death, bust out crazy tricks, and even explore the city with your friends or by yourself!
We're hoping for a release on Steam (we're on Greenlight currently) as well as on other distribution platforms, but if nothing else you'll always have access to a DRM-free version of the game. The release date is not currently decided, but we've included the BETA which is described below.
THE PRIVATE DISCUSSION COMMUNITY:
Everyone who backs the project (first tier and higher) will be a part of a private discussion community. You'll be the first to know of any news or details about the game as it's being developed. You'll also be able to provide your feedback and suggestions as the project progresses.
Everyone who backs the project (first tier and higher) will also have the chance to play the BETA before the game is released! We're excited to have you play the game at BETA so you can enjoy the experience earlier and so we can get your feedback on what we need to improve before the actual release.
Everyone who backs the project (first tier and higher) will have their name somewhere in the credits area that you'll be able to explore. Similar to Nitronic Rush, we'll have billboards on the sides of buildings and near the roads with your name on them. The more you pledge the bigger and more noticeable your name will be.
Do you like bumping beats? Then you're gonna love this! The soundtrack is being made along side of the game by Jordan (TORCHT). If you liked Nitronic Rush's soundtrack, then we think you'll love this! It will include all the music from within the game mixed and mastered beautifully.
THE ART BOOK:
The digital art book will showcase the beautifully crafted concept art that guides the visual direction for the final game. It will also include captures of the production art that you'll see when playing through the game. It will provide you a glimpse into the artistic side of the development of this game.
THE BACKER VEHICLE:
This is a special backer only vehicle that you won't be able to get anywhere else. You'll be unique when playing multiplayer online and all of your friends will know that you were there in the beginning and helped make this game a reality!
The ALPHA will be released earlier than the BETA and at a stage where the game will still be very much so a work in progress. You'll be able to try out the new multiplayer modes and explore the city for the first time. You'll also be able to give us your feedback on what you liked, what you'd like to see improved, and even what you'd like to see added to the game before release.
Do you have a sad spot on a wall in your home or office? We have just the fix, a 18"x24" Distance poster! It's a beautifully crafted work of art that can be placed on any wall anywhere you'd like. The actual poster may vary slightly from the image below.
You'll be the coolest person around when wearing the Distance T-shirt. Others will be complimenting you wherever you go, your confidence will be higher, and you'll be rocketing to success faster than ever before. Your wildest dreams will come true and the world will be a better place! The actual T-shirt may vary slightly from the image below.
THE PHYSICAL BOX:
You remember when you were young and going to the store to pick up a game off the store shelf? Those were good times and the best part of those trips was getting the box and opening it to all its glory. You got a new game and excitement was bound to happen, whether the game was fantastic or a flop. Well, you can have a box of your own with this game! You'll get the box and the game on a DVD.
THE CUSTOM VEHICLE:
Have you ever wanted a specific vehicle in a racing game before? Well, this is your chance! We'll work with you to design and create a special vehicle based around your idea. You'll be able to claim it as yours forever.
THE FULL TILT ARCADE MACHINE:
What better way to play this game than on it's very own arcade machine? You'll have the steering wheel, the seat, the jet control stick, and the pedals. You just won't be able to get all of that normally. This thing will be insane and an incredible rush that you can have for yourself and for all your friends to come over and check out. It would be an addition to your home that is incredibly unique and will make parties that much better for all. We'll build this thing with our bare hands and send it to you for your enjoyment. The actual arcade machine may vary slightly from the image below.
Risks and challenges
We're a smaller team and we're trying to make a pretty extensive game. Nitronic Rush was an incredible experience for us, so we're able to pour all of the expertise we gained from that project directly into Distance. Since we have key members from the Nitronic Rush development team, we're confident that we have the skills and experience to pull off a racing game much more polished and professional than Nitronic Rush. We're also using Unity (as opposed to building Nitronic Rush from scratch), so a lot of the base framework is already in place. On top of all that, we've been building powerful tools early to really help speed up development and iteration times.
The budget of $125,000 may not seem like enough money to make a game like this, but we're doing our absolute best to keep costs minimal. While some software licenses like Unity are a must, we're also working with many free programs like Blender and GIMP. We're also working out of our apartment so working space is relatively cheap.
Also, a lot of art content is needed for this game. The entire team has artistic passion, and Jason is a very skilled 3D technical artist capable of making very high quality art. With Chin's help to develop the look and feel for the game, we're confident, as demonstrated by the included images, that we can create quality art content as development progresses. Several other artists have enlisted to join on when we need them further in development, so scaling art content with our needs shouldn't be a huge challenge.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We’re starting fresh with Distance and rethinking almost every aspect of the game. Nitronic Rush was a student project and in many ways only a prototype for what Distance will become. All of the major things that the fans loved from Nitronic Rush are making an appearance again like the car mechanics, obstacles, and the general feel of the game. A large element that we’re improving upon is the world and atmosphere. The city in Distance has a mysterious past and is much more detailed. There's also a strong focus on multiplayer this time since it was sadly missing before. With that said, there will be many more modes this time around to greatly add replay value to the experience. We’re also working on making the modding and customization support much deeper in Distance. Along with that, we’re releasing a level editor so anyone can easily build and share levels with others. Last but not least, the game will be supported on both Windows and Mac with possible Linux support as well once Unity 4 comes out.
So, in other words, there were tons of car abilities, modes, track types, and other major features that weren't shipped with Nitronic Rush. Distance is taking the core of what players loved about our last game and adding more content and features that just weren't possible before.
Yes, we're really excited about it! You can read more about it in our latest updates (Update #7).
We'd love to be on Steam, and in fact we've created a Greenlight page where you can vote to help get the game on Steam: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/…
If we do get approved by Valve, then you'll absolutely get a Steam key (or a key for any other platform like GOG, Desura, etc. where the game is available).
Yes! We're huge fans of split-screen and we'll be supporting it with at least 2-4 players. You can read more about it in Update #7!
At the latest (since Kickstarter requires an estimated delivery date) it'll be released August 2013, but we're hoping for a release in early Summer. Same goes for the alpha, except it'll most likely be early-mid Spring.
The exclusive vehicle will be noticeable and others will definitely be able to tell that you were a backer and someone who made this game possible. It won't be faster or give you a definite advantage on the track versus others, but it will be physically different and noticeable.
If the goal isn't met there's honestly a good chance the project would be shut down or indefinitely postponed. It would be difficult to fund this project through traditional means after a failed Kickstarter, so we really need as much help as possible getting the word out!
Jordan was actually the announcer in Nitronic Rush so we definitely could have him do the part again. We’re still looking into how to best incorporate an announcer into the world of Distance, since the style of this world is a lot more atmospheric.
There's a good chance that we'll have access to an Oculus Rift once it's released, so as long as Unity plays nicely with the Rift we're really excited to try implementing support for it!
We'll do our best to support as many controllers as possible in the game. If nothing else we'll have remappable controls so you should be able to change the controls however you like.
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