About this project
A few years back, I got the crazy notion in my head that I wanted to have an influence on the world and make some sort of impact, but the world is big. It's bigger than anyone can imagine. Most of us are too small to have any sort of meaningful change all on our own. The only thing we have agency over is ourselves. People can become stronger or weaker, and that inner strength and resolve can definitely leave an impact on our own little world.
Insignificant is a game that reflects and explores that feeling, because it's hard for me to identify when every other game pits my character as the messiah destined to weave the fate of the Universe. I'm pretty sure less than 10% of the people I know are messiahs destined to weave the fate of the Universe.
See what critics are saying about Insignificant:
"Insignificant is a tiny game with tiny people that has big ambitions." - Patrick Klepek, Giantbomb.com
"I'm sorry, we cannot cover Insignificant at this time." - Anonymous News Organization, AnonymousNewsOrganization.com
"I think it's a very unique idea." - Dan's Mother, Text Message
Still not convinced?
Well if television has taught me anything, it's that commercials are the number one most effective way to convince people to buy your stuff. So here's a terrible commercial I made for Insignificant!
They say that long ago civilization was all but destroyed by titans who roamed the land, wiping out every brave warrior who dared to face them. It was the cowardly who survived by hiding in caves and underground.
They came to be known as The Insiders, and they lived the way you'd expect them to with a name like that. To this day, The Insiders never figured out why all those beasties and monsters arrived all those years ago. There are some things you just can't explain. The Insiders have a word for that: Magic.
Fire, Lightning, Water, some people say Gods are responsible for all that. It's not too different, The Insiders just have a different word for it.
Problem is, Magic is what got them into this mess, so whenever it comes to pass that an Insider uses this sort of witchcraft, the elders figure that the best way to get rid of the Insider's Magic is to get rid of the Insider.
As this Insider was ripped from their loved ones, they wondered “what will I find out there, in this world of magic? Will it be cold? Will it be lonely? Will it even exist?” It wasn't the first time an Insider had been exiled, nor would it be the last, but on this particular day, this particular Insider embraced the magic they had been scorned for, and realized that they had truly become an Outsider.
The thing those stories neglected to mention is that it wasn't just the monsters who towered over The Insiders all those years ago, it was the whole world. To everyone else, The Outsider might just as well be a bug. So The Outsider looked around and wondered how they were ever going to find a place in this new world which clearly wasn't meant for them. How were they ever going to be anything but Insignificant?
Backing Insignificant does more than raise funds for the game, this is the Flagship game for Significant Games, and we eventually want to branch out and make even more unique games beyond the scope of this project.
The work for Significant Games is, right now, almost completely the result of myself, Dan Rickmers. Insignificant is my first foray into making my own game, which is why it was important to me to prove my abilities as more than just a concept. In fact, if I had the money to support myself that long, I'd just make the whole game before I showed it off.
I don't have the money of course, which is why you're seeing this kickstarter, but I think I've created enough Game to show that as far as games-made-by-a-single-dude go, Insignificant is a pretty good deal. It might not look gorgeous, and it might play a bit wonky, but it's earnest and it has heart, and those are two things no amount of funding can add.
I mean if I just showed you the stuff I made way back when I actually started making Insignificant, you might be a little less inclined to back the project. Take this little monstrosity for example:
But yeah, don't worry, you don't have to play Inisgnificant as an abominable husk of nightmare-fuel straight out of a David Cronenberg movie. Unless you want to? I guess I could add some kind of support for that if you really want.
We've reached our project's minimum funding goal! That means the costs of publishing the game have been covered, and Insignificant, no matter what, will become a game. There are many things that simply cannot be done on such a small budget, so these stretch goals are an attempt to lay out what we can do if we have a little bit more! If you want to see exactly what these numbers are going to mean, check out the Budget Breakdown section near the bottom of the page.
Every dollar we get for Insignificant is going into making the game better. The reason most games have large budgets is because they need to pay people for their time. I'm okay working for like $10 a day if I have to, but other artists aren't so generous, nor should they be, if they're worth their salt. I can promise that whatever Insignificant gets, I'll make it work.
Current Stretch Goal: Living Titans $13,000
Giant wolves and birds aren't the only titans you'll have to contend with, if we hit this stretch goal, I'll be able to put some living human beings into the game. They wont notice you at first, but if you start stabbing them you might be in for some trouble.
Up to this point I had been planning to write around not being able to feature big humans in the game, but I think it's much more appealing if players could be able to interact with these giants. These humans have a story of their own as well, and if we hit this stretch goal, players will be able to peer into the lives of these ordinary people.
(As a side note, this is the aspect of the game that would be most like Secret World of Arrietty in video game form)
The Alchemy system is more than just an extension of the crafting system. It uses berries and other raw foods found in the world and allows you to combine them and discover new items. What do these berries do? Well they all have different effects, some of them can confer unique bonuses and effects for a limited time, and some of them simply confer the joy of a full stomach, which as we all know, is the greatest power of all.
Berries? How does this work, exactly?
Let's say I've found some Blueberries, Blackberries and...um....redberries.
Now I can combine them in any way I choose, but I don't really know what will happen when I do. I'll mush together the Blueberries and Blackberries, and I'll get a Blacknblue Berry.
This new berry can also be used in Alchemical combinations, which would already double your total number of berry combinations. This system leads to many unique and hidden berries which can be created, and I'm sure someone will spoil them all with a guide, but assuming they don't, you might be surprised when you uncover some very unique berries, like the Cageberry.
Insignificant will now support the Oculus Rift!
If you don't know what the Oculus Rift is, it's a Virtual Reality headset, and unlike certain other virtual reality headsets of yesteryear (I'm looking at you, Virtual Boy), this one actually functions. Not only that, it also succeeds in making the wearer look completely ridiculous.
Insignificant already has a functioning first person mode, and Unity3D is supporting Oculus Rift natively, so it should be a perfect match. Playing Insignificant from a monitor is great, but I'm personally excited about getting to play it that close up.
A word of caution regarding this point, the Oculus Rift is experimental, in fact the consumer version isn't even publicly available yet, so this will be my first time working with this piece of hardware. To be fair that's true of most developers right now, and with Unity's native support for Oculus Rift, it shouldn't be an issue, I just thought I'd be up front about the fact that, hey, something could go wrong.
That soundtrack backer reward is now officially worth something! Awesome composer Marty Meinerz is composing the soundtrack and doing some sound design for the game and is getting 10% of the Kickstarter money. So part of the money you back the project for will go to making the soundtrack better as well! You can hear an early cut of one of the tracks he's making for the game right here, called "Little Victories."
Marty has a great instinct for memorable rhythms, and is a great addition to the Insignificant team! Here's a video of Marty talking about his ambitions for the Insignificant Soundtrack:
And here's the second proof-of-concept track he's released, "Tall Order"
What kind of a game is Insignificant? I'm calling it an Open-World RPG, but both genres are fairly broad, because that could literally mean anything from a free-roaming Final Fantasy to GTA with a leveling system. If I had to make comparisons I'd call it a mix between an Elder Scrolls and Shadow of the Colossus, but comparing games only gets you so far, so let me detail a little more about Insignificant's gameplay.
When you kill enemies in Insignificant, you'll get experience, which is like a currency you can spend to upgrade your primary statistics (you know the ones, Strength, Vitality, etc), and by doing so, you'll also increase the skills they govern. These stats are balanced so that there is something useful to most players, so increasing Strength will allow you to do more physical damage, break locks more easily, and penetrate magical defenses through brute force.
It's no longer useless to get a point in Strength if you only care about casting magic. Does that mean you need to get strength? No, but if you happen to find a piece of gear with all your favorite stats, and also strength, you wont feel like it's going to waste if you put it on. This is key in a game with random loot, otherwise you'd just end up throwing away half of what you find.
Mancies are a list of (currently) 22 different Proficiency choices players will have which allow them to specialize their character more drastically than attribute points. Here are five as an example:
Insignificant has loot. You're going to find stuff on enemies, and you're going to equip that stuff. There's also a crafting system which can supplement your character with gear you have trouble finding. I want the gear to seem kind of dumb, because you're not using it for its intended purpose. That's why your character might see fit to wear a stone or a mushroom on his head.
For some reason it's surprising to people that the game as it is now has no inventory limit. You're allowed to sell things whenever you want, but if you choose to hoard everything, you can.
There's no encumbrance system set in place, except for the one where you use too much of your computer's memory because you have a billion items in your inventory. I don't know, I've never reached that point yet, but I think we're all mature enough to handle that limit on our own, don't you?
There isn't any. I don't think that people in this day and age really need tutorials telling them how to walk forward and look up and down, that's what instruction manuals are for. There aren't any waypoints floating overhead, because there isn't only one place to go to advance the story. In fact, I am opposed to calling anything in an open-world game a "story mission," because in a true open-world game, there shouldn't be a difference between story missions and "side missions." When I'm playing a game and it tells me "hey, go here to see the story," I think, "well then why would I go anywhere else? Forget all this other stuff, it's not even related to the story!"
Basically I'm designing this game to treat the player like they're someone with a brain who can figure things out for themselves.
These features are either already in the game or have been directly added by this Kickstarter.
- Controller support and Mouse and Keyboard support.
- 22 Proficiency Classes (Mancies) which specialize your character
- Early access to a beta with free updates guaranteed until version 1.0.
- An open-ended Spell Creation system which allows you to combine virtually any spell effect in the game.
- Craftable equipment, with a tech tree, because I like unlocking stuff.
- The game is programmed in Unity, so you'll have Windows, Mac and Linux versions of the game if you want them.
- Decyphering system which determines whether or not what the books and notes you find are translated properly. As a result, you wont really ever know if what you're reading is completely true.
- Compendium which tracks all the information you pick up as you travel through the world.
- Thrown weapons like Dice and Pills react according to Physics, and will bounce off of objects in the world. Science!
- Climbing system allows players to explore vertically. I'm working on getting this to also work with climbing large enemies like the wolf you see in the trailer, but it isn't in the game yet so I'm not going to promise it just yet.
- Character Customization allows you to change the look of your character, and depending on the support the Kickstarter gets, more, hopefully silly and crazy options will manifest.
- Indoor Locations and Outdoor Locations
- Both Male and Female Playable Characters
- Underwater Exploration
- Oculus Rift Support
There are a number of different ways to play Insignificant, based on what kind of a person you consider yourself:
Lonely - No enemies spawn, allowing you to spend hours in quiet contemplation. Leaves a large portion of the game out, but sometimes I just want to explore, and that's what this mode is for.
Insignificant - The baseline "normal" mode. Normal stuff happens and it's all really, really normal.
Unforgiving - Enemies level up as you die, permanently getting stronger each time. Very challenging, possibly even more difficult than the next one.
Mortal - When you die your character is permanently and unceremoniously deleted upon dying. A mode only suited for crazy people. You glorious crazy people.
Whenever people hear about Insignificant, they immediately start firing off ideas for tiny objects that could be used as weapons or critters who could serve as fearsome enemies, and I love hearing all those suggestions. Honestly it would be hard to implement every single one and still make a game around them unless I had some extra funds to make that happen, but that's why some of the backer rewards are catered to doing just that.
Have an idea for a weapon? Maybe you don't have an idea, but you'd like me to add another one in to the game anyway?
I hate exclusive stuff. Rather than give backers some kind of Exclusive Doritos Double XP Bonus reward that no one else gets, I want to give backers an inclusive reward.
When you get an inclusive Item reward, not only to you get a totally unique reward that wouldn't have been in the game otherwise, but you also give that same reward to everyone who plays the game, and (if you choose to allow it) they'll all know you were their mysterious benefactor, smiling down upon them with a wistful chuckle as they loot their radical new item, because you'll have that item featured next to your name in the credits.
Here's an example of what that might look like:
I think that's a much better reward than a t-shirt.
In my experience, people who go to Kickstarter like having an impact on the things they back, and what better way to show that than to give you something you can point to in Insignificant and say "this wouldn't be here if not for me."
On top of that, instead of getting a reward that gives you something like a shirt that's only tangentially related to the thing you're really after, any inclusive rewards that anyone gets will ultimately make your own experience with Insignificant better and more fully featured than it would've been otherwise.
If Insignificant is something you want to see and want to see become great and expansive and have twists and turns at every angle, support this project, write about it, bother your friendly neighborhood game journalists about it, because I want to be able to make this game for you, and you want it to be awesome (I hope), so backing the project is a good idea for both of us.
Content Creation Guidelines
Okay so if you have an idea for a weapon, helmet, shield, enemy, whatever it is, there are a few guidelines to follow to make sure the tone of the game is consistent, so everyone who is backing the project can rest easy knowing that the items people come up with aren't going to break their immersion or anything.
- Avoid copyrighted materials: That's pretty obvious, right?
- item suggestions should be real world items
- Items should be about a size where you could reasonably see a 2-3 inch person picking it up. No bigger than a fork, for sure.
- For example: A Bottle Cap Shield is a perfect item idea (which hasn't been taken yet, by the way), but Cloud's Buster Sword from Final Fantasy VII is probably the polar opposite of a perfect item idea.
- Also, no memes. I'm sorry, but if you suggest a meme I'll probably say no, because chances are the meme wont be funny by the time the game comes out. You just have to trust me on that one.
Game-Changing New Reward: Insignificant Forum Badge
Okay so it's pretty small, but for donating at least 10 dollars, you'll get a Forum Badge on the Significant Forums, and you'll keep it FOREVER. Even after society crumbles and the internet goes dark, and the last remnants of man's creations have been reduced to rubble, this forum badge will remain yours as shining proof that you backed Insignificant while it was on Kickstarter.
I want to be transparent with you guys about how the money received from this Kickstarter will be spent. So here goes:
Base Goal $1760
$1500 - Unity Pro Version
$100 - Steam Greenlight Application Fee
$160 - 10% Kickstarter/Amazon Payments Fee
Stretch Goal #1 $3000
$1000 - Creating Art Assets and Textures for indoor furniture and obstacles (at the cheapest option, which is me doing it all myself, I'd put it at about two months of work for one guy, and that would about cover rent for two months, so that seems like a fair amount to ask)
$112 - Copyright Preregistration Fees
$124 - 10% Kickstarter/Amazon Payments Fee
$4 - It was really bothering me not having an even 3000. I don't know, I'll go buy some coffee or something. UPDATE: I bought coffee and announced to the world "This particular coffee was crowdfunded coffee."
Stretch Goal #2 $4000
$500 - Implementing a Female Playable Character will either cost me at least this much in contracting or I'll spend at least this much in resources creating it myself.
$410 - Working on Underwater Exploration will take about 400 in resources, to code it, make sure it works, and to make some things to put down there in the water so it isn't just boring and empty.
$90 - 10% Kickstarter/Amazon Payments Fee.
Stretch Goal #3 $4,500
$450 - Our composer is getting 10% of the Kickstarter budget to score the soundtrack, so up to this point, that's $450
$50 - 10% Kickstarter/Amazon Payments Fee
Stretch Goal #4 $5,200
$340 - Oculus Rift Development Kit
$220 - Me spending time figuring out how Oculus Rifts work
$140 - 20% Composer/Kickstarter/Amazon Payments Cut
Stretch Goal #5 $6,500
$257 - This seems as good a time as any to work in the strangely pricy costs of license fees for registering a legitimate business.
$783 - I'll have to spend some time creating, or pay someone to create some more facial and body customizations. I estimate this will cost exactly this much. Definitely not to reach an even 6,500.
$260 - 20% Composer/Kickstarter/Amazon Payments Cut
Stretch Goal #6 $7,700
$960 - Adding NPCs means a lot of writing. For instance, Mass Effect 3 supposedly had around 40,000 lines of dialogue. It also means a lot of programming as well, and both of those take some serious time and dedication.
$240 - 20% Composer/Kickstarter/Amazon Payments Cut
Stretch Goal #7 $9,000
$250 - Purchase of Third Party Shaders and Assets
$750 - Design and Implement the Alchemy System (Scripting, Modeling crafting items to pick up, drawing item icons)
$260 - 20% Composer/Kickstarter/Amazon Payments Cut
Stretch Goal #8 $10,000
$800 - Creating assets and programming the Enchantment system (Weapon particle effects and correctly applying spell effects)
$200 - 20% Composer/Kickstarter/Amazon Payments Cut
Stretch Goal #9 $13,000
$2,400 - AI behaviors, highres textures for the humans, story sequences for the humans
$600 - 20% Composer/Kickstarter/Amazon Payments Cut
Risks and challenges
I've done my best to only promise what I am sure I can deliver, holding back on mentioning some of the planned features I haven't worked the kinks out of yet, but there is always a possibility that things wont go as planned.
Some things are out of my control as well. Paying the application to Steam Greenlight isn't a guarantee we'll be able to sell the game on Steam, in fact the only way to facilitate that any more than just getting the word out about the game is for you guys to help out and go "like" the page on Greenlight. They use the amount of "likes" to determine whether or not to approve projects.
I'll do my darndest to make Insignificant as great as I've promised it, but whether I'll be able to actually sell it in digital marketplaces is up to all of us!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Thank you, I love your enthusiasm (seriously), but I have to pay for the application fee and wait for all that junk to get processed by Steam before I can put the page up there. It will happen though, and I will let you know when there is a button to go push.
If you want some kind of notification to make sure you don't miss that, you can follow me on twitter, I'm @danrickmers there. You can also back the project for any amount (even like, a dollar or something) and kickstarter will automatically notify you when I update the project.
If we really get enough funding to the point that it makes sense to do a bulk printing of some physical box copies, I would definitely want to do that, but right now all the funding is going into the game itself. So yeah, it's not something I'm like morally opposed to for some reason though.
Any word on support for consoles like PS4, Vita, and Wii U or digital storefronts like Humble Store, Green Man Gaming or GOG?
Short answer: Yes, but only in stretch goals
Steam Greenlight is our primary target *for now*. I want Insignificant to be available in as many places as possible, and I'm down to put the game out on digital storefronts like Steam, Humble Store, Desure, Green Man Gaming, Gamersgate and GOG. However those guys will probably only respond to my emails if Insignificant is fairly popular. So just like with Steam Greenlight it's going to depend on how many backers we get on the Kickstarter and how many people want the game in general.
This goes doubly so for Consoles. Now, it would literally be a dream come true if I could put my little indie game on ANY console. The desire is there, but the question is do any console manufacturers think they should bother with little ol' Insignificant? Couple it with the fact that dev kits for consoles cost quite a bit, and let's just say that console support will be a stretch goal somewhere down the line if we can get that level of support. Now let's go get that level of support!
The underground scene in the Kickstarter video is accessed from a pile of boxes near the sewage outlet where you start the game. Inside the pile of boxes you find an opening in one of the boxes that heads downward. And downward for what seems like forever, and opens up into a gaping chasm. The boxes you followed down are being held in place by large termite mounds, which seem to have grafted the boxes into their own design. There is record of another man who was trapped in this same creepy amalgam of boxes and termites some time ago. You can actually see one of his journal entries in the video. But how did this man escape? Or is he still lurking somewhere down there in the darkness?
The beta will be released as soon as the game is finished with the Alpha state, which will happen when the game is what's known as "feature complete." This means that all the features that are planned to be included in the game are added, and the only thing left is to test those features. Many of these features are in the game, you saw them in the trailer, but many more are being decided upon based on how well this Kickstarter does, and will take some time to add in.
Rest assured that you'll get emails when that happens, but I can't give an exact time for when that will be, especially when we don't yet know how much funding we have to work with! I set up an estimated delivery date for the project for July 2014.
Maybe it will happen much sooner, or maybe even a bit later? It's hard to say at this point. Many things will change with this month, and in the event Insignificant actually gets enough funding to pay for another programmer's salary (gasp!) then it might actually be done twice as quickly as it would have been.
Short Answer: A game made by one person for free is probably going to look like a game made by one person for free. Without a bigger budget, that's going to have to be okay.
Long Answer: Okay actually this was just a question I got from a single dude with an eye for tact and elegance in diction, but for the benefit of other people, I wanted to address the fact that the game shown in this trailer doesn't look astounding in a lot of ways.
There is a very good reason there aren't any camera filters, lighting effects, shadows, or any modern conveniences you've come to expect in games in this footage. Those things are only allowed in Unity Pro. The funding of this Kickstarter has already gone to upgrading to Unity Pro, so that stuff will definitely be added after the funding from this Kickstarter comes in.
Many of the textures, and some of the models that are featured in this trailer are temporary. When a game is in an Alpha state, the idea is to just put something there that communicates the vague idea of what grass looks like, and not to spend a lot of time getting a really nice looking grass texture. That comes later, and in some ways depends on the budget as well.
Keep in mind, I'm one person. This game is being made by one person. As an artist, I have strengths in certain areas and weaknesses in others, and those are both pretty easy to see if you look at the game. I would hire more people to work on the project in areas where I'm not up to par, but hey that depends on how much funding we get, doesn't it? Paying one artist a salary for one year is going to be about 30k if I stiff the guy. Things are expensive, and I do my best to make this game happen, because it's important to me.
The game is primarily written for a mature audience, as it deals with themes of death, existentialism, and morality, however I think mature children could certainly play Insignificant, because it does not feature mature language, sexual content or gun violence.
Parts of the game may also be frightening. Not to the point where it's going to scare the pants off of you Amnesia: The Dark Descent veterans, but hey, the world is creepy.
Yes it does! I'm sorry, I forgot to write it in the reward description, and Kickstarter doesn't allow you to edit the reward text once someone has chosen it. You get the beta version for every and all rewards up to and including the $25 reward.
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