Project image
pledged of £299,000pledged of £299,000 goal
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Mar 26 2014
thesetalesBy thesetales
First created
thesetalesBy thesetales
First created
pledged of £299,000pledged of £299,000 goal
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Mar 26 2014

Is our goal too high? What if we fail? An announcement. A big publisher offer. And the new voxel terrain engine!

Posted by thesetales (Creator)


so there’s plenty to talk about today:

  • our campaign progress
  • our story engine
  • a high goal, a big publisher offer, and what if we fail?
  • the new voxel terrain engine footage!
  • a game developer question
  • and friends -- Duelyst and Paradigm

I’m genuinely touched by your help and was surprised by the support of you on the interweb and the project creators on Kickstarter. Much love, really. Thank you all! 

Our Campaign Progress

We’re doing great so far. We made £19k ($31k) in 1 week which is more than the average campaign - especially for a non-US campaign. At this very moment we are #2 on the “Video Games” Hot List on KickTraq. We are the #4 “Video Game” on Kickstarter Discover. And while KickTraq projects a 24% goal trend, KickSpy expects a 110% funding in 3 weeks!? Overall the campaign feels a bit strange – when compared to other campaigns. There’s no big drop of backers per day as if it takes a bit more time for the public to recognize our game. I’m a backer myself and remember campaigns such as The Mandate but really can’t predict how this will end. “Kotaku”, “Joystiq”, "Polygon", “Rock, Paper, Shotgun”, “PC Gamer” and others all wrote about us. While all of this is happening I’ve been talking to the Humble Store to launch our own store. Great guys over there, very indie. Before we launch a Humble store, I’d like to do a backer survey about how you guys feel about this soon. 

A Story Engine 

How does it actually work? What is an AI storyteller? How many episodes do we have? 

The Kickstarter campaign is meant for 5 episodes (not only the first). Just remember that our scripted story is less complex than a Mass Effect story due to our focus on being procedural (and because we are a survival/sandbox game). You will talk to other aliens, they will give you quests and after some time it will be even more. You will get to know more about your past, about strange folks and interesting aliens as well. 

Another side of the “story engine” is the AI storyteller: The AI is constantly managing your mood, ambitions and the environment. That simple eco system in the background forces some animal herds or alien villages to decide between attacking or talking to you. In addition to this there’s a weather system for a whole region and if you are too close to a “bad weather” area you might even run into a sand or ion storm. As always we start rather simple and add more complexity and depth to it depending on how it felt to you and us after an alpha test. For instance the “faction” allegiance is quite similar to the basic EVE Online (great fan!) allegiance mechanics (for single NPCs). 

A High Goal, A Big Publisher Offer, An Announcement, and What If We Fail?

Obviously our goal is a bit too high. I am enough of a backer myself to know how it feels to some people to back a rather strangly progressing campaign. So, let’s do this:

If we don’t reach 25% of our goal until the 31st March, 2014 (exactly in 2 weeks), then we’ll cancel our Kickstarter campaign to probably launch a Humble Store instead.

I’d really like to hear your guys opinion about this as well. I’ll make a survey soon regarding all the mentioned stuff, OK? I think we need to be honest. Please, share and tell your friends about us.

Another thing I’d like to mention is that a big publisher made an offer and we’re in talks with them again. You may be wondering what this means exactly? To be honest: Nothing so far. I think it’s just great news I’d like to share with you guys. It feels good. Tough days, tbh.

So, what If we fail? I like Proven Lands, I really do. I think I’m not the only one missing such a game for years already. Its features, the mood, the atmosphere. It’s not just Don’t Starve in space. And I know that a certain big publisher thinks the same. I’m only guessing but even you guys might feel the same about it. ;) I like the guys behind the Humble Store a lot. So, if we fail we would cut some of the features to make it more reasonable, and do the Humble perhaps. Our Kickstarter goal is for an optimal team of 8-10 guys - for 12 months. Without funding I’d would work on it for free, Jeffrey would work part time on it. Extra preorder revenue would go directly to additional artists and coders, same as before. So no matter what, we’ll do Proven Lands one way or another. The only difference: A bit slower than planned. 

A New Voxel Terrain Engine

Yesterday I finished a bigger step in our engine development. Proven Lands now has a voxel terrain engine! Woo hoo! See below for a very first footage without terraforming - but with strange caves instead. I wish I had more time. What it means for the game: Digging, terraforming, caves, flying isles and strange landscape formations.

Does it mean I could build a house out of dirt if I wanted to? No. We aren’t Minecraft, Starforge or Blockscape. I love Minecraft. Yep, I do. But: I don’t like “more realistic” voxel houses out of rocks. For me such a game concept works in Minecraft and Stonehearth due to “cubes” (or even in Terraria and Starbound). But in my eyes it won’t in games like Starforge or Blockscape (great guy, btw). I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t build houses and cars out of dirt and rocks. That’s why we’ll limit the possibilities (for game design reasons). It’s a game design decision only, actually. But what do we need it for then? For mining, digging, for awesome looking landscapes, for terrain animations (dune worms!), for rivers, for sand storms, for flying isles and for asteroids (in the orbit) – well, actually for many awesome things.

A Game Developer Question

Cosmin, a young game dev, asked me: “How did you get from the concept to what you have now in only 6 months?” Thank you for this, it’s great to hear stuff like this. To answer it: I think it has to do with your experience and your team. If you did an AI and 3D engine before, for certain you won’t make the same mistakes of Phil Fish for instance (who spent 4 years (?) on FEZ). I think it is about experience most of the time. Speaking as a programmer: When you solved a problem once you usually don’t make the same mistake twice. If you managed bigger teams and risky projects before, it is quite the same. I’m 34. I started to code as a kid. I am pro engineer for 10+ years. But another important aspect is the team. If you have some real talents around you they will make your ideas bigger and better; if not, you will fail or slow down, I think (see below for Quentin Tarantino's words based on an advice from Terry Gilliam). 

Shout Out Time. Some friends to share!

Duelyst -- A Squad-Based Tactical Combat with Ranked Competitive Play. Brought to you by veterans from Diablo III and Rogue Legacy.

Paradigm -- A Point and Click Adventure Game which is set in a strange fantasy world in the not so distant future. Its main style influences are Eastern European settings, the late 70's and early 80's. By a friend. Wrench, our composer, is on board here too.


Best, Rafael


Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Missing avatar


      I have no ideas about the Humble or the publisher but I wish you the best ;)

    2. Missing avatar

      T. Taylor on

      I think you should cut the game down to bare bones then add the rest of the game as stretch goals and keep accepting pledges until the game is ready for release similar to how they did with Star Citizen.
      You could also launch on Indiegogo as Flexible Funding and allow pledges through Paypal.

    3. Missing avatar


      To be honest the goal very to high. The game look very cool I m very interesting with it. Maybe if u drop down goal and u will use some from your own pocket but when game out maybe u will make it back. That just my though. I wish game is going.

    4. thesetales Creator on

      @lobster: thank you :) regarding voxel based dirt houses. i don't like them. it works for me, as mentioned, very well in minecraft/stonehearth (and 2d in terraria/starbound), but not in more realistic voxel games such as starforge/blockscape. a game design decision. i prefer to let you use the resources/material to craft "bricks" or "steel" in order to build a house/shelter. i hope you see the small difference

    5. thesetales Creator on

      @horst-peter: thank you :) we will see about a publisher. i got a few publisher offers so far. as always with such situations you never know how it ends. negotiations take forever. and i like humble/early access/indie somehow more, tbh, for many reasons

    6. thesetales Creator on

      @airborn: hm. interesting. i thought it would be a non-uk and non-usa problem only (i.e. for germany, spain, italy and sweden). the goal is probably the main issue. some suggested that we should relaunch the campaign with a lower goal (even if it means to work with less people, remove some features to keep the release date). idk yet. i like the humble store. i'd like to give it another 2 weeks before we make such a move due to gdc/major releases these weeks

    7. thesetales Creator on

      @scott: !!

    8. thesetales Creator on

      @matteo: terraforming? i think this comes for free already due to the new engine. however, as mentioned, it is not minecraft/blockscape/starforge. steam greenlight? help us there! it is ok. very close to top 100 after a few days. we'll see soon

    9. thesetales Creator on

      @drakrochma: yep. we're just talking. and... i prefer humble so far, tbh :)

    10. drakrochma on

      A publisher means DRM and drm is nothing we want.
      I support you as long as there is no drm.
      If you do not reach your goal and would start a new campagn with a lower goal, i would support you again, as long as there is no drm.

      And please, make this game hit its goal, it looks amazing and seems to be a really gread game.

    11. Missing avatar

      Matteo Signorini

      According to me the only problem that this Kickstarter has is its short duration, because that won't give enough time to the word to spread around, comparing it to the Mandate Kickstarter is appropriate: at the beginning had a slow start, then after a while an explosive rise, maybe a Kickstarter a couple of months long with an adequate amount of press could reach this goal. I also think that the Steam Early Access option is the way to go; it could provide a steady stream of income and free testing, especially if you follow the example of various successful studios like Introversion Software, Squad or Keen Software House, about managing communications with the fanbase and adding content to the game. How is going the campaign on Steam Greenlight? Finally i hope you will not cut too much from the game; above all Terraforming because in my opinion that is a feature that many players are interested in (and i have a soft spot for it).
      Sorry for my bad english, i'm glad to read such an honest update and to know that either way the game will be developed, when it will go on Steam Early Access i will be a first day buyer and Proven Lands needs an official forum (please make one).

    12. Scott Lowrie on

      Hmmm, if the game was humbled....i'd snap it up faster than you can say scotty

    13. Oliver Janoschek on

      My opinion is that there is nothing wrong with your campaign. I do think however, the main problem with this campaign is that UK Kickstarters are not tied to Amazon Payments. As trivial as this sounds, I believe it sadly creates a barrier to enabling pledges. Since people that never have backed for a UK based campaign will have put their credit card number into kickstarters own system without just being able to use their existing amazon account. Not sure how to counter that, but this is usually the #1 complaint in pretty much all gaming communities that discuss kickstarter.

    14. Horst-Peter Bittmann on

      Good to read such a nicely honest update. I mentioned to a friend just a bit ago that I think your project might be a much better fit for an early access thing. Start off with a smaller core and build and improve on that over time. Of course that all depends on your situation and needs and as such, even if the goal seems "too high", if that is what's needed then that's that.

      Personally I would go for early access even if you go the publisher route. When it comes to building evangelists for your game, I don't think that can be beat these days. In addition it will be a good indicator of interest and supply of valuable feedback/testing. Not sure what a good pricetag for early access would be, but if I'm honest, I believe that unless you want to limit the amount of people artificially through price, I would lowball it and gradually increase it over time rather than the other way around.

      Either way I'm glad to hear this will happen in one or the other way and if you go early access I might be able to more easily convince some friends to join up that just don't do kickstarting.

    15. Missing avatar

      LobsterMobster on

      I think you ought to let the Kickstarter run its full course. I don't see the harm in it, though that you're looking to end it early makes me wonder if you couldn't make a new Kickstarter with a goal of 75,000 in 21 days (which is basically your new goalpost).

      RE the voxel stuff, I agree that it's a bit strange to build a house out of rocks and dirt but if you're making a game about survival, well, sometimes survival isn't pretty. So sure, maybe no three-story dirt mansions, but I don't see the harm in making basic shelters out of whatever's at hand.

      Had you infinite resources you could get creative with it, rig some sort of load emulation system or something so that a dirt structure could collapse under its own weight. Of course, had you infinite resources you wouldn't need a Kickstarter campaign. Also you'd have a golden rocket car and possibly an ostrich farm.