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This summer the Double Action team is going to finish our stylish multiplayer action game, and we need your help.

A Multiplayer Action Game

Double Action is a multiplayer action game inspired by action movies like those made by John Woo. It's the spiritual successor of a Half-Life mod called The Specialists, and is made by some of the same people. We've rebuilt it on the Source engine and we're nearly done. This summer we want to take leave from our jobs and schoolwork to focus on finishing the game, and we need your help.

We need your help to finish the first version of the game, codename Boogaloo, by the end of the summer. This means at least two agent models, six weapons, six style skills, four to six levels and three stunts. This is a small feature set compared to a triple-A game, but we want to focus on a small feature set and make it the best it can be before we move on. Subsequent versions will feature more ways of being stylish, more stunts, more weapons, more maps, more agents, more style skills.

That's a lot of work, but if we need to take time off from our jobs and schoolwork this summer to focus on the game then we can finish it. The date of delivery of the game (and all physical rewards) will be August 2013, or in other words, in six months. We already have a playable "beta" with all of the core mechanics in place, and to finish we need to fill in the gaps in the art and refine the design.

We already have one and a half weapon models done and so the total workload for the artist will be:

  • The remaining weapon models
  • One player model
  • One pair of sunglasses

We have 11 maps at varying levels of completeness in the game right now, so the total workload of the level designer will be to finish whichever of these we decide to keep, and also produce one completely new level. We may ditch some of our current levels if they end up not fun or below the quality bar, but we'll end up with at least 8 maps by the end of the summer.

Here's the costs breakdown:

  • $5000 for one programmer/designer. This is me! I'll be in charge of gameplay programming, fixing bugs, improving/iterating on our designs and filling in when others need help.
  • $5000 for one artist. Ryan Goodrich will be our artist. He'll be in charge of making player and weapon models, and helping to fill out environment art. Ryan has been involved in the modding and indie game scene making art for over 10 years and is a long time fan of action games. He works as a professional CG artist.
  • $5000 for one level designer. Nick Kochman will be our level designer. He's been with the DA team since the beginning and is responsible for about a third of our current levels.
  • Some extra for the rewards. T-shirts and posters cost money. Kickstarter and Amazon also take their cut.

It's important to note that while we'll be delivering high quality good-looking work, we'll not be delivering triple-A next-gen work. It won't look like something that a 100-person team spent two years developing on the newest Unreal engine. We can't afford that level of production, but we will continue to put out the same high quality work that we've been doing thus far.

Double Action is about doing things with style.

  • Be Stylish. You fill up your Style Meter by doing stylish things - stunting, brawling, headshots, and so on. When your style meter fills up, your chosen style skill is activated.
  • Stunts. Diving sliding and rolling are the three core stunts. Shooting an enemy player during a stunt will drive up the style meter much more.
  • Style Skills. There are currently six to choose from: Marksman, Athletic, Bouncer, Reflexes, Resilient, and Nitrophiliac. Each one gives the player a buff that is active all of the time, and a special skill that activates when the style meter fills.
  • Firearms. We have six weapons tentatively planned for the first version. One rifle, two sub-machine guns, two pistols, a shotgun and a grenade. Some weapons can be aimed in for greater accuracy at the cost of movement speed.
  • Levels. Square off on the rooftops of skyscrapers, in an abandoned factory, or in a train station.
  • Agents. Choose from a roster of field agents to play as.
  • No unlocks. All weapons are available to all players right away. No grinding, no levels. No trying to kill someone who has an overpowered gun just because he's played a lot or paid some money.
  • Community Developed. The development of DA is organized by a community of people who love the game. The source code is on GitHub and the forums are public. You can help develop the game too! Just make an account on the forums and say hello.

Free, not free-to-play. I remember the days when "free" didn't mean "free until you get into the game." When I say the game is free, I mean that it's completely and entirely free. We don't charge money for powerups or special weapons. Double Action will always be completely free. It was built by a community that loves action games and wants to have fun playing one.

Future features. There's lots more we want to do with this game. It won't come until after this summer, but we still want you to know because we're excited about it.

  • More stunts. Wall-dives and wall-running? Hanging from ledges? Flips maybe?
  • More weapons. More pistols, more submachine guns, more shotguns.
  • More game modes. Team-oriented game modes, co-op game modes, more free-for-all modes.

For more information check out the Double Action website.

Our level designer Dementei's Twitch.tv channel, as mentioned in the video, is here: http://www.twitch.tv/dementei

Cool Guy Sunglasses. Because cool guys wear sunglasses while walking away from explosions. Note: These are not real sunglasses, they're virtual sunglasses. Don't complain when your sunglasses don't come in the mail.

Golden M1911. Show your friends how cool you are with this Bling-Plated Browning M1911 Of Coolness +2. Note: This is not a real Bling-Plated M1911, because that would be hella expensive.

Explosive Double Action Poster. Those who choose the poster backing level will receive a wall poster. Where you put this poster is up to you, I recommend you take it to your grandmother's house and hang it over her fireplace. She's sure to appreciate it and compliment you on your good taste. The final design of the poster will be decided on during the summer.

"I've Got Your Back" T-Shirt. The T-shirt design will be the Double Action logo on the front and the words "I've Got You Back" on the back. I love puns and here I've squeezed three into one. Aside from the obvious declaration to your friends concerning how you will cover them in their possibly questionable endeavor, you got the shirt because you backed our Kickstarter, and the words are on your back. If you wear this shirt, members of your preferred gender are sure to notice the triple-entendre and offer to buy you a drink or ask you out for dinner.

How else can I help? You don't have to back us to help us. Double Action is a community-developed game and you can help develop it. We always need playtesters. If you're an artist or programmer or level designer, you can help us and you don't even have to wait until summer. The best way to begin is to register on the forums and introduce yourself.

What happens if we go over our funding goal? We're not specifying any specific stretch goals or unlocks. Those things would only detract from the game's design and create additional busywork for us. But if we do find ourselves over the funding goal, here's what will happen to the extra bucks:

  • Buy an engine license from Valve. This means that anyone would be able to play without having to download the free Valve SDK, and it means distribution over Steam. It also opens the door to releasing Mac OSX and Linux versions in the future.
  • Fund further development and future releases. There's a community of people working on the game already, and we would love to give them a reason to spend more time developing Double Action.

The game will be free. Why should I pay money for it? You loved games like Max Payne and The Specialists and you want to see a well-curated and free action game for PC. You take pride in knowing that you helped bring a fun game into existence. You want to join a community of people just like you. You're impatient and don't want to wait for us to finish the game at our laggard weekends-only pace.

How long would it take you to finish the game if there weren't a Kickstarter? That's tough to say, but it would almost certainly go into 2014. Without the generous benevolence of Kickstarter backers we would only be able to work on weekends, and at the current pace of development it would probably take at least 6-8 additional months. We certainly don't need Kickstarter to finish the game. We could go on working weekends and finish the game at some point. But we're impatient.

You mention you could get a Source engine license if you went past your funding goal. How much is that? Sorry, can't say. Valve keeps that info pretty tight. It's not unreasonably high though, or I wouldn't mention the possibility here at all. The Blade Symphony Kickstarter got an engine license with $15000 so if you read between the line, doubling our funding goal makes a license a very real possibility.

What could you do with an engine license that you couldn't do otherwise? Oh jeez don't get me started. Most importantly it would allow us to distribute the game to anybody who wanted a copy of it, regardless of what Valve games they own. (The price would of course be $0.) Having access to the source code of the engine would allow us to add new features that require engine modifications, fix certain minor problems we've been putting up with so far, and speed up development by reducing debugging time. We could distribute the game on additional platforms like OS X and Linux. It would also give us better access to Valve's pipeline for content creation and as an added bonus it would let us use Source FilmMaker with Double Action.

Are you an esteemed member of the video game press? Do you want to run a story on Double Action? Contact me at jorge@lunarworkshop.com

Do you have a question or want to throw a virtual tomato at me? You too can contact me at jorge@lunarworkshop.com

You're cool. Do you have a Twitter or something? Yes, but I only spout nonsense there.

Who made the video music? The first song is "Death Proof" by Fancy Mike and the second is "EMFH" by Raw Stiles, both on the wonderful album Fantastique, which I sometimes listen to on loop as I develop Double Action, and which you should go buy.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

1. My qualifications: I've been developing for the Source engine since the SDK was released in 2006, and before that I worked on the Half-Life engine. I've worked professionally as a contractor for about a decade and I have tons of experience with the programming required. I've shipped a number of games previously, the most recent one being Digitanks. If none of this convinces you, go to the website and download the latest version of the game, play it, and decide for yourself.

2. Physical rewards ordering and shipping: Many Kickstarter projects have been overwhelmed by the amount of physical orders they need to deliver on and thus have no more time/resources for development. Accordingly, I've hand-picked a special executive assistant (my mom!) to assist in ordering, sorting, packaging and shipping the physical rewards. I also put a limit on how many physical rewards we would offer. This means that we won't be sidetracked with reward fulfillment and all of our time can be spent making the game.

3. Updates and new beta versions will be posted once weekly with playtests every weekend. This was my rate of work during the winter break. You can verify that if you like by checking the DA forum activity during the month of December 2012. If this Kickstarter passes I'll have no other engagements for this summer aside from running with the dog, but he mainly just sleeps when he's not eating or scarfing down table scraps.

4. The team has been working together on this game for more than a year now. We do it because we love this game and we want to see it released. Some were new to game development when they started, and some were old hands. All of the art produced so far has been by this community, and we have all of the resources we need to continue to the finish line.

5. Legal mumbo jumbo. I've built in a little bit extra into the Kickstarter goal, just in case. This will be held in reserve for any legal or accounting work that needs doing. If it's not necessary it'll be distributed to the team members.

6. Source Steam and Valve. Source engine is a free game engine available to anybody with a copy of a Valve game, which is everybody since Team Fortress 2 is free. We chose it because of its wide support base, easy access for players, and my personal experience with it. But it's also an aging engine, and it's very tightly controlled by Valve. I've spoken with Valve employees before and while I can't speak for them they've always been very open to discussion, especially if there's a community of gamers with a problem that needs solving. Since DA is a free game I don't anticipate any problems, especially if we pass our funding goal and have enough for an engine license.

7. Can we get everything done by the end of the summer? Actually, working full time I think we'll finish before the end of the summer, so possibly we'll have some extra time to add some polish and a maybe few extra features. I'm confident that summer is enough time to finish given the rate of progress we've made so far and how much there is left to do, given we have the financial security to focus on it.

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    An in-game Kickstarter icon or badge by your name, a badge on the forums and private backer forum access, advance access to each beta released weekly throughout the summer, and my eternal gratitude. Any backer will also receive a copy of Digitanks, the game I made with Lunar Workshop before I started working on Double Action.

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    A Golden M1911. Functions exactly like the M1911 in the regular game, except that it's full of bling bling and everybody likes the bling bling. Includes all above rewards.

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    A Double Action Explosive Action Poster signed by me will adorn the wall in the home of your choosing. Includes all above rewards.

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    Developer fun night. Get yourself to sunny San Diego and I'll put you up, and we will hang out for a weekend. You can help me develop the game, or we can play your favorite game together, or watch John Woo and Jet Li movies all night. Includes all above rewards.

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    My notebook. You will receive in the mail a copy of the notebook in which I scribbled two years' worth of notes while making Double Action. To-do lists, cool ideas, playtest feedback, random thoughts, the occasional sketch. Includes all above rewards.

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    You can name the version of Double Action that comes after "Boogaloo". Should it be "Double Action: Hard Charger" ? Or "Double Action: Overdrive" ? "Double Action: Extra Cheese Please" ? It's your call. Includes all above rewards.

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