Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 9, 2012.

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A classic point & click graphic adventure game set it a pulp sci-fi world of bubble helmets, rockets & rayguns!

Jack Houston and the Necronauts is a pulp sci-fi inspired adventure game where you portray Captain Jack Houston on his deadliest mission: to man the first rocket to explore a savage, alien world!

The Concept

Think "The Dig", if Ben from Full Throttle gut-punched Boston Low and commanded the mission in his place. The interface will be a fairly streamlined verb coin point & click system. The setting should be familiar to anyone who's seen Tom Corbett: Space Cadet or Perry Rhodan: bubble helmets, rockets 'n ray guns galore.

The Story

In the year 1999, a retired Jack Houston is recruited by the Venture Aeronautics and Space Transportation (VAST) corporation for one last mission: to man the first rocket to Venus. The rocket is designed to penetrate the hazy atmosphere and land on the surface, where some believe Jack may find the first signs of life in our solar system. En route, something goes terribly wrong and Jack's rocket crash lands in an alien ocean, where he rests in cryogenic sleep for 1,000 years. The world he wakes up to is one of savage beast men who worship a devil god with the power to control the dead. These strange entities are able to inhabit the remains of any creature after death, fortifying and building upon their skeletal structures until they are virtually indestructible war machines. With the tribal inhabitants of the entire planet under their crushing heel, the undead Venusian warlords threaten to pulverize Jack like an ant. But our clever test pilot will uncover a shocking revelation about the origin of these “Necronauts,” a connection between the creatures and himself that could be their undoing… and his.

This isn't the mission Jack signed up for, and even if he finds a way off the planet, the Earth he knew is gone. What Jack will find, however, is a whole new universe where space travel is common place and aliens are everywhere. A galaxy of adventure he could never have dreamed is waiting for him, if only he can survive the perils of this vicious planet!

The Setting

Jack’s adventure takes place not far from home, on our neighboring planet of Venus. But this isn’t the lifeless planet we know today, this Venus is a sweltering vine jungle teaming with strange beasts of horn, tooth and claw. This is the world of adventure imagined and glorified in sci-fi magazines and novels of the 40's and 50's, by science fiction authors and artists whose legacies include John Carter of Mars, Carson of Venus, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Tom Corbett: Space Cadet, Perry Rhodan and many more. In this future world, humans have conquered space and found a new frontier beyond our imagination.

Stacy Davidson

Davidson’s love of computer games began at the age of eight with the introduction of a TI-99/4A computer into his household. He later developed a short Extended Basic text adventure called The Quest, followed by many simple arcade and RPG game prototypes on his Commodore 64. He spent a year in Quality Assurance at Origin Systems/EA, published his own shareware game called Shadow of the Lost Citadel, and has spent the last eleven years working in motion pictures as a producer, director, cinematographer, editor, sound designer and visual effects supervisor at his own studio, Odyssee Pictures. In 2010, his fan-game project Han Solo Adventures was featured in Star Wars: Uncut and The People vs. George Lucas. Now at the helm of his new game studio, Davidson is looking forward to exploring the adventure genre in his never ending quest to recapture the glorious days when mysteries were solved and legends born one click at a time.

You can check out Davidson's work with a trailer for his horror film Sweatshop, and his music video for the metal band Outworld (because metal. \m/etal!!)

The Team

Stacy Davidson is an accomplished effects artist and game designer, but he is also counting on the help of a small team of artists. The level of involvement of other team members will depend on the level of funding we achieve. We have already tapped the talent of concept artists Patrick Reilly, Mitchell Malloy, Giacomo Tappainer and Mike Oliver, and would love to continue to utilize them.

We also have at our disposal a team of effects artists including Mike Oliver, Kristi Boul and Marcus Koch, all of whom have extensive experience in sculpting, molding and casting, and who all have their own valuable creative vision to offer, as well as helping to speed up the process immensely.

Iain Kelso

Internationally acclaimed composer Iain Kelso has already begun work on a riveting original score for Jack Houston. His score for the feature film Jacob, produced by Odyssee Pictures and featuring Michael Biehn (The Terminator, Aliens, Tombstone, The Divide), recently won the Platinum Award at WorldFest International Film Festival. Samples of his work can be heard here.

The Production

In film production, it's always the same deal. We pitch a project to investors, raise money, make the movie, and then cross our fingers that we will a) get a great domestic distribution deal, b) have lots of luck at the international markets selling foreign rights, and c) become profitable enough to repay all our investors and make enough for ourselves to launch another picture.

That way of working is frankly crazy. With Kickstarter, you as the fans and players can make a project like this a reality by backing it ahead of time and, as long as we do our job, there's no taking chances on market fluctuations, agent fees, greedy distributors, tea leaves, fortune cookies or the ramblings of the Voodoo Lady at the International House of Mojo. We get to create the best game possible and put it right into the hands of the very fans who backed us. No middle men what so ever.

Within three weeks of the project being funded, we will go into production full time and begin filling YOU in with regular updates and behind-the-scenes videos keeping you involved in the project every step of the way. You'll have exclusive access to the dev team through the private backers' forum, and high level backers will even have certain perks including quarterly producer reports and the opportunity to vote on critical in-game content.

Platforms and Localization

At the base goal, we will be using Adventure Game Studio as the base engine, which supports PC and has limited support for Linux. If we continue that path, we will do all we can to support Linux at launch, within the capabilities of that engine, and begin work on a Mac port after launch.

However, we are also formulating a stretch goal that will allow us to develop the game using a different engine that will fully support PC, Mac and Linux at first launch, then iPad and Android tablets soon after. We are committed to seeing Jack on multiple platforms no matter what, but exceeding our funding goals will allow us to do so immediately at launch.

At the base goal, the game will be released with English voice over and on-screen text. We are currently formulating a small, attainable stretch goal that will allow us to translate the game text into many other languages at launch. Again, we are committed to supporting as many languages as possible. If we do not attain this goal, other languages will follow sometime after launch.

Kicking it Forward

We solemnly pledge 5% of the profits from the finished product back to the Kickstarter community to help fund other people's dreams. http://kickingitforward.org

We want all our backers to be super excited about being a part of Jack Houston and the Necronauts!

Digital Rewards

At the basic $15 level, we will get you a download code for the full game, DRM-FREE, which will include an in-game designer commentary audio track, a new HD wallpaper every month, exclusive access to beta-testing and access to our private forum community and video updates for backers-only. At $30 we'll throw in a digital download of the original score. At $60 you'll also get a PDF of "Crafting the World of Jack Houston and the Necronauts" which chronicles the complete development process covering sculpting, molding/casting, stop motion animation, miniature building and game development.

We also have a special "ALL-DIGITAL INTERNATIONAL PACKAGE" at $95 which gives you a huge assortment of nifty digital rewards for international backers who'd rather not mess with pesky customs issues.

Physical Rewards

After that, the rewards start to get physical...

Attribution & Gratitude

  • Some public domain video clips were used courtesy of NASA.
  • All concept art is the work of Patrick Reilly, Mitchell Malloy, Giacomo Tappainer and Mike Oliver.
  • Examples of the Jack Houston team visual effects work featured shots from Psychic Experiment (A.K.A. "Walking Distance") featuring Debbie Rochon, Glenn Morshower, Katie Featherston, Reggie Bannister and Adrienne King, from Upstart Filmworks and Lionsgate Entertainment, written and directed by Mel House. More info here.
  • Some music created by Jack Houston composer Iain Kelso was used courtesy Odyssee Pictures from the feature film Jacob.
  • Voice over work was provided by professional voice actor Otis Twelve, and recorded courtesy of Vince Twelve, creator of the spectacular new adventure game Resonance from XII Games and Wadjet Eye Games (which also features Otis Twelve, and effects work from Odyssee Pictures/Warbird Games, check it out!)

Join Team Jack!

This project means more to me than you can know. The story is pure Edgar Rice Burroughs pulp adventure, the art design is a Frazetta-fueled dream (Frank Frazetta happens to be our lead concept artist Patrick Reilly's biggest influence), the environment and creatures will be right out of a Harryhausen movie, and just wait 'til you hear the way this soundtrack is shaping up. It's the grab a ray gun, hop in a rocket and blast off to Venus fantasy I've seen in my head ever since I first laid eyes on Amazing Stories magazine, and heard my first episodes of X Minus One and Tom Corbett: Space Cadet.

I truly can't wait to get started on Jack Houston, so please grab a bubble helmet, holster your ray gun, and fire up the engines because this is surely going to be one seriously kick ass ride!

~Stacy Davidson

FAQ

  • Let's talk about platform support. At the base goal: Windows at launch, Linux & Mac sometime after. We're working on stretch goals that will include WIN/MAC/LINUX support ALL AT LAUNCH. This is something we would VERY much like to provide, and it's the priority in our stretch goal development. We are currently interviewing programmers for that purpose, and will post the stretch goals as soon as we have some concrete numbers for the budget.

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  • Good question! The base budget of $56,000.00 breaks down like this: 29% for fees and taxes, 20% for reward fulfillment, and 51% for development. This includes tools & supplies, and one full-time developer. Other team members will be contributing in certain aspects, on an as-needed basis, for either a small stipend and/or back end compensation. The engine being used to develop the game at the $56k budget level is similar to SCUMM in that it allows rapid development through scripting and developer tools. This is what allows one developer to create an adventure game. Of course, I will be counting on you, the backers, as my beta team with your opinions, first impressions and gameplay issues. I will be utilizing you higher level backers even sooner as alpha testers and, in some cases, through voting on specific game content. For more information on plans to expand the development team and move to a cross-platform development code base using stretch goals, please see the answer on "Platforms."

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  • Traditionally in 1950s pulp sci-fi fiction, we conquer space much faster than we have in reality. From the 1950s through 1999, there is no parallel. Jack Houston takes place in an alternate reality that only exists in the world imagined by mid-19th century artists and writers, where we have bubble helmets, rockets and ray guns and no Justin Bieber.

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  • Pledge $15 or more
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    856 backers

    "Jack Houston and the Necronauts" DRM-free Digital Download complete with designer commentary audio track, a new HD wallpaper every month, exclusive access to beta-testing, and access to our private forum community and video updates for backers-only.

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    115 backers

    *NEW TIER* Now, by adding just $5 to your $15 pledge, you can receive the DRM-free digital download of the original score by award-winning composer Iain Kelso! We're also upgrading the $30 tier, so if you love soundtracks then read on...

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    29 backers

    *NEW TIER* This is a new tier meant to upgrade all $30 tier members with the following: DRM-free digital download of the original score, PLUS the Special Extended Edition soundtrack, and a full-color PDF download of the 6-panel liner notes with reflections from award-winning composer Iain Kelso and designer Stacy Davidson, plus all previous reward tiers.

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    144 backers

    DRM-free digital download of the original score by award-winning composer Iain Kelso, plus the previous reward tier.

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    35 backers

    DRM-free PDF download of the full color book "Crafting the World of Jack Houston and the Necronauts" which chronicles the complete development process covering sculpting, molding/casting, stop motion animation, miniature building and game development, plus all previous reward tiers.

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    ALL-DIGITAL INTERNATIONAL PACKAGE for customers who don't want to deal with customs. This tier includes the digital Special Edition with "Pulp Motion" featurette on creating and animating the sci-fi character and creature puppets, "Microcosmos" featurette about building the savage world of venus in miniature, "Scoring a Universe" featurette on composing and recording the original soundtrack, the complete "Jack Houston: Test Pilot" radio drama Season 1 with exclusive behind-the-scenes featurette on re-creating the feel of a classic radio drama, PDFs of the poster, CD sleeves and game box to print yourself, 4 total download codes, plus all previous reward tiers.

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    88 backers

    Special Edition boxed game with "Pulp Motion" featurette on creating and animating the sci-fi character and creature puppets, "Microcosmos" featurette about building the savage world of venus in miniature, "Scoring a Universe" featurette on composing and recording the original soundtrack, the complete "Jack Houston: Test Pilot" radio drama Season 1 with exclusive behind-the-scenes featurette on re-creating the feel of a classic radio drama, huge 27"x40" movie-sized "Jack Houston" poster, 4 total download codes, plus all previous reward tiers. (International backers please add $10)

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    13 backers

    *NEW TIER* Time is short for VAST agent #13 Jack Houston! If you add $13 to your $100 pledge, we will throw in a set of six mini-buttons featuring ambiguous images and slogans that say "hey, you know what this is? Cause if you do, you're in the cool club. With the cool kids." Of course these buttons will also be included with all higher tiers as well!

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    22 backers

    *NEW TIER* For those who just want a soundtrack added to their boxed game! This includes the Original Soundtrack CD featuring the beautiful score from award-winning composer Iain Kelso, plus all previous reward tiers. (International backers please add $10)

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    12 backers

    Original Soundtrack CD featuring the beautiful score from award-winning composer Iain Kelso, game box signed by designer Stacy Davidson, "Special Thanks" in the credits, "Jack Houston" raglan jersey, vote on in-game content in the forums (final decisions up to designer), 6 total download codes, plus all previous reward tiers. (International backers please add $10)

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    3 backers

    *NEW TIER* Your name (or company) mentioned in the final game, bonus custom lithograph with YOUR FACE as Jack Houston (or a female character, your choice), plus all previous reward tiers.

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    3 backers

    Full color hard copy book "Crafting the World of Jack Houston and the Necronauts" which chronicles the complete development process covering sculpting, molding/casting, stop motion animation, miniature building and game development, a framed lithograph of concept artwork by one of the amazing artists of Jack Houston (choose 1 from 5 images), VIP newsletters with exclusive behind-the-scenes info, 8 total download codes, plus all previous reward tiers. (International backers please add $10)

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    3 backers Limited (13 left of 16)

    *MODIFIED TIER* Now includes previous $3,000 level rewards: Listed in credits as Associate Producer, Military style Jack Houston Producer's Cap, life-size replica of Jack's raygun, bonus custom lithograph with YOUR FACE as Jack Houston (or a female character, your choice), access to ultra-early alpha test builds, your hardcopy of "Crafting the World of Jack Houston" is an exclusive special edition with bonus chapter, quarterly producer reports, 5 total signed lithographs of concept artwork (in addition to custom litho with your face), 12" resin model kit of interstellar space hero Jack Houston, 1 miniature model actually used in the final game (location set pieces, rocketship models, etc, your choice. First come, first pick!), plus all previous reward tiers, 10 total download codes, plus all previous reward tiers.

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    2 backers Limited (6 left of 8)

    At this premium level, you will receive a Limited Edition signed and numbered Jack Houston 12" statue (identical to model kit, but fully assembled and expertly painted), one of the original stop motion figures actually used in the final game (including all characters and creatures, your choice. First come, first pick!), YOUR FACE appears as mission control operator in opening sequence, plus all previous reward tiers.

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  • Pledge $10,000 or more
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    0 backers

    *NEW TIER* Listed in credits as Executive Producer (this also applies to $6,000 tier!), exclusive version of the game where YOU play Jack Houston or a female character in the game (your choice), 1 custom original art piece by a Jack Houston concept artist (anything you want!), plus all previous reward tiers.

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Funding period

- (45 days)