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KickStarter Island, a Robinson Crusoe simulator

Strange Fellow

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Since making threads about interesting Kickstarter games is apparently allowed on this forum, I want in.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/109415457/island/
http://www.islandthegame.com/

Island is a roleplay and strategy game where you play as a castaway in the eighteenth century. Inspired by Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" and Jules Verne's "L'île mystérieuse" (Mysterious Island) style and setting, and carefully crafted by a tabletop GM, the rules of the game are designed so you, the player, can quickly pick up the game, and are then quickly offered a punishing challenge.
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The end goal of the game is, naturally, to escape the island:
When your short term survival is insured, try to escape the island by any means necessary. While there are many ways to escape the island, none are simple to achieve and some may not be available at all depending on your particular island generation. The escape means are separated in 3 categories :

- Luck & endurance based : Ships may pass in the vicinity of the island a once a year. You can craft a signal fire, but it will require you to be around when the ship passes by.

- Skill based : There is a type of craft that can be built and allow you to take high sea. It requires high skill specialization, and quantity of materials.

- Exploration based : By far the most interesting means of escape. When exploring around, you may discover various remains from infortunate explorers, or natives. Those finds are rare, and their condition random. It is up to you to judge what if it's worth it : Leave it hoping for a better solution, collect raw materials, or repair the structure and hope for the best.

About the creators:
Wanderers

Auribeau-sur-Siagne, France
Us : A pair of humans that lives in the woods, likes quietness, large spaces, and animals, and are making video games about loneliness and overcoming trials.
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______________
Personally I think it looks a lot like NEO Scavenger, and since I thought that game was one of the best to come out of the first wave of Kickstarter RPGs, I have high hopes for this. Unfortunately, Island doesn't seem to have a story or cool CYOA segments to break up the fight for survival, like NS has. On the other hand, both the skill system and the combat look a lot more complex. Whether that works to the game's benefit or its detriment remains to be seen, as I thought NS stuck a good balance overall. Nevertheless, it looks like the devs are aiming to support a variety of builds and approaches, as well as making a conscious effort to discourage rote repetition in the gameplay, which bodes very well for replayability. I also think the game looks gorgeous:
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Kind of Sierra-ish :incline:

Wanderers is only asking for €3000, which certainly seems doable. So go back it! I do ask, though, that you don't back it too hard, lest the game meet its stretchgoals:
  • €5000 - PS4 support
  • €7000 - Multiplayer
  • €9000 - Xbox One support

...yeah.
 
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Tigranes

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Oh, this is fantastic. A great deal of detail on each game mechanic in the KS page too.

The only red flag is the idiotic stretch goals - not even the fear that they may be reached, but the fact that they put it up there for 2000 each makes you question their sanity. Game looks like it's well into development, though they don't seem to have prior experience.
 

Strange Fellow

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Oh, this is fantastic. A great deal of detail on each game mechanic in the KS page too.

The only red flag is the idiotic stretch goals - not even the fear that they may be reached, but the fact that they put it up there for 2000 each makes you question their sanity. Game looks like it's well into development, though they don't seem to have prior experience.
624a5fdf435fbadeec353f5ad8470b75_original.png

This indicates that the stretch goals are a result of fan requests. I don't like that either.
But yeah, the pitch gives the impression that development is well undrrway, which was one of the things that convinced me to back it. Hope it makes it. I don't know how Kickstarters usually go, but I would guess that they're on course to being funded, at least. They're already two thirds of the way there, with 20 days to go.
 

Tigranes

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Yeah, I backed it. Here's hoping they don't get stretch goals - they should have called far higher figures for those.
 

Bester

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Do they really need 3k to make this game? If so, working for a month should do it, no need for a KS.
 

Strange Fellow

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Do they really need 3k to make this game? If so, working for a month should do it, no need for a KS.
Maybe they are setting a realistic goal based on how much money they need, and how much they expect that they can get from a Kickstarter. Maybe they would rather work on the game full time, so that it won't take a decade to develop.
 
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While us, the concept team, work on this project out of our funds, we published this kickstarter to be able to properly pay our contractors and asset makers. Here is our asset team :
  • Nauris Amanieks, pixel artist & animator
  • Macs Suleimanov, background digital artist
  • Todd Waites, narrator & inner voice of our unfortunate character
  • David Vasquez, box and dialogue illustrator
Furthermore, a number of individuals have given occasional help for the project and are credited in-game.
 

vonAchdorf

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Interesting - but the ship in the trailer looks modern, not 18th century'ish.
 

Bester

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Since some people don't understand the implications of what I'm saying, you cannot afford anything on 3k. If these so-called contractors did anything, there's more stuff on the promo material alone than what would cost you 3k.

It's not a normal figure. It's like asking for 5 cents on kickstarter saying you need that money to pay your luggage boy a tip.
 

vonAchdorf

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They probably use Kickstarter more for marketing than for the money. 3k doesn't even pay Eastern European or Asian contractors.
 

Strange Fellow

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discourage rote repetition
In a crafting-based survival game with randomly generated maps? Can't be done.
Not completely, no. But discouraging != eliminating. For instance, in NEO Scavenger's early game you're heavily dependent on RNG to get you up and running with the bare necessities, like a backpack, crowbar, pan, sleeping bag etc. Depending on your build, there's even more of it - a ranged build is all but useless before you get a bow and a couple of arrows, which depending on the mercy of RNGesus can take a proper long time. That means a lot of bumbling about looting every random building you come across. Once you make that stage of relative comfort, however, you can afford to take bigger risks, which opens for a lot more focussed exploration and engaging with the hand-crafted encounters. Island could make getting to that stage less time-consuming and dependent on RNG, so that once you have developed a firm strategy on how to get there, it will be relatively quick and painless to execute. Pulling that off without making the game too easy or predictable is no mean feat, but it's certainly possible.
They probably use Kickstarter more for marketing than for the money.
That's what I'm thinking. I don't mind that.
 
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Strange Fellow

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Some dev quotes from the KS comments. Beware of poor grammar!
Island is far for its complete state. A lot of relics, animals, behavior, must be added and tuned to work together harminously. Among other technical details, the terrain generator will necessitate a lot of work before reaching perfection. Technical aside, the most important aspect in Island is the user experience. It must be tuned to provide a roleplay experience that make sense, but must also provide the right amount of pressure. This is by far the greatest challenge we will be confronted to! The game isn't simply just about you fishing, collecting nuts & berries, and building shelters. It's about that particular moment where you haven't found a drop of water in days, so you ventured inland, far from your camp. You finally found some pond in the inner jungle, but the water is stagnant. You're getting weaker. Also, you're less than two hours away from nightfall, and the camp is now simply too far away. There are quite a few choices you could make here. When confronted to this critical situation, how would you react ?
And to reach an in-game content aiming to offer you similar experiences, we planned to follow a long back and forth process of fine tuning between the beta testing teams' feedback, and the development team, until "painfection" is reached.
[...]
While strategy plays a strong role in Island, we want you to pick up the game's rules in a quick and natural way. Our objective is that the player's though process to be close of the decision process he'll be confronted to in a real situation. "What are my short term needs ? Right now I'm thirsty and tired. Let's find a place with sufficient ressources to boil water and build a quick shelter."
I like that last bit.
 

Shaewaroz

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This Kickstarter looks waaay too good to be true. Funding goals don't make any sense at all - I think they just put them low so they can later brag about having successful Kickstarter campaign and even reaching all their stretch goals etc. Also, it's ridiculous for them to offer backers a chance to help design important gameplay altering features like ailments, pets etc for mere 100 - 200 $.

ALSO, in this day and age, you CANNOT offer exclusive content to Kickstarter backers that change the core gameplay significantly. I mean look at what they promise in a Collector's Pack: 6 exclusive scenarios and 4 exclusive animals. How in the name of f*ck are you going to keep content like this exclusive for less than hundred people??? This Kickstarter was not well thought out.

That said, the game looks absolutely amazing. If they can deliver the core concepts in a satisfactory manner, this could be the next FTL in terms of small team creating a phenomenal success story. If they implement functional and enjoyable multiplayer, this would be perfect for Twitch and wacky cooperative Youtube videos.

I don't think I will be backing this though - the KS campaign is just waaay too sketchy the way it's currently presented. On the other hand, maybe this would be an interesting opportunity to take advantage of the ridiculous rewards they offer - I could make them design a Siberian husky that would pull the PC on a sled in snowy terrain and scare predators away by barking at them. All the 100+ hours of creating pixel art, animations, coding, sound design, AI etc to create this pets for a mere 200 $? Not a bad deal.

However, I still haven't recovered from shoving 180 € at POE and playing it for less than 10 hours. I don't think those scars will ever heal.

They should make a game about surviving Kickstarter fiascos.
 
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Strange Fellow

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Funding goals don't make any sense at all - I think they just put them low so they can later brag about having successful Kickstarter campaign and even reaching all their stretch goals etc.
From the KS page:
Currently, at pre-kickstarter phase, we are around at 30% progress for the PC version. We conceived Island in a way that it can be built with minimal funds, and its quality can be increased with the help of our asset makers. This kickstarter has multiple purposes: We first want to share the love with this amazing game concept, then use theses funds to pay our asset makers, thus scaling its quality. Island being our dream project, on our part we'll work relentlessly to deliver the best possible version. Without minimal funding, the creation of this game wouldn't be possible.
It sounds like a straight up PR effort. I asked about this in the comments section, we'll see if they answer.
I mean look at what they promise in a Collector's Pack: 6 exclusive scenarios and 4 exclusive animals.
Where are you getting this from? I'm not seeing any such promise on the KS page.
Also, it's ridiculous for them to offer backers a chance to help design important gameplay altering features like ailments, pets etc for mere 100 - 200 $.
On the one hand, they state that you will have to cooperate with the devs when creating your symptom/companion. And no one has backed at this tier yet, so it might not even become an issue at all. Then again,
Building a canoe seems tiring so why not just cross between islands with your dolphin ? (exhaustion free aquatic transport)

Ever dreamed of a tamed rhinoceros that carries groceries for you ? (add more inventory slots)

You got it - anything goes, as long as it looks somewhat possible. The more original, the better!
Yuck!

Maybe they can be convinced to make backer content a toggleable option.
Other than that, there's the vain hope that this KS won't attract the sort of person who wants to put Boo in the game so they can roleplay as Minsc.
 

Shaewaroz

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I mean look at what they promise in a Collector's Pack: 6 exclusive scenarios and 4 exclusive animals.
Where are you getting this from? I'm not seeing any such promise on the KS page.

It's in "Backers Tier Rewards", you have to scroll way down in the Kickstarter presentation. Collector's Pack Exclusive Content. It also includes 5 exclusive relics.
 
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Robinson Crusoe and Mysterious Island are a GREAT inspiration for an awesome video game, but these guys aren't really tapping into it, in my humble opinion. They are creating some sort of an abstract board game thing, when a much better approach would've been to create a game that closely parallels the characters' experience in those books. In both of those books, the characters use ingenuity and personal/early scientific knowledge to build and craft their way into (relative) modernity.

A much closer parallel to this would be games like Minecraft, Salem/Heaven & Hearth/Dwarf Fortress/7 Days to Die. What you reall need is a more realistic version of Minecraft. Much, MUCH deeper production chains, crafting trees, more realistic terraforming, better combat, better enemies/NPCs/AI, set in 17th century.

If you ever played Salem, the MMO, before it shut down, starting out in it was a real blast. You started in an empty 17th century North American wilderness, and built/crafted your way from empty woods to a thriving base. Unfortunately, all the other parts of the game were shit, but that one part was amazing.
 

Strange Fellow

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I mean look at what they promise in a Collector's Pack: 6 exclusive scenarios and 4 exclusive animals.
Where are you getting this from? I'm not seeing any such promise on the KS page.

It's in "Backers Tier Rewards", you have to scroll way down in the Kickstarter presentation. Collector's Pack Exclusive Content. It also includes 5 exclusive relics.
Right, thanks. Ctrl-F didn't give me anything, but it's in a picture, that's why I didn't find it. That's dumb, then. If my comment gets answered I'll try to ask more questions about the kickstarter wrt tiers, rewards and stretchgoals.
A much closer parallel to this would be games like Minecraft, Salem/Heaven & Hearth/Dwarf Fortress/7 Days to Die. What you reall need is a more realistic version of Minecraft. Much, MUCH deeper production chains, crafting trees, more realistic terraforming, better combat, better enemies/NPCs/AI, set in 17th century.
Yeah, that seems feasible for a two person team. And asking for NPCs is to miss the point, IMO. And the combat looks good.
 
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A much closer parallel to this would be games like Minecraft, Salem/Heaven & Hearth/Dwarf Fortress/7 Days to Die. What you reall need is a more realistic version of Minecraft. Much, MUCH deeper production chains, crafting trees, more realistic terraforming, better combat, better enemies/NPCs/AI, set in 17th century.
Yeah, that seems feasible for a two person team. And asking for NPCs is to miss the point, IMO. And the combat looks good.

I won't even mention DF which is developed by 1 person. Salem/Haven & Hearth was/is also developed by a team of two people. Minecraft was one person in the beginning.

If you use low budget graphics (simple 3D or 2D), these kinds of games are not heavy on man-power, since they are mostly powered by procedural systems.
 
Unwanted

YanBG

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They'll probably barely make the 3k, with 2 weeks already over. It could be the lack of updates etc though. It's always better to have some funds. The game looks good.
 

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