Monday, June 24, 2013

Searching for a new Strip? How about Last Halloween?

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today it is my honor to be speaking to the beautiful and talented Abigail Howard who is recently returned from her Stripsearch ordeal to bring us her Kickstarter project: Last Halloween.  Thank you for joining us Abby!  

Thanks for having me, I love talking about myself!

For those who haven’t watched the show (crazy thought know!) could you tell us what Last Halloween is all about?  

It’s an online black and white comedic graphic novel about a 10 year old girl who is the only person that stands between humanity and utter obliteration at the hands/claws/tentacles of countless bloodthirsty monsters. It’s got laughs, it’s got gore, it’s got monsters, what more do you even need? A soundtrack maybe? Oh wait, it’s also got that.

Where did this idea come from?  Have you always wanted to destroy the world with a monstrous takeover?  

This idea is a frankenstein’s monster of dreams, characters, and jokes that have been knocking around in my head independent of each other for years. I stitched them all together and shot them full of lightning and The Last Halloween is what came of it. The stories in this project are things I’ve wanted to tell for a very long time, and it’s clear that it’s time for it to be set loose upon the townspeople.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bringing back an Oldie

Just an update for long time readers, a previously interviewed but not Kickstarted project is now live on Kickstarter!  Dawn: Rise of the Occulites is now live on Kickstarter.   I previously interviewed  Ben Boersma about his came from down under.  Check it out!

Old School Radio Shack for New School Cool!

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am joined by Dan Alich creator of the DuinoKit!  Thank you for joining us today Dan.  

Thank you James, It is a pleasure to talk with you today about my KickStarter project.

The DuinoKit stirs up old memories for old geeks like myself of springs and wires and Radio Shack kits, was that the idea?  Could you tell us more about the DuinoKit? What it is and why you made it?
Yes, As a child I played with those electronic kits with the spring connectors.  The 150-in-1 Electronic Project kit  was most likely my most memorable toy as a child.  I had to go on eBay and buy a used one for my son to play with.  I think he has three of those kits now to build on.

During the last several years the introduction of microprocessor into hobby electronics has opened up an entirely new ball game for building electronic gadgets and gizmos.  I have bought many parts and components to build projects, mostly found in books, and then going to buy more components for the next project.  I tried using the Arduino projects with my children and in my classroom, however with the little parts, specification codes and colors used to identify the parts, it was very difficult teaching the kids how to understand and build into projects.

Then the idea of the DuinoKit hit me.  Why not place most of the common parts in a kit with simple wiring so people without electronics experience can start to build projects and making little gadgets.

What makes Arduino so special and why create an electronics project kit around it?  

There are several microprocessor development boards available today.  I found the Arduino the best choice because being open-source, there is a large collection of documented projects and instructions on how to build projects, a simple Internet search of “Arduino Projects” will literally return thousands of links.  The Arduino is a reliable, building platform that many others have duplicated.  As a matter of fact, Several other microprocessors could be plugged in the same spot on the board and the components could then be used for building in the same manner.  This kit will work with more than just the Arduino Processor.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Who Needs Homeworld? We have Void Destroyer

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am joined by Paul Zakrzewski who has brought over a very interesting game for us to talk about, Void Destroyer.  Thank you for joining us Paul!

Thank you for having me!

Looking at the videos I can totally see why you have some folks calling this game “Fly Homeworld” would you care to explain your vision for this game and where it came from?  

Four years ago I started out making a very traditional space sim, back then I didn’t intend the project to become this big, I was just having fun programming. As the project became more and more of an obsession I realized that it would be a waste of time to simply re-create what is already out there. Although I was already adding in features that I always wanted in a space sim, I kept thinking how I could use these features to become more unique and more interesting.

The more this progressed the more unique and interesting I wanted the project to become. Every new feature was a chance to do something new, an opportunity that can’t be ignored.

The project came out of a long standing desire to create a game, being a gamer all these years, I always thought about what my game would be like, and this is my chance to get close to that dream.

Now does taking physical control of your units make them any better?  Do they react faster than if I just like the AI crew control things?  

That depends on the human player, and that is the beauty of it. Having physical control doesn’t give the ship any sort of additional statistics, it doesn’t boost damage. However a human being has intuition, a human being has intelligence and the capacity to learn and adapt. The player will learn to be better at the game as it progresses. The AI crew doesn’t have any of these things. The AI crew, is necessarily, coded in such a way to make them good obedient soldiers. The player needs to count on them to obey commands.

But that’s not the main idea behind physical control - the main idea is - a fun and interesting gameplay. In the real world we aren’t spaceship pilots and this is where games come in.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Talking with Tarol about Goblins

Greetings friends!  Today I’m pleased to be writing about my discussion with Tarol Hunt, creator of the Goblins Webcomic about his recent collaboration with Evertide Games to create the Goblins: Alternate Realities Game.  My discussion was via Skype so as always, here is the raw audio file:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

In Loving Memory

In Loving Memory
J.C. Kendall 1962-2013

It is with a sad heart I write these words while sitting at my desk at work.  Today was a normal day just like any other until my wife had me call her up to tell us this person we had never met, but who had touched our lives greatly, had passed away.  She was concerned it was some kind of joke as I hadn’t said anything yet, but I had merely not checked in to see what was going on so this was the first I had heard of it.  

To say that I was shocked is an understatement.  

As someone who works in the middle of nowhere, talking to things millions of miles away, on strange rotating shifts, it is rare anymore that I make a connection with anyone who isn’t a coworker.  Thanks to the internet however I have been able to make a few close acquaintances from across the globe, most notably my wife, and then more recently J.C.  

J.C. was a whirlwind of wit, humor, and opinion that caught my attention with his first sentence.  He quickly converted the “novelty” of Google+ into something I checked on a regular basis.  His posts became the reason I logged into the system and eventually made as many connections as I did.  Not only was his effervescent and jolly personality contagious, but his ideals and opinions were similar to mine.  

Not long after I started reading his work he began reading mine; which as my wife will tell you I can never get enough of.  Yet J.C. was no simple sycophant or passing commenter, but someone who actively pushed and encouraged me to actually go out and do something.    From agreeing with me that Kickstarter was “something to watch” to pushing for and even paying for the domain for this very blog J.C. was a force of good and change in my life that I haven’t had for some time.  

It is rare for someone you have never met in person to have any real effect on your life, let alone the kind of effect J.C. had on my life.  Not only has he driven me to grow and push beyond my basic comfortable life, but he reached out to my wife and brought her into contact with the love of his life Su Ann.  When my wife needed encouragement and affirmation from a source beyond me Su Ann and J.C. were there in ways that I couldn’t.  Sadly I don’t know if he ever realized how much he’s helped the two of us.  

Su Ann and J.C. happy together

In closing I just have to say that people like J.C. are few and far between.  Someone who speaks their mind and kicks your arse when they think you need it is a special kind of person that should be cherished even if you don’t agree with them.  Like a second father or an older brother I never had, J.C. was a voice of support and encouragement from a quarter I didn’t even know I was missing.  Life is an ephemeral thing that we take for granted that it takes the death of someone closer than you thought they were to get through.  Cherish those around you, thank those who give you feedback even if you don’t agree, and always, ALWAYS try to do what you want to do.  Go for your dreams!  As J.C. once told me, “If you don’t actually try you’ll never succeed.”  Push yourself, push others, and most of all love everyone as fully as you can.  For they might not be here tomorrow.    

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Unrest: An RPG unlike any other

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  I am pleased to be joined by Arvind Yadav from Pyrodactyl Games who is here to talk to us about his first Kickstarter, “Unrest.”  Thank you for joining us today Arvind!

Hi, it is a pleasure to be here!

Unrest was brought to my attention from one of my readers Lars Igesund who was right in thinking your particular kind of project would pique my interest.  Would you care to give us a bit of an overview of Unrest?  

Sure. Unrest is a role playing game - less in the sense of you finish quests, get experience, maybe a new piece of equipment - and more in the sense that you play the role of a character in the game world. We are focusing on the stories of ordinary people instead of a traditional chosen one style character, and we are exploring a setting that hasn’t really been done before in games - ancient India.

I think the first thing that springs to mind when hearing a description of Unrest is, “Holy crap that’s a lot of writing!”  Seriously as someone who has looked into several ways to write interactive fiction I have an inclining as to how complicated “just” four main storylines could be to write.  How big a writing task has this project been?

It has been a substantial task, and we are still doing some writing. However, since that is one of the main focus areas of the game, we have taken the load into account and are managing to do pretty good at the moment.

Getting a Closer Look

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am joined by Jeff Stewart co-founder and VP of Engineering over at Exo Labs who is here with me to talk about his first Kickstarter, The Focus Microscope Camera.  Thank you for joining me today!

Glad to be here... we really appreciate the opportunity to talk about our Kickstarter campaign.

Why don’t you describe what your project is all about?

We have built and are currently selling the first camera that streams images directly to an iPad through the dock connector.  We can apply different lens assemblies onto the camera and our first lens is for interfacing with microscopes... and is targeted at the K-12 science classroom.  Because we are a bunch of engineers, we need to learn insights from teachers and students in order to make our products easy to use and ultimately very useful for teachers.

We are raising money to create a co-development program with schools so that we can give away 40 of our devices to specific types of classrooms and learning environments with the expectation that they will be a beta platform for us to try out new features and really learn what makes a good product for the classroom.  The total amount raised will also cover the expense of running the program because it is going to take a ton of time and effort to wrangle all of the information into a usable format for our engineering team.