My friend John tipped me off to this new game in development called Interstellar Marines, being developed by Zero Point Software out of Denmark and using the Unity engine.
At first I was impressed with how they were pushing the technology, making a competitive looking FPS game with only a small (8 man) team. But then what I found really interesting was their development philosophy and strategy for funding the game whilst retaining independence.
From the website, Zero Point describe themselves as 'AAA Indie'. They explain this as;
1. AAA Indie is AAA games done independently from publishersFirst off, I love 3, the open kimono approach to development. I've discussed this approach with fellow game makers. Could there be a way to engage and build a community by opening up the development process, exposing it to that community and even soliciting feedback throughout the dev cycle? Well they are doing it. I will be fascinated to see how it works out and hope it succeeds.
2. AAA Indie is the gamer and the developer, no one else
3. AAA Indie is development with open doors, so gamers can track games in development
4. AAA Indie lets the gamers 'vote' for the games they want to play - simply by expressing their interest
5. AAA Indie is open for anyone with a dream a the will to deliver on that dream
As I checked out the site more, I became more and more impressed. These guys are not just building a game. They've build a robust infrastructure to attract and engage community and most critically, solicit investment dollars from the community to fund the development of the game!
I have talked about micro-funding game development before, and there are few examples of this in the game space. The Zero Point gang seem to have really thought it through and implemented some strong hooks into their development site to make it a compelling investment. Some highlights for me;
- You can contribute between $5 - $39.99 to the development of the game
- $39.99 gets you special 'Spearhead' status, preview access to content and beta deliverables, and free copies of the game when (if) they ship. They limit this to 75,000 people which, even though I doubt they are in danger of hitting that number, gives you an extra feeling of exclusivity in singing and feeds that impulse to get in 'while you still can'.
- You get a personal logon profile, which gives you status on the forums and allows you to save progress and achievements on the server. Similar to Rocketbird Revolution but one step further.
I signed up for the Spearhead package and look forward to seeing what my investment helps brings to market! Viva AAA Indie ! :-)