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Welcome back to This Week in Kickstarter a day late! This will be the last This Week in Kickstarter for a week, until we start up with a new schedule, releasing on Mondays, starting on January 26! Today we are bringing you a great mix of new tech projects and awesome games, from mysterious Moonmen to immersive gaming and innovative wallets. Grab your hats ladies and gents, because we’re going for a ride!

Let’s Talk Games

Moonman – Illuminate a Dark World

In a strange, nocturnal world a moonman is summoned by an ancient mollusc. It sends him to the seven farthest corners of the land to search for fallen moon fragments — that will power a great star-machine.”

A procedurally generated adventure game on PC, Mac, and Linux, you play as a moonman seeking fragments of a moon that are scattered across the world. In Moonman, you explore the world, craft items, gather resources and fight monsters. Explore inside of caves and tombs, fight monsters who have ingested moon fragments, or acquire them from hermits scattered across the landscape to power a star machine to escape the world.

3 years in the making, the developer Ben Porter has dedicated two full years of his time crafting this game. The game is well on its way to completion, however Ben has taken to Kickstarter to gain support for finishing it. The Kickstarter funds that he makes will go towards finalizing development of the game, from artwork and sound effects, to music and some additional programming. The funds will allow him to continue putting 100% of his focus into developing a game worth your time, and awesome to play. There are many different parts of the world to explore, from Ae For, a forested moonlit area, with a vast cave system underneath, to Ket’Agre, a volcanic wasteland ripe with demons, lava, and dangerous firestorms. This game promises a new and unique world to explore upon every start.

Moonman reminds me a lot of Terraria, and I imagine that Ben has taken some inspiration from it. That being said, I think that it offers a unique spin on the Terraria world, creating vast new pieces of a planet to explore, and giving you a purpose of finding the moon fragments. I think that it looks like it has great potential, as I do of all procedurally generated games, as it will never lose its replay value. Every new game will offer a new experience, whether it be running into new monsters you haven’t before, or seeing a new area of the planet that may not have been generated in prior playthroughs. I also think that the wide variety of items available will keep the game fresh, as you will always be able to equip yourself with items that you’ve crafted before, or ones that you’ve never encountered.

At the time of writing this article, Moonman still has 27 days to go, and is already well on its way to being funded. The Kickstarter community obviously sees potential in this game, as it has already garnered large support, with 357 backers donating $8,648 AUD of Ben’s $35,000 AUD goal. If you think that this game has potential like I do, and think it looks like fun, go give it a look!

LyteShot – A Sensor-Based Mobile Gaming Platform

The days of meeting your friends to play lazer tag at Chuckee Cheese are gone, mostly because Chuck E. Cheese won’t let you in without a child. LyteShot lets you have the same experience, but now you can be wizards, Jedi, or whatever else your LARP friends want to be that weekend.

The LyteShot uses sensor-based peripherals that work with your mobile phone to make a light gun style game you can play outside. The Lyter can be used as a gun, wand, staff, bow, or really any form of death you wish. The device connects to your phone to transmit game data to the cloud. This can allow you to send a virtual antidote to a comrade, give the final blow to an enemy, or locate the key to a virtual treasure chest.

I’ve always had an interest in combining video games and healthy activities. While pretending to hex your friends in your front yard might not exactly be healthy for your social life (assuming you have one unlike us), LyteShot can be a great tool for having fun with friends while burning off the various junk food you ate while on your 14 hour guild run. However, it can be difficult to imagine enough people using this product to get their money’s worth, and many would probably use it twice; once for the novelty, and again because hey you paid all that money right? Still, anything can take off if enough people get interested, and the LyteShot deserves a chance in the spotlight if only for those nostalgic days of fictionally murdering your friends at your 11th birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.

In just two days the LyteShot managed over $30,000, and seems quickly on its way to the team’s oddly-specific goal of $168,534. With another 28 days left, the team has plenty of time to raise the additional funds, Who knows? 28 days later you could be playing a pretend game of 28 Days Later!

….*Crickets*…

Igneos: The Last Phoenix – Aerial Combat Adventure Game

“For millenia, the Phoenix maintained the balance of life and death of the planet. When Pharos is born from the ashes, it discovers it is the last of its kind in a world that is crumbling and fracturing – setting forth a mystery that must be solved to restore balance to the planet.”

Igneos: The Last Phoenix is an aerial combat adventure game that combines open-world combat and discovery with Zelda-style dungeon exploration and problem-solving. Play as Pharos, the last remaining Fire-bird, as he awakens to discover a once vibrant world has been covered in ash and frost. Your mission is to soar through this dying world to uncover the past, and find a way to save the planet before it shatters apart. Use the power of flight and fire to fight the dark shadow vultures that flew in from across the sea.

Utilizing a multitude of tools at your disposal, you must explore a vast and diverse environment. On each new island you’ll be faced with a puzzle or a challenge to overcome. Succeed and you can progress through the story or explore to discover new areas, story elements or upgrades! The game takes the joys of exploration and expands upon them, creating a fun and unique type of game.

Igneos: The Last Phoenix looks interesting to me. I can’t say that I’ve seen a game like it before, so I don’t have much to compare it to. That being said, the game does look like a lot of fun! It seems to offer enough variety of combat, puzzle-solving, and exploration to keep the game interesting and alive, preventing it from becoming stale shortly after beginning to play it, like many plain exploration games do. If it is capable of delivering what it promises, then I think that Igneos will prove to be a fun game, well worth the money.

If you want to try a playable demo of the game, it can be found here. With 33 days to go, and as a Kickstarter Staff Pick, Igneos: The Last Phoenix has made $2,093 CAD of its $40,000 CAD goal. If you want to this project to succeed, go give it a like and a backing!

 

 

Let’s Talk Tech

Netup – Speed up Mobile Internet

Sometimes WiFi just isn’t cutting it, especially if there are too many connections eating up the same WiFi (I’m looking at you University campus WiFi). However nobody wants to really only on Mobile Data and risk getting charged. To that end, ShoeString Wireless presents Netup, an Android app that speeds up your downloads by combining WiFi and cellular connections.

By combining 3G/4G with with WiFi, Netup can bring fast, reliable internet and save on your data plan. Netup achieves this with a 1-2 punch of a state-of-the-art cloud and mobile software. The user has control over which apps to “boost”, if certain apps aren’t worth it, and you can wait an extra couple seconds, so you can turn the feature off for that specific app.

There’s really no way to know how well this works until we try it, and even if it works on all carriers and all WiFi networks. There’s just too many cogs and wheels turning at once to know if we can fit this in until we’ve already tried. However that doesn’t mean it is a bad app, it just means we can’t really tell if it is a good one either. The idea is one I think a lot of people have imagined at one point, so kudos to Shoestring Wireless for actually trying it.

Donations close January 29, 2015. At  the time of writing, Netup has only managed about ¼ of its intended goal, but there is always hope for a comeback.

 

 

 

 

IMMERSIS – True Gaming Immersion

The ultimate virtual reality experience for immersive gaming and video, shareable with others and adaptable to your living space.

The creators of this project, Catopsys, believe that over the last century, we have been conditioned to be satisfied by the two-dimensional experience of televisions, computers, and tablets. With the introduction of VR headsets in 2014, we were shown the power of Virtual reality, and the great experiences that can come from a 3D environment. However Catopsys believes that headsets are limited, preventing you from enjoying the VR world with friends,  creating adverse side effects when using them. Because of these limitations, Catopsys created a device that transforms your entire living room into an immersive environment, allowing you to enjoy games and panoramic videos with friends and family.

The first version of Immersis is based on a disruptive technology designed by Catopsys. Immersis is easy to install and use, being technologically powerful while still maintaining an attractive price. The technology is based on a real-time adaptation of the image to the shape and size of the room that you are in as well as its advanced optical system. Immersis connects to your computer and is capable of projecting any content, from photographs, to videos, to video games at 180°.

While this project is cool, I think that it is being built for a niche market. I don’t know if I would want to watch a video that has to bend around the walls in my living room, and that just projects itself over any object in the way. I also feel the same way for games. Do you really want to be playing a game, and miss something because it was being projected around a corner, or over a couch? That being said, the technology behind Immersis is cool, and offers the potential for VR expanding beyond headsets in the future. If you think that Immersis looks cool, and you have a room that could fully utilize the technology behind Immersis, go take a look at the project!

IMMERSIS is already well on its way to being successfully funded with $67,305 towards its $100,000 goal. Surprisingly, that large amount of money has been contributed by only 103 separate backers. If you want to back this project, you’ve still got plenty of time, as there are still 32 days left on this project.

 

Big Skinny Wallets – World’s Thinnest Wallets w/ RFID Blocking

A man’s wallet is a precious thing, but as more and more gift cards, cash, business cards, etc. get stashed in there, it becomes more cumbersome to pull out every time. That’s where Kiril and Catherine Alexandrov come in with the world’s skinniest wallet.

The wallet solves five different problems left by the average wallet, the most daunting of which is the remote possibility that a devious “techy gone bad” may try to use an RFID reader by using a super thin polyblend of copper and nickel.

The wallet layers are a mere .22 mm’s, and the RFID protection layer adds a measly .08 mm’s, adding to a total of only .30mm, making it the thinnest, and potentially safest, wallet in the world. The wallet still comes with the mainstays of a modern wallet, including multiple pockets and a see through sleeve for your ID. In addition, the wallet is 1/4th to 1/6th as light as many other wallets.  Non-slip coating lines the pockets for your cards security. It’s even machine washable!

Crimes have become more and more digital every day. Swatting, identity theft, hacking, the list goes on. I really like the smart inclusion of the RFID protection layer. I mentioned above that your card being read is a bit of a remote possibility, because it isn’t all that likely someone is going to whip out an RFID reader in the middle of a bar. But it can happen, and every day makes it just a little more likely than before. Even without the RFID protection, it’s great to see a product I could genuinely get a tangible benefit from on Kickstarter, outside of just something that’s “cool” and mildly convenient.

Big Skinny Wallets has already smashed its original goal of $22,000, earning $61,477 at the time of writing. With donations open till February 10, 2015, the teams has plenty of time for stretch goals.


Previously on This Week in Kickstarter

Super Kawaii Turtle Fighter – With 3 days left to go, this game was successfully funded, raising $1,043 of their $750 goal. I’m interested to see where they go with this project.
Identity –  At the time of writing this article, Identity was at 35% of their goal with 18 days left. Not a super promising number, but there’s still hope for this project yet.
DrawAndRace3 – At the time of writing the original article, this game was already successfully funded. They are now at £667 of their £100 goal. If you think this project looks cool, and want a project guaranteed to succeed, then go ahead and pick this game up!
KDJ-ONE – This project is closed and was successfully funded, raising $158,449, well over their $100,000 goal!
BLOCKS – Also closed and successfully funded, BLOCKS raised €23,873 crushing their €5,500 goal.
FishBit – This tech project still has 19 days to go, and has been successfully funded, raising $10,841 already. Their initial goal was set at $5,000. If you love your fish, then this is a project that you should definitely check out!


Matthew Blatnick

Android evangelist, computer nerd, gamer, and lover of all things geeky. The only real thing you need to know about me, is that Civilization V is my drug.