Welcome back to This Week in Kickstarter, compiled by your new authors, Bryan Heraghty and Matthew Blatnick, to bring the exciting new projects hosted on Kickstarter to you, from us here at TechRaptor! This week, we’re bringing you seven exciting projects, featuring mobile desktops, colorful 3D cubes, bird-brained lawyers, and more. Prepare yourselves, because we’re diving in!
Let’s Talk Games
SmashPad – The Ultimate Super Smash Bros Mobile App
To my girlfriend’s dismay, Smash for Wii U is out, and that means countless hours of fine tuning my strategies and winning trophies. SmashPad lets you ignore your girlfriend on the go! SmashPad finds the latest Smash Bros content, from live tournaments, to tips and tricks, and covers all versions of Nintendo’s party brawler: The original, Melee, Brawl, Project M, and 3DS/Wii U.
Praxis, a devoted member of the Smash Bros fighting community, wanted to create an app for both casual and professional players.
Praxis, devoted member of the Smash bros community, developed the app to be “the most complete guide available for players looking to learn about the game, and watch the most recent content.”
The app would also include complete frame data and guides for every character in the game, live content (such as live feeds of tournaments), and popular streamers. In addition Praxis also plans for recent tournament results, match footage, guides, beginners guides to help unlock content, tools to help people connect to their local Smash Bros fighting scene, and other features being looked at for future updates.
While the app’s appearance will likely change if Praxis is serious about hiring designers to make it aesthetically pleasing, the idea hooked me instantly. When playing Smash with friends, it won’t be long till I pull out a phone or laptop and start looking up weight classes and strategies in between matches. Having an app with snappy load times, all while being easy on the eyes, could completely supplement that. Knowing that a member within the Smash fighting community is overseeing it, I would feel confident that the information on the player characters, strategies, matches, and tips were backed up by experience and knowledge of the system, and not just assumptions or conjecture.
After putting over 100 hours and working a full time job, Praxis made the call to action on Kickstarter to gets funds for designers to make the app “aesthetically pleasing” and for help making an Android port., as well as the significant costs of hosting.
At the time of writing, the app “smashed” its stated goal of $1,500, raising just over $3,000. The projects funding period ends January 5th, 2015.
Aviary Attorney – Take on clients, collect evidence, and deliver Justice to the guilty.
Aviary Attorney is a project inspired by the artwork of J.J. Grandville. In it, you take on the role of bird-brained lawyer, Monsieur Falcon. In this game you are expected to deliver top notch legal services to a diverse group of four separate clients.
Created by Sketchy Logic, a team of two developers out of Coventry, UK, Aviary Attorney is shaping up to be a creative mix of art, narrative, and a unique type of gameplay.
Set in Paris, the year 1848, two attorneys, JayJay Falcon, and Sparrowson, of Aviary Attorney Legal Offices, receive a lucrative offer from bourgeoisie kitten, Caterline Demiaou. Accused of murder, the Demiaou estate promises to pay a large sum for any lawyer capable of producing a Not Guilty verdict for Caterline herself. JayJay Falcon is quick to accept the offer, but is someone conspiring to bring down his case?
In Aviary Attorney, JayJay takes on a total of four cases, each of which offer a unique setting, while still bringing a sense of connectivity to the game. Once a client has been taken for one of these four cases, Monsieur Falcon has a short time to explore the landmarks of Paris, and gather evidence and testimony that may prove useful inside of court. Once that short time is up, you will find yourself in court, where you must choose your moves carefully to prove your client’s innocence. Prove your client innocent, or a guilty verdict may mean that you continue the story, but with a darker note than before.
The minute that I saw this game, I knew that it needed a place in our weekly Kickstarter update. I think that this is a game that deserves to be backed, as it offers a unique narrative and gameplay experience, while using unique artwork to help the narrative. I believe that this game deserves backing, because I feel that not enough developers focus on every piece of their game with intense detail anymore, but rather, focus on one piece of their game to make fantastic, and hoping that that one fantastic piece will carry the other, less flashy pieces of the game. To me, this doesn’t seem to be the case with Aviary Attorney. It seems that they have dedicated as much time to one piece of their game, as they have with all of the others, and the game is still in development. While things may change over the course of their Kickstarter campaign and the rest of development, I think that the developers at Sketchy Logic are devoted to creating and delivering a unique and well crafted game to their consumers.
The game will be available for both Mac and Windows, and is currently on Steam Greenlight to be approved for addition to Steam. The reason that Sketchy Logic came to Kickstarter as their source of funding, is because they wanted to dedicate their full time to the game, so with your money, they will be using some for a living wage, producing a unique soundtrack, and lastly, administrative fees associated with producing the game. The game is now a little over a week into its campaign, and has already raised a whopping £5,990 of its £7,000 goal. You can follow updates on this project on the Kickstarter page, their Twitter page, or on their own Development Blog. The funding period for Aviary Attorney ends on January 8, 2015, so you still have plenty of time to get over there and fund this awesome project!
DayDreamer – Insane Monster Killing SideScrollShooter
What if Tim Burton designed Mega Man? “This game,” I thought after viewing DayDreamer’s trailer. A side-scrolling shooter using pre-rendered CGI sprites in an artstyle vaguely reminiscent of OddWorld. Taking the role of a young girl, players navigate an alien conquered planet in a quest to save her brother.
Genetically mutated aliens, giant bugs, and radioactive warfare threaten the player every step of the way. Boss’s equal parts creative and disgusting stand out with the games interesting look.
I have a soft spot for games like these. The 8bit/16bit art style has been done to death twice over, and “generously” romanticized. However the control schemes, originality, snappy controls, and fun side scrolling action will always be engaging. DayDreamer looks like it is heading towards that direction and with its visuals and distinct atmosphere, DayDreamer looks like a game I’d want to play for hours into the night, cursing aloud at that one boss I can’t beat.
The game is set for release on both Mac and PC and funding just $8 gets you the full game. At the time of writing, the target goal of the project hadn’t been reached, as only $278 of the intended $65,000 had been raised. Donations close January 14th, 2015.
Let’s Talk Tech
L3D Cube – The 3D LED Cube from the Future
An open source programmable light display. The L3D Cube interacts with the world and reacts to music you play near it. The cube is equipped with a microphone to pick up noises and represents the bass, tenors, snares, etc with different colors and streams of light.
The L3D Cube also works with other devices from the Kinect to the Makey Makey. Consumers can plink cubes to interact with each other, such as one demonstration where a man makes noises which (visualized by the lights and color) travel from one cube to the next.
The most intriguing feature of the L3D Cube is the open source capacity for users to create their own light patterns to share with others. Using a simplistic interface, selecting lights to is as simple as choosing a block on a sheet. For the more code savvy audience, programming the lights is also an option.
My fear for this project is steeped in the “fallen one” of the crowdsourcing world. Our own “he who shall not be named”. The OUYA. The OUYA, similarly, stormed onto the scene proudly announcing its cheap price and open source nature. What arrived in the end revealed to be a plastic mess, and the low specs did little to gravitate developers to create for the thing. Here is where the similarities worry me: will anyone want to create light sources? What I most want to see is a very simple way of creating easy light patterns that take little time investment on the producers end. Otherwise, I imagine many would try it once, get bored, and stick to downloading others. Without a steady stream of new content, and without motivation to create these light patterns, like the OUYA, the device would quickly be relegated to the back of the closet.
The cube comes as a kit and requires no soldering. The video showed a sped up assembly that took only 30 minutes, and a larger version of the cube would also be available. Donations for this project end January 5th, 2015, however, the team is well beyond their original goal of $38,000, crowdsourcing almost $160,000 at the time of writing.
Andromium – Your next work computer and home gaming console.
Andromium is a device, which will allow you to unleash the full potential of your smartphone, and turn it into a desktop computer, and gaming console.
Gordon Zheng, a man with 12 years of software development experience, and previous Senior Engineer at Google, is at the forefront of Andromium Inc., seeking to create a unique desktop experience, in a sleek and efficient way, using your smartphone as the platform.
Andromium’s mission is to democratize the desktop, making it affordable to the consumer and much more accessible than the typical desktop machine. Andromium seamlessly turns your Android device into a desktop computer; by simply downloading an app, and setting your phone on a dock, you can have a fully functional desktop within seconds. The dock itself is a sleek and aesthetically pleasing device, meaning that your desk will not be visually ruined by an ugly and bulky device, but rather enhanced by a new device. The software is also quite impressive. Gordon created a fully functional app and OS, which work in tandem with your existing Android OS, to deliver a unique and functional user experience. While the OS functions perfectly, the User Interface (UI) is not 100% there, which is why Gordon is working with a UI Designer, to create a more modern looking visual for the OS itself.
Currently, the device is only compatible with both the Galaxy S and Note series, excluding the Galaxy S5, however, since the project opened up earlier this week, backers have spoken, Andromium Inc. has heard, and they have announced that they will be creating more docks which support devices such as the HTC One, LG Nexus 4 and 5, and many others.
When I stumbled upon this project, I immediately saw the awesome potential that it holds. My friends and I frequently discuss the amazing power that our phones carry, yet, they are limited by the fact that they are phones. With Andromium, this is no longer the case. It allows users to unlock the full potential of their mobile device, and turn it into a desktop computer capable of increasing productivity, among other things. I also enjoy this product, because it is true innovation. Often enough, we see companies piggybacking off of other company’s products, offering little tweaks here and there that are usually nothing more than gimmicks. However with Andromium, we see something that hasn’t been done before, the creation of a full fledged desktop environment inside of your mobile device.
This project opened up earlier this week, and already has received over 350 backers, raising $16,900 dollars of their $100,000 goal. If you feel so compelled, go head over to their Kickstarter page a give some money to the project. You have ample time to do so, as the project doesn’t close until January 25, 2015.
ZANO – Autonomous. Intelligent. Swarming. Nano Drone.
Essentially a drone for taking selfies, ZANO is a miniature drone equipped with an HD video camera that’s controlled by your smart phone. ZANO connects to your phone or other device (iOS or Android) with onboard WiFi. Once directed to a location, the device pilots itself and takes pictures/video until it is summoned back with the press of a button.
The project aims to make aerial photography and video capture accessible for everyone. It takes no skill to pilot (mainly by piloting itself), is made to be lightweight and durable, and with the help of Kickstarter, produced on a mass scale to drive down costs to an affordable price.
Torquing Group Ltd., the makers of ZANO, packed a commendable amount of tech into the small device: Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, high resolution barometric air pressure sensor for altitude control, and more. The device can take 180 and 360 panoramas. The app also supports “swarming”, where users can control multiple ZANO’s at once, creating video feeds of the same event from multiple perspectives.
At what amounts to a little over $200, the ZANO is a cool little machine. Something I would recommend to the GoPro scene or families that do a lot of traveling or vacationing. I’d still need to actually hold the machine before I could speak for its build quality, which is very important for something that could potentially fall from extreme heights if something goes awry. ZANO’s camera features digital image stabilization, and while optical stabilization would have been preferable, Torquing Group Ltd. no doubt chose digital to keep the costs of this device low. Early adopter will likely be happy to make the trade off of a low price over a little higher image quality.
Project funding ends January 8th, 2015, and the project cleared well-over its original goal of £125,000, raising over £814,000.
Keewifi Router – No Password, Tap To Connect, 30 Second Setup
Using sophisticated proximity technology, the Keewifi router allows devices to securely access WiFi with a simple tap. There are no passwords, and no configuration required.
The Keewifi Router is being created by Keewifi, a new company with this as their first endeavour. Their team has over 20 years of combined experience in computer networking, working with companies such as Aruba Networks, Cisco Systems, and Juniper Networks. This experience has cultivated itself in an impressive device, that makes the mundane and everyday task of connecting to a wireless network, convenient and efficient.
The nice thing about the Keewifi router, is that there is no configuration necessary. It works right out of the box. Many routers confuse the average consumer, because it requires a decent level of technical prowess to understand how to configure the router, and then even more knowledge to connect your device to the new network router. Using the latest industry standard 802.11ac and its networking technology, the Keewifi router is capable of delivering fast, strong and reliable WiFi straight to your home.
The Keewifi router is also very secure. It requires using the proximity technology to connect to the network, and doesn’t rely on easily exploited passwords, and it avoids the worse option of leaving your network unprotected. The only way that an outside entity could gain access to your network with this router, would be to have their phone touched to the syncing panel on the router itself.
The Keewifi router also delivers an aesthetically pleasing design, while maintaining maximum functionality. Because most routers are usually able to be tucked into a corner, design is not usually a huge issue, however, because the Keewifi router is to be on display inside of your home, Keewifi made sure that they put a lot of time on making the device visually pleasing.
I think that this device is a great project to back, because being a more technically knowledgeable person myself, I don’t struggle with the setup, and day to day management of a lot of technology. However, I am also aware of the struggle that an average user has to put up with when it comes to many factors of technology, because they just do not have the skills or the knowledge to make it work. This router eliminates that struggle. It takes the required technical skill of setting up a router out of the equation, and allows end-users to buy a product that works right out of the box. There is a lot of potential in this router, and a lot of potential in the router industry, should other companies decide to follow suit with Keewifi.
Keewifi router has already surpassed its crowdfunding goal of $50,000, raising above $77,000 at the time of writing this article. There are currently no stretch-goals for the project, however, with the campaign being only half-way finished, there is always the possibility that they will add some in. Funding closes for Keewifi router on January 6, 2015.
Previously on This Week in Kickstarter
Thimbleweed Park was successfully funded, garnering over 15,000 backers in support of their project!
Americana Dawn sadly looks like it will go unfunded. At the time of writing this article on December 17, it only had $24.000 of its $70,000 goal pledged. Who knows, maybe it will get some last minute love!
InnerSpace was successfully funded on December 6 as well, raising $28,543. We may have to follow up on that project some day!
Hush far surpassed its goal of $100,000, having raised $528,652 with five days remaining in its campaign. Hopefully some good things will come out of that project!
Playmute was cancelled by the creator of the project on December 2. We will never know where that project was heading.