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Welcome back to This Week in Kickstarter, where interesting Kickstarters are brought to you by TechRaptor! This week we have the traditional mix of 6 projects with things like talking frogs, virtual reality, and crazy adventures! Get ready and hold on because we’re diving right in!

Momentum is our first project and it is an odd, gravity driven platformer that you might want to take for a spin.

With Momentum you are guiding your ball around a 3 dimensional maze in one of 100 levels set across 3 worlds. Each world has its own artistic style and artistic sense providing a wonderful backdrop to the intricate manipulations of gravity that you have to perform to race your chosen ball across the map.

With what sounds like a beautiful sound track, Momentum appears to be the type of game that can cross the casual/hardcore line. With its relaxing music, beautiful backgrounds, and a simple concept to work with it can allow casual players to play it. With its time pacing that is set aggressively by the developers for top medals, it allows for more competitive and hard core players to enjoy it and get a challenge as they attempt to use momentum and gravity to the utmost advantage.

One of the other interesting features of the game is that it appears that beyond just varying levels, there’ll be different balls, which have some different features. I’m not quite sure if that applies to any sort of abilities from the way they describe it, or if the ‘unique features’ is more or less just cosmetic. I am leaning to the latter from some of it, but it would be really neat if they had abilities – though some of the skins look amusing like the Hamster Ball.

The Hamsterball!

Momentum currently has only just over $600 of its $11500 goal and finishes on December 3rd. It’s not looking like its particularly likely to make its goal, though reading the comments the developers will be able to finish it in some form regardless. It is also on Steam Greenlight where it plods along through that system. There is a free demo available to trying out the game as well to see if it is something you might be interested in.

Have you ever wondered what a more adult version of Pokemon may be like? Well, aside from Shin Megami Tensei and its mandatory Japanese oddities (for which we love it), not much has happened with the idea, but Catch Monsters aims to change that by bringing it to an older audience.

Set in a world with technologies similar to our 1900s with a couple of key differences. The first is that monsters of various types exist Feral creatures such as the Owlbear, elementals which inhabit the world around us like the Diamond Elemental, and Mystic monsters like the revered Toaddha. The second major difference is the cultural ramifications of such creatures existence, and a culture that in many areas has come to be obsessed with capturing, raising, and in some cases (of course), fighting these creatures.

The world of Catch Monsters has different governments which have views on what the state of the monsters, and sometimes varying on the type. In some places, capturing monsters is viewed as illegal and the equivalent to human slavery. In other regions even the more intelligent creatures are captured, bred, and in some cases put to work. Like many cases, one could argue on specific ones and in this world it seems likely they do so. 3 major factions are also new each representing one of the types of monsters – The Elemental Guild, the Feral Fraternity, and The Monks of the Inner Eye.

For combat, Catch Monster uses a card based system with the idea of randomizing the moves that the monsters learn and drawing them out. You start with 2 moves drawn and can play one each turn, drawing one more each round. The deck is customization by moves your monsters learn and you unlock more moves as you train them by fighting or by doing things with them – such as riding your Wooly Tusk around the countryside.

Monster Mash

The different types of monsters matters greatly. While Feral monsters are most animalistic and least intelligent they also tend to have twists on them from traditional animals and perhaps a bit more intelligent. Elementals can be created by the masters at the Elemental’s guild and bound to a form, not just found in the wilds. And Mystics… Mystics are mysteries in their own, things that are oddities that deny science in many ways, such as coming back from the dead or other bits and pieces.

Catch Monsters promises a more significant single player mode then Pokemon had and realizing some of the ideas that may be considered too dark for a children’s game. It is clearly inspired by Pokemon, but it also has its own ideas and spins on the concepts that make it a very worthwhile project to follow and see how it turns out.

Catch Monsters is aiming for an affordable 6000 Canadian Dollars and currently has just under 3000 of it. It ends on December 5th and has a good chance to make its goal and possibly some of the stretch goals already outlined there, such as the Eldritch Monster type at 10k, and multiplayer at 20k. It is also on Greenlight.

From arenas, to adventures, Kelvin and the Infamous Machine takes us to the classic Point and Click genre of games.

Capturing a whimsical tone, Kelvin and the Infamous Machine has you take on the role of the bumbling, well-intended scientific apprentice Kelvin. When his mentor and genius scientist Dr. Edwin Lupin manages to at last figure out the secrets of time travel and creates the world’s first time machine. Its odd appearance though – that of a portable shower (which manages to make the TARDIS only the second most ridiculous time machine in history) – leads the scientific community to completely dismiss it.

Seeing his life work mocked and ridiculed publicly manages to finally do what years of work on complicated SCIENCE could not – drive him completely insane. Going into what the scientific community called The Infamous Machine, Dr Edwin Lupin has gone back in time to go and claim credit for history’s greatest creations. Armed with nothing more than a need to do what’s right, Kelvin jumps into the past to fix the timelines and stop oblivion from coming.

Inspired by classic adventure games like Day of the Tentacles and Monkey Island, Kelvin and the Infamous Machine matches its tone with adventure staples. Puzzles of both the normal kind and that special point and click adventure logic type are promised, to go along with witty banter, a rich story and a well realized idea. In the game, you travel and help people from the past overcome obstacles to ensure they do come up with their invention. Help Sir Isaac Newton get through the theory of gravity after Dr Edwin has disrupted his research and the apple. Aide Beethoven overcome a block on creating the Fifth. Resolve issues between Leonardo da Vinci and the model for the Mona Lisa to ensure that one of history’s great pieces of art is made.

Kelvin Exploring

With a unique hand drawn art style to go with it Kelvin and the Infamous Machine does promise some interesting times, mixing something almost like When is Carmen San Diego with Monkey Island. With the base funding goal they aim to make the three chapters described above, but they are clearly hoping to create more, either with getting enough from Kickstarter to translate, voice act and then create additional chapters, or using funding from the first sales to create more of them. Given the name of their stretch goals, chapters featuring historical figures such as Einstein, and Alexander Graham Bell may eventually arrive.

They currently have about $7000 of their base $20 000 funding goal with about 20 days to go, giving them a good chance to at the very least make that. They also have a demo available on their site if one wants to see how it plays, though my thought is the video does an excellent job of describing the tone they are shooting for in it. They are also, of course, on Greenlight.

Switching sides here to Technology, we have some tech that is good for those of you with Retro Consoles. HD Retrovision hopes to bring Component Cables to make classic systems like the SNES and Sega Genesis work easily on modern televisions.

With these older consoles what is happening is that the original cables from them no longer are compatible with modern TVs, especially HDTVs. The general solution to this previously has been a composite cable which attempted to send all the information in through one source. However, none of these consoles were built for that and the image degradation from it is quite noticeable making the games blurry and harder to make out.

Component cables here instead actually improve the quality of them on tvs that can accept them. There is a slight issue with compatibility, but apparently the SNES and Genesis were too powerful for the cables and TVs of the time, and so they didn’t take the best advantage of their hardware. By giving it a clearer transmission and working in a manner that makes sense to the console, Component Cables are able to give a crisp, clear image.

While it’s been possible to fiddle around with things if you knew what you were doing previously, Component Cables here are very much plug and play. Additionally, it seems they may have some compatibility with other systems, especially if you do know what you are doing to allow an even further reach and if HD Retrovision is able to sell this project, others will be forthcoming.

Composite (Left) vs Component (Right)

The compatibility issue is the only real concern at this point with the project. Namely there are some TVs that don’t accept 240p/288p over component connections. This seems to be a dying out problem as newer ones have set it up to accept that, but the team has a pretty indepth discussion on the topic and challenges as well as promising a product in the mid-longterm to deal with it.

It currently has just over $30 000, beating its $25 000 goal and already has its first stretch goal achieved. Its got several others planned up through 70k such as Neo Geo R&D, Test Cartridge Art, Improved backer perks, Dreamcast R&D, and HDMIzer Development. It ends December 1st giving it about a week to get to some of those pretty cool goals.

Virtual Reality is something that is being constantly examined and worked on today. The Oculous Rift is probably the most well-known piece of work on it and it is working at getting more and more mass consumer ready. Nimble Sense is designed to work either with Oculous Rift or on its own and to bring your hands into virtual reality.

Nimble Sense works by using an infrared laser and infrared camera to catch your hands in a skeletal scan so that the computer can model them there. With its 110 degree line of sight it gives you a large area to be moving your hands around in and impact the virtual reality that you are working in. A key part of what they’ve done beyond the hardware is the software to make it low latency and fast moving in the world, which with VR is more important than it is in almost anything else to keep the feel of the virtual world ‘real’.

Nimble Sense is tiny – the size of a pack of gum despite having its powerful laser and camera that allow it to track and the software to send over. It come with mounts for both versions of the Oculous Rift (DK1 and DK2), as well as a desktop depending on the backing level chosen. This allows for it to have use beyond just Virtual Reality things that might be expected, as programs can be designed to accept motion controls or certain styles of command (virtual keyboard?).

Technology like this can definitely find a lot of uses and advances to push forward both in games and in the general public especially as its cost is pretty reasonable for what appears to be top of the line consumer technology. Starting around $100 for a single Nimble Sense and a basic mount it is pretty affordable especially for VR technologies.

Nimble Sense VR

Nimble Sense, with VR

Nimble Sense has raised over $100 000, well surpassing its $62500 goal. No stretch goals have been announced yet and there are over 20 days to go to its conclusion on December 13th. It seems like it could be one of several ways that VR could go in the future, as bringing hands into the virtual reality will be a game changer.

To end on a funnier note, we bring you the FonePhrog which promises to add a laugh to all your phone conversations.

With FonePhrog, you set it up – over Bluetooth – to lip sync to any sort of audio content you have, such as phone calls, audio books, or even youtube videos. Once set up, the FonePhrog will sync to what’s being said and provide the imagery of an American Bullfrog actually saying the stuff. Which, especially on phone calls, can be quite amusing to consider.

Using a Bluetooth speaker, an Ardino Uno and some simple circuitry, they have designed the lip syncing program to reject unwanted noises and of course to send signals through to move the froggy’s mouth.

The main challenge they have is that their prototype was essentially done by hand right now and they have to get the proper production run designs done. Essentially their motor is too powerful, a specialized froggy design with a thinner jaw line is needed (they had to hand carve the one in demonstration to thin it) or a special tool to thin the jaw without needing to do it by hand. It seems likely that it is doable in a reasonable time frame, though their delivery date is almost certainly too optimistic.

FonePhrog is asking for $60 000 and has only about $200 raised so far, which looks a bit gloomy for its future. It does have over 40 days to go though, with plenty of time to get funds by its January 2nd finishing date.

Previously on This Week In Kickstarter

Empyrion: Galactic Survival is 30% funded, with slow movement making it in danger of not making it with just under week to go.
Epic Manager is just about 80% funded with a week to go looking like it should easily make it.
Aerannis has reached its funding easily and is knocking down the stretch goals. It already has added easy/hard mode choice, Boss Rush Mode, a Level Editor, and its next one in about $500 is an Alternate story path. It still has 8 days to go
Sylvio was successfully funded but didn’t seem to have any stretch goals.
Nubarron has failed to reach its goal.
Late to the Party is over 20% funded with 2 weeks to go. It has a chance to make it though its looking like people might be cooler to this game idea.
Everykey has been 76% funded with 8 days left to go so its on track
Keecker was successfully funded.
Stove Lite 64% funded, with 12 days to go so it too will likely reach it’s goal
Spot has failed to reach its funding goals
DeB was successfully funded.
GameThing is about 40% funded and has over 2 weeks to go, with a good chance to make it.
Mousr is about 3/4s funded and has 2 weeks to go, so it should make its goal easily, pleasing cat fanatics all over the world.
Point has tripled its goal and still has over 10 days to go.


Seen a kickstarter you think we should take a look at? Have one of your own you are running? Email it to [email protected] and we’ll take a look at it and consider featuring it next time!

Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.