Welcome back to This Week in Kickstarter. Today we are bringing you a great mix of new tech projects, and awesome games, from maniacal dictators to anti-theft luggage tracking. Grab your hats ladies and gents, because we're going for a ride!
Let's Talk Games
Glorious Leader! - A Satirical 16-Bit Run’n’Gun GameTake up the mantle of Kim Jong Un himself in Glorious Leader!, and battle the invading American army! We can also assume that you will be denouncing America and proclaiming what they can and cannot watch in your off-screen time.
Created by Moneyhorse, an Atlanta based game studio, Glorious Leader! looks to be a promising run'n'gun side-scroll shooter. The armies of the West are invading North Korea, and you set out as Kim Jong Un, alone in your fight to destroy the imperialist armies. The game itself has 7+ harrowing level, each with its own twist to make it unique. My favorite being Mission 2, where you catch a ride on one of Pyongyang's mystical Unicorns, and fight through a convoy of American troops.
Another great feature of the game is the power-up system. You can't rely on only yourself and your guns to take down the entire Western army by yourself, so why not use your Divine Powers to help you. Active and passive, these divine powers allow you to do many things that will help you in your mission against the army of America. And if Kim Jong Un isn't enough, there are four other unlockable characters.
I think that this game has great potential. While a little bad in nature, satire never really hurt anyone, and while Kim Jong Un's pride may take a hit, he should be honored that someone would create a game in which is capable of destroying the entire American army himself. Talk about some major propaganda. I'd love to see this game take off, and I think that it looks like it can be a fun and new take on the traditional run'n'gun games of old.
At the time of writing this article, the game had amassed over $11,000 of their $55,000 goal. With 22 days left, I think that this game will be successfully funded, as long as funding stays consistent.
Quantified Gaming - Know More, Game BetterA gaming mouse that captures body reactions and stress levels and is capable of delivering insight into your in-game performance, the Naos QG promises to be a revolution in gaming peripheral technology.
The great designers at MionixLabs have come together to create the next big innovation in gaming peripherals, creating a mouse that enables you to get deep insights into how your body reacts during a game, and how it affects your performance. Via sensors that are built into the device, the Naos QG is capable of tracking heart rate, galvanic skin response, and actions per minute. Each of these three things give you different insight into how certain parts of your game were affecting your body, and allow you to learn patterns, and adjust game play accordingly.
Not only does this mouse deliver great internals that allow you to optimize your game play, it is also a beautiful device. Built with ergonomics in mind, this mouse is sleek, looks great, and delivers awesome performance with its solid material quality. Track, Monitor, Analyze, and Share. These are the foundations of what you can do with the Naos QG, and if the mouse is capable of delivering, you will certainly be able to improve your game play with the results.
While the Naos QG seems cool, I believe that it is catering to a limited audience. Being a large RPG and single-player gamer myself, there isn't much need for me to track my performance during a game, because I can just go back to my last save point and try a different strategy than the one that I used before if I fail. This mouse is designed with more of a multiplayer focus in mind, catering largely to an FPS player market. While this market is large, if you don't play these games, or if they are not your main genre of game like myself, then the mouse would really be of no use to you. That being said, we're featuring the mouse in our article, because it is a project worthy of attention, and I think that it is great that they are bringing innovation into a largely stale market of gaming peripherals.
At the time of writing, the project still had 19 days to go, and was at a solid $66,000 of its $100,000 goal. It looks like this project has not gone unnoticed, and if funding keeps up, they should definitely reach their goal.
Synonymy Int'l : A New Word GameSynonymy is an educational, non-profit game made for iOS and Android devices where the goal of the game is to follow a rabbit hole of synonyms branching into other synonyms in an attempt to find a “goal word”. The objective of synonymy is to help ESL students and individuals looking for a way to increase their proficiency in the english language.
Now Christopher Jarvis, the apps developer, wants to bring in more languages into the game, and wants to use Kickstarter to finance it. Jarvis plans to include Japanese, French, Chinese, German, Spanish, and maybe more depending on the Kickstarters success.
English speakers looking to learn Japanese could use Synonymy as practice. The player would start off the game with English words, until a few stages in when the words would begin to change to Japanese, testing what they’ve learned so far. This helps users view languages in tandem with one another, rather than isolated forms of speech.
I always love seeing people using the creative tools that video games provide to provide ways for people to learn and better themselves. I’m skeptic at the idea of this being used to actually learn parts of languages, as well as deciding what parts of another language are true synonyms vs words with the same general idea, but in the wrong context can mean something entirely different.
Synonymy has a ways to go in making their goal of $900, with the current funding at the time of writing being $25. Time is on their side however, as the page doesn’t close till Febuary 7th, 2015.
Let's Talk Tech
Next Keyboard - The Perfect Keyboard for iPhoneNext Keyboard brings to iPhone what should have been there for a long, long time. I decent keyboard.
An innovative way to handle the cursor, an emoji drawer thats a single tap away, and most of all, a shift key that changes the keys to match it (seriously why isn’t that a thing already?)
Another interesting feature of “Next” is a sort of predictive emoji system. The keyboard reads what you wrote down and suggests an emoji to fit it. Swype typing, improved auto correct, and personal themes make this an app to look out for.
I’ve always been a die-hard Android guy. Being able to switch things on the fly is something I can’t live without. That being said I understand that the Apple ecosystem and quality assurance Apple provides are a huge draw for a lot of people, and being able to just have a little more control over that experience would make their phones all the more perfect to them. I’m happy to see a developer bring to iPhone things I often take for granted having on Android, things that should be the standard for all mobile platforms, whether iOS, Android, Windows phone or Blackberry.
Next Keyboard can kick back and relax, having raised well over its initial goal of $10,000, sitting at the time of writing at $33,011. The project doesn’t even end until January 24th, 2015, and with pledge goals and features being added to match the climbing donations, this is looking to be one heck of an app.
Smart Unit - The First Anti-Theft Luggage TrackerCapable of tracking your luggage anywhere in the world, Smart Unit knows when your plane has landed and if your luggage is close to you as it should be.
According to this Kickstarter project, over 90,000 suitcases are lost every day, of which 3,000 are never recovered. With the Smart Unit, Lev-Technologies seeks to end this pain, and ease the stress and worry of travel. With unique proximity technology, Smart Unit knows when your luggage arrives on the conveyor belt, knows when it is close to you, and is capable of deactivating and reactivating itself upon takeoff and landing of the plane. It can even, at your request, inform you of the geo-location of your bag at any time, in any location.
Probably my favorite feature, under the watch-mode of Smart Unit, you will be notified with a pop up alert notification on your phone, when your luggage has been opened and tampered with. This goes as far as if your luggage is picked up and taken out of the 30 meter range of you if you are bringing a carry-on bag. The device is easy to set up and use, and is useful, as it is capable of holding charge for a week, perfect for any vacation.
I think that this project is great, because travel can easily become stressful for people who are dealing with luggage that is lagging behind a flight, or gets directed to a completely separate airport and you have to go through hours of talking to the airline to find where it is. I think that Smart Unit is a great start for moving in a direction where travelers don't have to worry about their luggage, because they always know it is secure. I can only hope that this project becomes a success, as someday, I envision this kind of technology being built into suitcases, as opposed to being an external device, making the safety of your luggage even better.
At the time of writing this article, the project still had 22 days to go, and it was already at $16,000 raised of its $50,000 goal. It seems like this project will be successfully funded, so go hop on it now while you still have the chance! nbsp;
TreadGaming - Exercise while Playing GamesThe future is really coming along these days, with one example being TreadGaming, a piece of tech that reads your speed on a treadmill or other exercise equipment, and uses it as input to move forward in a video game.
It works by calibrating the device to your regular walking speed on the treadmill, then, if you move beyond that speed, that device will interpret it as a sprint, signalling to the game the same way as you would if you pressed the sprint button in your standard FPS. The device also works with two Wii nunchucks to use for additional input, and in the video we see the device in action as the player navigates both Dead Island and Skyrim without any seeming hindrance.
As I mentioned earlier, I love seeing creative people use gaming for purposes beyond the entertainment space, just as movies have been used to educate, and music used to motivate. If using the device actually feels fun beyond the novelty, this could take off in similar fashion to Wii fit’s and Wii bowling’s success.
Two things left me concerned though, and the first is aiming. In the demo we only see melee attacks, which require less precision. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact it may be for the best to leave aiming out of the equation of somebody running on exercise equipment. The second is mixing physical movement, with input from the controller. In the case of the treadmill, the person moving forward moves the character forward, while turning left or right is done with input from a controller. Perhaps these mesh well together, or perhaps having to different methods for movement can result in frustration and confusion. This really could only get answer by trying the device yourself. Still, this device is a fantastic idea that many kids have wanted since video games were first around, and getting more people into health and fitness in fun and creative ways can only be a good thing.
At somewhere under half its intended goal at the time of writing, the TreadGaming device has a ways to go, but with it’s deadline further at January 25th, 2015, there’s still time for them to successfully fund the project.
Previously on This Week in Kickstarter
SmashPad - Successfully funded, and garnering over 150 backers, this project looks like its going all the way! Aviary Attorney - This project smashed its goal of £7,000 and has near 1,000 backers. I truly hope that this game becomes a success. Daydreamer - Daydreamer looks like it will go unfunded. At only $316 out of their $65,000 goal, and with only 17 days left, I don't think that there's much of a chance for this game sadly. L3D Cube - This awesome piece of technology still has 11 days to go, and it has already raised 5 times the amount of money that they needed. Here's to hoping that the project creators deliver the promised product. Andromium - With 30 days left to go, Andromium has raised 30% of its $100,000 goal. This is a project that I personally would love to see succeed, so hopefully, the money keeps coming in for this awesome campaign. ZANO - ZANO has raised over £1,000,000 and it looks like it is going to be going places. They only needed £125,000, and many stretch goals have been fulfilled. With 13 days left to go, they could still make a lot more money. KeeWIFI Router - With 11 days to go, and over 1,000 backers, the Keewifi router was successfully funded, and can hopefully deliver an awesome product that simplifies the way that we connect to our wireless networks.