What is Kickstarter
So some amazing stuff has been happening over at Kickstarter. For those of you unaware, Kickstarter is what is called a crowd funding site. It’s a place where content creators can post up a project they need funding for and a target money goal. People pledge money, usually for rewards of some kind, and if the target goal is met within thirty days, the money is collected. It is basically like how charities work, except it isn’t giving money to charity but to a project of some kind. In this way new (and current) designers can get the funding they need to create products without having to go to banks or major corporations to fund them and sell off their designs or such.
I like to personally fund online comics looking to print their books, board games, the occasional documentary that I like, and sometimes video games. Usually I only pay a few extra dollars to get a final version of the product along with some nick-nacks and recognition in the product’s credits.
So Kickstarter has been around for a while and, as such, has a few records it keeps. Like most funded within the span of a day. Most funded over the span of the entire campaign. Most money in category. Most money overall. Records like that. Think of it kinda like world records for the Olympics, except more, or less, impressive depending on your views.
Order of the Stick
So around last week I stumbled upon on of my favorite webcomics, Order of the Stick, hosting a Kickstarter to re-print a lot of their physical volumes of the comic. Since I was missing a few of those books due to a loaning incident, I decided to pledge. What was amazing about this was that the original goal was set at a little over $57,000. They were just shy of that by the first day but by the second day they had broken $96,000, nearly double. It is now nineteen days in, and they are over 1000% funded, sitting at $602,457 with 8,175 backers.
Which is amazing. Utterly and completely amazing. It has put them at the top of their category (comics) by leaps and bounds, (the next highest being a little over $100,000). They would have broken the top five of all time, except for a man you may know the name of called Tim Schafer and his company you’ve likely heard of, Double Fine, deciding to drop into the race.
Their Kickstarter is about creating and documenting a Point and Click adventure game, in similar style of The Secret of Monkey Island or Day of the Tentacle. You know the games all us old-schoolers keep begging him to bring back but modern publishers won’t touch because it simply won’t sell? Well with a lofty goal of $400,000, within twenty-four hours, Tim and Double Fine managed to raise $1,310,745 with 35,871 backers, shattering so many records it wasn’t even funny.
Yes. They raised over a million dollars for a point and click adventure game in less than a day.
Your Support Wanted
Honestly both of these projects should be congratulated. And both should be supported, hence why I’m linking their status pages below.
OotS’s Kickstater is complicated to understand but well worth it if you’re a fan of OotS. I’d love for you to pledge because the next major prize is a new expansion for the board game version of OotS which I would personally like to have. Additionally with each major update, Rich Burlew, the creator, updates a comic containing the OotS characters playing around with the chart that has been mapping the entire money-raising deal and the extra rewards he has been handing out for the over funding. Double Fine’s is a less interactive but simpler Kickstarter Campaign but the video is well worth watching and you’ll receive a highly interactive video game designed by some of the best adventure game minds still alive.
Here’s the video from the Double Fine Kickstarter campaign.
For those of you who have been paying attention, there is a list of useful links below. For those of you who haven’t, stay awhile and listen.
Actions being taken by the United State government will begin to fundamentally change the internet. Please read or watch the following to understand what is happening and if you want to take action about it.
[spoiler show="For those of you who would like my words on the subject. Click here."]The United States created the Internet. Despite fancy names like “World Wide Web” and “Global Communication System” and “Series of Tubes”, the internet is not managed by the world. It is managed by corporations on the united states and is subject, for the most part, to US Law. Even more so these days since a majority of the people connect to the internet via their local telecommunication company (phone, cable, satellite, etc).
That being said the internet has been pretty untamed for the last few years. Anybody could put or post up anything. Your information was only as secure as how well your protected it. It was effectively the digital wild west. Now, however, the internet is in so many homes, has become the focus of so much economic use (online shopping, movie and song streaming, video games, marketing) that this can’t last. Just like the trains that brought big business to the west, killing off the last place where your only real protection was the gun at your side, progress is going to try to tame the internet for the good of all, to the detriment of the few.
This is more or less inevitable. The new internet that will come into place will be highly regulated and likely more forcefully controlled by the big economic interests that want to use it to provide services to the world for money. When they do, innovation will become exceptionally difficult. Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and the like, will still exist, but their successors likely won’t appear. Blogs, chat rooms, social networks, bulletin boards/forums system, may or may not survive in this new internet. Words like “National Defense”, ”Anti-Piracy”, “Copyright”, and others will be used to tightly regulate any site that tries to provide the public with ability to communicate and share.
Effectively the basis for the internet as we know it, sharing and communicating, will come to an end at the hands of capitalism and censorship.
The first steps for this have already begun. The United States government has two acts currently being discussed. The PROTECT IP act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Both have been getting a lot of news. As of right now, both look to be dying heavily under media massive campaigns set forth by various websites and organizations, despite the money being thrown at it by media and telecom corporations. The best example is today, February 18th, 2012, where websites all over the internet are “Blacking out” or putting up protest notices. You can read up more about what these acts do in the links below, but to summarize the acts allow and empower the US government to try to block or remove internet services (primarily websites) that infringe on copyright, without significant due process.
Now I am not a proponent of piracy. I make a living off of software development and I hope to some day make a living as an author. These are both areas that have notably high piracy rates, which concerns me. I would like to be compensated for my effort and work but I also feel that censoring the internet is not the answer. So for now, I protest.[/spoiler]
[spoiler show="For those of you who like videos. Click Here."]
- Wikipedia: SOPA
- Wikipedia: PIPA
- Blog.Reddit: A technical examination of SOPA and PROTECT IP
- TerribleMinds: Why SOPA and PIPA and other anti-piracy bullshit measures matter to writers
- TEDTalks: Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea)
- (Wil Wheaton) WWdN: In Exile: Today the US Senate is considering legislation that would destroy the free and open Internet
- (The Bloggess) The Bloggess: Me and Vader, fighting together. Weird.
- Google.com (Protest Page)
- PATV: Season 3, Ep. 24a - Stand Together: The Gaming Community vs SOPA and PIPA
- Girls With Slingshots
- Abstruse Goose
- Kawaii Not
- Something Positive
- Dominic Deegan
And many, many more, including you, hopefully.
Ever wonder what NASA is doing? Well the NASA website is actually a really good place to learn that but some people prefer to hear.
In the video game Dragon Age 2 your character can progress their own personal story line by having relationships with various computer controlled characters. Since your character can be customized to be any gender, the game is rather accommodating by offering relationships regardless of the gender of the main character.
This means that homosexual relationships can happen and in fact some of the computer controlled characters will actively flirt with you even if you because they are homosexual.
Someone took exception to the fact that one of his companion characters decided to flirt with him and decided to write a rather long forum post on the topic. Then news articles got a hold of it. And then David Gaider, the senior writer for Dragon Age 2, decided to reply.
This article sums it up rather nicely with some commentary: “Straight Male Gamer” told to ‘get over it’ by BioWare [NoMoreLost.org]
30 Pixar Facts
1. Pixar’s full name is Pixar Animation Studios, but was originally founded as Graphics Group in 1979.
2. The Pixar moniker was born on February 3rd, 1986 when the company was incorporated by Ed Catmull, Alvy Ray Smith and Steve Jobs (of Apple fame).
3. The Graphics Group was actually started under the umbrella of Lucasfilm, before Steve Jobs bought the company in 1986, which subsequently got taken over by The Walt Disney Company 20 years later for $7.4 billion.
4. Pixar’s 12 feature films and numerous shorts have won the company 26 Oscars, seven Golden Globes and three Grammys!
5. Toy Story, released in 1995 was Pixar’s first feature, and won director John Lasseter a Special Achievement Academy Award. This was not the company’s first Oscar, however, that went to Tin Toy for Best Animated Short in 1989.
6. Since AMPAS started awarding Best Animated Feature in 2001, all eight eligible Pixar films have been nominated, and six have won the Oscar.
7. Only three films have ever been nominated for a Best Picture Oscar: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and Pixar’s Up and Toy Story 3. (continue reading…)
If you weren’t aware, Steve Jobs died last night. What I find rather heartening is that the majority of articles written about the subject are focused on his life and the contributions he gave to all of us. Comics too, have been making their homages to the man. Here are a few early ones:
I’m sure more will come. I’ll update this collection as I find them.
This is a dream I never knew I had. New Science reports on a newly made and completely synthetic tentacle that behaves almost exactly like an actual octopus tentacle. It is part of ongoing project to create a full robotic octopus. Yes, you heard it right, mecha-thulu is being created by scientists in Italy.
Maybe other authors aren’t as involved in the publication of their books because they don’t spend eight hours a day with the people who create them. I’d walk past the desk of Matt, the art director, and see the book’s cover on his screen.
“Do you think my name should be bigger?” I asked.
“Sure,” he agreed. “Totally.”
When the galley was routed for approval, I saw my name was bigger. And misspelled.
“There’s no extra e in Shelly!” I yelled when I saw him working out with his trainer in the gym. “You know that!”
“Oops,” he smiled. “My bad.”
(Never mind the second galley routed with Michele and the third with Mouthy Mazzanoble. That’ll learn me. Not.)
My poor editor is one of my dearest friends. At least she was. Editing this beast nearly sent her into early labor. I’m terrified her son is going to grow up having a nervous twitch whenever I’m around.
Movie Bob has shown up on this blog before a few times primarily as a movie reviewer and general culture commentator. Today he is appearing as the latter, specifically for video games.
I suggest actually starting the video at around 3:45 minutes in if you aren’t a regular fan of the Game OverThinker series. That is when the real meat of the discussion starts.
If some of you remember, awhile back the Supreme Court of the United States of America threw out a California law that tried to regulate and ban violent video games. This has set a precedent which will no longer allow states to make laws which censor, regulate, or ban violent video games. Which is awesome and great. But, as Movie Bob points out, now is the time for some self-reflection. We’re free from the war that could ban an entire form of entertainment. Now it’s up to us, the creators and consumers of this mode of entertainment to start taking a look at the bad apples that gave our opposition ammunition against us.
The Game OverThinker explains it better I think, and I am still formulating my thoughts on the idea, so take the time to watch the video.
A little background. Tarol Hunt AKA Thunt, the creator of the comic Goblins, and his family were renting to own a home. Their agreement with the prior owner was that they would rent for a few years, and then purchase the home outright. However the economy came crashing down and some legal stuff happened and basically the Hunt family was going to need to buy the house sooner than expected or have to move.
They did not have the money.
Thunt regularly draws, in addition to the comic, a fundraising event called Tempts Fate, where in a goblin named Tempts Fate runs through a series of challenges and his survival is based upon readership donating money and possibly solving puzzles. So far Tempts Fate has never met his fate.
When this situation arose, Thunt posted a blog post explaining how he had decided not to use Tempts Fate to help raise the money to purchase the house. However fans then contacted Thunt with a barrage of emails, telling him to go ahead and to Tempts Fate and let the fans decide.
A type of ending one might never find in a Goblins comic then happened, a happy one. Thunt, in a live-drawing marathon, raised the money he needed for his family to purchase the house in under a week (once again shattering the deadlines set forth by the Tempts Fate comic, which is still technically running until the 20th of August).
Then the Hunt family received this in the mail:
Fans really can be some of the best people in the world. Events like this and the fundraiser for Extra Credit’s artist Allison Theus, who needed money for arm and back surgery so she could continue to draw and had their donation limit shattered in under a few hours, help reaffirm my faith in humanity and some of its inherent goodwill. I think I’ll steal some of Thunt’s own words regarding fans.