Posts Tagged ‘Richard Garriott’

Video Interview with Richard Garriott and Starr Long Re: Shroud of the Avatar

shroud-of-the-avatarI was extremely fortunate (and hopefully didn’t fangirl too much) to meet both Richard Garriott and Starr Long of Ultima and Ultima Online fame at E3 this year.  The two are working on a new project with Garriott’s company, Portalarium, called Shroud of the Avatar – which is being called the spiritual successor to Ultima Online.

Shroud of the Avatar was successfully funded by Kickstarter last year and Portalarium continues their funding effort with an ongoing pledge system on their website, all the while allowing backers to test each play release for a weekend when that release is available.

The gentlemen were nice enough to squeeze us into a time slot at their booth to answer a few questions by fans of Shroud of the Avatar.  Enjoy the video below!

About Grace "Kayhynn" Snoke

Grace Snoke is a corporate journalist and author who enjoys gaming, reading, writing and jewelry making. Outside of her day job, she writes for a number of sites including: Video Game, Obsolete Gamer, SciTech Nerds and for a couple blogs and sites she owns. You can learn more about her adventures as an author here.

Plantronics Gaming Giving Away Early Access to Shroud of the Avatar

splashScreenA little over a year ago, Richard Garriott, with Portalarium, launched a Kickstarter for the spiritual successor to Ultima and Ultima Online, called Shroud of the Avatar.  The project was funded and continues to gather funding and followers through their website.  With more than $4.25 million raised thus far for the game, it’s not a surprise that Portalarium has teamed up with a number of companies, including Plantronics Gaming, to spread the word about their game.

Richard Garriott, Starr Long and other members of the Portalarium team were at E3 to talk about Shroud of the Avatar – we will have a video interview later.  But post E3, Plantronics announced a give away for Early Access to Shroud of the Avatar.

If you aren’t a backer and are interested in learning more about the game, try your hand at a chance to win one of 1,000 early access keys.

The first 1,000 people to sign up get a key.  Best of luck!  Look forward to our interview later this week.

About Grace "Kayhynn" Snoke

Grace Snoke is a corporate journalist and author who enjoys gaming, reading, writing and jewelry making. Outside of her day job, she writes for a number of sites including: Video Game, Obsolete Gamer, SciTech Nerds and for a couple blogs and sites she owns. You can learn more about her adventures as an author here.

KickStart This: July 1, 2013 Edition

kickstarterAnother week means it is time for another KickStart This. We’ll take a quick look at the KickStarter Projects mentioned in our previous article that still have funding time remaining to see how they are doing funding wise before we look at this week’s projects.  Eight days have passed from the time we wrote the articles, and many of the projects have seen significant increases in their funding.

Project Standings as of June 30, 2013

  • The Question Block Lamp by 8-Bit Lit is at $77,034 of a $100,000 goal. This Kickstarter has 17 days to go to reach their goal.
  • The Long Road – A Documentary About Following Your Passions is at $820 of $8500 needed with only four days remaining.
  • Frontiers also has 16 days to go, but has already reached it’s initial goal of $50,000. Current amount funded is $79,852 with the next stretch goal unlocking at $82,500.
  • Mind’s Eye Theatre: Vampire the Masquerade is now at $149,219 of $60,000 needed – so they are at more than double the minimum goal with 8 days remaining and many stretch goals left to unlock.

Now to look at other gaming related projects needing funding. This week we look at a new Kickstarter, this one for a game, by a webcomic author who’s had several projects funded; a HP Lovecraft based board game, and a look at a completed Kickstarter that is continuing crowdfunding to improve their game through their own site now that they’re funded. This KickStart This is a little short because at time of writing the article, the other funding site I was going to pull two games from to write about is down. So those will be covered, hopefully, next week.

1. LFG – The Fork of Truth by Ryan Sohmer

lfg-the-fork-of-truthI’ve followed, and for a while moderated and admined forums, for Looking For Group, a webcomic by Ryan Sohmer and Lars deSouza. They’ve successfully funded other projects, including a short animated cartoon for Looking for Group, and two other projects for Sohmer’s other comic, called The Bear. But this project has a bit more of a monetary need as they are designing a 4-player co-op based on the comic.

They hope to raise $600,000. Their funding started on June 19. As of June 30, 2013, they have raised a little more than 1/6th of the goal with $106,797 raised and 18 days to go.

The Looking for Group team has teamed up with Paladin Studios to create this game, which will be a sidestory from the main storyline. You will be able to play one of four characters that are known from the comic: Richard, Cale, Bennie or Crunch. What’s even better, the game will be available for Windows, Mac and Linux systems. If stretch goals are met, they will port it to other platforms as well – including consoles and tablets.

For as little as $25 contribution, you can get the deluxe edition of the game. Other perks are available as more money is donated, including at $80 donation you get 4 copies of the deluxe edition. Pretty sweet perks there.

While $600,000 is the minimum, the group does have stretch goals as well, all the way up to $1.1m raised.

Much like the game Frontiers, they have a pie chart that breaks down exactly where the money is going, the majority of which is for Game Code and Design. Of course art and voice talent plays a part too as does everything else. It looks like some of their planned voice talent are folks who have voiced for the animated shorts and have done voice work for their other projects as well – so they have experience.

The other thing I find impressive about this KickStarter is that the writer and the artist of the webcomic are both on hand with the game development. Sohmer is behind the writing and Lars is behind the art direction – obviously he can’t do all the art work for the game himself as that would be near impossible and a team of artists is needed for the game.

The LFG crew puts out a good product each time they do a KickStarter. I think that the game will add some interesting dimension and interaction to the webcomic that we, the readers, haven’t seen before. Check out this current one and if you like what they’re doing or planning to do, donate some funds to them.

KickStarter is here:

2. Cthulu Wars by Sandy Petersen

cthulu-warsThis game is being touted as a “strategy/horror board game from Lovecraft’s classic Cthulu Mythos” played with highly detailed miniatures. And let me just say, looking at the images provided, they aren’t joking about the highly detailed part. These miniatures look amazing.

This KickStarter only required $40,000 to be funded. As of June 30, 2013, the funding sits at $818,309 with six days remaining. Quite impressive for a board game. It also has a large number of stretch goals based on money raised and number of backers they get. They have monetary stretch goals of up to $900,000 and backer stretch goals of up to 4700 backers. Currently they have 3,231 backers.

Sandy Petersen, the creator of this Kickstarter, is the designer of the original Call of Cthulu role playing game. In the RPG, you were striving to avert impending catastrophe, but in this game, you are one of The Great Old Ones and are a part of the catastrophe.

This is a game for 3-5 people played with a board and miniatures – and it looks to be a lot of fun.

Check out their gameplay videos and various perks provided, then if you want to help them reach some of their stretch goals, consider contributing.

The Kickstarter can be found here:

3. Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues by Portalarium

shroud-of-the-avatarI have always been an Ultima fan, then an Ultima Online fan, all of which were games spearheaded by Richard Garriott de Cayeux . It would come as no surprise that this game was another one that I wanted to see get funded, even though I couldn’t afford the pledge level I really wanted while the KickStarter was in session.

The game was defined as “the “spiritual successor” to Richard’s previous work in the FRP genre. Our primary objectives are to tell a story even more compelling than Ultimas IV-VII, create a virtual world more interactive than Ultima VII, develop deep rich multi-player capabilities beyond combat akin to Ultima Online, and offer a bold new approach to integrate them with “Selective Multi-Player”.

As you read on about the game, you learn it is a buy-to-play game without any required subscription to play – which is where the Kickstarter perks come into play.

For as little as $45, you would get a DRM-free downloadable version of the game. For a $500 donation, you got housing in the game that would be “rent free” as well as other in-game perks such as a special title, copy of the game, etc. And of course, with the more you donated, the better your perks got.

I saw a number of interesting and unique things happen with this KickStarter, that I’m now starting to see other KickStarters adopt – and that was a way to accept donations outside of the KickStarter via PayPal or other means for people who didn’t want to use Amazon for their donation purposes.

Garriott and his team set up a way to donate to the project via their site and PayPal. If you donated through PayPal prior to the funding period ending on KickStarter you could get the same perks as everyone else.

Then they did something else – continued the crowdfunding after they successfully funded the project, getting $1,919,275 when they wanted to raise 1 million through KickStarter plus another $200,000 via PayPal. Once the project was done, they wanted people who still wanted to contribute to do so, getting different perks than those that funded through KickStarter. They also offered another option for folks – a layaway plan where they could pay off larger donations over time. While they players would pay slightly more to do it this way, they still get the perks they want without having to shell out a significant amount all at once.

I think other successfully funded and popular KickStarter projects could benefit from doing something similar, especially if they are still wanting to reach stretch goals they didn’t reach during their funding period.

In addition to this, they also did several Google Hangouts throughout the funding period where they could answer player/contributor questions. And they didn’t just stop doing those when they got funded – no they continued doing the Google Hangouts and chats since then. It’s always great to see Kickstarter project founders interacting with their fans and funders after the funding period is over. It also helps to keep the followers informed on what’s going on with the game – which is awesome.

I look forward to seeing the project, which is slated to be released, if I recall correctly, sometime in 2014. Alpha testing is slated to start in December 2013.

The completed Kickstarter can be found here:

The continuation of the crowd funding can be found here:

This concludes this week’s KickStart This. Check out the previous editions below:

About Grace "Kayhynn" Snoke

Grace Snoke is a corporate journalist and author who enjoys gaming, reading, writing and jewelry making. Outside of her day job, she writes for a number of sites including: Video Game, Obsolete Gamer, SciTech Nerds and for a couple blogs and sites she owns. You can learn more about her adventures as an author here.


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