New game project. Feedback/Publicity wanted!

You may be aware of my recent layoff from DreamCatcher. This unfortunate event has spurred me to pursue a concept I’ve been rolling around in my brain for years, ever since I first saw the brilliant Million Dollar Home Page. In short: I believe it’s possible to apply social networking principles to get a front-line videogame funded, developed and shipped.

I’m working with a few colleagues in the industry on this, and everyone is equally as positive as I that once this concept reaches enough people, we should be able to mobilize the community to provide the funding necessary to get a game made. After all, gamers love to chat on message boards about what design decisions they would do to make games better. I believe we can actually put that power into the hands of the people and make it happen.

I’d sure appreciate if you took a few minutes and buzzed around at Insurgency Interactive. If you too believe this can work, please pledge your future commitment (no cash up front!). If you’ve got a blog, let your people know. If you’d like an interview for your site/podcast/TV show, I’m happy to oblige!

I trust this post doesn’t violate any Qt3 rules re: shilling. I just figured this would be the ideal place to “come out” since I believe you guys will either a) love the idea, sign up and help promote the project or b) call me out for an unrealistic pipe dream. Tom, if you’re uncomfortable with this post, I’ll take it down with my humblest apologies.


You didn’t ask first? Oh, my.

Well, no. I read the rules, and I figured I was ok:

I’ll be interactive! Promise!

Will we be democratising the profits?

Insurgency Interactive? Seriously?

You really didn’t put much thought into this, or were the Communist Collective and Taliban Online already taken?

Communist Collective vs. Taliban Online would be an awesome game.


krise madsen

Sounds like Stormcloud Derek’s Arcadia game that never came out AFAIK.

Kill a hooker, that’ll get you some publicity.

Disclaimer: I am not a publicist, nor am I liable for the consequences of you taking my advice.

Too bad its console only…

Yeah, something like this should be done for a PC title.
Also, I think pay $50 and get a say is a bit vague, because obviously if a lot of people actually do pay the $50 there are a lot of people who all have little to say, actually.
Maybe this should rather work like a mini-stock-exchange, i.e. one bond costs $5, and if you buy 10, you get ten votes in whatever is to be decided, but no one is stopping you from buying 100 or 1000, if you’re able to afford them.
Alternatively, there could be “tip the scales” votings in which you propose alternatives and “investors” can spend any amount of money to tip the scale in either direction. For example, you define the poll fundrising goal at $1000, the question 1st Person or 3rd Person. People could “invest” $50 in 1st person, which would take $50 off the goal and tip the scale $50 towards 1st person. Or somebody could “invest” $1 in 3rd person, which would have smaller effects, but also allow people to partake while spending smaller amounts of money.
Also, both scenarios would enable you to actually set some goals towards how much you want to raise.

Anyway, since a PC game is appearently out of the question, it matters little to me… ;)


The FAQ talks about a PC beta so it looks like this is an erroneous assumption.

Also, it is easy to be an asshole about this but I do wish you guys the best of luck. It will be difficult, even if you get 100,000 signups in the greenlight phase I don’t see that translating into half that many actual backers.

It’s a bit of a catch-22 situation for me. I won’t seriously sign up without knowing who is involved and what game is being made, and I won’t find out unless I and 99,999 other people sign up.

Talk about design by committee.

I agree on the funding part, though. Like the website or the One Red Paperclip thingy, you can do a lot moneywise if you get enough people interested. But note that neither of these projects provided anything tangible or of lasting impression - just entertainment and money for the people behind.
So good luck with the actual product.

Put me up for one ingame billboard advert - just to mess with those that feel such things are the downfall of gaming.

The bidding thing becomes kind of a problem, though, when you consider how it relates to what, precisely, it is that you’re buying. If I pay II ten thousand dollars to get my super-awesome First Person Shooter made and then some other chode swoops in on a later decision that’s make or break for me and influences them to make something I’m totally not interested, I’m now disgruntled and maybe a little litigious.

Which reminds me - you guys TOTALLY need to make sure that all the legal stuff on this project is hammered down.

I think I might consider throwing in, given the fact that the copy of the game comes with the registration. Think about it this way - if this game didn’t turn out to be a colossal, gargantuan failure, you’d probably buy it anyway just to see what a “democratically designed” game looks like. It’s Yahtzee’s Branston Pickle argument - the thing that comes out of this will be a unique first of its kind and anybody who cares about keeping up with what the “gaming intelligentsia” will end up playing it regardless because it’s a unique first of its kind and probably a whole experience that you won’t get anywhere else (even if you assume that the finished product is a vanilla middle-tier game of its kind, you still get to see what happens when you let the peanut gallery vote on what a game should be). By that logic, I can see how investing now might make sense if I had the money lying around.

What this really reminds me of is a couple of foreign dudes I heard on This American Life recently who perpetrated something similar to this with painting. Turns out that the paintings were…maybe not the best art ever created. It will be interesting to see if this works at all. Either way, II should totally get in touch with Ira Glass if this project comes to fruition.

I’m ashamed to say I never saw that thread! Since the Arcadia site/page seems to be gone, I’m assuming the reason it never happened was because a) he couldn’t get the critical mass of publicity and/or b) he didn’t really offer any interactivity with the project. Donations were simply helping Stormcloud to make their own game and fulfill their dream. That’s not unlike another similar stalled project, My Million Dollar Movie. I think where our project differs from both of those is that we are not about enabling our own selfish vision, nor are we only providing a copy of the game. We’re providing an unprecedented level of involvement.

First, a PC version is most definitely in the plan. I don’t know where that misconception came from. Maybe I need to make it more clear, somehow.

Second, your suggestion of tier involvement is a great one, rezaf, and one that we’ve talked about a lot. We ultimately decided to make it easier for everyone to comprehend by making it a single cost for a single participation credit. There’s nothing to say, however, that if we get a lot of feedback from people suggesting a similar breakdown we don’t revisit it. Thanks for mentioning it.

Thanks for the well wishes, Brendan. It is indeed easy to be an asshole about this, and I did expect some degree of it from the usual suspects.

I hope we’ll be able to translate the signups into payups. Only time will tell, I suppose.

One Red Paperclip was also another inspiration, Hanzii. Thanks. Hell, I’ve seen people send more money via Paypal for much less. I think this will be a fun experiment, and it’s something I’d sign up for personally.

A couple of guys are trying to do the same in the animation industry, though we’re still working out the details. But this is interesting and I’m curious to see how it goes for you.

…not sure “insurgency” necessarily means what you think it does.

Cool idea, good luck. It will be interesting to see what comes of this, even if my own interest in participating in a democratic design process is pretty limited.

Yeah, I think it does. I know the insurgency in Iraq isn’t a specific religious/ideological/political group, but it is the common name for the people we’ve been fighting the past few years.

Is it just me, or is this the perfect opportunity for Zombie/Pirate/Ninja/X-com? I’m surprised we’re not all on board already!

In some ways this seems like the GMT games P500 boardgame model. I’ve often wondered if this could work for videogames. One difference though is the P500 folks don’t let everyone weigh in on their project - they playtest with experienced playtesters, everyone else is just voting with their wallet on the basis of concept, theme, track record of the developer, etc. This model would seem better suited to protect you from ‘design by committee’ issues. Best of luck though, I’m curious to see how this plays out for you.