At the Gates: New turn based strategy game by Jon Shafer at Kickstarter

The_J

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Jon Shafer, lead designer of Civilization 4 BtS and Civilization 5, has founded his own gaming studio "Conifer Games" and has made his first project public: At the Gates is a turn based strategy game, in which you will fight with the "barbarians" against the Romans.
Besides the obvious battles the game is also supposed to include trade and diplomacy.

The game is currently not yet finished, but a Kickstarter campagain has been started to support the funding. Currently $4,463 by 108 people have been pledged, the goal to make the game happen is $40,000.

Please note: Kickstarter campaigns might fail, and if they succeed the project might still not come to reality.
It has also to be said that apparently a playable prototype has already been programmed, and that the game is meant to be released in 2014 for PCs.

Please read (and watch and listen, there are 2 videos) more at the Kickstarter campagain site.
The news was originally found at Golem.de.
 

The_J

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A short Kickstarter explanation, since not everyone here might know what it is:
Spoiler :
Kickstarter is a so called crowdfunding platform.
Everyone with an idea can go there, open a project with an idea, and set a goal on how much money he/she/they want to have.
Normal people can then pledge money on the project (e.g. via Paypal).
Kickstarter collects the money.
In case the project reaches the monetary goal (like here $40,000), then the developers will get these money (minus a small fee for Kickstarter).
In case the project fails, the people who pledged will get their money back.
Most often the people, who pledged a certain amount of money (visible on the right of the kickstarter site) will get certain benefits.
But the money is at that point gone, the project might still become a disaster, and in that case you're not entitled to anything.

Some developers fund their whole games through Kickstarter (most prominent project: Double Fine adventure, with millions pledged), some only use Kickstarter to finish their products (as it seems here).
The "crowdfunding" is one of the current IT hypes out there, since it allows small developers to collect money for their projects, without having to connect to big distributors, who might want to have the rights of a brand, or who want to change contents of the game. Instead it allows them do create the game they want, and allows them to get more feedback by the community, since they don't have to listen to a distributor.
Some people say that crowdfunding might change the whole gaming landscape, but it might also be only a small bubble. We'll have to find out what is true in a few years.

I hope this explanation was useful, and that everyone can have fun with discussing this project :).
 

Sonereal

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This and Planetary Annihilation are two Kickstarter games I'm looking forward to. This game looks nice and it sounds like it has a more complex supply system than Civilization. Multiplayer wasn't mentioned though, but I don't much mind that anyway if the AI is up to par at release (or close to).
 

black213

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I can never forgive Jon for making Civilization V a war game with diplomacy, AI and everything else essential to a civ game added in the last minute and ignored, thus I don't have any high expectations for this game.
 

Kid R

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Personally I'm hopeful that JS now he's not having to work in the studio system will make something embodying the good principles he always talks about. Nowhere to hide when it's just you and 2 mates (+ 1 budgie! :D).

Sounds promising so far anyway. Somewhat shorter games and simpler mechanics should in theory work well together, plus there seem to be some neat new ideas. I don't mind 2D at all - prefer it really, and the dam thing might run on laptops and ipads so you can play it in comfort, not hunched at your desk.

In fact this initiative could be what I have been hoping will happen in TBS in general. That is, for somebody to have the courage to challenge the idea that to make a better game than what has come before you must add more. More content, more graphics, more complex mechanics, more realism, just more of something. Perhaps this could be the start of an exciting period where some stripped-down games get built and the genre gets to to experiment with a ton of really radical new ideas away from the dead hand of studios only greenlighting one risk-free TBS game per year.

Bring it on :goodjob:
 

Aristos

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Jon Shafer was NOT lead designer for Civ4 BTS. Correct please. I have seen this "error" many times already. Let's keep things true, please.
 

Sonereal

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Sounds promising so far anyway. Somewhat shorter games and simpler mechanics should in theory work well together, plus there seem to be some neat new ideas. I don't mind 2D at all - prefer it really, and the dam thing might run on laptops and ipads so you can play it in comfort, not hunched at your desk.

Some developers are falling into the trap that a game can make up for lesser mechanics with superior graphics. I don't downplay the effect good graphics can have in advancing the mood or scenery of a game, but there's a lot to be said about games like Battle for Wesnoth and Dwarf Fortress that manage to be successful despite being two-dimensional and ASCII.

I can never forgive Jon for making Civilization V a war game with diplomacy, AI and everything else essential to a civ game added in the last minute and ignored, thus I don't have any high expectations for this game.

I can totally blame people for stuff too if I only perform superficial analysis of stuff!
 

The_J

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Moderator Action: 2 troll posts deleted.

Jon Shafer was NOT lead designer for Civ4 BTS. Correct please. I have seen this "error" many times already. Let's keep things true, please.

Please open your BtS manual, and check who's listed as lead designer under "design team".
 

Geddy

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Anything with Jon Shafers name on it is poison for me. I think the way he ruined the Civ franchise will haunt his career forever. He would be better getting into another area of programming.
 

Aristos

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Moderator Action: 2 troll posts deleted.



Please open your BtS manual, and check who's listed as lead designer under "design team".

I just did and you are indeed right, but we both know that in fact he was no lead designer there. Technically, then, it's true and you can continue his promotion. I cannot prove that he was no lead. But we both know that alexman was the true lead... little Joni only did the Espionage part.
 

Zeppa

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I made a donation and within an hour or so my credit card was ripped off. BOA warned me this afternoon. Not saying the two are related but mighty suspicious. Supposedly Amazon handled the transaction, they knew my credit card info. Don't know how there were 2 Kmart and one Walmart transaction I didn't make. BOA did a great job!
 

DaviddesJ

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Does anyone have any opinions/information/knowledge about what Jon worked on during his time at Stardock?

On the one hand, I don't really like most of the ideas he brought to Civ 5. On the other hand, his ideas for At the Gates sound at least somewhat promising.
 

Breezin

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This and Planetary Annihilation are two Kickstarter games I'm looking forward to. This game looks nice and it sounds like it has a more complex supply system than Civilization. Multiplayer wasn't mentioned though, but I don't much mind that anyway if the AI is up to par at release (or close to).

I read that multiplayer is not part of the initial design. However, he didn't rule it out. It was a matter of getting enough money together to implement it.
 

Breezin

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Does anyone have any opinions/information/knowledge about what Jon worked on during his time at Stardock?

He worked on Elemental:Fallen Enchantress. I believe he was in charge of implementing the modding part of the game.

I think Fallen Enchantress got mixed reviews but on the average on the more positive end.
 

Aristos

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He worked on Elemental:Fallen Enchantress. I believe he was in charge of implementing the modding part of the game.

I think Fallen Enchantress got mixed reviews but on the average on the more positive end.

No, he was "in charge" of one scenario, but I never saw said scenario going public... and he was supposedly working on a "secret" project within SD, but I wonder what happened... did Brad finally see the light and reconsidered his "acquisition"...???
 

Cristoval

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Ruined? CivV is still one of the most played games on Steam.

Get bent.

What does that have to do with the quality of the game?

That's like proclaiming the Wii was the best home console because it sold the most.

I wouldn't trust anything with the Shafer name knowing full well he has a barebones game design philosophy.
 

DaviddesJ

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That's like proclaiming the Wii was the best home console because it sold the most.

Well, the Wii was the best home console.

But we were talking about Shafer.

What is a "barebones game design philosophy"? Civ 5 doesn't seem any more "barebones" than Civ 4.
 
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