In 2013, Jellyfish Games launched their first Kickstarter campaign for their sandbox base-building RPG, Astrobase Command. When they started, creators Adam Blahuta and Dave Williams, figured they’d be able to build a gameplay prototype and launch their crowdfunding campaign in 3 to 6 months. Things didn’t quite work out that way.
It ended up taking 11 months before they were ready to launch the Kickstarter. This set the campaign’s launch smack dab in the middle of the holiday season. Desperate to see their work pay off they launched anyway, seeking CA$ 145,000 in funding. The campaign failed, but where many devs would have just wrote the experience off, Jellyfish Games decided to continue development.
Now, 3 years later they have returned to Kickstarter with better graphics, a nearly complete alpha build, and tons of backer support from their previous campaign. It’s an impressive turn-around which should make their reduced $29,324 funding goal easily attainable. Let’s take a look at how they went from then to now.
As previously alluded to, the graphics from the original pitch were, less than impressive. Luckily, one of the team’s early backers was artist, Daniel Dahl. After the campaign ended Dahl was brought on-board as a co-founder at Jellyfish Games. Drawing inspiration from the retro futuristic style of 1970s space dramas, the graphics for Astrobase Command have received extensive upgrades. It still looks like an old episode of Star Trek, but more Picard, less Star Trek the animated series.
Astrobase Command puts players in the role of an omnipresent administrator of a deep space station (Astrobase). Their tasks involve all the exciting minutia of upper management; everything from building the 3D station and filing paperwork to managing the work-life balance of crew members.
Gathering Your Troops
Crew members are selected from personnel files to fit the needs of your Astrobase. It’s far more complex than just tossing a red shirt into security and hoping for the best though. Procedural personalities and storytelling mean that while you can command your crew, they have their own lives to live. Sometimes following your orders in a timely fashion may not be their top priority.
It’s a clever take on an RPG simulation set in an interesting setting. With the alpha build nearly complete, backers at the appropriate tier level could be playing as early as this fall. If that doesn’t fill you with confidence for the project, I should note that even after the first campaign flopped Jellyfish never completely disappeared from the radar.
Over the past 3 years they have continued to update their fans as they funded development for Astrobase Command themselves. These are the actions of a dedicated team planning to deliver on their promises. It doesn’t hurt that the game looks rad as well.