[Crowdfunding is the in thing for obtaining money to fund a variety of projects, with Kickstarter being the most prominent of these sites. With new projects going live daily, it's a chore to keep up with, let alone find, interesting genre projects. The Crowd Funding Roundup will be our effort to bring projects we think are interesting to your attention so you can, if you so choose, decide to help out. These posts will be a collaborative effort between James Aquilone and JP Frantz.]

PURGE: Sins of Science

What’s it about?

Build futuristic super weapons, nightmarish machines & harness the power to destroy stars in the 1st Real Time Strategy card game.

Why it’s interesting: Well well, here’s something you don’t see everyday. A card game attempting to mimic the real time strategy genre of video games, in a SF setting no less. Some interesting things about the game: it’s more living card game (a la Fantasy Flight Games’ card games) than a CCG like Magic; there are no hands of cards, players are able to search their decks for the cards they need, subject to the resource requirements needed to play them; the art is appealing; the game is done, Nova Forge is looking for the backing to publish the game. I applaud the attempt to try something new in card gaming, but I’m not sure how this really plays. The game play videos on the site are very dry and don’t really give me a feel for the game. Still, in an era where Kickstarter games usually cost $50+ to get a copy of the game, $35 doesn’t seem so bad.

The Sky is Calling: Kim Boekbinder’s SPACE! album

What’s it about?

A passionate appeal, a lush epic, a gorgeous journey, and songs of wonder, beauty, heartbreak, and purpose. “The Sky is Calling” is a celebration of humans in space. Instrumentation for the album includes a mix of electronic and acoustic instruments not usually heard together (synthesizer and hammer dulcimer, Mbira and drum pads) and sound samples from earth and space. Some rhythm tracks have been created by importing visual data (NASA photographs) into an audio program where they are sculpted into grooves. We will be dancing to the beat of the stars.

Why it’s interesting: For many people, humanity’s presence in space is either taken for granted, or not thought about at all. That’s unfortunate because there is a lot of cool stuff going on, even if actual people in space is limited to low earth orbit. This album aims to re-kindle the fire for space exploration, in part by using actual data from NASA to generate the beats. How cool is that? Even though there aren’t any tracks that showcase this use, it does sound interesting. The first single, The Sky is Calling, is posted on the Kickstarter page, and while I can’t say I’m crazy about, I’m not running away in terror either, though the video is really pretty cool. $1 gets you a digital download.

Citadel of Sorcery

What’s it about?

MMO Magic, Inc. is proud to bring you a new kind of fantasy MMORPG experience. Citadel of Sorcery is more than just a game, it is a new kind of entertainment experience. Forget what you have seen in other MMOs, and enter a world where everything is alive, and where choices you make can change the quest… and the world.

Why it’s interesting: You may be wondering, “Aren’t there a lot generic fantasy setting MMOs already in existence?” Why, yes, yes there are. However, there are a couple of interesting things here that caught my attention. First, the underlying world itself, the geography and biome regions, appear to be have been procedurally generated and not just slapped together. Can anyone say T’Rain from REAMDE? MMO Magic is also trying to do something about the repetitive, bland nature of quests in a typical MMO by having the quests written by emphasizing story and having the quests change via player interaction. Third, and most intriguing, Citadel is attempting to have player actions physically change the world on a daily basis and not just with the latest expansion. If they can do that, they will have reached one of the holy grails MMO players have been dying for, a truly changeable world, driven by player interactions. Cool, but very ambitious. As is the $700k goal. Your pledge is essentially gaining you access to the game when it comes out, and $20 for two months is a decent deal given the usual $15/month price of other MMOs. Could be worth a look.

Arrowhead

What’s it about?

Arrowhead is a movie about redemption and loneliness, set against the backdrop of a sun-baked desert planet. After an intense prison break, Kye’s heroism gains him the attention of a ragtag group of rebels, led by an ex-military general. With the promise of guaranteed freedom, the general lures Kye into a dangerous hostage mission which leads him stranded alone on a planet for several years. While alone, our hero has to decide whether he wants to continue on his violent path, or undo the damage he has done. But inner peace is hindered when Kye becomes infected with a symbiotic alien creature, which periodically causes hideous transformations.

Why it’s interesting: We like to complain about the lack of ideas coming out of Hollywood, well, here’s your chance to support an indie SF film that no studio will produce. If you’d like to see more, there is a short film, Arrowhead: Signal, that details a small part of the story. For $20, you’ll get a 1080p digital download of the movie.

Ring Runner – Flight of the Sages

What’s it about?

Sages can control the flow of time, snuff out stars, and rearrange the planets like playing with marbles. But the Consortium of the Inner Rings has decreed that a man who can destroy a planet with a thought will never be bound by its laws. So in the interest of Universal Order, the Sages are hunted to the outer rings by a version of their own known as The Extinguishers. You play the role of a very unique Sage, who’s just woken up from (un)elective brain surgery. During the course of the 20-plus-hour campaign, you’ll travel the universe, meet a cast of colorful characters, explore unexpected locations, and discover your purpose.

Why it’s interesting: This looks like a fantastic blend of SHMUPs and ARPGs where you can customize your ship as you see fit. Add in the procedurally generated backgrounds and enemies(!) and I’m salivating at the chance to play this. Luckily, you can! There is an alpha demo available for download. If you like what see, $15 gets you a copy of the PC game.

Steampunk Fairy Tales: Educational Stories for All Ages

What’s it about?

A series of steampunk-infused fairy tales for children.

Why it’s interesting: Fairy Punk Studios is a “creative consortium” that includes writers Quincy Allen, Cat Rambo and Bryan Thomas Schmidt and such artists as Maurine Starkey. Their goal is to take “the fun-for-everyone tradition of the fairy tales we all grew up with and giving them a new twist” — or, as they put it, give them the “steam-powered, clockwork-shiny feel of steampunk.” They are working on steampunk versions of Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Three Little Pigs. But for the Kickstarter campaign to be successful, they’re going to need a big push at the end. So cough up the cash, steampunkers.

The Zombie Shooting Guide

What’s it about?

A 200+ page book with more than 140 photographs that will teach you how to shoot zombies.

Why it’s interesting: Mark Greenman is an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, a lifelong shooter and a zombie nerd. So it was only natural that he would come up with The Zombie Shooting Guide. Greenman takes zombie killing seriously. He spent a year researching and testing the techniques in the book. The Zombie Shooting Guide contains more than 140 photographs and step-by-step training that will have you making accurate headshots on fast-moving zombies. An autographed print copy of the book will run you $25.

The Wardenclyffe Horror

What’s it about?

A 92-page graphic novel set in 1908 New York that follows Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain in a tale of Lovecraftian horror.

Why it’s interesting: They had me at “Tesla and Twain” and then clinched it with “Lovecraftian horror.” The artwork looks pretty good, too. For $10 you get a PDF copy of the book and for $24 you get the print copy.

Vicki’s Wish – a digitally illustrated book for the iPad

What’s it about?

30 pages of digitally illustrated HD images tell the tale of a young girl’s friendship and adventure with a magical Star Pixie.

Why it’s interesting: Alex Scollay was an IT guy back in ’90s who wanted to become a computer graphics artist. And, boy, did he! He’s worked for the last 15 years in film, television and commercials — including Farscape, Superman Returns, 2012 and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Now he wants to tell his own stories. Vicki’s Wish, co-written by Angela DiBartolomeo, is about a young girl who goes on a magical journey around the world with a Star Pixie. The HD images are amazing; they seem right out of a big-budget Hollywood movie. The ebook is $10 and the hardcover is $50.

GoPad: the hands-free way to wear and use your iPad

What’s it about?

A device that allows you to use your iPad hands-free while on the go.

Why it’s interesting: If you’ve ever wanted to look like a modern-day cigarette girl, here’s your chance. The GoPad is the brainchild of inventor Peter Kielland, who thinks people strapping iPads to their necks and wandering around is a good idea. Now if he can invent an app that prevents me from bumping into these idiots, I’m all for it. A GoPad costs $55.

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