Boing Boing 

Why Kickstarters succeed ... and fail

Glenn Fleishman conducts a postmortem examination of his recent Kickstarter campaign.

Kickstarting a multilingual kids' picture book about humanism

The Croatian Center for Civil Courage, a "feminist and free thinking organization," is kickstarting a kids' picture book called Humanism for Children, seeking funds to translate and publish it in English and German (it's already in Bosnian and Croatian). The book consists of "Humanism is for everybody" (an introduction to humanism and scientific ideas) and "How to live a fulfilling life" -- advice on being a "a thoughtful, jovial, rational and cheerful person" without religious stricture. £20 gets you an English copy.

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Kickstarting Codemancer, a game to teach programming to kids (especially girls)

Codemancer: A Fantasy Game that Teaches the Magic of Code is a fully funded kickstarter to produce an educational game to teach programming to kids, especially girls. Players solve programming challenges to advance through the game, and there's a course for translating your Codemancer skills to coding in python. The developer, Robert Lockhart, has created and shipped games before, which bodes well for this one's eventual release.

$20 gets you the game for Windows, Macos, Ipad and Android.

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Kickstarter: Edward Gorey documentary

BB contributor Mark Dery, who is busy penning a biography of Edward Gorey to be published by Little, Brown, points us to Christopher Seufert's Kickstarter for The Edward Gorey Documentary Project, a feature-length film containing unseen interviews and fantastic cinema-verite footage of Gorey in his native habitat!

Kickstarting a game about cops, terrorism and cognitive bias

Guy Galer sez, "I created a game that was inspired by many of the stories found on Boing Boing. You play a FBI agent that is reassigned to the field because of the Snowden brouhaha. She then has to come to terms with data privacy, racial profiling and all sorts of cognitive biases that impact criminal investigations. It dives into a legal system where it is extremely easy to convict poor people of almost anything while it takes absurd amounts of evidence to convict the rich."

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Crowdfunding an illustrated A-Z defending libraries

Gary sends us, "a library crowdfunding project I am involved with. It is aiming to creatively highlight the value of public libraries to those who believe they are outdated or irrelevant. This is particularly important at the moment as many local authorities are closing libraries and reducing their hours, as a result of cuts in central government funding."

I put in £20!

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Rudy Rucker kickstarts the Transreal Trilogy and a Keroacian memoir

Rudy Rucker writes, "I'm running a new Kickstarter project: Transreal Trilogy + All the Visions. What's the new project? Four novels bound as two books. And what is 'transrealism'? Your usual life, only it's an SF novel!"

If there is an archetypal Happy Mutant, it might just be Rudy Rucker. A gone and gonzo genius whose transrealism is surrealism with physics, math, and science fiction and the nightmarish world of Breugel thrown in for good measure. This looks amazing. I bought in for $50, which is all the books as physical editions with signed and numbered bookplates.

If you are looking to get turned onto Rucker, I highly recommend starting with Spaceland, an n-dimension take on Flatland, which gave me a totally new answer to the "what superhero power would you like to possess?" question (answer: the ability to extrude yourself into a fourth spatial dimension).

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Kickstarting the final five episodes of Baman Piderman

The wonderful, funny Baman Piderman cartoon (previously) was shelved after two seasons. The creators, Lindsay and Alex Small-Butera, are kickstarting $50K (or more) to finish the series, which has a definite ending that they intended to reach all along. It seems uniquely tragic to get all this way into the series and not finish it, especially a series as full of whimsy and haphazardly voiced superhero parodies as these. Plus those Small-Buteras are freaking adorable. I'm in.

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Kickstarting Openworm: a cellular-level-up simulated worm

Wagner James Au writes, "Openworm, the open source collaborative project to construct an artificial life form from the cellular level, now has a Kickstarter so supporters can back the project and also get a copy of the worm itself, Wormsim, to put on their browser and even tweak the code. Here's some background from the project coordinator, who I also ask if this Kickstarter is, you know, contributing to the ultimate creation of a completely artificial sentient life form that will turn against humankind and enslave our children.

They're mostly raising money for core engineering, with the balance going to administration and educational outreach. The code is all MIT-licensed free/open source software.

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Kickstarting Maker's Alphabet: an ABC book that celebrates creativity

Melody writes, "We're grad students in the MFA Interaction Design program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. We launched a Kickstarter project called Maker's Alphabet. It's an ABC book that features whimsical illustrations and verses to celebrate creativity of all stripes."

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Kickstarting a film adaptation of "Dark Side of Disney" - guide to getting high, drunk & laid while on Disney vacation

Ricky sez, "Director Philip B. Swift has announced a feature-length documentary film called 'The Dark Side of Disney' based on Leonard Kinsey's travel guide of the same name, to feature topics like finding and buying dirt cheap park tickets and time shares, drinking around Epcot, having sex in the parks, obtaining and using drugs while on an Orlando vacation. The film has just hit Kickstarter, trying to raise $20,000. Last year Swift released 'The Bubble,' a documentary about the Disney-created town of Celebration just outside Walt Disney World."

The Dark Side of Disney [Amazon]

“The Dark Side of Disney” documentary film to explore adult side of theme park vacations, hits Kickstarter for funds [Ricky Brigante/Inside the Magic]

(Thanks, Ricky!)

Kickstarting Storium: turn writing into a multiplayer game

Mur Lafferty sez, "This week, Storium launched its Kickstarter and reached funding ($25000) in the first day. Storium is a web-based online game that you play with friends. It works by turning writing into a multiplayer game."

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Kickstarting a new Girl Genius collection

Phil Foglio writes, "Woo hoo! Excitements abounds! Today Studio Foglio flipped the Big Red Switch and we have launched our latest Kickstarter. This one is for Girl Genius Volume 13- Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City. Now, as some people might remember, we had a very successful Kickstarter last year. successful enough that you might be excused asking 'So what for do you need more money? Did you blow it all on coke' (On this point, you can rest assured. No one who does coke stays as fat as we are.) No, we calculated how much it would cost to get all of our books back into print, make tchotchkes like pins and patches and travel stickers, and hire us a business manager, and that is where the money went."

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Imogen Heap's musical gloves

Sean sends us, "a video interview with Imogen Heap describing her homemade electronic interface gloves that control her music interface software by the movement and positions of her hands." Heap is kickstarting an open source hardware version of the gloves.

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Kickstarting SCHMUCK: a comics memoir of "trying to date NYC"

David writes, "Award-winning photographer Seth Kushner is renowned for his photography book of portraits of comic book writers and artists (Leaping Tall Buildings). Seth Kushner spent much of his 20s dating, or trying to date, in New York City. For the last 6 years, Kushner has been writing a semi-autobiographical webcomic called SCHMUCK chock full of equal parts tragedy and comedy."

$9 gets you a download of the book, $25 gets you a print edition.

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Kickstarting board games adapted for blind people

Emily sez, "Working in the blindness field, my husband, Richard and I have many blind friends. We are gamers at heart and have always been dismayed that our friends couldn't play our favorite games. When Richard began pursuing game publishing our first inclination was to make all games blind accessible. However, this proved to be nigh on impossible. We discovered if we wanted our games to be accessible, we had to make accessible games ourselves."

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Kickstarting Lifeform: a fun, educational game about evolution

Michael writes, "I'm launching a Kickstarter campaign for a new game founded in the basics of genetics and physics. You're a cell in a 2d underwater universe, and you must reproduce to gain traits that dictate what you can do. Resources found around the map can be used to construct machines and tools to aide in your evolution. Not only is Lifeform the genetics game we've long been searching for, but it's going to be extremely powerful in classrooms all across the world. Science teachers can use it for genetics lessons, physics, studying the elements, and much more."

This looks really cool (and the prototype is great)! One caveat is that Michael's development projects are pretty thinly detailed, though it sounds like he's had some relevant experience, and the prototype bodes well for the project's future. As with all Kickstarters, you might get nothing for your money! A $15 minimum contribution gets you a copy of the game when and if.

Lifeform: A game of genetic and biomechanical evolution (Thanks, Michael!)

Kickstarting a sequel to Scott "Kids in the Hall" Thompson's Danny Husk comic

Tavie sez, "Canadian treasure Scott Thompson's popular Kids in the Hall character, Danny Husk starred in his own graphic novel in 2010, Husk: The Hollow Planet. A blend of fantasy and fable, with lots of humor and sex, it was an hilarious romp that ended mid-story. Now he's got a Kickstarter campaign to get the second volume of Danny's tales published, and to promote it, he's giving away DRM-free digital downloads of Volume 1. I always think it's a really smart idea when creators allow people to read their comix online for free (see: Elfquest) and I'm glad Scott's taking this one to the people. I hope the second volume gets off the ground, because I MUST see how the story ends."

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Kickstarting Dream Life, a solo comic from Salgood Sam of "Sea of Red" and "Therefore Repent!"

Salgood Sam -- who worked on great projects like Sea of Red and Therefore, Repent! sez, "In the last leg of a successful Kickstarter to print my next graphic novel, I've set up some unlockable interactive stretch goal rewards you might want to check out to help me make it to the west coast and print more books! If you can manage to time your pledges to hit the mark that puts my Kickstarter over one of three stretch goals, I'll draw your deepest darkest dreams for you. Or alternately bright and silly ones are an option."

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Crowdfunding a binaural, video-less videogame

Paul Bennun, who helped created the groundbreaking, video-less binaural sound videogame Papa Sangre sez, "We're making a 'video game without video' and we're turning to Kickstarter to fund it. Team Papa Sangre has been responsible for some fantastic 'work of art' games over the last few years; games with the unique quality of having no graphics whatsoever, based on some (dare we say it) kick-arse technology that helps us make entire worlds in sound. The one-before-last starred Benedict Cumberbatch; the last one starred Sean Bean and was the best-reviewed iOS game of 2013 according to Metacritic. The next one most certainly isn't art (well, actually it is but that's not so obvious). It's you versus the zombies and it's just batshit crazy. We want make something much more direct. The problem is the economics of audio games are tricky. If we don't get defined support it's going to be a lot more tricky to know when or how we can game the game out -- so we've turned to Kickstarter."

I know Paul personally and he gets stuff done. While all kickstarters carry the caveat that you may get nothing for your money, I have extremely high confidence that if this is funded, it will happen.

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Kickstarting Scratchjr: Scratch programming for under-eights!

Mitchel Resnick runs the MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten lab, from which came the amazing, kid-friendly Scratch programming language. He writes, "We just launched a Kickstarter campaign for ScratchJr, an introductory programming language that enables young children (ages 5-7) to create their own interactive stories and games. As young children code with ScratchJr, they learn how to create and express themselves with the computer, not just interact with it. In the process, children develop design and problem-solving skills, and they use math and language in a meaningful and motivating context, supporting the development of early-childhood numeracy and literacy.

ScratchJr is a variation of our Scratch programming language, used by millions of people (ages 8 and up) around the world. In creating ScratchJr, we redesigned the interface and programming language to make them developmentally appropriate for younger children, carefully designing features to match young children's cognitive, personal, social, and emotional development."

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Kickstarting Airbulb: programmable Bluetooth speakers/LED lightbulbs

A group of Hong Kong engineers are kickstarting a Bluetooth speaker/LED lightbulb that draws power through the lightsocket called "Airbulb." Eric writes, "AirBulb has dimmable, bi-colored LED lighting and superb wireless Bluetooth audio. Just twist it into lamp socket, download the app and pair it, full function controls are under your fingertips. Just one single unit. No extra wires. No extra dock. No AC adapter required. No remote to lose. Truly simple and easy to use."

The lightbulbs can be paired to your phone to blink as a notifier or alarm, too.

$59 gets you one bulb/speaker. As with all kickstarters, there's no guarantee that you'll get anything for your money -- caveat emptor!

AirBulb - a LED Bulb with Enjoyment

Kickstarting an Arduino-based Enigma machine

ST Geotronics have exanded their Instructables project for building your own Arduino-based Enigma and turned it into a Kickstarter. $40 gets you some boards you can kit-bash with; $125 gets you the full kit; $300 gets you the whole thing, beautifully made and fully assembled.

The Open Enigma Project (Thanks, Tina!)

Kickstarting a new Cheapass game with Patrick Rothfuss

Carol from the wonderful Cheapass Games writes, "Pairs is our latest project: a classic pub-style card game, designed by James Ernest and Paul Peterson. We've teamed up with Patrick Rothfuss to make decks with themes and artwork from the world of his Name of the Wind novels. We still have 10 days left in the Kickstarter, and we've got over 3000 backers, and support that's passed $100,000. As the campaign grows, we're adding more card decks for backers to choose from."

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Kickstarting a portable electric motor for city-share bikes

An entrepreneur is looking for $100K on Kickstarter to fund production of Shareroller, an ingenious, portable, snap-on electric motor for city-share bikes, like those in NYC, London, Toronto, Montreal, DC, Minneapolis, etc. The motor -- which weighs about 7 lbs and is the size of a ream of printer-paper -- clips onto the triangular docking prong on the front of the bike, and uses a retractable friction-wheel to impart energy to the bike. It also works on scooters and personal bikes, though these require a special mount.

Shareroller sports a big, powerful battery, and the inventor is alive to the possibilities here. It includes USB charge-ports for your phone and other devices, so you can charge while you ride. It also has a set of high-powered headlights. The 750W, 1hp motor has a maximum range of 12 miles at 18mph (it will go farther is you help by pedalling).

The device is reportedly ready for production. $1000 gets you one from the initial run. $1300 is full list price (more if you opt for the range-extending extra battery). They'll sell you one of their functional, pre-production prototypes for $2000, shipping as soon as the Kickstarter is fulfilled, and replaced with a production model when they are available.

The creator has a fairly impressive track record of making and shipping stuff, though, as with all Kickstarters, there is no guarantee that your money will get you anything.

I like the exercise I get from pedalling around on short-hire bikes in London. But I also like the idea of getting all the way across town in the middle of summer and arriving without being drenched in sweat. I don't know that I'd spend $1,000 (or $1,300) to attain that state, though.

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Kickstarting an anthology of World War 3 Illustrated

Stephanie writes, "PM Press has launched a Kickstarter fundraiser to publish a glorious, hardcover, full-color, 320-page anthology of the 35-year-running political comics magazine World War 3 Illustrated. Founded in 1979, WW3 was one of the first American magazines (along with Raw and American Splendor) to treat comics as a medium for serious social commentary and journalism. Contributors include Sue Coe, Eric Drooker, Fly, Sabrina Jones, Peter Kuper, Kevin Pyle, Spain Rodriguez, Nicole Schulman, Chuck Sperry, Art Spiegelman, Seth Tobocman, Tom Tomorrow, Susan Willmarth, Peter Bagge, and dozens more."

WW3 has been a favorite of mine since I was a teenager, and PM is a great press with a solid track record of producing beautiful, well-made books (they did one of mine). A $40 pledge gets you a copy of the WW3 anthology.

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Kickstarting a pocket-sized board-game

Noah sez, "My dear friend Sam Strick of Laboratory and Scroll Down to Riker, is currently running a Kickstarter for an awesome board game that he designed, originally, to fit on the back of a business card. In addition to it's ultra small form factor (which means I'll be able to carry it with me wherever I go) it's the first game I've seen that has a communal worker pool. That coupled with it's lack of randomness means the game play has more of the feeling of something classic, like chess or checkers, than you're standard eurogame. At $5 a pop it's an easy - and painless - buy. For as long as I've known Sam his ideas have been strikingly unique and compelling, and rest assured that the extra money generated by this kickstarter, in addition to completing some of the cooler stretch goals, will lead directly to helping him and produce more awesome games."

This ticks all my Kickstarter boxes: low cost to pre-order, indie creator with a track-record for shipping, fun, beautiful.

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Kickstarting an adult coloring book: 99 Ways to Die

Chris Locke writes, "Why should kids have all the fun? '99 Ways To Die: a Coloring Book for ADULTS' is for mature audiences who love to color, but are tired of childish subject matter. Every page shows a different way to die. Full size version of the book is $25, pocket-size version is $15."

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Kickstarting a kid-friendly steampunk graphic novel

Thom writes, "When our Kickstarter for a kid-friendly steampunk comic was 'kicktrolled' last November, the Internet quickly came to our rescue. And while we ultimately cancelled that project for fear of a repeat incident, we're back with a new campaign for a graphic novel of our webcomic -- and a possible way to make 'Crimson Rhen of the True North' happen!"

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Kickstarting a steampunk survival/adventure game: 39 Days to Mars

Philip writes, "I'm developing a co-operative steampunk survival-adventure game called 39 Days to Mars, and it's just launched on Kickstarter!"

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