Last week, we saw the darker side of Kickstarter campaigns, as a fraudulent backer gave €7000 to Dimension Drive’s Kickstarter during its last hours, enough to fund the game. Kickstarter, according to its ToS, pulled the charge, which de-funded the campaign with minutes to spare.
Most teams might have packed it up and called it a day, but David Jimenez and Alejandro Santiago have persevered and got back in the saddle again, starting a second Kickstarter campaign for Dimension Drive. A symmetric shoot ’em up with bright visuals and fascinating gameplay, it’s a great concept that will have a second chance at seeing a major release.
I had the pleasure of (virtually) chatting with David recently, and the passion this team has for both their game and the Kickstarter community is infectious. Check it out below.
Eric Van Allen: So to give a quick rundown, your Kickstarter for Dimension Drive was on its final hours when an anonymous backer made a €7000 contribution. This pushed you over the €30,000 funding goal for the game, but with 30 minutes to go in the campaign, the payment got pulled due to fraudulence. Within half an hour, the campaign failed.
How did you feel when that contribution got pulled? What was your first thought after getting the notification from Kickstarter?
David Jimenez: It was a terrible moment, you feel like somebody robbed you of your dream. This is not work for us, this is our dream game. For a while we had it, we were celebrating, people in our Twitch stream were going nuts and together we were putting plans in motion for the future. All of that vanished with a single blow, less than 30 minutes before the end. We wonder what kind of sick person does something like this. We have seen trolls in forums and websites but this is above that. This person played with the dreams and jobs of our team members.
EVA: Within a few hours, there was a significant swell of support and outrage that this happened around social media. What was that like, to get that outpouring of support from the community?
DJ: We’ve seen the worst and the best of the internet in less than 24 hours. First that evil prank hit us and then a massive wave of support. Honestly, that’s what put us back in the game. Thursday morning we were too depressed for anything. But opening our laptops and seeing all those emails, twits and Facebook messages telling us to keep at it, and come back was an amazing experience. We’ll be eternally grateful, the way the gaming community has stood up for us shows the actions of a single bad person don’t represent us.
EVA: Now you’ve decided to re-launch the campaign from square one. How do you go about starting over again on a Kickstarter campaign you’ve already fought so hard for once?
DJ: That’s the hardest past, running a Kickstarter is a ton of work. You can’t even imagine the amount of sleepless nights we had to go through during our first month on Kickstarter. Going back for another 30 days seemed to us like crossing back the dessert after you already did it one time. But we are positive and happy to see this time we are not alone, everybody is pulling for us. With so much support we are now in a position were we feel that we have not only to complete this Kickstarter but to deliver the best game we can craft. We owe people that much.
EVA: 2Awesome Studios, your team, is made up of two people. How did you and your co-developer meet? What made you two want to start a studio and Kickstarter campaign together in the first place?
DJ: 2Awesome is indeed composed of two people: Alejandro Santiago and I (David Jimenez). We are both from Barcelona, Spain. But we actually met in The Netherlands working in the European Space Agency (ESA). We are engineers and we love games. Alejandro has been developing videogames since he was 13 and he sort of dragged me into this. We got the coding skills necessary from our engineering background. So, we started developing small games in our free time besides our main jobs at ESA. Last year we decided to do a small shoot’em up and we did it. But after seeing it on screen we noticed that there was plenty of empty space on the widescreen monitor.
We started to throw ideas on the table and the craziest ones stuck: let’s put two games at the same time! We showcased the prototype in several game conferences and we were getting really good feedback on it. But it was obvious that with no artists in our team the game was sorely lacking. At the beginning of the 2015 we teamed up with a group of talented artists and musicians (Max Heyder, Sergi Cardo, Stanislav Botev, Delfo Pinto, Jose Mora and Daniel Polman) to create the game of our dreams. Alejandro and I have been funding the development of the game from our own savings and we have already invested quite a lot of money. That’s where Kickstarter comes in, before our savings run dry and we have to drastically reconsider the scope of the game we decided to take a shot at crowdfunding. In the end it was showing this concept in 2014 to the community what made us take the decision to make it a big game, so going back to the community for funding seems the logical choice.
EVA: Tell me about Dimension Drive. How does it set itself apart from other Kickstarter titles? What about Dimension Drive makes you want to campaign a second time for it?
DJ: Although Dimension Drive started as a shoot’em up it is now much more than that. It’s a game that blends shooting, strategy, puzzles and adventure, all of this tied together with a comicbook aesthetic and teleportation on two battlefields, plenty of teleportation! The current alpha demo that we have only shows a glimpse of what we want to do with Dimension Drive. The demo concentrates on a shooting and a puzzle level. The story adventure is also hinted by having the characters talking inside the levels but we want to take that much further.
For almost a year we have invested all of our free time, countless sleepless nights and full weekends working on Dimension Drive. Our first reaction when we were hit by this troll debacle was to give up. But we can’t let that happen, not after how much we have been fighting for this. That’s what is driving us and pushing us to go for a second round.
EVA: Are you expecting a larger turnout the second time around for Dimension Drive? Is there any fear of a second failed campaign, or more fraudulent backers?
DJ: We’ll be more than happy if we secure the funding we need to develop Dimension Drive. We had a good start but it is hard to keep that kind of momentum. We are on the spotlight now and of course we have fears. This has given us a major boost in exposure but it’s also a call to other trolls. So, we’ll be much more vigilant this time around. We hope this second time we can successfully complete our campaign and deliver our best game to all of our backers.
EVA: Thank you for your time today, David. Both the team at Gaming Trend and myself wish you the best of luck on your new Kickstarter. Any last thoughts you’d like to leave us with? Where can readers keep up-to-date with 2Awesome and Dimension Drive?
DJ: Thanks to you Eric for giving us the opportunity to talk about Dimension Drive. I just would like to say to all your readers that got to know about our game through this despicable action, that if they are interested in knowing more about the game they can check our Kickstarter page. We have plenty of information and an alpha demo, so people can actually try before deciding if they want to back us or not. Also you can find us on Twitter, and Facebook.