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Author Topic: [kickstarter] City of Titans  (Read 1156 times)
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CeeKay
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« on: October 03, 2013, 08:15:25 PM »

City of Heroes spiritual successor.

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Missing Worlds Media presents City of Titans, the superhero MMORPG being developed by The Phoenix Project in the spirit of City of Heroes. Our goal is to deliver a unique massively multiplayer online roleplaying game, created from the community of a lost universe, to build a new community for a new world. A brave new world containing a wealth of player choices, from costumes to powers, it continues the traditions found in its spiritual predecessor, daring to reach for new innovations no other game will touch, while standing firmly on the feel and spirit of the old. Players will be able to choose their own adventure, tell their own tales, and have their own agency in a superhuman world.

City of Titans is set in a world where there is always hope, even in the darkest of times. The tradition of brightly colored costumes, brilliant heroics, and daring struggles to stand against the shadows cast during times of darkness and corruption. New heroes, your heroes, rise to make their mark on the world while their villainous counterparts lurk in the corners of alleys, behind governments, and even in the boardrooms of the wealthiest corporations. Humanity honors the fallen, and takes inspiration from the selfless sacrifices of heroes who have gone before.

It is an age where heroic ideals stand tall, where words such as "truth," "justice," "freedom," and "honor" have never lost their meaning. And it is an age where a villain may rise to power despite the heroes, where epic clashes of good vs evil are as common as seeing a brilliant costume fly through the sky on the way to save a kitten stuck in a tree. The world stands on the brink of change, at a time when magic, high technology and incredible scientific feats bring out the best and worst in the everyday human being. Individuals with supreme strength of will and training can become forces of good or evil. Heroes with astounding powers patrol the streets and skies alongside those whose only special abilities are the dedication in their hearts. Villains scheme and plot with the help of scoundrels and rogues, caring only for power, wealth or control - their motives are their own and dynamic battles between the two sides are frequent.

One city has risen above the rest as a place where costumed heroes are welcomed, where devious villains seek to add to their roster of minions. In Titan City, the opening setting, an old guard stands watch on both sides. They have issued calls to action, welcoming new heroes to their ranks and inviting old heroes to return to duty. New villains mask themselves amongst the rich and famous along with the poor and destitute, while experienced evil-doers lure the unsuspecting with words of clever cynicism.

Do you have what it takes to join the ranks of good? Or will you choose to stand in the shadowed courts of villainy?

 $183,476 pledged of $320,000 goal raised since it started yesterday.
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2013, 08:32:45 PM »

I contacted them yesterday about joining the Dev team.
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2013, 08:34:53 PM »

$320,000 to create and run an MMORPG? Yeah, good luck with that. Backing this thing is about as useless as throwing money out the window. They don't even reserve money for running the servers, instead assuming that they can get that by selling a bunch of subscriptions before launch.
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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2013, 08:48:33 PM »

thankfully none of the tiers I'm interested in are limited, so I can wait and see.
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2013, 08:58:32 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on October 03, 2013, 08:34:53 PM

$320,000 to create and run an MMORPG? Yeah, good luck with that. Backing this thing is about as useless as throwing money out the window. They don't even reserve money for running the servers, instead assuming that they can get that by selling a bunch of subscriptions before launch.
This^... Doesn't make sense to me... The only thing I can think of is that they feel they need that much for the actual programming part and that's all they are worried about now... which also doesn't make sense...
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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2013, 04:28:03 AM »

Quote from: Punisher on October 03, 2013, 08:58:32 PM

Quote from: TiLT on October 03, 2013, 08:34:53 PM

$320,000 to create and run an MMORPG? Yeah, good luck with that. Backing this thing is about as useless as throwing money out the window. They don't even reserve money for running the servers, instead assuming that they can get that by selling a bunch of subscriptions before launch.
This^... Doesn't make sense to me... The only thing I can think of is that they feel they need that much for the actual programming part and that's all they are worried about now... which also doesn't make sense...

Yeah. The entire cost is software ($180k) and paying for fees and taxes and lawyer and everything else (everything else).

Are they working for free for the next 2 years or so?

Something is just wrong with this.
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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2013, 04:52:18 PM »

Quote from: Destructor on October 05, 2013, 04:28:03 AM

Quote from: Punisher on October 03, 2013, 08:58:32 PM

Quote from: TiLT on October 03, 2013, 08:34:53 PM

$320,000 to create and run an MMORPG? Yeah, good luck with that. Backing this thing is about as useless as throwing money out the window. They don't even reserve money for running the servers, instead assuming that they can get that by selling a bunch of subscriptions before launch.
This^... Doesn't make sense to me... The only thing I can think of is that they feel they need that much for the actual programming part and that's all they are worried about now... which also doesn't make sense...

Yeah. The entire cost is software ($180k) and paying for fees and taxes and lawyer and everything else (everything else).

Are they working for free for the next 2 years or so?

Something is just wrong with this.

Yes that is their plan.  It is an all volunteer staff.  They break down their $ requirements if you read the whole thing linked.  My hopes, they are not high.
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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2013, 04:54:54 PM »

they hit their goal.
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2013, 05:16:10 PM »

2200+ disappointed backers incoming.
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« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2013, 03:20:34 PM »

Quote from: Destructor on October 05, 2013, 04:28:03 AM

Are they working for free for the next 2 years or so?

Something is just wrong with this.

They've already been doing so for a while. I think you underestimate the passion of the community.
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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2013, 03:46:24 PM »

Quote from: Misguided on October 08, 2013, 03:20:34 PM

Quote from: Destructor on October 05, 2013, 04:28:03 AM

Are they working for free for the next 2 years or so?

Something is just wrong with this.

They've already been doing so for a while. I think you underestimate the passion of the community.

MMO servers don't run on passion.
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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2013, 01:57:46 AM »

I think that's the least of their concerns. If they can get to a point where the game is worth playing, they won't have a hard time finding thousands of paying customers.
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« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2013, 02:11:51 AM »

Quote from: Misguided on October 09, 2013, 01:57:46 AM

I think that's the least of their concerns. If they can get to a point where the game is worth playing, they won't have a hard time finding thousands of paying customers.

That's the trick though - getting to that point in the first place.

There's a reason why MMOs are designed with giant teams and huge amounts of funding - because it requires it. Up front. Not 'when the game launches'.
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« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2013, 10:34:45 PM »

Man, this reads like the wet dream of the first year compsci students at my university while I going through the game development program.

Everyone wants to make an MMO, so few realize how much it takes. It never works.

This project will go nowhere, probably producing a tiny broken demonstration video and end in limbo within 1-2 years.

Especially so if they're aiming to fill the shoes of a full fledged MMO, there is no way you can match the feature set on that amount of money with a tiny team.

They will have a hard time finding thousands of paying customers, and just a thousand customers still won't be enough. The MMO scene is moving on.

I'd be more positive about their prospects if they first created a small single player and co-op oriented superhero game first, with the intent being to learn from that, then sell it to make money to fund a proper MMO, along with a second kickstarter using this fully released game as a proof of work to show they can actually produce.

As it stands, the team will burn through this money in less than a year on basic living expenses, then post up a sad post about how they couldn't secure extra funding.
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« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2013, 11:13:10 PM »

Quote from: Turtle on October 11, 2013, 10:34:45 PM

As it stands, the team will burn through this money in less than a year on basic living expenses, then post up a sad post about how they couldn't secure extra funding.

I'm confused, where in the proposal does it state that the money will be used as a salary?
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2013, 08:59:27 AM »

No where, which is what worries me.

To make a project as large as a proper MMO, or any game, it requires a lot of full time work. That means paying yourself a reasonable salary to live on. The more complex the game, the more you can't expect to both have a day job and get the project done within any reasonable time frame.

I know this, because I'm burning through savings working on a game that's considerably less complex than an MMO.

A very small extreme few can handle game development with a day job, those are the people who get a lot of press because their work shows their level of dedication. But they quickly quit their day jobs as soon as real money from their game rolls in because it takes a horrific toll.

To be honest though, even though they don't say they're using the money to pay themselves a salary, that's where the bulk of the money will go to.
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« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2013, 05:28:53 PM »

I'm looking at what they are putting under budget. Of the initial request here is how they break it down. I also looked at the cost of software, that they don't break down, from Amazon where applicable and direct if they didn't carry it. So prices may be cheaper than I've listed.

$320,000 initial amount
-70,000 Kickstarter - Amazon - Taxes - Perks & AddOns (I'm not sure what they mean by this as there are no physical items in their pledge amounts)
-70,000 Unreal Engine (They do say that this amount is rounded, and from a cursory glance the UDK has two options royalty free or fee plus a percentage of initial sales. Guessing they are going to royalty free which right now is 50,000, if that is indeed the amount they are paying then that is one heck of a round up.)

$180,000 Funds now available
-46,788 Maya 24 copies (They are purchasing different versions and with that are different costs. I don't know what the breakdown will be so I multiplied both high and low versions by 24 then halved the amount)
-91,176 CDS Max 24 copies (This one is also listed in their write up as having different versions but Amazon only has one so for my sanity I'm going with that)
-7,390 zbrush 10 copies (They don't list how many copies of the following pieces of software so I just went with 10)
-5,900 Allegorithmic 10 copies
-6,210 Photoshop 10 copies (Used the CS6 version as they didn't specify so it may be a cheaper version)
-5,790 Illustrator 10 copies (CS6 as well with the same disclaimer)
-6,499 8DIO (This one is complicated. There are various instruments and vocals that you can buy. I just went with the full bundle)

$10,757 Amount Left Over

Then there are other items that they list. Which I'll just quote.
Quote
Then we have the costs for the website servers and bandwidth. The more you love us, the more expensive itís going to get.

And, finally, a little cash to put a tax lawyer, book keeper and legal professional on retainer. Purely fee for service, but they will pay for themselves in troubles solved and money saved.

There are a few smaller items, such as RAM for some rendering, some 3D mice, drawing tablets, depending on individual artist needs.

I will fully admit that I may be wrong on some of these amounts and it may be cheaper buying direct when you can rather than going through Amazon. I also don't know how much they are figuring would be spent on the services/hardware in the quote above. If someone wants to take a stab at those feel free.

Going through this with the numbers that they provided, and the amounts I came up with (Plus a guess at the quote), I would take a guess that they are underfunded by about 10,000. Though I am definitely making a guess and the remaining amount that I came up with may indeed cover the remainder that is not broken down (Again the quote). But let's assume that it is enough. If there is any remainder it does not a salary make, especially not for the 24+ people that are involved with this. So it has to be all voluntary. There is no way around it. I would guess that their hope is that the project will pay for itself (Server costs plus additional content) in the long term and if all goes really well provide a job for some of them down the line. Or maybe this game would live as purely a labor of love for the community. In which case content would be added on a contract basis, as funds permit, but otherwise the game would function in a maintenance mode where it exists but that's it. My feeling is they are going for the latter with hopes that content can be added a few times a year.

I'll admit that some of their goals may be pie in the sky, to which I'll nod to yourself Turtle on this one, as I have no clue beyond saying all game studios are that way initially. I believe they do want to start small on some of the things so that's good. What may also end up changing is the date. I'm going by the latest date on their pledges (Nov '15). If it is all volunteer that date seems a little soon though again I really don't know how big their eyes are or really about software development in general so it could be possible.

This whole thing started because NCSoft decided to play the petulant child and not let anyone purchase the City of Heroes IP or even reconsider the closure. Out of all this a community stuck together pretty well coming up on a year now, enough so that not one but two projects (Plus a secret one) were actually being actively pursued. If for no reason than this I do truly hope one or both of them succeed. It would be a nice ending to this story.
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« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2013, 05:54:12 PM »

Even if you disregard the fact that they're making an MMO (and the advice for this is the same as it's been since the early 2000s: Don't make an MMO if you're not a huge team with plenty of experience and capital. You will fail. Hard.), they'll still fail. They've got no room for unexpected costs in their budget, no room for delays, people suddenly leaving the team (which will happen, no matter how motivated they may seem right now). There's no room to handle unexpected legal trouble (that little bit of pocket money at the end doesn't qualify).

They're also making every asset from scratch as far as I can tell, since there's no post in their "budget" that shows licensing of existing assets. They have to make everything in their MMO on their own, which is such a massive undertaking that it's hard to comprehend. When one man can spend half a year at a minimum working on a single, small level in an FPS to make it look decent, imagine what it takes to build an entire world.

This is a project started by a bunch of idealistic developers who think that they are the ones to break these old curses and do everything right. They aren't, and they won't. They will fail very dramatically. Even if they somehow manage to drag themselves across the finish line, bruised and battered in the process, the result they present to the backers won't be anything like the design pitch.

I'm not saying these things because I want to smack down someone's ambitious plans. I'm saying these things because I don't like to see good people throw away their hard-earned cash on something that is doomed to failure. Your average Kickstarter backer is likely to be swept up in the excitement and big words by the developers, which will make it hurt even more when reality starts to sink in.

There is no happy ending here.
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« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2013, 06:37:42 PM »

Its a shame that art assets are taking up so much time and money in projects like these. If someone invented a easy and quick way to make decent to good 3d models and world building, they could probably make a fortune. As I understand it, thats the big part of these games. Its interesting to me as well, that so few try the way of Minecraft and Cubeworld, and have it all be made as you play instead of pre-making everything. It would make the games a lot less expensive, and they would have a higher chance of succeeding.

I can see a superhero game having tons of content created this way without any issues - Large city blocks for instance. Its not like the city blocks and park areas in COH where anything special as I recall?
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« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2013, 08:59:22 PM »

Quote from: Razgon on October 14, 2013, 06:37:42 PM

Its a shame that art assets are taking up so much time and money in projects like these. If someone invented a easy and quick way to make decent to good 3d models and world building, they could probably make a fortune.

Unity has a system for creating and exchanging art assets, either for free or for any price the author decides. Wasteland 2, which took in a whole lot more money than this game is asking for, is using this system for a sizable quantity of assets for example. If These City of Titans guys were going for something like that, I'd at least give them a little slack for recognizing the pitfalls of game development, but they'd still fail simply because they're trying to make an MMO at such low cost. The words "cheap" and "MMO" don't go together, no matter how altruistic and ambitious you are.
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« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2013, 09:19:01 PM »

That kind a sort a is what kickstarter is though. A person or persons has a dream and you give them money because you would like it to happen. A little bit for them but mostly for you. No one says that every endeavor will succeed and there's a good chance it won't or maybe even worse will be a disaster. If at this point people don't realize these fundraising pitches are not guaranteed then that's tough luck for them. Cripes I pay the stupid tax (lottery) every once in a while because it gives me a little hope. That's all these things are. Just a hope that something neat can happen.

I sometimes marvel at the amount of money that some of the people here are spending on Star Citizen and it's not even out yet. I couldn't spend that much money even post launch for just a single item. But it's something they obviously feel passionately about and that passion allows them to get past the nagging voice that says what if.

Believe me, I get it. There's a good chance this thing will crash hard maybe in a month or in a year. I think both the donors and creators get it too. We hear all the time of various fan projects that fail. But then we sometimes get a Black Mesa or a Katawa Shoujo that through some miracle manage to happen even after a decade.
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« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2013, 04:44:06 AM »

Quote from: Andrew Wonser on October 14, 2013, 09:19:01 PM

That kind a sort a is what kickstarter is though. A person or persons has a dream and you give them money because you would like it to happen. A little bit for them but mostly for you. No one says that every endeavor will succeed and there's a good chance it won't or maybe even worse will be a disaster. If at this point people don't realize these fundraising pitches are not guaranteed then that's tough luck for them. Cripes I pay the stupid tax (lottery) every once in a while because it gives me a little hope. That's all these things are. Just a hope that something neat can happen.

I sometimes marvel at the amount of money that some of the people here are spending on Star Citizen and it's not even out yet. I couldn't spend that much money even post launch for just a single item. But it's something they obviously feel passionately about and that passion allows them to get past the nagging voice that says what if.

Believe me, I get it. There's a good chance this thing will crash hard maybe in a month or in a year. I think both the donors and creators get it too. We hear all the time of various fan projects that fail. But then we sometimes get a Black Mesa or a Katawa Shoujo that through some miracle manage to happen even after a decade.

Neither of those are MMOs. If they were, they would never have been released.

I'm not arguing against Kickstarter here. I love Kickstarter. I'm just advising about the risk of backing this particular one. In fact, I hesitate to call it "risk" since it's pretty much a guaranteed failure. Kickstarters like Star Citizen are the opposite way. It's so well handled, has very experienced developers, has investor backing and is so realistic in its goals, that there's very little risk of failure.

Passion only takes you so far, and this is too far.
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« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2013, 07:24:32 AM »

Star Citizen kind of IS an MMO, just with a slightly different wrapper.
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« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2013, 07:29:54 AM »

Yes and no. It supports the MMO model and will have an official persistent world, but it also allows users to run their own servers or even play offline, both of which will seriously reduce demands from the developers. They've also got a LOT more money to spend on this than the City of Titans guys are asking for. We're talking a hundred times as much money here, just to put that into perspective. This money will, among other things, be used for server costs and for unexpected development snags. Star Citizen has a realistic plan and the means to accomplish it. City of Titans doesn't, at least as far as I can tell.
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« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2013, 10:29:35 AM »

It's also primarily a spaceship game, while it has out of ship and on foot interaction, those also only happen inside ships or space stations, which are basically small levels. And all that is slated for after the game's space portion is finished.

Spaceship games have a lot of advantages in development, one of them being that you just model the ships and stations. Everything else tends to be big objects seen at a distance. There's no environment to move through and interact, just objects to avoid. The physics, interactions, even NPCs are simpler.
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« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2013, 11:19:33 AM »

Yeah, and that reminds me: Star Citizen is using an existing engine (CryEngine) as well, saving them from a lot of headaches.
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« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2013, 02:49:15 PM »

Cool idea!.. but like some of the opinions in this thread, I'm doubtful this will work. It takes a lot of resources to make an MMO work. Something does seem iffy here.
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« Reply #27 on: October 15, 2013, 04:43:22 PM »

Titan wanted to use CryEngine as well but Crytek never got back to them so they settled with Unreal.

The examples that I gave were just that. Examples of a group of individuals that stuck through a long period of time to make something happen.

Would a single player game first before an MMO benefit them. Possibly. If nothing else it would let them see how they work as a group and allow them to cut their teeth on something smaller. The problem that I could see happening with that, though, is there is an even less chance to be funded. Who would they pitch to? If it's the group that wants a successor to Heroes then they won't be happy. So then they have to appeal to a much larger audience that is constantly getting bombarded with requests. Whereas a hero mmo is niche as is a space combat game in that you don't have to spread out to find your audience in that they are already there begging for more.

Just in case it comes up, no, I haven't put any money into this. I'm not sure if I will. Waiting for the three I already have (Tesla Effect, Space Venture, Dreamfall Chapters). Also I hate spending money (225 dollars for a ship are you nuts!?).
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« Reply #28 on: October 15, 2013, 10:55:47 PM »

TiLT, I think we need to define what success and failure mean in this context. If by failing you mean the game will never be commercially successful from the perspective of a company like Bioware or NCSoft, you're most likely right. But I don't think that is the goal. If they can get a working, playable product, and have enough income to pay for the servers and salary to continue improving the product and producing content, they will have accomplished what they set out to do. I think that's possible. Is it a tall order? Yes, but they've made it this far, which is already more than I would have expected.
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« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2013, 04:46:35 AM »

I most definitely am not talking about commercial success vs commercial failure. The way this game has been presented it will never even be released in the first place. This is unique to MMOs in many ways, as a troubled regular game can still be salvaged. There's a good reason why you don't see tiny companies doing MMO development for next to nothing. It doesn't work. This game won't even have the chance to become a commercial failure.
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« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2013, 12:56:57 PM »

I loved City of Heroes as much as anybody. I just hope maybe some day some of the actual COH devs see what's happening in crowd funding and stuff like Steam's Project Greenlight, put their heads together and do something that has a more realistic chance of seeing release.

As far as fan projects go, I'd think the key would be for a group to have enough dough to license an existing game engine (Unreal etc.) and then maybe crowd fund for ongoing development. Lots of games built from scratch take years mad millions just to develop the engine tech.
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« Reply #31 on: October 16, 2013, 08:14:58 PM »

Quote from: Blackjack on October 16, 2013, 12:56:57 PM

As far as fan projects go, I'd think the key would be for a group to have enough dough to license an existing game engine (Unreal etc.) and then maybe crowd fund for ongoing development. Lots of games built from scratch take years mad millions just to develop the engine tech.

That's exactly what they are doing...
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« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2013, 04:02:07 AM »

$464,662 pledged of $320,000 goal with 15 days to go.  I imagine they'll hit the $500k stretch goal.
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