In Insert Coin, we look at an exciting new tech project that requires funding before it can hit production. If you'd like to pitch a project, please send us a tip with "Insert Coin" as the subject line.
We won't lie: this might be the ultimate Insert Coin. It's not often that you get the author of Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon asking for Kickstarter funding, after all. Neal Stephenson and Subutai Corporation are tired of swordfighting in video games being reduced to abstract button presses, and they want to produce both a video game and a control system that will replicate what it's really like to fight steel-to-steel, complete with pommel hits, blocks and distinct techniques. The initial game, Clang, will focus on two-handed longsword dueling with an "off-the-shelf" controller to get out the door quickly. In the long run, however, the plan is to work on custom controllers, and the project will involve an open framework known as MASE (Martial Arts System Embodiments) that will let anyone build their own fighting game. You could create a realistic Wushu simulator... or an extremely detailed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles beat-em-up.
Any pledge will help the cause, but if you'd like a credit in the game or an actual copy, you'll want to spend a respective $10 or $25. The rewards escalate quickly after that: $50 and $75 pledges first give downloadable concept art and later a digital fighting manual, while $100, $150 and $250 donations will add a very real t-shirt, a hard copy of the manual, a signed poster with a patch and eventually a signed poster. Are you a high roller? Spending $500 or $1,000 adds a signed manual as well as either the first book or whole collection of the related The Mongoliad trilogy, plus (at the higher tier) invitations to Subutai parties in Seattle. Pledges at $5,000 will supply the actual concept art; at the peak $10,000, you'll get a real longsword, lunch with Subutai and a tour of the offices. If you're game in the literal sense of the word, you'll have until mid-day on July 9th to help Neal reach the lofty $500,000 funding target.