Since Minecraft happened, every week there’s been a voxel based crafty-builder at our doorstep begging for change.
Oort Online needs cash to be fully realized, but it doesn’t have to beg for it. Abandoning Kickstarter altogether, it’s already raised over $50,000 through a democratic crowdfunding platform.
Guildford-based Wonderstruck aren’t trying to create ‘the next Minecraft’ – there’s enough ill-fated clones already. In Oort Online, there’s still resource collection, crafting and a procedurally generated blocky map, but it has a much loftier scale.
All players exist in the same universe and have much more to do than hit pickaxes against rock – it’s a MMORPG.
Crafting and mining still features, but as one of six races (customisable with skills, tools and clothing) you’ll be exploring a colorful-looking fantasy world.
I’m not sure what to call the ‘good guys’ in Oort – it’s somewhere between human, sheep and toad with a little marble statue thrown in for style. The ‘bad guys’ are named ‘The Protectors’. These are the guys you’ll be teaming up against to gain experience, show of your skills and get epic drops.
Wonderstruck have spent a lot of time making their engine. It looks like everything Minecraft should be if the development hadn’t fallen victim to a vacation epidemic.
Real weather systems, depth of field and realtime reflections are a few of the beautifying features laid on top of the decidedly blocky voxel landscape.
The landscape generated by the system will feature discrete worlds with their own ecologies. Players wanting to jump across the presistent world will be able to craft portals from area to area, letting you peer through holes in the void to see your friends’ creations.
That’s the plan, at least. The demo (available now) doesn’t look a lot like their concept footage. It’s sparser, rougher and pretty stuttery.
To be fair, it’s nicer looking and stabler than other construction sandboxes such as TUG or The Repopulation. Their 21-strong steam are well capable of turning it into a great game, but need cash to do so.
What is democratic crowdfunding?
Wonderstruck sidestepped Kickstarter to allow their funding campaign to run continuously. They’ve got 15 funding milestones to hit, and backers decide which part of the game will be implemented next.
“By selling pre-purchase and early access throughout development we can continue to fund the project as we’re making it” their FAQ reads.
“We think this is the best model for funding a big game like Oort Online and ensures backers are going to end up with a great game at the end of the process. The more funding we raise, the more features we’ll unlock, allowing us to make a much richer game.”
The features are broken up into Crafting, Economy, Farming, Bosses, Character Progression and more.
The game has raised over $50,000 already, launching the campaign on July 30. It’s not clear when each new feature will be unlocked, or the total figure Wonderstruck are trying to hit. We’ve reached out to the studio to clarify.
Wonderstruck was formed in 2012 by Guildford-based industry veterans from EA, Lionhead and more. They have previously made a blocky-looking tower defense game for Chrome devices called Polycraft, and are also developing stylised, streamlined stealth game The Marvellous Miss Take.