Building a Fantasy Game Shouldn't Be A Fantasy.

For: My own and other similar projects. And the marginalized.
United States
Organizer: Riley H
Building a Fantasy Game Shouldn't Be A Fantasy. (My own and other similar projects. And the marginalized.)
of $5,000 goal
100% Complete
Raised by 106 donors

The Story

Hi. I'm Riley. Many of you who will find your way here know me already. You'll know that I'm about to graduate with a BS in Computer Science, and a BA in Math. You'll know that I got accepted to a PhD Program in CS, and that I have secured a job as a Software Engineer to begin toward the end of the year. You'll know I'm an avid fighter for diversity in tech and engineering.

I want to make a prototype for a non-profit 2-D fantasy game so people like myself will continue to want to live. The money I'm asking for here will allow me to fund this prototype and approximately half the full cost for the artist. I will go through more usual crowdfunding channels for the remaining funds, but that is highly unlikely to succeed without a full prototype. In other words: I need to crowdfund before I can crowdfund.

I'm a programmer and I can do some art. My main partner is also a programmer, and they can do much better art than I can. We're more than capable of programming it ourselves. Either one of us could program this thing alone. As of right now between us we've probably put at least 400 hours of work into what we have thus far. You can catch bits of it on my twitter, @dtwps.

But we need a dedicated artist. I already put 30-50 hours a week into the various parts this thing needs. Good artists cost money. We tried to find grants, but they fund very different avenues. We have an artist chosen who is amazing at what we need to do, but we need to pay at a certain rate to ensure we get the most for our money and can complete the prototype, plus half of the rest of the art for the game, including all design work.

You see all the cool stuff written above in the Who? This is my NOW. Looks pretty good, doesn't it?
What you don't know is my BEFORE.


I was an 11 year old who wanted to die.

Horrible, isn't it?

It was at that age that I first realized that the world simply didn't want someone like me to exist. I didn't why yet, but I was a freak. The world had made that very clear.

I was 11, and I was already tired of living.

For the years that followed, I discovered several things about myself. That I was queer. Trans. "Mentally ill", according to doctors, wherein I was misdiagnosed multiple times, and put on all sorts of damaging medication (that had me so exhausted I had to sit down in the middle of a comic store and go to sleep, unable to move or get up). I was called anti-social and defiant when I didn't blindly trust doctors who clearly didn't care about me.

This is common for Black teenagers and young adults, who live in a world that doesn't care about them, and makes that clear. Our childhoods are ripped from us, and we're forced to grow up fast to stay alive. Being autistic, the only diagnosis that actually stood true for me, that years of doctors didn't care to detect until I did my own research, this was another form of torture.

So I wanted to die.

But there was one shining light for me, one thing that made the world seem less bleak. At that time, I began to get into anime, video games, and other types of fantasy media. Wonderful, well-built worlds that could easily draw me out of the pain I was dealing with in real life. I used to expand them in my head, and eventually they branched out into creations of my own.

Even as I wanted to die, I could forget the pain for a little while. I believe that this media was a pivotal point in keeping me alive, and though the suicidal tendencies have never left, I am able to envelop myself in a game and keep myself going a little longer.

I want to do this for other people. I want to make this for other people. I want to see it made for us. I want to create positive representation in media so that others like myself can enjoy more than the very little that currently exists. So that we can stay alive.

This costs money. Money that I still don't, that others who want to make this media still don't have any access to. There are a few works out, and overall media is doing better. But for queer brown people, fantasy media for us, especially written by us in the video game sphere, is still largely a myth.

Any money donated on top of the required will go to OTHER projects in fantasy media, ANY fantasy media, including comics, video games, short films, novel writing, short story writing, and anthologies. The project is meant to be non-profit; that is that we are not working on this with the intention to make a dime. Outside of the artist, everyone is working entirely for free (but I would like for them to be paid, because they deserve it). I have also put my own money into this. There are no studios or business people behind this. There are only people who desperately want to see more of this sort of thing exist.

Please help us touch others. As much as it's obscured, this sort of thing does help people remain alive, even for just an extra day. Those who have never been in our shoes don't understand, but WE do.

YOUR NOW? Is the ability to help.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on March 28, 2016

Posted on March 28, 2016

Just uploaded some photos from my work of the last few weeks. Though you can only see what got coded, a lot of design work went into this over the course of the month. It was way harder to get to this point than I expected, and even from the images you can see some annoying bugs (grrrr), but hopefully by the end of next week, the bugs will be fixed, and this will be 3-4x as long of a testing log. :)

(I love state machines, but this is by far the most complicated one I've ever built and it's still only about 1/5th done.)

Posted on March 24, 2016

Posted on March 24, 2016

Another update, yay!
So I'm making this update because I figure it would probably do well to explain again what exactly the money is going for, since people tend to lose information in a long-form post like the fundraiser explanation!
First: The money is not going to me. I am programming this for nothing. In fact, any money that can't be raised, I will probably scrape from my own pockets to provide.

So where WILL it go?

Primarily: To the artist. The artist is a Latina who really wants to work on this but has to pay her bills. I want her bills paid. You want her bills paid. I'm sure all decent people want her bills paid. If she's paid for a month of work at a time, she gives quite a meaningful discount since she is assured to have all her bills covered. Please help us cover her bills.

Secondarily: To everyone else who is NOT me working on this. The other lead has as of now, asked for nothing but has done a lot of work on this and is a professional who really could use being paid on this. They're a queer chicanx and they deserve to be paid too. I want to pay them. The further over this number you see here we get, the more they get, all of which is well deserved. They've turned down payment thus far but THEY DAMN WELL DESERVE IT.

In addition, there's a writer and a few people who are interested in helping us out with music. Others would really like to help with graphic and game design. Again: they are working for free right now because they believe in and love this thing. They deserve to be paid. I want to pay them. They are largely marginalized people in some way shape or form, and they are struggling. If I thought I could manage it, I'd ask for way more so everyone could be paid fairly. But I want to give them something. They deserve something.

Anything you donate goes directly to paying marginalized people to make something cool. There's also a professional developer who is overseeing all of my work, giving me guidance if/when I need it, and also donating quite a bit of his own money to help us because he's confident in what he's seen thus far.

That's all, folks, thanks for reading as always.

Posted on March 20, 2016

Posted on March 20, 2016

It's been a while, thanks for being so patient with me on updates! I'm still working away at this. Some great design work has been done to allow me to move forward temporarily, and a lot of mockup art has been made for the same purpose. In the meantime, I've been doing back-end programming on the battle system and attending local events to teach others to code and to playtest what we have so far to see if we're going in the right direction.

All the genuine feedback has been really amazing and we'll be taking quite a few suggestions into account! My main partner on this has a bit more art skill than I do and is helping implement other small animations!

It's hard without an artist, but we're doing the best we can!

Thank you for all the help thus far!

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