The original Dino Run was one of the first endless runners, preceding even Canabalt in the early days of the genre. While Dino Run has gone through several iterations and upgrades in its life, the game has never yet had a true sequel. Pixeljam is working to correct this with a crowdfunding campaign, and it’s being run a little differently than normal. The first stage is already complete, having been run through Pixeljam’s web site, and now it’s off to Kickstarter for the next part of the process. Stage 2 involves raising at least $20,000 in development costs, although the real goal is more like $65,000. Whether a little or a lot, the goals don’t fund the final game but rather development stages on the path to creation, because building the whole thing on a realistic Kickstarter budget just isn’t a realistic goal. Oddly, despite the funding target only being for a percentage of development, it’s a confidence-booster if you know how games are made.
Games development isn’t cheap if you want to do it while not living out of a cardboard box. Having a reasonable plan to get from Nothing to Game is important, and there are plenty of stories of crowdfunding where the goal was reached but backers still came away empty. What Pixeljam is chasing isn’t a starving-artist approach, or a lowball goal that hopes everything will work out somehow, but rather a business plan being pursued in stages with reasonable goals set along the way. Fund research and prototypes through the web site, use Kickstarter for further research and gameplay experiments divided up into stages depending on how well the campaign runs, keep the development engine ticking over with ongoing support from Patreon and Drip, and use the progress from that to finish up with publishers and other licensors. It’s not a 100% guarantee, of course, and while it’s a complicated plan with a lot of stages where it can break down that’s true of every Kickstarter out there.
As for the actual game itself, it’s planning on being a bigger, better, more dinosaur-ier upgrade to the original. Modern physics, large levels with multiple pathways, a cause-and-effect system in place to chain different events together, and a large menagerie of well-animated dinosaurs to play as and run with/from are all featured in the campaign video, backed by a perky chiptune soundtrack. Additionally, part of the campaign goals are a pair of minigames using assets from the main title to let you fly as a pterodatyl or roll like a stegosaurus, which was totally a thing they did, honest. So far the campaign is off to a decent start, pulling in 25% of its initial goal, so with a little luck and a long-term effort the dinosaurs are going to rampage again. Head on over to the Kickstarter page to give Dino Run 2 a look.