Indie sandbox TUG secures $8.5M in new funding, delays game for engine switch

Indie sandbox TUG has become the beneficiary of a huge windfall.

In a new Kickstarter update sent to backers this afternoon, Nerd Kingdom announced that it has raised an additional $8.5 million to “expand on TUG, move into openGL, and put a lot more emphasis on tools and modding bits.” That means the development team will be expanding too.

The downside is that the process of porting the game engine from DX11 to OpenGL will likely delay the game’s next update for a close to a year. A business model switch is probably imminent as well:

“Additionally, and this is potentially a HUGE change… we are seriously considering making TUG a free game… and I say this knowing FULL well that we already have people who have committed their own earned money to help us. So we are not taking this thinking lightly, and its going to take a lot of dialog and thought into what it will take to make this work. I go into detail of why I personally, and we as a team, think this is important. But the short of it being, we want to get this in the hands of as many people as possible, modders, researchers, players, and builders.”

“The great thing about solid financial support, is we have some freedom to build something great, and not have to worry about “monetization schemes”. To be clear, how we will monetize is unclear, but we have a bit of time, and a few ideas to think through. With this said, any “monetization” we apply to TUG, wont impact any of our backers ability to play. You all believed in us, and have been nothing but supportive… it’s not our intent to drain anyone of all the moneys. Treating TUG as a platform, as its intended, means we have a lot to consider.”

The game is currently on Steam.

We’ve included Nerd Kingdom’s Peter Salinas’ dev vlog on the topic below.

Source: Kickstarter
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25 Comments on "Indie sandbox TUG secures $8.5M in new funding, delays game for engine switch"

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inoritewtf
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inoritewtf

Oh snap, I didn’t see this pop up here! I also did a follow up, to clarify some of the thinking… and did an AMA as well. Reading the comments below, I don’t think this is all super clear. Admittedly, its still not… but I at least wanted our intent to be clear. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMPS4XApXNo

mbbrazen
Guest
mbbrazen

I’m not sure how I feel about the news. I am also a KS backer and I play the game whenever the make a major update, just to see how things are developing. It will be a fun little game although I don’t see how the F2P will work without an aggressive cash shop. That would be a shame for the PvE’ers but I can see the survival, multiplayer PvP mode generating some income. My fear a year ago was that the PvP survival mode would eventually consume the game. Guess I will have to wait another year to get the answer to that.

AaronVictoria
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AaronVictoria

@Armsbend I agree man. Honestly I don’t see what the investors are seeing here. I mean the game has a decent following, but 8.5 million dollars worth? Let’s see how this goes, because it seems to have an aggressive enough following to succeed on Kickstarter. Therefore, I figure lots of donors will be looking for their product even more with the extra infusion of cash.

Jacra
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Jacra

I’m a backer and sure hope there won’t be a massive ingame RMT shop coming now …

McSleaz
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McSleaz

Picked this up fro $1 when it debuted on steam. I’ll have to try it out one of these days.

blackcatcrosses
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blackcatcrosses

Polyanna openGL is not a game engine. It’s the low level interface to the graphics hardware, analogous to DX on Windows, except it runs on just about everything.

blackcatcrosses
Guest
blackcatcrosses

Grifter Polyanna It may not be ‘better’ per se, but it’s a hell of a lot more portable.

shadowblender
Guest
shadowblender

It looked interesting enough for me to at least keep my eyes on it and see where it goes.

blackcat7k
Guest
blackcat7k

The deal has changed once again and now this title will walk down a familiar road… There is nothing free, and you’ll have to sacrifice some part of the game for this illusion that’s allowed to be perpetuated in today gaming environment.
You’re going to have continued cost, you need to pay for them. Giving away a large chunk of your product will not do this, and you’ll end up loosing some backers because we’re really not going to support another developer trying to perpetuate the lie that someone can play the title for free while someone else foots the bill for them.

Ceder
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Ceder

I’ve peripherally supported their efforts though I had much skepticism.  With this news though, no longer.

GabeNewellFetish
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GabeNewellFetish

Isn’t this the game that is somehow associated with Yogscast and their Kickstarter scam?

Ironwu
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Ironwu

Something very fishy here.  Who would put 8.5m into this and not expect some major payback?
And dumping DX for OpenGL?  I can see supporting both, but not sure what the future of OpenGL really is going forward.

A Dad Supreme
Guest
A Dad Supreme

jeff55369 Silverlock “Riot games made it happen with LoL in the perfect way. ”
=====
I don’t think MOBAs have the kind of development costs nor overhead that MMOs have so that’s apples/oranges for F2P.
F2P fits MOBAs because it’s quick in/out stuff with no crafting, no PvE, no… nothing but fight in a box and change toons.

Vexia
Guest
Vexia

I’m not at all sure how I feel about this news. Well, I do think that a cool $8.5 million will do nothing but good when it comes to working on the game. My main issue as a backer is what direction the game itself might be taking, or to be more specific, whether or not that direction aligns with the proposed game that drew me in during 2013.
If anyone is inclined to go back and read/watch their Kickstarter material (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nerdkingdom/tug-1/description), they’ll notice a lot of discussion on emerging story, social sciences, and other interesting goodies that roped me in. Modding was always one bullet point on the list of features, but now has it become the feature? 
Don’t get me wrong, mods make gaming a ton of fun, but the statement that summarizes my excitement for the game during KS is “TUG sits at the crossroads where survival sandbox and multiplayer RPG’s meet, offering both elegant simplicity and a world of complex secrets for those who desire to seek them out.” Is that still going to be the case? Or will it only be the case if the modders deem it so?
Although I know they’ve weathered some storms, I don’t think the team has been consistently great at communicating where the game stands. Hopefully that changes soon because I really want no-bullshit answers about where the game is headed. Of course, if you go back and watch that KS video, there was the promise of involving the backers at every stage of development once before. :
So far, Nerd Kingdom isn’t inspiring great confidence from me. Please prove me wrong going forward.

Armsbend
Guest
Armsbend

AaronVictoria My 8.5M would buy complete control of every decision made in the game’s development pre and post launch.  I am sure it the case here.

Vexia
Guest
Vexia

Silverlock Well, TUG is more of a pseudo-MMO like Minecraft or ARK: Survival Evolved, anyway. During the Kickstarter, it was stated that the studio would also host their own persistent server, but I have no idea if they still intend on doing that. Based on comments on the embedded video, I think they are considering free-to-play but with a price for at least some mods.

jeff55369
Guest
jeff55369

Silverlock I really hate this argument. Just because a game is f2p doesn’t mean it needs to be pay to win. Riot games made it happen with LoL in the perfect way.

Silverlock
Guest
Silverlock

What why make it free? Why not keep it b2p instead of adding a p2w cash shop? This is bad news. To bad, its a nice game to.

AaronVictoria
Guest
AaronVictoria

Armsbend Hahaha, yea he’s going to need to ask the writer of this article to update his quote. Unless of course the investors just want their name on the productions credits, and gave them the money to score a notch on their belt.

TimothyTierless
Guest
TimothyTierless

Now they are just tugging at my wallet strings! This could do some very good things for the game long term.

Grifter
Guest
Grifter

Polyanna Personally as a backer, I am not buying the OpenGL vs DX11 argument.  Its highly debatable that OpenGL is better than DX11

Forget performance for a sec …  the documentation alone Puts DX over OpenGL any day

Polyanna
Guest
Polyanna

Wouldn’t it make more sense to transition the game to one of the big two or three well established game engines instead of tying it to one particular low-level graphics API?

Armsbend
Guest
Armsbend

“The great thing about solid financial support, is we have some freedom to build something great, and not have to worry about “monetization schemes”.

The investor may think otherwise.

Jaed
Guest
Jaed

Dystopiq Same.

Dystopiq
Guest
Dystopiq

I backed this on KS. I won’t be upset because of the change to free. It’s a little disconcerting but the alternative is the game dies which I definitely do not want.

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