Jumping Spider is a physics-based puzzle-platformer where you control, yes, a jumping spider.  Shoot web and swing from obstacles to reach the end of the level while collecting powerups along the way.  It’s simple, but it’s fun, and the best way to see what we mean is to try it yourself.

The Jumping Spider Kickstarter campaign was launched on November 13 by one man, Eric Newland.  This father of two has been working on Jumping Spider as a project of passion and plans on using the money to buy the software he needs and support his family while he makes his game.

This is where the pledges are going.

This is where the pledges are going.

So what about the game itself?  Jumping Spider isn’t trying to be anything complex or cinematic.  It’s a relatively simple game – but simple is good.  A game should be fun at the very basic level – just moving should be a fun experience – and Jumping Spider manages to pull this off.  Intuitive controls and a wide range of movement mean that the game is built on very solid foundations, while the powerups and extra classes promise a lot of versatility and new challenges.  With such touch friendly controls it’s no surprise that Jumping Spider is going to be hitting iOS and Android (as well as Mac and PC).

Physical rewards start at $50 with a poster, while a copy of the game can be yours for as little as $10.  That’s a copy of the game for PC or Mac, and for $20 you get the chance to be a beta tester and give input towards the development of the game.

Q & A

Eric Newland was able to answer a few questions for us about Jumping Spider.

First of all, thanks for answering our questions. For starters, can you tell us a few words about your project? 

Jumping Spider is a novel platformer game for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. It’s designed to be fun and addictive from basic movement mechanics on up. The player can run up walls and across ceilings, jump in any direction, and swing from a silk dragline. The game will also feature exotic arachnids and insects from around the world, some of them genetically altered or cybernetically enhanced, as enemies.

Why did you decide to start a campaign on a crowd funding platform? Why Kickstarter?

Up until now I’ve been working on the game at work after hours. With permission, of course. But it’s taking time away from my family, and our finances are tight with a new baby. Crowdfunding could help me purchase what I need to properly work on the game at home, and keep my spare time available to do the work.

Kickstarter is always the first name you hear in crowdfunding, but I ultimately decided to go with it because I saw other video game campaigns there that I could get excited about, and games that I thought were at a similar scale to mine that were succeeding. I feel like I’m in good company.

What advantages or uniqueness are you bringing to the table?

I’m a natural dabbler and I’m half of the graphic design team at my work, so I have a pretty diverse skillset including coding, 3D graphics, videography, marketing, and branding. I’m well equipped to tackle almost every aspect of creating and selling an indie game.

I also have a unique outlook and some would say a strange sense of humor, and I want my games to reflect that. I think Jumping Spider is off to a good start toward that goal.

Is this the first game you’ve developed?

This is my very first crowdfunding campaign. It’s also the first game I’ve ever made, unless you count a couple of Klik’n’Play projects I did in the nineties of which I was the sole player. Needless to say, I’ve been doing a lot of research over the past few months.logo-screenshot

What kind of rewards did you come up with? What would be your advice to others regarding the rewards?

I’ve got a mixture that isn’t atypical for a video game Kickstarter. I’m pushing the “Exoskeleton Key,” essentially a pre-order of the “full version” of the game that will unlock all premium content on multiple devices and platforms using a single player account. I’ve also got alpha and beta testing, plenty of opportunities to leave a mark on or appear in the game, and some physical rewards. My brother, who does spraypaint art at festivals, is helping me create posters, and high-level backers will get an original canvas painting of their in-game creation.

I can’t really speak on the effectiveness of the rewards this early in the campaign.

What would be your advice regarding creating a project on Kickstarter in general? How important was the video?

Definitely have some momentum going before you launch. I’m having to play a lot of catch-up. I’ve gotten a lot of positive, even enthusiastic feedback from people who have seen the game, but that’s a relatively small group right now. I knew better going into it, but I was reaching a point, on a personal and financial level, where it was time to put the boat in the water and see if it floats.

Also, everything takes forever. Don’t assume that you’re “just” going to whip up some copy for your Kickstarter page or you can “just” figure out where your physical rewards are going to come from and how much they’re going to cost you. No part of the process is an afterthought or a last-minute task. The time you think it’s going to take to get ready for the campaign? Double it, and leave room on your calendar to double it again.

I’m using both a video with gameplay footage and a playable demo in my campaign. I think both of them are going to be critical to show proof of concept, since I don’t have any previous game credits I can point to. I’m also trying to show both my quirky sense of humor and the big picture plan for the game through the video.

What did you do to promote your Kickstarter campaign?

Well, I’m doing it right now. I’m sending out a lot of cold e-mails to e-zines and blog, and I’m messaging other campaigners on Kickstarter about the possibility of cross-promotion. I’m also going to put up some fliers at local colleges and otherwise try to find ways to get local press. I’ve also come up with the idea of trying to drum up more publicity by encouraging people to speedrun the demo level and post their results. We’ll see how that goes.

Please share some details about your company, staff, and history.

It’s mostly just me at the moment, trying to turn a hobby project into a second job. My brother Craig, who does spraypaint art, is helping me with poster images and is going to help me with backgrounds. He also has experience with software development life cycles, so I think I’m going to pull him on board to help manage the code as well.

Please tell us something interesting which isn’t written on your project page.

Well, I’m going to showcase Jumping Spider at the Ohio Game Developer Expo on December 7th. I’m also, in truth, a bit of an arachnophobe.

Once again, check out the demo and see for yourself if Jumping Spider is the type of game for you.  If it’s something you enjoy then please consider pledging a few dollars towards the project.  Give the demo a few minutes of your time and see what you think.