Crowdfund Long Distance Astronomy Lab Kits, Kid Friendly RPGs And More!

Illustration for article titled Crowdfund Long Distance Astronomy Lab Kits, Kid Friendly RPGs And More!

2014 might be behind us, but the hunt for awesome crowdfunding projects never stops! The first Crowdfund This of 2015 is jam packed with cool ideas, with everything from cool comics about mythical beings living among us to a gorgeous look at creature design - and much, much more.


Header Image Credit: The Art of Creature and Character Design


This gorgeous sci-fi short film by SCAD students centres on a robot on a quest to protect a little girl from mysterious assailants:

N0-A (Noah) is an animated film being produced by students at the Savannah College of Art and Design. When deciding what kind of film to make, we wanted something that was ambitious, sci-fi, dark and grounded in reality. N0-A is our attempt to push the boundaries of what student films are capable of and we've had a great time doing it.

We currently have around 30 students working tirelessly to create one of the strongest CG student films to date. Many of these students already have experience working at professional studios such as Pixar, The Mill, Blur Studios, Nathan Love, Framestore and Insomniac Games.

Although there's a limit on the amount of people eligible for the reward, a $15 pledge gets you a thanks from the Director as well as a HD download of the complete film and some signed stickers.

The Reign of Paper Gamers


This excellent idea aims at getting young kids into pen-and-paper RPGs with a simple, card based ruleset designed to ease young gamers into the genre before you shove a giant Pathfinder/D&D rulebook at them in glee:

As a father of three kids (ages 10, 11, 14) I've wanted to introduce them to the exciting and imaginative world of role playing. I've searched for good, old-fashioned board games that contain the elements of make-believe, story advancement, and teamwork. I couldn't find any. So my kids and I made our own.

It was a hit! We sat down every weekend to play. I watched as they began interacting, cooperating, and growing. They learned to think outside the box and care about other players. They even learned some math and history along the way.

Now I want to share this idea with game publishers and families around the world. I need your help. I need a little seed money to make a nice demo, specifically to buy a book binder, pay the illustrator and enter in gaming expos. In the end the game will be in book form (approx. 40 pages), with punch out pieces, and chipboard characters. There will be no need for dice or pencils. The entire RPG is contained on the perforated cards inside the book.


$15 gets you a PDF download of the ruleset and cards/character sheets, while $25 gets you a physical copy and the digital version.

Sindarin Library


An open source linguistic toolkit that helps you learn Tolkien's elvish tongue through an interactive interface, as well as bunch of other fictional (and real) languages? Yes please.

This tool packs together a translator, a dictionary, an IPA, the language's grammar rules, and much more, into the very page you're reading. As you follow along with your finger (or mouse) the phrase is instantly broken down in real-time, allowing you to see what the surrounding context is doing to influence each word.

We have decided to make this software open-source, and available to all backers of the project. You don't need to be an expert; with this tool anyone can learn a complex language such as Sindarin. And with a flip of the settings, complicated morphosyntax abbreviations are simplified, making it easy to understand the author's intention.


Although none of the pledges offer the toolkit itself (as every backer gets access to it thanks to the open-source nature of it), tiers offer Tengwar themed designs through prints ($50) stickers ($5 and $10 pledges) or shirts ($20 pledge).


Illustration for article titled Crowdfund Long Distance Astronomy Lab Kits, Kid Friendly RPGs And More!

This humongous set of Astronomical tools is designed to aid students learning Astronomy either online or as long distance students, people usually without access to labs to do practical tests as part of their learning process:

What do traditional introductory astronomy college students have in the classroom that online astronomy students don't have at home? That's easy! Traditional astronomy students have the advantage of telescopes and other sophisticated lab equipment while online astronomy students have, well... nothing.

Until now.

Our AstroLab Series I astronomy kit focuses on solar system astronomy and contains everything that the college-level introductory astronomy student needs to complete 13 different astronomy experiments and exercises that I have developed over 30+ years of teaching college astronomy. I created the AstroLab Series I kit with my online AST101 students in mind, but the kits can be used in the traditional classroom setting as well. They are also perfect for home school learners or anyone interested in learning the basics of observational astronomy.


These are some pretty serious academic packages - as such the pledge tier that nets you one is $1,000 Update: It's since been changed so you can get an AstroLab kit at the $275 tier - but if you want to support the project, lower tiers offer calanders and prints of Astrophotographs from Jimmy Westlake's collection - examples of which we've featured on io9 before!

Skin Deep Volume 3


Kory Bing's ongoing online comic Skin Deep has been running for almost a decade now, telling the tales of mythical creatures who find themselves having to live in secret in our modern world:

Greetings from Dogpatch is the 3rd volume of Skin Deep, and is a direct sequel to Orientations. It collects a series of short stories about the characters featured in Orientations, including:

Fiddler's Cave: A teenaged satyr tells a ghost story to a nixie.

Nixie's Spit: Merial, the nixie, buys a book that tells her she might have more magic powers than she realizes, and she uses a gryphon named Jim as an unknowing test subject.

The One-Eyed Bear: A Halloween story starring everybody in Halloween costumes being chased by a horse-skulled Nightmare through a corn maize in Verona, Missouri. There's also a one-eyed bear.

Homecoming: A direct sequel to Orientations, Michelle visits her mother in an attempt to understand why she has turned into a sphinx and try to get some answers about her father.

Ridiculous Creatures: A short winter story about Michelle asking Jim some stupid questions.

Greetings, From Dogpatch: The longest story in the book, clocking in at 51 pages. Greetings, From Dogpatch is about an Avalon hidden in an abandoned theme park in Dogpatch, Arkansas, and follows the angel Gabe as they try to track down the source of the demons chasing Michelle.


The first tier to get you the physical copy of the third volume is at $30, while lower tiers offer it as a PDF (and bundled with Volumes 1 and 2) - $65 gives you all three volumes as softcover books as well as their PDF versions.

The Art of Creature and Character Design


This awesome book gathers the perspective of professional artists and designers across various industries on designing and creating creatures and characters for games, movies, TV and more:

The Art of Creature and Character Design, is a project I have been wanting to do for quite some time now. It's a very informative, comprehensive, lavishly illustrated volume on the art and aesthetics of creature and character design for film, video games and toys. It will explore the style, approach, technique, and inspiration of some of the best creature and character designers in the world.

It will feature a lot of my own work, but I was fortunate enough to talk some of my talented friends and colleagues that I've worked on many films with, or have been fortunate enough to befriend over the past 25 years of traveling through the industry, into contributing some of their work as well. Guys behind some of the most iconic and recognizable creatures in film, television, video games, and toys over the past few decades. These phenomenal, award winning artists have helped make this volume the first book of it's kind. I hope start volume two in the upcoming year...


The book has already hit its goals, but you can still contribute - a $35 pledge gets you a softcover copy, $20 gets you a digital version.

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The Astrolabs folks lowered the pricing. You get the kit at the $275 tier and up. Just an FYI in case you want to update the article. Thanks!