If you are not familiar with the concept of D.R.O.N.E., please feel free to look around on www.dronethegame.com for detailed info. In the following text, we assume that you know what D.R.O.N.E. is all about.
Our motivation: Community
The concept of D.R.O.N.E. revolves entirely around the community. A community that has the power to make this wonderful concept a reality. You are a part of the community and we want to thank you for being here!
We have been working very hard on D.R.O.N.E. and are confident everybody who is following us knows that. At the beginning, with a dev team of just five working only part-time, we were able to achieve not only AAA looks, but have created a rock solid, scalable concept for a game that will stay fun and challenging for a very long time. Besides directly working on the game, we have put a lot of effort into spreading the word, creating videos and building our community.
Thanks to your generous help since the crowdfunding launch we are able to work full-time and have expanded our team with a sixth member!
Pre-alpha Early Access now!
Since we are constantly asked to up our marketing and go to Steam we decided to do exactly that. It’s time to reach a wider audience and Steam should help a lot to increase the concurrent player count for multiplayer as well. This is important so that you will always be able to play whenever you want.
Regardless if you pledge here or on Steam, you can always upgrade your pledge. If you decide to purchase Early Access on Steam or you already pledged here but would rather play via Steam, you can simply link your D.R.O.N.E. and Steam accounts. Account linking functionality will be available with the launch of Early Access on Steam.
Next Step: DRONE EDITOR
We have a nicely working Early Access build! We will expand and polish what we have and then continue the work on the drone editor. Due to the high demand in the community for the drone building aspect of the game, we will focus on it as soon as possible. A part of the team will also work on introducing features of the arena building demo into the main early access build. Our intention is to do this step by step, making sure that each feature is highly performant, architecturally clean, and that gathered feedback is considered and implemented well. We want to...
Early Access to grow step by step
We are releasing in stages. With each step we want the game to grow, be further polished based on your feedback and more optimized for medium-low end hardware. Once a step is finished, it will be released to backers of tier 5 and above. When we tested together with tier 5 and implemented the feedback/fixes will grant access to the next lower crowdfunding tier. We will repeat that process until all backers have access to the battle-tested features.
We believe this way we can manage feedback most efficiently and progress faster. What’s most important to us is to create the entire game together with our community. If you pledge, we want to give you the chance to actively shape D.R.O.N.E. with us, starting now all the way to the final game!
Participating in early access is an investment in the future. Don't expect a final game right away!
Here is what you can expect right now:
- Action packed online multiplayer gameplay.
- 2 pre-made arenas for multiplayer action (soon to be expanded).
- 16 pre-made drones to choose from (soon to be expanded).
- Smooth, easy-to-learn but hard-to-master controls.
- 3 game modes: FFA Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Team Powerball.
- A separate Arena Building Demo featuring dynamic AAA graphics where you can build arenas and perform test-flights in single player.
- The possibility to share your ideas and feedback with the developers and the community. You help to shape the game.
What you will get in the future:
- A drone editor where your designs define your tactical capabilities and therefore influence the gameplay.
- A fully featured in-game arena editor where you can upload your creations to the D.R.O.N.E. Community Hub.
- Graphics of the arena demo will be improved, optimized and ported to the main project.
- A ruleset editor so you can setup your custom game-modes (imagine custom death-races and more).
- A spaceship that acts as your homebase and a way to explore a vast universe of user generated content.
- A rock solid and polished gameplay experience.
- An all in one package - you get a final game with the lifespan of an e-sport title and no pay-to-win bullcrap.
This is Crowdfunding Phase One!
We will highlight what you, as an early supporter, made possible for every future drone operator. All backers of Phase One will get a special “early supporter” badge, in addition to the supporter badges which are based on the amount of money pledged.
The badges will be visible on our Discord server (as roles), future forum as well as in the final game itself. There are also many more rewards (check further down below). We will keep the physical rewards to a minimum, so we don't have the administrative overhead and extra costs, since the goal of the crowdfunding campaign is to fund the game and not to produce tons of merchandise.
Free Public Demo
At some point we will release a feature-limited free public demo in order to recruit new drone operators. The release of the free public demo will also highlight the end of Phase One. Crowdfunding is intended to continue afterwards with Phase Two but without the “Early Supporter” badge.
What do we need?
Well, first and foremost, time. And as everybody knows, time is money. We need to work fulltime and still be able to make a living and expand the team. All good things start small. The support from the community early on is the most important ingredient for growth and we want D.R.O.N.E. to get big. We have proven that we have the guts and the brains to tackle a project like D.R.O.N.E. so now it is time that we ask for help from the community. It is time to ask you! After all, it’s a community driven game.
Final Game — Minimum Scope
We promise to deliver the Minimum Scope game, regardless of the funds we receive during the crowdfunding campaign. The Minimum Scope is a game having at least the following features:
- One set of arena editor blocks [DONE]
- 3 Earth-like environments: Green [DONE], Desert [DONE] and Ice [IN PROGRESS]
- Weather system with dynamic day/night cycles [DONE]
- 3 tournament types with a basic rule-set editor [IN PROGRESS]
- 1 set of basic block types [IN PROGRESS]
- 3 weapon types (projectile, energy and rockets) + variations of each [IN PROGRESS]
- 6 types of drone components (thrusters, shield, armor, cloaking, energy generators, and radars) [IN PROGRESS]
- The spaceship acts as a main menu and homebase for the player. It is also the basis for extension to some features and stretch goals of future development [IN PROGRESS]
- Competitive matches [IN PROGRESS]
- Basic Community Hub [IN PROGRESS]
- Solid networking [IN TESTING]
- Easy-to-learn and difficult-to-master controls [DONE]
- Controller support (e.g. Gamepads, Joysticks, HOTAS) [IN TESTING]
- Initial weapon and component balancing [IN PROGRESS]
Of course you can rest assured that we give our very best when we develop D.R.O.N.E. to make it bigger, better and closer to our full scope vision. As we have already achieved a lot in advance, we know that we can deliver at least the minimum scope as described above. Though, we want to create the complete vision and make D.R.O.N.E. live up to its full potential, for this we have laid out stretch goals with their roughly estimated required funds.
Final Game — Extended Scope (Stretch Goals)
While we cannot guarantee delivery of anything beyond the Minimum Scope, we intend to use your pledges to try to complete the following stretch goal features of D.R.O.N.E., if we reach the target amount for that goal. Below you can see our target features for each stretch goal.
We already solved the technical details and the only missing thing is implementation in the project. For this reason, this is our very first stretch goal.
Of course you can never have enough firepower, but we can certainly try to satisfy your destructive inner child. This also includes addition of melee weapons.
Create arenas in Deep space, planetary orbit, inside the atmosphere and above the clouds. Meteor showers, asteroid fields and solar burst events are examples of environmental threats that can make gameplay more challenging and interesting.
Beyond just heightmap modification we want to give you the possibility to paint paths, sandy areas, lava and more. With this goal being funded, it will be possible for us to add it to the creative toolset of D.R.O.N.E.
Create arenas and drones together with your friends or clan members without getting into each other’s way.
We stated that you can build arenas in: Deep space, planetary orbit, inside the atmosphere and on the planet’s surface. Why do we need to stop there? With additional funding, we will be able to extend the arena editor to go beyond that boundary and get some of the Descent feeling from 1994 back. Let’s explore some Caves!
Gigantic mushrooms, fluorescent vegetation, drone chewing venus traps, supersized trees and basically all creative flora designs which are clearly different to plants known from our beloved Earth.
We really hope you help us get here, the arena editor has so much potential. The question is just how much time and resources can we spend on creating another set that has a few thousand pieces? If we reach this goal, we will hire some 3d modelers and teach them our secret tricks to make more parts, just as good as we have already done. We already have crazy possibilities with the human made IFDT (Interstellar Federation for Drone Tournaments) approved set. However, we would love to add some exotic alienesque designs.
This brings bounced indirect light to the arenas. Already tested to some extent, this is certainly doable for us and will not affect performance. We were able to perform 198,400,000 raycasts to bake a test arena in 0.3 seconds. Implementation still has some technical challenges, but as our tests have shown, we can do it, given enough time.
Just as above, but there is more than just one additional race in the galaxy that is part of the IFDT.
Partially or completely underwater arenas can add a new dimension to gameplay. Dealing with temperature, pressure, darkness and visibility, drag, electricity issues and such will make drone design and the gameplay itself more challenging and tactical.
The tremendous heat will bring your drone systems to their limit and a simple collision with the ground could be fatal.
High density fog, atmospheric anomalies, and severe thunderstorms in an almost liquid atmosphere, will make drone design more challenging and provide unique gameplay. Implementing a good radar system in your drone build is recommended.
Floating islands, crystal deserts, metallic landscapes and more...
Wings act similar to hover pads, but they can be faster and more effective in forward movement. The downside of them is that they are less effective in stationary turns and problematic in narrow spaced arenas.
We want to have nice wheel physics and custom wheel placement on drone builds. Well simulated suspended wheels just adds so much to ground-drones, as do tank tracks for example. We definitely want to implement this.
Legs with automatic inverse kinematics and proper weight balancing will extend the possibilities of the drone editor a lot. We hope we can reach this goal and add walkers and hybrid drones to the game.
Many people loved the dragonfly drone shown in the end of our announcement trailer (the drone at the bottom of this page). The most important aspect of it’s design is that certain drone parts that can act like hinges. This will make drone builds more interesting and feel more alive. It's a technical challenge which we are very excited to tackle.
Well, sure you can have a radar to detect enemies with a pronounced radar footprint, but can you detect a cloaked enemy by the amount of noise he is producing? Don’t worry, there is more than just this. We have tons of ideas for parts and we will certainly add as many as we can. With your help we will get there for sure!
Customize your own drone huds by moving and scaling elements on the screen.
More options than just usual ones: player count, frag count, time limits and such obvious things. We can spice things up with custom winning conditions, specialized part limitations, death races, etc. Want to make a walker drone crash derby? With this, you can do it and more.
Drone builds will be categorized in tiers depending on the summed quality of the used parts. Drone operators need to advance on the leaderboards and fulfill certain conditions to get access to more powerful parts and increase the overall quality of their drone builds.
To avoid inflation of lackluster arenas we make a system that encourages players to only publish their best arenas, those are then rated by the players in different categories and will be ranked on the Community Hub.
Leaderboards/Clans/Arena Stamps & Drone blueprint market. Share and sell your creations on the markets in the universe of D.R.O.N.E.
Travel the galaxy and discover arenas built by other players. Exploring and rating arenas will give you rewards and will increase the chance of quality UGC to be discovered on the Community Hub. Explorers can also earn a reputation, so if they discover and rate arenas accurately, their rating will be weighted more. This stretch goal will extend the spaceship’s purpose from being just the home base, to take a vital part in the gameplay.
Instead of offering only a small set of weapons of each type, we want to have plenty, made by different manufacturers, just like in the real world. Manufacturers are offering a vast range of weapons and parts and they compete with each other in order to dominate the drone part market. Game Balancing will be solved like in the real world through popularity of certain products. If we see that some weapons are overpowered we can let the manufacturers upgrade or release new products to counteract biased gameplay. This makes post launch balancing plausible and feel integrated in a thriving universe.
Following up on the above stretch goal, Manufacturers can act as sponsors for drone operators, giving them access to special weapons, and paying out prizes for winning tournaments. This adds a management level to the gameplay, similar to sponsorings known from racing games.
This stretch goal expands the arena editor in many ways: More wall types, more pedestals, more floor types, more handrails, more door and window types, voxel style concrete foundations and many extensions to the special block library and more.
Weather-events, doors, elevators, moving platforms, traps, and more, will bring more variety and add new challenges to the arenas.
You’ve got a VR-headset and a good stomach, we know we do and we know how much immersion VR can add to a game. D.R.O.N.E. is very suitable for VR and we want to increase immersion as much as possible. This is a no-brainer for us, we want it and we hope you do too.
You want to have a representation in the online world that is more than just an avatar pic? We would love to add a character designer. We would also like to see that not every player has the same backstory. There is more potential in user generated content than what we have seen so far in any game. You like to have a colorful personality that other players want to know more about. We are definitely with you on this one!
So far alien races are only mentioned sparingly and don’t play a big role in D.R.O.N.E. This can change, if you help us to reach this goal, we can add more life to the galaxy.
“Dajum, I really need to leave this quadrant, can you help me out?” He nervously strokes the towel around his shoulders. ”I have some pretty sleek Vinyls to trade in return,... if you are interested”. Hitchhikers are characters that are user generated. Some creative users can use them and write a bunch of stories they can tell when you talk to them. Some even have surprises for you. You can pick up a hitchhiker in your spaceship on some random occasions and if he bugs you, you can get rid of him, just like in real life. Hitchhikers have a special badge that identifies them and they will ask you to rate your experience with them. After all, they might want to be picked up by somebody else later too.
We collected all royalty free music we could find and carefully selected the pieces that we found most fitting. You know that music is a collectible in the game, right? It’s about time to hire some really good artists and let them compose cool music just for D.R.O.N.E. Do you know Cullah? Do you know Ott? We can get them to join us!
The spaceship offers a great deal of gameplay possibilities. Your spaceship could be hit by an asteroid and you have to build and use a special drone to fix the problem (make a mini-drone that can get through a small opening and weld a broken part). This is just one of countless ideas that we have to keep you busy with exciting tasks, sideways of the road to become the best drone operator in the galaxy. Apart from adventures that can be solved with drones, there are also puzzles to be solved in person. Are you up for a spacewalk?
This extension to the arena editor allows you to create puzzles, obstacle courses, search and rescue missions, base defense and more single player action challenges and adventures.
Similar to the ship’s on-board computer, this adds even more to the already interesting space travel component. We love C3PO and R2D2 and we are certain you do too. Not only can you interact with your droids, they will make you feel less lonely on your ship. The droids will also interact with each other and can bring some comic relief to the table.
It will accompany you on your travels. You liked Cortana in Halo? Well, we did and we have some cool ideas to bring the Adventure Elements Goal to the next level. If we reach this goal, we will hire a talented voice actor and a writer to flesh out our ideas.
A universe like in D.R.O.N.E. is the ideal place for some conspiracies that can be uncovered. What goals do the multi billion space-cred heavy corporate enterprises truly have? Is it really just entertainment for the masses?
Our coolest idea yet, we can’t tell you how much we would love to see this become a reality. We have already solved the technical difficulties in theory and we did some practical tests that prove it’s doable.
You can implement a micro-drone launch bay in your drone. These microdrones are launched like a regular projectile weapon. However, if you hit your enemy with it, you can take control of the micro-drone. It has a welding armature and can get into the intestines of the enemy drone and we are sorry for that poor enemy if he hasn’t taken any precautions for parasitic weapons. Weld yourself through, all the way to the system component, or just take out the next vital part that you can find. Be aware that the enemy could have installed some defense mechanisms, or could even oppose you with another micro-drone of his own. All that happens while the game is taking place, in real-time, effectively making the enemy drone an arena within the arena!
Not 100% satisfied with your drone designs? Tweak them on your way to school/work. Share and discuss your blueprints with your friend and clan members, right from your mobile. If we reach this amount we will try our best to make the drone editor work on mobiles.
Post launch of the PC version, with sufficient funds we will try to port the game to the major consoles which are established at the time of release.
If we exceed the above maximum, we extend everything based on the budget. Apart from scaling up the project, it would allow more community ideas to be implemented. Also, the reached amount can strongly affect the needed development time, more funds can speed things up a lot.
While we cannot guarantee delivery of anything beyond the Minimum Scope, we intend to use your pledges to try to complete the following stretch goal features of D.R.O.N.E., if we reach the target amount for that goal. Click on “Strech Goals” on the bottom of your screen to see the target features for each stretch goal.
We have a wide range of rewards, most of them are self explanatory, some of them are described here and some are going to be a surprise. Please note that the rewards will be shipped once they are ready, we cannot name an exact delivery schedule.
As mentioned earlier, we do not have many physical rewards as they are expensive and complicated to manage, but for high pledges we want to give at least some neat t-shirts and mugs.
We will mostly have in-game rewards (stylish cosmetics and editor extensions) and honorable mentions and backer identifications (see badges above). The most important though, are the ones where you can actively help to shape the game.
Here is a table of our rewards:
Why not crowdfund on Kickstarter or another established platform?
Kickstarter might be perceived as more trusted and more powerful marketing wise but it also has downsides, which are pretty severe in our case:
- Limited campaign runtime;
- All or nothing concept.
As we want to make D.R.O.N.E. no matter the scope, we need flexibility in the campaign runtime as well as in the minimal funding goal. Also, even though, we have a very strong community, we don’t yet have as many followers as we need for a successful all or nothing Kickstarter of the magnitude we envision. Doing the crowdfunding on our own website allows us to let the campaign run indefinitely while the community grows. Otherwise, we would need to put all our efforts into marketing (no time left for active development) until we reach the necessary amount of followers.
We have been carefully setting up our crowdfunding campaign with our business accountants and specialized game lawyers to make sure everything is legit.
The members of Five Studios Interactive, in order:
- Tomasz Stobierski (Graphics Programmer)
- Jakob Rößl (3D Artist)
- Peter Rößl (Game Designer & Technical Artist)
- Ferran Galvañ (3D Artist)
- Nathaniel Doldersum (Main Programmer)
- Sergiu-Florin Popa (Web Developer)
- Chad H. (Community Manager, volunteer)
Risks and Challenges
What you see in our trailers is what we were able to do with zero funding in just part time work. Imagine what we can achieve with some backup from your side. Sure, it’s still possible that we miscalculate the effort certain features take. In such a case, we would have to set priorities and limit features that are of lesser priority. To compensate for this risk as much as possible, we clearly divided the project up into core features and stretch goals. Apart from that, we have a good understanding of the technical difficulties that may arise and solved many of them already. We will share the progress with you and you will be able to follow the production from a very early point. We have a good plan, but in case a tough decision has to be made regarding the game design, we will go the democratic way and involve the community.
Regardless of the exact amount of features, by funding this game you can help to make it bigger and better, together “We Can!”.
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This Steam Early Access game is currently not a finished game and may or may not change significantly over the course of development. To learn more about Steam Early Access, please visit store.steampowered.com/earlyaccessfaq.