Neil Stephenson’s CLANG

Neil Stephenson’s an author. He writes obsessively-detailed fiction, sometimes speculative, sometimes historical, most of the time a combination of the two. To complement his current efforts, he’s turned his eye to videogames though. What Neil wants to do is make swordfighting games more realistic, more accurate, and most of all, more fun. His team for CLANG has put together one of the most entertaining Kickstarter videos I’ve seen, which really conveys his humor and the spirit of the game:

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Zombie Playground

Yes, the Zombie meme has been beaten to death, but true to form it keeps coming back. And I’m fine with that. I love zombie fiction, zombie movies, and zombie games. Keep it coming in unstoppable hordes.

Zombie Playground looks to be a fun take on the Zombie invasion idea, a game that puts you in a child’s point of view to fight an infestation at school:

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Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

It’s an understatement to say the band Big Star was one of the most influential rock bands in history. If you listen to rock at all, you may not know the name, but you definitely know the songs. Your favorite band covered them. You heard that song played on that TV show and thought “Oh yeah, I love that song, I wonder who did it?”

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, is a documentary about the band, and has received great praise from a preview screening at the SXSW music festival. The Kickstarter project is raising money to clear legal rights for the music in the film, and for final editing. They hope to be playing the film in festivals by the end of the year, and a commercial release in early 2013. Some of the pledge rewards for this project are great collectible records, but in very limited supply, so pledge quickly!

Human Powered Helicopter

The Atlas team has a pretty ambitious goal.

A human-powered helicopter (HPH) on the surface doesn’t sound like it should be such a hard thing, just pedal and spin some blades, right? Of course it’s really a very hard problem, between weight concerns, momentum, and how much energy a human can put out for any extended duration.

The requirements for the Sikorsky Prize, illustrated.

The requirements for the Sikorsky Prize, illustrated.

That’s why, in 1980, the American Helicopter Society created the Sikorsky Prize, an award to motivate engineers to create an HPH capable of hovering for just one minute, at a height of 3 meters from the ground. In over 30 years, no team has yet accomplished that.

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Brassft Punk – Daft Punk tribute via New Orleans brass band

I love tribute records, or at least good ones. Tribute records that aren’t just straight covers but really take the originals and put a new spin on them. And something about the idea of a New Orleans brass band covering Daft Punk just fills me with glee. As Brassft Punk producer Earl Scioneaux points out, there have been a ton of great electronica takes on classic music, and he wants to turn that idea on its head.

Yes. Please do that, Earl.

XOXO Festival

Just about an hour ago at this writing, Andy Baio, one of the original people behind Kickstarter, announced the XOXO Festival. XOXO will be an arts and technology festival in Portland, OR:

XOXO is a celebration of disruptive creativity. We want to take all the independent artists using the Internet to make a living doing what they love — the makers, craftspeople, musicians, filmmakers, comic book artists, game designers, hardware hackers — and bring them together with the technologists building the platforms that make it possible.

In just an hour, the project has raised $25,478 of a $125,000 goal. I’m sure it won’t even take a day for tickets to sell out, and the project to raise its goal.

UPDATE: The backers list on this project already looks like a who’s who of the interwebs. This will be huge.

UPDATE MAY 22: In just two days, the XOXO Festival has surpassed the $125000 goal, at about $167000. Tickets are going to sell out soon.