November 2, 2013 1:00 AM | Lena LeRay
Parents who are gamers face certain dilemmas when trying to raise children and still indulge their gaming habits. Aside from the fact that certain games are best played only after kids go to bed, a toddler doesn't want to watch someone else play without joining in, and it doesn't take long for a kid to figure out if the controller they're holding isn't actually doing anything. There are games out there designed for young children, but they tend to bore the eyes out of an adult's eyesockets. It's hard to find games that parents and kids can play together. That's a problem that Shane Whitehouse of TouchTilt Games is trying to solve with Tiny Diggers 2.
Although Tiny Diggers 2 shares its name with one of TouchTilt's previous games, the two games aren't going to share much else besides theme. The first Tiny Diggers tapped into the love of toy trucks many young children have to help them learn basic shapes and colors and the like. It was decidedly aimed at preschoolers. Tiny Diggers 2, on the other hand, will be a sandbox game offering a combination of exploration, guided tasks, and freely building/destroying things.
Demonstration footage of the current early prototype doesn't show the game off as being much of a sandbox experience. When asked about that, however, Whitehouse replied, "I was hoping the crowd would help us define it based on 'popular demand': I want it to be a 'sandbox' game, but how is that defined in this game? I left it open for opinion, not only on KS but to my networks.... I want to allow kids and their parents to co-op and dig anywhere together, build a house or demolish it, fix leaky pipes or drive a garbage truck together to the plant -- all that stuff."
The other reason Whitehouse is seeking to raise funds on Kickstarter is that he's more of a creative designer than an artist or a programmer. A lot of the funds raised would go to hiring the assistance of a programmer and a 3D modeling artist because he feels like he's come as far as he can on his own.
The Tiny Diggers 2 Kickstarter project is far from being the most clearly worded out there. One thing worth noting about its lack of clarity is that a lot of consoles are advertised which are listed as stretch goals further down the page; basic funding covers only Windows, Mac, and Linux. But after talking to Whitehouse, it seems like he has a pretty good plan going forward. If you're at all interested in Tiny Diggers 2, you should check out the Kickstarter project page.