Smach Z Kickstarter

So the Smach Z I stumbled upon at GamesCom (read here) has finally launched it’s Kickstarter. A few weeks later than I was told at their booth but that’s ok. Nobody wants a rushed Kickstarter.

At first glance I find this thing really attractive. But after a second look there was a certain “wtf?” Moment. Where to start? Let’s go with the obvious: price.

The Smach Z comes in two flavours. “Smach Z” and “Smach Z Pro” costing 299 Euro respectivly 499 Euro. That’s a lot of money. This, on it own, is a hard pill to swallow but when you look at the specs of the two Versions, it get’s worse. The lower end model has only 4GB RAM and a very tiny 64GB HDD. That’s hardly enough for the Windows 10 installation (which only will be supported if the campaign reaches 350.000 Euro). The Pro getting LTE Support, 8GB RAM and 128GB HDD is more like it could be working but for 500 Euro you can build a descent PC.

smachz_specs

While I mentioned the “Windows 10 support” stretch goal, here is another one: 1080p display at 300.000 Euro. But how can that be? The specs already proclaim a 6″ fullHD display? I’m guessing the guys and girls at Smach are just so confident that they will hit that mark that they didn’t bother correcting the specs. Same with Windows 10. “When pre-ordering SMACH Z you can choose between Windows 10 or Linux.” Good luck with that if it stays below 350.000 Euro.

smachz_strechgoals

And now the fun part. Imagine the Kickstarter will stay just below 300.000 Euro. You’ll get a 720p display and no official Windows 10 support. No big deal, games will run smoother on 720p won’t they? Sure but looking at some benchmark Smach provided things get kind of ugly. Literally. The benchmarks are made with a setup similar to the PRO version so they can’t be applied to the basic version at all. Be aware of that you will get a much lower performance! And the test setup runs Windows 10. (NOT SUPPORTED YET! Remember the 350.000 Euro stretch goal?) Just look at the list. Most tests are run at 720p and some still drop below 30 FPS.

smachz_benchmark

So now what? From a pure technical point this thing is an expensive toy for casual gamers with spare cash who travel a lot. Is it an alternative to 3DS, Vita or a gaming laptop? No. But check the Kickstarter out, read all the text and make up your own opinion. I really think the team behind this wants to deliver. If they wouldn’t they would not have gone such lengths like going to GamesCom and show a (sometimes) working prototype months prior so the start of Kickstarter. Asking the community about screen size and resolution. And they are very open on their development process. Just look at the cooling or the prototyping:

So please go to Kickstarter and spread the word.

Gamescom 2016 – A review

So there I was, hitting the showroom floor at 09:11 o’clock. Boy was I excited! Roaming the halls with my buddy Alex.

First stop was Dreadnought from Grey Box Games. The introduction movie wasn’t anything new but the quick battle after was a lot of fun and despite of me our team won. Yeah! The Instagram-thingy didn’t really work but we got a cool T-Shirt.

Next up was the Microsoft ID@XBOX booth. Which was a bit difficult to find, but we managed. And there was a treat waiting. Oh boy! Terrible Toybox, Inc. (Better known as Ron Gilbert and his merry men) showed Thimbleweed Park and you could have a nice chat with Robert Megone. And so I did. Also we took a sneak peak at We Happy Few from Compulsion Games. I didn’t touch any of the two because I don’t want to spoil the fun for me but both looked stunning.

A big (really big) presentation was Blizzard. I mean it was massiv! But nothing really new. Sadly.

We then wandered a bit aimlessly through the halls until I saw a big sign for the new South Park game “Fractured but whole“. You’ve got to love the guys for their way with words. Looks as promising as “Stick of truth” was. We shall see.

Onward! TO GLORY! We passed by the Dawn Of War III booth which had an enourmus line waiting at this rather “empty” day and I don’t want to know how “bad” this will get, when the public streams into the halls.

Nintendo was up next and it was crowded. Sadly the mini NES was just a mock-up. But it all felt very cosy.

I had still some unchecked boxes on my to-do list and one of them was Star Citizen. The waiting line was way to long for my taste (hey, I can play that game at home too ;)) but lucky me, right on the other side was Lawbreakers by Boss Key Productions. Usually not my type of game but Rohan Rivas was there and this was the first time to shake hands with someone who’s work I’ve been following for years now. (Remember gametrailers.com?) And so we did shake hands and had a nice chat. And a picture. But the camera ate the picture. No!!!

IMG_20160817_120058

Time for yet another meeting with strangers. The very nice folks from PlayWood Project Aps (Michael Rud Jakobsen and Jens-Emil Kristensen) had some time to spare and talk about the future and visions of Wartile. (Go check out the demo right now!) It’s really awesome to meet creators in real life.

After all that blinking lights we too a break. And wandered the halls of fanservice. Fanshops! SHOPS!

But what we stumbled upon there was really a surprise. Smach Z, the handheld steam maschine had a booth and you could try the prototype. Sadly they had technical problems so we could hold it but not really use it. The prototype was rather big and heavy but that will change with the final version. Kickstarter will go live September 1st. I’m curious.

IMG_20160817_130236

After that, we wandered a bit more, tried various games and finally (after close to 8 hours) settled for “we are tired, let’s head back”. It was big fun and next year I’ll be back.