With Kickstarter all the rage these days, one can't help but wonder: what about all those projects that don't get fully funded? What happens to those games, to those plans, to those dreams?

For two college friends, Eric Cleckner and David Chenell, a venture capitalist steps in and makes the game happen anyway, providing ten times the funds that Kickstarter would have provided.

CNN interviewed Cleckner and Chenell last month at SXSW. They, like so many other bored college students, doodled in class. The two, along with other friends, started pitting their doodles against each other in fights, and from there the idea for their game, GraFighter, was born.

They first sought the funding to make their game on Kickstarter, asking for $20,000. The Kickstarter campaign failed miserably, but the two were lucky enough to connect with a venture capitalist looking to fund indie game projects, and received $200,000 to make GraFighter happen.

The game is now a free-to-play online title that the team hopes to port to iOS and Android. It's actually a very cute idea: players draw their own fighting characters, either on paper or digitally, then upload an image to the site. The game's Cornelius algorithm determines what stats (toughness, speed, intelligence, and so on) the uploaded doodle has, and how it fights. The developers' blog explains:

We started building the game, because just like you we love to draw, but have never been able to take our characters beyond our sketchbooks. Our main goal for this version of the game is to get users familiar with the character uploading process (which allows your drawing to be animated) and Cornelius, an algorithm that analyses your characters and determines their strengths, weaknesses, and fighting styles based on how they've been drawn.

The ultimate goal for graFighters is to be able to bring any drawing to life exactly how you've imagined it aka: Dragons breathing fire, Robots behaving like machines, and unicorns harnessing their magical powers to shoot laser beams of happiness.


GraFighters doesn't yet quite understand every drawing a player could throw at it, but browsing the galleries of new and popular characters shows quite a creative array of creations. Cathorse vs Bearbug is a matchup that few games can offer.

GraFighters: A game that brings your drawings to life [CNN]