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Free the Monsters! is a quest to create a collection of freely-licensed fantasy creature designs and game models, created with Free and Open Source Software.
J. Everett
Los Angeles, California
United States
1 Team Member

Free the Monsters! is a quest. A glorious quest to create a collection of freely licensed fantasy creature designs and game models. We want to make monsters, painted and modeled in open-source software suites, and loose them on the world.

If we're successful, we will release ten fantasy creature designs, as well five monster models crafted by Blender luminary Johnathan Williamson. What's more is that you, our intrepid party, will choose which monsters get liberated.

But we don't want to stop there.

Ten monsters and five models is a valiant quest, but greater glory calls us. As such, if a community really gets behind this, we have many more designs, models and other amazing creations, in our sleep-addled, adventure-hungry minds, to unleash upon an unsuspecting world, made possible through the many exciting stretch goals planned for the project.

We want to prove that cultural production and entertainment culture can benefit from openness in the same way that software development does, and we need your support so we can set aside the time to prove it.

So hoist your pack, strap on your fathers sword and your mothers shield and join the adventure.

We have prepared this delightful Goblin in 2D and 3D for maximal er.. D's (note the goblin has sculpting for a normal map but does not yet showcase a full texture)

There's something in it for you. When you contribute, not only do you have the opportunity to receive rewards, and not only do you get live updates of our progress and full access to the finished product, but you also get a number of votes to help decide which monsters get made. Do you have a soft spot for trolls? A certain love of liches? You can cast your vote to make sure your favorite beasties become a part of the free monsters. Leave a comment to let us know what Monster you want to rep, and enlist the aid of your friends to see to their ultimate liberation! When the campaign is over we will send out more formal surveys for the actual vote.

In addition to votes, rewards and access to the models, you provide that access to countless others across the world, as all material created via this project will be released under a "Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license" (future stretch goals will allow for even more permissive licenses). Every good adventure makes the world a better place, even after the loot has gone and been spent and this one is no exception.

To create a collection of creature illustrations and models, for your use, on your own, you would have to pay many thousands of dollars, and by the end, you'd have likely only received temporary proprietary licenses allowing limited use. With this project, a whole bestiary of liberated monsters can be loosed upon the world, for widespread use, for only a small fraction of what it would cost you alone.

A horde of liberated monstrosities could help people make games, both tabletop using the illustrations and electronic using the models. It could help to create animated films, and other forms of entertainment media. Indie game devs and floss developers would have a horde of beasties to choose from in creating fun new epics for all of us to delight in.

What's more is that if this project can attain it's epic destiny, a tremendous number of monsters from other genres can be released, cards sent out as rewards to showcase the monsters can be fashioned into a fun card game, and a whole host of other freely licensed tools for frivolity and diversion may be created. So join in and share the adventure!

The main deliverable of the Free the Monsters projects will be our Monster Designs and models. The models will come in a number of formats suitable for easy modification or for dropping right into your favorite engine.
Retail Value: $25 each minimum (on a site like Turbosquid)


All backers $40 or higher will receive a deck of Free the Monsters cards showing each of the Monsters your efforts have freed. If we get enough money for our stretch goals we will also create a game that can be played with the cards. (Card template borrowed from the ccg wtactics).
Retail Value: $10 with shipping

All backers at the $40 tier and above will receive a tutorial showing how you yourself can being designing and painting your own monsters in Gimp or Photoshop. The video will cover thumbnailing, color roughs, shape design and rendering.
Retail Value: $20

All backers at the $50 tier and above will receive a full color book showing each of the Free Monsters. Everyone who backs the campaign will also have their named printed in the book as well as the title fitting the tier of their contribution. Additionally everyone who contributes will receive a .pdf copy of the book that they can share with their friends and family, to show that they are a true liberator of monsters. (Book model by Khaleb)
Retail Value: $20 with shipping.

Backers at the $75 tier and above will receive access to an exclusive instructional video showing Jonathan Williamson's process in modeling one of the free monsters.
Retail Value: $30

Every backer at the $110 tier and above will receive an exclusive Free the Monsters t-shirt to show their support for Free Culture and free monsters.
Retail Value: $20 with shipping.

Backers at the $500 tier will receive a custom digital portrait of themselves or a loved one, painted to your specifications and using your notes on costume and pose. Copyright for the image will be transferred to you or if you prefer it will be posted under a Creative Commons license.
Retail Value: $250

Backs who pledge $1000 dollars or higher will receive a custom painted oil portrait of themselves or a loved one which. Doesn't get much fancier than that!
Retail Value: $500+

We're just getting started. Further glory awaits you once the base goal has been achieved. Gather your courage, throw a coin in the bucket, and face the Boss Monsters.

What is included with the models?
The models will include only the meshes initially. We have Stretch Goals planned which will include textures and rigs as well, so be sure and help us beat the Bosses and unlock new rewards. The models will be released as .blend files, and we plan to release .obj, .fbx and .dae files as well.

How is the money spent?
Concept designs and full game models are not cheap to make. A concept design from a freelance artist costs between $250-500 each. That means for our initial goal, between 2500-5000 of that is for concept art/illustrations, some of which has already been taken care of as a preliminary budget. Then for a model without texture, and with a bulk discount, each model costs about $500 as they take several days to produce properly. Add these figures together, and already the project costs between $5000-7500, before indiegogo takes their cut and before the fulfillment of backer rewards. The more support we get, the more we can push to create more models and add texture and rigs to the models.

What License will the Monsters be released under?
The monster designs and models will be released under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license. We have stretch goals planned for indie devs that will release the Monsters under a CC-by license allowing even more permissive use of the designs and models.

What does the license mean?
A CC by-Sa license means that you will be able to use the models as you wish, sharing them freely, and including them in games or other media free of charge. The only caveat is that any derivative works you create with these models must be released under the same license. In other words you may use the models freely so long as you give back whatever you make with them in kind. If we reach the CC-by stretch goal. then the only thing you will have to do to use the designs or models is credit the creator.

Why are you doing this?
While it is true that we could conceivably make a fair amount of money selling proprietary licenses to the Free Monsters, that would be entirely in contradiction to what inspires their creation in the first place. Firstly, we love free culture. We love seeing it, using it, participating in it. Secondly, we want to see what happens when we let other people participate in new ways. Seeing people make games and other media with these monsters is a greater passion than a few extra dollars walling off our little piece of intellectual property. Finally, and maybe most importantly, we want to see more Free Culture and Media, we want more games that are open source, we want you to make variations on our monsters, mutations of them, elite versions, etc. And we want to not only show that Free Software can make top quality assets, but encourage others to open up their works and use free software and operating systems. So you see, the project is self-interested, we're just more interested in maximal impact versus maximal profit.

What other stretch goals do you have planned?
As we mentioned, we have planned for stretch goals which will increase the number of monster designs and models, create designs in other genres (kaiju, sci fi, horror), allow for more permissive licenses, and create textures and rigs for the models. We also want to create a mini-pack of 8-bit monsters complete with animations for retro gaming. One of the planned Stretch Goals will also be to turn our Free Monsters cards (available as a Backer Reward) into a card game for maximal fun. Lastly, if we do truly spectacularly, we want to create a set of plastic rpg miniatures of each of the twenty core fantasy monsters. It's all very exciting, and also very costly. Help us defeat the Bosses arrayed before us, and you will get your weight in Free Culture. Hear the Monsters Rejoice!

How can I contribute, other than monetarily?
Spread the word! Petition for the Monsters. If you wont help them, who will? But seriously, the more shout outs we get, the better. Additionally, you might be interested in trying to contribute to the art proper, if so contact us on IGG with your portfolio and rates per piece. Keep in mind however that we can likely handle most of the campaign in-house if necessary, so you should only apply if you're skilled and committed to free culture.

raised in 1 month
33% funded
No time left
$5,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on October 24, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $10USD

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. You will receive access to the Free Monsters, one vote plus a Free the Monsters Wallpaper. Not to mention the freedom of monsters!

    17 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2013
  • $30USD
    Chief Minion

    You will receive access to the Free Monsters plus four votes with which to free monsters plus a Free the Monsters wallpaper. Truly they will sing songs in your memory.

    2 claimed
  • $40USD
    A Friend to Monsters

    You will receive access to the Free Monsters, plus six votes, a Free the Monsters wallpaper, AND access to a video demonstrating how to digitally paint your own creatures in Gimp or Photoshop, plus a deck of Free Monsters cards featuring each of the monsters your efforts have freed. Additionally you will be credited as a Friend of Monsters.

    4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • $55USD
    Best Buddy of Monsters

    You will receive access to the Free Monsters, plus seven votes, a Free the Monsters wallpaper, PLUS a full-color printed book showing each of the monsters your efforts have freed. You will also receive a deck of Free Monsters cards featuring each of the Free Monsters plus receive access to a video on creature design using the open source painting program Gimp. Additionally you will be credited as a Best Buddy of Monsters.

    2 claimed
  • $75USD
    BFF of Monsters

    You will receive access to the Free Monsters, along with nine votes, a Free the Monsters Wallpaper, and a deck of Free Monsters cards featuring each of the newly liberated monsters. Additionally, you will receive access to a specially prepared Monster Modeling video exclusive to the campaign showing Jonathan Williamson's process in creating one of our beloved monsters. Additionally you will be credited as a BFF of Monsters.

    3 claimed
  • $90USD
    Citizen of Monsterdom

    You are fully fledged citizen of the land of monsters, not to mention a Blendercookie Citizen. That's right, you will get a month long Citizen Membership at Blendercookie, granting you access to exclusive tutorials on using our beloved Blender. You will also receive all the rewards of a BFF of Monsters.

    0 out of 5 claimed
  • $110USD
    Monster Liberator

    You will receive access to the Free Monsters, and twelve votes plus two decks of Free Monster cards plus a Free the Monsters T-Shirt plus access to a Monster Modeling video by Jonathan Williamson. They shall craft odes to your name, and as such you will be credited as a Monster Liberator.

    2 claimed
  • $175USD
    Monster Freedom Fighter

    You will receive access to the Free Monsters, and 15 votes plus Two Monsters Decks and a T-Shirt, plus access to our Monster Modeling video, PLUS a signed custom Monster Drawing. You shall be the subject of future monster social studies classes.

    1 claimed
  • $250USD
    Head of the Monster Resistance

    You will receive 17 votes! in addition to access to the Free Monsters, you'll get two Free Monster Decks and a Custom Drawing and a Free the Monsters shirt PLUS you get to choose one of the monsters for vote. You name the monster and it will be put up for vote. Additionally, you'll be specially credited as a Head of the Monster Resistance.

    1 claimed
  • $450USD
    Leader of Monsters

    You will receive access to the Free Monsters, plus two Monster Decks, a Custom Monster Drawing, access to our exclusive Monster Modeling video, a Free the Monsters shirt, PLUS you will get to choose one of the monsters to be freed. No vote, no compromise, pick a monster from the fantasy genre and it will be one of the free monsters. You will also be specially credited as a Leader of Monsters.

    0 out of 4 claimed
  • $500USD
    Lord of Monsters

    You will receive 20 Votes to cast with your favorite monsters plus 3 Free the Monsters Decks, a T Shirt, access to the Monster Modeling Video, plus a Digitally Painted Portrait of you or a loved one or else your favorite monster.

    0 claimed
  • $600USD
    Honorary Monster

    You will receive 20 Votes to cast with your favorite monsters plus 3 Free the Monsters Decks, a T Shirt, access to the Monster Modeling Video, plus your likeness will be utilized for one of the Free Monsters. The monsters shall see you as one of their own, and you will be credited as an honorary monster

    0 out of 3 claimed
  • $750USD
    Legend among Monsters

    A truly legendary fighter for the Monster cause. You will receive 3 Decks, a Shirt, a Custom monster Drawing, access to our exclusive monster modeling video. Additionally, you will get to choose two of the Free Monsters. That's right, two fantasy monsters you choose will be designed, modeled and freed into the wild. You will also be credited as a Legend among Monsters.

    0 out of 1 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    God of Monsters

    You are truly a god among monsters. You will receive three Free Monsters Decks plus 20 Votes plus a Free the Monsters Shirt and access to our Monster Modeling video PLUS a Small (8.5 x 11) Oil Painted Portrait (of you or your favorite monster). You will also be credited above all other contributors as a God of Monsters

    0 claimed
  • $3,000USD
    Sponsor of Monsters

    You are a true advocate for monsterkind. You have singlehandledly freed several monsters with your contribution and as such deserve the highest praise. You/your company will be included as one of the sponsors of our campaign. All bundles of the Free Monsters will include a document naming your company as a sponsor. We will also release a personalized update detailing your support. You will also receive all the rewards of the God of Monsters tiers.

    0 out of 3 claimed
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