A Christchurch developer is looking to crowdfund a co-operative steampunk survival-adventure game called 39 Days to Mars.

Canterbury University PhD student Philip Buchanan is hoping to gather NZ$1000 on Kickstarter for 39 Days, which he calls “a mix of puzzle-adventure and resource management”.

The aim of the game is to get two 18th century explorers – Sir Albert Wickes and The Right Honourable Clarence Baxter – to Mars in one piece using a spaceship called the HMS Fearful.

It's in development for Windows PC and Xbox 360, although stretch goals could bring the game to other platforms including iPhone, iPad, Android, and even the Ouya.

Buchanan wrote a prototype for the game in November, and began serious work the project around Christmas, although it's a labour of love rather than a paying gig.

He did the game’s art, concepts, and programming himself, and hired a voice actor over in England after putting the call out over the Net.

Any Kickstarter money will go towards paying the voice actor and for other out of pocket costs, but Buchanan doesn’t think NZ$1000 is too little for the game.

"This is something I’m doing in my free time, and I don’t think it’s fair to ask people on Kickstarter for a full game developers salary," he told Gameplanet.

“Two dollars [the minimum pledge secure a copy of the game] seems reasonable for a game that is still theoretical for the moment.”

Once complete, 39 Days will be sold for NZ$5-10.

39 Days to Mars - Kickstarter Pitch from surrealix on Vimeo.

Buchanan is also just a few weeks shy of his thesis defense – which was on game development, of course.

“I’ve been looking at ways to try and understand how people draw artwork,” he explained.

“How artists put together their images and whether a computer can understand that and replicate it, then create its own content.

“Give the computer a sketch and it will pop out a 3D model automatically.”

Also helpful for 39 Days was a prior job as a project manager at Stickmen Studios working on puzzle adventure title Doc Clock and the Toasted Sandwich of Time, said Buchanan.

If the Kickstarter is successful, he has given himself a tentative deadline of February next year to get it finished.

“Thanks to anyone who backs it, I’m really appreciative,” he said.

At the time of writing, 39 Days to Mars had raised NZ$381 of its NZ$1000 goal, with 28 days remaining.