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Game designer turns to crowd-funding for learning app

A local digital game designer has launched an online fundraising campaign to support his creation of an iPad learning game application for children.

Dale Kilgore Jr. of Englewood wants to raise $10,000 through the crowd-funding website to help him complete “Gigi & Lily’s Number Adventure.” The interactive game app, about a young girl and her “super-duper thinking hat,” teaches children how to count to 10 while exploring the world around them, he said.

The global video game market, which includes video game console hardware and software, is forecast to reach $111 billion by 2015, a 19 percent increase from an estimated $93 billion last year, according to technology research firm Gartner Inc.

Kilgore, 30, has two iPhone games, “Hatch the Egg Please!” and “Zombie Plus Rooms,” available in Apple’s App Store. Those games weren’t big money-makers, but they provided a valuable learning experience, he said.

“I’ve realized that a lot of it is content, timing and just producing a game that people can latch on to,” said Kilgore, who graduated in 2010 from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s degree in digital art. He plans to focus on designing learning games for children, inspired by his 4-year-old niece, Gianna, who is the basis for the “Gigi” character.

Kilgore studied animation and graphic design, but taught himself computer programming. He supports himself by working as a third-shift shipping associate at the Caterpillar Inc. distribution center in Clayton. Kilgore spends his off hours and weekends producing digital games.

He said the Indiegogo funds will pay for computer upgrades, as well as the voice actress and musical composer who also are contributing to the game. His campaign page is at

Kilgore selected Indiegogo because the site’s “Flexible Funding” feature allows users to keep the money they’ve raised, even if they fall short of their goal. The website collects 4 percent of the funds if users meet their goal, or 9 percent if the goal isn’t met.

“In the event that I do not reach my goal, at least I can still use funds to help the process move along a lot quicker,” he said.

Kilgore plans to have the game finished for a November launch in the App Store, in time for holiday season sales.

The mobile game category is expected to reach $22 million by 2015, a more than 28 percent increase from $17.1 million last year. “This growth is fueled by healthy premium mobile device sales globally, and a desire by consumers to play games on these multifunction devices that are capable of displaying increasingly sophisticated game content,” said Brian Blau, Gartner’s research director, in a statement.

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