Game designer Bryan Johnson had an idea for a game. Back in 2005 he imagined a game based on building the Great Wall of China, and called it "Huang Di." His prototype won a competition in 2006, and a game publisher approached him. That firm soon faced hard financial times and released Johnson from his contracts. Soon another publisher offered to publish his game, but a similar setback happened. Finally Johnson decided to self-publish, and worked on a redesign of the game with the game designers at Gamesalute.com--a firm which helps independent game designers publish their games. All agreed on a new look and a new title for the game, "Island Fortress." Gamesalute also initiated a Kickstarter campaign to raise the necessary money, which happened in 2012.