Monday Appearances and Risk vs. Reward
As I post this at 4 a.m. (sleep is for the weak!), we're up to 5,160 backers and almost $352,000 (that's $48,000 more to reach the project goal) with 32 hours to go. This is definitely the home stretch, and it's looking good. Not that any of us will be able to relax until the closing bell... and probably even less so then! :-)
Lori and I plan to make two public appearances Monday night. We will do a Google+ hangout (as "Hero-U") at 7 pm EST. A few people can join it, and everyone can watch and type comments. The chat will then be posted to YouTube.
Then we will move over to reddit, where we plan to do an AMA ("Ask Me Anything") in the www.reddit.com/r/gaming subreddit at 9 pm EST.
Matt Barton of Armchair Arcade's "Matt Chat" did a long interview with us last month. Part 2 is up on YouTube now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CfUgS_iZOw. Part 1 aired a few weeks ago and is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U780GGvEgco.
There is a new interview in Hebrew at http://www.calcalist.co.il/internet/articles/0,7340,L-3588038,00.html
Lori has updated the project video. We wanted to say thank you to all of the backers who are helping us cross the finish line, and to show a bit more of what you can expect from Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.
Risk vs. Reward In Backing a Kickstarter Project
I ran into an interesting post about Kickstarter projects in which the author said that people who support Kickstarter games are stupid because there are no guarantees they will receive anything. He had a point, but...
Kickstarter tracks these things. Many projects ship later than their projected date, but almost all of them do ship. The projects that get funded usually depend on the reputation of the project creator. People who come to the Hero-U project know that Lori and I have a history of delivering what we promise... and more.
There are many kinds of risk. Every game you buy entails risk. If you get that heavily-advertised AAA game, you are putting out $50 to play something that might be a bad game. And it's probably a lot like the last three games you played, because the big publishers love to make sequels.
Here's the risk of NOT supporting a Kickstarter game – If you sit back and decide to wait until the game is released, it might not be made. Most of your money on Kickstarter goes directly into product development. If we come up short of our goal, there is no funding and no game. If we're funded, we promise a game next year. Lori and I made eight adventure-style games at Sierra and Legend, and all of them won approval from both critics and players.
If you like the kind of games Lori and I make – games that applaud heroism and the human spirit – you will win by supporting our drive to make new games for you. Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption will be just the beginning.
Personally, I think that putting $20 into the Hero-U Kickstarter is much less risky than paying $50 for Yet Another First-Person Shooter. And it's way cheaper than spending $13 a month on an MMO subscription.
So far, over 5,150 gamers agree. If you are not yet among them, why not join the winning team? Besides, Tuesday is Eriq Chang's birthday. It wouldn't be a very nice birthday present for his game with us to go unfunded, now would it?
krieghan wrote: There have been several of these Kickstarter-funded game development projects over the course of the past year. This campaign is unlikely to generate the attention or funding that that one guy from Double Fine did, but I wanted to clarify a few points that only apply to me personally.
- Quest for Glory 1 (Hero's Quest, I guess my dad and I just called it "So You Want To Be a Hero") was my first game ever. This was back in the days when the F4 key was reserved for an option called "High Speed Hero" (anyone else remember that? I noticed that it disappeared from the anthology/gog version. It's kind of a small detail, but I always wondered why that disappeared).
- Every game to come out since then (Adventure Games, RPGs, First Person Shooters, First Person Sneakers, RTS, TBS) has had to be measured up to that game in my eyes.
- For many games, being measured against QFG is frankly an embarrassment. Some of them do okay. Few come close. None can really match it in terms of charm or humor. The Adventure/RPG combo is powerful, but there's a personal touch that is extremely rare.
- I waited for this campaign to register with Kickstarter. I have no intention of funding anyone else's projects. I acknowledge that I am a bit biased by having my entire gaming worldview shaped by So You Want To Be a Hero.
- I remember no time in my life with more gaming-generated exuberance than when I walked by the PC game section in a Best Buy back in December 1998 and saw that Dragon Fire had been released. I'd heard no release announcement, it was just kind of there.
This campaign kind of brings back that exuberance.
Jonas Kyratzes wrote: I'm still writing a blog post to try and put it all into words, but let me just say that the Quest for Glory series has been a massive influence on me as a game developer and writer; and of my own games, the ones that are perhaps closest to my heart (the Lands of Dream series - http://www.landsofdream.net) would never have been what they are without what you and Corey created.
That I am here, years after falling in love with Shadows of Darkness on a friend's PC, making strange and unusual games with my wife, with fans who love what we do and look beyond the occasional rough spot... it's amazing despite often being very hard, and you deserve a very big thank you. You inspired me and you helped shaped my imagination.
You have no idea how nervous I was about writing this. You and Corey are, well... heroes to me.
(And Lori and I are suitably embarrassed at that. Being a game designer takes a fine balance between confidence and standing up for your vision of the game, while also keeping ego out of the way and listening to suggestions, advice, and constructive criticism from others. Knowing that we have just as many character flaws as anyone lets us smile and accept being called "heroes" or "legends" without letting it go to our heads too much. We've been called much worse. :-) )
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Friend: Thank you for your support! Your name will be added to the Hero list on www.hero-u.net/leadersroll.php, a small first step towards immortality.Estimated delivery:
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Freshman: You will receive a DRM-free digital game download, access to discussion forums to help us improve the game, and your name will appear on the Hero list.Estimated delivery:
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Sophomore: Digital Reward 2: Receive everything from the Freshman level, the downloadable Hero-U Soundtrack, and the gorgeous Hero-U Art Book in PDF form. The art book contains production sketches, final art, and insider commentary on the making of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.Estimated delivery:
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Junior: Get a head start on your education by playing one of the development team's previous award-winning games. You will receive all of the Sophomore class benefits plus a digital key to your choice of MacGuffin's Curse, Jolly Rover, or the complete Quest for Glory collection.Estimated delivery:
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Beta Tau Initiate: All-Digital reward. Everything in the Junior package, including your choice of one game key. PLUS you get early access to the Hero-U Beta and Combat-Balancing tests. Help us shape and tune the game the way YOU want it!Estimated delivery:
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Senior: Get physical with a high-quality boxed copy of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption containing the game on DVD and a printed game manual. You will also receive all of the Sophomore benefits (including an additional digital copy of the game). While you wait for your box, enjoy a preview with early access to our Beta and Combat Balancing Tests. All Seniors may add any of the Junior-level previous games at $15 each.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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Big Man On Campus: (Super Digital Rewards) You're special, and everyone should know it. Your name (or your favorite character's name) will appear in the in-game DIGITAL YEARBOOK along with a brief statement of your/their accomplishments. We will also email you the Secret Thieves' Guild Password. (Other players will need to discover this in the game.) You will also receive everything from the Sophomore level as well as early access to our Beta and Combat Balance tests. (NOTE: This tier does not include any physical rewards. It's highly International-Supporter-friendly.)Estimated delivery:
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Frat Rat: Halloween Special – You love Meeps, and that's why you will get your very own Toy Meep along with your boxed copy of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. That's on top of all of the Senior-level physical and digital rewards and eligibility for add-ons. You will also receive your own entry in the in-game DIGITAL YEARBOOK. International Customers please add $15 for shipping costs.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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Graduate Edition: Unique Kickstarter-Graduate-only Collector’s Edition Box containing the game DVD, manual, a Music Soundtrack CD, your own Varsity Letter, Hero-U button, and everything in the Big Man On Campus digital reward tier including your very own entry in the in-game DIGITAL YEARBOOK.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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Exchange Student: The *ultimate* all-digital package, perfect for international backers. You will start with everything in the Big Man on Campus edition. Then you will have the chance to follow the development of Hero-U with insider access to developer discussions and Alpha tests. To give you more insight into our games, you will receive digital keys to ALL EIGHT of our currently available previous games (Quest for Glory 1: So You Want to Be a Hero EGA and VGA versions, Quest for Glory 2: Trial by Fire, Quest for Glory 3: Wages of War, Quest for Glory 4: Shadows of Darkness, Quest for Glory 5: Dragon Fire, MacGuffin's Curse, AND Jolly Rover). NOTE: The previous game keys are part of this tier only; we are not adding them to the higher physical tiers.Estimated delivery:
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Research Assistant: You're practically a team member, so you will receive a very-limited-edition Team Meep Hat plus insider access to developer discussions and Alpha tests. You will also receive everything in the Graduate Edition, and your chosen picture (subject to team approval) will appear in the in-game digital yearbook.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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126 backers Limited (674 left of 800)
Alumnus: As a proud Hero-U Alumnus, your chosen name, preferred photo (or other image of your choice, subject to team approval) will appear in the Very Limited Edition physical Hero-U Yearbook. Of course, alumni like to collect signatures from their University friends, so Lori and Corey Cole will autograph your yearbook and Graduate Edition premium game box. You will also receive Research Assistant privileges and a Team Meep hat.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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33 backers Limited (167 left of 200)
Master Rogue: The rewards of your advanced education include a limited-edition art print of the school on Canvas, everything in the Alumnus package including the autographed premium game box and autographed yearbook. You will also receive a Limited Edition Kickstarter Superfan T-Shirt, and digital keys to ALL THREE previous games – the Quest for Glory Collection, MacGuffin's Curse, and Jolly Rover.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
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PhD: You will be immortalized. Not only will you receive all of the benefits of a Master Rogue, your chosen name, hero biography, and picture will appear prominently in-game as well as in the yearbook. Your canvas art print will be supersized, and you will be one of the proud few to complete a graduate school education at Hero-U. We'll also provide you with the secret location and key to the Faculty Lounge. (Other players will be able to break in later in the game.)Estimated delivery:Add $40 USD to ship outside the US
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19 backers Limited (6 left of 25)
DFA (Doctor of Fine Arts): You will be featured on an in-game painting. When players click on it, they will see your chosen name, image (this could be you, a favorite character, pet, or other approved image, converted by our artists to look like other in-game portraits), and humorous description. You also receive all of the benefits of a Master Rogue, You will have a listing including your chosen image in the yearbook, and of course will receive an autographed copy of the physical edition. We will send you a canvas art print of your in-game "portrait" in addition to the school art print, and you will be one of the proud few to complete a graduate school education at Hero-U. We'll also provide you with the secret location and key to the Faculty Lounge. (Other players will be able to break in later in the game.)Estimated delivery:Add $40 USD to ship outside the US
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Art Collector: In this extremely-limited reward tier, we will send you an original, one-of-a-kind production painting that was used to create a Quest for Glory game. We only have a few of these paintings available. You will also receive all DFA (Doctor of Fine Arts) benefits, including having your picture and biography immortalized in-game. The Quest for Glory artwork will be shipped separately in January or February.Estimated delivery:Add $80 USD to ship outside the US
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Benefactor: As one of the top alumni contributors to Hero-U, we will name one wing of the University after you or a loved one. The name you choose (with team approval) will be prominently displayed when any student enters your wing. We will send you a customized architectural drawing of your wing. If you send us a suitable video clip, it will appear in the launch video for your wing. You will also receive all benefits of the PhD reward tier. Free shipping worldwide!Estimated delivery:
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Monster Lair: You are so diabolical, you are the master of a dungeon den. We will collaborate with you on designing your own custom monster lair, likely including a sculpted image of yourself or a friend. Your lair, complete with the monsters and traps you select, will be placed somewhere in the catacombs. You will also receive all benefits of the PhD reward tier. Free shipping worldwide!Estimated delivery:
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High-Roller: You're a serious role-player, or just really want to support our game at a high level. In addition to all of the PhD-level rewards, Corey and/or Lori will run a D&D game for you and friends at a convention anywhere in North America. Or add $1,000 for our additional travel expenses, and we'll join you anywhere in the world. Does not include the Benefactor reward – The school doesn’t have enough wings. Instead, you’ll have a large statue in the main wing celebrating your or your hero's accomplishments.Estimated delivery:
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Philanthropist: You really care! And we care about you too! Spend a day visiting Yosemite Park and touring Sierra landmarks in Oakhurst with Lori and Corey Cole. We'll share a nice meal or two and discuss game design or anything else you want. You'll also receive all the rewards of the PhD level and we'll find a prominent place in-game to thank you for your awesome support. We will cover a one-night hotel stay, but you are responsible for transportation to and from Oakhurst, California.Estimated delivery:
- (32 days)