Kickstarter Results and New Team Members
Some of you may have managed to relax a little since our "photo finish." I managed to sneak away for a few days to play bridge in San Francisco ("Relax? Hah!"). Besides handling requests from our backers, Lori and I have spent most of the last two weeks planning the project and adding to the game and story design.
And we're still staying up until 2 a.m. most mornings. Sleep is for the weak!
Final Kickstarter Results
The Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption project is now underway, and the Kickstarter funding period is closed. There were only 21 failed payments out of almost 6,100 backers, which is amazing - Thank you, everyone, for staying committed to this project.
The funds have not yet been released to us, but we now have solid numbers. Some of our expenses - notably backer rewards - are coming in higher than anticipated, but we still have a very solid starting budget for the project. There are three ways we can add to the budget in order to increase art and other resources:
- Anyone who missed the Kickstarter or wants to upgrade their reward can visit our post-Kickstarter PayPal page at http://www.hero-u.net/get-hero-u.html#storetop
- You can buy Hero-U merchandise designed by Lori on our Cafe Press page at http://www.cafepress.com/herouniversitystore.
- If necessary, we may look for additional investment at the halfway point of the project. We've had several inquiries from investors.
We are not currently offering add-ons on the PayPal page. When we start producing items such as the t-shirt and toy meep, we will add a store page to purchase them. Those items will ship immediately, rather than being added to the game shipment.
Cascade Falls Bridge, acrylic painting by Terry Robinson
Team and Design Changes
We are delighted to announce that Terry Robinson has joined the Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption team as Lead Artist. Terry is an incredibly-talented artist who led the art team on Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire, created box and promotional art for several of our games, and has created art for many other game projects including King's Quest 7 and The Realm. Eriq Chang remains on the team as a Senior Artist.
Terry's first "modest" change was to scrap the square tile interface in favor of an isometric art style. The game will still be 2D, but this will give it more of a 3D look. In particular, characters and objects on the screen will look more natural. The change will require a significant engine change, but will greatly enhance the visual appeal.
Lori and I, and the whole development team, are committed to making Hero-U a great game. We have a tiny budget by current big game standards, but we know how to use it efficiently. If it comes up short, we will increase the budget with additional investment rather than cut game features. We've promised you a game as good as - or better than - any Quest for Glory, and we won't back down on that.
Also joining the team is Chris Fong as Assistant Producer. Chris recently received a Masters degree in game production from Full Sail University, where he was also Valedictorian. Chris will assist me with planning, tracking contractors and project tasks, and making sure that all Kickstarter rewards are correctly fulfilled.
Other Game Projects
I mentioned Antharion in a previous update. It's an "old-school, turn-based, party-based RPG set in an open fantasy world." Unfortunately, they came up slightly short of their modest $15,000 goal, but now they've relaunched with an even lower $10,000 goal and several more hyphens in the description. This time they'll make it for sure, but they will be able to make a better game with more funding. Check out their Kickstarter page at http://kck.st/YwRiKl.
The Last Door project has promised to Kick It Forward. They are making a free-to-play episodic horror adventure "combining orchestral music with pixel art". If that sounds intriguing to you, check it out at http://kck.st/UJZqQN.
I'm sure there are a lot of other worthwhile projects of interest to Hero-U backers. If you see one that we should share, please send me a Private Message (click on the "Contact Me" link next to my picture on this project's home page) and let me know why we should support it. As we will be doing much less frequent updates (approx. every 2 weeks), I would prefer to learn about projects that still have a few weeks to run.
A Decent Proposal
Everyone was in for a surprise at our AnyMeeting talk a few days after the Kickstarter closed. One of our backers asked if he could make a speech. As it turned out, Charles used his time to propose to Christiana, also known as Elsa von Spielburg. Elsa founded the Quest for More Glory web site that helped convince Sierra to let us develop Quest for Glory V. She has kept the spirit of our games alive ever since, and we were thrilled to learn of her engagement.
Elsa lives on Cyprus (not too far from the location of Hero-U), and Charles lives in the Northeast United States. This is definitely a made-on-the-Internet match. Lori and I are very happy to have played our small role in their online meeting through our games.
Bashar Speaks Out
At the previous Google+ hangout (shortly after we closed funding), another backer gave a presentation that we would like to pass on to all of you. Bashar kindly provided this transcript:
Here in the United States we will soon be celebrating our day of national thanksgiving. But in this instance we have cause to be thankful that breaches all borders. Not just for the Coles, who have returned from obscurity to the industry where they so deservedly belong, nor for Brawsome Studios who have given them the capacity to do so. Not just for the deeply rooted community that has coalesced around this project and put so much effort into promoting it, nor to the more than six thousand individuals who made a difference in funding it. What these things, in combination, have brought us is more than a game. It is the confidence that tomorrow, the sun will shine a little bit brighter.
We live now in the digital age. Where we were once influenced by books, and then cinema and television, games will play an ever larger role in shaping who we are as individuals and as a society. Hero-U is a reminder that transformational change is made up of many small instances of heroism, sacrifice, and faith in a greater good. It is also a message to the next generation that life is string of choices, choices that define our character and have a real impact on the world around us. Today we have made our choice. We have chosen the Coles over corporations, we have chosen compassion over compromise, resolve over reflex. We have done so for more than our own well being, but to bring substance to those struggling under the weight of social ennui.
Whatever impact Hero-U may have on the industry, what I believe in is the impact it will have on those who play it. Lives that have been empty shall be filled. Eyes cast to the ground will be raised. The hopeless shall receive purpose. If Hero-U benefits one person in the same way that the Coles work has elevated my life, I shall hold my head high in knowing that I was there, I was part of it; that mine was one of the many instances of heroism that helped make transformational change in the lives of people I will never meet, in ways that I will never know. For that privilege, it is my privilege to give thanks to you all.
Thank you, Bashar! We hope we will be able to add one more tiny addition to the spirit of Heroism around the world. While we're working on it, we encourage each of you to think about some small act of heroism you can do to make your part of the world just a little better... then do it!
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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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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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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)