Story and Art Progress, and Some New Challenges
Two months have passed since we completed our Kickstarter. We have accomplished quite a bit, although much of it is behind the scenes. I've sent out keys to Quest for Glory, Jolly Rover, and MacGuffin's Curse to most of the people who have answered their surveys or sent email. Chris Fong is working through the current set.
If you have not yet answered your survey or email from Hero-U, please take care of that as soon as possible. We've sent surveys to everyone who backed at the $50 through $1,050 tiers, and sent emails to $20 and $35 backers who paid for add-ons. I need to sit down with Lori to design the surveys for the $2,500 and $7,500 backers, as they are involved in creating game content.
Lori has already incorporated ideas from some of our Benefactors and Monster Lair backers. The story "synopsis" now weighs in at 11 single-spaced pages and contains all the major game events. You will have plenty of exciting content to explore in Rogue to Redemptions!
Have Some Madeira, M'Dear?
We are starting to get some fabulous artwork. Here's a great new background for the Wine Cellar, the first "dungeon" the player will visit in Hero-U. This one is by John Paul Selwood (aka JP):
Incidentally, JP is also doing art for The Hidden Crystal (http://kck.st/Rmh3tO), an illustrated book project that has just four days left. Daniel Gimness and JP could use your support.
Another project I'm supporting is Under the Half-Dome (http://kck.st/XwiOlu), a musical album from Ken Allen based on pieces he created for Sierra games including Space Quest, King's Quest, and my own Castle of Dr. Brain. Ken makes great music, and it would be fantastic if he gets enough pledges to actually come out ahead on the project. (Music projects are notorious for costing more than the money raised on Kickstarter.)
Some New Challenges
Two of our team members have decided to reduce their involvement in the project for personal and financial reasons. Because we barely scraped by with $9,000 over our minimum goal, we were not able to pay for full-time work to any of our contractors. In fact, my current projections show Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption running at a $50,000 loss, mostly because I underestimated the cost of fulfilling all of the premiums. This includes the art time needed to customize Yearbook pictures, paintings, and statues, so that's good for the artists. But we also need to get all the game art assets, so the premium reward art is an additional expense to the project as a whole.
As a result, all of our team members are working on other projects simultaneously with Hero-U. Andrew Goulding and Eriq Chang have full-time commitments on other projects, and decided that 60-hour weeks before we even start Crunch Mode are more than they can handle. They will continue to work on specific pieces of Hero-U, but will not take part in the main development effort. Andrew is graciously allowing us to continue using his MacGuffin's Curse engine under the Hero-U code, so we still have that strong head start on development.
Lori and I are "more than full time", but of course taking only a cost-of-living salary. Lori is focusing on the story design and working with the art team. Currently, I am spending much of my time on reward fulfillment and other tasks needed to keep the project running. I'm beginning to feel a bit like Mortimer Terk, the overworked school administrator at Hero-U (here's a character study by Terry Robinson):
Fortunately Lori is a workaholic and easily makes up for the time I spend on non-design tasks.
Balancing the Budget
How will we make sure we have the funding we need to complete the project? As a start, we are getting some additional funding through our PayPal page (http://www.hero-u.net/KS-store) – So far we've raised $4,700 from new pledges and $1,400 from Kickstarter upgrades. Please tell your friends about the opportunity to be an early backer of Hero-U. Pre-support is available until March 31 and counts towards project stretch goals. After subtracting the reward costs for those pledges, the PayPal pledges are reducing the project deficit by about $5,000 so far.
We have a number of other options for raising funds later if we need them, including outside investment or personally covering the deficit. Everyone on the team (including Lori and me) is working for well below our normal rates to keep costs down. We hope that Hero-U can generate enough sales to raise everyone's rates for our upcoming games.
In any case, we are committed to making the entire Hero-U series, and to making every game exciting, fun, meaningful, and beautiful. Based on what we've seen so far, we are definitely going in the right direction. We look forward to hearing your feedback on the Hero-U forum at http://www.hero-u.net/forum/.
pledged of $400,000 goal
seconds to go
Oct 19, 2012 - Nov 20, 2012
Pledge $5 or more
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: Dec 2012
Pledge $20 or more
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: Oct 2013
Pledge $35 or more
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: Oct 2013
Pledge $50 or more
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: Dec 2012
Pledge $65 or more
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: Jan 2013
Pledge $75 or more
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: Oct 2013Add $15 to ship outside the US
Pledge $100 or more
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: Oct 2013
Pledge $125 or more
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: Oct 2013Add $15 to ship outside the US
Pledge $150 or more
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: Oct 2013Add $15 to ship outside the US
Pledge $175 or more
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: Jan 2013
Pledge $200 or more
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: Oct 2013Add $15 to ship outside the US
Pledge $250 or more
126 backers Limited (674 of 800 left)
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: Oct 2013Add $15 to ship outside the US
Pledge $500 or more
33 backers Limited (167 of 200 left)
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: Dec 2012Add $25 to ship outside the US
Pledge $1,000 or more
6 backers All gone!
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: Oct 2013Add $40 to ship outside the US
Pledge $1,050 or more
19 backers Limited (6 of 25 left)
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: Oct 2013Add $40 to ship outside the US
Pledge $2,000 or more
5 backers All gone!
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: Oct 2013Add $80 to ship outside the US
Pledge $2,500 or more
3 backers All gone!
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: Oct 2013
Pledge $2,500 or more
3 backers Limited (7 of 10 left)
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: Oct 2013
Pledge $5,000 or more
0 backers Limited (2 of 2 left)
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: Oct 2013
Pledge $7,500 or more
2 backers Limited (3 of 5 left)
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: Apr 2013