We are still on target for release on Oct. 15 thanks to our talented new programming team members (see Update 60). They are rapidly filling out the game and keeping Lori and me on our toes trying to write game text fast enough to keep up with them. We still have a long way to go on development, but the light in the tunnel is no longer an oncoming train.
We plan to release a playable combat test and an updated version of the break-in house playable prototype late next month. These will lead up to a supplemental funding campaign in April-May.
When we originally ran the Kickstarter, we planned to make a much smaller and simpler game. As the campaign proceeded, it became clear that our backers wanted much more, and we promised to deliver it. Unfortunately, this is taking far more time and expense than that small game.
Even with several of our team members (including Lori and me) delaying compensation until after the game makes a profit, we have stretched our personal finances to the breaking point. We think it makes more sense to return to Kickstarter now that we have much more art and real development progress to show, rather than making a publisher deal or looking for venture funding. We also think a new Kickstarter campaign will give us a chance to reach many players who did not see the first one.
We are keeping the “Christmas Special” active on the Hero-U Collectible Store. Come by http://hero-u.net/ to read Lori’s “What’s New” updates, purchase collectibles and preorders, or participate in the Hero-U forums (under the Community tab).
A Time for Love
Today is Valentine’s Day. Wikipedia says, “The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.”
It’s a good tradition, and relevant to Hero-U. As Shawn makes friends with others in the University, there is always the possibility that friendship may blossom into love. In case you’re having any challenges in this area, here are a few tips Shawn might learn:
- Talk to your friends. Find out what interests them and what you and they have in common.
- Everyone has challenges in life. Learn about your friends’ problems and try to help them.
- Occasional gifts help remind your friends that you remember and care about them.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
Conversation is a big part of Hero-U, and it affects your relationships. Anything you say during class or in a private conversation might be held against you, or it might increase someone else’s respect for you. Sometimes both reactions happen. You can’t please everyone all the time.
We are designing the dialogue to feel like a natural conversation. Each choice you make takes you down a different path, and frequently there is no return. After all, it’s pretty hard to answer someone’s question both politely and snarkily. Your choices help define Shawn’s personality and his friends.
To Reach the Unreachable Star
Our games have never featured “quests” in the sense of a modern MMO. Instead, we have characters with problems, and you can decide whether you want to help them. Not that Shawn is a complete altruist – He knows that helping people can lead to generous rewards and lasting friendships.
Take, for instance, the pirate’s daughter. She’s searching for the treasure that will make her fortune and earn her some respect. Sure, she can probably do it on her own. But just think how grateful she’ll be if you give her a little help. Did I mention that she’s really cute?
Shawn has his own share of problems, and it’s good to have a friend when things are hard. Help people out, and you’ll often find them willing to help you in return.
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
No, no, not that kind. Sardonia may be a dangerous place, but it’s relatively free of disease. There are other gifts which the recipients actually appreciate.
Tasty food and wine are popular gifts, as are books. Jewelry is hard to refuse, although it’s also expensive. Of course it pays to get to know someone first and find out what they like. As for the One and Only Ring, choose carefully to whom you want to give it; there may be side effects.
The really tricky part is what to do should you happen to find a second One and Only Ring, or a third. How much love is Shawn ready to handle?
Speaking of Gifts…
Two interesting Kickstarter projects are closing soon, and at least two others also merit your attention.
Shadowrun: Hong Kong (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/webeharebrained/shadowrun-hong-kong) ends in 3 days. It comes from Harebrained Schemes and Jordan Weisman, creators of Shadowrun Returns, Shadowrun: Dragonfall, and Golem Arcana. The new game is again based on the Shadowrun tabletop RPG, a cyberpunk game that combines fantasy and high tech. The earlier games were critically acclaimed and show that Harebrained Schemes can deliver on its promises.
Exploding Kittens (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/elanlee/exploding-kittens) is a ridiculously silly card game with a tie-in to The Oatmeal. It only has two available tiers – $20 and $35 – yet is busting all of the Kickstarter game records with over 155,000 backers and more than $6 million pledged so far. If you like crazy card games, this looks like a fun play. In any case, the campaign video is fun and has great music.
Underworld Ascendant (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/othersidegames/underworld-ascendant) is the “spiritual successor” to the excellent Ultima Underworld and Ultima Underworld II. Paul Neurath has reassembled part of his LookingGlass studio team that made the original games for Origin (as well as Thief and System Shock). Other team members have worked on such games as Neverwinter Nights, Deus Ex, and BioShock. These were great games; the new one looks as though it will also be fun. With 20 days left in the campaign, they are doing well but have not yet hit their goal.
Cryptozoic, the company behind the World of Warcraft trading card game and previous Kickstarter success story “HEX MMO Trading Card Game” is making a licensed Ghostbusters board game (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cze/ghostbusters-the-board-game) with plastic miniatures. They have already almost doubled their original $250K goal with most of a month to go. The game is pricy ($80 for the base version, $125 for the extended Kickstarter-exclusive version, plus shipping), but it looks really good.
Until next time, we hope you had a romantic Valentine’s Day and that your lives continue to be fun and exciting adventures. We hope to have even more exciting news for you next month!