Hero-U Update #3 - Adventure, Meet RPG!
Incidentally, that $120,000 is a "magic number". Kickstarter projects that achieve at least 30% of their goal make it all the way to the goal more than 90% of the time. This won't happen by itself, but if we all keep sharing the project with our friends and interest groups, Hero-U will start to gain momentum. We want to reach the goal and rocket past it so that we can make the game even better.
I've added a new section to the project description, the "Research Library". This section has links to interviews and articles with more information about Hero-U, Lori's and my philosophy of game design, and our belief that the right games can help each of us become Heroes. You aren't just saving Shawn; you're winning a bigger game!
Where's the Adventure?
One concern that we've seen raised on many adventure game forums is that Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption will be too much of a role-playing game and not enough of an adventure game.
The short answer is, "Adventure gamers – You are going to LOVE Hero-U!"
When we created the Quest for Glory series, people raised exactly the same questions. Many people – even at Sierra – said that adventure gamers hate CRPG's, and CRPG players had no interest in playing adventure games. With Quest for Glory, we proved that we could make a game that was fun for everyone who likes tales of heroic deeds and high fantasy. Our first hybrid game was named Adventure Game of the Year by Computer Gaming World... and that might have seemed a bit strange for a game that many considered to be a CRPG.
I think we could have done the same with a science fiction game, a Western, a historical romance, or a modern-era drama. You see, we don't think there is a conflict between adventure and role-playing gaming. We think that both genres belong together, and that a game that contains elements of both is more fun than a game that only does one thing. We proved it once, and with Hero-U, we plan to prove it again.
It's a Floor Wax AND a Dessert Topping
Add enough character development, and a bit of combat, to an adventure game, and you have a CRPG. Add enough story and puzzles to a CRPG, and you have an adventure game. Why settle for just one?
That's exactly what we did with Quest for Glory. We started with an engine that was designed strictly for graphic adventure games, and then we started adding on layers. First, we let you choose abilities that affected how well your character could fight, climb, cast magical spells, and so on. Then we added a layer of skill improvement through practice. And finally, we let your character fight vicious enemies with all of those abilities, just like in a CRPG.
It worked – We ended up with a game that was both an Adventure and a CRPG. We're doing it again with Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption, but this time we're focusing even more on the character and the story. Shawn has strong reasons for improving his skills and solving the mysteries around him. As a result, you will help him become better equipped to make his way past diabolical traps and overcome the forces of evil. Or maybe join them – Sometimes that's easier.
Puzzled About the Combat?
We want combat to be interesting and exciting, but not a "twitch game", which is why Hero-U uses a turn-based, tactical combat system. We are turning combat into a puzzle, but one to which every player will find different solutions.
Adventure gamers thrive on puzzles. They are why an adventure game is more than just watching a movie or reading a book. Adventures are interactive, and everything you do in the game furthers the plot, or branches it, or gets your character past an obstacle. We love to solve puzzles, and they make the player part of the game.
But there are limits to the types of puzzles you can put in a computer game, and too often they devolve into asking the player to guess the designer's mind. Famous game designer Ron Gilbert wrote "Why Adventure Games Suck" about this problem. If we want to make it better, we need more types of puzzles, not to keep using the same ones over and over.
Adding role-playing skills and tactical combat to an adventure game is one way to solve this dilemma. The game designer might have "the solution" – or two or three – in mind, but the players will find a dozen other ways to use their skills to get past each challenge. This amazing open-endedness is what makes tabletop roleplaying so fun, but it's lacking in most CRPG's and adventure games because it's hard to allow and balance.
Lori and I thrive on "hard". So does Andrew, and he'll soon be learning a new definition of it. :-)
Yeah, but I Hate Combat
You know those multiple solutions? Many of them involve avoiding fights entirely. As a Rogue, Shawn can sneak around many combat situations. He can get away from them by using sneezing or flash powder. He can sneak up behind his enemies and take them out of action before they know he's there. He can lay traps to keep his enemies away. Hero-U's tactical movement and action features will let you play the game the way you want to play it.
No combat? No problem.
Of course, if you want a higher level of challenge, and don't mind getting your hands dirty in combat, you'll treat battles as a new type of puzzle. All of our combat is turn-based, so you will make decisions and see how the monsters respond, then try your next actions. Many died-in-the-wool adventure gamers may soon find they love Hero-U's combat. If you're one of the players that doesn't enjoy it, you'll avoid it. A skilled Rogue chooses his fights, and might well choose "none".
Hero-U is all about choices, and to fight or not to fight is one of them.
So... Role-Playing or Adventure Game?
The answer is "Yes!" Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is a new generation of adventure game. Lori and I are working hard to develop a huge network of dialogue and story options that depend on your choices. There's only so much a designer can do with "branching stories", but we don't think that way. In Hero-U, you will develop relationships with other characters, make choices about what to explore and where to spend your time, and work on your choice of skills. All of these subtle variations play into the story and the puzzles in ways that will make the game different for every player.
We're also a new breed of CRPG, but I'll talk more about that in a later update. Just adding all of the adventure and realistic conversation elements to the game already make it different, but there's much more.
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is an Adventure Role-Playing Puzzle Game. Why settle for just one genre when you can have them all?
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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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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:
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