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!