Well, it appears that most of us have survived the Apocalypse supposedly predicted by the Mayans. It's a funny thing - When one of my calendars runs out of months, I usually get a new one. For some reason, when the Mayan calendar ran out of years, a lot of people panicked.
Like some of our friends, Lori and I both wore red shirts on Friday. After all, on Star Trek, crew members wearing red shirts usually died. So it was only fitting that we should all wear red shirts on the day of the Apocalypse. That day was also the Winter Solstice, shortest day of the year. Now that we've survived, the days will keep getting longer, and Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption will keep getting closer to completion.
In response to my previous Update, so far I have received responses from about one-third of the backers entitled to a previous game key. We need more, so I have now sent surveys to all of the $50 and $65 tier backers. Please answer your survey as soon as possible. It's ok to answer the survey if you already told me what key you want. I'll see from the database whether I've already sent you a key.
Incidentally, I've fulfilled all the previous game key requests that I received on Dec. 20 or earlier. I also sent all three keys to backers at the $175 level and $500 and higher levels. If you pledged at a level other than $50 or $65, and you added money to your pledge to get a previous game key, please send email to support (at) hero-u (dot) com. Specify your Kickstarter user name and the add-ons you want. If you pledged at the $50 or $65 tier, please answer the survey.
Although we have not yet started full production on the game, we've added a programmer to help build the game "rooms" and an animator. Todd Hendrix has programming credits all the way back to Might & Magic and Heroes of Might and Magic. We worked together on an online poker site, and I'm excited to have the chance to work with Todd again. Bryan Ellis is a talented local artist who worked at Sierra and several other local game companies.
Andrew has prototyped the isometric-view modifications to his game engine, and we'll start developing art and animation for it in January. In the meantime, Lori and I have been working on the game design, converting FAR Studio to an LLC, and fulfilling previous game key requests. The latter has been time-consuming, but I've worked out some ways to speed up the process.
Why an LLC? That will help us to raise additional funding that we can use to create a better-looking and more impressive game than we think we can manage on the Kickstarter budget alone. Our goal is to give our backers much more than you paid for. Adding content will also mean more work for the team, so they won't starve quite as much.
While I've been working the spreadsheets, Lori has added quite a bit of content to the game design. After Shawn has had some time to explore the University and storage cellar, he'll find some exciting opportunities in the Sea Caves. Meanwhile, Lori has added an entirely new plot line based on the story of one of our "Wing" backers. We'll send out a Survey to the other Wing and Monster Lair backers next month to see how your stories can be incorporated into the game.
We've also done some work on the stats and skills systems, with much more yet to come. There will be some seriously challenging game play with a bit of whimsy and humor. Shawn doesn't take much seriously, and that includes his hard-won Rogue education.
There is a lot more going on, but we wouldn't want to spoil it for you. And of course every design decision is in flux until we test it. An important part of good game design is being willing to throw away our most cherished ideas when they turn out un-fun.
We hope you are all having a good holiday season, and we wish you a happy and prosperous 2013.
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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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126 backers Limited (674 left of 800)
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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33 backers Limited (167 left of 200)
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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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: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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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:Add $80 USD to ship outside the US
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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:
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3 backers Limited (7 left of 10)
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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2 backers Limited (3 left of 5)
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)