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Hero-U is a turn-based PC RPG with adventure game puzzles and immersive story, by the award-winning designers of Quest for Glory.
Created by

Corey Cole

6,093 backers pledged $409,150 to help bring this project to life.

March Meeping Madness!

A month has gone by since the last Update, and we have lots of news. Shawn O'Conner wishes all of you a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Chris and I have caught up on Backer Surveys received through March 10.  We sent out Steam and GoG keys to everyone who requested them as part of their backer rewards. If you sent mail to Hero-U Support or filled out a survey, but did not receive your "past games" key, please send a new message to support (at) hero-u (dot) net. (Sorry to write it that way, but we really don't want to attract the attention of spambots.)

We've made quite a bit of progress on the art and music fronts. Ryan Grogan continues to delight us with his spot-on tunes. He's probably getting a bit of a swelled head by now, but he deserves it. :-)  All of the artists are giving us beautiful work. Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is an indie game, but it will look professional. After all, everyone working on it *is* a professional – We have well over 100 years in the game industry between us. Ok, so maybe we're professional dinosaurs, but hey, dinosaurs are cool!

Terry has been working with a toy company to specify the toy Meeps. We're going to make them in two colors – light blue and light green – and we're ordering extras so that we can offer them in the Hero-U store. Here's our artist conception of a Green Meep and the manufacturer's sample of the Blue Meep design. They may change a little before we get the final versions.

Part-Time Perils

Lori and I decided early in the project to work with independent contractors rather than employees. This has allowed us to control costs by paying only for the actual work that has been completed at each stage. The downside of that decision is that we have much less control over the pace and amount of work from contractors.

I've been a "part-timer" myself on the game design because a large part of my time has been devoted to administration and reward fulfillment. I knew all along that those would take a lot of my time, but I didn't realize just how much. I'm now through that phase and participating much more actively in working with Lori to design game systems. Recent eye surgery (cataracts) is also making a big difference, now that I can read the computer screen without a magnifier!

The good part of this is that we are burning through the Kickstarter funds very slowly. The rough part is that we are also building the game slowly. In particular, both of our team programmers have dropped out to pursue lucrative full-time contracts elsewhere. We are in the process of doing a "partial reboot", bringing in a full-time lead programmer, and redesigning the software architecture. This is allowing us to further refine and improve the game design, but it means that we have zero chance of making our original October ship date.

We still plan to use part-time contractors for much of the final game programming. Are you a strong Unity and C# programmer? Would like to contribute to the development of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. Oh, and are you a code monkey who is happy to work for bananas because bananas are so tasty? That's pretty much what the rest of the team (including Lori and me) is doing. If so, please send an email with a resume (CV) and information about your availability and contract rates to jobs (at) transolar (dot) com. Actually our rates are highly competitive, compared to say fast food restaurant and warehouse store work.

We will keep all of you informed as we move forward with the project. I don't want to promise a specific date for Hero-U release at this point, but we are 100% committed to shipping it as soon as it is a great game.

[A Catacombs section by John Paul Selwood]

Last Chance at Fabulous Kickstarter Projects

My wallet has grown thin this month as I found many awesome projects to support.  Here are three important projects that are closing in a few days.  Please check them out and back the ones that interest you.

Var and the Vikings (http://kck.st/VQHyLz) has just one week to go. So far it has raised $11,000 towards its modest $31,000 goal. It would be a real shame if this project fails. Think Lemmings, except you get to teach your lemmings how to live. Var is a fun combination of puzzle game play with the chance to experiment with game-style artificial intelligence decision trees. Back this project and tell your friends to check it out. They have a nice project demo (Firefox browser only), and the development team are nice people – They came up for a visit a couple of weeks ago.

Mage's Initiation (http://kck.st/W7OBdj) also has one week to go. This is a Quest for Glory inspired hybrid adventure / RPG in which you play an elemental mage. Depending on your specialty (Earth, Air, Fire, or Water), you will have unique puzzle solutions and combat abilities. The team has just added a playable demo of the Fire Mage; you can download it from http://www.himalayastudios.com/downloads/Mages_Initiation_Demo.exe. I managed to work through the puzzles with a little head-scratching, but couldn't quite survive the first combat test. Maybe they'll add a turn-based mode as in Hero-U. :-)

Weregeek (http://www.weregeek.com/) is one of Lori's and my favorite webcomics, and now it has its own Kickstarter (http://kck.st/VeeGKq). Alina Pete, the very Canadian creator, is a cool person in addition to an excellent artist and very imaginative writer. The idea behind the comic series is that ordinary people turn into Weregeeks – sometimes with amazing powers – as a result of their secret lives as role-playing game addicts. Or maybe it's the full moon or something. Anyway, great stories up there for free, and it's up to us – by supporting her Kickstarter – to make it possible for Alina to keep telling them.  There are just three days left in the Weregeek campaign.

Big Games With Huge Potential

Those are the "little people" with great small projects deserving your attention. There are also two new blockbuster games that many of you will enjoy if you have anything left in your wallets.  (Please help the little projects first - Your backing will make a huge difference to them.)

Shroud of the Avatar (http://kck.st/WahMzs) is Richard Garriott's ("Lord British") spiritual successor to both the Ultima series and Ultima Online. At 91% of its million-dollar goal just a week into the campaign, this one is definitely happening. The team is already well into development; the project page shows a number of videos showing game play. It's a highly-ambitious game that is trying to provide a solid single-player experience as well as the fun of gaming with friends and a few potential future friends. Can Lord British pull this one off? Join the backers and find out.

Torment: Tides of Numenera (http://kck.st/13F7hZm) is the second big Kickstarter from Brian Fargo and his inXile Entertainment team. Previously they funded Wasteland 2 at almost $3 million. Ten days into their new campaign, they are close to passing that. This one is the spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, one of the best D&D-based computer RPG's. They are teaming up with Monte Cook, who raised over $500,000 back in September for the paper gaming version of the Numenera system. (That one had a $20,000 goal!!) Torment: Tides has the potential to be a terrific story-based RPG.

That's enough for this Update. We'll see you all next month with more art and other information on the progress of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.

Comments

    1. Creator Greg Bromage on March 25, 2013

      Hi there! Is there any chance that, on the next update, you could do a project shout out to this one: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/susanwilson/9-year-old-building-an-rpg-to-prove-her-brothers-w/ ?

      Everyone had to start learning game development somewhere, and it looks like she's off to a great start...

    2. Creator Dusty Tome on March 24, 2013

      As someone very aware of 'Valve Time', as long as it comes in sometime within the development cycle of Team Fortress 2, I'll be happy. I'd much rather have things Better over Faster, and I trust you all to do so.

      I'd say take as long as you need, but, with Valve as the warning, I want to play the other semesters of Hero-U sometime!

      Like the posting of the smaller Kickstarters, BTW. It's nice to see some of the smaller, but still worthy projects out there.

    3. Creator Corey Cole on March 19, 2013

      @twincast: That would be Eric Lengyel's C4 engine. I don't recall who suggested it, but Eric offered to provide free licenses to the entire team - a *very* generous offer. We decided to stay with Unity because of the value of the existing MacGuffin's Curse source code. In the end, you just have to make a decision and live with it, which is what I did.

    4. Creator Peter Rootham-Smith on March 19, 2013

      Thanks for the update! I'm a little surprised that the programming side rather than the artistic seems to be the bottleneck at the moment?

      In a parallel universe I would teach myself Unity and offer to do some programming gratis for the game - just to share in the privilege of making it!

    5. Creator twincast: Eternally Tormented Mangy WoOS on March 18, 2013

      @Chaz: I'm bad with names and too lazy to look it up, but I'm pretty sure there was someone during the KS campaign who was trying for a while to make them use the current engine by the guy who made Dragon Fire's.

    6. Creator Matthew Goeke on March 18, 2013

      Love the Meep Plushies!

    7. Creator GhanBuriGhan - WOOS Wose on March 18, 2013

      Great to hear about the progress made, but sorry to hear of your difficulties, I can imagine many KS projects are currently making similar experiences, after all funding levels on KS are not even nearly in the league of AAA or even AA projects, and the realization how much time and money pledge fulfillment costs seems to be a universal one. Maybe that's a bit of a weakness of the KS platform. I hope it works out for you and that the game will do good for you in the end!

    8. Creator ☜☆RSF☆☞ on March 17, 2013

      Great update Corey.! Thanks heaps for all that. Love the look of the meeps, the artwork is spot-on and no rush with production, we're just hankering for an awesome gaming experience! So take whatever time is required. Thanks for sharing links to those other KS projects, there's one or two there I've still got to check out. ;0) Finally FWIWs I can appreciate the challenges your facing with the "part-time perils", but am most definitely confident you'll see this through to a very successful conclusion. ;-)

    9. Creator Chaz the Paladin on March 16, 2013

      @twincast: Oops my bad. Thanks. For some reason I thought I remember people trying to talk Corey into switching to Unity from something else. I guess it was the other way around.

    10. Creator David Melanson on March 16, 2013

      @Corey: Thanks! Sorry to be a pain, just wanted to make sure what I asked about in the email was okay since it might've been time-sensitive.

    11. Creator Corey Cole on March 16, 2013

      @David: Your message got buried, but Lori has it now. Thanks for the reminder.

      @Rob: We still plan to use tiles, but in an isometric (camera at eye level) view, so a "3-D look". When we have some of the art actually in the game, I'll post examples.

      Ref Unity and MacGuffin's Curse: What other people said. :-) We will probably use some of the code from Curse. That game and ours are both built under Unity, as is Project Eternity. The engine does not define what a game looks like. It's just a set of tools that help to build the game.

    12. Creator David Melanson on March 16, 2013

      The blue meep is cute - I like the design. Not bothered at all by the delay - would rather have quality than a rushed-out "must make it by the promised date" product. Also, the catacomb art looks excellent!

      Also...I sent Lori an email a little over a week ago with a couple questions and haven't heard back - I assume she must be really busy, so I just wanted to make sure it actually got there?

    13. Creator RoyMartin on March 16, 2013

      Meep looks good! :)

    14. Creator Rob Craig on March 16, 2013

      Please post more detailed news how the engine is affected by not using these programmers? Will it still be a tile based system still?

    15. Creator ThomasN on March 16, 2013

      Maria Ey. Luihn: Hmm.. it must have been inverted by the realignment to the vertical transform of the time space warp bladder stuff.. or something

    16. Creator ThomasN on March 16, 2013

      I was home 4 hours ago, your irish luck works. Time to fill it in bottles and sell it ;)

    17. Creator Kevin - Potato Salad Aficionado on March 16, 2013

      Sudden "Why haven't I learned Unity!" moment. It would be a *privilege* to work part time for the Coles for bananas. =)

    18. Creator Palindrome Bob-XSF-I'm in AGL589-BG5.22 on March 16, 2013

      I've gotten so used to delays on later than 'Estimated delivery'-dates, the only thing that can ruffle my feathers is a project I've backed WILL meet its estimated delivery date. I've not come across one (yet). Quality takes time and Murphy's Law is always around the corner. In case my previous sentences came across the wrong way, I want to clarify "Take your time".
      The Green Meep seems a bit sad in that photo. :-(
      ### Member of the Pinkerton Road Cavalry ###
      ### Dreamfall Traveller ###

    19. Creator Rinu on March 16, 2013

      Happy St. Patrick's Day! Thanks for the update, I'm sure you'll be doing fine. And delays are pretty common, I guess that's why Kickstarter uses the term "Estimated delivery" :).

    20. Creator Maria Ey. Luihn on March 16, 2013

      You are aware that the "luck of the irish" is BAD luck, right?

    21. Creator Chaz the Paladin on March 16, 2013

      October did seem a little ambitious and with each update it seemed less and less likely. That's perfectly fine though. There's no rush, we would much rather have a great game, than a rushed one in October. So does this mean the game is going to use Unity now instead of the MacGuffin's Curse engine?

      The plush meep looks cute. I'm glad there will be extras in the store. I'm very tempted to pick one up.

      @Michael Bantz: Don't worry about that. The Coles wouldn't do that to us. They promised us a great game and they will deliver. This is just a speed bump.

    22. Creator twincast: Eternally Tormented Mangy WoOS on March 16, 2013

      /sadface regarding the bad news (including no orange meeps)
      /happyface regarding the good news (including meeps looking good)

    23. Creator Michael Bantz on March 16, 2013

      It's too soon to panic, but I hope this doesn't mean the game will end up not being finished.

    24. Creator Federico on March 16, 2013

      It's ok if you're some months late, a lot of projects are. What's important is the quality of the final product. And i trust your professional ethic on this, so good luck!

    25. Creator ThomasN on March 16, 2013

      Working for bananas and creating art along the way isn't so bad, hang in there!
      Thanks for the irish luck, I'm migrating a server today and if all goes well, I can go home early.