Evolution in Action
Once long ago, in that bygone era we now call 2012, we set out to create a simple game. It would involve turn-based combat in a dungeon-like setting with a simple plotline overlaid upon it. We would use cartoon-like graphics on a tile-based, flat world that would allow us to concentrate upon the story and game-play rather than upon the engine or graphics.
Then we held our Kickstarter and heard from you - our fans - what you actually want to see.
It was clear that what you really wanted was something more like the Quest for Glory series and less like yet another RPG.
As we read your comments, our vision evolved. We put more story and puzzles into the design. We went away from the cartoony look into a more realistic character style like the best Sierra On-Line characters of the 1990's.
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption evolved from an RPG/Adventure Game into a modern take on Quest for Glory with turn-based, puzzle-oriented combat. We decided to let the players out-think the monsters in the game rather than out-mouse-click them.
One change leads to another
The flat tile system for the backgrounds was too unrealistic and distorted to work well with our new character designs. We had to find a better way to present the art and create the game magic than what we started with. Our team artists far too talented to let the game look anything less than amazing.
We have a new team of programmers who are talented and passionate about our game. They are creating new ways to bring the visuals of the game to life.
We have spent the past few weeks testing new approaches and pushing the envelope of how 2D art will work with the Unity Engine.
So far, the strongest approach is to turn the 2D background artwork into 3D. We have come a long way from the flat little game we envisioned at the start. We are starting to create a huge, complex world full of fun and surprises.
Making Hero-U the Way a Game Should Be Made
Unlike those days when we worked for big companies where we had to make our deadline no matter what it takes, where creativity, bug-fixing, and polish are not important, and the game will ship whether it is ready or not, we control the vertical and the horizontal. We can strive to make the best possible game. We can push the boundaries of what has been done in the past to give you a game you love to play.
After all, now we are working for the best bosses in the world - You. We want to give you our absolute best, no matter what it takes.
By the way, we are still looking for one or two highly talented and experienced 2D animators. We do not pay as well as the big studios, but you get to work on your own schedule on a fun project. Interested artists need to be able to animate large, semi-realistic characters and create smooth "walk cycles". Contact jobs (at) hero-u (dot) net with a link to your portfolio and animation samples to apply.
Here is a very early look at the new Hero-U Composer design tool in action. It will let us define complex conversations and other interactions that we can import directly into the game code. More automation = Fewer errors and more player options.
In Other Worlds
There are some very interesting projects out there currently. We would like to mention four Kickstarter projects and three other web sites, so we will keep the descriptions brief.
A Small Favor (http://kck.st/ZlhUxj) ends in less than four days. It looks like a side-scroller, but it is actually a science fiction adventure game with a good story line and nice animation. It looks fun, but needs serious support!
Among the Sleep (http://kck.st/11D7N79) is a horror adventure in which you play a two-year-old child. It is well along in development and is very close to reaching its goal in the remaining five days.
The Realm Game (http://kck.st/XZlFdU) is being developed by a studio more known for animation. As a result, it is gorgeous and you should visit its project page. The Realm has about 30% of its funding goal with nine days left, so they will need a serious push to make it.
Bashar, a passionate backer of Hero-U, is writing Derelict: A Short Story (http://kck.st/10kmLMF). If you like short-form science fiction, give this one a try.
Spellirium (http://spellirium.com/) is a "Kickstarter-like" project looking for funding on its own web site. If you enjoy spelling (think Boggle or Bookworm) and adventure, you might find this fun.
Adventure Burger (http://www.adventureburger.com/) is a site that follows Kickstarter adventure games. This is a good place to find out about adventure games that fall between our project updates.
KickstartVentures (http://www.kickstartadventure.com/home/) is a blog by Shawn Mills. Like Adventure Burger, this site will keep you up to date on new Kickstarter adventure game projects. In addition, Shawn's articles talk about great adventure games of the past as well as current news affecting players. Also check out the Infamous Quests site at http://www.infamous-quests.com/home/.
We hope you all had an excellent Mother's Day (or your local equivalent), and are enjoying the turn of the seasons. Lori got a nice gift and an AIM conversation from Michael. I sent flowers to my Mom and broke any semblance of a low-carb diet by making blueberry ricotta pancakes. And Lori and I romantically wrote this Kickstarter Update together. :-)
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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:
- (32 days)