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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.

Many Kinds of Heroes

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Light the World - Be a Hero
Light the World - Be a Hero

Today was “Memorial Day” in the United States, a holiday devoted to remembering Americans who have died in war. We often extend this to remembering all armed forces veterans. My mother and father both served in the Navy during World War II - In fact, they met at a Navy event. Both thankfully survived their military service, although my father passed away five years ago.

A sad memorial is also in order for the University of California, Santa Barbara students who were recently murdered. My son and I both attended UCSB, and Michael lived in Isla Vista where the murders took place. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of these victims.

Many Kinds of Heroes

There are many kinds of heroes. One of the themes of all our games is being a hero by doing what is right. Every one of us gets many chances to decide whether we will be heroes, villains, or merely ordinary people.

If you see someone getting hurt, do you run to help them, call the police, or simply look on? Phil Ochs wrote the song “Outside of a Small Circle of Friends” after an incident in New York City in which a woman was beaten and killed while many people looked on and did nothing. I have since read that some of them did call the police, but that they responded too late to help the victim. Could someone have helped that woman without becoming another victim? That’s hard to say. The real question is, what choice will each of us make in a similar situation.

I include among the heroes everyone who takes a stand to make their communities better places. Heroism can be as simple as contributing to charity, donating blood, or donating your time to teach or to help with a community project. Being a hero can be immensely rewarding in personal joy and in friendships with other heroes.

Heroes Harnessing the Sun

We are rapidly approaching the crisis point in depletion of fossil fuel resources, in the shortage of fresh water, and in the loss of our polar ice caps to depleted ozone and global warming. These are not issues which we can simply ignore - We are running out of time.

That is one reason why I was very excited to learn about the Solar Roadways project over on IndieGoGo. Our governments have been too tied up in political infighting to make serious progress on alternatives to oil. Instead, two individuals took a personal stand on this project and have already made great progress on it. This is absolutely amazing to me, and I count Scott and Julie in the rolls of true heroes.

Lori and I have few financial resources while we work to finish Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. Still, we chose to support the Solar Roadways project because it has a chance of really making a difference in the world. Please check out their campaign at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways. There are just five days left as I write this. They have already surpassed their $1 million goal, but it will take much more than that for such an ambitious project to achieve the leverage it needs to put solar roads, sidewalks, and parking lots all over the world. If this gets big enough, larger companies and governments will take notice and the great ideas will spread.

Here’s a video from the founders thanking Lori and me for our modest contribution:

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Comments

    1. Creator Phil on June 16, 2014

      Corey: I guess that's the thing that really bothers me about it. Space-based solar power is written off as "huge up front costs" whereas building a road is something that anyone could do. But at the end -- with the enormity of the project -- it's doubtful that one would be noticeably cheaper than the other.

      I know a sales guy whose philosophy comes down to "pay me now or pay me later". I see SBSP as the "pay me now" option and solar roadways as the "pay me later" option. We can say that both situations will provide ample power. At the end of one, you've put a bunch of glass on the Earth's surface. At the end of the other, you have put something in space. Which one of those moves mankind incrementally from the dawn of our evolution to a future we can be proud of? If I can't appeal to your dreams, then which one of them spreads life around the universe and avoids the overcrowding which has caused us to have to learn about managing our environment?

      If you're really serious about the polar bears, then let's give them the Earth. I'd rather have Mars anyway.

      One last note: There are plenty of crowd-sourced space projects doing remarkable things without enormous budgets. Lunarsail seeks to sail a cubesat to lunar orbit on $11k (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/aresinstituteinc/lunarsail-the-worlds-first-crowdsourced-solar-sail).

    2. Creator Jeroen Dekkers on June 6, 2014

      This is such a great idea but after doing some research - it seems not plausible. Just not going to work. This guy explains it really well: https://www.youtube.com/watch…

    3. Creator rfnk on June 5, 2014

      You "had" me at remembering those who gave their lives in service to our country. You lost me on the polar bears and discussing the recent California nut job shooting spree.

    4. Creator Palindrome Bob-XSF-I'm in AGL589-BG5.22 on May 30, 2014

      I already backed Solar Roadways in the beginning. When I saw their goal I thought they'd never make it. Glad to be taught my gut is fallible.
      ### Member of the Pinkerton Road Cavalry ###
      ### Dreamfall Traveller ###

    5. Creator Chad Armstrong on May 28, 2014

      Thanks for mentioning the Solar Roadways. I'll definitely need to check that out.

      Love the tree hugging ways, but Hero's Quest taught me not to kiss them...you get lip splinters that way. And QFG2 taught me to be nice to stiff tree ladies and not throw rocks or daggers at them, as well.

      And today I finally found someone else at my work who used the word "splendiferous" (which I picked up from Salim in QFG3).

      And I'll stop there...

    6. Creator Justin on May 28, 2014

      "we will have to get off of fossil fuels one day - not now, fine, but the time will come"

      This is the part that people just don't understand. They look at NUMBERS right NOW and think there will never be a problem. These are the people that are the #1 cause of such problems. You don't wait until we're in a crisis to fix a problem. It's as if some people never learned the word PROACTIVE.

    7. Creator Ken Burwood on May 28, 2014

      @Phil Thanks for sharing the link to the space based solar. Definitely intriguing tech, which also has tradeoffs of its own. I believe that we'll need a spectrum of technologies to continue meeting our energy needs in sustainable, and healthy, ways.

      Everything you pointed out about solar roads are all very valid concerns for solar roadways, which need to be examined while determining if it is in fact feasible on a mass scale. I recommend checking out their FAQ which discusses a lot of the common concerns.

      Their supporters hope that the roadways live up to their potential. However, like Corey, and I'm sure many others, I recognize that we still have to determine if solar roadways are truly feasible, both structurally and economically. I look at it this way: At the very best, it'll live up to its full potential (maybe even surpass), at the very worst we'll determine that it's simply not feasible and we'll learn absolutely nothing other than that from the exercise.

      I believe the reality will lie somewhere between those two ends. Perhaps it'll only work half as well as currently expected, which is still very good. However, even if it turns out to be untenable, I'm sure that we'd still learn a great deal from trying, which could then be applied elsewhere. So, to me, its well worth supporting the project, because even in "failure" we'll likely learn something. Its all part of the scientific process, and as part of that process we have to be willing to risk failure to reach our successes.

    8. Creator Joseph Austin on May 28, 2014

      It doesn't matter if global warming is happening, like Corey said. Human ingenuity itself requires that we do things like this. The tremendous benefit to society we could get out of something like that is immense, and roads aren't even in the private sector in the first place (mostly.) And frankly, we will have to get off of fossil fuels one day - not now, fine, but the time will come, even if the earth maintains a steady temperature from here to 100 billion years in the future. It is a non-renewable resource, and we should be thinking about new ways to rev up our engines. We will do it now, or we will panic as we try to do it later. That's a fact.

    9. Creator Corey Cole on May 27, 2014

      Oh, speaking of the global warming discussion, here's a blog post I wrote about it five years ago - "Global Warming - What If We're Wrong?" I try to make the point there that there are things worth doing whether or not the predictions of disaster from global warming are true.

      http://www.theschoolforheroes.com/questlog/784/global-warming-%E2%80%93-what-if-we%E2%80%99re-wrong/

    10. Creator Justin on May 27, 2014

      " Even Fox News is now admitting..."

      LOL! Sorry but I had to laugh. That comment is 100% worthless as is anything that starts out "Fox News"...Realize though I'm not commenting on the validity of global warming. Just pointing my finger and laughing in Fox News' general direction.

      @Phil - it's not intended to replace ENTIRE roads. That would be insane. Maybe you should actually read up on it?

      All in all Corey can post whatever the hell he wants on HIS project update page. If you don't like his info then turn off notifications. There is no rule that 100% of all updates must be interesting to you.

    11. Creator Corey Cole on May 27, 2014

      @Fedor: Even Fox News is now admitting that climate change is real. 97% of the scientific community agrees. While there should always be reasonable doubt, the evidence is currently overwhelming. The only argument is about whether climate change is caused mostly by man, or is just a natural cycle. I won't debate that, but the situation is real.

      The critical issue is depletion of fossil fuel. At the current growth rate of oil use, it will be completely gone in about twenty years. Long before that - possibly as soon as ten years from now - the places that still have reserves will stop selling them to outside nations because they will need the oil for their own people.

      @Phil: Is space-based solar power better? Very possibly, but it also has huge up-front costs. I'd love to see it happen, but it isn't a garage-shop technology. Solar Roadways is starting out small enough that individual support can help. They might not succeed, and maybe their technology won't be the right one. But I am supporting them because this is a small start and may encourage other developers to come up with other solutions.

      Should I have posted this in the Hero-U update? That can be debated, but I will always go with my passion. That is why Lori and I make games about heroes.

      By the way, if you *liked* the post and want to read more, I wrote similar blog articles for several years (up until the Kickstarter, when we became too busy) over at http://www.theschoolforheroes.com/questlog/. The inspiration for Hero-U was our work at The School for Heroes - We want to see gamers applying some of their problem-solving energy to real world problems.

    12. Creator Phil on May 27, 2014

      I'm going to be the one to say it. I'm tired of seeing the solar roadways stuff. It's a terrible idea. Consider the proportion of roads which are partially or totally shaded by trees or buildings. Consider the amount of energy you'll get at night time.

      Consider the maintenance costs in not just repaving a road, but doing it with a transparent material which will provide less traction and drain worse than asphalt. Consider the death toll from that.

      If you really want to promote some form of solar power, promote space-based solar power. It will provide absolutely zero environmental impact on our planet. It will capture more of the sun's energy since it won't have to do it through an atmosphere which scatters the light and it'll never have to worry about weather.

      When it comes right down to it, all the energy on the Earth comes from the sun.

      See: http://energy.gov/articles/space-based-solar-power

      It's worth noting that Pacific Gas & Electric has a no-risk contract with Solaren to provide some space-based solar power within the next two years. While I don't think they're likely to implement a perfect solution, that funding is at least going towards kicking the can down the road a bit.

    13. Creator Jesse Dylan Watson on May 27, 2014

      Woops, Corey, spelled your name wrong. Embarrassing! Sorry. Thanks again!

    14. Creator Jesse Dylan Watson on May 27, 2014

      Cory, thanks for posting the link to this fascinating, awesome project!

    15. Creator Fedor Makogonov on May 27, 2014

      There is NO PROOF of increasing temperatures over the last 20 years (last year was RECORD COLD), there is NO DEPLETION of fossil fuels in our lifetimes, there NO ICE CAPS melting (Antarctic ice levels are at the highest levels since records began), and the whole scam for ozone holes was designed and successfully implemented by aerosol producers to replace less expensive products with more expensive ones. As for the fresh water problem, it is inevitable in certain areas due to overpopulation, and there is no way around it.
      People who make money on selling products nobody would ever buy without fear of "global warming" are indeed running out of time, due to global cooling happening in reality, so they ramped up propaganda realising that soon this hen laying golden eggs will die.
      It is disgusting that everywhere you go, you get splashed in the face with this anti-scientific propaganda. Now I have to read it in my e-mail as an update for Hero-U project. Could you not have left your Kickstarter's page without it?

    16. Creator Justin on May 27, 2014

      @eXoScoriae - as a resident of Southern Calirfonia your entire post looks way off base to me. SoCal Edison pushes solar like it's going out of style and awards it very well. The only real thing holding it back is the ahole credit companies that charge an arm and a leg for those that can't fully finance it. Same goes for residential and commercial. When we installed solar at my business we relieved over $50,000 in kickbacks. Total ROI will be about 5 years and it covers about 40% of our demand on average.

      Well, one other serious factor that puts a huge dent in solar is education. Flat out knowledge.

      Granted, I can't speak for the rest of the country and it sure helps to have family that works for Edison but it seems to me that actually knowing the facts about who is installing solar certainly gives a person a different outlook.

      Solar installs are happening every day and the frequency is going up up up.

    17. Creator Ken Burwood on May 27, 2014

      Thanks for posting, I also backed Solar Roadways. I've been saying to my friends for nearly a decade that it would be great if our roads could be solar (assuming it was feasible). Of course, I'm no engineer, or rich, so there wasn't much that I could do about it.

      FYI: Someone also posted a petition on whitehouse.gov asking for more government support of solar roadways. http://www.whitehouse.gov/lASFc

      @eXoScoriae That's why we should illegalize patent trolling. If you're not actively using a patent, then you should loose all rights to it. If you're ONLY using a patent to block others from creating similar inventions, then you should be seriously penalized.

    18. Creator eXoScoriae on May 27, 2014

      I am what I would consider to be a skeptical person. The fellow my friends expect to whip out a link to snopes.com and prove that the chain email or FB post is completely made up.

      However, a person who heard my take on solar power energy in the US would likely consider me a conspiracy theorist.. but here goes anyways - solar power is purposefully held back and misused as a technology in the United States.

      Sounds easy enough to make that accusation, but proof is always more difficult.

      2 family members of mine sold solar panels commercials in the early 90's. At the time the technology was expensive, maintenance was a concern (especially from hail damage here in the midwest regions), and battery/capacitor technology simply wasn't advanced enough to make solar power a viable replacement technology. That said - it was a great supplemental technology. Especially for people with a lot of land.

      You'll notice the one thing that wasn't a problem was the tech itself. Solar power works... and it works great. Solar cells have gotten smaller, more efficient, and cheaper. Batteries have come so far that they are practically an entirely new tech unto themselves compared to 25 years ago.

      So why haven;t solar panels become more prevalent? Why are they relegated to powering school zone signs?

      The company my family members worked for had just filed 2 patents for a method that made residential install very simple. Shortly after that they were purchased by a large energy company (primarily oil focused). The technology contained within those patents has never seen the light of day.. yet they have protected the patents on several occasions when other solar start-ups attempted to develop techniques similar to those described by the patents. As a matter of fact, the energy company in question not only shelved the tech within the patents, they shelved the entire solar business they purchased.

      In a bit of a twist... I am employed by that same energy company.

      Maybe the entire thing was a serious case of mismanagement. But the fact that nothing has been done with those patents or that tech in the past 25 years tells me that they knew exactly what they were doing. And they aren't the only ones. There is a history of large energy companies sucking up tech like this. And to a certain degree, it makes sense. After all - oil and natural gas are finite. Once they are gone, the big companies of the world will either have to evolve or die. So by purchasing up this sort of technology, they can not only purchase a stake in the future.... they can delay the future until they decide they are ready for it.

      What solar power needs is a well managed company willing to not take the first multi million dollar buyout offer that comes along, and stick to their business model long enough for people to see just how affordable and reliable solar power can be. But as long as people roll-over for a few million everytime they start making progress in the industry, then it is a zero-start situation. The energy industry has the starting gun in their hand, and they are going to delay this race as long as possible.

      If I hadn't seen it myself, I wouldn't believe it.