About this project
Did you miss out on the campaign but still want to support? Check out our Paypal/Humble Pre-Order options on our website!
- Official Website: www.herogenerations.com
- Join our Mailing List
- Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HeartShapedGames
- Follow Me on Twitter: @brodiegames and @heartshapedgame
- Steam: Hero Generations
Pre-Order funds will go towards supporting new features, missed stretch goals, and game polish! Thank you for your overwhelming support!
ANNOUNCEMENTS: We've been funded AND Greenlit on Steam! THANK YOU! We're supporting Linux and the OUYA console! Plus, you can get alpha access at reward tiers $20 and above!
"I love finding innovative games trying out new things. Hero Generations goes far beyond just that - it's also an amazing game." –Jon Shafer, Lead Designer - Conifer Games (Civilization V, At the Gates)
"Hero Generations is a brilliant concept that needs to be made. A game like this can compress the learning of a lifetime into a sandbox. You get to experiment and see how you, your children, and your children's children can change the world. What a wonderful opportunity." –Daniel Cook, Chief Creative Officer - Spry Fox (Triple Town)
"Love the game! It's cute and approachable, but with amazing depth and an elegance of design - simple decisions with complex interactions makes it so replayable. Fun!" –Mark Terrano, Chief Creative Officer - Hidden Path Entertainment (Defense Grid, Age of Empires)
"Hero Generations is a game that stood out to us. It's unique, fun, and actually has something to say." –Andrew Webster, Games Reporter - The Verge
Hi, I'm Scott Brodie, independent game designer, programmer, and founder at Heart Shaped Games. I'm excited to share with you my plans for the revival of my 2011 IndieCade Finalist strategy game Hero Generations.
Hero Generations is a quick-playing turn-based strategy game that takes inspiration from rogue-likes, 4X strategy, and independent art games. It has been described as the offspring of Sid Meier’s Civilization, Jason Rohrer’s Passage, and The Legend of Zelda.
You play a rapidly aging hero that explores a procedurally generated world in search of fame and a mate to settle down with before you die. After your life ends, you continue on adventuring as your child. Depending upon your choices, your child will be either more fit to take on the world, or hobbled by your poor decisions.
Life took some surprising turns for me during Hero Generations' original development, and I was forced to put the game on the shelf in order to spend time with my then-newborn son and focus on other projects that could pay the bills. But with your backing, I can revive the game, finish the design and programming work, team up with amazing artist Dominic Sodano and musician Andrew Riley, and release it to the world as a standalone downloadable game for PC, Mac, and Linux platforms.
Hero Generations is best described as “The 5-Minute Civilization.” An entire heroic life can be played through in minutes, but chaining together a 2000 year lineage comes from hours of deep strategic play. You move your hero around a procedurally generated grid-based world, and each step they take removes 1 year from their life.
Every turn confronts you with a meaningful choice about how you want to live your life. Do you stay safe and build up your hometown, or explore into the unknown in search of fame and fortune? Do you work to make the world better for your children, or do you selfishly pursue your own dreams?
Below is a narrated walkthrough showing off the status of our current gameplay prototype. Thank you to Journalist UnstableVoltage for creating the video. Note: all artwork is placeholder!
Here are the game’s current and planned main features:
Limited Lifespan and Permadeath: each move your hero makes = 1 year of their life. Each hero has a limited lifespan (from 50-125 years) that puts pressure on you to think carefully about how you spend the years you have left.
Generations, Mating, and Having Children: The world has towns that house mates for you to woo. Successfully finding a mate lets you have a child, and that child becomes the hero you control next in the same world. Choosing the right mate is key, as mates pass on traits (special abilities) that make your child more powerful and prepared.
6 Strategic Paths and Meaningful Choices: Heroes are judged by how famous they become in a single lifespan. Heroes grow and gain fame by completing quests and pursuing the following strategic paths:
- Strength: growing in size and strength let’s you battle the monsters in your path, and break down barriers to progress.
- Love: work to attract the mate of your dreams, and build an epic legacy of great heroes.
- Exploration: discover what is hidden underneath the clouds, and blaze trails to make traversing the world faster in the future.
- Wealth: collect gold so that you can create buildings in towns or buy items you can pass down to your children.
- Fame: gain fame directly by questing to return ancient artifacts, slaying procedurally generated boss monsters, and competing with other families for the throne.
- Building & Technology: craft amazing towns by building Barracks, Observatories, Museums, and Monuments that offer you helpful resources lasting across generations.
Building Tech Tree & Family Crafting: The 4 spaces next to towns allow you to construct special buildings that offer actions and useful resources. Buildings provide long term benefits and influence the culture of neighboring towns. Towns morph in response to combinations of buildings nearby, causing the mates in the town to take on unique traits! Examples of discoverable town types include the Ranch, Fortress, Ghost Town, Port City, and Dark Cathedral!
Expansive Overworld: Each world of Hero Generations is a 10x10 procedurally generated grid filled with towns, forests, ancient ruins, monsters, and more. In addition, there is an expansive overworld: a 3x3 grid of connected worlds. Secret paths at the borders lead to completely different world types. If we meet our stretch goals, we’ll add awesome new world sets that feature totally unique quests, enemies, terrain, and more!
Prophecies & World Events: Every 100 years, a major “world event” occurs. Volcanoes erupt; giant creatures emerge hell bent on destroying the world. It can also mean the arrival of helpful special characters, like wandering caravans and fast traveling airships. You’ll be challenged to grow and adapt to an ever-changing world around you.
Gorgeous Art Style: The finished game will feature the look and feel I always hoped for, developed by fellow Seattle artist Dominic Sodano. The visuals work to subtly reveal the emotional themes inherent in the game mechanics.
Simple Yet Deep: The game system has many elements, but the moment-to-moment gameplay simply involves moving your hero from one grid space to the next like a rogue-like. The result is meaningful strategic choices like a 4X Strategy game, but without the heavy micromanagement and calculation.
Meaning: The game system was built from the ground up to be an exploration of the themes of death, legacy, family, love, and more. The experience of playing the game I hope will be a surprising and thought-provoking experience, as well as fun. I'll be posting more details on the inspiration and design philosophy behind this in future backer updates.
If we meet our basic funding goal, I will use the funds to convert the prototype into a downloadable, DRM-free version for PC, Mac, and Linux platforms. At a minimum the team and I will implement the following:
1. All new art. We'll create final game art and animation with an all new, polished and fitting style like the mockups and concepts featured on this page.
2. Support for both male and female heroes. The prototype supports male heroes and female mates. We'll fix this and add new female hero art.
3. Overworld map. I'll add support for world tilesets, and procedural generation of the world and connected paths.
4. New Worlds. I'll implement a 2nd world type: Desert. In combination with the Grassland and Ancient Forest types, the overworld will offer a lot to discover.
5. Giant content addition: I'll add additional character traits, items, quests, enemies, and world events to give all worlds long term variety.
6. Proper mid-term and end game content: Add the end boss demon and ancient prophecy system to provide goals and tension across many generations of heroes.
7. New UI: I've learned a lot about what makes a good UI working on Highgrounds, and I'll apply that experience to create a new and streamlined user interface.
8. Fill out building tech tree with more buildings and building behaviors.
9. All new character rig and animations. We'll update our "paper doll" character system so that characters can be dynamically mated to create new heroes, and have more fluid animations.
10. Polish: Fix bugs, improve performance, refactor hacky prototype code, better music and sfx, and generally do all the behind the scenes work necessary to get the game in shape to be deployed as a standalone game that can run across a variety of computers.
The game is built to expand, and I've got big plans for how the game world can grow. If I am fortunate enough to receive funding beyond the basic goal, I’ll pursue the following stretch goals:
ACHIEVED! Also known as the "End Fortress", this new world is the "Mount Doom" of Hero Generations. Only the wisest and bravest heroes dare travel here. We'll add a new art tileset along with:
- A new set of quests and quest objects: "Defeat the Demon", "Rescue the Stolen Mate", and more.
- More challenge objects and monsters: Elementals & Chimeras! Lava, thunder storm clouds, demon fortress!
- Special traits only found in this area.
- Unique world generation rules: no towns, many volcanoes, many lava spaces.
- A new set of quests and quest objects: "Defeat the Giant Squid", "Catch a Fish", "Find Buried Treasure".
- More challenge objects and monsters: Pirates, Giant Squids, and Sea Monsters! Boats & Trader Shops!
- Special traits only found in this area.
- Unique world generation rules: 50% water, 4 islands, dock nodes.
Hero Generations is very much inspired by my life experiences, so I'd like to share a little more about myself.
I've worked in games professionally since 2002, and have worked as a designer, producer, programmer, and artist across projects of all sizes. For the last 3 years, I've been an independent designer/programmer at my own company Heart Shaped Games, working on an original web collectible card game called Highgrounds in partnership with my good friends at Spry Fox. In years prior, I was a Producer at Microsoft Game Studios, primarily focused on XBLA Games (Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Scrap Metal, Aegis Wing, Snoopy Flying Ace, to name a few). I've also worked at Stardock (Galactic Civilizations II) and Outrage Games (Alter Echo).
In 2010 I was inspired to make Hero Generations. It was an idea that stemmed from wrestling with many big life decisions all at once. My wife and I were recently married, looking for a place to settle down, thinking about when to have kids, questioning why we were 2000 miles from family, and both in good but creatively unfulfilling jobs. I wanted to make indie games full-time, but it felt risky, and it would delay a number of our personal plans.
In the end, we agreed the risk was worth it, and I left Microsoft Game Studios to start Heart Shaped Games and begin work on the prototype. That year, we were surprised with the news that our own next generation hero (my son) was on the way. With bad insurance, a small apartment, and a games business in startup mode, we were forced to make some hard decisions to accommodate our new arrival. Hero Generations had to be cancelled.
Flashing forward to today, my son is two years old, and my experience as a father has lead me back to thinking about reviving Hero Generations. My perspective has changed considerably, but that shift has also helped me fill in some important missing pieces of the design. It became clear that with Kickstarter, I didn't have to beg publishers for their support anymore. I could work directly with the people who love the game in the same way that I do, and release it in the form it was intended without compromise.
With your support, I'll be able to partner with a dream team of other Seattle Indie developers!
Dominic Sodano - Artist
Dominic Sodano is a 2D artist with over seven years experience in the gaming industry, having worked at Griptonite Games, Glu Mobile, and Zynga Seattle. He has worked on many titles over the years, starting from jobs that involved hiding objects into 2d backgrounds, animating characters, to fully concepting and designing characters. He has worked on many platforms including Nintendo DS, Kinect, PSP, IOS, Android, and Facebook.
Andrew Riley - Musician
Andrew Riley is the composer of over 50 titles, including the #1 selling iPhone game CraftedBattle and the Swedish Game Awards "Game of the Year" winner Secrets of Grindea. He also composed the music for my first game Highgrounds, and I'm excited to have the chance to team up with him again on an all new original soundtrack for Hero Generations.
Add-On Reward s (new): You can now add an extra reward to your current tier if you so desire (no need to change your tier, just add the amount below to your pledge, and we'll see the amount and a note from you on the survey we'll send out closer to release).
- Add $5 - Digital Art Book PDF. (Note: 1 Art Book copy is already included in the $30 tier and above)
Copy of the Game: Receive a DRM-free version of the game for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms when it releases (estimated release date is the end of 2014).
Private Beta: Get exclusive early access to the beta version of the game when it is in a releasable state mid/late this year.
Alpha/Prototype: Any reward tier that promises exclusive access to the Beta version of the game will ALSO receive access to the current alpha/prototype version of the game as well! Within just a month after the Kickstarter campaign ending, we’ll send you a copy of the prototype for you to play and send feedback on. You’ll get a taste for what the final game will be, and have a chance to influence the direction the game takes ahead of the Beta release.
Your Name in the Game: At the $20 tier and above, exclusive for Kickstarter backers, you’ll be able to get your name* added to the game’s random name generator for all future players to see. Depending on the pledge level, you’ll find your name appearing as the name of NPC Heroes, Mates, Monsters, or even the end boss! The higher you pledge, the higher the frequency you can expect to see your name popping up.
*We'll vet your suggested name for appropriateness, and will contact you if we feel we need an alternative.
Original Soundtrack (OST): Receive a digital download of the full original soundtrack composed by Andrew Riley of Lucky Lion Studios!
$100: Design a Family Crest! We'll create a family crest image based upon a description and reference art you provide us. The crest will be added as an option that all players can pick, along with a color that represents them. When a hero mates, the crest is combined with the crest of the mate as well. In addition, you'll be famous, as we'll add your name in the credits under the special heading "Family Crest Designer."
$150: Design an Item! We'll work with you to design the visuals and name for one of the epic rare items in the game! Available items include swords, shields, armor, bombs, hammers, mate gifts, and more. In addition, you'll be famous, as we'll add your name in the shop description and credits in the form of a "Forged by <YOUR NAME>" credits line.
$250: Design a Character Trait! We'll work with you to design the visuals and name for one of the character traits in the game. You'll also help us choose from a big list of gameplay ideas to find a trait you think is important to be included. In addition, you'll be famous, as we'll add your name in the credits as the "Kickstarter Designer" for your trait.
$400: "Join the Family" Design Chat With Developers! You'll get a 30 minute Skype chat with the design team where you can play the latest build, ask questions, offer feedback, and get a first hand look at what we're up to during development before anyone else. We'll also share our working design documents for you to follow along with!
$800: Get Your Likeness In the Game and a Caricature! Dominic will draw you and a loved one as Hero Generations characters! We'll add the finished parts into the random character generator in game, and send you a cool high-resolution caricature to keep forever! We'll also list you in the credits as a "Co-Producer"!
Double Our Fun(ds)! We're participating in OUYA's #FreeTheGames Fund, created by OUYA to support developers making new and creative console games. OUYA will match your pledge dollar-for-dollar up to your goal amount (and a max of $250,000), so help Hero Generations get there and make a great game for everyone! To be eligible for this match, we commit that this game will be an OUYA exclusive for a period of time. To learn more about OUYA, go to www.OUYA.tv.
To be clear, the OUYA exclusivity does not interfere with the computer release! The PC, Mac, and Linux versions can release SIMULTANEOUSLY!
I want to see Hero Generations in the hands of players instead of collecting dust on my hard drive unfinished. The game has been entirely self-funded up until this point. I've come a long way in getting the project to where it is currently, but I need help to do the work to finish and release it.
Second, I've talked with many publishers thanks to the exposure the game received as a finalist at IndieCade, but the game was always deemed "too small" to be worth investing in. Plus, a traditional funding partnership would require the team and I to make too many compromises to the design in the name of maximizing profit. I want to be able to deliver the complete and focused game without sacrificing the integrity of the design.
Most importantly, I'm interested in bringing appreciators like you in on the process so that the game can speak to all of our shared experiences.
Your generous support will be used to:
- Pay myself the minimum cost to live while working throughout the year to finish the game.
- Compensate collaborators in art and audio.
- Cover minor business costs such as maintaining Heart Shaped Games, software, fulfilling rewards, serving the final game, accounting, etc.
- Polish and Improve Hero Generations to be as enjoyable as possible.
You can follow me at @brodiegames on Twitter for updates (I'm pretty active here).
You can send me any questions or concerns at email@example.com
The Hero Generations website can be found at www.herogenerations.com
I'll be sure to post a number updates on the Heart Shaped Games Facebook page as well.
On a personal note, thank you to my loving wife, son, family, and friends in the indie game community for all of your support. Your feedback and encouragement has been invaluable.
And of course, thank you for backing the project and spreading the word!
Risks and challenges
The prototype version of Hero Generations is battle tested to be fun for multiple hours already. I'm thankful to know that there is no chance I'll waste your contribution searching for what the core game is going to be. Assuming this campaign is funded, and all computers and files in source control aren't wiped out in a flash flood, there is little to no chance a version of the game won't be delivered to you.
That said, every project has risks and challenges:
SMALL TEAM: Our plan is to keep the core game simple, single player, and based on existing technology we're familiar with. We feel confident that will help our small team keep our bug count low and deliver a polished and stable game. As well, combining our own small group of beta testers with our Kickstarter backers receiving early access to the beta will help us find the big issues before release.
Customer support and communicating with the community is something I pride myself on doing well with my other games, and our approach will be no different for Hero Generations.
REWARD FULFILLMENT: It's important to play to our strengths, so for this campaign we've opted to keep physical rewards to a minimum. This will allow us to stay focused on making a great game, instead of getting on a first name basis with the fine people running our local post office! As well, my wife Kate will be helping to manage communication and the reward fulfillment effort post release.
SCHEDULE: Every game is different, but as a former Producer at Microsoft, I've had a lot of experience tracking projects, keeping to milestones, and managing budgets. There are always unforeseen challenges in game development, but I've done my best to keep the budget and release time frame estimates realistic. At the end of the day, my goal is to deliver the best game possible, so any future delays (whether self imposed or due to the project being given more budget) would only happen in order to give you a better end result.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
- (31 days)