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Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is a Win/Mac/Linux adventure role-playing game by Lori and Corey Cole, Quest for Glory series creators.
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is a Win/Mac/Linux adventure role-playing game by Lori and Corey Cole, Quest for Glory series creators.
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is a Win/Mac/Linux adventure role-playing game by Lori and Corey Cole, Quest for Glory series creators.
1,869 backers pledged $116,888 to help bring this project to life.

Sprinting Towards Alpha Testing

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"Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!" - The Red Queen in "Through the Looking Glass" by Lewis Carroll

Twice as Fast

We’re going through the “final” push towards outside alpha testing of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. I put “final” in quotes because this will be the first of several sprints towards releasing the game we’ve been working on for almost five years.

It’s hard to convey the thousands of things that go into a game. Small details make the game feel alive. Here are some of the non-game things we need to get in before we can start outside testing:

  • “Branding” the game as pre-release so people know it isn’t the final version
  • Choosing “first test” players out of our 750 qualified alpha testers
  • Adding bug & feature request reporting to the game
  • Setting up a QA/test database for tracking reports
  • “Triage” on reports to eliminate duplicates, already-fixed, and low priority items
  • Regression testing system to avoid breaking features while fixing bugs
  • Internal testing to make sure we don’t ship a broken alpha test
Just Enough Paperwork to Make a Game
Just Enough Paperwork to Make a Game

 

Once we have all of those elements in place (soon!), I will send a survey to backers who chose a reward that includes Alpha Testing. We will accept a small number to do the first outside tests and help us shake down the reporting system. The second alpha will go out to a larger number, and the full alpha version will be made available to everyone at that level. (Don’t worry - if you want to wait for the complete, polished game, just don’t download any Alpha or Beta version.)

The first tests will be solely in the Hero-U castle. Once we have some feedback and improvements to the castle, we will expand the test to include combat areas - the wine cellar, sea caves, catacombs, and finally the dungeon. These areas combine elements of adventure and role-playing gaming as in our Quest for Glory games.

With Hero-U coming down to the wire. Here’s what we’ve all been working on:

  • Al - new animation for Shawn and certain monsters
  • Charles - improving room behavior, fixing scripting issues Cidney - Helping us with UI issues and testing
  • Corey - administration, achievements, and Shawn’s “task list”
  • Graham - cleaning up some rooms
  • Ian - improving the character sheet, journal and inventory screens
  • John Paul - showing Shawn’s status visually
  • Josh M. - text for examining and using things Shawn finds
  • Joshua S. - throwing items in combat, general problem-solving
  • Judy - Composer improvements, helping find errors
  • Lori - final dialogue, such as dealing with the Dire Rat Queen

(Apparently, our team lacks diversity - everyone has a first name in the first half of the alphabet.)

A Torturous Process

Recently heard in a Hero-U team meeting, “I’m currently working in the torture chamber and having fun with it.” And Josh wasn’t even joshing. Yes, there is a “dungeon”, complete with torture chamber, left over from some former residents of the castle. This plays an important part in the “meta story”, the background behind game events, that makes it possible for us to plan a multi-game Hero-U series.

Having Fun in the Torture Chamber
Having Fun in the Torture Chamber

I’ve been in touch with Geekify about creating physical goods for backers. These will ship after the downloadable game release so that boxes can include a solid version of the game that incorporates early player feedback.

There is good news for “Game in a DVD case” backers. Once upon a time, we had three levels of physical boxed game packaging - DVD case, small retail box, large “big box” for collectors. Because of the way quantity discounts work, and to simplify fulfillment, I’ve decided to upgrade everyone to the “big box”. It’s going to be really nice and unique to our patient backers - no torture involved.

Look for another update by the end of June with detailed Alpha Test news and instructions. Thank you so much for being patient as we continue to solve the thousands of issues that come up in the development of every significant game. I remember one supposedly-finished game at Sierra that had a 4-foot tall stack of bug reports waiting to be addressed, many trivial, but some real show-stoppers. That’s why we have to take the time to get this game right before sending it out to you. We think you’ll find the result an experience worth the wait.

Please keep your information (particularly email and physical address) up to date on BackerKit: https://hero-u-adventure-role-playing-game.backerkit.com.

Torture Chamber 3D Layout
Torture Chamber 3D Layout

 

Comments

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    1. Corey Cole 2-time creator on October 22, 2017

      @Nancy, sorry for the very late reply, not sure if you'll see this.

      We did no work on Hero-U except for concept design prior to the first Kickstarter in 2012. The team worked on it steadily from early 2013 through the second Kickstarter in June 2015. With many changes in personnel, we've continued to work steadily on the project since then. All Kickstarter funds were expended by 2016 (sorry, don't have the exact date in front of me); since then, Lori and I have funded it with personal loans and savings.

      So far, including deferred payments to contractors and us, we've spent about $1.2 million. That and five years look pretty excessive until you compare them with Quest for Glory V. That game started concept design in 1994, production in 1995, and shipped 3 years later in Dec. 1998. Initial budget $1.5 million, final budget in the $4 million range. Over 50 developers worked on it full-time. Hero-U has had over 20 developers, but almost all of them are part-time.

      We could have done this faster with a $5M or $10M budget, but our pockets aren't that deep. As it was QG5 faced cancellation multiple times, but eventually made it out the door. So will Hero-U. We're doing our best under challenging circumstances.

    2. Nancy Hutchins
      Superbacker
      on August 13, 2017

      I have to ask, was any workdone on this poject before it was Kickstarted? Sucessful on 6/15 with an estimated deilivery date of 3/16 and now it is 8/17 and it is just going inot Alpha testing?

      The touretous procress is waiting on this poject - a promis given byt not tangialbe rresluts.

    3. Loranna238 ~ Dream Traveler ~ on July 8, 2017

      It's weird but I didn't receive this update by email :(

    4. BlackGauntlet
      Superbacker
      on June 22, 2017

      @Mark
      "...merch that much, Hero's Que-" Hiss! Do not speak of that which may attract the attention of serpents in the guise of men who call themselves Corporate Lawyers.

      As for how the Coles can still work while us guys having midlife crises are burning out, I think it's about doing what you love.

    5. Missing avatar

      Mark on June 14, 2017

      Do people really view Kickstarter as a value proposition? I wonder given Corey's last post. For me Kickstarter is an investment in something I want to see created. I only gave $220 or so to the project in total including my merch purchases, but it was my way of saying "thanks for all the memories". I honestly don't care about the merch that much, Hero's Quest is always in my heart. And Hero-U? Looking forward to it, but these last 5 years have flown by (unfortunately) and I've noticed there's some pretty strange characters who are fellow QFG fans and seem urgent to get the game.. but I'm more than happy to wait as long as it takes.

      I honestly can't believe The Coles have the will to do it anymore at all. I'm only 35, but have been working nonstop since I was 12 and feel like I'm done. I can't imagine after the career the Coles have had. Hat is off, quite the inspiration. Heroic, even. :) It's much more important than the game to take time to love yourselves and each other. Take it easy, you have nothing to prove at this point. Best of luck with the final sprints.

    6. Andrew Tuckett on June 13, 2017

      I've never owned a physical copy of your games before with all the goodies so I'm looking forward to it! Have a virtual high 5 on me :-)

    7. Corey Cole 2-time creator on June 13, 2017

      Paskarl - an add-on DVD comes in a jewel case. The "big box" has a manual and a jewel case with the DVD in it. The Collector's Edition box comes with a jewel case with game DVD and music CD, a manual, Varsity Letter patch, limited edition Lucky Coin, and other stuff. Backers at the Collector's Edition level have already received a baseball cap or t-shirt. Most importantly, you contributed more towards making Hero-U a reality.

      In terms of the raw cost of components, nobody who contributed to this project is getting a good deal. $20 for a digital game that's all bits? $75 or $100 for a boxed game with maybe $10 in components? Not a bargain. The real value of backing at any level was letting us pay developers to make a game that we could not have made on a smaller budget.

      Lori and I definitely overpaid with $500K and 5 years of our lives if we look only at the physical products we'll get for that. But if our players love the game, then we'll have provided something of value to the world, and that's worth a lot. If players love it enough to get their friends to buy it, we'll benefit monetarily as well.

      I actually promised three different types of packaging - a "big box", a "premium big box", and a "game in a DVD display case". By combining the three, we will simplify fulfillment, have just one version for collectors, and save a ton on printing costs due to quantity discounts. I think the decision makes sense, and it benefits some backers that may have had to stretch to put in $75 or $100.

    8. Jeremie Lariviere
      Superbacker
      on June 13, 2017

      thanks for the update!

    9. Paskarl (k0SH) on June 13, 2017

      "I’ve decided to upgrade everyone to the “big box”

      Just to understand what that really means?:
      Kickstarter 1:
      Pledge level $75 = DVD
      Pledge level $150 = Graduate Edition, Big Box C.E.
      Add-on $50 = Standard Box

      Kickstarter 2:
      Pledge level $80 = DVD
      Pledge level $200 = C.E. Big Box

      So regardless if someone paid $50 for the DVD add-on during the first kickstarter or $200 for the C.E. Big Box during the second kickstarter ALL will get the SAME C.E. Big Box??

    10. Gorchnik von Uberstein on June 13, 2017

      You've heard me tell stories of this game on here time and time again. I cannot wait to try it out. That being said:

      Take your time. I have no problem play-testing games but I don't want your and Lori to have any regrets with this labor of love. Your games took me through childhood and let my imagination soar to new heights. I hope that in my adulthood now I can recapture that feeling if even for only a few hours with Hero-U.

    11. Heartsib
      Superbacker
      on June 13, 2017

      Looking good! Can't wait to see all of what you guys have been plugging away at!

    12. Matthew Ryan Sullivan on June 13, 2017

      Thanks for the update! Can't wait to play it!