Use this space to cheer the creator along, and talk to your fellow backers.
Have a question?
Thanks Artimis! Criticism is always appropriate, and often accurate, but doesn't necessarily help the game get made any faster. I can tell you that if I'd known all this five years ago, I'd have kickstarted a paper game book instead of another computer game! :-)
Still, if we at least break even on this one, we definitely plan to continue the series. This is a great creative outlet for us as well as a service to our fans. We like to think we're adding something of value to the world during our brief stay here.
Though I was pretty critical in a past comment some years ago after the second round of funding was kicked off, I'm cautiously optimistic based on the updates over the last year. At this stage, I can't help but pull for the key creators of some of my all time favorite games. Now that it looks like we're close to getting to play it, I hope the game turns out great and finds commercial success.
More details in the just-posted Update.
Thanks for the update.
I know from experience how nearly impossible it is to estimate the magnitude of risks to software development timelines. Glad to hear there's a light at the end of the tunnel and can't wait to see the beta.
Malik, absolutely you have every right to comment. As for funding, we've been out of funds for two years. Everything since then has come out of loans, and Lori's and my retirement accounts. It's safe to say at this point that we've personally spent as much on this project as we received from both Kickstarter campaigns. It's a huge risk.
Justin, we're very close on the testing schedule you mentioned. The first group of testers have been in the wine cellar for about a month. There is a single reason we haven't expanded testing to the full set of Alpha Test backers, and it has nothing to do with the game. We have integrated bug reporting with Asana, and that feature has been having problems. Since the programmer in charge of it only works two nights a week, and we have to do a full game build to test each change to it, it's taking a couple of months to get right. Currently, there is a problem with Macintosh builds that we need to fix before I can open up testing to a larger group. In say an Electronic Arts game, the same things would be happening, but you wouldn't hear about them until the game launched.
Meanwhile, the game and testing are progressing well. I'll post about that in the next update, but we now have 25 testers going through the full game story in the castle and wine cellar. We'll add the Sea Caves in a patch in about two weeks.
Are we going to make the November 15 release? Realistically, probably not, but it's going to be close. As we get more feedback from the testers, most of our team has to switch to bug-fixing mode, and Lori and Josh need to rewrite sections of the text and dialogue to better explain anything testers find confusing.
What you're getting for this is a game that is much more sophisticated than Quest for Glory, with triple the dialogue of "the CD-ROM from Hell", Quest for Glory IV. Lori continues to flesh out the dialogue with more options every day. A typical QGIV scene had five or six game events; they often have 20 or more in this game. That means more realistic, living dialogue that we hope will let players feel is if they are participating in an interactive film, not just playing a game.
Will we succeed? We'll all find out soon. In the meantime, Lori and I are confident that we are giving backers the ambitious game experience we promised them five years ago. We knew it would be hard then; we didn't know it would be "five years" hard. But looking back, I don't see how we could have done this much faster. Even without the setbacks from developers leaving the team, Lori and Josh have been writing all this time, and it's all necessary to give players real choices and many, many surprises throughout the game.
I may be embarrassed at the many mistakes I've made over the last five years (or ten, if you count the years when I *didn't* work on a game before we started Hero-U), but I have zero guilt. We're working hard and making a really special and unique game. We could have done something cookie cutter in two years, but it wouldn't have been this Hero-U.
Never have I lost the respect I have for the creators of a PC game as much as in this. The idols of my favourite original Hero's Quest : So You Want To Be A Hero, are sadly no where to be found anymore.
It still amuses me to see every time we try to comment on the sad status, and imagining what Ken would have said to the Coles, up come the sympathizers with further encouragement to continue delaying this project. Everyone has the right to voice their opinion, but I just wish they see the reality. Half-baked does not even seem close.
Since, I have put my money in, doesn't matter if its the lowest tier, I still can say something as long as I have no way of getting it back. The lowest tier is the best I could afford at that time, which I immediately paid without a second thought when I heard the Coles were working on the spiritual successor to one of my most favorite series.
After 4 years, it's not even in Beta, and we don't even have an idea of what stage the game is really in. No new demos or work-in-progress videos.
I can say it again, but after putting money on the creators I once idolized and greatly respected before, and seeing the progress (or non-progress) of this game, I lost all confidence in crowd-funding any new projects, no matter if that developer/creator is another of my trusted people.
I wouldn't be surprised, if the developers finally nail on comments like this and blame it on us and call it a day - "Sorry, after multiple changing hands, we're out of funds, and can't continue this project anymore, and no thanks to negative comments and criticizers. Thanks for all your support." Or....releasing it as " You want the current game? Take it as it is now!"... and wash off the hands...
Harsh comments? Of course.I see no way my money coming back. Let me at least say what I feel.
Long live the crowdfunding.
1 June - Castle Alpha Test - All team members and Insider Backers
1 July - Castle Targeted Beta - Test specific areas in the Castle
1 July - Wine Cellar opens to Insider Backers for Combat Alpha Testing
i see two outcomes for this game when it actually gets released.
1. it will get downvoted and gather bad reviews on steam, simply because of this whole ordeal.
2. most backers and therefore torchbearers have already forgotten about it or turned their back.... so no reaction at all
maybe a combination of the two of them. of course there will be some people who will defend it, but those are people who already bought it.
of course, this game could be so brilliant it a mass following. why not. but the cat seems more dead than alive.
@Redshirt: Sorry for the slow response. You asked about "unusable" work. Generally it's when a developer (artist or programmer) implements a prototype, but doesn't finish it. We scrapped most of the 2D characters and backgrounds because they looked bad in comparison to the later 3D work. We still have a small number of 2D props in the game, hopefully not noticeable to players.
Two different programmers worked on sound and music subsystems, but did not finish their work, and it didn't fit into the systems we're using now. One of our top early programmers prototyped multiple scenes of the game using a combination of 2D and 3D, but they looked very primitive next to later work, so we scrapped them and started over. We're also remaking the opening video, because the art style in it does not fit with the current look of the game.
I should emphasize that this is a normal aspect of all game development. We hope to avoid it each time (and sometimes do), but often have to "bite the bullet" and accept throwing out earlier work. Quest for Glory V was a case where we initially developed prototypes using 2D, switched to an in-house Voxel engine that looked great, but was too slow, then developed a traditional polygon-based 3D engine that was fast enough, but looked primitive. That caused the project to run years late and millions of dollars over budget.
On both Quest for Glory I and II, we had scenes that were fully developed, but didn't work as intended. The Kobold Cave in QG1 had crashing bugs and had to be completely rewritten. The harem scene in QG2 was originally "guess the programmer's mind about the right path to take or die", so we had that rewritten. Both of those changes delayed the project release, and were very dangerous to do at the last minute, but had to be done.
Other than Lori and me, John Paul Selwood is the only team member who has been with us throughout the project. We've even had him redo a lot of his own earlier work as the graphic style developed and as he is maturing as an artist.
RIP My backer money.
Dear devs, as a backer of the first 2 games, I am not upset it takes awhile,
good explanation about the game engine, much appreciated hope to hear more soon.
Is there any info to share on the unusable programmer work mentioned in the 'Money Matters' update from 2015? I haven't been following all the updates and trying to play catch up and search through comments is tough. I'm curious why that much work had to be scrapped.
Hey Corey and Lori I can't express how impressed I am that you've been able to keep development moving and push through on this game. As a developer myself I've seen plenty of the types of problems you've described and seen and know how hard it can be to keep a project moving forward when those things crop up.
I'm very excited that Alpha testing is about to begin and can't wait to play the game when it's ready!
Looking good Corey. Thanks for taking the necessary time and effort to give us a quality product, rather than just spitting something out to meet an arbitrary deadline, with no regard for quality. We've got enough companies that do that already.
The only thing your last comments proves Corey is how utterly ignorant your original ETA was. In fact, since you keep bring up YOUR specific past projects as a reference then it pretty much shows you knowingly lied about your original ETA. I can't believe you would use such phrases as "we're right on schedule". What happened to keeping it real?
All our games took 6-7 years so this one is right on schedule!!!! Oh but um, we thought for some unknown alien reason that this was originally going to take only 1 year and we based that on um, well....purple cows!
Further more you lied again on your second kickstarter project because you estimated for them total time to be 4 years.....more purple cows?
Don't tell us this game is right on schedule based on YOUR experience when YOU are the one that told us it was only going to take 1 year, then you said 4 years, both of which have passed.
We keep going around in circle with this, I expect you to at least "keep it real". Quit with the nonsense comments. Absolutely nothing about this project is on schedule!
We're right on schedule for that, Egon - we started work on Quest for Glory V in 1992, and the game shipped in 1998 - six years. We started design on Hero's Quest in 1982, and it shipped in 1989 - seven years. Then again, we started Hero-U design in 2003, about 14 years ago. Its first incarnation was an interactive web site.
"Estimated delivery: Oct 2013" coming up on 4 years overdue, and that's with double dipping with 2 Kickstarter campaigns. Here I thought I backed a Quest for Glory Game not Duke Nukem.
In 20-20 hindsight, we now know this game would have taken at least three years with the original graphics concept, and it would not have looked good. Why three years? That's the minimum time it took for Lori to write the game text and dialogue.
In any case, the point is moot. We didn't change graphic standards because we couldn't make up our minds. We changed them because the original programmer left the team, and the new team couldn't make the old code work. See my post from last month, "It Takes a Team", at http://hero-u.com/it-takes-a-team/.
Again, we had no choice about going from 2D isometric to 3D. Our team of programmers and artists struggled mightily for two years, and the 2D results did not work well (where players could click) and looked mediocre. When our artists showing us 3D images that looked as good as JP's 2D concept art, and the programmers could make them work much better, there was no question about switching.
I just want to make clear that neither of those changes was made hastily or by whim - they were what we had to do to make a good game.
We did the exact same thing on Quest for Glory V for a different reason - it was a beautiful, voxel-driven game in which the frame rate on an average computer dipped to 2 fps. Since that would have been unplayable, we converted everything to 3D polygons. The game looked much worse, but playable trumps unplayable.
As with Hero-U, that change was an expensive decision, adding a year of development, and possibly $2 million to the development cost. In hindsight, it would have been cheaper to use a 3rd party graphics engine, and we would likely have had a better-looking game, but it's impossible to guess these things in advance. When Sierra budgeted out the game at $1.5 million, spending $500,000 on a 3rd-party engine didn't look like a smart move.
We later learned from other Sierra developers that two other divisions of Sierra made the exact same mistake with King's Quest: Mask of Eternity and Gabriel Knight 3. Each group developed a custom 3D engine for each of those games, and none was up to the standard of the best 3rd party 3D engines.
We chose to develop Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption under Unity to avoid making the same mistake. It's an established engine used by thousands of other game companies, large and small. However, the engine does not write the game; it's just one small piece of the puzzle. Whichever engine we used, years of writing, art creation, and programming were still needed to put everything together. Predicting just how long proved impossible - the "first law of Frisbee" is "make no remark more predictive than 'Watch this!'" Soon we'll be able to say that about Hero-U. :-)
That was a pretty good game! Played it a while ago.
For those interested, you can play Heroine's Quest for free in the meantime :p
Danny, no news as of yet. At least, not here.
"Look for another update by the end of June with detailed Alpha Test news and instructions."
Looks like they completely flopped on it. Nothing on it at the end of June, nothing during July, nothing at the beginning of August, nothing here at the middle of August.
Has there been any news on Alpha Testing? Has it begun?
Lol. Alright, I'll stop feeding you. Have a nice day, and enjoy the game when it comes out.
"Generally when people say liquor, they are referring to "hard" alcohol, not beer, but we digress."
Another utterly wrong assumption/generalization on your part. Sorry, that's as far as I got. Your nonsense is just too much for me.
Generally when people say liquor, they are referring to "hard" alcohol, not beer, but we digress.
You seem to be missing the point that my assumptions are no more wild than yours. There is no more reason to believe that the average backer prefers the original vision than there is reason to believe the average backer prefers the changed vision. We simply don't have the necessary data to make that judgement.
My initial point was to simply express skepticism that a significant number of people could honestly think the original vision presented a quality aesthetic. A "good enough" aesthetic to put up with in order to get a game from the Coles, sure, but actual quality? It really did look like something you would buy for a dollar and play on your phone, whereas the revised vision actually looks like something that belongs on a PC.
Zac, well, good thing you are free to make whatever wild assumptions you want regardless of how wrong they are. You stick with liquor? Beer is liquor so...what?
I'm pretty sure 99.98% is how many backers care more about it being a game from the Coles than about how fast it arrives or whether it is totally in line with the original vision. And I stick with liquor.
Ok Zac...99.98%. Did you have that beer yet?
Actually, we don't know for a fact that every single backer would have been happy with the original concept. I am obviously a backer, and I wasn't remotely happy with the graphical presentation in the original concept. I just wanted more of the Coles' narrative design, and I was willing to accept the horrible, low-rent mobile game interface if that was all they could put together the funding to give us. As for timing, if my options are a terrible game fast or a great game slow, great is more important than fast. YMMV.
I make it a rule to only give more than a few dollars to a project when I like the physical rewards from whichever tier I back to be okay with it if the product itself fails to deliver. If anything, I should be more irritated than others, since they decided not to deliver most of the physical stuff until the game boxes ship. But I'm not, because like I said, the destination being worthwhile is more important than how long we spend on the trip.
And they still have games on consoles? I thought consoles were for streaming videos and playing blu-rays...
@Linda. I agree with you somewhat, but I'm actually happy they changed the looks of the game. I'm in the same boat as you with leisure time. But I somehow manage to take time and do the things I want to do.
It's like keeping that book you really want to read on the nightstand and then finally pick it up and start reading it. I honestly don't mind having something to look forward to, even if it means that it is weeks, months or years ahead.
Quest for Glory 1-5 fan and I did indeed enjoy number 5. It felt like closure. I admire the Coles that they've kept on going. It cannot have been easy.
We know for a fact that every single backer would have been happy with the original concept after all that is when we opened our wallet.
I'm more skeptical of the claim that everyone likes the increased scope and the longer waiting times. I think a lot of people just gave up on the game.
I certainly would have preferred what I was promised years ago over this eternal wait. Mid June was the last update that they were moving towards Alpha.
I backed this when I still did a lot of gaming on PC before the birth of my son and before taking a more intensive job. I do most of my gaming on consoles now and at this point I'm not even sure I will put much time into the game if it ever releases.
It's all going to be ok Zac. Go have a beer and enjoy today.
What inquiry? I wasn't asking a question, I was expressing skepticism. A handful of people in a comment thread is not sufficient evidence to make me believe that a substantial percentage of the game's thousands of backers were motivated more by really loving the mock-ups of game screens that looked like they belonged on a tablet than by QfG nostalgia and confidence in the Coles. As for "four years late," so what? I don't know if you noticed, but pretty much every adventure game project on Kickstarter gave estimates that turned out to be wildly off base. Hero U probably won't even end up being the one that takes the longest, but it very easily could end up being the one that is most worth the wait.
Won't be long now until the final "final home stretch" kickstarter to get this into beta. Just a few more months. Just you wait.
Cool story but none of that has anything to do with the reality of the project or your initial inquiry into why people backed. Like I said, read the comments and find the discussions. You are literally arguing why people backed based on future visuals that weren't available at the time. Utterly pointless and ultimately none of it has to do with the project being 4 years late because of said change.
Let's be fair though; the 3D in QfG5 wasn't horrible because 3D is inherently bad, it was horrible because the technology at the time simply wasn't ready yet. It's a mature technology at this point, and the only reason to categorically reject the third dimension in 2017 is blind nostalgia.
Also, 5 was not a garbage game, it was a good game with garbage graphics. Which, if we're taking off the rose-colored nostalgia glasses, would also be true of the first two games. The only ones in the series where the technology was available (and well utilized) to create a quality aesthetic were III and IV.
Would I prefer a higher quality QfG III/IV style of graphics to what we are getting? Of course I would. But that was never one of the options presented in this project. Whether you prefer 3D or 2D on a conceptual level, the 3D we are getting looks like it has a substantially higher quality of implementation that the particular type of 2D the project originally sold us on.
No need to be skeptical. It's rather simple. People loved QFG1-4. QFG5 was garbage. The average person that disliked it, did so because of the horrible 3D direction they took. They were glad to have another story but struggled through the horrible representation. It's very safe to say that many people here were looking forward to them getting back to something more simplistic. So yes, the tile aspect was in fact a key decision making feature. Just read through the comments and you'll find lots of discussion about it. Sometimes people don't want C.O.D., they want a side scrolling Mario
But now we've crossed the line into arguing about people's opinion, which is a major waste of time.
I'm skeptical that anyone could look at the mock-ups of what the actual game screen would look like from the original campaign and honestly believe that looks like a superior visual experience as compared to the revised direction.
The original campaign's success was, in my opinion, due almost entirely to trust in the Coles based on QfG nostalgia. It likely had nothing, or next to to nothing, to do with a deep love for the presented design process or the tile system. The only real problem with the new direction they took is that they didn't start with it, and that's not really a problem they could address without a flux capacitor. I'd much rather have a (potentially) great game to play that takes five years to hit alpha than a forgettable diversion that is churned out in one or two. We get plenty of that already from the corporate gaming industry.
I still have faith that the Coles will deliver! I know that if I were making a game for thousands of backers, I would love to see some positivity on the comments wall. So, go Coles! The release is in sight! (I hope.)
Exactly. I never asked for changing the design, which in turn prompted a second kickstarter. I supported the Coles' original game design. It was a humble 2D design, but I was only too happy to support them that time. I paid whatever I can then. It may not break your bank, but for some of us, even the basic tier is a substantial amount.
"the Coles have mortgaged their house to bring this game out"
Yeah, because they didn't stick to the original plan and changed it into something they had zero experience in. No tears here. That was a horrible choice. They should have stuck to the original plan. Now we're all getting something we didn't even back. That might be ok for you but it's not for many of us. Now we sit, wait and see what they dump in our laps. Good? Bad? I guess we'll find out, some day.
@Pedasn That's fair, but I'll have optimism regardless. A few dollars spent five years ago isn't breaking my bank but the Coles have mortgaged their house to bring this game out... who do you think has more invested in this game coming out and it being good?
@ James Paten: So far, we have only their word that the game will be good, polished and deep. I don't think their word is worth a lot by now. Even if it comes out, it could still end up being an empty mess.
Malik, same here. I still have all my maxed out characters including Paladin. I played the heck out of those games. But this will be on the bottom of my list. I'll probably play SpaceVenture before this....even if it comes out years later.
And this is coming from a veteran Quest for Glory player. I'm not some newbie who decided to support this as a random gaming interest.
I was there when QFG was released as Hero's Quest in EGA and I first played it in my 286.
I supported this game solely based on the names of Coles. And since this, I never supported another kickstarter ever, looking at how even legendary names fail to keep up the release.
It's not even in Beta yet. I fail to see how some are still even excited over this project.
With a change of design from original proposal to backers, and almost un-ending delays of release and postponements, and still an unclear completion status, it's more frustrating than exciting.
"We will be out in far less time than Duke Nukem Forever..."
I should hope so. DNF was originally announced in 1997 and wasn't released until 2011.
Seriously, saying you'll be done before a game notorious for being in "development hell" and took 14 years to see the light of day doesn't exactly fill me with a lot of confidence (or hope).
Just gotta say... still very excited for this project!
I've waited almost two decades for a new QFG game... to see it come so close is a dream come true! It's great to see you all take your time and make sure the game is what you want it to be, not something that was only as good as the project plan timeline allowed.
"On request, I will also provide keys to other sites - likely steam, humble, and gog - to backers"
I would hope so. Us backers aren't just wanting the game through your site. We will want it on either steam or gog, to be sure. I think that goes without saying.