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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.
Hero-U is a turn-based PC RPG with adventure game puzzles and immersive story, by the award-winning designers of Quest for Glory.
6,093 backers pledged $409,150 to help bring this project to life.

Remembering Those Who Came Before - Our First Add-Ons

Posted by Corey Cole (Creator)

Our First Hero-U "Add-Ons"

By popular request, and in the spirit of the Day of the Dead, we are pleased to provide our first two "add-ons" for the Hero-U Kickstarter. To select one of these add-ons, add the appropriate amount to your pledge at any tier. We will let you specify your choice and provide details (such as your chosen epitaph) in the Kickstarter-closing questionnaire.

These add-ons give you an in-game presence that can be seen by all players. They are perfect as gifts for a friend – You don't need to use your own name.

We will list new physical add-ons, including booster t-shirts and caps to show off your Hero University pride, next week.

Head(stone) of the Class (Add-on $100 to any reward tier): In the catacombs deep beneath the hallowed halls of Hero-U lie the monuments to those who gave their all in the service of heroism. Are you one of those who quested for Good and Glory? Then you too should be honored by all those who come after. Add $100 to your pledge at any reward tier, and our skilled artisans will engrave your name and epitaph on a headstone hidden deep within the catacombs. Those who seek, shall find you.  They may regret it.

School Spirit (Add-on $200 to any reward tier): The catacombs are filled with the restless spirits of those who came before. They haunt the passages and guard their secrets. Is your fate yet unfulfilled? Do you belong among the ghosts? Then add $200 to your pledge at any reward tier. Not only will your epitaph grace a headstone in the catacombs, but your restless spirit, ghoul, or revenant will haunt the area to terrify lesser adventurers and guard your hidden treasure.

Whispers Among the Gravestones

On Halloween night, Corey and Lori had an "I Am A" Ask Me Anything chat on  Here are some highlights of the discussion there.  (The full thread is at Ask Corey and Lori Cole Anything.)

Burf90 asked about the "save game" features:

Lori answered: There will be an autosave feature that will record every time you step into the dungeon and every morning you get up. That being said, you can save your game anywhere and any time for yourself. So yes, the old Adventure Game motto will apply - save early and often! And for those of us who are out of the save the game habit, there will be autosaves to fall back upon.

Torchinomotorino asked about equipment and cross-class skills:

Corey responded: We will have many more equipment options in Hero-U than in Quest for Glory. As Sierra adventures, those games were severely limited in inventory space and options. Rogues at Hero-U rely heavily on their tools and possessions. We'll also get Shawn some stylish changes of armor and clothing.

Lori added: The Rogue can set magical traps and snares, learn to make healing salves and blinding powders, and even itching powders to add to his repertoire of thief skills. He's never going to be a great fighter, but he'll find ways of defeating his foes that no warrior would dream of using!

Twincast2005 and ubyuby asked about romance, relationships, and companions.

Lori responded: Reactions to Shawn's deeds depend upon the other character. Something dastardly might win you the respect of one classmate and the disdain of another one. If Shawn makes friends, then he'll have to work to keep them. They won't stay his friend long if he doesn't act like a friend.

Reputation will be a critical part of the game for people who really like the "Role-playing" in a game. It will take an effort to raise your status with other characters because you start out as a poor Thief. What you do for and to other characters will raise or lower the opinions of those around you.

Right now, I'm planning on the issue of romance to be determined by the player. There are classmates and staff who could be romanced. Everyone has their own goals and agendas, so helping them achieve their goals will give you serious karma cookies.

Then, maybe... they'll think enough of Shawn to fall in love with him.

But Romance is only a side quest in this game. The player may or may not want to put in the effort to impress other people. Shawn may have more important goals in his life than making friends.

Shadowfax11 and DeviantBoi asked why we are using a different graphics approach than in the Quest for Glory games, pointing out that SpaceVenture has promised a Sierra-like engine on a $500K budget.

Lori responded: At our $400K goal, we will have $260K after expenses and backer rewards with which to make the game. Quest for Glory IV cost almost $1 million to make back in 1993 when most of the developers earned $15/hour. Costs are higher now.

We've done the math. We know exactly what it took to make Shannara, MacGuffin's Curse, and Jolly Rover, which was a traditional adventure game. Our budget is not enough to make an Adventure RPG as complex as Hero-U will be using the Sierra approach to art and animation. It is enough to make a great game with tiled graphics.

There is another reason we are goingwith the MacGuffin's Curse approach. We know that we can create a game with the same emotional involvement, character development, and story-telling as any Quest for Glory with this engine. In addition, we can create a combat system that is more "Puzzle-solving" than "click, click, click."

You want to sneak past a monster? No problem - if your sneak skill is high enough. But maybe you'd like to set a trap for the monster and then lure it into the trap. Or perhaps you'd like to push a few barrels so that you can keep the monster from getting to you while you investigate it's lair. We couldn't really pull this sort of game style off with the Adventure Engine.

So our decision to go with the MacGuffin's Curse style is as much because we want to add a different sort of game play to the story as it is financial.

Corey added: What we're doing with Hero-U is boiling the game down to its essence - story, characters, and puzzles - then putting in as much art and music as we can to support those. By using the top-down view, we don't need as much animation or backgrounds, and the programming is simpler. That's allowing us to put a million dollars of gameplay in a $260K game.


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    1. J Cotton on

      Thank you for the AMA roundup. Live participation can take a while and sorting through the aftermath discussion longer. I'd missed this one so thanks for the highlights.

      The financial math information makes this one of the most informative, insightful Kickstarter updates I've read (too many in truth). The cost behind the perspective types = interesting. The MacGuffin 'case study' on emotional game quality proof = excellent. More flexible, creative gameplay = yes please. "programming is simpler" = yeah…that's huge. Thanks team!

    2. Missing avatar

      Andre S. on

      I really loved the Quest for Glory games and I like the responses here in regards to how this game is being approached. I was really excited to see that a toy meep was added as one of the pledge awards- as this was one of the first things I was looking for when I pledged. If there are multiple colors, it would sure be fun to add-on several colors and have a collection of meeps!!

    3. Corey Cole 2-time creator on

      @Thom: I checked with the lead developer. Andrew says that Unity does support "non-standard characters" using Unicode, so the answer is a "almost certainly" yes. I'll leave a little touch of hedge in case we can't find a character you need in our fonts.

    4. Sameer Kale on

      @Juanita, great post explaining the process! :)

    5. Sameer Kale on

      Thanks for the official word, Corey. Hopefully this should prevent any unnecessary misunderstandings in the future, doubly so when the physical add-ons become available.

    6. JuanitaD-ArmikrogArmyGoat @ AGL589+$4.96 on

      @Anthony - The problem with the QFI add-ons were that they were being offered ONLY to new backers and for a specific time ("this weekend only" type of thing). So, if you were an existing backer, you didn't get the add-on at all, no matter what you did, and if you missed the weekend and pledged on Monday, you didn't get it either.

      That's what got Steven in hot water. All he was really trying to do was inject a little fun in the campaign. He didn't know how upset his current backers would be by those "new backer only" add-ons. I was one of the backers that messaged him to point out how unfair that was for the people that were already supporting him. Anyway, he quickly changed the add-on strategy to include any backer that pledged at a certain level and up and things were fine after that.

      Add-ons have actually been very good at helping get projects funded. They were very successful in the Broken Sword campaign. Backers just have to realize that add-ons are only available as a top up over the existing pledge. You could pledge the $7500 tier and you would still not get to be a School Spirit unless you added $200 to that pledge - $7700 in all.

      If anyone is confused on how to add a Top-up (or Add-on - same thing): Click "Manage Your Pledge", add the $100 or $200 to the dollar amount pledged in the green box, but don't change the tier level. When you're done, your $ commitment should be $100 or $200 above the tier level selected (plus another $5.89 if you're an AGL589 member). Then when the surveys go out at the end of the campaign, there will be a box to explain which top-ups you paid for.

      Also, several people have said they wished that t-shirts or something else would be available as top-ups. This is from the Update above: "We will list new physical add-ons, including booster t-shirts and caps to show off your Hero University pride, next week."

    7. Corey Cole 2-time creator on

      As Serena said, current backers may change their reward tier and pledge amount at any time. If you pledged $150 for the Graduate edition, and decide you really want your own headstone, you might choose to go down to the $75 Senior tier, and increase your pledge to $175. Then you will get the standard boxed copy with fewer physical items, plus the grave market. You could even decrease your pledge to $135, get the Sophomore-level digital rewards and the tombstone. Or keep your pledge at $150, go to the $35 level, and count the extra $15 as a gift to help the project succeed. Add-ons add choices, they don't take anything away from our backers.

    8. Sameer Kale on

      Oops, pardon the typo:

      "I actually **saw** another user bring up the same concern..."

    9. Sameer Kale on

      @Serena, yep, I know, I agree with you. I myself am a sucker for big-box, collector's editions and want much more than just the digital game! :)

      I'm was just addressing Anthony's concern (see below). I actually another user bring up the same concern on the forum a few weeks ago, so I just want to make sure no one misunderstands (and gets upset over) how the pledging/rewards system works.

    10. Serena Nelson - Hero of the AGRM

      @S. Kale: I certainly don't see the problem. We're not billed until after the project ends (and only if it gets funded). We can raise and lower our pledges as we see fit until then. If you only care about the game and getting a tombstone, then just plop down $120, pick the $20 tier, and Palindrome Bob's your uncle.

    11. Sameer Kale on

      I think add-ons themselves are fine (actually, very cool), but I think Anthony was talking about late-comers having an advantage over us old-timers, but I don't think that's the case.

    12. Palindrome Bob-XSF-I'm in AGL589-BG5.22

      If you were only donating $100 and expected to pick a tier AND the epitaph add-on I don't think that $100-pledge will cover that in the 'closing questionnaire'.
      "We will let you specify your choice and provide details (such as your chosen epitaph) in the Kickstarter-closing questionnaire."
      I'm a physical guy, so I'm waiting for the physical add-ons. :-)
      ### Member of the Pinkerton Road Cavalry ###

    13. Serena Nelson - Hero of the AGRM

      I personally have no problem with the top-ups. Some people might, yes. If you want to get recognized in the game, then you gotta give a little bit extra. I actually like the way that the Coles are doing this rather than other projects. The Larry Kickstarter gave us a last minute (limited to 20) "Walk of Shame" tier at $750 and it sold out within a couple hours. If I was any slower, I would never have gotten mine. I haven't decided yet, but I'll probably at least go for the tombstone epitaph add-on. And at least this time I have the leisure of thinking it over.

    14. Sameer Kale on

      @ Anthony, I agree with what Don's saying. The way I understand it, if you just paid $100 for the tombstone "add-on," you wouldn't even get the game, and definititely not the rewards from the $75 tier (DVD, etc.).

      To get the game (digital download) AND the tombstone, you would have to contribute $120 ($20+$100), and to get all the stuff at the $75 pledge AND the tombstone, it would be $175.

      Corey, please correct me if I'm wrong. Apparently the Quest for Infamy KS handled things differently (weirdly, in my humble opinion), so there seems to be some confusion here.

    15. Ratatoskr - Battle Squirrel of the Varl on

      I can see why some people would be annoyed at this, but personally if I buy it I still want the rewards at the level I pledged so it would have to be an addition. The fact that this doesn't automatically add on to my current level doesn't both me because I already decided it was worth it with the current rewards. For those who just want the crypt or spirit, pledging at the $5 or $20 level and then adding the right amount is a perfectly valid way to go. I just see them as different paths to the same goal. I wouldn't complain about a couple shirts or cheaper add-ons though.

    16. Don Parsons on

      Anthony - I don't know the Infamous Adventures one or how they did it but it seems its $100 for these regardless if you're new or old pledger. You have to add the $100 in addition to any reward tier to get it. If you were to pledge 105 you'd get the Friend tier and the tombstone - but not anything at the 75 level.

      At least thats how they handled it with Numenera (Monte Cooks kickstarter) and how it reads like here.

    17. eXoScoriae on

      Addon rewards backfired on the Infamous Adventures kickstarter. See, the problem is, it tends to punish those who have come before. For example, say I have already pledged $75 for a boxed copy. That means I now have to bump to $175 for a tombstone. Someone who hasn't pledged anything at all yet can simply pledge $100, and get the tombstone. So, if I were to want the tombstone, it is in my best interest to cancel my pledge, and then repledge from scratch. Does that make sense? There was so much backlash on the Infamous Adventures kickstarter that they actually reversed the whole thing and just ended up adding those rewards to the standard tiers.

      Just something to think on. So far no one seems that upset by it here, but I know that personally, if I decide to go for a tombstone, I won't add $100 to my current pledge. Rather, I'll cancel and restart from scratch.

    18. Missing avatar

      Thom Lewis on

      will the tombstones support unicode

    19. JuanitaD-ArmikrogArmyGoat @ AGL589+$4.96 on

      Those are expensive add-ons, but they have to be the best add-ons I've ever seen. Simply awesome. I hope there are lots of takers!