Hero-U Update 82: A Tale Of Two Castles.

The Castle Home of Hero University
The Castle Home of Hero University

The university for Heroes is located in an ancient and foreboding castle with a long and storied history. Here you will explore the mysteries of the past and how they affect the present and future games. As part of our research into the the broad topic of “fantasy schools in medieval castles,” we recently explored another famous school – Hogwarts, the School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Hogwarts is quite close to Hogsmeade, a charming traditional village. Both are apparently located in Universal Studios Hollywood, although it’s possible some interdimensional rifts were involved in our visit. (You don’t often see snow on the rooftops of buildings in Southern California in the summertime… nor in Sardonia.)

Hogwarts Castle inside Universal Studios Hollywood
Hogwarts Castle inside Universal Studios Hollywood

Walking the Line

It took about 40 minutes to get from the entrance of the Harry Potter attraction to the actual ride. We spent most of that time walking around the castle grounds and inside the castle itself. There were always new things to see and examine, and the exercise was undoubtedly good for us couch potatoes.

Shawn will get plenty of exercise as he walks around the Hero-U castle and improves his skills in the practice rooms. As for “new things to see and examine,” they are everywhere in Hero-U! Our castle is filled with curios from around the fantasy world, and Shawn can interact with all of them. There are surprises everywhere.

Talking Heads

One of the first things we noticed inside Hogwarts was the profusion of animated, talking portraits. They carry on conversations with each other, many played by actors from the Harry Potter films. (See https://www.pottermore.com/writing-by-jk-rowling/hogwarts-portraits for more details on magically-animated portraits.)

The portraits in Hero-U are much better behaved, mostly staying within their frames. However, each portrait in the halls of Hero-U has its own story to tell. Many of them are portraits of backers, but each is also an artwork in its own right.

Portrait of Lenkyl Greatstorm in the Hero-U Basement
Portrait of Lenkyl Greatstorm in the Hero-U Basement

There are some “interactive people” in Hogsmeade Village, actors representing vendors and townspeople. Most of them could have been in any store, but a few took their acting seriously. I particularly enjoyed talking with a Hogwarts Express conductor – he really knew his Harry Potter lore.

Hero-U is another matter entirely. Lori has spent most of the last three years crafting dialogue for each of the dozens of actors at the University. Everyone has unique things to say that fill out the background of the school, provide important game hints, or are just for fun. Shawn’s roommate Aeolus loves to compose lyrics to music, but the melody is not always completely original – see how many popular songs you can recognize as his inspirations.

By the way, most of the dialogue changes every day, so don’t assume you can get to know people in a single conversation.

Rogues Meet in the Practice Room
Rogues Meet in the Practice Room

3-D Action

Like most of the attractions at Universal Studios, the Harry Potter ride is a 3-D motion simulator. Your broomstick seems to soar above and through Hogwarts as you encounter some of the scenery and situations from the Harry Potter films. It was definitely fun, but also a challenge for those of us – such as Corey – who suffer from motion sickness.

Corey has a similar problem with 3-D action games such as first-person shooters. The sometimes jerky, uneven motion is more than he can stomach, so to speak. That’s one of the reasons why we are going out of our way to make Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption a very different experience. Yes, we have 3-D environments, but you control the action. Combat in particular is turn-based – it’s about strategy and tactics, not about how fast you can click.

Top Five Similarities Between Hogwarts and Hero-U

  • Both are schools situated in ancient castles.
  • Wizards study their Gramarye there; magic is in the air.
  • Deadly terrors lurk beneath, and sometimes in, the schools.
  • Filch and Mr. Terk both think their schools would be better without any students.
  • Harry and Shawn find both staunch friends and malicious enemies at their schools.

Top Five Differences Between Hero-U and Hogwarts

  • Hero-U offers many other disciplines than Wizardry, even Roguery.
  • Hogwarts students play Quidditch, not for the faint-of-stomach. Hero-U students play Poobah and other games that do not require flight.
  • Mundanes and magicians mix freely in the halls of Hero-U.
  • While many Hogwarts teachers have quirks, only Hero-U has Kwirks.
  • There is no “chosen one” at Hero-U; anyone can be a Hero.

There is another big difference between the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios and the Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption game. Their development budget was over $500 million; ours is closer to $500 thousand (or $1 million counting deferred costs). As a result, Universal charges about $100 per visit. We let you visit Hero-U as often as you want for $30 or less. What a bargain!

We look forward to opening the doors of Hero-U to our Beta testers late this year. Depending on the results of the tests, we’ll release the full game either at the end of this year or early next year. Both Wizarding World and Hero-U took several years to develop, but they are experiences you will enjoy exploring.

Snowy Rooftops in Summer at Hogsmeade Village
Snowy Rooftops in Summer at Hogsmeade Village

BackerKit Reminder

If you have moved, and whenever you move in the future, please update your mailing address on BackerKit. I would like to gradually fulfill physical goods orders as I have time available, and I become really sad when a package with $5 or $10 of postage is returned because we didn’t get a change of address.

You can reach any of your BackerKit projects by logging in at https://www.backerkit.com/master_backer_accounts/sign_in.

Interesting Kickstarter and Indiegogo Games

Buck (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1441684765/buck-2d-post-apocalyptic-noir-action-adventure-gam) has potential. They have a demo available from the project page so you can check it out before backing.

Unity (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/215931791/unity-tabletop-rpg) looks really nice and has some interesting concepts. This is a tabletop RPG, not a CRPG. If you like experimenting with new tabletop systems, consider giving this game book a try.

Herbert’s Quest (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/herbert-s-quest-a-medieval-madness-adventure-game#/) is an interesting experiment – a game created in a week using only Unity Store assets. It’s by Oded Sharon, an Israeli game developer with whom we worked on the Bolt Riley game. You can pledge as little as $1 to get a copy of the game.

Zartana (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/zartana-an-interactive-storybook-adventure#/) is a paper (book-based) interactive adventure game that looks gorgeous.

Indivisible (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/indivisible-rpg-from-the-creators-of-skullgirls#/) looks impressive. It’s a high-budget Japanese-style RPG, already funded at almost $2 million, but looking for extra backers for their community and stretch goals.

SpaceVenture Update #110: Two Guys SpaceVenture – by the creators of Space Quest by Two Guys From Andromeda

It’s time for another SpaceVenture update! First off, let us start by saying, we know this is overdue. The time between the last update and this update have not been a waste though. One of the issues has been the fact that some serious design time needed to go into certain pieces of the last third of the game that had not been completed. As these things go, game mechanics that make perfect sense in our design document don’t always pan out the way as expected once we begin implementing them in the game, which means, it’s back to the drawing board. During this time, we didn’t have any new visuals to show. We do have visuals to show now though! The good news is, things are coming together nicely and we are still pushing hard for the November 30th release date which is in sight.

INTRODUCING THE NANO FLEA SEQUENCE

One of the pieces of the game that we wanted to show you first is actually from the middle part of the game, however, it was quite a tricky little puzzle scenario that kept getting back burnered until the last couple of months. The scene has changed an insane amount since the image that was shown way back in a previous update.

During your adventures at “Scraps Place” you will be given the task to repair something. You’ll have to operate the nano flea critters shown in the below video in order to achieve your goal. This is a fun little part of the game in which you’ll find each nano flea has a particular job role it can perform during the repair.

https://youtu.be/r5mNYAbLgjw

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INTO THE BELLY OF THE BEAST

The title of this section pretty much says it all. This is a tiny bit spoilery, but I was sure not to divulge any of the puzzle here. As Ace, you’ll have to navigate your way through this creature’s internal plumbing all the while figuring out how to get out and what you might need along the way. Considering Ace’s profession, this should be a piece of cake, right?

NOTE: For some reason Kickstarter had an issue with embedding this video, so please click the below image to view the video on YouTube.

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OFFICER QUICKSILVER, HE’S BAD TO THE CHROME
Officer Quicksilver is a character that has been in the works for awhile. Thanks to the brilliant work of artist Brent Forrest, Quicksilver is now on his feet and ready to be implemented into the game. This little video is a bit of a teaser and obviously the music is place holder. We’ve got something fun planned for Quicksilver’s theme song, lyrics and all!
Again, this video a teaser. We’ll have in game footage of Quicksilver for you in the future.

https://youtu.be/mMzJW5zvRXY

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DOME SWEET DOME

You all haven’t forgotten about the Space Dome from our original concept art pieces have you?

This video below is another small teaser of something that is in the works in which Ace will possibly find himself face to face with the Two Guys From Andromeda themselves as he takes a service call at “Dominian Estates”. Just to clarify, the SpaceDome you all saw in our playable concept art pieces is in the process of being revamped quite a bit. Once it’s in a showable state we’ll have that posted out here for you all to check out as well.

https://youtu.be/Ilae9M9-wMY

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ONE OF THE FINAL SCENES OF SPACEVENTURE

This scene is hot off the presses by Mark Crowe. We don’t have video to show of it yet, because it is still very much a work in progress. The mechanics aren’t rigged up, so we figured an image would do it more justice. Mark is not quite happy with it yet, but he wanted to give you all a sneak peak at it. Hopefully in the near future we’ll have some actual game play to look at. As mentioned, this is one of the very last scenes in the game so for the sake of not spoiling much, I won’t give anymore details of what is going on here.

From Mark Crowe:

“Oooh! Big glowy A.I. eyeball. Scary! Ok maybe not yet but trust me it will be… it WILL be. Bwahahaha! IN this WIP scene, Ace isn’t seeing eye-to-eye with an antagonist in the final showdown puzzle sequence. Sparks are gonna fly.”

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EPISODE 26 OF THE BI-WEEKLY PODCAST BY THE SPACE QUEST HISTORIAN
If you haven’t heard, the Space Quest Historian podcast is back in action for season 3!
“Things come to a head between the Historian and the scourge of his laptop, CyberCedric. But despite Cedric gaining new powers, there’s still time to walk down memory lane with Jess Morrissette, get more crowdfunding tips from Serena Nelson, and listen to how Pete Toleman made it big in Communist Germany. Tonight’s special guest is Fabrice Breton of CowCat Games, creator of Demetrios: The BIG Cynical Adventure, who talks about being funny in a second language, and making first-person adventure games that are nothing like Myst.”
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A PLUG FOR BOLT RILEY  
Our friend Oded Sharon and his company, Adventure Mob, have successfully completed Chapter 1 of their Reggae adventure game “Bolt Riley”. We are really excited for them and hope you will check the game out. Lori and Corey Cole(creators of the Quest For Glory series) even had a had in some of the design. It is well worth checking it out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_fLdpncQNE

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Thanks for all of your support everyone!

Chris Pope a.k.a your humble local intergalactic SpacePope

Hero-U Update #81: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

Each game in our Quest for Glory series took players into a new land with a unique society. We based these lands on real-world locations to give players a taste of different cultures. As he became more experienced, the Hero traveled from Western Europe to the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and finally to the Mediterranean.

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption and the upcoming games in the Hero-U series all take place (or at least start) in the Hero University in Sardonia. The school is again on the Med Sea, but there is a strong influence from many different countries and cultures. While some of Shawn’s classmates are locals, others have traveled to Sardonia from all over the world – Yoruba, Arzmoor, Kriegsland, Mordavia, Marete, and many other lands.

Shawn meets Master Chef Ifetaya
Shawn meets Master Chef Ifetaya

Hero-U prides itself on its diversity. Students, faculty, and staff come from a wide variety of cultures and all walks of life. Nowhere is that diversity better reflected that in the University kitchen and dining hall. Each day Master Chef Ifetaya Kinah leads her staff and culinary students in preparing delicious meals from all around the world – Albion, Bellefrance, Nihon, and other exotic locations. Anyone who asks, “Since when is a Chef a type of Hero?” has never dined at Hero-U.

Our backers and team also reflect our quest for diversity and variety. I shipped packages to backers in over 30 countries, and I’m sure we have many more represented in our all-digital rewards backers. Our developers range from the Eastern and Western United States to Australia and New Zealand.

After the first two years, in which Lori was our sole female team member, the current team has equal numbers of men and women. We are unified in a few other ways – everyone on the team loves making and playing adventure games, and we’re all enormously excited about the way Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is developing. We’re doing our best to live up to every promise we made about Hero-U during the Kickstarter campaigns – beautiful graphics, realistic character interactions, and meaningful choices throughout the game.

User Interface Survey

School Store User Interface
School Store User Interface

We’ve tried multiple variations of the main user interface for Hero-U, and we’re still tweaking and refining them. I’ve put together a short survey of how you play games, and it will be very helpful to us if you and your friends take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WGMC5CW.

We want to know how many of our players use both mouse buttons when playing games, and what expectations you have for the right mouse button. In Quest for Glory, the right button toggled between commands (such as Talk, Look At, or Use) that the left button would use. In our first Hero-U demo, the right button brought up action menus, while the left button. For the second version, I switched that – left button acts, right button gives a description.

Project Status

Hero-U Reception Area
Hero-U Reception Area

We are continuing to refine the rest of the user interface, including the look and feel of the inventory, character sheet, and journal. It takes an amazing amount of behind-the-scenes work to make these screens work well with the right appearance and ease of use.

We’re in the last couple of months of creating “room content” for the game. This includes all the dialogue, text, interactions, animation, and “adventure game stuff” for Hero-U. This Summer we will refine and expand the combat system and working on “alternate interface puzzles” such as trap disarming. We will also start adding music and sound effects once all of the rooms are otherwise complete.

We plan to have a very long beta test to prevent the kinds of problems we had with several of our Sierra games. We hope to start Beta in late September or early October. As we get closer to the finish line, our ability to estimate the real completion date will improve.

We are delaying shipments of physical goods until the game is complete. It’s a very time-consuming process that takes time away from game development. We’ve sent out digital rewards such as Quest for Glory game keys and high-resolution travel posters and game images. Log on to BackerKit and visit your Hero-U page to get access to your digital add-ons.

Kickstarter Projects Ending Soon

Thanks to Unleasher for posting these projects to the Hero-U game forum. Visit the forum at http://www.hero-u.net/forum/index.php to keep up with game discussions and join them. Also check out the main page at http://www.hero-u.com for Lori’s game design updates (when she can find a few hours away from writing dialogue).

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/13978330/masquerada-songs-and-shadows) is a “pause for tactics” RPG. It needs about $7,000 more to reach its $65,000 goal within the next 3 days.

Chronicle of Ruin (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/954260789/chronicle-of-ruin) is a real-time tactical Japanese-style RPG. It’s at $6,000 of a $36,000 goal and has 16 days to go.

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows
Masquerada: Songs and Shadows

Thanks for reading! Invite your friends to help support Hero-U by pre-ordering the game at https://hero-u-adventure-role-playing-game.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders.

Hero-U Update #80: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

Three years and three months ago, Lori and I set out to make a modest computer role-playing game with some adventure-game-like story. I thought we could get it done in a year with one or two programmers and a few artists.

Thanks to changes in circumstances and team members, plus strong encouragement from our backers and maybe some masochism on our part, Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption has grown into a full-blown adventure role-playing game in the Quest for Glory vein. If you check out the game credits (http://www.mobygames.com/game-group/quest-for-glory-series) for those games, you’ll see why that’s a really ambitious goal for a crowdfunded indie game without a publisher or development studio.

Actually, the main challenge has been working with mainly part-time developers. Lori and I are full-time, but split between design, writing, and administration. Our mainstay artist, John Paul Selwood, has also worked close to full-time. Everyone else is putting in a few hours a week working around their day jobs.

Kalkulating Kwirk
Kalkulating Kwirk

I spend a lot of my time working with numbers. I actually like them and thought I’d share a few of my favorites. First, the project financials:

  • Pledged income: $555,000
  • Actual receipts after fees and loan payments: $460,000
  • Payments to art, music, and programming contractors: $380,000
  • Pledge reward and shipping costs: $80,000
  • Project burn rate: $10,000/month

So we’re at break-even from the funding campaigns so far, and are now working on personal loans. The above does not include any income for Lori and me, as we won’t pay ourselves until Hero-U becomes profitable. We also owe about $50,000 to developers who have chosen to defer their contract payments until after we release the game. (Thank you!)

This is all pretty normal for game development. Developers normally have a publisher contract that doles out funds as the developer reaches milestones. The publisher in effect “goes into debt” to make the game, then hopes to make a profit after they launch the game. They lose money on many games, and make it up on a few profitable ones… or the studio goes out of business. That happens a lot to both big publishers and small indie developers.

We’ve had a total of 28 developers work on Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption so far. 12 are still actively contributing to the project. That’s smaller than the teams on our last few Sierra games, but about as many as we had on Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire. Then again, all of those worked full-time for a year. In man- (and woman-) years, we’re still well under the development time of any of our Sierra games.

Hero-U By the Numbers

I love statistics, so let me share a few with you. Rogue to Redemption is huge, and more complex than any of our previous games.

  • Art assets and test builds in Dropbox: 5,344 files in 617 folders for 17.7 GB
  • Unity and Composer game files: 33,275 files in 1,957 folders for 4.8 GB
  • Backer Paintings, Statues, Ghosts, and Wanted Posters: 40+10+20+20 = 90
  • Number of game scenes: 68
  • Game days with unique events: 50
  • Number of characters and monster types: 74
  • Number of interactable objects (“props”): 1,200
  • Number of scripts written so far: 815, with about that many still to come

Why so many props and scripts? 68 scenes was about the number in a Sierra game, say Quest for Glory II or IV. But each scene in those games was 320×200 pixels covering one screen. Step out into the courtyard of Hero-U and you will get to get to explore the equivalent of 10 or 20 such screens. There might have been five such objects in a typical Quest for Glory scene vs. 20 or more in each Hero-U scene.

Then there are the character interactions. These typically change on most game days and in each location – Aeolus has different things to say at night in the dorm than in the evening in the recreation room. It is impossible to see all of the dialogue in one play-through; you’ll probably get to half of it after four or five games if you take care to say something different every time. Lori is writing a monster here with a little scripting advice from me.

Shawn Applies His Charm Skill in the Dining Hall
Shawn Applies His Charm Skill in the Dining Hall

Naming the New Team Members

I spend most of my time wrangling team members and funds, but I’ve also been helping Lori with the game design, writing updates, and crafting game text. That took more hours than I have each week, so we reached out to Sierra veteran Josh Mandel to write many of the text interaction messages.

Josh got his start playtesting Infocom and Sierra adventure games, then got a job as a tech writer for Sierra. Ken Williams “discovered” Josh and gave him the chance of doing game writing and design. Josh wrote for Jones in the Fast Lane, The Dagger of Amon Ra, Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist, Space Quest 6: Roger Wilco in the Spinal Frontier, and lots of other games. Most recently he worked with Al Lowe on the recent Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded game.

Josh also contributed game text to one of our non-Sierra projects, Shannara. We’re very excited to have him back on our team, this time writing many of the “incidental” messages for Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. The game will be much richer and funnier with his additions.

We’ve had a number of challenges on the programming side of this project. Some programmers needed higher pay than we could fit into our budget. Others left for full-time development opportunities.

We stabilized on our current all-star team of Joshua Smyth, Cidney Hamilton, and Robert Kety early last year, but they are only able to work part-time due to other jobs and health issues. We really needed to add a full-time developer to the team.

We’re now delighted to introduce Carolyn VanEseltine as our new programmer and design contributor. Carolyn plans to apply her strong design sense, interactive fiction background, and Unity 3D experience to helping make Hero-U great. Here’s a little about her background in Carolyn’s words:

I started my game development career in 2002 on the Simutronics flagship game GemStone IV. Since then, I’ve held a wide variety of industry roles – programming, design, writing, production, and more – and I’ve worked on everything from Harmonix’s Rock Band and Dance Central franchises to the indie game Revolution 60, as described in my resume. I’m also well-known in modern interactive fiction, both for writing award-winning IF games and for my craft and technique blog, Sibyl Moon.

Rogue Motivational Poster
Rogue Motivational Poster

We still can’t promise a specific release date, but Lori and I have committed to shipping Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption this year. Our best guess – and it is just a guess – is late October or early November. We’ve made enormous progress in the last few months, especially in the areas of art and animation. Lori continues to work hard on scripting the game dialogue and character interactions.

With the additions of Josh and Carolyn, we have all the resources we need to reach the finish line with a game that will make us proud and our backers very happy. We hope the Hero-U series will be a worthy successor to our Quest for Glory games.

Thank you, everyone, for your awesome patience and support as we fight against the mighty challenges of indie game development. This project has turned into far more than we originally hoped, and we look forward to sharing it will all of you and many other gamers.

Worthy Kickstarter Adventure Projects in Progress

A Place for the Unwilling
A Place for the Unwilling

A Place for the Unwilling (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mispgames/a-place-for-the-unwilling) just hit 500 backers. It’s a “sandbox adventure game” in which you will try to uncover and solve some of the mysteries of your city.

Lancelot's Hangover
Lancelot’s Hangover

Lancelot’s Hangover (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1295580533/lancelots-hangover-the-quest-for-the-holy-booze) is a quirky and funny adventure game inspired by Monty Python and Secret of Monkey Island. Hangover looks very strange, potentially hilarious, and a game our more warped fans (that’s all of you, right?) could love.

Don’t forget to visit www.hero-u.com for more information, forums, and other Hero-U goodies.

Follow our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheSchoolForHeroes/.

SpaceVenture Update #109: Two Guys SpaceVenture – by the creators of Space Quest by Two Guys From Andromeda

Hey gang, I’m really excited to push out this update to you guys! We’ve got some really cool content to show you below. First off, I wanted to start by telling you that we are still on track for our November 30th release date! We are pushing extremely hard to get the game done by then. So far, we are holding to it and are pushing through as fast as we can.

Let’s look at some new content!

PILOTING INTO SPACE

What you’ll be seeing in this video is a demonstration of Ace walking from the Scrapyard with Rooter and onto his newly restored ship. The ship has a graphical navigation system that allows you to set coordinates for places throughout the galaxy you would like to go.

Note that not everything in the video is polished, for example you’ll notice Ace is not currently appearing in the cockpit when looking at his ship from the outside.

https://youtu.be/09i9cDJ3RxM

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COASTING THROUGH HYPERSPACE LIKE A BOSS

One of the big items we wanted to show case for you all during this update is our SpaceVenture ship navigation system. Throughout your adventure in the SpaceVenture universe, you’ll be spending some quality time behind Ace’s sweet newly built ride, which just so happens to be put together by you, the player.

Let me clarify, this is a huge chunk of progress for the game, as you’ll be using this system to jump between long distant locations throughout the galaxy. The navigation system has been something that has been on the table since the beginning, and has been hanging over our head this whole time. We are so proud to say that it’s come together beautifully. We think you’re gonna find this sequence a lot of fun and there is gonna be some hilarious content for you to experience while exploring it.

I put together a developer diary entry over at SVRewards.com for our $30 and up backers to check out. This diary entry shows some of the original concept ideas behind our navigation system. Note that all backers will have access to the diary entries once the game is shipped, as per our original Kickstarter rewards plans.

You can check out the diary entry by going HERE and logging on. If you are a $30 and up backer and can’t log on, please do not message us here or post in the comments. Please email pcj@andromedanpost.com

Here is a video demonstrating what I mentioned above:

https://youtu.be/QNlLgx2QIog ____________________________________________________________________________

WELCOME TO BEAUTIFUL, SUNNY, DEADLY TATOORAKIS 

Tatoorakis is a place you’ll be exploring in the final third portion of the game. It features beautiful desert scene artwork and will marry a couple of the most epic Sci-Fi franchises together all to make one unforgettable sun blistering, sand chafing, Hydrolating, sand worming adventure!

One of the characters that is still in the works for this section of the game is a character named “Goren Lardz”. Goren is a hydro-farmer who commissions Ace to repair one of his Hydrolator units down on Tatoorakis.

Check out this below video showcasing some of the gameplay currently being worked on within the Tatoorakis sequence of the game. Keep in mind this is all still in development.

https://youtu.be/M_3RCSUgwcM ____________________________________________________________________________

A CHANCE TO HAVE YOUR IDEA/ARTWORK IN OUR GAME

SpaceVenture will feature an in game App store(parody) that Ace can go to in order to get a couple of different apps that will help him solve certain puzzle elements in the game. We are holding a small contest that everyone can submit ideas/artwork for, and possibly get your contributions added to the game and your name in the credits!

Here is a look at our app store as it is right now:

You all most likely have smartphones or tablets, so you can probably think about some of the things that have made you laugh(or cry) in dealing with those app stores over the years. We would love to use(steal) your ideas!

To enter the contest, you’ll need the following:

  • A funny app name
  • A description for your app
  • A square logo(512×512 minimum)
  • (Optional) A couple of fake reviews of the app
What do you win if your idea gets selected?
  • Your idea/artwork gets used in the game
  • Your name in the credits of the game
  • You will be the envy of everyone in the Andromedan galaxy
Where do you submit your contest entry?
Visit this page and submit your entry to that thread. We also ask you to post about it on twitter and/or Facebook. Tag us in the post, and we’ll Like/Favorite it! We don’t have a set contest deadline just yet, but don’t wait too long!

CHANGES A FOOT FOR EVERYONE’S FAVORITE SPACE QUEST WEBSITE

We are pleased to announce that our company, Guys From Andromeda LLC has officially taken over SpaceQuest.Net. I would like to start by paying homage to the man who made all this possible, Frans van Hofwegen.

Being a huge fan of the Space Quest series, Frans started SpaceQuest.Net in 1998 as a teenager. Incorporating the wealth of details collected by Troels Pleimert in his SQFAQ, Frans expanded his site until it was the definitive source for information on all things Space Quest. Over the years loads of friendships have formed on the very website that Frans put together all those years ago.

In 2012 Frans graciously allowed SQN to be re-designed in order to be the official Guys From Andromeda LLC community forums. This was also in cooperation with the very awesome Jess Morrissette, who allowed his site The Virtual Broomcloset to be merged with SQN.

Making some changes in his life, Frans has recently decided to pass the torch on to us. He did require something of us that we agreed to. He requested SpaceQuest.Net be returned to its classic look. This means that when you visit the website, the homepage will look like it did in years past. You will, however, be able to switch to the newer look shortly after hitting the homepage of the site. These changes will be happening in the next few weeks.

Lastly, we wanted to say that we really are very appreciative to Frans for passing control over to our company. We know this was not an easy decision for him.

WE WANT YOUR FEEDBACK ABOUT OUR NARRATOR

We wanted to put a feeler out there. We’ve been talking about who we wanted as our narrator for SpaceVenture since the unfortunate fact that the legendary Gary Owen’s has passed away. The question I have for you guys is this. How do you feel about us finding a Gary Owens voice match? In other words, this would be an actor that can match Gary Owens as closely as possible.

We know no one can truly replace the man with the golden pipes, but there are people out there that can match him pretty closely. So what are your thoughts? Would you guys like a voice match for SpaceVenture, or someone else with another unique voice? We’ve got some people in mind that could do that as well.

We would prefer you not post about this in the Kickstarter comments. We would love to keep the conversations over at SQN. Please use the below link:

http://www.spacequest.net/topic/930-to-gary-owens-voice-match-or-not-to-gary-owens-voice-match-that-is-the-question/

CLUCK YEGGER IN ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE POULTROID

Just to clarify, we completed work on the Cluck Yegger mini game a couple of months back and the team is 100% focused on completing SpaceVenture. We hope you enjoyed checking it out. We did successfully get the game out on Steam with Windows, Linux, and Macintosh support. As well as iOS iPod, iPhone, and iPad support in the Apple app store. All the moneys made from the game have gone towards finishing up SpaceVenture. We do still have plans to put it out on Android eventually, but that will most likely occur once SpaceVenture is completed.

If you did check out the game on Steam or iOS, we would absolutely love it if you would give us a rating on those App stores. That really helps in advertisement of the game.

We’ve really enjoyed the loads of playthroughs that people have made on YouTube. And we really appreciate all the videos people have posted, from our backers who have taken the time to put out playthroughs, all the way up to people like our friend KuplinovT, who is a Russian youtuber that brought in around 201,000+ views.

The award for funniest playthrough goes to a YouTuber named, “POiisED”. Netting around 51,000+ views, POiisED had us all rolling at his little girl screams as the mutant Chickens moved around him. The fun begins at about 5:30 in just as a heads up.

You can check out his video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4KS3BD9wGU ____________________________________________________________________________THE RETURN OF THE SPACE QUEST HISTORIAN PODCAST

And finally, we are excited to announce that the Space Quest Historian podcast will be returning. You can listen to previous seasons of the podcast over at http://spacequesthistorian.com/about/

The podcast features interviews, tons of commentary on the Space Quest series, and not to mention some extra insight into the goings on with SpaceVenture. We will announce the exact return date as soon as we can, so be on the lookout for that.

Hero-U Project Update #79: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

The Hero-U team wishes all of our backers, friends, and fans a very merry Christmas, a happy new year, and a fabulous Winter.

We hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season leading into a fantastic 2016. Lori and I always have fun this time of year trimming the tree, singing carols, welcoming guests, feasting, and even doing a little shopping.

One of our stretch goals in this year’s Kickstarter was “more and improved music and sound effects”. As our Holiday gift for all of you, here is a video of the Budapest Scoring Orchestra doing a live performance of the Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption theme (composed and arranged for orchestra by Ryan Grogan). We’re very excited to have live orchestral music in the game.

https://youtu.be/MjmOIso-mwA

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More Presents Underneath the Internet Tree

We’ve made great progress in resolving unanswered BackerKit surveys. I spent most of last week going from 800 unanswered surveys to fewer than 100. As a result, we will soon start uploading digital backer rewards to your personal BackerKit pages. These will include:

  • Hero-U screensaver / wallpaper for all backers
  • Fantasy travel posters for backers who ordered them
  • Hero-U Concept Art for backers who ordered them

You can find your BackerKit page and rewards at https://hero-u-adventure-role-playing-game.backerkit.com/.

Fulfilling Quest for Glory keys on gog.com is proving challenging because the way we set up our BackerKit does not distinguish between new orders and the ones we’ve already fulfilled. Chris and I are working to resolve this and email the new keys as soon as we can.

As for those last 100 backers, please respond quickly if you get an email from Chris Fong, Hero-U Support, or myself so that we can make sure you get the rewards you want. If you have any questions or problems, you can use the BackerKit help button or send email to us at support (at) hero-u (dot) com. Chris and I both read support requests and handle them as quickly as possible.

If you’re looking for last-minute presents, Lori has designed some Hero-U Christmas ornaments and other fun gifts that you can order on our Cafe Press page – http://www.cafepress.com/herouniversitystore. If you’re like us and keep the house decorated half the year, there’s still plenty of time to order something nice!

Team Changes and Challenges

Of course, as Ebenezer Scrooge pointed out, the Christmas season also tends to be a bad time for productivity. We’ve had distractions ranging from helping my mother recover from knee surgery to catching the obligatory Thanksgiving colds to doing Christmas things. In fact, life has been so busy, we haven’t seen The Force Awakens yet, potentially causing serious damage to our nerd cred.

Last week we had the pleasure of entertaining super-backer Katherine Owen. She was in a bad car accident several years ago that led to her becoming active in our How to Be a Hero and School for Heroes web sites. We’re happy to say that after many very rough years, Katherine is doing much better. She enjoyed visiting our rustic “lived in” home and watching me start a fire in the fireplace to take off some of the mountain chill.

Janet Weddle has joined us as project manager to help us keep development on track. She has helped us set up Kanbanchi boards to track tasks and took over our most recent programming meeting (allowing me to cough freely without blowing out everyone’s headsets). I’ve been stretched very thin between management, bookkeeping, writing, and dealing with Kickstarter rewards, so Janet will be a valuable addition to the team.

Sadly, key team programmer Cidney was also caught in a serious car accident a few weeks ago. She has had two surgeries and is doing well, but we’re much more concerned about her recovery than in shackling her down to the counting room – er, programming – desk just yet. However, Cidney assures us that she wants to get back to work on Hero-U as soon as she is able.

Finally, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a Christmas Card, so here’s one JP Selwood created for all of you:

Happy Holidays from www.hero-u.com
Happy Holidays from www.hero-u.com

SpaceVenture Update #108: Two Guys SpaceVenture – by the creators of Space Quest by Two Guys From Andromeda

Hey everyone! This is just a very short update to let you all know that we have issued Steam keys for Cluck Yegger in Escape From The Planet of the Poultroid.

To keep the tech support down to a minimal, please read all of this post before heading over to get your Steam key.

The keys are issued to all $15 and up backers just as a reminder. To get access to your key, just log onto http://svrewards.com and click the rewards tab at the top.

If you can’t remember your password, you should be able to reset your password from the website. If you have any other problems logging in, you should forward your “Thanks to you, Two Guys SpaceVenture” funded e-mail from Kickstarter to pcj@andromedanpost.com. If you were a PayPal backers, just forward your PayPal paid receipt to that same email address.

Please do not post issues with the website on our Kickstarter page. Again, any issues with the SV Rewards website should be directed to the above email address.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER OUTLETS FOR THE CLUCK GAME

We are still talking with quite a few online game store outlets and have gotten a lot of interest. Currently the game is only available through Steam and Itch.io.

Even though GOG is very interested in the actual SpaceVenture game when it is released, unfortunately the Cluck Yegger mini game will not be available through them.

HOW BACKERS CAN HELP

If you’d like to help us, please spread the word to folks that they can buy the game right now for $2.99 here at http://cluckyegger.com (Our Steam Store) Another way you can help is that once you have your copy, and if you enjoy the game, please leave a review on our Steam Store page. Reviews on Steam make a major difference on whether or not Valve helps advertise the game to players in the store.

Lastly, we are giving out Steam keys to press and youtubers that might be able to help spread the word about the game. Feel free to help us poke at some of those folks about play testing the game, we’ll gladly provide them with access.

As mentioned, 100% of the proceeds from the Cluck Yegger mini game will go towards speeding up the process of finishing SpaceVenture.

WHATS NEXT

We just completed work on the iOS version(release announcement in the near future) of the Cluck Yegger game and are moving full throttle into finishing SpaceVenture. I may personally spend a little time working on the Android version of the game, but my time will also be focused on getting SpaceVenture complete. We originally hoped to get the game out on iOS and Android at the same time, but we’ve had to prioritize.

Thanks for all of your support everyone!

Chris Pope a.k.a your humble local intergalactic SpacePope

Hero-U Project Update #78: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption by Corey and Lori Ann Cole

This is a guest article by Judy Feng with additional material from Corey. Judy has been helping us add new features to our Composer story editor and will be working on other parts of Hero-U game play.

Since the previous update, another 600+ backers have filled out their BackerKit surveys. We still need over 600 surveys. It will be a great help if we can get closer to 100% as it takes me 5-10 minutes to manually resolve each incomplete survey – a week or two of time away from the game. We can’t realistically order t-shirts or other merchandise until all of the surveys are completed and resolved.

If you receive an email reminder to complete your BackerKit survey, please handle it or send email to support (at) hero-u (dot) net (sorry, but we’ve been getting many automated spam messages lately) to let us know of any problems you are having with the survey. You can also access your survey at https://hero-u-adventure-role-playing-game.backerkit.com/.

A recent question asked, “What is the scheduled release date?” I’ve been saying Spring (June) 2016, but since we aren’t in Alpha yet, Lori’s estimate of late Fall (November 2016) may be more realistic. We’ll try hard to complete the game earlier – it’s just as critical to us as to our backers – but we won’t release it until we’re satisfied that Hero-U is an excellent game with no major bugs.

From Story to Sardonia

What’s involved in making a game? Why does it take so long? The answers might surprise you – there’s a lot more than meets the eye. Let’s take a quick peek behind the curtains of Hero-U.

At the heart of every adventure game is the story. (You enter the room. What do you see? Who is there with you? What happens when you push the button?) The designer describes the scene and all of its possible interactions (and their consequences).

In an ideal world, everything would come together in a single glorious swoop. As the designer tells the story, the artists’ brushes (or styluses) would be a whirlwind of color; scenery and objects and characters would pour out of every surface, which animators would immediately bring to non-motion-captured life.

A symphony director would gesture madly (5/8 time! Now 4/4!) and a full orchestra and choir would respond in perfect harmony without needing a musical score. Programmers would capture all of this real-time data – story, art, animation, music – dynamically generate a world, shove it into a app, and… voila! A game would be born!

Sadly, game development in the real world moves far more slowly. Shockingly, it actually takes hard work and a lot of it.

Caveat Emptor

Sea Caves Level 1 (work in progress) Sea Caves Level 1 (work in progress)

From the earliest design phases, Corey and Lori planned the Sea Caves as an important environment in Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. One of Shawn’s classmates has a pirate father and is looking to recover his lost treasure.

But treasure is never so easily gained. Great reward requires great risk. Lori had visions of sea caves filled with diabolical puzzles, deadly traps, and dangerous creatures. Not least would be the Undead Pirates guarding the final treasure. Yes, it’s a trope, but a fun one! Hero-U would follow in the grand tradition of Tim Powers’ “On Stranger Tides”, Ron Gilbert’s “Secret of Monkey Island”, and of course Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean”.

Waving their hands and saying, “Zombie Pirates – make them so,” would have been nice and so very efficient. In practice, first the Coles had to lay out the caves, figure out how to make them work – the backgrounds were still 2D at the time, come up with puzzles around the caves and the pirates, work with an artist to get sketches, other artists to make them look real, programmers to make it all work, and another half-dozen or so steps.

Zombie Pirate Sketch by Paul Bowers, Sept. 2013 Zombie Pirate Sketch by Paul Bowers, Sept. 2013

Paul Bowers sketched some zombie pirates and the pirate captain. Richard Aronson contributed some ideas about dead parrots and pirate hats. The cave maps went through four or five iterations as Corey, Michael, and finally Lori tried to create caves that would feel huge, but still be practical to paint and program.

By late 2014, they were ready to cut out the Sea Caves out of the game or make Hero-U episodic and move them to the second episode. The problem – the Sea Caves are a major part of the game story, and they’re Too Cool to Cut. Instead, Corey decided to run a second Kickstarter campaign to raise additional funding to keep Hero-U a full-sized game.

After multiple variations, here is the latest version of the Zombie Pirate captain, converted to 3D and animated by Al Eufrasio with textures from JP Selwood. The programmers will add the hat “at run-time”.

Animated Pirate Captain by Al Eufrasio and JP Selwood Animated Pirate Captain by Al Eufrasio and JP Selwood

The Whole Story

How do we even tell a story in a video game? Unity is great at showing things, but talking about them is harder. For Hero-U, we built a custom tool called “Composer” to describe the objects, participants, and interactions for each scene.

Composer is like a storyboard tool (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storyboard), but a bit more complex – it documents the direction of the player action, rather than the direction of the art. For example, the demo might be documented as one scene (the “Break-In Room”), multiple items or “props” (the desk, the bookshelf, etc.), at least two participants or “actors” (Shawn – aka the player – and the cat).

Composer also captures interactions. What happens when you click on the cat? You see a list of options to pet it, talk to it, kick it, or do nothing. This list is represented in Composer as a “script”, like “Interact with Cat”. The cat doesn’t say much, so it’s a pretty simple script:

  • Scene: Break-In Room
  • Props in the scene: Desk, Bookshelf, …
  • Actors in the scene: Shawn, Cat
  • Scripts in the scene: “Interact with Cat”, …
  • 1. Pat the Cat – “Do you like your back rubbed, cat?”
  • 2. Talk to the Cat
  •   1. Greet – “Hello, Cat… Did your owners lock you in here while they went out for the night?”
  •   2. Introduce Yourself – “So, cat, you’ll be able to tell your great-grand kittens that you met Master Thief Shawn o’Conner on his very first break-in success. Aren’t you proud of this moment?”
  •   3. Question Cat – “I don’t suppose you’ve seen a small silver coin with a shamrock symbol stamped on it, have you?”
  • 3. Kick the Cat . . .

All of these options – and the dialogue – are created within Composer. Composer persists everything (scenes, props, actors, scripts) as individual objects with relationships.

Additional custom code which translates the Composer data into a format usable by Unity, a 3rd-party game engine. When all of the game assets are ready (the art, models, scenes, etc.), we hook up our Composer story logic to our game assets. This means we can tell Unity to associate a Unity Scene with our Composer “Break-In Room” Scene, and a Unity cat model with our Composer “Cat”, so that clicking on the Unity cat will auto-magically trigger our “Interact with Cat” Composer script.

Of course, that’s a really simple case – you’ll meet that cat at most twice during the game, and it doesn’t say much that Shawn can understand. Writing believable conversations in our style of game is far more complex. Lori crafts custom dialogue for every character for each game event in each scene where they appear – sometimes that means 50 or more dialogue trees for one character.

Here’s a small excerpt from a Composer script that handles the meeting with the Rogue Instructor just after midterm exams:

  • GerhardsOffice: Add Tags: [09 After the Midterm]
  • Master von Urwald: Is this a social call, or did you have a purpose to coming here?
  •   1. Say something Polite (Charm)
  •       Shawn o’Conner: It’s always a pleasure to speak with you, sir. I learn so much by what you say and do. You are an inspiration to us all.
  •       Charm check vs 60
  •           Success: Add 1 reputation to Master von Urwald
  •           Failure: Master von Urwald: You need to be a bit more adroit with your flattery, Herr O’ Conner. Do not call attention to your motives by saying too much.
  •           Master von Urwald: You are beginning to sound like Herr Sosi.
  •   2. Say something Clever (Smarts)
  •       Shawn o’Conner: I had a few questions to ask you about the university. I’m trying to better understand what being a hero really means.
  •       Smarts check vs 60
  •           Success or Failure: Add 1 reputation to Master von Urwald
  •   3. Say something Snarky (Moxie)
  •       Shawn o’Conner: I just came to see your smiling face and interrupt your afternoon nap with my annoying questions… sir.
  •       Moxie check vs 60
  •           Success: Add 1 reputation to Master von Urwald
  •           Failure: Remove 1 reputation to Master von Urwald
  • Master von Urwald: Get on with it, then.
  •   1. Ask about the Master
  •       Shawn o’Conner: Do you think of yourself as a hero?
  •       Master von Urwald: Am I a hero? An interesting question…
  •       Master von Urwald: What I do here at the school is evening the scale of justice, weighing a little more on the side of Good.
  •       Master von Urwald: However, I do not think of myself as a hero. Nor am I villain. I am merely a teacher who hopes that my words will inspire others to be heroes.

And so on (this is just one small section of the conversation). Note the skill checks – if you haven’t been practicing your Charm, don’t expect to get away with flattery. However, even trying to use a skill unsuccessfully has a chance of improving that skill.

If you’re familiar with programming, you might be wondering why we put this data in Composer, instead of directly in Unity. Although developing Composer was very costly, we only had to pay that cost once.

Now Composer decouples storyboard and dialogue from development. Lori and Corey don’t need to wait for Unity scenes or models to be created before they can start writing, and artists / animators / programmers can work in parallel on different items. The less time we spend waiting, the more time we can spend working. And writing several thousand scripts takes a lot of time and work!

How Does This Sound?

One of the high points of any game comes when we add the music and sound effects. In the case of Hero-U, we were lucky to get much of our music from renowned composer Ryan Grogan early in the project.

One of our stretch goals in this year’s Kickstarter funding campaign was improving the quality and quantity of music in the game. We’re excited to announce that Ryan is currently in Budapest, Hungary working with the talented Budapest Scoring Orchestra to record a fully orchestrated version of the theme!

From art to programming to music and sound effects, everything in Hero-U goes through multiple stages and a gigantic amount of work. If we were sensible, the game would be much smaller, but we believe depth and fun trump practicality. We only have to build the game once, but we hope that many players will each play it multiple times when we’re done.

We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the inner workings of Hero-U.

SpaceVenture Update #105: Two Guys SpaceVenture – by the creators of Space Quest by Two Guys From Andromeda

Hey everyone! We wanted to do a very short and sweet update to keep you all in the loop on a some news. First off, let me start by saying this. If you didn’t read the last update, this update will not make a lot of sense. PLEASE CLICK HERE to view and read the last update before proceeding.

Key points we’d like you all to know about:

  • We are pre-releasing the Cluck Yegger mini game to all of you next week, Thursday October 29th. The pre-release will be DRM free and will be for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  • If we can get the game on Steam, we will be giving Steam keys to backers as well as the DRM free versions of the game.
  • We need your help getting the game upvoted on Steam. Please visit http://CluckYegger.com and vote! This would really help us out a lot.
  • Though we are starting with Steam, we are looking into other outlets to sell the Cluck Yegger game.
  • All moneys made from the Cluck Yegger game will go towards speeding up production on SpaceVenture.
  • Although we’ve already been beta/bug testing the game, we’ll be taking feedback from backers on any found issues with the game.

This fun little mini game plays a key role in the plot of Spaceventure and will contain some surprises and revelations. But don’t worry, in SpaceVenture, it will not require you to beat the whole Cluck Yegger game to continue. We know that Cluck Yegger in The Planet of the Poultroids will not appeal to everyone, but any help you all can give in spreading the word would be very much appreciated. On top of voting, sharing CluckYegger.com with people is another great way to help as well.

SpaceVenture Update #104: Two Guys SpaceVenture – by the creators of Space Quest by Two Guys From Andromeda

This update was written by Mark Crowe, Scott Murphy, and Chris Pope together.

We’ve got quite a lot of big news in this update. Depending on how you look at things, some of what we tell you will seem like fantastical amazingly exciting news, and some.. not so much. Ultimately, we have thought long and hard on everything, and have decided on how we should best proceed with the project. This update will help you understand how we are proceeding. Before you jump to any conclusions, yes the project is still going strong and no we are not broke! Figured we should go ahead and get that out of the way.

HOW THIS YEAR HAS GONE FOR THE TEAM AND THE PROJECT

The year 2015 has been an extra rough year for us all as a whole. Not in a game development sort of way, but in a personal way, which has affected the development of the game.

Eleven years ago Scott moved to Alabama to take care of his mother. There has been a lot of ups and downs he has had to endure during this time in his life, but over the past year, his mom took a major turn for the worse and developed a serious case of Alzheimer’s. Being the sole caregiver for his mom, he has pretty much had to dedicate every waking moment to making sure she was getting proper treatment for her condition. The whole process has been both physically and mentally draining for him. Understandably this has left Scott with little to no time to work on the project with the team.

A couple of months back tragedy struck as Scott’s mother passed away due to her condition. These past couple of months Scott has been in the process of pulling his life back together one day at a time. Scott has written a letter to all of those that would like more information regarding what’s been going on in his life. You can read it here

Though Mark has been hitting on all cylinders through the past year, he has also had limited amounts of time he could put into the project due to family issues as well.

The last couple years actually have been a crazy ride for Mark’s family, caring for elderly parents. But last fall their world was turned upside-down when a trip to the ER revealed that his dear wife had an abdominal ‘GIST’ tumor which proved to be malignant. She was immediately taken into emergency surgery where Doctors were able to successfully remove the tumor. It was incredibly fortunate that they caught it relatively early. Then began her long road of recovery and ongoing treatment. Thankfully, their story has had a happy outcome. But something like this certainly helps put your life priorities in order. Needless to say working on the game took a back seat for a while.

And even though Chris has also tried his best to put as much time as possible into the game, life has hit him hard as well. When the Kickstarter completed, Chris decided to drop the majority of his work with actors in order to focus on the game. This was totally possible given the time frame that we thought we’d have the game out. Needless to say, with the game taking longer than expected, Chris has had to take more work back on to pay the bills. He is still able to dedicate a huge portion of his time to the project and only has to take on work here and there, but it has still been a trying time in terms of pure project time. Again, we say all of this, not to make excuses, but to let you know that we are all real people that have had to deal with some hard real life issues. We hope you all can understand though that we are still going to finish this game out. We will get this game done, and it will be done with very high quality!

THE RELEASE DATE OF SPACEVENTURE(That’s right, I said “THE”)

November 30, 2016 will be the release date of SpaceVenture. Wait, why not 2015 like you guys said months ago you ask? Please see above. Based on how far along we are with SpaceVenture as a whole, we know we can complete the game by November of 2016. Especially now with life getting back to normal. Soon, Scott will be able to rejoin the project and we can proceed with all team members giving Spaceventure their full attention.

EXCITING NEWS ABOUT CLUCK YEGGER

We have some pretty big news involving a portion of SpaceVenture that you all are going to get a chance to play over the next few weeks. We have mentioned quite a few times over the last couple of updates that we have been working on a section of SpaceVenture that has been planned since the beginning. Albeit the game design and mechanics didn’t come together until recently, but the story had been written.

A few months back, with Scott’s personal life having to be his focus, Mark and Chris decided to focus on the Cluck Yegger portion of SpaceVenture since it wasn’t going to require most of the team to have insane amounts of time. With Scott being unable to be part of the team, and various other members being tied up, it seemed to the be the perfect opportunity to shift the focus to a part of SpaceVenture that was going to be a different experience than anything we had put together so far.

After spending a few months working on the artwork, game mechanics, programming and all, as it turns out, the Cluck Yegger portion of SpaceVenture evolved into a really fun mini game that parodies a very popular game series circulating around the appstorosphere(totally not a made up word). We even gave the Cluck’s mini game a name.

We know you all are chomping at the bit wanting to get your hands on the full game. We also know that the only thing that will quench your thirst for SpaceVenture, is the full game. However, putting all that to the side, we have made a decision to release ‘Cluck Yegger: Escape From The Planet Of The Poultroid’ to the public very soon. How soon? We are in the process of beta testing and polishing right now, so you can expect to hear from us on it over the next couple of weeks.

THE STORY BEHIND CLUCK YEGGER: ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE POULTROID

How about we start by showing you the intro sequence of the game with full voice acting, music and all!

https://youtu.be/8fpE_dyC5pk

After being blown out of the sky and crash landing on the planet Poultroid, Cluck will have to make repairs to his ship during the day, but deal with some “family visitors” trying to stop by his cockpit for a dinner time snack at night. With the damage to his ship, Cluck is running on auxiliary solar power that get’s charged during daylight hours. He uses that power to survive at night. If the power in his ship hits zero, it’s lights out for Cluck in more ways the one.

MEET CHICKZILLA AND FRIENDS

A TEASING GLIMPSE OF CLUCK’S “GUESTS”

SPACEVENTURE EASTER EGGS

Enough said!

HOW WILL BACKERS PLAY THE GAME

As mentioned above, we are planning to release the game to the public and hope to bring some more money into the SpaceVenture project as a whole. We are not broke, but having more income would help us bring in a few more artists which in turn, would help move the project along faster. Don’t worry, we got you covered! We will be giving our $15 and up backers DRM free access to the Cluck Yegger game on the following three platforms:

  • Windows
  • Macintosh OSX
  • Linux

What about public release of the game?

The release of the Cluck Yegger game is two fold. We want to give you all a chance to enjoy something from the SpaceVenture game ahead of time, but we also hope to bring some money into the project without having to ask more people like you fine folks to donate it. To start, we are going to try and get the game greenlit on Steam as well as publish it on some of the other game store outlets. Once the computer versions of the game hits, we are going to rework the game to come out for the iPad and Android tablets. We may eventually release the game on smartphones as well.

Keep in mind that once the Cluck game releases, only a very small part of the SpaceVenture team will continue to focus on getting it on the other platforms, everyone else will be shifting gears to wrapping the full game.

What if backers want access to the Steam and other platform versions of the Cluck Yegger game?

Backers will get full DRM free access to the Windows, Macintosh, and Linux version on a private backer only download outlet. In order to get the other platform versions of the game, backers would need to purchase those on those online stores. This would be greatly appreciated and is an awesome way to show a little more love to the project. But if not, we totally understand, the DRM free versions you get access to are full versions of the game and will hopefully give you some enjoyment and laughs.

You mentioned beta testing. Why aren’t backers getting to beta test?

The short answer is time. We will hold true to letting the $30 and up backers beta test the full SpaceVenture game as we get closer to our release date, however due to time, we have a small team of beta testers running through this mini game for play testing purposes. We hope you all will understand that we can’t afford to go through a lengthy beta testing process for the Cluck Yegger mini game, it not being a massively large game itself, the beta testing group is also being kept small in size.

Want to see some gameplay?

https://youtu.be/p5u2UX1rDSY

IN CLOSING

We hope this news is exciting to you. Rest assured, we know that you all didn’t back the project to receive a Cluck Yegger mini game. We know you backed the project to receive a fully functional, fun, and hilarious sci-fi adventure game. We plan to deliver on that! Until then, hopefully you all will enjoy this little Cluck Yegger mini game to tide you over. Stay tuned for the next update to contain information on the release and download of “Cluck Yegger In Escape From The Planet Of The Poultroid”!

Mark Crowe, Scott Murphy, and Chris Pope