Hero-U Project Update #102

The response to Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption has been great so far! We have a Positive rating on Steam, 4.5/5 stars on GOG.com, and an excellent 7.9 user rating so far on Metacritic. The extra time we put into testing and getting the game right is paying off.

This post will update you on the most frequent and important issues that have been raised by backers and other players.

Digital Goods Including Game Keys

How to get your game key – All of our downloads for Kickstarter backers are on BackerKit. To get yours, log on to BackerKit at https://hero-u-adventure-role-playing-game.backerkit.com/backer/digital_rewards with your email. Usually that will be the same one you used on Kickstarter.

On the same BackerKit page, in addition to your game key, you can directly download the technical manual and the student handbook. As we complete other game books – the Yearbook, Art Book, Bestiary, and Soundtrack Album, we will add these to the BackerKit downloads of backers who ordered them.

If your email has changed and you no longer have access to the original one, use Kickstarter to contact me. Give me your name, old email, and current email. If I can find matching accounts on Kickstarter and BackerKit, I can change the BackerKit email. You will be notified by BackerKit when I do that.

Survey and GOG key requests – I sent the GOG part of the survey to BackerKit on Tuesday, and everyone who requested a GOG key by that time has received it. I’ve received several hundred more surveys since then, and will have to manually add GOG keys for everyone who filled out the survey after the first two days. I’ll check it about once a week since this will be tricky and time-consuming. If you requested a GOG key and don’t yet have one, please be patient.

Art Book - GOG Concept Art
Art Book – GOG Concept Art

Other Publications and Goods Still in Production

As mentioned in the previous update, most of the physical goods are not ready yet. We plan to mail all of the posters next month after we verify printer proofs of them. The boxed games, yearbooks, and other physical goods will be mailed this Fall, likely around the beginning of November.

We’ve already shipped all of the t-shirts, caps, and “Meeps,” as well as key rings from this 2012 campaign that are not part of a boxed game order. I still have about 100 Meeps, and extra t-shirts and caps – see the “I Want Things…” section below.

For logistical reasons, we plan to do Yearbook autographs on separate bookplates and mail them with the books. That way we don’t need to move thousands of pounds of books between two locations. Physical fulfillment will be done by Geekify.

Some digital goods are also still in the pipeline. We need to completely redo the Yearbook layout (we have finished all the pictures and text for it), so that will take time. We are very far along with the Art Book, which is going to be amazing. We’ve also made good progress on the Bestiary that was announced in the 2015 campaign as an add-on. We have all the tracks for the soundtrack album, but need to compile them into a pleasing sequence.

We’ve had a few requests for a hint book. We haven’t done any work on one (or put much thought into it) yet, but it is something we might do once we have all the other promised items in production.

As mentioned in the first section, each time we complete one of these publications, we will upload it to your BackerKit DIgital Rewards and announce it in a Kickstarter update.

Bestiary - Warrior Gog
Bestiary – Warrior Gog

How to Get More – Coming Soon

Kickstarter is great for funding creative projects, but it isn’t a store. Steam and GOG.com are great for fulfilling games, but I don’t know if they handle game-related items. That leaves our web site (www.hero-u.com) or possibly a service such as Amazon or etsy.

We plan to reopen a store page through hero-u.com to allow both digital and physical orders not covered by Steam, GOG, or Humble. So far I’ve been mailing packages myself; we may be able to work with Geekify to ship them in the future.

The Hero-U Store will also include some items such as meep toys, t-shirts, and caps that we have left over from fulfilling campaign pledges – we ordered extras for promotions and to get quantity price breaks.

Fixing Stuttery Graphics

Some players have reported problems with Shawn’s movement in the game or with the opening cinematic sequence. Most, but not all of these, have been players with very high-resolution displays or playing the game under Linux.

Fortunately, a player came up with a technical solution and posted it on Facebook. Here are the details:

I have found a fix for the slow mouse movement and choppy and stuttery animations and very slow and glitchy character movement you may be experiencing while playing Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. These are caused by a problem outside of the game.

Misconceptions:

  • It has nothing to do with resolution.
  • It has nothing to do with bad code.
  • Steam overlay is not causing this.

Everything is caused by NVIDIA G-SYNC and high refresh rates!

———————————————————————————

WINDOWS 10 FIX – NVIDIA GFX CARD

  • Right click the desktop click ” NVIDIA Control Panel “
  • Under ” Display ” tab click on ” Change resolution “
  • Change ” Refresh rate ” to 60Hz.
  • Scroll down and hit apply and accept all popup window prompts.
  • Under ” Display ” tab click on ” Set up G-SYNC “
  • Untick the enable G-SYNC tickbox
  • Scroll down and hit apply and accept all popup window prompts.
  • PLAY THE GAME! Select any resolution you like on the pre-boot screen.

Once you are done playing you can change these back to your desired settings.

———————————————————————————

WINDOWS 10 – RADEON FIX:

  • Right click the desktop click ” Display settings “
  • Scroll down on the Display tab and click on ” Advanced display settings “
  • Click on ” Display adapter for Display 1 ” (Or your preferred display)
  • Click on the ” Monitor ” tab on the popup window.
  • Change the ” Screen refresh rate to ” 60 Hertz ” and hit apply, accept all prompts if there are any.
  • PLAY THE GAME! Select any resolution you like on the pre-boot screen.

Once you are done playing you can change these back to the desired settings.

(I haven’t received any step-by-step directions for changing the refresh rate or GSYNC on Mac OS X or Linux systems, but there should be a similar process available. Also, this might not fix the problem for all players, but it should help most of the ones having graphics issues.)

Poster of Caligari City and Hero-U
Poster of Caligari City and Hero-U

Hero-U Project Update #101: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

Jumping for Joy
Jumping for Joy

It’s Alive!

It’s been a hectic two days with a few “teething problems,” but we Have A Launch!

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is now available on Steam at:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/375440/HeroU_Rogue_to_Redemption/

and on GOG at: https://www.gog.com/game/herou_rogue_to_redemption.

We’re also reworking our web site. The front page has links to Steam, GOG, our Facebook page, and so on: http://www.hero-u.com/.

About Those Steam and GOG Keys

Between launch issues and trying to make sure backers got game keys as soon as possible, I managed to create some confusion. Here’s the skinny:

  • I decided to provide a Steam key to EVERY backer.
  • All Alpha and Beta level backers have both Steam and GOG keys.
  • Other backers who requested a GOG key will get one soon.
  • “Beta-Only” – that’s actually your live Steam key
  • “Steam Beta Key” – that’s also your live Steam key

The confusing names hearken back to the beta test. Everyone who got a Steam beta key then has been updated to have the live version of the game now.

The Next Game Patch

Even before we launched the game, we were thinking about changes we want to make that we couldn’t safely include in the launch. There are some errors in the game books, a few dialogues and game events that could use tweaking, and at least one known “game-locking” bug.

(If you see a plaque labeled “Pyoter,” it’s best not to click on it. There was a bad line of code that freezes the game.) We will also keep a close eye on player reports and feedback over the next few months.

We will probably release a patch with these and other minor fixes in about a month, after which patches should be rare.

Incidentally, several players with Ultra High Definition monitors have reported serious animation issues in the game. This is a general Unity issue that we’ve also seen reported for other games. The solution – set your monitor refresh rate to 60 Hz. That seems to fix the problem.

Physical Goods and Future Games

We still have some work to do on the Art Book, Bestiary, Soundtrack, Yearbook, and boxed copies of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. We expect to ship posters next month, new digital assets as they become ready, and boxed games in late October or early November.

We’ve started concept and art design on not one, but two, upcoming games. One is a smaller casual game we’re calling Summer Daze at Hero-U. The other is of course the second series game, Hero-U: Wizard’s Way. We’re committed to creating innovative, enjoyable games.

A Short Teaser Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2lJ4CLN8Jo

Hero-U Update #98: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption by Corey and Lori Ann Cole

Mickey Rooney was famous (yes, before even *my* time) for starring in a series of movies in which the answer to every problem was, “Let’s put on a show!”

As we approach the live release of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption, it’s time for us to switch hats from developers to marketers. In other words, we need to put on a show! We’re contacting press and influencers, creating “trailers”, and gathering screenshots and clips of game play to show off to the press and new players.

Once we launch the game in just a few weeks, we hope many of you will enjoy it enough to become “part of the show” by posting about your personal experience and reaction to the game on social media.

Corey at Casual Connect Europe, where we were finalists for the Indie Prize
Corey at Casual Connect Europe, where we were finalists for the Indie Prize

New Build for Beta Testers

Earlier today, we updated Steam with a new build of the game. This is intended to be very close to the final version. The opening cinematic will get new music and some lighting changes. We have a few bug fixes to make this week, but we consider Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption to be a finished game at this point.

“Finished” is of course a relative term in this digital online age. We expect that we will continue to fix problems and make small improvements to the game over the next several months based on feedback from players. At the same time, we’ll be very busy starting work on the next games and supporting Rogue to Redemption.

How close are we?

We’re trying for a July 9 release, but I think July 16 is equally likely. We will do a “code freeze” on June 30, test for a couple of days, then release it to Beta testers. If that survives a full week without serious problems, we’ll release on July 9. If not, we’ll do a new build and push the release date back a week.

Public release is waiting on three non-game things – finalizing the opening cinematic and finishing the game manual and the student handbook. When we complete those and add them to Steam, Steam will automatically update everyone to the new version.

What about gog.com and the Humble store? We’ll add those later. I’m currently working with gog.com on a license agreement and their requirements for adding Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption to their site. I have an existing agreement with Humble Bundle, but will need to set up new widgets and a download page for their system.

A Kwirk Might Jump Into the Screen at any Moment
A Kwirk Might Jump Into the Screen at any Moment

Our trip to Europe was fun and hopefully useful. We visited super backer “The Gardener – Protector of the Forest Lands” in Germany, then showed Rogue to Redemption for the first time at the Casual Connect conference in London.

The conference was held in the Queen Elizabeth II center in the historic and beautiful Winchester district of London across the street from the historic Winchester Cathedral, and a block away from Trafalgar Square and other important and impressive sites (and sights).

Finding Hero-U

The Steam store for Hero-U is https://store.steampowered.com/app/375440/HeroU_Rogue_to_Redemption/.

Our web site, where you can learn more, preorder at a discount, and join the conversation on our forum, is http://hero-u.com/.

You can find all of the previous project updates at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/transolargames/hero-u-rogue-to-redemption/updates.

Our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/TheSchoolForHeroes/.

Happy Birthday To Me! Larry. Larry Laffer!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Leisure Suit Larry EGALeisure Suit Larry: In The Land of the Lounge Lizards was initially released in 1987 by SIERRA ONLINE, INC.

Beginning the game on the streets of Lost Wages, Larry Laffer has come here for one reason – and one reason alone. To finally get “Laid.”

Being 40 years old and living with his mother all of his life, Larry has led a very sheltered life; and is now looking to live it up some!

So now, it’s up to you to help Larry Laffer fulfill that one desire to finally feel the touch of a woman and be satisfied! Along the way you will encounter an assortment of women, who for the most part, will only live to further complicate and belittle our lovable hero, Larry Laffer.

 

RELATED:

Update: Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Won’t Dry.

One of the developers has taken to Twitter to speak more about the upcoming game. Admittedly, what he’s said has put me at ease – and I am hopeful for the game. Although it won’t have Big Al (which has historically proven to be a bad thing – sorry for those of you who enjoyed MCL or BOB), they do seem to be genuinely caring about the Leisure Suit Larry game and how it will be perceived. Here’s some things Maurice had to say:

So these things at least put my mind to rest. Here’s hoping this takes off!

 

Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Don’t Won’t Dry.

NOTE: Maurice (who is working on this game) took to Twitter and shared some thoughts, and put my mind to ease. See that over here.

Original article follows:
So there’s a new Leisure Suit Larry game in the works by German based company, Assemble Entertainment being developed by the folks at Crazy Bunch. The title is Wet Dreams Don’t Dry. The initial concern was that it looked to be another remake, because one of the early screens appeared to be Lost Wages, which we’ve already seen in the original EGA version, later remade by Sierra in VGA, and then most recently remade yet again a few years ago with modern graphics (and adjusted puzzles and a new female).

Here’s the video that was posted on Steam:

Here’s some of the screen shots also shared on Steam:

Certainly looks like, from the screenshots, they’re going for the Adventure Game feel that Leisure Suit Larry was known for under the helm of Al Lowe, and not the type of game we saw (and suffered through) with MCL and BOB, which is – by appearance a good sign.

Will they be able to capture the personality and feel that Al Lowe developed for our beloved Larry Laffer?

That is my concern.

Share your thoughts with me on Twitter!

Hero-U Update #96: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption by Corey and Lori Ann Cole by Corey Cole

The time has come! Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is completely playable and ready to enter Beta testing. Alpha testing was challenging, but wonderful – we have never previously had the time and opportunity to find and fix the rough spots in the game. Beta testing will help us add the final polish that will make Hero-U a great game.

What does this mean for the release date? Most likely that will happen 6-8 weeks from now, which puts it in June 2018. That will give us time to fix problems found in Beta, finish the opening cinematic, reach out to reviewers and influencers, and do final polish on the game.

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption at Indie Prize Showcase in London
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption at Indie Prize Showcase in London

In fact, we’re going to show off the game “in public” for the first time at Casual Connect London at the end of May. If you’ll be at the show, please stop by our space and say hello. Hero-U is an Indie Prize finalist, so we’ll be showing it in the Indie Prize Showcase area.

As for influencers, you are our first and most important. Once you get a chance to play Hero-U, please share your experience with your friends and on social media. There are so many games being made these days that discovering great new games can be very challenging. You’ll be doing us and your friends a favor by letting them know which games are worth playing. We hope that Hero-U will place high on your list.

Checking Out the Beta

If your pledge included Beta Test privileges, keep an eye on your email for a message from BackerKit.

Once you log onto BackerKit, click on Digital Downloads (https://hero-u-adventure-role-playing-game.backerkit.com/backer/digital_rewards) to find your Steam key for the Hero-U Beta test. This will also be your key for the full game when we release it – Steam will automatically update it each time we release a new version.

We intend to make Rogue to Redemption available on other sites including gog.com and Humble, but for Beta testing we are only using Steam for simplicity.

While we warned Alpha testers that they would be experiencing a rough and incomplete game, I don’t think we need to do that for potential Beta testers. At this point, the game is complete, and we think it’s a lot of fun. Hero-U is a cross between a Quest for Glory style adventure role-playing game and an epic interactive novel.

An Epic Experience

The latest word count puts us right up with Gone WIth the Wind, although you will only see a fraction of the text during each play-through. We hope you will come back to the game multiple times to catch more of the dialogue and try out different play styles. Shawn can be intelligent, charming, or snarky.

A Quiet Way to Play
A Quiet Way to Play

Shawn can work out in the practice room and take on every monster, or he can avoid almost all of the combats by using stealth and subtlety. In fact, there’s a Steam Achievement waiting for everyone who completes the game without killing any monsters. That will be one of the most challenging of the game’s achievements.

Here’s a bit of silliness we might or might not fit into the Student Handbook:

Better Than Bard

So you’ve been told you’re a “Disbarred Bard”. What does that even mean? Are you a failure, someone defined only by what you’re not? Have you been placed in a remedial class because the Headmaster feels sorry for you?

Far from it! The Disbarred Bards of Hero-U are some of the most promising potential Heroes in the University. Each one of you has enormous potential to rise above the common crowd. But there are as many ways to achieve that potential as there are Disbarred Bards at Hero-U.

It’s up to you (and -U) to decide just what kind of Bard you will be. Will you ride the waves and reach for the High Seas? Will you seek to solve uncertainty and become the next Shawn von Neumann? Steal everyone’s heart as you emulate Shawn Juan? Cure their ills like Dr. Shawnas Salk? Be a Ninja Warrior Bard? Or keep it all to yourself as you look out for number Shawn?

The choices are endless, and it’s all up to you what you take from Hero-U. Let’s look at a few of them:

Riding the High Seas

Caligari has long been renowned for its sailors and seafarers, some more opportunistic than others. The Disbarred Bard curriculum at Hero-U can teach you many of the skills you will need for a seafaring life. You could become the next Shawn Paul Jones or Blackbard!

Make sure you practice your climbing and rope mastery every day. That will help you become more agile as well. Practice combat and defense because you never know when some scurvy scalawag will strive to steal your ship.

(more in the Hero-U Student Handbook… if we decide to use it)

A Shared Journey

Thank you all for your part in helping make Hero-U a reality. When we started down this winding road fifteen years ago with the How To Be A Hero book and website, we had no idea it would lead to us making our most ambitious game project. Even as we finish Rogue to Redemption, we’re looking forward to raising the ante again in every game of the Hero-U series. Every step of the way will be an adventure, and we hope you’ll be there with us!

Added Content!

We’re never truly done here! We’ve added (so far only Leisure Suit Larry 1 EGA) – Characters, Inventory and Credits. We will also be adding Locations. We will be trying to do this for all of the Leisure Suit Larry Games (I, II, III, V, VI and VII). We will also be doing some generic screen shots from each game.

Also, found this in one of our drawers… wonder where the other two disks are…

 

SpaceVenture Update #116: Two Guys SpaceVenture

Hey everyone! We know this is another long awaited update, but we were holding off because we were hoping to be able to confirm a few things, such as our upcoming voice over recording session with our voice actors along with when we plan to let you all beta test. Alas, we are not quite 100% on those dates yet, but hopefully soon. Rest assured, once I have got those dates for you, we’ll do another update and have it out there in the open.

The good news is, we are almost there! Believe it or not, we are on the road for finishing this game up, and when it’s released, it will be done right with all the correct amount of tender love and care(not to mention blood, sweat, and tears) it deserves!

WHAT’S NEW?

As mentioned in a previous update, one of the last remaining areas of the game, has you visiting an interstellar fan convention known as “Andromecon”. This is a beautifully created sequence in the game that features all kinds of creatures dressed up as their favorite characters from all sorts of movies and video games, a lot of which, as an earthling, you’ll hopefully recognize.

Below is a screenshot of Rooter hanging around the convention floor while Centari Corporations baby man CEO Milo Forbin discusses the companies latest creation, the “Facebox”.

We also wanted to show you all some video footage of this scene taking place in action. In this video you will see Rooter navigating part of the Andromecon convention floor. Keep a close eye for some fun SciFi pop culture references milling about. There is quite a few in there! You’ll also notice another SpaceVenture character that we have showed in the past.. Office Quicksilver!

https://youtu.be/11DbJqTmowM___________________________________________________________________

BEHIND THE SCENES WITH MARK

I thought you guys would enjoy hearing from Mark on some of his design choices for creating the Andromecon sequence.

Mark Crowe:

Hi Gang-

Heres a peek behind the scenes of a short animated sequence I needed in the game.

In our story, Centari Corp produces a VR game console called the ‘Facebox’. From the beginning, the concept for this Facebox appliance was to have a sleek appearance but with something sinister about it under the hood. To reinforce the sinister aspect, we wanted to show Faceboxes being mass produced on an assembly line. The point was to reveal their menacing skeletal innards being encased in a more user-friendly outer shell. The video reveals a little bit of how the effect was achieved.

We used 2D pre-rendered artwork (as with the rest of the game) but mapped it onto simple 2.5D shapes to enhance the illusion of depth. I wanted the outer shell to look like it was actually being 3D printed over the skeleton. To achieve that effect we used a nifty ‘invisible mask’ shader on a flat quad that hides the 3D shell mesh from the camera. But as we animate the invisible mask shape downward, it exposes the shell mesh as it passes through it. Hopefully what I’m trying to describe is more clear in the video.

https://youtu.be/GoHMVfAwbWsI really had a good time putting this little sequence together for the game and just figuring out how to make it work was a fun challenge. Kinda like solving an adventure game puzzle. 🙂

As an added treat, here is some early concepts from artist Brent Forest (and yours truly) showing the evolution of the Facebox appliance.

My initial concept

Brents awesome sketches. Very disturbing. Brent captured the menace perfectly. But who in their right mind would wilfully strap one those to their face, right? So we dialed it back. But then reintroduced the alien-like menace by showing the inner workings of the Facebox in the assembly line sequence.

Image from a April fools Press release we did in 2016

_________________________________________________________________

RESULTS FROM BACKER VOTING  

You guys that backed high enough, got to do a vote on your favorite three villains to be part of the Centari Corporations Executive Staff. The results are in:

These percentages are based upon the TOP THREE selected villains.

Here were the total results:

1. Baronne = 17.6%

2. Mingleton = 38.3%(WINNER)

3. Ursalon = 19.6%

4. Battinski = 16.1%

5. Zorgstein = 55.3%(WINNER)

6. Galactuzon = 27.4%

7. Khaaaanway = 49.3%(WINNER)

8. Bjorgensen-sen = 25.9%

9. Borfndorf = 22.8%

10. Sprockovich = 19%

That’s all for now, but we have more coming your way soon!

Thanks everyone!

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