Hero-U Update #38

Once long ago, in that bygone era we now call 2012, we set out to create a simple game. It would involve turn-based combat in a dungeon-like setting with a simple plotline overlaid upon it. We would use cartoon-like graphics on a tile-based, flat world that would allow us to concentrate upon the story and game-play rather than upon the engine or graphics.

Then we held our Kickstarter and heard from you – our fans – what you actually want to see.

It was clear that what you really wanted was something more like the Quest for Glory series and less like yet another RPG.

As we read your comments, our vision evolved. We put more story and puzzles into the design. We went away from the cartoony look into a more realistic character style like the best Sierra On-Line characters of the 1990’s.

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption evolved from an RPG/Adventure Game into a modern take on Quest for Glory with turn-based, puzzle-oriented combat. We decided to let the players out-think the monsters in the game rather than out-mouse-click them.

One change leads to another

The flat tile system for the backgrounds was too unrealistic and distorted to work well with our new character designs. We had to find a better way to present the art and create the game magic than what we started with. Our team artists far too talented to let the game look anything less than amazing.

We have a new team of programmers who are talented and passionate about our game. They are creating new ways to bring the visuals of the game to life.

We have spent the past few weeks testing new approaches and pushing the envelope of how 2D art will work with the Unity Engine.

So far, the strongest approach is to turn the 2D background artwork into 3D. We have come a long way from the flat little game we envisioned at the start. We are starting to create a huge, complex world full of fun and surprises.

Making Hero-U the Way a Game Should Be Made

Unlike those days when we worked for big companies where we had to make our deadline no matter what it takes, where creativity, bug-fixing, and polish are not important, and the game will ship whether it is ready or not, we control the vertical and the horizontal. We can strive to make the best possible game. We can push the boundaries of what has been done in the past to give you a game you love to play.

After all, now we are working for the best bosses in the world – You. We want to give you our absolute best, no matter what it takes.

By the way, we are still looking for one or two highly talented and experienced 2D animators. We do not pay as well as the big studios, but you get to work on your own schedule on a fun project. Interested artists need to be able to animate large, semi-realistic characters and create smooth “walk cycles”. Contact jobs (at) hero-u (dot) net with a link to your portfolio and animation samples to apply.

Here is a very early look at the new Hero-U Composer design tool in action.  It will let us define complex conversations and other interactions that we can import directly into the game code.  More automation = Fewer errors and more player options.

In Other Worlds

There are some very interesting projects out there currently. We would like to mention four Kickstarter projects and three other web sites, so we will keep the descriptions brief.

A Small Favor (http://kck.st/ZlhUxj) ends in less than four days. It looks like a side-scroller, but it is actually a science fiction adventure game with a good story line and nice animation. It looks fun, but needs serious support!

Among the Sleep (http://kck.st/11D7N79) is a horror adventure in which you play a two-year-old child. It is well along in development and is very close to reaching its goal in the remaining five days.

The Realm Game (http://kck.st/XZlFdU) is being developed by a studio more known for animation. As a result, it is gorgeous and you should visit its project page. The Realm has about 30% of its funding goal with nine days left, so they will need a serious push to make it.

Bashar, a passionate backer of Hero-U, is writing Derelict: A Short Story (http://kck.st/10kmLMF). If you like short-form science fiction, give this one a try.

Spellirium (http://spellirium.com/) is a “Kickstarter-like” project looking for funding on its own web site. If you enjoy spelling (think Boggle or Bookworm) and adventure, you might find this fun.

Adventure Burger (http://www.adventureburger.com/) is a site that follows Kickstarter adventure games. This is a good place to find out about adventure games that fall between our project updates.

KickstartVentures (http://www.kickstartadventure.com/home/) is a blog by Shawn Mills. Like Adventure Burger, this site will keep you up to date on new Kickstarter adventure game projects. In addition, Shawn’s articles talk about great adventure games of the past as well as current news affecting players. Also check out the Infamous Quests site at http://www.infamous-quests.com/home/.

We hope you all had an excellent Mother’s Day (or your local equivalent), and are enjoying the turn of the seasons. Lori got a nice gift and an AIM conversation from Michael. I sent flowers to my Mom and broke any semblance of a low-carb diet by making blueberry ricotta pancakes.  And Lori and I romantically wrote this Kickstarter Update together. 🙂