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

Hero-U Project Update #95: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

What would you do if you had all the time in the world?

Tempus Fugit
Tempus Fugit

At first, it would seem incredible, a boon that allows you to do everything you want to do.

But then, once you have accomplished all of your dreams, what will you do with the rest of that time? Where will you find challenge and excitement once you’ve had it all and done it all?

This is especially true for an impatient young Rogue such as Shawn O’Conner. Shawn has the run of the Hero-U castle (as long as he doesn’t get caught after curfew). He can check out the wine cellars, Sea Caves, catacombs, and dungeon. He can work out in the practice area, practice with locks and traps, play games with other students, or visit the library. There is definitely a lot to do.

But without time constraints, the choices go away. Shawn would try to do everything every day, and might find himself in a rut.

Using Time Wisely

Fortunately, time is a precious commodity at Hero-U. Even a Rogue needs to sleep sometime, and there is far more to do than anyone can reasonably manage in one semester.

Time is one of the major “economies” in Hero-U. Players constantly need to decide how Shawn should spend his all-too-limited time. Shawn can focus on social relationships, improve his skills, earn money, take elective classes, or uncover mysteries in the school and dungeons. There certainly won’t be enough time to get bored.

Every game action except for “look” takes time. Conversations take several minutes. Practicing a Rogue or a combat skill takes anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. Class sessions take hours. As you guide Shawn through Hero-U, you will find yourself watching the clock and thinking, “Do I have time for one more practice round? Or do I need to run to the library before it closes?”

As a Hero-U player, you will constantly have to make choices. You can’t do everything every day. That applies to conversations too – you need to choose what Shawn will say, then live with the results. Expect some frustration if you’re a completionist.

None of this is accidental. We want Hero-U to be compelling, and that includes forcing players to make choices. We also want the game to be replayable, so it’s fine if you miss out on some of the dialogue, or one of the classes, or even delving the dungeons. There are many different ways to play the game. We hope you will find Hero-U involving enough to try them all.

Suppertime
Suppertime

Taking the Time to Get It Right

In a way, time has been our greatest issue while developing Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. Shawn’s “semester” at Hero-U consists of 50 game days, each with unique events and conversations. This is what we – and Lori in particular – have been doing over the last five years. She has been writing and crafting all of those events and keeping them from “stepping on each other.”

During the last year, we’ve found many places where the scripts are almost, but not quite, right. Every possible dialogue, each option for picking a lock or disarming a trap, has needed careful testing to make sure they work as intended. We’re getting there, but every day we still find minor (and occasionally) bigger mistakes somewhere in the game. We want to fix as many of them as we possibly can before releasing the game to a wider audience.

By now you might be asking, “What time is it at Hero-U headquarters? When will the game reach Beta, and when will you release it to the world?”

Last time I told you we are “so close we can taste it,” and I estimated a release date between April 15 and May 15. As we haven’t yet declared Hero-U to be Beta-ready, clearly we’re pushing the end of that range, and we could even slip a few more weeks depending on what happens during Beta. I expect to start the Beta process in 1-2 weeks.

If you backed at a Beta tester level, watch your email for a message from BackerKit with instructions on accessing the Beta test on Steam. We have all three versions – Windows, Mac, and Linux – available, but are only using Steam during the testing phases. We’ll add other ways to get your game when we “go live.”

The Taste of Success
The Taste of Success

Alpha, Beta, Soup?

Game industry use of the terms “Alpha” and “Beta” isn’t consistent. For us, we’ll be ready for Beta when the game is completely playable, all essential features are in place, and it has no known game-stopping issues such as crashing or freezing. I am also trying to make sure it is as free as possible of “uncaught exceptions”; these might not freeze the game, but they are often signs of deeper problems in the game.

The main missing features at this point are Achievements (which we will turn into Steam Achievements) and the game manual. I’m working on both of those currently. Also missing are credits for both developers and backers, and the opening cinematic. Other than those, the game is complete, but not yet ready for release. We are still tuning combat, making sure all combat items work as intended, and adding additional sound effects. We’ll continue to do all of that during Beta testing.

Lori and I are so excited that we will finally be able to put our game in your hands “really soon now.” Every week we get closer to the day we can say, “Ship it!” That was always Ken Williams’ favorite part of making a game at Sierra, and soon it will be ours.

Of course, then our real work – or the next stage of it – begins again with promotion, fulfillment, the Art Book, Bestiary, and planning Hero-U: Wizard’s Way. This will be quite a journey!

Ship It In Ship Shape - Much Better Than the Ship That Sank
Ship It In Ship Shape – Much Better Than the Ship That Sank

Daniel’s Interview With Roberta Williams.

With permission from Daniel De Kock, who originally posted this:

Hi everyone,

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today and went through my external drive with material from years ago and felt best to share it with you before it is lost forever. Once upon a time in a land far far away there was a 12 year old boy that felt in love, like most of us here, with the games from Sierra which touch our hearts and has such an impact on our lives. To this day I’m still touched that people like Ken and Roberta Williams would find the time in their busy lives to engage with us, their fans, so young..

So, many many years ago I’ve taught myself the basics of html and create the Roberta Williams fan club and had a few interviews, received content from the Sierra game designers. Please find below my pride and joy at the time (12 years and English is not my first language , an interview with Roberta Williams from just before King’s Quest VIII was released. Sierra, Ken, Roberta, John, Al, Jane, Lori, Corey and Lorelei, Mark, Josh and Scott (just to name a few, especially the mods from old Sierra forums and chat rooms), thanks for being part of growing up, it was worth it.

1. How would you describe a typical day at Sierra On-Line, working on Mask of Eternity ?

Answer: I work mainly at home for the most part; always have. I go in and work with the rest of the team when I need to but I consider myself more of a contract “writer/designer.” (I suppose this habit got started because I began my career when my kids were very young and I felt that I wanted to be at home as much as possible with them. So – I depend very heavily on good producers (like Mark Seibert) and top-notch team members who don’t need me there full-time. Therefore, describing a “typical” day at Sierra On-Line (now called Sierra Studios) is not really possible for me. I can tell you that it is extremely busy with many products being developed…and a lot of creative energy flying around. The team itself is extremely excited about “King’s Quest: Mask of Eternity” and is beginning to work overtime trying to get it shipping by Christmas.

2. I’ve read in a interview that you may begin with another project as soon as MOE is finished. “However, Roberta and I have been talking about another project that might follow this one.” (This text was quoted from an interview with Mark Seibert he had done with Sierra Gaming World) Can you maybe tell us more about your upcoming project, could it be Phantasmagoria 3 ?

Answer: I hate to disappoint you, but there isn’t any upcoming project as of now. Certain projects have been discussed, but nothing has been decided definitively. I think the (new) management of Sierra is trying to decide what projects to do next…and any input from “fans” out there would probably help them sort out these decisions.

3. What have happened to the marble statue turning alive idea for MOE, which would have been the hero of the game ? That was your first idea for King’s Quest VIII.

Answer: At first the story of KQ8 was going to involve a sort of “evil magic” which causes everybody in Daventry – including King Graham and his family – to turn to stone while, conversely, this same magic would cause a reverse effect on a stone statue…bringing it alive. Then – this “guy” would have to set out to figure out the cause of this evil magic and try to save the people of Daventry by defeating the source of this evil. As the story (and the game) developed, though, the story began to change. Now – it involves a “normal citizen” of Daventry (Connor of Daventry) who survives the onslaught of evil magic, managing, somehow, to “stay alive,” while the rest of the citizenry turns to stone. Connor figures out that the source or cause of this “magic” involves a sacred golden object called the “Mask of Eternity.” A piece of this mask saved him…and it will be the means by which the rest of humanity will be saved….but it’s up to him to accomplish that immense task.

4. You are probably tired of answering this question, but can you tell us new about MOE, e.g. if possible maybe something which will happen in the game etc. Also, what is the most exciting world in MOE and why ?

Answer: What happens in the game is that the most sacred, powerful object in the world, the Mask of Eternity, is shattered by an evil magic (really, an evil “sorcerer-type” guy). When this happens, “Truth,” “Light,” and “Order” are banished from the world and all of humanity turns to stone, while all the supernatural creatures of evil and chaos crawl out from the dark nooks and crannies of the world and begin to spread turmoil and upheaval throughout the land. Connor, being the only “human” left (because he found a piece of the Mask – which saved him), is the one who needs to find the remaining pieces of the Mask and then return it to its rightful place…and to destroy the evil “sorcerer” who caused all of this mess in the first place. If or when he does so, he will cause “Truth,” “Light,” and “Order” to be restored to the world…and humanity to come back to life.

5. Is it more challenging, harder to create Mask of Eternity than it was
with Phantasmagoria ? Is it the creating of the game engine that puts up a
challenge or is it something else ?

Answer: In some ways, it was harder creating Phantasmagoria and in other ways it’s harder to create KQ: Mask of Eternity. (By the way, I feel to the need to stress that this game is “King’s Quest” first and foremost. “Mask of Eternity” is the subtitle. Basically, it’s “King’s Quest 8.” I noticed that you keep referring to the game as “Mask of Eternity” – but not really referencing “King’s Quest.” I need to make sure that people who read this understand that this is DEFINITELY a “King’s Quest” game.)

Anyway – with Phantasmagoria, we weren’t really creating a new game engine, but we were dealing with a lot of issues concerning integrating video, actors, silicon graphics, blue screen effects, etc. – within our old established adventure game engine. With King’s Quest: Mask we are dealing with a game series which already has an established look and feel, but we are creating a brand new 3D engine to evolve the series and bring it up to the expectations of today’s audience. Both were difficult in their own ways; it’s difficult to say which is/was harder. (None of my games are easy! It seems that each one in its own time was difficult! But…I love a good challenge.)

6. Since the design of MOE, dialogue etc. is finished, what are you currently doing on the MOE team ?

Answer: The design of King’s Quest is not finished…and neither is the dialog. Design doesn’t end with turning in a design document. It’s an ongoing thing. You think of new things; you play portions of the game and see that you need to “add” here, or “take away” there; you adjust various aspects of the game; you add, delete, or change dialog; you add more variety/atmosphere/ambience to the worlds; you change characters or add characters. Also – one of the biggest jobs of the designer is to play test the heck out of the game…right up until the minute it ships. You play it and play it and play it until you think you can’t stand to look at it anymore to find each and every little bug, design problem, graphics/animation problem, sound problem, dialog problem, etc. The designer is there at the very beginning – with the initial concepts – and still there at the bitter end…signing it off for shipment.

7. In an article 1989 (I know it is a long time ago and it was also on the KQ collection CD), called, The Making of King’s Quest VI, the author said : “Sometimes she consults her two little children, DJ and Chris, but husband Ken is little help. What did DJ and Chris came up with that you’ve used in your games ?

Answer: That’s a difficult question. I don’t know that I could necessarily think of any particular things. I know that I used to consult with them a lot. Many of my games would follow the ages of my children (at the time) – for instance, I did “Mixed-Up Mother Goose” when my son, Chris, was about 4 or 5 – or, they would be talking to me while on trips in the car, or when they were playing other games and I would ask their opinion of those games they were playing. And they were very opinionated…especially Chris! They have helped with their ideas on game interfaces, or story ideas. I would ask their opinions of characters I was developing, or what they thought of puzzles….or if they had any good ideas about puzzles. Basically, the way I work, I ask LOTS of people for ideas; I’m like an idea vacuum. I’ll ask anybody and everybody. Even my husband got sucked into discussions of my games, too – whether he liked it or not<g>.

8. Can you tell us about your childhood. That is something that your fans know little about. Where have you been brought up, do you have brothers or sisters etc.

Answer: I was raised in southern California – in La Verne – which is located about 30 miles east of Los Angles. When I was a child, my father, John, was a horticulturist and worked for the County of Los Angeles as an Agriculture Inspector. My mother, Nova, was a housewife – but one who was (and still is) a very good oil painter. I have one brother, Jim. He is 18 months younger than me. My brother currently lives in Rancho Cucamonga, California, while both of my parents live in Oakhurst, California. (Oakhurst, California, by the way, is where Sierra On-Line got its start.) Both of my parents are retired now and they love to travel the world and they also love to square-dance. My brother works for 3M Corporation. I am married to Ken Williams and we have been married for 25 years. I got married at age 19 (Ken was 18). I have two sons, D.J. (now 24) and Chris (now 18). D.J. is a chef who works at a fine restaurant in Seattle, Washington, and Chris is attending a university in Tokyo, Japan. My only “children” at home now are two dogs, a six year old Swedish Vallhund called Arcade, and a three year old Norwegian Lundehund named Shelbie. My family is very important to me, and I see and am in contact with my parents, brother, and two sons – all of the time. I guess you could say that my life – from the beginning – has been blessed.

9. How do you feel about the idea that Ken Williams have left Sierra, to start another company ? Why did Ken Williams leave Sierra On-Line ?

Answer: Ken and I sold Sierra On-Line to CUC International – now called Cendant. We both made the decision. Ken had been CEO of the company for almost 20 years and was ready for a new challenge. Ken is currently starting a new company, called WorldStream Communications – which is planning to do live, round-the-world, “talk radio” formats over the internet. He is very excited about this…partially because it’s something new…and it’s a company which will challenge him even more than Sierra did.

10. How does the future look for the King’s Quest series, will it survive in this 3D era and what new format (graphics) could come after 3D ?

Answer: I certainly HOPE it survives in this 3D era – and why shouldn’t it? It’s a 3D game, too! “King’s Quest: Mask of Eternity” is a true 3D, third-person adventure game…with some action elements. It’s very “now.” It definitely has its roots in “King’s Quest,” but it also is new and fresh…the whole look and feel is updated. There is a new character to meet, Connor of Daventry, and you can explore SEVEN beautiful 3D worlds to your heart’s content. We also added some “action” elements to give the game more of a “real-time” feeling and to enhance the 3D experience. You kind of know the story – but there are also lots of puzzles to solve in this game, too. The puzzles fit very well into the 3D aspects of the game. The one thing which is quite different from the older “King’s Quest” games is the fact that Connor can fight many of the evil creatures of “chaos” – but, with the good and friendly characters…he is more than a gentleman.

As far as any new graphic formats after 3D – what can you do beyond 3D? I mean, 3D is 3D. Nothing is more than 3D. So – 3D will just get better and better: faster, higher resolution, more realistic, utilizing actors, more objects, buildings, trees, etc. Probably in 10 years, you won’t be able to tell that you’re not walking through a real “world.” It’ll look totally real – like movies or TV – but it will be a computer-generated 3D world. (Obviously, multi-player games will also change the look and feel computer gaming…and will probably be integrated into the TV watching experience at some point.)

Hero-U Update #94: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

So Close We Can Taste It
Posted by Corey Cole (Creator)
Most of Us Are HappyMost of Us Are Happy

The Pareto Principle says that 80% of results come from 20% of causes. I’ve often parodied that with my “90-90 rule of software development” – “90% of the project takes 90% of the schedule, and the last 10% takes the other 90%.” I even gave a 90-90-90 rule (Luck, Inspiration, and Hard Work) in my previous update.

Zeno (the Arrow Paradox) would have suggested that means that no game is ever finished… and he would be right! There is still a lot of work we would like to do on each of our previous games. But sooner or later, the boss walks into the room and declares, “Ship it!” Only then is a game officially “done”, but not really…

Fortunately, I’m happy to report that we’re much farther along with Hero-U than 90%. But there is still a huge amount of work to do. Releasing the game is only one stage in our 5+ year project. We also have to fulfill physical orders (posters, game boxes, and the Yearbook), write the text for the manuals, set up Steam and other web pages, promote the game, port it to consoles, and get started on the next games. Just thinking about all that is exhausting!

We’ve just released (to Alpha Testers) the first build that players can play all the way through from the beginning to the end! That is a huge milestone that looked very far away even a few months ago. All that is missing to declare “Code Complete” and move into the Beta Test phase is to clean up a few “boss combats” and improve the endgame flow and polish.

We also need some logistics to handle thousands of additional player-testers. That will probably include a discussion forum just for testers that we may be able to turn into a general support site after game release.

As we get closer to the finish line, I think I can do a better job of prediction than I’ve managed in the past. Our scheduled Beta Test date is March 15, but let’s say “by the end of March” to be safe. Game release will be 4-6 weeks after we enter Beta testing. That puts it somewhere between April 15 and May 15. Yes, THIS year, 2018. 🙂

Keeping In Touch

As we approach release, it’s very important that you keep your information on BackerKit up to date. You can find and edit it at https://hero-u-adventure-role-playing-game.backerkit.com/.

I received “hard email bounces” from five Alpha-level backers. I’ve managed to track four of them down, but I’m still looking for a current email for “GamerIntel”. If that’s you, please contact support (at) hero-u (dot) com and update your information on BackerKit.

For everyone else, please visit BackerKit and update your email and physical address information if either has changed.

You may also join in the discussions at http://hero-u.net/forum/. We plan to make a separate forum or a hidden area on the current forum for Beta test feedback.

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

If you are a Beta Test level backer, you will receive an email from BackerKit when your Steam key is available for testing. All Beta testing will be on Steam so that you will automatically get patches when we update the game.

Let's Keep In Touch, Y'All

Let’s Keep In Touch, Y’All

SpaceQuest.net is back!

Home of space custodian and questionable hero, Roger Wilco – SpaceQuest.net is back, ladies, gentlemen, and alien species!

Per their update:

WE’RE BACK!!! Welcome back to SpaceQuest.Net!

Welcome back to SpaceQuest.Net! Please excuse the bugs as we work out the kinks! Also, there’s a brand new redesign (started by Frans himself) on the way that we’ll be finishing up so don’t think we’re done here!

This website pays tribute to Space Quest: the wacky sci-fi humor adventure computer game series by Sierra On-Line, starring space janitor Roger Wilco! SpaceQuest.Net is the ultimate Space Quest resource website, containing everything you wanted to know about Space Quest, and then some. Put on your Astro Chicken flight hat and enjoy the website!

SpaceQuest.Net is back!

Please swing by and check them out!

(Alien chicks are hot…)

<3
Larry Laffer

Hero-U Project Update #93: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

Game Development Progress

We’ve completed the first Alpha test stages, and I will soon be inviting every backer entitled to the Alpha and Beta Test perk. We’re currently polishing the Catacombs area of Hero-U and adding the Dungeon. At the beginning of March, we plan to add the Endgame and open up testing to everyone with the Beta Testing perk. The game will be complete at that point, but will undoubtedly have balance issues and bugs that we missed in earlier testing.

As we get closer to Code Complete, I can start making better estimates of how long it will take us to complete everything else. Lori has finished writing the game dialogue, and Josh Mandel is finishing up the last few object interactions. I still have some writing work to do on the endgame, game manual, Bestiary, and art book, and polish work to do on the Yearbook.

Depending on further testing results, we are likely looking at a mid-April 2018 release. To do that, we will need much more than the finished game and manual. We need to integrate it with every release platform, get keys to backers, and much more.

A Zombie Chorus Line - “Hey, watch where you’re sheathing that sword!”
A Zombie Chorus Line – “Hey, watch where you’re sheathing that sword!”

“Racing to the Finish Line” on Hero-U.com

Lori posted a new blog entry on www.hero-u.comhttp://hero-u.com/racing-to-the-finish-line/ – last month. Check it out. She writes most of the posts there, while I write most of the Kickstarter updates.

Alpha Testing – Watch for your Steam invitation

Earth’s listing in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy read simply, “Mostly harmless.” Now that our small cadre of pre-Alpha testers have helped us eliminate the most devastating bugs from Hero-U, I will soon be inviting all registered Alpha testers to experience the game-in-progress. It’s mostly playable now, with just the dungeon and endgame to be added over the next few weeks.

If your page on https://hero-u-adventure-role-playing-game.backerkit.com/ shows that you have the “Alpha and Beta Testing” perk, keep watch on your email for an Alpha test invitation within the next two weeks.

The team is looking forward to more testers with a mixture of anticipation, excitement, and concern (“terror” is much too strong a term). They’ve quashed over 1100 bugs so far, and with your help we’ll do our best to make the game squeaky-clean by release.

Sneaking Through the Sea Caves
Sneaking Through the Sea Caves

What Do Our Testers Think About Hero-U?

So far the tester feedback has been very positive. Despite having to fight bugs, our testers have been very involved in the game and have good things to say about it.

I asked one tester, Raf M, to write up his impressions. Here are his concluding paragraphs. His full “impressions” report is at http://hero-u.com/hero-u-playtesting-feedback/.

“Based on what is currently playable in the alpha (and that is already quite a lot), I think that the gamers who liked Quest for Glory, will like Hero-U. I think it is clear that Hero-U is also a Lori and Corey Cole game.”

“In my opinion, the game succeeds in making you feel that Shawn is at a school, but it’s essentially still a story driven RPG/adventure game hybrid, not a “school simulator”.”

“I have spent quite a lot of time playing the alpha. I immediately liked the core of the game. If I didn’t, I would not have invested so much time playing an unfinished game with inevitable bugs. I am always looking forwards to new builds, so I can make more progress in the game.”

“There is still more work to be done, but there is already a lot of content in the game. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is getting bigger and bigger. In my opinion, the alpha is strongly indicating that the long wait for the final game is almost over ant it will be worth it.”

Unsolicited, tester Richard Baxter wrote:

“I am finding the game really enjoyable (at day 30). The character interactions, visual emotions, music, atmosphere, lighting, environmental depth, story, comedy, portraits, statues, textures, and 3D animations are all incredible. I also find it (like Quest for Glory) a great learning programme in the finer points of heroism and ethical philosophy – which is one of the underlying themes (school).”

“I think Lori should become a director for a film, and do writing for similar games. Her characters are so much more interesting.”

It’s difficult – maybe impossible – for us to judge our own work. It’s always a big relief when we release a game and find out that players like it. We’ve been very fortunate with that so far in that players say they like almost all of our games. We hope that Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption will continue that lucky legacy. (Game Success = 90% Luck, 90% Inspiration, and 90% Hard Work. It’s possible I should have taken that Statistics class I missed in college.)