Ken’s Book – Not All Fairy Tales Have Happy Endings

… who sent you? And to do what?

Greetings all!

I just wanted to briefly introduce myself. My name is Ken Williams and my wife and I were the founders of an early games company, Sierra On-Line. We were the original publishers for Corey and Lori Cole, who did Hero’s Quest for us (later renamed as Quest for Glory.) We also published games like Ultima, King’s Quest, Half-Life, Leisure Suit Larry (why did it take so long to mention my game? – Larry Laffer), Space Quest, and many more.

The reason I’m here is to briefly mention that I have a book coming out about Sierra. Gamers have been asking me for 25 years to write a book about “what happened?” and how Sierra, which was once dominant in the business, fell apart.

I’ve always refused, but then the virus changed all of our plans (like all of yours) and when I was bored Roberta said, “Write a book” and the book just kind of happened.

Anyway, if you want to know more about the book, check out

if you want to know more about the book, check out

Hero-U Update #127: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

The Yearbook is in Beta! Live Readings from Lori’s By the Book novel inspired by Hero’s Quest!

Fan and helper Steve Coupe has completed his massive effort to whip the Rogue to Redemption Yearbook into shape! I’ve posted it as a “Beta version” to BackerKit for everyone who has their name and text in the Yearbook.

The Disbarred Bard of the Year finalists page in the Yearbook

If you notice any errors – especially in your entry – please notify me at support (at) hero-u (dot) net. Once we correct any mistakes, I’ll make the Yearbook available to all backers. I’ll also start the process of making a print version for backers entitled to that edition. Lori and I have started signing the hundreds of autographs we owe to Yearbook and premium game edition backers.

We made a great deal of progress on the game between first release in July 2018 to this Spring. If you got one of the boxed versions of the game, how do you feel about having an old (I think it’s version 1.4) version of the game on your DVD? Is that a Valuable Historical Artifact, or an annoyance because you actually play from the DVD and would prefer it to be up-to-date?

The reason I ask is that I’m considering pressing around 300 new DVD’s with version 2.2 to send with the Yearbook and autographs to premium backers. But that leaves 700 backers with the “basic boxed game” with the older version. If you’re in either category, I’d like your opinion about whether we should spend a few thousand dollars updating game DVD’s. Is that something you’d be willing to pay $5 for (covering the disk and shipping) if we did it as an “on demand” upgrade? Or are you happy with the pretty, but obsolete, game disk? Comment here or to the support email.

By the Book Live Readings on YouTube

Lori has been reading from her book – with Mishell Baker – during our Twitch streams. Superfan Maus Merryjest has wrapped each chapter with a musical intro and ending.

Here’s what I wrote about the book in the most recent videos:

“How To Be A Hero: By The Book” is a young adult novel inspired by Lori and Corey Cole’s 1989 game, Hero’s Quest: So You Want To Be A Hero. In this retelling, the four character classes from that game are represented by four orphan siblings who find themselves called to adventure.

Hawk is a sixteen year old boy with holes in his boots and a hand-me-down sword he can barely draw without falling over. He lives with his two brothers and younger sister in an isolated Alpine village. Hawk soon realizes that they all have no future in the village, so he leaves to seek a new life or himself and his family.

Armed with an inspirational manual, “How to Be a Hero,” Hawk sets off for the town of Siegburg, where he plans to win fame and fortune as an adventurer. But he soon discovers that Siegburg is a hopeless mess. Meanwhile, he has his hands full keeping the rest of the family out of his hair… and out of trouble. Unfortunately, the path to heroism is much less glamorous than his dog-eared manual led him to expect.

By the Book live reading. Chapter 1: Beyond the Gate

During the campaign, backers “earned” 13 chapters of the novel. I’m happy to say that we’ve completed that commitment plus a bonus chapter 14! Here are the chapters I’ve posted so far:

Full playlist:

Chapter 1 – Beyond the Gate:

Chapter 2 – Path to Adventure:

Chapter 3 – Castle On the Hill:

Chapter 4 – Two Birds in the Bush:

Chapter 5 – Wild Flights:

Chapter 6 – A Daring Rescue:

Chapter 7 – Unexpected Meetings:

Chapter 8 – The Sting of the Blade:

Chapter 9 – Strange Doings:

Chapter 10 – Quests and Questions:

Chapter 11 – Dark Passage:

Chapter 12 – Alarms and Excursions:

Chapter 13 – Into the Fire:

Chapter 14 – Fox, Books, Crocks, and Crooks:

Our next live stream will be next Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020 from 3-5 pm PDT (California time). We stream on Twitch at

I’m currently looking into doing some more editing on the novel, and eventually publishing it as a downloadable book. The live readings are from the original “Beta” version of By the Book.

Help Support the Stream on Patreon

As you probably know, the market for indie adventure games is really challenging. As a result, Lori and I don’t take any salary or royalties from Hero-U games. Instead, we are relying on continuing support from our fans on our Patreon.

We think supporting us there is a win-win proposition. Each patron contributes a small monthly amount, and the total adds up to a useful amount of funds for us. What do patrons get? I try to post something new a couple of times a month. Much of the content is open to anyone who visits our Patreon page, while some “premium” posts are only available to patrons

Already-available content includes the entire Birth of a Hobbit comic strip series, posts from our “Quest Log Blog,” recent articles, Lori’s photographic art, images from our games, and more! Patrons who donate at least $10/month get additional content including high-resolution “screen wallpaper” images and premium “heroes” role access to our Discord.

Please consider subscribing at to help keep us free to make games and do live streams. Subscribe only if you can easily afford it, please!

Also join our free Discord server. You can search for Transolar Games or use this link: We have some awesomely cool people and conversations there, and I try to contribute regularly.

  • Coles.

So I found a map…

There was a time, long ago… I once had glorious hair.

Then I met a woman and she cut it all off.

Remember her?

Well, turns out I found an interesting map there…

Interesting map!

I used the map to disguise myself and get a kiss from the mysterious woman!


Actually, the map was made by Fabio Marques who had posted it on Facebook –

The map I drew when I was 15 yeas old to play King’s Quest IV. Back then I used to have IBM 10Mhz PC XT, it was very slow to play KQ4, so planning in advance using this map helped me a lot.

I thought it was a great map of King’s Quest IV and just had to share it somehow. So I had some fun with the KQ4 screenshot.

SpaceVenture Update #123: Two Guys SpaceVenture – by the creators of Space Quest

Hey everyone! It’s been a long hard road to get to this point. This past month and especially these last few days have been a real pant load of fun activities in getting this stuff rolling. So as we start this process, we wanted to use this update to provide some general details on how the Beta testing process will work.

    • Beta testing will be available to $30 and up backers as that was one of the rewards for backing at that level and higher
    • VERY IMPORTANT: If you are hoping to play SpaceVenture in the state it is meant to be played in, that will be spoiler and bug free, you may not want to take part in this process. Regardless, you are welcomed to download the Beta version anytime you want if you are a qualified backer.
    • We are currently only Beta testing the Windows version of the game, but we will release the others when we are ready.
    • You will receive an email that will have information on getting access to the Beta test of SpaceVenture.
    • The email will provide information on how the Beta testing process works and how you will communicate with the developers and report bugs
    • We ABSOLUTELY will not be monitoring Kickstarter messages for bugs and Beta testing issues, so you MUST use the beta testing method we provide if you want to be heard during this process.
    • The Beta test will be released as a .zip file that can be extracted to your Windows based operating system in order to test.
    • We will be updating the game after fixing bugs and will release another .zip file with the next revision.You will be able to simply delete the existing version of the Beta and extract the new one in order to start the process of testing over again.
    • Please be on the lookout for the email and also be patient as we are sending them in batches. If you haven’t received download information within 48 hours please private message us here on Kickstarter.

    We are really excited about finally getting the game in your hands to test and we hope you all know how hard we’ve worked to get to this point.Here is a quick glimpse of the beginning of SpaceVenture in Beta testing mode:

Hero-U Update #126: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption by Corey and Lori Ann Cole

Shawn Joins the Yearbook!

Coming up this Saturday, 3-5 pm PDT, we’ll talk a little about how we look at we test, and fix bugs, in our games. We’ll have a contest for a fabulous game key prize. Lori will read Chapter 19: Spellbound, from By the Book, the Quest for Glory inspired novel she wrote with Mishell Baker. The stream will go live at at 3 pm PDT on Aug. 1.

Check out our Patreon at Since we do not take any salary from Transolar Games, this is currently our only income. Sign up for $2 or $10 a month to get exclusive content and early access to our public posts. Or just keep us linked to see the latter.

Join our Discord (Transolar Games) via this link: It’s a great place to meet other fans, talk about games, and ask me questions.

New Summer Daze at Hero-U game play trailer:

First look at the Wizbang and La Boomba mini-games and introduction to a few of the characters. Whether or not you backed Summer Daze on Kickstarter, we’d like you to check out our next game. We think it’s going to be really fun.

Yearbook and Autograph Status

We delayed the Yearbook for a few more weeks to add entries for Shawn and his classmates at Hero-U. It wouldn’t be a “real” Yearbook without them. Sorry to keep you waiting, but after all this time, we want to get it right.

We’ve just received 1000 or so “bookplate” stickers (3” x 4”) that we’ll be autographing and sending with the printed Yearbooks to premium-tier backers. Most backers who got the premium version of the boxed game are also getting the Yearbook, so you’ll each get two stickers for the Yearbook and your box or manual. Anyone who just got the premium game, but not the Yearbook, will get a sticker in the mail.

Autographed Bookplate Design

Upcoming (Tentative) Project

Hero-U: Wizard’s Way is on indefinite hold for now. We can’t afford to produce it on our own, and we don’t currently see a path to find a publisher or outside backer for the game. We could put it on Kickstarter, but our last few campaigns have not come close to raising a full game budget.

But we do have something else in the pipeline. Did you enjoy the mini-games on the way to Dr. Cranium in Quest for Glory IV? Or the game that inspired them, Castle of Dr. Brain? What if we could make a new game with puzzles like those, but with more story? We could set it in a dark and moody atmosphere reminiscent of Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness?

Castle of Dr. Brain was a fascinating project. My team and I built it under SCI, the same game engine used for Quest for Glory and other Sierra adventure games, but it was a completely different type of game. It was much more condensed, with the emphasis on puzzles rather than exploration. I’ve thought about making another game like that many times, but want to build a real story into the game as well.

We’re working on a prototype and a few puzzles as proof of concept. If they turn out well, Consulting Magicians (working title) might become our next game after Summer Daze at Hero-U. We’ll keep you posted here.

Project Update #122: Two Guys SpaceVenture

Hey everyone! Time for a quick update. Though we didn’t reach the absolute finish line there is some good news. We are about to move into beta testing with all you qualified backers, and then hopefully a release of the game not too long after that depending on how well Beta testing goes. We are actually ready to start Beta testing now, but we are putting some infrastructure together on how to organize such a large amount of Beta testing with you all.

So here are some facts about our plans:

  • Beta testing will begin sometime in July
  • The next update will hit in July and explain how to take part in Beta testing
  • We will provide a convenient way for you to report bugs
  • If you are wanting to experience the game the way it is meant to be played, you may not want to take part in Beta testing

Stay tuned for the next update in July to have info about how to get access to Beta testing!

LockDownCon virtual convention this weekend

LockDownCon online June 26 – 28

Neal Hallford – writer on Betrayal at Krondor, Dungeon Siege, Champions of Norrath, and more – is hosting LockDownCon this weekend. It’s a “Virtual Fan Convention,” free admission, with some amazing guests and speakers. Scroll way down in the linked page to get to the schedule.

We’re last-minute replacements for Ray Muzyka of Bioware fame on “The Golden Age of Computer Gaming” panel Saturday at noon PDT. Matt Barton of Matt Chat is hosting, and we’ll be on the panel with Trip Hawkins (Electronic Arts), Warren Spector (Ultima Underworld, System Shock, Deus Ex, etc.), and John Cutter and Neal Hallford from Dynamix (Betrayal at Krondor, etc.) It’s a star-studded panel and promises to be amazing!

Today (as I write this), Friday, at 7 pm PDT is a panel on “Narrative Design for Computer Games” that might be of interest to many of you. I’m looking forward to the 3 pm Saturday panel on “Restoring Scientific Thought in America.” There are also a number of panels on acting and filmmaking, lots of interesting content.

Best of all, you don’t have to get in line outside Hall H for four hours before each panel! And, as I mentioned, it’s FREE! Come join us online for LockDownCon this weekend.

Summer Daze at Hero-U on Steam Game Festival

The Steam Game Festival – Summer Edition

Summer Daze at Hero-U Preview this Saturday at 2 pm PDT

We’re proud to have Summer Daze at Hero-U as a featured title on the Steam Game Festival. You should check out the festival not just for Summer Daze coverage, but for over 500 mostly-indie games coming out in the next year. Yes, we have some serious competition!

Visit to learn more. The Festival runs through the morning of June 22.

In conjunction with the festival, we will be live-streaming Summer Daze at Hero-U this Saturday starting at 2 pm PDT. (That’s Sunday at an unreasonably early hour if you live Down Under.) We’ll also talk about the game and the development process.

Come to to watch and participate in the stream. If you haven’t been to one of our streams before, this is a great time to start! We have games, contests, and giveaways for viewers, a chance to ask us about our games and work, and much more.

The second hour will be devoted to playing a bit of Quest for Infamy, the Infamous Quests (Steven Alexander) game that was inspired by Quest for Glory for those who want a little more of a “dark side” anti-hero. Steven has had an especially rough year and can use more support.

We’ll close out the stream at 5 pm PDT, but not before Lori reads chapter 17 of her Hero’s Quest inspired novel, By the Book. The first 11 chapters are on YouTube at We’ll gradually post more chapters, but will have a decision to make after we post chapter 13. That’s the last one we reached in a stretch goal during the Summer Daze campaign on Kickstarter. In any case, you can catch all of the chapters live on our Twitch channel, and I think Twitch keeps those videos up for two weeks afterwards. Our previous livestream – featuring Heroine’s Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok – is still available there if you hurry!

Corey and Lori play Quest for Infamy live this Saturday at 3 pm PDT

Yearbook Status

Yes, we have not forgotten about the Yearbook for premium backers. Steve is working on it currently, and says he’ll have news for me to announce during the stream on Saturday. Once he’s finished with it, I’ll upload it to BackerKit in digital form. Then we’ll start work on the autographed physical edition, which will likely take a few months to print and ship to everyone.

Think of it as a flashback to when we were all a few years younger!

In the meantime, stay safe in these challenging times.