Happy CyberMonday, Larryettes. (May I call you that?)
Before I get into this week’s bits and pieces, I want to thank everyone who supported Corey and Lori Cole’s HERO-U Kickstarter project. Though they made it a nailbiter, they DID reach their goal, so the project is a big thumbs-up. In fact, projects from ex-Sierra designers have a 100% success rate on Kickstarter (Jane Jensen, the Coles, the Two Guys, and the Larry project)…and in the games category, the general success rate for funding is under 40%. We’re hoping that this fact isn’t lost on the major publishers.
Now onto Larry news.
We’ve got the additional final backgrounds for:
Fire Escape Alley (Right side of Lefty’s building)
The Payphone closeup
The Video Poker closeup
The Come ‘n’ Go exterior
Mugger’s Alley called for some clever thinking on Colin’s part. This alley actually appears in numerous places throughout the game, and we wanted to make sure that it matches up well with all its locations. In the best of all possible worlds, and with an unlimited budget, each alley would look completely different, but that’s neither practical nor really necessary, as you never get to spend more than a few seconds in these alleys.
The Video Poker Machine will actually have several skins depending on where it appears, because we’re putting it in several places throughout the game. This is a departure from the game’s earlier incarnations, simply to reduce the number of cab rides that a player has to take.
Speaking of departures from the original design, we’re also taking out the concept of death due to going broke. There will always be a way in the game to get a buck or two with which you can rebuild your funds (I’m not going to reveal that methodology; it will become apparent only when and if it’s needed). This is borne out of our feeling that running out of money should just be another obstacle to overcome, not a cause for death.
That’s not to say we’re caving completely to current trends and removing death from the game. There are still many ways to die, but three that we’ve removed are:
Bringing an alcoholic beverage into the taxicab
Running out of time
Many people might not remember (or might never have discovered) that the original Larry was timed, and you would die if dawn broke without your finding true love. But with our emphasis on being able to try vast numbers of actions, that naturally can add to exploration time, and it would be cruel to give people more opportunities for exploration and then punish them for taking advantage of those opportunities.In the original game, some deaths would result in Larry being taken to the “Larry Factory” underground. In the very first LSL1, it was an assembly line, and you could see other Sierra characters also waiting to be reassembled. In the VGA remake, it was more of a blender-and-mold affair. Our Larry Factory is neither of those; it’s a concept which I’ve actually hinted at obliquely many times throughout my updates. This new Larry Factory will return you to the exact point you were at in the game *before* you made your fatal error, so it’s as pain-free a death as possible.
We are *this close* (making pinching gesture with fingers) to signing our composer, and if it hadn’t been for the usual Thanksgiving shutdown of everything in the United States except for retail sales, we’d probably have it by now. We’re so excited about this that I’m going to put out an extra Update as soon as we can release the info.
Along with Windows and Mac builds, N-Fusion produced its first iOS build of the game last week. I had it up and running on an iPhone, and it’s absolutely beautiful. Jeff had it running on his iPad, and we were arguing on the phone about which looked cooler, and why.
That’s the news for now. Take care, keep warm, don’t fight, and thanks again for your support, not just for our game, but for all the resurgent Sierra-related projects. Those of us who are anxiously watching the Sierra renaissance are looking forward to a truly memorable 2013.
Yesterday was “Thanksgiving Day” in the U.S., and we are very thankful for all our wonderful fans and supporters. Thank you again, everyone! We are very excited about moving from the uncertainty of the Kickstarter phase to the chaos and overtime of the design and production phases. Most (99%) of the payments from backers have cleared, and we will have access to funds in about two weeks.
I will start sending Backer Surveys in the next few days so that you can provide a shipping address, tell us which add-ons you want, and so on. If your rewards include keys to previous games, we will try to get those out in December.
Lori and I will host a meeting tonight at 8 pm EST (Saturday 1 am GMT). Visit http://www.anymeeting.com/HeroU1 at that time and enter your name, location, and email to attend. This is a free site and we haven’t used it before, so we’ll all learn as we go. Up to 200 people can get in to the meeting, there is a chat window to ask questions, and you can visit the site later to hear the recording.
We now have a PayPal page for people who missed, or were unable to contribute to, the Kickstarter. It allows you to back the project with reward tiers identical to the Kickstarter $20 – $500 tiers. We will also add a Donate button soon if you just want to contribute.
Visit – or send your friends to – the Hero-U KS Store at http://www.hero-u.net/get-hero-u.html#storetop. You can purchase with a PayPal account or with any major credit card through PayPal. All purchases made at the KS Store through February will count towards project stretch goals.
We are not selling add-ons through the store at this time. We will be adding a separate page for them later. For now, there are some school-related items available at http://www.cafepress.com/herobazaar. Purchases at the Hero Bazaar are print on demand, so you will get them quickly, but we can’t count them towards project stretch goals.
Partner Projects That You Will Enjoy
Some people have the idea that there is a “gaming pie” (mmm, pumpkin), and one slice of it for all the adventure game sales. So if a lot of people buy one adventure game, all the others suffer. To this I say, “Stuff(ing) and nonsense!” Each successful adventure game gives players more fun and helps the rest of us too. So please support these games if you can.
The other three games I will mention were all successfully funded on Kickstarter, and are being created by “Sierra On-Line Alumni”. Ken Williams got behind us because we are part of “the rebirth of the spirit of Sierra”. All of us made fun games in the 90’s, and now we’re showing you what we can do with modern computers. (We give thanks for not having to ship a game on 8 floppy disks!)
The folks at Replay Games, and especially Josh Mandel, gave us a lot of valuable publicity towards reaching our goal. They are making a new and improved version of Leisure Suit Larry 1 over at https://www.replaygamesinc.com/.
Jane Jensen – designer of the Gabriel Knight games – has a new game studio, Pinkerton Road. Her first new game is Moebius, and she has several other games planned. You can join her CSG (Community Supported Gaming) group at http://pinkertonroad.com/join-csg/.
That was so close! And what that means is that every single one of you, every effort large or small, every interview, post, link, and share was essential to Hero-U getting funded. You all deserve gold stars!
Thank you to every backer. Large pledge or small, you all contributed to reaching the goal. Lori and I feel honor-bound to give you the best game we can make to justify your faith in us.
Thank you to our active commenters. People like Robert (our first backer), Candice, SD, RSF, Micartu, Ratatoskr, Serena, Thom, Nelson, Michael, Elsa, and a host of others who haunted the Comments, kept spirits alive, shared links, and answered other backers’ questions.
Thank you, Sierra veterans who helped us reach other Sierra gamers – Ken Williams, Al Lowe, Josh Mandel, Paul Trowe, Jane Jensen, Chris Pope (honorary Sierra alumnus), Scott Murphy, Mark Crowe. and Cindy Vanous (who convinced several backers to raise their pledges in the final hours).
I’ve added three stretch goals to the main project page. You can help us reach them by continuing to back us by PayPal (http://www.hero-u.net/KS-store) and by send your friends to the Kickstarter Store at Hero-U (links under the video on main page) .
It will be a few days before we have the store ready. Please be patient.
One feature of the store will be a button that lets you upgrade your Kickstarter pledge. If I can find a way to make that work. 🙂 You will provide your Kickstarter name and pledge amount, then you can order a higher-tier reward by adding more to your pledge.
The Companion Meep is a Tamagotchi-like pet that you need to feed, groom, and be nice to. Your Meep will get in your way occasionally, and might even be helpful sometimes.In addition to the listed feature, every stretch goal will give us additional funds to devote to more and better content – additional art, music, design, and programming for your pleasure.
Projects That Still Need Your Help
I’m sure most of you are as exhausted as I am, and many are tapped out. But if you still have a few dollars in your pocket, please visit these other worthy Kickstarter projects and see if you want to support them:
Shadowgate by Zojoi (http://kck.st/VsUwJ9) – Great remake by an excellent team. All through our respective campaigns, Zojoi pointed backers our way (as we did theirs). With just four days left, Shadowgate looks good to fund, but every dollar will help them make a better game.
Spud’s Quest by ChrisD (http://kck.st/PFLUCc) – This is a side-scroller, but it’s charming and has Zelda-like adventure game elements. If you enjoy the combination of action and adventure, check it out. ChrisD has promised a free art book PDF to every backer who also backed Hero-U. 8 days to go.
Furcadia: The Second Dreaming by Dragon’s Eye Productions (http://kck.st/RUc172) – Dr. Cat is involved in this one, and it looks like a cool project. They are in excellent shape, but you might back it just because the game will be fun.
Divine Space (http://kck.st/Qi6MuO) – With 55 hours left, this project is in trouble, but could still make it with a major final push. They’re making a game with educational value that looks interesting and fun.
World of Steam (http://kck.st/TFrFjg) – Lori is backing it because she likes the style. It’s already funded, but ending in 50 hours. Some cool rewards and a fun stretch goal.
Sui Generis (http://kck.st/PkmGrD) – The graphics engine looks awesome. Will the writing and game play be as good? If it doesn’t reach its goal, we may never know. Currently at 45% with 8 days to go. I’m backing it because I think it has serious potential for future “sandbox” RPG’s.
There are many more great projects out there. These are just a few that caught my attention and might be of interest to Hero-U backers.
And thank you, thank you, thank you again! Without you, Shawn would have flunked out of Hero-U before the school even opened. Now he’ll get his chance to graduate.
Even the Kickstarter Campaign Was a Game
John Garretson: Man, this is too cool. This is the first Kickstarter project I’ve backed. When I started, I was happy enough to contribute to a worthwhile cause by standing up in support of the type of game I love the most and sorely miss. I was happy enough standing with other adventure game lovers in support of two game design legends that had significantly impacted my youth with the magic of their craft.
But as the days wound on I discovered that the journey toward the funding goal was much like an adventure in itself. I started off alone and excited at the prospect of the game being proposed. Instantly after pledging, I was connected to a network of all of the worlds biggest Quest for Glory fans. Through the comments system I have been able to relive so many of my favorite gaming moments as all of you have shared your experiences with one another. Together, we watched and together we hoped for a happy ending.
Backers went out of their way to scour the net in public support of the project. We balanced our pledges against our personal budgets, and we found ways to sacrifice and skimp and save in order to stretch our pledges by $2.00 (a coffee) or $5.89 (joining the league) or in the case of an inspirational hero, by $2,500. We left to go about our business, returning each day to bear witness to the progress we had made. We waited with baited breath.
At one magic moment, the Coles actually responded to one of my comments. These people were legends in my house when I was growing up, and all of a sudden, here I was conversing with them! (Thank you for giving of your time so generously to share this experience with your fans.) Before I knew it, I was scouring the Hero-U website and watching a live stream playthrough of Quest for Glory 1.
Now, so close to the end (or the actual beginning), I have come to the conclusion that for me at least, this journey, and everything I have experienced through it so far, has been worth every penny of my pledge. At this point the game is going to end up being the icing on a very sweet cake. Thank you everyone for being so awesome! Looking forward to this happy ending!
In the previous post, just six hours ago, I asked, “What can we accomplish in 20 hours?” Part of the answer is now in. In the last six hours, we gained 200 new backers (over 5,600 of us now!) and cut the distance to the goal from $33,000 to less than $17,000. Wonderful work, everyone!
This is just a quick post before I get a few hours of sleep.
Will we accept PayPal pledges for Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption?
Yes, we will. We are waiting until after the Kickstarter closes before offering PayPal contributions. Then we will start accepting them on the Hero-U web site: http://www/hero-u.net is the home page, and will have a link to the “Hero-U Store”. We expect to offer Kickstarter-like reward tiers for two or three months. All of those purchases will count towards project stretch goals.
The store will remain open after those 2-3 months, but purchases will count towards “game sales” rather than our stretch goals. This is an important distinction for developer royalties, possible future investors, and the Kicking It Forward campaign I mentioned in the last update.
What can we accomplish in just 20 hours? The fast answer is, “a lot!” We have 20 hours in which to bring in $33,000 in additional pledges. We’ve already gained 700 new backers and twice that amount in the last few days. 5,400 backers – You’re fabulous! We will do this.
One of our backers issued a challenge – He suggested that each of you use the “Manage My Pledge” button to add just $8 to your pledge. If we all did that, we would pass the project goal in minutes.
Of course many of you have already contributed as much as you can. I’ll not ask you to harm yourself by putting in more than you can afford. So I have a slightly different challenge:
More than half of our backers have chosen the $20 Freshman level that will get you a copy of the game. To all of you, why not “kick it up” to the Sophomore level? For $15 more, you will get the game, a gorgeous digital art PDF with illustrations and information about the making of Hero-U, and a digital version of the game sound track. Listen again to the project video and you’ll hear how good that will be!
Kicking It Forward
As a reminder, we support Brian Fargo’s Kicking It Forward movement. This does NOT apply to Kickstarter pledges, but when we start actually selling Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption next year, we have committed to using 5% of the profits to support other future Kickstarter campaigns.
You can learn more about the Kicking It Forward movement at http://kickingitforward.org/.We believe this program meets the heroic ideal and are inspired about being part of it.
The toy meep reward (which we expect will be a plush toy) was added mid-project at the $125 level. Everyone at a higher physical reward tier will also get a toy meep.
We added the “meep keychain” very late. Since it is a small item, if you have selected any physical reward tier and want the meep keychain, don’t add any money for shipping – We will include it in your game box.
Similarly, if you are at a digital-only tier, but have ordered several physical add-ons, don’t count the keychain when calculating shipping.
Finally, if the only physical item you are getting is the keychain, just add $5 for shipping anywhere in the world. We will mail it First Class in a small padded envelope in this case.
Your Picture in the Virtual Yearbook
If you pledge at any level $175 or higher, your picture will be included in the digital yearbook as part of the reward. (You may supply any appropriate image, and one of our artists will touch it up to match the style of the rest of the game.)
If you are pledging at a lower level, we’ve added a new add-on. For $50, you can have your name, picture, and a short comment in the digital yearbook. We have to charge this much because of the artist time.
The Add-On T-Shirt
We have a design for the add-on t-shirt. This is a $30 physical add-on. Please also calculate your shipping charge and add that amount to your pledge. See the main page for more details.
Lori and I are looking forward to making an exciting, funny, and fun game for you that is also filled with a powerful story, great characters, and the perfect balance of adventure and role-playing gaming. With just 20 hours left, let’s make this happen! This game is for you just as much as it is for us.
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is a classic 2D role-playing adventure for Windows PC, Macintosh, and Linux by award-winning game designers Corey and Lori Cole (Quest for Glory, Castle of Dr. Brain, etc.).
Hero-U combines the rich character relationships, story and puzzles of a classic adventure game with the exploration and excitement of a role-playing game. Bringing all these features together makes Hero-U a completely unique game experience.
Classic adventure game characters, story, and puzzles
All the exploration, skill development, and choices of a classic RPG
A rich story that changes based on the way you play
Tactical turn-based combat
Characters with unique personalities and their own agendas
Fun, Funny, and Punny
There is danger and intrigue within the hallowed halls of Hero-U. Danger? Ha! Rogues laugh in the face… well, actually, they sneak up behind danger and bop it in the head, then run really, really fast.
To select any of these add-ons, add the cost of the add-on to your pledge at any tier. When the project closes, we will send you a questionnaire you can use to tell us which additional rewards you have purchased. We will also ask you for additional information, such as a picture, headstone epitaph, biography for the Yearbook, your operating system, and so on.
Important Note on digital keys to our previous games: We are actually buying these keys from the respective sites. Since Kickstarter and Amazon payments take a percentage of our proceeds, and the purpose of selling these add-ons is to raise money for Hero-U development, all of these keys are more expensive than if you buy them directly. If this concerns you , please buy the previous-game keys directly from Steam, gog.com, or another site. We are offering them here solely as a convenience.
Virtual Add-Ons, No Shipping Charge
$10: NEW – Downloadable game music soundtrack
$10: NEW – Art book PDF
$15: Steam game key to Jolly Rover (PC or Mac)
$15: Steam game key to MacGuffin’s Curse (PC or Mac)
$20: gog.com game key to Quest for Glory 1-5 package (PC only)
$18: An additional Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption game key for a friend
$18: Pre-order the second planned Hero-U game featuring a female Wizard main character
$20: NEW – Set of 4 high-resolution game art images in PDF
$100: In-game Head(stone) of the Class. See below for details
$200: In-game School Spirit. See below for details
Physical Add-Ons Requiring Shipping
Note: There are two changes here since Update #10. Baseball cap price lowered to $30 and Meep added at $35! See below for shipping charges.
$10: NEW – Meep keychain
$20: NEW – “Erana’s Tribute” poster 11″x17″ (art without poem)
$30: Hero-U logo t-shirt
$30: Embroidered Hero-U baseball cap
$35: Your very own Toy Meep!
$50: Extra standard boxed copy of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption
$50: (Extra) copy of the physical yearbook.
$50: NEW – Set of four 11″x17″ poster prints of Hero-U game art
$100: (Extra) copy of the Kickstarter-only premium boxed game plus Graduate-level inserts (game DVD, manual, music CD, varsity letter, and Hero-U backer’s button)
Physical Add-On Shipping Charges
In Update #10, we stated that these items would be shipped separately from the game. Since this greatly drives up the shipping costs, we are changing that decision. If you have not chosen a physical goods tier, you will need to provide your shipping address on the post-Kickstarter questionnaire and add the following to your pledge for custom shipping: $10 U.S., $15 Canada/Mexico, $20 other countries.
Next, whether or not you are paying that extra shipping charge, count the number of add-ons you have selected, and add the following to your pledge:
1 item, US/Canada/Mexico $5, Other countries $10
2-4 items, US/Canda/Mexico $10, Other countries $15
Each 5 items, US/Canada/Mexico $15, Other countries $20
Example: You are pledging a physical tier, and want 8 add-ons. If you live in North or Central America, add $15 + $10 + cost of items. If you live elsewhere in the world, add $20 + $15 + cost of items. We apologize for these charges, but international shipping from the U.S. is very expensive.
Head(stone) of the Class (Add-on $100 to any reward tier): In the catacombs deep beneath the hallowed halls of Hero-U lie the monuments to those who gave their all in the service of heroism. Are you one of those who quested for Good and Glory? Then you too should be honored by all those who come after. Add $100 to your pledge at any reward tier, and our skilled artisans will engrave your name and epitaph on a headstone hidden deep within the catacombs. Those who seek, shall find you. They may regret it.
School Spirit (Add-on $200 to any reward tier): The catacombs are filled with the restless spirits of those who came before. They haunt the passages and guard their secrets. Is your fate yet unfulfilled? Do you belong among the ghosts? Then add $200 to your pledge at any reward tier. Not only will your epitaph grace a headstone in the catacombs, but your restless spirit, ghoul, or revenant will haunt the area to terrify lesser adventurers and guard your hidden treasure.
Classic adventure game characters, story, and puzzles
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption combines role-playing, puzzles, an immersive story, and rich character interactions. As in our acclaimed Quest for Glory series, every element works together to create a unique game experience that you will love.
In Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption, you take on the role of Shawn O’Conner, a would-be Thief who has had a rough life. As Shawn, you will attend Hero-U, a school that tries to teach young adventurers to be heroes. Shawn can continue his quest to join the Thieves’ Guild, or he can strive to become a Rogue Hero. He has a lot to learn to succeed at either path.
All the exploration, skill development, and choices of a classic RPG
Hero-U plays like a classic RPG, with turn-based tactical combat and exploration of the environment on top-down, 2D maps. There are traps, obstacles, and enemies for you to overcome as you explore the school and the ancient catacombs beneath it. Key scenes feature beautiful painted backdrops to let you see from Shawn’s perspective.
Shawn has skills and attributes that improve through game play. He will also acquire possessions that give you additional options. Your choices determine which skills Shawn learns. He can improve them through study and practice. Explore the school and catacombs as Shawn fights monsters, avoids trap, finds hidden items, and solves mysteries.
A rich story that changes based on the way you play
Your life has not been an easy one. Caught red-handed during your thief guild initiation, you have a choice – Go to reform school or rot away in prison. The teachers and students are intent on making your life a living hell, while trouble lurks in the catacombs below. It would help if you didn’t need to worry about being killed and passing midterms.
In your hands, Shawn has real choices. If he does someone a favor, it is because he figures they will be useful to him later. If he wants to unleash nameless horrors of destruction upon the world, well, hey, that’s his business… and yours.
Along the south coast of Marete to the east of Silmaria, there stands a great sprawling castle built in ancient times when demonic creatures sought to dominate Gloriana. Long abandoned, the castle was greatly feared by the people of Silmaria. There were rumors of hauntings, curses, and a great Evil buried within its rocky walls.
Over the years, a few desperate and foolhardy souls dared to explore dark towers and musty hallways in search of forgotten treasures. Even fewer returned; they whispered of eldritch horrors best left buried beneath the ancient stones. The castle’s grim silhouette upon the cliffs warns us that there are dangers in this world that mere mortals are not prepared to face.
So what better place than this to build a University for Heroes?
Besides, the rent was cheap.
Tactical turn-based combat
One doesn’t just wander around an ancient, possibly haunted, castle and expect to have an easy time of it. Your hero must learn the cunning, deception, and just plain Rogue skills, then use them to survive. “Hack and Slash” won’t cut it for a Rogue. Shawn must outwit and outmaneuver the creatures that lurk within the ancient catacombs beneath Hero-U.
Our turn-based combat system features an action point system that will make you choose between slow, powerful attacks, tactical movement, or a mixture of defense and quick attacks. Shawn will supplement his Roguish skills with clever use of traps and other items. Between battles, you will explore the catacombs, setting and avoiding traps and other challenges.
Characters with unique personalities and their own agendas
Many of the characters you encounter have their own reason for being there. They aren’t there to serve you, only themselves. Shawn will meet with these characters as you choose what he says to them, and how he relates. Conversation is an important part of Hero-U. It is a way for Shawn to gain information, make friends, and try to stay out of trouble.
Challenging puzzles that are an integral part of the story
We believe that puzzles are an important part of a good adventure game or RPG. Hero-U is filled with challenges that will make you think and that enrich the story. The problems Shawn faces are all closely linked to the story and characters at Hero-U.
Elective system that lets you customize Shawn’s abilities
All rogue candidates study basic techniques such as stealth, picking locks, and setting traps. But Hero-U also offers elective courses that will allow Shawn to customize his to assist his extra-curricular activities. These electives will give you choices on how you like to play.
Lori and Corey Cole have been making and playing games for… let’s just say, “forever”. At Sierra On-Line, we created one of the first hybrid graphic adventure/role-playing games. Our award-winning Quest for Glory was one of Sierra’s most successful game series. Corey’s Castle of Dr. Brain puzzle adventure game was another top-selling, critically-acclaimed game that spawned a successful series.
Game Designers: Lori and Corey Cole, creators of Quest for Glory, Castle of Dr. Brain, Shannara, Mixed-Up Fairy Tales, and Tower of Indomitable Circumstance.
Programming: Andrew Goulding and the Brawsome team, developers of Jolly Rover, MacGuffin’s Curse, and many other games.
Art and Animation: Eriq Chang and Eric Varnes (Fable Foundry Creative Studio), Paul Bowers, and John Paul Selwood.
Music and Sound Design: Ryan Grogan, composer of music for film, animation, and games including MacGuffin’s Curse.
Marketing Maven and assistant combat designer: Michael Cole
YOU! Your support makes this game possible, and your feedback on the Hero-U forums will help us shape and perfect the game.
The Kickstarter revolution has changed all that. Now you, the players, help decide which games get made and which go back to the drawing board. We are very excited about our plans for Hero-U and think you should be too. This game will be the spiritual successor to our Quest for Glory series.
We have a file drawer full of great game proposals that we couldn’t convince traditional publishers to support. In one case, the publisher decided instead to design their own game. Millions of dollars later, they created a dismal failure that sold under 1,000 copies. Alas, we didn’t get a chance to tell them, “We told you so!” They were out of business after that.
We think you’re a lot smarter than most of those publishers. You know the kind of game experiences you want to have – Ones in which substance rules over form. You want well-designed game play that rewards thinking, with an immersive story, meaningful character development, and intelligent puzzles. Killing monsters is fun too, but it all needs to be part of the story.
You can help make Hero-U become a reality. If enough people support our Kickstarter project, we will be able to bring a new type of game to market. But if too many people choose to wait and see what our game looks like, we may never have the opportunity to make it at all. Your support here is important!
We know that you are taking a leap of faith by supporting our new game, and we want to assure you that we will use the money wisely. Our goal is the minimum budget with which we can make a high-quality game. Here’s our breakdown based on reaching our minimum goal:
65% – Art, programming, music, and design of the game
10% – Kickstarter and Amazon Payments fees
10% – Reward Premiums and Shipping Costs
5% – Repayment of pre-Kickstarter loans and expenses
10% – Marketing and Project Overhead
If your generosity helps this project exceed its minimum goal, it is likely that a higher percentage (possibly as much as 20%) of the funding will go into reward premiums, but most of your support will go directly into the game. We will add features such as voice acting, and we will add more content including additional art, music, locations, story, and dialogue.
Kicking It Forward
We support the “Kick It Forward” program. Brian Fargo of InXile, developers of the Kickstarter-funded Wasteland 2 project, started this initiative to ensure the future of gaming on Kickstarter. We wholeheartedly support this initiative, and believe it is the responsibility of successfully-funded games to Kick It Forward.
Your contributions to our campaign will not be used to fund other games. When we complete and ship the game, we will regularly take 5% of the net revenues from game sales and commit them to other Kickstarter projects. Lori and I intend to pick projects that we believe promote heroism and value characters and story over violence and twitch action.
Friend ($5): Thank you for your support! Your name will be added to the Hero list on www.hero-u.net/leadersroll.php, a small first step towards immortality. Access to project updates.
Freshman ($20): You will receive a DRM-free digital game download, access to discussion forums to help us improve the game, and your name will appear on the Hero list.
Sophomore ($35): Digital Reward 2: Receive everything from the Freshman level, the downloadable Hero-U Soundtrack, and the gorgeous Hero-U Art Book in PDF form. The art book contains production sketches, final art, and insider commentary on the making of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.
Junior ($50): Get a head start on your education by playing one of the development team’s previous award-winning games. You will receive all of the Sophomore class benefits plus a digital key to your choice of MacGuffin’s Curse, Jolly Rover, or the complete five-game Quest for Glory collection.
Beta Tau Initiate ($65): All-Digital reward. Everything in the Junior package, including your choice of one game key. PLUS you get early access to the Hero-U Beta and Combat-Balancing tests. Help us shape and tune the game the way YOU want it!
Senior ($75): Get physical with a high-quality boxed copy of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption containing the game on DVD and a printed game manual. You will also receive all of the Sophomore benefits (including an additional digital copy of the game). While you wait for your box, enjoy a preview with early access to our Beta and Combat Balancing Tests. All Seniors may add any of the Junior-level previous games at $15 each.
Big Man On Campus ($100): (Super Digital Rewards) You’re special, and everyone should know it. Your name (or your favorite character’s name) will appear in the in-game DIGITAL YEARBOOK along with a brief statement of your/their accomplishments. We will also email you the Secret Thieves’ Guild Password. (Other players will need to discover this in the game.) You will also receive everything from the Sophomore level as well as early access to our Beta and Combat Balance tests. (NOTE: This tier does not include any physical rewards. It’s highly International-Supporter-friendly.)
Frat Rat ($125): New Halloween Special Reward! You love Meeps, and that’s why you will get your very own Toy Meep along with your boxed copy of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. That’s on top of all of the Senior-level physical and digital rewards and eligibility for add-ons. You will also receive your own entry in the in-game DIGITAL YEARBOOK.
Graduate Edition ($150): Unique Kickstarter-Graduate-only Collector’s Edition Box containing the game DVD, manual, a Music Soundtrack CD, your own Varsity Letter, Hero-U button, and everything in the Big Man On Campus digital reward tier including your very own entry in the in-game DIGITAL YEARBOOK.
Exchange Student($175): NEW! The ultimate all-digital package, perfect for international backers. You will start with everything in the Big Man on Campus edition. Then you will have the chance to follow the development of Hero-U with insider access to developer discussions and Alpha tests. To give you more insight into our games, you will receive digital keys to ALL EIGHT of our currently available previous games (Quest for Glory 1: So You Want to Be a Hero EGA and VGA versions, Quest for Glory 2: Trial by Fire, Quest for Glory 3: Wages of War, Quest for Glory 4: Shadows of Darkness, Quest for Glory 5: Dragon Fire, MacGuffin’s Curse, AND Jolly Rover). NOTE: The previous game keys are part of this tier only; we are not adding them to the higher physical tiers.
Research Assistant ($200): You’re practically a team member, so you will receive a very-limited-edition Team Meep Hat plus insider access to developer discussions and Alpha tests. You will also receive everything in the Graduate Edition, and your chosen picture (subject to team approval) will appear in the in-game digital yearbook.
Alumnus ($250): As a proud Hero-U Alumnus, your chosen name, preferred photo (or other image of your choice, subject to team approval) will appear in the Very Limited Edition physical Hero-U Yearbook. Of course, alumni like to collect signatures from their University friends, so Lori and Corey Cole will autograph your yearbook and Graduate Edition premium game box. You will also receive Research Assistant privileges and a Team Meep hat.
Master Rogue ($500): The rewards of your advanced education include a limited-edition art print of the school on Canvas, everything in the Alumnus package including the autographed premium game box and autographed yearbook. You will also receive a Limited Edition Kickstarter Superfan T-Shirt, and digital keys to ALL SEVEN previous games – the five-game Quest for Glory Collection, MacGuffin’s Curse, and Jolly Rover.
DFA (Doctor of Fine Arts)
DFA (Doctor of Fine Arts) ($1,050): You will be featured on an in-game painting. When players click on it, they will see your chosen name, image (this could be you, a favorite character, pet, or other approved image, converted by our artists to look like other in-game portraits), and humorous description. You also receive all of the benefits of a Master Rogue, You will have a listing including your chosen image in the yearbook, and of course will receive an autographed copy of the physical edition. We will send you a canvas art print of your in-game “portrait” in addition to the school art print, and you will be one of the proud few to complete a graduate school education at Hero-U. We’ll also provide you with the secret location and key to the Faculty Lounge. (Other players will be able to break in later in the game.)
Monster Lair ($2,500, limited to 10 backers): You are so diabolical, you are the master of a dungeon den. We will collaborate with you on designing your own custom monster lair, likely including a sculpted image of yourself or a friend. Your lair, complete with the monsters and traps you select, will be placed somewhere in the catacombs. You will also receive all benefits of the PhD reward tier. Free shipping worldwide!
High-Roller ($5,000): You’re a serious role-player, or just really want to support our game at a high level. In addition to all of the PhD-level rewards, Corey and/or Lori will run a D&D game for you and friends at a convention anywhere in North America. Or add $1,000 for our additional travel expenses, and we’ll join you anywhere in the world. Does not include the Benefactor reward – The school doesn’t have enough wings. Instead, you’ll have a large statue in the main wing celebrating your or your hero’s accomplishments.
Philanthropist (reduced to $7,500!): You really care! And we care about you too! Spend a day visiting Yosemite Park and touring famous Sierra landmarks such as the Talking Bear in Oakhurst with Lori and Corey Cole. We’ll share a nice meal (or two) and discuss game design or anything else you want. You’ll also receive all the rewards of the PhD level and we’ll find a prominent place in-game to thank you for your awesome support. We will cover a one-night hotel stay, but you are responsible for transportation to and from Oakhurst, California.
“We choose to go…not because [it is] easy, but because [it is] hard, because that goal will serve to measure and organize the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” – John F. Kennedy establishing the Apollo space program
Creating a new computer game is hard. Making one up to our standards is harder. Hero-U will require an intensive development schedule that includes game design, writing, programming, creating art, creating music and sound effects, and constant quality assurance. But it’s not rocket science.
Fortunately, our team is up to the task. We have created multiple best-selling, award-winning games with budgets ranging from $250,000 to over $4,000,000. In particular, our team members led the development of six acclaimed projects – all comparable in budget to this Kickstarter project – that shipped on time and under budget. We know exactly what we can and can’t accomplish at various budget levels and schedules.
I have budgeted out the entire game development with contingencies depending on the amount we raise. As long as we reach our Kickstarter goal, we have a specific plan for making the game – a budget for art, for programming, etc. Most of use are working at “cost-of-living” rates so that we will be sure to finish the game.
We don’t just believe we can make this game, and make it great. We know we can! With your support and feedback during development, we will show the world that there is a place for well-written, well-crafted role-playing adventure games. More importantly, we will deliver to you a quality role-playing game that measures up to our standards and yours.
I see several different art styles in the video and project page. What will this game actually look like?
What are your target platforms? Will you support Linux?
The $1,000 tier sold out in hours. Will there be a new tier at $1,000 or $1,500
Is this a game “episode” or a full game?
I’m still confused – Is this an RPG or an Adventure Game?
Will Hero-U be a floor wax or a dessert topping?
Can I play Hero-U as a female Rogue?
Which tiers include previous games? Will they run on Macintosh? How are they being fulfilled?
Is Hero-U a puzzle game like MacGuffin’s Curse, since you are “using the MacGuffin’s Curse engine”?
How large are the canvas art prints of the school from the $500 (normal) and $1,000 (supersized) tiers?
As I post this at 4 a.m. (sleep is for the weak!), we’re up to 5,160 backers and almost $352,000 (that’s $48,000 more to reach the project goal) with 32 hours to go. This is definitely the home stretch, and it’s looking good. Not that any of us will be able to relax until the closing bell… and probably even less so then! 🙂
Lori and I plan to make two public appearances Monday night. We will do a Google+ hangout (as “Hero-U”) at 7 pm EST. A few people can join it, and everyone can watch and type comments. The chat will then be posted to YouTube.
Then we will move over to reddit, where we plan to do an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) in the www.reddit.com/r/gaming subreddit at 9 pm EST.
Lori has updated the project video. We wanted to say thank you to all of the backers who are helping us cross the finish line, and to show a bit more of what you can expect from Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.
I ran into an interesting post about Kickstarter projects in which the author said that people who support Kickstarter games are stupid because there are no guarantees they will receive anything. He had a point, but…
Kickstarter tracks these things. Many projects ship later than their projected date, but almost all of them do ship. The projects that get funded usually depend on the reputation of the project creator. People who come to the Hero-U project know that Lori and I have a history of delivering what we promise… and more.
There are many kinds of risk. Every game you buy entails risk. If you get that heavily-advertised AAA game, you are putting out $50 to play something that might be a bad game. And it’s probably a lot like the last three games you played, because the big publishers love to make sequels.
Here’s the risk of NOT supporting a Kickstarter game – If you sit back and decide to wait until the game is released, it might not be made. Most of your money on Kickstarter goes directly into product development. If we come up short of our goal, there is no funding and no game. If we’re funded, we promise a game next year. Lori and I made eight adventure-style games at Sierra and Legend, and all of them won approval from both critics and players.
If you like the kind of games Lori and I make – games that applaud heroism and the human spirit – you will win by supporting our drive to make new games for you. Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption will be just the beginning.
Personally, I think that putting $20 into the Hero-U Kickstarter is much less risky than paying $50 for Yet Another First-Person Shooter. And it’s way cheaper than spending $13 a month on an MMO subscription.
So far, over 5,150 gamers agree. If you are not yet among them, why not join the winning team? Besides, Tuesday is Eriq Chang’s birthday. It wouldn’t be a very nice birthday present for his game with us to go unfunded, now would it?
krieghan wrote: There have been several of these Kickstarter-funded game development projects over the course of the past year. This campaign is unlikely to generate the attention or funding that that one guy from Double Fine did, but I wanted to clarify a few points that only apply to me personally.
Quest for Glory 1 (Hero’s Quest, I guess my dad and I just called it “So You Want To Be a Hero”) was my first game ever. This was back in the days when the F4 key was reserved for an option called “High Speed Hero” (anyone else remember that? I noticed that it disappeared from the anthology/gog version. It’s kind of a small detail, but I always wondered why that disappeared).
Every game to come out since then (Adventure Games, RPGs, First Person Shooters, First Person Sneakers, RTS, TBS) has had to be measured up to that game in my eyes.
For many games, being measured against QFG is frankly an embarrassment. Some of them do okay. Few come close. None can really match it in terms of charm or humor. The Adventure/RPG combo is powerful, but there’s a personal touch that is extremely rare.
I waited for this campaign to register with Kickstarter. I have no intention of funding anyone else’s projects. I acknowledge that I am a bit biased by having my entire gaming worldview shaped by So You Want To Be a Hero.
I remember no time in my life with more gaming-generated exuberance than when I walked by the PC game section in a Best Buy back in December 1998 and saw that Dragon Fire had been released. I’d heard no release announcement, it was just kind of there.
This campaign kind of brings back that exuberance.
Jonas Kyratzes wrote: I’m still writing a blog post to try and put it all into words, but let me just say that the Quest for Glory series has been a massive influence on me as a game developer and writer; and of my own games, the ones that are perhaps closest to my heart (the Lands of Dream series – http://www.landsofdream.net) would never have been what they are without what you and Corey created.
That I am here, years after falling in love with Shadows of Darkness on a friend’s PC, making strange and unusual games with my wife, with fans who love what we do and look beyond the occasional rough spot… it’s amazing despite often being very hard, and you deserve a very big thank you. You inspired me and you helped shaped my imagination.
You have no idea how nervous I was about writing this. You and Corey are, well… heroes to me.
(And Lori and I are suitably embarrassed at that. Being a game designer takes a fine balance between confidence and standing up for your vision of the game, while also keeping ego out of the way and listening to suggestions, advice, and constructive criticism from others. Knowing that we have just as many character flaws as anyone lets us smile and accept being called “heroes” or “legends” without letting it go to our heads too much. We’ve been called much worse. 🙂 )
We’ve had a number of requests for new add-ons, so we’ve added some new art and music options. We’ve also had questions about add-ons and how to change your pledge.
Both are handled by clicking the blue, “Manage My Pledge” button near the top right of the project page. Clicking this button allows you to change the dollar amount of your pledge, as well as your chosen reward tier. The two do not need to match. You may pledge any amount equal to, or higher than, the minimum for the reward tier.
Why would you want to do that? For one thing, you will be helping the project to succeed. Every dollar you add to your pledge brings us a dollar closer to making our goal. Your pledge is a vote for the style of gaming Lori and I make – an adventure game that also features strong role-playing elements, an intriguing story, interesting characters, and challenging puzzles and mysteries to solve.
Many of our backers have chosen to “join the Adventurers’ Guild, Local 589” (or AGL 589 for short). All of the members of AGL 589 have voluntarily added $5.89 to their pledge without counting it towards a reward tier or add-on. These additional pledges help us reach the goal, and will be a valuable addition to the project budget when our Kickstarter is funded.
Second, we have a number of tempting add-ons on the main project page. To get one or more of the add-ons, increase your pledge, but do not change your reward tier. When the project closes, we will send a questionnaire to all backers. If you added extra to your pledge, that will be your chance to tell us what add-ons you would like to get.
If you choose any of the physical add-ons, please be sure to add the appropriate amount for shipping. This is explained in detail on the main project page.
Here are the new virtual add-ons (no shipping charge):
$10: NEW – Downloadable game music soundtrack
$10: NEW – Art book PDF
$20: NEW – Set of 4 high-resolution game art images in PDF
NOTE: The first two are included in the $35 and higher tiers. Order one if you are at the $20 tier and only want one of the two items, or if you are at any tier and want an extra copy to give to a friend.
New physical add-ons (shipping charges apply, the 4 art print add-on counts as a single item for shipping purposes):
$10: NEW: Meep keychain
$20: NEW: “Erana’s Tribute” poster 11″x17″ (art without poem)
$50: NEW: Set of four 11″x17″ poster prints of Hero-U game art
The art prints are different from the “school art on canvas” print that Master Rogues (and above) will receive.
Check out the main project page for many other add-on choices and shipping charge information. They are right under the “Fat Loots” sheep.
Incidentally, feel free to download free wallpapers from the hero-u site: http://www.hero-u.net/hero-u-game-media.html#wallpapers. Here is a video Lori made from one of the images there and from Alistair Gillett’s version of the Erana’s Peace theme in Hero’s Quest (original theme composed by Mark Seibert).
How Is Hero-U Different from Other Adventure Games
Lori answered this question for the Gaming on Linux site. I think her answer is of interest to all of our backers and potential backers.
In the first place, Adventure/RPGs are a very rare breed indeed. We were the first to design them with our QfG series. Japanese RPGs could be called Adventure/RPGs because they have strong stories and characters. But I don’t know of anyone actually using the classification of Adventure/RPG other than us right now.
But story-telling is ingrained in human nature. We love stories. That’s why movies and books continue to entertain people all over the world. RPGs are direct descendents of tabletop D&D games that combined story-telling with character progression and action. We want to create games that are fun experiences with meaningful stories, characters you care about, and excitement.
There isn’t a lot of excitement in most Adventure Games. There aren’t too many quirky characters in RPG games – they tend to take themselves very seriously.
Quest for Glory was an Adventure Game with Role-playing elements. It took advantage of the strengths of Sierra On-Line’s talents and resources. Hero-U will have more Role-playing elements – more exploration of caverns, dungeons, and catacombs. The player will have the ability to shape Shawn’s character and his destiny by making critical choices and improving Shawn’s skills by practice and study. Unlike the real-time combat of Quest for Glory, Hero-U will have tactical combat where you can treat each combat like a chess match where you plot your moves carefully, a fast-action skill vs. skill, or find ways to never come in direct combat with your opponent. We want the player to feel completely in charge of Shawn’s fate.
Hero-U will be a unique game with humor, story, adventure, action, and perhaps even romance. It will touch the heart and it will make you smile. What’s not to like?
I am excerpting a second of my Quest Log article (“A World Full of Heroes – The Power of We“) because, first, I think it’s important. And second, it may help you understand why our games are more than just games. After the excerpt, one of our top-level backers explains why she made the decision to commit a large amount to this campaign.
Why do Lori and I make games about Heroes? It’s because we think the world needs more Heroes, and that playing games the focus on heroism is a small start. The characters in our games start out pretty ordinary, but as they work and learn and grow, they become better. When they commit themselves to heroic goals, they slowly discover that they can achieve those goals.
We can be Heroes too.
Where do soldiers, firemen, policemen, philanthropists, charity volunteers, and other real-life heroes come from? They all start out as ordinary people – some rich, some poor, most middle-class – and they commit to higher goals. They set their sights on noble goals, join a team, and work their tails off to gain the skills they need to succeed.
You and I and each of us can do the same. It takes commitment, follow-through, and the “power of we”.
A World of Heroes
Imagine a world full of heroes. It starts out as one or two individuals saying, “Things aren’t right. Someone should do something about that. I guess it’s up to me.”
Then they get together and realize that two people working together can accomplish more than two individuals alone. So they talk to others and share what they’ve learned. Pretty soon, someone else stands up and say, “You know, if they could do it, maybe so can I.” And then there are three.
And four. And a dozen. Slowly the word spreads, and more people join the cause. They aren’t all Heroes at first, but when they commit to doing good, they’ve taken the first step to becoming Heroes themselves.
And maybe you and I read, and listen, and say, “These people need help. How can they take on all the world’s troubles themselves?” And each of us has a choice – We can sit back, and keep complaining, and do nothing. Or we can take those first small steps ourselves. We can commit to joining the movement, doing Good whenever we can, and working towards becoming Heroes ourselves.
Because there is no Superman, or Batman, in our world. And there’s only one Chuck Norris. But there are a lot of ordinary people working to do good deeds, one small task at a time. Every time someone does Good – even it’s not a big, scary, Heroic action – it makes our world a little better.
The Power of We
Every time *you* do good, you make the world *and yourself* a little better. You become part of the hidden team, the people who care, the people who would rather be Heroes than lie back and ignore the evil around them.
That’s what “the power of We” is all about. A whole lot of people who take a stand and strive to do things that matter… That can be the difference from a world that suffocates under its own pollution, starves to death because it has exhausted its natural resources, or lives in fear under the iron hand of despotic rulers. We won’t stand for that world; we can’t allow it.
And that means we all – each one of us as individuals and many of us working together – must become Heroes. The world needs more Heroes, and if you and I do not heed the call, who will answer for us? It’s up to us and the Power of We.
Katherine Owen On Backing at the Highest Tier
Dear Fellow Backers of Rogue to Redemption,
I am one of the proud Philanthropist level backers (the one who bumped up from High Roller yesterday). I haven’t written anything about my particular pledge level to date but as Hero-U hits the final push to reach its funding target, I thought I would just share a few reasons why I have chosen to back it in such a serious way.
Quest for Glory was an important part of my childhood. The game I played for so many hours, days, weeks, months…the one that kept me coming back through my teens, my twenties and, eventually, the first part of my thirties. I wasn’t crazy, nor was it the case to say I didn’t play other games or indeed have other hobbies besides the computer. I was a very serious musician who later chose to become a professional violinist. This series was special. The kind of game that can change your outlook, make you think…the game that literally changed my life. I’ve read so many other similar stories across forums, I know it had a positive and lasting effect on many people.
Something that also changed my life, though with much less of a positive effect, was a car accident back in 2003. It has left me struggling with chronic pain and increasing disability, infecting every single corner of my life.
Still… In 2004 I decided to play Quest for Glory again to lift my spirits. An internet search led me to the How to be a Hero website and I was finally able to meet Lori and Corey Cole. That was a singularly awesome experience for a long-time fan. Through a difficult part of my life, struggling to come to terms with pain and the need to find new directions, this reconnection with the game of my youth somehow directed my energies into teaching and helping others.
Fast-forward another eight years. I still have the same physical problems, but I have spent years in a profession that I love, helping young people to grow and develop, gain confidence and see opportunities each and every one of us can take to make the world a better place. In so many small ways, you can be a Hero: Lori and Corey taught me that.
So, I have used a portion of the money I received as compensation for my accident to help fund this and a couple of other Kickstarter projects, some charities and local opportunities for young musicians; although something horrible happened to me, I now have the ability to support the causes that are close to my heart. I am tremendously honoured to have pledged to this game; I believe it will live up to all of our expectations, and I look forward to the next three days as we hopefully push Hero-U over the line.
My backer level is something I could NEVER have afforded previously. Some might choose to invest that portion of money in something that will return dividends to provide some security later in life. I’m doing that to an extent, also. But by investing in opportunities and projects that matter, ones I feel will genuinely make the world a better place, I see that as an investment in the future of humanist and the dividends will be beyond worth. (By the way, I am not religious, just a humanist. One who likes beagles…not sure what you’d call that). All of us believe in this project and invest what we can reasonably afford.
People often reach old age and regret opportunities missed. I am determined not to miss out on the opportunity of helping this game become a reality. It might sound far-fetched to say that Hero-U will change the world. But it could, simply by virtue of changing the lives of individual people in any number of small ways.
Also…there are uber-cool rewards at each tier. Why not consider bumping up your pledge today?
– Katherine Owen
Thank you, Katherine! Stories like yours inspired us to create the How to Be a Hero and School for Heroes sites, and they are the reason we want to make Hero-U now. Our #1 rule is, “The player must have fun,” but close behind that is, “Our games must give players meaning and value.” As long as it’s fun. 🙂
Eriq Chang has completely revised the Hero-U web site. It now has a lot more information about the game and the process of making it. It also has a lot more recent concept art for those who have been wondering about the art style.
We’ve passed 4,650 backers and just need to raise $87K to reach the goal. We’re on our way!
Adventure-Treff just posted my article on “Adventure and Role-Playing – They’re Better Together”. Click the article title for a link to the English version, or edit “lang=en” to “lang=de” for the German version. In the article, I explain why Quest for Glory and Hero-U are hybrid games with both adventure and role-playing game features. They’re just better that way.
Several people have commented that they liked the more in-depth approach of the Quest Log article I posted yesterday. If you would like to read more of my thoughts on gaming, game development, and success, this index lets you find any article in the Quest Log: http://www.theschoolforheroes.com/questlogindex.php