Hero-U Project Update #58: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption by the Quest for Glory designers by Corey Cole

Happy Halloween!

Why We Update

I put some thought this morning as to the purpose of these updates. I think an update:

  • Reassures you, our backers, that we are still working on, and committed to, the project.
  • Keeps you informed about the project status.
  • Shares some cool things (and occasionally an Inside Secret) about Hero-U development.
  • Entertains you and/or provides something of value.
  • Encourages you to spread the word about the project.
  • Occasionally gives me a soapbox to share ideas I think are important.

Of course we can rarely fit all of those into one update. As it is, each update takes up at least a full day of my time along with a week or two of agonizing about what I’m writing. I keep hoping that, if I write enough articles and essays, they’ll become easier. That hasn’t happened yet.

Last month we received more comments than on any previous Update, largely due to three paragraphs talking about sexism, hate, and harassment in gaming. I’m gratified by the responses, both those in support and those questioning my viewpoint.

Since posting that Update, I have read more news about death threats and other hateful letters to developers (Brianna Wu recently and Robert Bowling in 2012). This has to stop. Apparently hard work and even moderate success are crimes to some people.

Lori and I are very grateful that we have never had to deal with that. Still, it is difficult to write anything, knowing that any misplaced (or misinterpreted) word can lead to a firestorm of anger and even hatred.

Witch Way Did They Go?

This is our favorite time of year. The weather has cooled off, leaves change color, and Halloween will be here soon. We love looking at kids in costume, breaking our low-carb diet to eat too much candy, carving jack-o-lanterns, and decorating the house even though we rarely have visitors. I’m a big fan of pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice lattés.

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption has a nod to Halloween and the Central American “Day of the Dead” celebrations in our “Noctes de Mortuis” or “Nights of the Dead”. This is the time when the wall between the natural world and the land of the dead becomes thin. Ghosts inhabit the castle, and with the proper ritual, the living can communicate with them.

Besides being cool, the Noctes allow the player to get more information about the other students and some of the past events at the castle. Hero-U is a mystery story, and players need clues to solve the mysteries. There are some major surprises in store if Shawn pays attention to the dead.

Paladin Memorial Sketch

Paladin Memorial Sketch

How to Succeed While Really Trying

What is success? It might be easier to define the opposite – What is failure?

The easiest way to fail is never to try. The person who is afraid to risk failure is one who will never have success.

Have I failed? Oh yes, over and over again. You can’t write computer code without failing repeatedly. You can’t write a novel or screenplay without throwing away multiple drafts that didn’t work out. The average successful entrepreneur has failed at least three times at previous businesses before succeeding once. I fail at multiple things every day. Without failure, there is no possibility of success.

I can’t even write an update or blog article without agonizing over it for days, weeks, or longer. It might only take a few hours to actually write the blog, but it takes a huge mind share and time to come up with ideas that I think others will want to read. I’m pretty good at failure because I’ve had a lot of practice at it. See my 2009 blog article on “SSECCUS” for some examples – http://www.theschoolforheroes.com/questlog/671/sseccus/.

There has been a disturbing trend lately of people complaining loudly about game developers that they do not “deserve” their success. I have never seen a successful person make a remark like that. We all know that, whether or not we like a particular game, every developer has put untold sweat, tears, and months or years of work into that game. If they get a spotlight as a result, that’s awesome!

With all that said, have Lori and I “failed” at making Hero-U? Heck, no! We haven’t “succeeded” yet, but we’re making great progress towards success. The background art and character design, in particular, are far beyond our original plan. As long as we keep working on the game, we are on the path to success.

Paladin Memorial Concept Painting

Paladin Memorial Concept Painting

Current Progress

The current status? Art is about 85% complete, design is complete, programming is at 50%, writing has just begun. Now that Lori has completed the game design, she is working hard on writing the game dialog. I am also much more available now to work on the other game text. We’ve completed 1,200 “lines” (some of them are really full paragraphs) of a planned 50,000. This will make Hero-U more text-rich than Quest for Glory IV, “the CD-ROM from Hell” according to John Rhys-Davies. John had 6,000 “lines” of narration to read; he told us they were the equivalent of 20,000 lines in an animation script.

We have spent, or have obligations to spend, about $150,000 beyond the initial Kickstarter income. We are still under the original $650,000 budget plan and expect to stay under that. However, obviously the schedule has suffered from the need to stretch out expenditures, team changes (we had to throw away $50,000 of work), and Lori’s and my time spent on other aspects of the business than writing the game. Making a dialogue-based graphic adventure game is neither fast nor easy.

The new Hero-U release date? I can’t promise a specific date, but it will be in 2015, and hopefully in the Summer. We should know much more by January or February.

Paladin Memorial in 3D - Work in Progress

Paladin Memorial in 3D – Work in Progress

Crafted With Love

Agustín Cordes’ company Senscape is making a game based on “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” by H. P. Lovecraft. They are Kickstarting the project at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/agustincordes/h-p-lovecrafts-the-case-of-charles-dexter-ward. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe were the greatest authors of fantasy horror stories. Lovecraft was responsible for The Necronomicon, Cthulhu, Eldritch Abominations, and many other symbols of horror that have since become tropes.

Cordes has made several well-received horror games and the source material is great, so I think Charles Dexter Ward has a lot of potential. The funding drive is in the middle of the usual Kickstarter mid-campaign slump and could use some serious support to help make this game a reality.

SpaceVenture Project Update #99: Two Guys SpaceVentu?re – by the creators of Space Quest by Two Guys From Andromeda

Hey everyone! It’s time to get caught up on some of the goings-on within the SpaceVenture project! We’ve had a pretty eventful last couple of months as we have worked out the majority of the bugs we were having with the first third of the game along with moving into newer territory with the rest of the game.


Meet, Url (Pronounced as Earl). This little fella is someone you’ll come in contact with during your time at Nurb’s Landing. The concept art you see below was sketched by Mark Crowe, and we have a 3D model of him that is currently in progress.


So we’ve told you since the beginning that Ace has a friend named “Scraps”, who just so happens to own a scrapyard. A decent little chunk of the middle of the game will include some time well spent in this area. In fact, without spoiling much, I’ll confirm that you’ll need to piece together some pretty important items using some of the objects you’ll find there. The polished artwork for the scrapyard scenes are still a work in progress, but I did want to show you some of the concept art.

Want to take a closer look at that crane you see off in the distances?

Does this crane model remind you of something you might have seen in a Sci-Fi movie from your past? If it doesn’t, it might be time for you to get caught up on some 1980’s Sci-Fi flicks!


Probably one of the most exciting things I get to share with you all during this update is the fact that we’ve made some big leaps forward in terms of how the navigation of Ace’s ship works. Whether you’re a fan of taking matters into your own hands, or your less inclined to anything that remotely resembles an arcade sequence in an adventure game, we’re gonna have you taken care of.

Last time you saw this garage, it was empty, but not anymore!


Here is a screenshot of Ace’s ship coming in for a landing.

And here is a video of the landing/takeoff of Ace’s ship!


And lastly, this is how things look while navigating Ace’s ship through space!


Let me also say that all of these videos are still considered early testing of controlling Ace’s ship. Things can and probably will change. Let me reiterate to you out there that will be concerned about arcade type sequences in SpaceVenture, there is nothing for you to worry about. We are working on a great balance for the game.

As for the release of the game goes, things are still on track for 2015! I’ll give more info on that as I have it in a future update.


Some of you backers out there qualify for getting to vote on some of the game’s artwork. We aren’t gonna set an exact date on that just yet, but I did want you to know that it’s coming up. Be on the lookout for a future update mentioning how this is all gonna work! 🙂


The universe might implode at the sheer awesomeness of having three illustrious fan game developers, Guy From Andromeda Mark Crowe, SpaceVenture composer Ken Allen and Westwood composer Frank Klepacki all in the same podcast episode. But that’s exactly what’s happening here. Get ready for two hours of pure unadulterated nerdy space fun as we take a closer look at three retro style fan games — The Lost Chapter, Replicated and Decision of the Elders — complete with commentary by all three developers, along with some added incentives to play Replicated by our resident Professor Jess. Serena Nelson gives her lowdown on her favorite supporting character, and Mark Crowe talks about the inspiration behind Roger’s crew in Space Quest V. There’s also more fun to be had at Priapic Mountain Games’ CEO, Pete Toleman, and Josh Henry continues his epic fan fiction tale “Quest for the Two Guys From Andromeda.” And, as a special treat, our music pal Ken Allen sits down for a chat with the composer for Westwood’s Legend of Kyrandia and Command & Conquer series, Frank Klepacki.


Download Space Quest 0: Replicated here: http://wiw.org/~jess/replicated.htmlWatch Professor Jess and the Historian play Space Quest 0: Replicated here: https://storify.com/TorbenFrost/decaffeinated-jedi-and-the-space-quest-historian-pDownload Space Quest: The Lost Chapter here: http://frostbytei.com/space/Download NAGI, the AGI emulator for Windows here: http://www.agidev.com/projects/nagi/Download Space Quest -1: Decision of the Elders here: http://www.tonundtext.at/downloads/DOTE.zip

Thanks for all of your support everyone!

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