Hero-U Update #83: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption by Corey and Lori Ann Cole

As I write this, the top athletes in the world are striving – questing, even – for glory in Rio de Janeiro. Our fantasy heroes have been in the questing business longer, but everyone is looking for heroes.

Olympic Glory

Currently the sporting event best representing the final stages of quests for glory is the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Getting to the Olympics at all is the toughest part, but once there, an athlete must be among “the best of the best” to medal. In the end, the medal is really a memento of years of dedication, hard work, and talent.

Winning the Rogue of the Year award at Hero-U may not have the same popular awareness as an Olympic gold medal (especially since officially there are no rogues at Hero-U), but it’s still a difficult and challenging feat. The winner must excel at charm, intelligence, skill, and athleticism to take the prize.

Can He Do It?
Can He Do It?

Rogue of the Year is the Disbarred Bards version of the “all-around” competition in a gymnastics event. It isn’t so much an event by itself as an award for being the best at many different skills.

Skills to Pay the Bills

Hero-U features seven skills: Combat, Defense, Stealth, Tool Use, Climbing, Throwing, and Gaming. Each has a unique role, and together they are one of the major differences between a traditional adventure game and a hybrid adventure/RPG such as Hero-U and Quest for Glory.

Instead of a series of puzzles, each with only one solution, Hero-U presents “problems” to the players. Frequently there is more than one solution to a problem depending on Shawn’s skills and the player’s play style. We made a design choice to have a small set of skills that each apply to many situations. For example, “tool use” helps with picking locks, disarming traps, and other tools you may find in the game.

As in Quest for Glory, players can improve their skills, and even their “stats”, through study and practice. Let’s say the player decides Shawn should spend an hour practicing on the tightrope or climbing rope. Either will improve his climbing skill and slightly improve his Fitness and Agility. Playing Poobah is not just a way of earning Lyra; it also improves Gaming, and helps with Smarts, Perception, and Luck.

Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice, Practice, Practice

Challenges within the game are “gated” – Shawn must have a high degree of skill before he can even attempt to use a Houdini 42 toolkit to disarm the most dangerous traps. There is also a mini-game for the player to analyze each trap. As Shawn improves his Tool Use skill and Perception and Luck stats, the game provides more clues to help the player solve the trap puzzles.

Team Changes and Schedule Update

It also takes a lot of skills to make a game like this. We are fortunate to have a team of dedicated developers who are each contributing part of the heart and soul of this game. However, four years is a long time to devote to a single project, and many of our team members have moved on to other jobs. While we miss their presence, we also want to thank them for their contributions and wish them success at their new pursuits.

Our most recent alumni are programmer Carolyn VanEseltine and 3D background artist Aaron Martin. Aaron completed his work on Hero-U, then moved on to another full-time art position. Carolyn also has a new non-gaming day job. In her “free time”, she is one of the founding directors of the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation. Read more about Carolyn and her work at http://www.sibylmoon.com/author/carolyn/.

3D Model of the Nido King Wing
3D Model of the Nido King Wing

Fortunately, we were able to immediately find a programmer to finish the Hero-U room programming. Adam Thompson of Auckland, New Zealand. Check out Adam’s indie games at http://www.emotiontheory.com/. Adam is a Unity expert and a fan of adventure and role-playing games. We’re very happy to have him on the team.

Where does all that leave our schedule? We plan to reach “code complete” before the end of the year – I’m shooting for mid- to late- November. At that point we will put the game through an extensive testing process, including making builds available to everyone who backed at the $35 or higher level in Kickstarter. We’ll put out the final release when we have a clean version, likely early next year.

I plan to ship non-game physical goods such as Meeps and posters this Fall. Please keep your address info up-to-date at https://hero-u-adventure-role-playing-game.backerkit.com/ if your pledge included any physical goods.

Shawn Triumphant
Shawn Triumphant


SpaceVenture Project Update #111: Two Guys SpaceVenture – by the creators of Space Quest by Two Guys From Andromeda

Pump house madness, Nurbs Landing, Hose Zar, Nurbs Bar, new theme music!

Time for another SpaceVenture update. Got some really exciting stuff to show you all. Guys we are going full throttle trying our absolute best to get the game done by November. Fingers crossed, we still have some moons that need to line up, but we are well on our way.

The game script is getting closer as well and we are talking with the Los Angeles voice studio that we will be using to record our voice actors in. Speaking of which, all our original voice actors(minus Gary Owens for obvious sad reasons) are still on board for voicing characters in the game. We haven’t chosen our new narrator, but that should be ironed out in the near future.


The pump room scene takes us down into a hidden level within the TGFA’s space dome. Not to be too spoilery here, but Ace gets a call from the Two Guys to Fix an issue with their in-dome pool (actually more of a lagoon). Rooter(under player control) ends up being the brains behind solving this puzzle though as he lends a hand, er, paw in helping Ace make the repair.

One fun behind the scenes fact about this scene is that it was actually the very first puzzle that was planned for the game, although it actually happens way later in the story. I hope you guys are as excited to see it come to a reality as we are! Special thanks to one of our artists, Patrick Parish, for working so hard on this.

Just a little warning on the video, we’ve disabled a few things that would completely spoil some of what happens here, but rest assured, there will be a few more things happening in the scene when you see it in game. For one, that big display you see in the background will be important to the task at hand. The mechanics for this scene are already in place, programming and all!





I believe I have mentioned before that this area of the game is a location that I have been the most excited about since the original game design for SpaceVenture. Just so you know, that has not changed! As you can see, the artwork for this area is just absolutely beautiful. Mark Crowe as Art Director and Artist Patrick Parish have done a phenomenal job on all the art assets for the “Nurb’s” area of the game. This area is bound to bring back nostalgic thoughts of your time in the Space Quest games.

A little warning on what you are seeing here. We have a lot of surprises in store for different ships and Aliens that will be seen in this area. Another fun aspect of this area is that you will be able to return to it throughout the game and depending on when you are there, you will experience different creatures.




“Don’t get hosed, see the Zar!”

Nurb, being quite the space faring entrepreneur, not only owns a bar, but also owns a hose shop. Why a hose shop in the middle of no where? The real question is why not! Ace will be needing to pay a visit to the Hose Zar shop in order to continue in a certain portion of the game that I won’t mention right now as to not spoil some of the experience for you all. Let’s just say, it will definitely be worth your while to  “see the Zar” at some point during the game.



Bound to be one of the most memorable scenes in the entire game, it has been hard for me to hold this scene back. The team has almost had a bit to much fun putting this scene together. Nurb’s bar will be packed full of SciFi pop culture references, with gorgeous artwork to boot.

The bar is where Ace will be given an opportunity to catch up with some of us buddies and enjoy some conversation in the goings on throughout the galaxy. This is also where you will meet one of my favorite characters of all, “Url”.

Note on the below content. We have put no where near the characters and props in the scene that we have planned. The bar may look a bit empty right now, but it won’t be in the very near future. Also, when playing SpaceVenture, be sure to revisit this area often to see all the different patrons that are hanging around.








To the right of the bar scene is a corridor that leads to a room called the “Wall of Fame”. As promised, the game will feature a “Wall of Fame”. This area will be connected to Nurb’s bar. $750 and higher backers should have received an email from us in regards to this. If you did not receive that email, please contact us on Kickstarter. Please DO NOT comment on the update regarding not receiving the email, please contact us via private Kickstarter message.

We hope to give you guys a glimpse of this scene in the near future 🙂


Remember the beautiful theme music that was put together for SpaceVenture. Our composer, Ken Allen, added some more polish to it. He is using the same music libraries in this version that movie composers use. This version is what we plan to use when SpaceVenture ships! We thought you all would like to have a listen to it.



Some of you guys pledged at a level that allows you to vote on concept art and death sequences. We’ve got some concept art for some aliens as well as a bit of the end of the game that we will soon be voting on. As for death sequences, there are still quite a few of those that need to go into the game, and we will be allowing voting for that in the not so distant future as well.



As CyberCedric is off to broaden his musical horizons (which can only end badly), the Historian interviews avid adventure game player and fellow podcaster Robert Menes of the Nostalgia Roadtrip podcast (soundcloud.com/nostalgiaroadtrip) about his favorite adventure games. Also on the show, more crowdfunding tips from Serena Nelson, and more music talk with Brandon Blume, Ken Allen and James Mulvale.



Thanks for all of your support everyone!

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