It’s July 2019, exactly one year since we released Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. Since then we’ve updated it with five patches, fixing bugs and adding features. Back in the Quest for Glory days at Sierra, the project would be considered long gone, and we would be close to releasing the next game.
We’ve recently uploaded part 1 of the Art of Hero-U to BackerKit for premium backers. Once the art book is done, we’ll be selling it, along with the soundtrack and bestiary, on Steam and the Hero-U website.
Celebration at Hero-U
A Painful History Lesson – Quest for Glory IV
There was one major exception – Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness. That’s a game we were still working on a year past the original release. One of the reasons for that was that we (at management’s behest) pushed the game out the door long before it was ready, so it needed more than a few patches.
To be fair, that wasn’t strictly Sierra management’s fault. Lori and I were back working together for the first time since Quest for Glory II: Trial By Fire, and we got over-ambitious with QGIV. We wanted to create a richer story, and most challenging puzzles, than in any previous Sierra game. The other major delay is that the systems group was developing a new version of SCI, which left our team unable to test their work for several months. Without, of course, any additional time added to our deadline.
Previously there was an unwritten rule at Sierra that a game project should take under a year, start to finish. When the games were drawn on a computer screen in 16 colors at 320×200 resolution, that was possible and treated as normal. It was still a major challenge every time, especially when we added RPG features to Sierra’s graphic adventure game formula.
With painted full-color artwork and animation at higher resolutions, film-quality soundtracks, and ever more ambitious game designs, one year wasn’t enough time to get a game right. That certainly proved to be the case for QGIV, which went out the door with insufficient testing and many known problems.
To Sierra’s credit, they made up for that launch mistake by assigning a programmer – Kevin Ray – to fix most of the game bugs for a major re-release. Of course, fixing bugs doesn’t make much of a selling point, so we also got the opportunity – for our first time at Sierra – to go into the studio and add professional voice acting to the game. The white box version of Shadows of Darkness went from our buggiest Quest for Glory release to one of the best.
Enough History – What About Hero-U?
We took a number of lessons from the near-disaster of the Quest for Glory IV release. One was that you can’t put a time limit on quality assurance and testing for a game. It will be ready when it’s done. On Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption, that meant the alpha and beta testing phases took as long as the entire development and testing of Hero’s Quest. In fact, it took about as much time as I originally estimated developing and testing the game would take together. Oops.
We also decided that “done is not done.” We had to release the game before we ran out of money to pay developers, but we didn’t have to stop development there. The nice thing about today’s connected world is that we can patch and improve a game without worrying about how to get the new versions to players. That’s why we’ve made five updates to the game so far.
Just A Minor Bug?
Where In the World Is This Going?
Everywhere. Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is on every continent and dozens (possibly hundreds) of countries. But so far the game is only available in English.
We are currently working on three language translations and localizations – French, German, and Simplified Chinese. If these are successful, we’ll look into additional translations – Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, and Korean are all possibilities, but are currently well outside our budget.
If you are fluent in German, French, or Chinese, and would like to help us verify and improve the translated versions, please click on “Corey Cole” and use the “Contact Me” button to send us a message with your qualifications and interest. We want to make sure Hero-U is equally fun in any language.
We expect to start testing the localized versions this Fall – late September to early November, most likely.
But Where are Corey and Lori Going?
Next week – July 17-21, 2019 – we’ll be at Comic-con in San Diego along with our publicist, Roberta Vaughan, musician Paul Korman, and our business guy, Michael Cole and his wife. We won’t be showing our games there, but we’ve love to meet any of our backers who are attending SDCC or will just be in the area. Again, use the Contact Me button and provide some contact details if you will be there.
The following month, we’ll all be up at PAX in Seattle. This time we’ll have space in the Indie Megabooth to show off Summer Daze at Hero-U and the latest patch to Rogue to Redemption. We’ll also hand out stickers, postcards, and other swag, and will sell and autograph Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption boxes. The convention runs from August 30 to Sept. 2, 2019. It will feature lots of great indie games in addition to ours.
Then it will be time (late September to October) to Kickstart Summer Daze at Hero-U! This time, we’ll present a game that is well along in production – the first two days of one of the stories are already fully playable. We hope many of you will consider backing Summer Daze to help us finish and market it in style.
Sure, But Where Are You Now?
Corey and Lori are on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/coreyloricole. That’s a great place to learn more about us and our work, and to help us keep doing it. Many posts are open to all visitors; a few require becoming a patron.
We’re active on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheSchoolForHeroes. We also each have a personal Facebook page. Lori’s is https://www.facebook.com/lori.cole.948, and Corey’s is https://www.facebook.com/corey.cole.792. Warning – We can be unabashedly progressive on our personal pages. You might or might not like every opinion we post there. But Lori’s page is the only place she is posting a photograph or artwork every day.
We also have an active Discord server for Transolar Games backers and fans (including Hero-U, Quest for Glory, and our other work). Use this link to join us there: https://discord.gg/WA5navb. Several team members pop in from time to time, but the discussions are great whether or not we’re there.
School Grounds In Summer Daze at Hero-U