Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded Update #58

A gracious “good afternoon” to all you Larryettes.

As we near the release of Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded, this update finds me a little wistful. We began our Kickstarter efforts on April 2nd, 2012; it’s just over a year later, and the end is well within sight. And to think that, within just a few weeks, these updates will no longer even be necessary.

Today and tomorrow will be the final recording sessions for the game voices. That’s been a monumental task; with about 8,500 lines of dialogue and narration and 60 different characters, Al and I slogged through weeks of marathon sessions to get it all done. (Just about the only messages that won’t be voiced are the inventory-on-inventory responses, of which there are hundreds more, and the Blackjack/Slot Machine messages.)

Most of the sessions consist of Al, Randy (our brilliant and incredibly detail-minded engineer/editor at Hamsterball Studios), the “talent,” and me, all on Skype. Al’s in Seattle, I’m in Albany, Randy’s in Austin, and most of the talent is in LA. The talent’s already gotten their scripts, as well as visuals of the character(s) they’re portraying. We go line-by-line, recording each one anywhere from once (if they nail it off the bat) to maybe a dozen times if necessary.

What do we listen for?

Well, sticking to the script is important. The game’s being translated into many different languages, so every time an actor improvises and we end up changing a line (because we like the improvised version better), there’s actually more time and money involved than simply changing the text to match the actor’s version.

Beyond that, we’re listening for subtext and interpretation, pacing, consistency of accents and dialects, and “popped” p’s and b’s and other aural distortions. Al, Randy, and I all tend to catch different things with every single read, so naturally there are a lot of retakes. It’s also not unusual for Al or me to read the part of another character so that the actor whose voice we’re recording has something to react to. We frequently end up splicing – the beginning of one read and the end of another, for instance – to come up with the version we think sounds perfect.

So it’s a lengthy process, and it can’t be rushed. But it’s punctuated with a lot of laughter and a lot of creativity all coming together in real-time. That keeps the energy and excitement up even when we’re doing inhumanly long sessions.

Also in the next couple of days, N-Fusion will be putting in the very last of the animations. So with a couple of weeks’ worth of polish and internal testing, and plugging in all the speech, we’ll be ready for beta.

And now, a surprise: a video, courtesy of Al Lowe. I won’t tell you what it’s about, but I do want to give credit where it’s due. Al conceptualized this video, directed *and* shot it himself, and edited it. (His daughter selected the music, “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons, http://www.imaginedragonsmusic.com.)

As you’ll see, none of it would’ve happened without the terrific team at www.darkhorseink.com, who have our gratitude for their hard work and perfectionism…the results of which many of you will be enjoying shortly.

Without further adieu… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feZF9O0aH20

Your obedient servant,

Josh Mandel

SpaceVenture – Video Inside! And More!

Hello there our dear and most beloved backer buddies! As promised, we have an update for you today! First off, you are probably wondering why we haven’t had anything really cool to share in awhile.. well, to be honest, we have been working on a surprise involving a playable alpha for everyone to have a look at. Due to some difficulties, things kept getting pushed off on the playable alpha, so instead of making everyone wait even longer, we made a small video for you.

Please keep in mind, Mark and Scott are VERY particular in what they want to show, due to spoilers, but I think you guys are gonna love what you see. The video includes original music from Ken Allen(one of the composers from many Sierra On-Line games). Please remember, nothing in this is final. Everything is considered in alpha state as of right now. Well, what are you waiting on? Have a look!


As we mentioned before, we will be shipping all rewards for backers once the game is complete. We do not need your address just yet. When it comes time for us to start shipping everything out to you all, we’ll be requesting everyone’s current address.

As for GOG credits, we are planning to distribute those in two weeks. Two weeks from now, you’ll get an email(if you are a GOG credit level backer) which will have instructions on receiving your GOG credit rewards 🙂


May 24-26th – Alabama Phoenix Festival – www.alabamaphoenixfestival.com Who’s going? Chris Pope

June 21-23rd – Ancient City Con(Jacksonville, FL) – www.ancientcitycon.com Whos going? Chris Pope

July 18-21st – San Diego Comic Con-SDCC(San Diego, CA) – www.comic-con.com Who’s going? Mark Crowe, Scott Murphy, and Chris Pope

Aug 31-Sep 2nd – PAX Prime(Seattle, WA) – prime.paxsite.com Who’s going? Mark Crowe, Scott Murphy, and Chris Pope

Nov 1-3rd – GMX (Nashville, TN) – www.geekmediaexpo.com Who’s going? Mark Crowe, Scott Murphy, and Chris Pope


You guys might remember that our friend, James Mulvale wrote the music for our prototypes as well as the Cluck Y’egger game that Titanbase Productions put out. He has a 3D album he’s trying to get funded! Check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/ASMRkick

Hero-U Update – Moving Along.

From: http://www.hero-u.net/leaders/moving-along/

Moving Along

Many things have been happening behind the scenes here at the Hero-U team. We have formed Transolar Games Inc. as the holding company with Corey as the CEO and CFO and Lori as the Creative Director and – ugh – Secretary. (What? Is Transolar stereotyping the female as the secretary? Alas, my writing skills exceed my capabilities of adding columns of numbers in spreadsheets. I’ll let Corey do that.)

Drat it

This page has been updated to reflect our new art style under the wonderful direction of Terry Robinson and the painting talents of JP Selwood. I’m sure you’ll like the improvements.

We are assembling a new programming team under the direction of Mike Croswell, who has just written a book on programming with Unity. He has a wide range of skills including Bluegrass guitar and C# coding. We met with him and Jonathan Cheatham, another skilled programmer joining the team. Jonathan is a long time fan of the Quest for Glory series, so he’ll know the style and feel that we want to have with Hero-U.

We’re also adding a System programmer and a room programmer along the way.

Also in the company news, we are officially looking for an experienced 2D animator and a 2D tile artist to add to our team.

We’re behind production schedule, but work on the project is now moving in the right direction. As for the game itself, well, it’s going to be beautiful and sound wonderful. It will be the synergy of all the creative energy of every member of the team. And that, after all, is what really matters.

Explore our Game

Pipsqueak Studios

Hello Sierra Enthusiasts! This week we announced the launch of Pipsqueak Studios, featuring a core group of ex-Sierra alumni of Chris Willis (GK/SQ artist), Al Eufrasio (LSL animator) and myself (SQ/QFG programmer). We’ve been working on a kid-friendly, zombie-based tower defense-y game and thought some of you might be interested in our project. We’d appreciate your support; anybody who LIKES the Pipsqueak Facebook page (before April 30th) will appear in our game credits! We’re pretty pumped; we hope you’ll follow our journey. http://www.facebook.com/pipsqueakstudios

Neil Matz

LSL Project Update #55: The Horror of the Biweekly Kickstarter Update – 03-18-13

Glorious Monday, Larryettes.

I hope many of you were able to join us for the final half-hour of last week”s recording session with Austin Wintory, Al Lowe, Melora Hardin (whose recording of the Torch Song was nothing short of spectacular) and the Late Night Jazz Orchestra. It was a one-of-a-kind experience.

Now onto our milestones.

  • All the text? DONE! (Well, the text for the little “How to Play” pseudo-tutorial may change, that”s still being finalized. But the narration and dialogue are complete as of last week!)
  • All of Austin Wintory”s amazing music? DONE AND RECORDED! (However, at Austin”s request, the *final* versions of the music will NOT be in the public Beta version; we”re holding it back ”til release, just so that even the Beta testers will have some terrific surprises.)
  • All the backgrounds? Almost done. Two left to go!
  • Voices? Recording this week! (And probably next.)
  • The Art book? DONE and at the printer! (This is truly magnificent.)
  • The Box? DONE and at the printer!
  • The Stripper Pens? DONE and in manufacture!
  • Kickstarter T-shirts? DONE!
  • Lubbers? Playing cards? Coasters? Casino chips? Breath spray? Shot glasses? All DONE and in the Replay offices!
  • Huge, beautiful lithographs? DONE and in the Replay offices!
  • The Beta? Still at least a couple of weeks off. We”re waiting ”til all the final animations are in, all the voices are in, and as many obvious bugs as possible have been squished. We want to make the Beta as clean as possible before we send it out; we don”t want to have to include a list of “Still to come” items.

Yes, we are being disgustingly productive. Eat our dust!

Stay tuned. We”ve got another update coming in a couple of days.


P.S. I want to mention to all the Sierra lovers in the crowd (and I assume that”s most of us, if not all) that there”s another Sierra-style Kickstarter in progress. This one is from Himalaya Studios. You may not have heard of Himalaya, but their core group were formerly known as AGD Interactive LLC, the people responsible for the commercial-quality fan remakes of King”s Quest I, King”s Quest II, King”s Quest III, and Quest for Glory II. They”ve only got a few days to go…show ”em the love! They”re at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2112639455/mages-initiation-a-classic-sierra-style-adventure!

Project Update #36: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption by the Quest for Glory designers by Corey Cole

A month has gone by since the last Update, and we have lots of news. Shawn O’Conner wishes all of you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Chris and I have caught up on Backer Surveys received through March 10.  We sent out Steam and GoG keys to everyone who requested them as part of their backer rewards. If you sent mail to Hero-U Support or filled out a survey, but did not receive your “past games” key, please send a new message to support (at) hero-u (dot) net. (Sorry to write it that way, but we really don’t want to attract the attention of spambots.)

We’ve made quite a bit of progress on the art and music fronts. Ryan Grogan continues to delight us with his spot-on tunes. He’s probably getting a bit of a swelled head by now, but he deserves it. 🙂  All of the artists are giving us beautiful work. Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is an indie game, but it will look professional. After all, everyone working on it *is* a professional – We have well over 100 years in the game industry between us. Ok, so maybe we’re professional dinosaurs, but hey, dinosaurs are cool!

Terry has been working with a toy company to specify the toy Meeps. We’re going to make them in two colors – light blue and light green – and we’re ordering extras so that we can offer them in the Hero-U store. Here’s our artist conception of a Green Meep and the manufacturer’s sample of the Blue Meep design. They may change a little before we get the final versions.

Part-Time Perils

Lori and I decided early in the project to work with independent contractors rather than employees. This has allowed us to control costs by paying only for the actual work that has been completed at each stage. The downside of that decision is that we have much less control over the pace and amount of work from contractors.

I’ve been a “part-timer” myself on the game design because a large part of my time has been devoted to administration and reward fulfillment. I knew all along that those would take a lot of my time, but I didn’t realize just how much. I’m now through that phase and participating much more actively in working with Lori to design game systems. Recent eye surgery (cataracts) is also making a big difference, now that I can read the computer screen without a magnifier!

The good part of this is that we are burning through the Kickstarter funds very slowly. The rough part is that we are also building the game slowly. In particular, both of our team programmers have dropped out to pursue lucrative full-time contracts elsewhere. We are in the process of doing a “partial reboot”, bringing in a full-time lead programmer, and redesigning the software architecture. This is allowing us to further refine and improve the game design, but it means that we have zero chance of making our original October ship date.

We still plan to use part-time contractors for much of the final game programming. Are you a strong Unity and C# programmer? Would like to contribute to the development of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. Oh, and are you a code monkey who is happy to work for bananas because bananas are so tasty? That’s pretty much what the rest of the team (including Lori and me) is doing. If so, please send an email with a resume (CV) and information about your availability and contract rates to jobs (at) transolar (dot) com. Actually our rates are highly competitive, compared to say fast food restaurant and warehouse store work.

We will keep all of you informed as we move forward with the project. I don’t want to promise a specific date for Hero-U release at this point, but we are 100% committed to shipping it as soon as it is a great game.

[A Catacombs section by John Paul Selwood]

Last Chance at Fabulous Kickstarter Projects

My wallet has grown thin this month as I found many awesome projects to support.  Here are three important projects that are closing in a few days.  Please check them out and back the ones that interest you.

Var and the Vikings (http://kck.st/VQHyLz) has just one week to go. So far it has raised $11,000 towards its modest $31,000 goal. It would be a real shame if this project fails. Think Lemmings, except you get to teach your lemmings how to live. Var is a fun combination of puzzle game play with the chance to experiment with game-style artificial intelligence decision trees. Back this project and tell your friends to check it out. They have a nice project demo (Firefox browser only), and the development team are nice people – They came up for a visit a couple of weeks ago.

Mage’s Initiation (http://kck.st/W7OBdj) also has one week to go. This is a Quest for Glory inspired hybrid adventure / RPG in which you play an elemental mage. Depending on your specialty (Earth, Air, Fire, or Water), you will have unique puzzle solutions and combat abilities. The team has just added a playable demo of the Fire Mage; you can download it from http://www.himalayastudios.com/downloads/Mages_Initiation_Demo.exe. I managed to work through the puzzles with a little head-scratching, but couldn’t quite survive the first combat test. Maybe they’ll add a turn-based mode as in Hero-U. 🙂

Weregeek (http://www.weregeek.com/) is one of Lori’s and my favorite webcomics, and now it has its own Kickstarter (http://kck.st/VeeGKq). Alina Pete, the very Canadian creator, is a cool person in addition to an excellent artist and very imaginative writer. The idea behind the comic series is that ordinary people turn into Weregeeks – sometimes with amazing powers – as a result of their secret lives as role-playing game addicts. Or maybe it’s the full moon or something. Anyway, great stories up there for free, and it’s up to us – by supporting her Kickstarter – to make it possible for Alina to keep telling them.  There are just three days left in the Weregeek campaign.

Big Games With Huge Potential

Those are the “little people” with great small projects deserving your attention. There are also two new blockbuster games that many of you will enjoy if you have anything left in your wallets.  (Please help the little projects first – Your backing will make a huge difference to them.)

Shroud of the Avatar (http://kck.st/WahMzs) is Richard Garriott’s (“Lord British”) spiritual successor to both the Ultima series and Ultima Online. At 91% of its million-dollar goal just a week into the campaign, this one is definitely happening. The team is already well into development; the project page shows a number of videos showing game play. It’s a highly-ambitious game that is trying to provide a solid single-player experience as well as the fun of gaming with friends and a few potential future friends. Can Lord British pull this one off? Join the backers and find out.

Torment: Tides of Numenera (http://kck.st/13F7hZm) is the second big Kickstarter from Brian Fargo and his inXile Entertainment team. Previously they funded Wasteland 2 at almost $3 million. Ten days into their new campaign, they are close to passing that. This one is the spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, one of the best D&D-based computer RPG’s. They are teaming up with Monte Cook, who raised over $500,000 back in September for the paper gaming version of the Numenera system. (That one had a $20,000 goal!!) Torment: Tides has the potential to be a terrific story-based RPG.

That’s enough for this Update. We’ll see you all next month with more art and other information on the progress of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.