Hero-U Update #33: 2013: The Year of the Rogue

Happy New Year, everyone!  With the holidays behind us, we’re ramping up the development of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.  Lori and I have been brainstorming game and story ideas,the artists are hard at work designing and animating characters and monsters, and the programmers are experimenting with different isometric “looks” for the game.

Backer Surveys

I sent out backer surveys to all of the $50 and $65 level backers about two weeks ago.  Most of you have responded, but 78 backers have not yet answered their surveys.  If you are one of them, please visit your survey page soon so that we can send you your previous game key.

I plan to send surveys out to other backers this weekend (and possibly into next week for some categories).  Please respond to the survey when you get it.  We need the survey information to correctly fulfill your rewards, and especially to find out which add-ons you purchased.  If you have questions after answering the survey, feel free to contact me or Chris at support (at) hero-u (dot) net.  Note that I incorrectly listed this as “(dot) com” in a previous Update; if you sent any mail to that address, please resend it to the correct email.

Places to Go, Pages to See

We now have a forum at http://hero-u.net/forum/index.php to discuss Hero-U and our previous games. I’ve set up a few basic topics, but we’ll need many more.  The forum will be a place for Hero-U backers and anyone interested in the game to gather, ask and answer questions, and discuss the games.  Lori and I will drop in occasionally, but we won’t have time to answer everything.

As a reminder, you can still back Rogue to Redemption or increase your pledge through our “Kickstarter Store” page at http://www.hero-u.net/KS-store.  You can also buy merchandise and gifts related to Hero-U at our Cafe Press store – http://www.cafepress.com/herouniversitystore.  Purchases on both of these pages help support the project.  As of the end of December, we received $4,555 in pledges and upgrades on the KS-Store page, bringing the project total to $413,705.

Also visit the main Hero-U web site for more information on the project and team – http://hero-u.net/.

We’re working on a wiki for the developers and plan to put up a design blog on the hero-u.net site.  This will become more important as we get more PayPal backers, since they will not automatically be notified of posts here on Kickstarter.

Interesting Projects

I mentioned “Meriwether: An American Epic” previously.  This project is now in its final two days and looks like a nice mix of role-playing and historical storytelling.  Lori and I will be part of their final-day chat marathon on Google Hangouts this Sunday at 7:00 pm EST.

The Hidden Crystal” is a project to publish an heroic fantasy novel. It’s getting some beautiful illustrations from JP Selwood, one of Hero-U’s talented artists.  This project is just starting out, and has a very modest $2,000 goal, but needs more people to hear about it so that it can reach its goal.  Daniel Gimness, the author, says, “The plot is right in-line with classic Sierra storytelling and artist John Paul Selwood (who worked on the Sierra AGDI remake games King’s Quest I, II and III, Quest for Glory II, as well Mage’s Initiation, and Hero-U) has illustrated the project.”

Back in the early days of paper-and-pencil role-playing, one of the competitors to Dungeons & Dragons was a game called Tunnels & Trolls.  It featured a simplified combat system and a light-hearted approach to role-playing.  The original authors (including Rick Loomis, Ken St. Andre, and Liz Danforth) want to make an updated version of the game books.  If you like paper RPG’s, check out “Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls“. They just launched the project yesterday, and are nearly at their goal, so now it’s a race to see how much extra they can deliver with the game.

2013 Best Games!


Read About It Here!

Leisure Suit Larry In The Land Of The Lounge Lizards


Publisher: Replay Games
Release: Q2 2013
Link
The 25th anniversary remake of smutty point-and-click snigger-fest Leisure Suit Larry In The Land Of The Lounge Lizards achieved over $650,000 via its Kickstarter campaign. The return of Larry’s legendary creator Al Lowe is certainly encouraging after the series recent abysmal Lowe-less outings.

 

SpaceVenture


Publisher: Two Guys From Andromeda
Release: February
Link
A new sci-fi comedy adventure game from the creators of the Space Quest series. It was successfully funded to the tune of ‘a lot of money’ thanks to the combined powers of nostalgia and Kickstarter.

 

Jane Jensen’s Moebius


Publisher: Pinkerton Road Studio
Release: March
Link
Yet another Kickstarter appeal to point-and-click nostalgia, Moebius comes from “master storyteller” Jane Jensen, responsible for the Gabriel Knight games. Here, improbably-named antiques dealer Malachi Rector is hired by equally improbably-named billionaire Amble Dexter to investigate the death of a woman in Venice. Metaphysical thrills ensue.

 

Hero U: Rogue To Redemption


Publisher: Far Studio
Release: October
Link
Wouldn’t you know it, it’s another successful Kickstarter campaign from the creators of a classic adventure series – this time Quest For Glory. A 2D point and click adventure game, unsurprisingly, with a snappy sense of humour.

Leisure Suit Larry KS Update #47

I had planned to keep this update short; we’ve had four updates in December already.

But then I remembered that I promised last time to go into some detail about my text process.

But then I thought that if it were me receiving these updates, I’d say, “C’mon, Hanukkah ended last week, yesterday was Festivus, Kwanzaa’s in a couple of days, tonight’s Christmas Eve. Just cut to the goodies, please.” So I’m throwing caution to the wind and cutting to the goodies!

Here are a half-dozen of Colin Merlo’s finished backgrounds for the game, complete and in all their high-res glory. You’ve seen them in the Greenlight video, but not like this! (Speaking of Greenlight, for those of you who upvoted Larry and Fester, THANK YOU! If you haven’t, we still need every vote we can get…instructions here).

The interior of Lefty’s! (Hi-res version)

Lefty’s Gorgeous Bathroom!  (High-res version)

The “Secret Room”! (High-res version)


The “Come ‘n’ Go”! (
High-res version)

The Alley to the right of Lefty’s! (High-res version)

Mugger Alley! (High-res version)

 Happy New Year, everyone! 

(Our High-res Holiday Card)

See you next quarter!

Josh

SpaceVenture Update #66

Well, we’ve been through a lot this year. From the re-rise of adventure gaming, and the return of the Two Guys From Andromeda, to the surviving of the end of the world.. again! What has been accomplished in 2012 would have never been possible without you backers out there. With your help, the dream that is SpaceVenture is coming together, and in 2013, Ace and Rooter will be fixing the galaxy one clumsy epic adventure at a time!

Have a safe and happy time with your friends and family everyone!

Mark Crowe, Scott Murphy, Chris Pope, and the rest of the gang at Guys From Andromeda LLC

Hero-U Update #32

Apocalypse Averted

Well, it appears that most of us have survived the Apocalypse supposedly predicted by the Mayans.  It’s a funny thing – When one of my calendars runs out of months, I usually get a new one.  For some reason, when the Mayan calendar ran out of years, a lot of people panicked.

Like some of our friends, Lori and I both wore red shirts on Friday.  After all, on Star Trek, crew members wearing red shirts usually died.  So it was only fitting that we should all wear red shirts on the day of the Apocalypse.  That day was also the Winter Solstice, shortest day of the year.  Now that we’ve survived, the days will keep getting longer, and Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption will keep getting closer to completion.

Key Questions

In response to my previous Update, so far I have received responses from about one-third of the backers entitled to a previous game key.  We need more, so I have now sent surveys to all of the $50 and $65 tier backers.  Please answer your survey as soon as possible.  It’s ok to answer the survey if you already told me what key you want.  I’ll see from the database whether I’ve already sent you a key.

Incidentally, I’ve fulfilled all the previous game key requests that I received on Dec. 20 or earlier.  I also sent all three keys to backers at the $175 level and $500 and higher levels.  If you pledged at a level other than $50 or $65, and you added money to your pledge to get a previous game key, please send email to support (at) hero-u (dot) com.  Specify your Kickstarter user name and the add-ons you want.  If you pledged at the $50 or $65 tier, please answer the survey.

Expanding Universe

Although we have not yet started full production on the game, we’ve added a programmer to help build the game “rooms” and an animator.  Todd Hendrix has programming credits all the way back to Might & Magic and Heroes of Might and Magic.  We worked together on an online poker site, and I’m excited to have the chance to work with Todd again.  Bryan Ellis is a talented local artist who worked at Sierra and several other local game companies.

Andrew has prototyped the isometric-view modifications to his game engine, and we’ll start developing art and animation for it in January.  In the meantime, Lori and I have been working on the game design, converting FAR Studio to an LLC, and fulfilling previous game key requests.  The latter has been time-consuming, but I’ve worked out some ways to speed up the process.

Why an LLC?  That will help us to raise additional funding that we can use to create a better-looking and more impressive game than we think we can manage on the Kickstarter budget alone.  Our goal is to give our backers much more than you paid for.  Adding content will also mean more work for the team, so they won’t starve quite as much.

Design Refinements

While I’ve been working the spreadsheets, Lori has added quite a bit of content to the game design.  After Shawn has had some time to explore the University and storage cellar, he’ll find some exciting opportunities in the Sea Caves.  Meanwhile, Lori has added an entirely new plot line based on the story of one of our “Wing” backers.  We’ll send out a Survey to the other Wing and Monster Lair backers next month to see how your stories can be incorporated into the game.

We’ve also done some work on the stats and skills systems, with much more yet to come.  There will be some seriously challenging game play with a bit of whimsy and humor.  Shawn doesn’t take much seriously, and that includes his hard-won Rogue education.

There is a lot more going on, but we wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.  And of course every design decision is in flux until we test it.  An important part of good game design is being willing to throw away our most cherished ideas when they turn out un-fun.

We hope you are all having a good holiday season, and we wish you a happy and prosperous 2013.

SpaceVenture Update #65

Good news everyone! We are going to be able to offer women’s size t-shirts after all! As of this morning, we sent out an email to those eligible backers to get everyone’s shirt size. If you are eligible for a backer T-Shirt, please make sure of the following:

  • You are a backer of the proper level to receive one of these shirts!
  • Make sure that our official email address is in your email safe list: contact AT guysfromandromeda DOT com (email address listed this way to protect from mail harvesting)
  • If you didn’t receive an email from the above address, check your spam folder!
  • If you are worried about shipping address, don’t! We will get that later when it comes time to ship your shirt and other items!

Media - Image

 

SpaceVenture Backer T-Shirt!

Hey everyone! We are in the process of getting all the backer T-Shirts made! As of this morning, we sent out an email to those eligible backers to get everyone’s shirt size.

If you are eligible for a backer T-Shirt, please make sure of the following:

  • You are a backer of the proper level to receive one of these shirts!
  • Make sure that our official email address is in your email safe list: contact AT guysfromandromeda DOT com (email address listed this way to protect from mail harvesting)
  • If you didn’t receive an email from the above address, check your spam folder!
  • If you are worried about shipping address, don’t! We will get that later when it comes time to ship your shirt and other items!

SHIRT PRO TIP: Don’t put on or lose any weight between now and when you receive your shirt! 😉

Also, those that would like to receive a shirt but aren’t a high enough level, please visit http://guysfromandromeda.com to up your level. The shirts will no longer be available after 12/16/12!

Thanks everyone so much for being a SpaceVenture backer! I know you are gonna love these shirts.

-Chris Pope

Media - Image

LSL Update #46

Good morning!

We were hoping to hold this back for a couple more days, but there was a Red Carpet interview at Spike TV’s Video Game Awards last week, and now the cat’s out of the bag.

So we’re dropping this on you shortly before our official Press Release goes out: Our composer on Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is Austin Wintory, Grammy-nominated, VGA-winning composer of the incredible soundtrack for Journey.

It’s impossible to say who’s more excited by this: Al, Paul, me, or Austin himself. We’ve been working on this deal for months (I note that my very first email to Austin, introducing him to the project, was on August 8th), and we couldn’t possibly be more thrilled. Any game would be outrageously lucky to work with Austin, and our li’l Kickstarter Larry GOT HIM!

Have a great day!

Josh

Larry Update #45

Good morning, Larryettes.

There have been two extra Kickstarter updates since I last wrote, pertaining to the effort to get both Leisure Suit Larry and Fester Mudd approved via Steam Greenlight. If you haven’t voted for them, and you’re willing to do so, I’d take it as a great favor…especially with Fester Mudd, because that game’s lead designer, Paavo Harkonen, is a talent waiting to be celebrated, and it’s been a privilege for me to work on that game with him.

As you probably know if you read the previous update or two, we’re having a contest, and five of the six prizes are pieces of original art from the game I did with Al back in ’93, Freddy Pharkas, Frontier Pharmacist. I want you to know that those pieces, original Freddy Pharkas talkers lovingly painted by ex-Sierra artist Ruben Huante, are near and dear to my heart. I’ve never made any of the Freddy artwork available before this year, I’ve been caring for them and showing them off for about 20 years now, and I think it’s time to spread some of the joy around.

(If you haven’t voted yet to enter the contest, here are complete instructions.)

The video that accompanied Kevin’s first update dropped eight full, complete backgrounds on you:

  • Lefty’s Exterior
  • Lefty’s Bathroom
  • Lefty’s Secret Room
  • The Come ‘n’ Go Interior
  • The Alley right of Lefty’s (got that?)
  • Mugger alley
  • The Telephone close-up
  • Lefty’s Video Gaming Terminal

For those of you keeping track, that’s not nearly all the backgrounds that’ve been finished. Others include Lefty’s interior, Lefty’s hallway, Lefty’s upstairs, the exterior of the Come ‘n’ Go, the close-up of the Hooker, the Taxi, and the Video Gaming Terminal at the Wed ‘n’ Ready (the while-you-wait wedding chapel).
You also got a taste of Larry’s animation and some of his “idle cycles,” the movements he makes randomly and habitually when you’re not telling him to do anything specific. We’re fully cognizant of the sliding issue with Larry’s walking. That’s a fine-tuning task that came standard with pretty much every Sierra adventure: matching the scale of the walker to the scale of the background.

From a narration-and-dialogue standpoint, I’m still keeping up with artwork. I’m going to talk a lot more about my procedures and choices with the text next time, but since there’ve been so many updates in the past two weeks, I’m going to keep this one brief and give you something entirely different today: the video from N-Fusion that I’ve been talking about for so long.

Now you’ll get to see a bit more of the process, put some faces to names, and so on. I love these people, and we’re lucky to have them working with us. They go above and beyond every damn day…weekends included.

More to come…perhaps sooner than you think.

Huggers,
Josh