SpaceVenture Update #105: Two Guys SpaceVenture – by the creators of Space Quest by Two Guys From Andromeda

Hey everyone! We wanted to do a very short and sweet update to keep you all in the loop on a some news. First off, let me start by saying this. If you didn’t read the last update, this update will not make a lot of sense. PLEASE CLICK HERE to view and read the last update before proceeding.

Key points we’d like you all to know about:

  • We are pre-releasing the Cluck Yegger mini game to all of you next week, Thursday October 29th. The pre-release will be DRM free and will be for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  • If we can get the game on Steam, we will be giving Steam keys to backers as well as the DRM free versions of the game.
  • We need your help getting the game upvoted on Steam. Please visit and vote! This would really help us out a lot.
  • Though we are starting with Steam, we are looking into other outlets to sell the Cluck Yegger game.
  • All moneys made from the Cluck Yegger game will go towards speeding up production on SpaceVenture.
  • Although we’ve already been beta/bug testing the game, we’ll be taking feedback from backers on any found issues with the game.

This fun little mini game plays a key role in the plot of Spaceventure and will contain some surprises and revelations. But don’t worry, in SpaceVenture, it will not require you to beat the whole Cluck Yegger game to continue. We know that Cluck Yegger in The Planet of the Poultroids will not appeal to everyone, but any help you all can give in spreading the word would be very much appreciated. On top of voting, sharing with people is another great way to help as well.

SpaceVenture Update #104: Two Guys SpaceVenture – by the creators of Space Quest by Two Guys From Andromeda

This update was written by Mark Crowe, Scott Murphy, and Chris Pope together.

We’ve got quite a lot of big news in this update. Depending on how you look at things, some of what we tell you will seem like fantastical amazingly exciting news, and some.. not so much. Ultimately, we have thought long and hard on everything, and have decided on how we should best proceed with the project. This update will help you understand how we are proceeding. Before you jump to any conclusions, yes the project is still going strong and no we are not broke! Figured we should go ahead and get that out of the way.


The year 2015 has been an extra rough year for us all as a whole. Not in a game development sort of way, but in a personal way, which has affected the development of the game.

Eleven years ago Scott moved to Alabama to take care of his mother. There has been a lot of ups and downs he has had to endure during this time in his life, but over the past year, his mom took a major turn for the worse and developed a serious case of Alzheimer’s. Being the sole caregiver for his mom, he has pretty much had to dedicate every waking moment to making sure she was getting proper treatment for her condition. The whole process has been both physically and mentally draining for him. Understandably this has left Scott with little to no time to work on the project with the team.

A couple of months back tragedy struck as Scott’s mother passed away due to her condition. These past couple of months Scott has been in the process of pulling his life back together one day at a time. Scott has written a letter to all of those that would like more information regarding what’s been going on in his life. You can read it here

Though Mark has been hitting on all cylinders through the past year, he has also had limited amounts of time he could put into the project due to family issues as well.

The last couple years actually have been a crazy ride for Mark’s family, caring for elderly parents. But last fall their world was turned upside-down when a trip to the ER revealed that his dear wife had an abdominal ‘GIST’ tumor which proved to be malignant. She was immediately taken into emergency surgery where Doctors were able to successfully remove the tumor. It was incredibly fortunate that they caught it relatively early. Then began her long road of recovery and ongoing treatment. Thankfully, their story has had a happy outcome. But something like this certainly helps put your life priorities in order. Needless to say working on the game took a back seat for a while.

And even though Chris has also tried his best to put as much time as possible into the game, life has hit him hard as well. When the Kickstarter completed, Chris decided to drop the majority of his work with actors in order to focus on the game. This was totally possible given the time frame that we thought we’d have the game out. Needless to say, with the game taking longer than expected, Chris has had to take more work back on to pay the bills. He is still able to dedicate a huge portion of his time to the project and only has to take on work here and there, but it has still been a trying time in terms of pure project time. Again, we say all of this, not to make excuses, but to let you know that we are all real people that have had to deal with some hard real life issues. We hope you all can understand though that we are still going to finish this game out. We will get this game done, and it will be done with very high quality!


November 30, 2016 will be the release date of SpaceVenture. Wait, why not 2015 like you guys said months ago you ask? Please see above. Based on how far along we are with SpaceVenture as a whole, we know we can complete the game by November of 2016. Especially now with life getting back to normal. Soon, Scott will be able to rejoin the project and we can proceed with all team members giving Spaceventure their full attention.


We have some pretty big news involving a portion of SpaceVenture that you all are going to get a chance to play over the next few weeks. We have mentioned quite a few times over the last couple of updates that we have been working on a section of SpaceVenture that has been planned since the beginning. Albeit the game design and mechanics didn’t come together until recently, but the story had been written.

A few months back, with Scott’s personal life having to be his focus, Mark and Chris decided to focus on the Cluck Yegger portion of SpaceVenture since it wasn’t going to require most of the team to have insane amounts of time. With Scott being unable to be part of the team, and various other members being tied up, it seemed to the be the perfect opportunity to shift the focus to a part of SpaceVenture that was going to be a different experience than anything we had put together so far.

After spending a few months working on the artwork, game mechanics, programming and all, as it turns out, the Cluck Yegger portion of SpaceVenture evolved into a really fun mini game that parodies a very popular game series circulating around the appstorosphere(totally not a made up word). We even gave the Cluck’s mini game a name.

We know you all are chomping at the bit wanting to get your hands on the full game. We also know that the only thing that will quench your thirst for SpaceVenture, is the full game. However, putting all that to the side, we have made a decision to release ‘Cluck Yegger: Escape From The Planet Of The Poultroid’ to the public very soon. How soon? We are in the process of beta testing and polishing right now, so you can expect to hear from us on it over the next couple of weeks.


How about we start by showing you the intro sequence of the game with full voice acting, music and all!

After being blown out of the sky and crash landing on the planet Poultroid, Cluck will have to make repairs to his ship during the day, but deal with some “family visitors” trying to stop by his cockpit for a dinner time snack at night. With the damage to his ship, Cluck is running on auxiliary solar power that get’s charged during daylight hours. He uses that power to survive at night. If the power in his ship hits zero, it’s lights out for Cluck in more ways the one.




Enough said!


As mentioned above, we are planning to release the game to the public and hope to bring some more money into the SpaceVenture project as a whole. We are not broke, but having more income would help us bring in a few more artists which in turn, would help move the project along faster. Don’t worry, we got you covered! We will be giving our $15 and up backers DRM free access to the Cluck Yegger game on the following three platforms:

  • Windows
  • Macintosh OSX
  • Linux

What about public release of the game?

The release of the Cluck Yegger game is two fold. We want to give you all a chance to enjoy something from the SpaceVenture game ahead of time, but we also hope to bring some money into the project without having to ask more people like you fine folks to donate it. To start, we are going to try and get the game greenlit on Steam as well as publish it on some of the other game store outlets. Once the computer versions of the game hits, we are going to rework the game to come out for the iPad and Android tablets. We may eventually release the game on smartphones as well.

Keep in mind that once the Cluck game releases, only a very small part of the SpaceVenture team will continue to focus on getting it on the other platforms, everyone else will be shifting gears to wrapping the full game.

What if backers want access to the Steam and other platform versions of the Cluck Yegger game?

Backers will get full DRM free access to the Windows, Macintosh, and Linux version on a private backer only download outlet. In order to get the other platform versions of the game, backers would need to purchase those on those online stores. This would be greatly appreciated and is an awesome way to show a little more love to the project. But if not, we totally understand, the DRM free versions you get access to are full versions of the game and will hopefully give you some enjoyment and laughs.

You mentioned beta testing. Why aren’t backers getting to beta test?

The short answer is time. We will hold true to letting the $30 and up backers beta test the full SpaceVenture game as we get closer to our release date, however due to time, we have a small team of beta testers running through this mini game for play testing purposes. We hope you all will understand that we can’t afford to go through a lengthy beta testing process for the Cluck Yegger mini game, it not being a massively large game itself, the beta testing group is also being kept small in size.

Want to see some gameplay?


We hope this news is exciting to you. Rest assured, we know that you all didn’t back the project to receive a Cluck Yegger mini game. We know you backed the project to receive a fully functional, fun, and hilarious sci-fi adventure game. We plan to deliver on that! Until then, hopefully you all will enjoy this little Cluck Yegger mini game to tide you over. Stay tuned for the next update to contain information on the release and download of “Cluck Yegger In Escape From The Planet Of The Poultroid”!

Mark Crowe, Scott Murphy, and Chris Pope

Hero-U Update #75: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

BackerKit sent the surveys out (under my name – Corey Cole) yesterday, and you should have received yours by now. Please answer the survey both to make sure we have correct current information (such as your address) and to make sure we got all of your add-ons correct.

If you see a problem with your account, send email to so we can fix it. We’ve fixed several problems already, and I’m sure there are more.

I’ve heard there is an issue with “collapsing” your two pledges from the 2012 and 2015 campaign. I will work with BackerKit to resolve that.

Do *NOT* pay extra money unless you are ordering additional add-ons. Chris Fong and I did a tremendous amount of manually filling in spreadsheets based on text entries in our original backer spreadsheet. As a result, there will certainly be some errors. If BackerKit is asking you for more money, send email to and I’ll fix it.

If your add-ons included preordering the second Hero-U game (Wizard’s Way) or an extra copy of Hero-U, you should have paid $18 for each, but I listed them as $20 each on BackerKit. If you’ve already filled out the survey, that would have shown you as $2 short. I have fixed that by crediting all of those accounts an extra $2. I need to do a second pass for people who pre-ordered more than one copy; I’ll do that tonight.

Add-on t-shirts were not added due to a conflict between our spreadsheet data and the BackerKit database. If you added a t-shirt to the first campaign, please put the price into the tip jar – we mailed out all of the t-shirts last year.

Any other issues – please let us know by email. Thanks for your understanding as we go through this very complicated process. The folks at BackerKit have been extremely helpful, but we are doing things their system wasn’t really designed to do.

Hero-U Project Update #74: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

It’s been about two months since the second Hero-U Kickstarter campaign closed, and we’re making great progress in every area of the game. The current focus is on the thousands of tiny details that lift a game from “acceptable” up to “excellent”.

If you receive this update more than once, that means you contributed to the project in both Kickstarter campaigns, or on both our website and Kickstarter. In that case, make sure you read the section on “collapsing” your pledges into one pledge. This post is part of the November 2012 Kickstarter campaign.

Surveys Coming Soon

Later this week you will receive a link to a backer survey on BackerKit. We are using their service to track pledges, add-ons, address changes, and fulfillment accurately. The tricky part on our end has been combining pledges – especially those with add-ons – from our 2012 and 2015 Kickstarter campaigns, PayPal, and Humble Bundle into a single database.

In some cases, we were not able to do this. As a result, BackerKit will send new surveys to all of our backers from both campaigns. This will give you a chance to update your address and any other information that may have changed in the last couple of years. You will also get the opportunity to specify or request add-ons such as meep plushies, posters, and many others.

If you backed at the $20 level in both campaigns, we have automatically merged (“collapsed”) the two into a single pledge at a new $40 level that includes all of the promised rewards.

If you backed at any other level in both campaigns, you may choose to keep the pledges separate. You would choose this option if you want the rewards from one of the pledges to go to a friend. We expect that this will be a rare choice – most of you will prefer to “collapse” your pledges into a single larger pledge. Here’s an example of the BackerKit invitation page showing how to do that:

How to Combine Pledges on BackerKit How to Combine Pledges on BackerKit

If you choose the “collapse pledges” option, the extra funds from your pledge will be available to order add-ons or to move up to a higher reward level. If you can’t do that within the BackerKit interface, there will be a support option you can use to request a reward level change.

Please respond to the survey as soon as you receive it even if you answered our previous Hero-U survey in 2013. We plan to ship most of the add-ons in November to help backers who want to use them as Christmas gifts. We need accurate add-on numbers as soon as possible so that we can order the add-ons in time for November shipment.

Programming – The Combat System

Joshua continues to improve the tactical combat system features. We now take account of movement in combat including tactical retreat (also known as “bravely run away!”) Al has improved the combat animation and added more attack and defensive moves and reactions.

Here’s how the tactical combat grid looks in the debugger – the color-coded “pegs” show where enemies are allowed to go, and which areas they try to avoid. The grid makes enemy movement look more realistic and causes some “emergent behavior” that helps make combat less predictable.

I also think the grid is really pretty – maybe we can make it into a different type of game someday. More importantly, it’s useful.

Combat and Movement Grid Example Combat and Movement Grid Example

Our other team programmers – Cidney, Jonathan, Robert, and Judy – are concentrating on improving the Composer game design tool, cleaning up the game interface, integrating 3D art and animation, and generally raising the quality of the game play and appearance. Every piece of the game needs to be “just so” as we continually refine and polish the game.

Art and Animation

One of the stretch goals in the recent Kickstarter was “improved animation”. Former Sierra animator Al Eufrasio is now working full-time at bringing the characters and monsters of Hero-U to life.

There’s more to it than meets the eye – for example, students with capes have had trouble sitting down because their capes like to float through the backs of chairs. Some looked disproportionately large when sitting, and some seemed to float in mid-air. All of them tended to slide out of the way if Shawn walked too close to them.

As with everything else in Hero-U, we’re trying to walk a tightrope with character animation – it needs to make the characters feel alive without breaking the budget or adding too much time to the schedule. When in doubt, we try to err on the side of “make it look better”.

Speaking of tightropes, Lori recently added a tightrope challenge back to the rogue practice area. This is a side-effect of reaching the Gog Temple stretch goal. Shawn needs to have good climbing skills for the Temple, which means we needed to add a way for him to practice them. It helped that we can rely on Al to animate climbing and walking the tightrope.

Our dynamic duo of background artists – John Paul Selwood and Aaron Martin – continue to amaze us with great concept pieces deftly converted to full 3D environments. JP is also creating dozens of single-frame images for transitions and exposition. These fill out the story without the need for complex custom animation sequences or movie “cut scenes”. For example, the alley scene after Shawn escapes from the “break-in house” tells the story in a single image better than any movie.

These are just a few of the thousands of details involved in making a graphical adventure game. In some ways, it’s easier than an animated film because we are not creating custom animation for every event of the game. In other ways, it’s harder – each animation sequence has to work throughout the game.

Catacombs Exit (detailed concept by JP Selwood) Catacombs Exit (detailed concept by JP Selwood)

Hero-U Project Update #73: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption by Corey and Lori Ann Cole

Amid some controversy and a lot of heart-warming support, we returned to Kickstarter for supplemental funding for Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. The project was successful, ensuring that we can finish the game without maxing out every credit card and life insurance policy loan.

Between overfunding of the campaign and some very generous backers on PayPal, we have also been able to restore some content to the game that we previously planned to cut. Hero-U will be a much better game as a result.

I’ve posted a full report to

Keeping in Touch

We will use these Kickstarter updates mostly for posts about fulfilling Kickstarter rewards, including information on how to access your backer account on BackerKit.

To keep up-to-date on game progress, please bookmark:

Thanks for sticking with us as we try to make a game worthy of a million-dollar Sierra budget with the crowdfunding dollars, our own resources, and a lot of hard work.

Hero-U Project Update #72: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption by the Quest for Glory designers

Down to the Wire

It’s our final day on the supplemental Hero-U Kickstarter campaign – 30 hours to go as I write this. The funding campaign ends Monday night (midnight PDT). The funding from this campaign will ensure we can complete Hero-U in style without going deeper into debt than the Marianas Trench.

We reached our $100,000 stretch goal on Saturday thanks to over 1600 dedicated backers. We’ve also passed the first two stretch goals – the Tower Garden and Improved Animation – and hope to reach several more in the final hours of the campaign. We are rapidly closing in on the $110,000 stretch goal – Better illustrated and more complex puzzles in the Sea Cave area.

Share the campaign with your friends so we can make Hero-U the best game possible. Every stretch goal dollar will be a big help in making Hero-U better.

Shawn Fights a Proach in the Combat Prototype Shawn Fights a Proach in the Combat Prototype

Combat in Hero-U

I’ve posted an article about the Hero-U combat system to

The Hero-U Skill System

I’ve explained the Stats and Skills system in Hero-U at

The Hero-U Development Team

I introduce the current team members along with shout-outs to key developers who had to leave the team in a post at

Further News

We hope you’ve enjoyed the more-frequent updates during the supplemental fund-raising campaign. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity of sharing more about the Hero-U game to our backers old and new.

We currently have backers from four sources – two Kickstarter campaigns, PayPal, and Humble Bundle – so it’s been a challenge to keep everyone informed. We will be using BackerKit to track all backers, and I think we’ll be able to use them to communicate with all of you in the future.

Thank you so much for supporting Hero-U! With our now-solid team, completed concepts, and the funding from the new campaign, we should be able to make rapid progress on the game. Our target is Beta testing late this year and release in early Spring (around March or April) of 2016.

Hero-U Project Update #71: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption by the Quest for Glory designers

Your Own Personal Story

Posted by Corey Cole


One of the things that makes adventure games special is the emphasis on story. You aren’t just running around solving puzzles, you’re participating in a shared-storytelling experience. Obviously story and characters are essential features of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.

Throughout the game, you will learn small threads of the story. How you put them together creates the tapestry that is your version of the story. Some sections may be incomplete until you play the game several times, because the way you play Shawn helps direct the story.

There are story threads as early in the game as the opening “break-in house” scene. Some of them are subtle, but designed to raise questions in the player’s mind. Clearly Shawn is special – how many young men do you suppose the Chief Thief pulls off the street and assigns to a special test with no training? Who is the man in the alleyway, and why does he care what happens to Shawn? Who has sponsored Shawn to attend Hero-U, an elite University that does not normally cater to street people?

A Bad Time to Babble

A Bad Time to Babble

Inside the break-in house, why are shamrocks a theme in a game set in the Mediterranean? What do you learn about Shawn by examining the piano or the globe? What is going on with that safe that looks specifically designed to thwart expert thieves? Why does Shawn think about his mother, but never mention his father?

The answers to those questions are intentionally ambiguous for several reasons. One is to set up later plot development. Another is point of view – in Rogue to Redemption, you play as Shawn, and he doesn’t know the whole story.

There is also the nature of “interactive fiction” – we can’t tell you the whole story at the beginning because we’re writing it together. Each decision you make in the game affects some part of the story and character development. It even helps create the style of the game.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Is Hero-U a suspense thriller in which danger lurks around every corner, and Shawn must keep on his toes to avoid disaster? It could be if you play it that way. The monsters are waiting.

Is Rogue to Redemption a coming-of-age story where a young man of modest means improves himself and “becomes somebody”? Yes, it is, to the degree you make it that story. Even the subtitle implies that, but the story doesn’t have to go that way if you choose otherwise.

Is Hero-U about the relationships between characters, possibly even a romance story? It can definitely be that if your focus in the game is talking with other characters and romancing one – or two or more – of them. Traditional romance or alternative relationships? Possibly – it’s up to you.


Is Hero-U a mystery story in which Shawn and the player consider many subtle clues and try to unravel the secrets of the past and the present? The clues are there – what you do with them is your choice.

Maybe Hero-U is a contest where you try to maximize Shawn’s attributes, skills, and wealth while winning the Rogue of the Year contest.

There are also stories (“character arcs”) for other characters besides Shawn, and you have some influence on them. Each character has a back-story, personality, goals, and challenges. Sometimes Shawn can help with one of those challenges and have an effect on the outcome of the character’s story in Hero-U. Examples? That would be telling. 🙂

Whatever your adventure or role-playing gaming style, we think you will find the experience of playing Hero-U fascinating and challenging. You’ll want to watch your friends play too, because each of you will have a different experience each time.

Beautiful and Free

There’s only so much I can fit into these updates. To learn more about Hero-U, and see some of the beautiful game art our team is creating, visit Lori’s “What’s New At Hero-U” blog at

Each day through the end of the Kickstarter campaign, we are giving away a new game art desktop background. Visit every day to get your free wallpaper, and check the older posts to learn more about Hero-U. Don’t forget to click on the Share buttons at the bottom of each post; we’re coming down to the wire and want everyone to know about Hero-U.

Dragon Over Half-Dome - Free Screensaver Art Dragon Over Half-Dome – Free Screensaver Art

I’ve added two new digital add-ons to the Kickstarter campaign – $20 for an additional copy of the game, and $5.89 to join the AGL 589 – The Adventurers’ Guild Local 589 created by our backers.

Shouting Across the Internet

We all want to see more games with great story and gameplay. That’s why I make a point of sharing other Kickstarter projects here, and why we all support each others’ campaigns. It’s really important for you to share Hero-U and other interesting games on Facebook, Twitter, reddit, and other sites. Talk about them in our comments, and about us in theirs (but be respectful in both cases!).

Tavern Scene Concept Art from The Bard's Tale Tavern Scene Concept Art from The Bard’s Tale

Brian Fargo and inXile Entertainment are currently running a major campaign for the Bard’s Tale IV. They are asking $1.25 million and have promised to add at least another $1.25 million from the company coffers to make a great game. Based on their first in-game trailer, the new game looks much more immersive (and beautiful) than the original Bard’s Tale games. I played the first one in the mid 1980’s even before I broke into the game industry. Support Bard’s Tale IV at

Ron Gilbert (@grumpygamer) and Brian Fargo (@brianfargo) recently tweeted about Hero-U and personally pledged to this Kickstarter. Thanks, Ron and Brian! I’ve mentioned Ron’s Thimbleweed Park ( as well as Brian’s Torment: Tides of Numenera ( in updates to our first Kickstarter.

Previous celebrity supporters have included Jane Jensen Holmes and Robert Holmes of Gabriel Knight and Moebius fame (; Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe of Space Quest and SpaceVenture (along with Chris Pope of SpaceVenture) (; Josh Mandel and Al Lowe of Freddy Pharkas and Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded (; and many others too numerous to name. We really appreciate the way game designers promote and support each other.

These aren’t just gaming celebrities – they’re good people who deserve respect and support. All of them care about making great games and are good at it. Keep an eye out for their upcoming games and buy a copy, or give them some support on their web sites. Making games is a very tough business, and support from our fans is one of the main things that makes it worthwhile.

Hero-U Project Update #70: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption by the Quest for Glory designers

Lori and I decided to try a voiceover “Let’s Play” of the Hero-U combat prototype demo. If you enjoy it, please Like and Share so that your friends can watch it. You can also try out the demo yourself at

I’ve now posted stretch goals to the main page of the new campaign – We’re about to hit $82,000 towards the $100,000 goal. One stretch goal is already locked in, and we’ll reach the next if $105,000 is pledged.

Talking About Conversation in Hero-U

A central feature of Hero-U is conversation with other characters. This is probably the feature that sets us most apart from other games.

Sure, there is dialogue in almost every game, but it is usually a filler. Dialogue helps to flesh out a character’s personality, but it’s often one-dimensional. Either you see the dialogue in a cutscene (in-game film clip) or you get the same dialogue over and over when you click on a character.

Hero-U treats dialogue as a simulation rather than fixed scripts or filler. Conversations with the same characters change constantly. This can happen because of what Shawn said to them previously, or because of his reputation with the character, or simply as the result of passing time.

There are still rules to dialogue – we aren’t up to the level of artificial intelligence in Ex Machina yet. When Shawn enters a scene for the first time in an event, it’s likely a character will greet him with the latest news. If the player clicks on that character, Shawn can start a relevant discussion.

The discussion topics change for every character on most days. If they’ve already talked with Shawn about something, that dialogue option will no longer appear.

Can I Interest You in an Almost New Lockpick?

For example, let’s say Shawn meets Joel Kayro outside the rogue class early in the game. After the initial greeting, Shawn has a few possible discussion topics:

  • Talk to Joel
  • Buy from Joel

Choosing Talk to Joel might lead to:

  • Ask about Joel
  • Ask about Tools
  • Ask about Information
  • Back
Talking With Joel Kyro

Talking With Joel Kyro

Those topics are available because Joel has just introduced himself, the class lecture was about rogue tools, and Joel has mentioned that he sometimes has useful information… for a price.

In this case, Joel’s priority is to sell tools to Shawn, so even if Shawn asks about Joel, he’ll get a sales pitch on Joel’s useful stock of equipment. Asking about Tools gives more detailed information about them.

As for actually buying the tools, some options will only appear if Shawn has enough money to afford them. In addition, Joel’s stock changes throughout the game as he begins to sell more expensive and valuable goods.

Let’s say Shawn Asks about Information. Joel knows that one of Shawn’s first unpleasant encounters was with Mr. Terk, Hero-U’s disciplinarian. So that topic might interest Shawn (and be valuable to the player). In classic “the first one is free” fashion, Joel doesn’t charge for that information. Later on, everything he reveals has a price.

Joel Warns Shawn About Curfew - The First Tip is Free

Joel Warns Shawn About Curfew – The First Tip is Free

Each time Shawn meets with Joel, they can have a different conversation. Nothing in dialogue is mandatory in terms of puzzle solutions, but sometimes characters give Shawn useful hints. More importantly, as in a film or a novel, dialogue is the heart of the story. By talking with other characters, Shawn learns about the University, the characters, local politics, and various mysteries.

Dialogue is also the key to building relationships. Most characters like it when you talk to them, especially if you talk about things that matter to them. Every time Shawn talks to a character, he has a chance to gain or lose reputation with that character or with others who may be listening. Shawn might also improve a character skill such as Charm, Smarts, or Moxie.

Dialogue Choices – Much More than Words

Creating the game dialogue for Hero-U is one of Lori’s major responsibilities. Besides writing tens of thousands of individual messages, she is using the power of our proprietary Composer scripting system to create dependencies.

Composer allows her to decide if game text is only available once, once per day, or repeatedly. She makes other dialogue dependent on previous game actions. For example, if Shawn and his roommate Aeolus are discussing Sophia, the receptionist, it makes a difference whether Shawn has met Sophia and talked to her.

This is handled by “script tags”. When Shawn talks to Sophia in the reception area, the dialogue script sets a tag. Some of the conversations with Aeolus in the dorm later only appear if Shawn has talked to Sophia first. Here is one of many possible paths through that dialogue. On the next day, the conversation will be different, but may refer back to the choices made in today’s conversation.

You will not be able to go through every dialogue option in one playthrough of Hero-U. Subtle differences in conversational choices and meeting other characters affect the available choices. This gives a different mood to similar conversations across multiple playthroughs.

It’s hard to convey just how many dialogue scripts Lori is creating for Hero-U, and the degree of complexity of each one. When you play the game, you will follow the path you choose through the dialogue, seeing just a fraction of the available possibilities. Each path will be part of a satisfying story involving Shawn and the other characters. The next time you play, you will likely see different conversations.

Keep on Talking

Please share this update on Twitter, reddit, Facebook, Google+, and other social media. The more people who learn about Hero-U, the better we will be able to fine-tune and improve the conversation systems and individual dialogue choices.