September 30, 2012 in Questions and Answers, Support
If you have questions about Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption, the Kickstarter campaign, or the forums, please post here.
Nimrod Dweck said on September 30, 2012
So, how can we help?
Got any web banners to share, a press release we can send to blogs and websites in our area?
James (StarRunner) Rolls said on September 30, 2012
Absolutely! As for banners, I suggest saving the pictures from the facebook page: http://m.facebook.com/TheSchoolForHeroes?id=147287895409772&_rdr#!/TheSchoolForHeroes?v=photos&__user=1095786461
There are also several news blogs and such talking of Hero-U. Corey has an article talking of various other blogs that have had interviews and such here: http://www.hero-u.net/leaders/27/
I hope that helps!
Wayland Phillips said on October 1, 2012
Anything else other than just distributing info to help?
James (StarRunner) Rolls said on October 1, 2012
There will be other activities and possibly contests later when the kickstarter starts.
Roger said on October 1, 2012
Shall we have an “Off-topic”-section? Right now I guess everything non-Hero-U related goes into “Uncategorized”
Yeah, use ‘Uncategorized’ for now. I’ll see about adding an off-topic section later today.
Joseph-Howse said on October 3, 2012
What platforms will Hero-U target?
Can you tell us more about the gameplay? (Are there classic adventure elements?)
I’m thinking about what audience we’re trying to reach when promoting the game.
Corey said on October 7, 2012
We’ll definitely support Windows and 90% certain Macintosh. Other platforms will depend on which stretch goals we hit. They’re relatively easy since we’re using Unity, but we won’t take budget away from development to support less-popular platforms. Assuming we can afford the testing and customization time, additional platforms will likely include iPad, Linux, then iPhone, and finally selected Android devices. (They’re all slightly different, so testing becomes an issue.)
Joseph-Howse said on October 17, 2012
If “selected Android devices” included Ouya, that might be particularly enticing to the Kickstarter community.
We’re pushing this as an RPG with additional story and puzzles. It will feel like an adventure game in some ways, but it won’t have pixel-hunting type puzzles or Sierra/Lucas style walking around a pseudo-3D environment. Movement is on a tile map with large tiles so the player can easily see what’s in the area (hopefully even on phones, but they will be tough to support well).
There will be a lot of dialogue, and it’s important to the story as well as to gaining dungeon-delving skills.
Also, does it use any off-the-shelf game engine? If so, promoting the game back to the engine’s developer community might help get the word out.
Corey said on October 3, 2012
@Joseph: PC for sure, Mac 90% sure. Other platforms depending on how much we raise on Kickstarter.
We’re using Unity, so relatively easy to port, but each platform requires testing time and UI customization.
The gameplay involves moving around on a 2D top-down tile interface and interacting with people, monsters, and objects. There will be some physical puzzles, some skill-based puzzles, and a lot of story and conversation. You’ll improve your skills through “lectures”, “exams”, and practice. Once Gerhard thinks you’re ready, you may take “electives”, which are similar to talent builds in WoW or learning skills in D&D. For combat, we’re using an Action Point system, so you can do one major action, two small actions, a small action and movement, or just movement.
There will be quests and some “closeup screens”, but we see the latter more as backdrops for conversation than as interactable adventure game screens. We might make them more interactive if we raise a lot more than we expect.
Sameer said on October 9, 2012
1) Will you consider adding voice acting to the stretch goals? Or am I getting too ahead of myself?
2) How non-linear (and replayable) will the game be? Can we expect the same open-world feel and degree of freedom seen in the QfG games? I know Lori has touched upon having a named main character (and how this allows for a more scripted experience), but will this impact the sense of exploration?
I’m not sure if you can answer these questions at this stage in development; if not, maybe you will keep them in mind for when the KS launches?
Corey said on October 9, 2012
This should have been at the top level – very important post! Questions like these help Lori and me refine our thoughts on the game and may affect design.
1. Easy answer – “Yes”. Currently I have voice acting as the 2nd stretch goal at $700K budget. The first stretch goal at $550K is “add devices” – support for iPod, Linux, and cell phones – but it is really “The developers get to eat something other than beans and ramen noodles occasionally.” Every stretch goal will add additional content – more locations, art, etc.
2. As originally conceived, the game would have been less replayable than Quest for Glory. However, as the budget expands, we will have the freedom to add more story lines with supporting art, music, and code. Today Lori talked about a possible ending in which you get to confront ***** with no friends or support. If you win – which will be hellishly difficult – you will become the **** of the *****. I’m thinking of this as “Nightmare Mode”, and it will give an entirely different feel to the whole game. Oh, look, somehow the details of that got censored, darn.
Anyway, yes, we want to have a lot of variations on game play, enough so that it will be worth restarting the game and playing it a different way to find out what can happen. Will it be worth 4 or 5 or more replays in the same year? That’s hard to say, but probably not. I think you’ll want to go on to the second game by then. But we hope we will make a game people will want to come back to in a few years as many do with Quest for Glory.
Joseph-Howse said on October 10, 2012
Are you already working with the Unity 4 beta?
I ask because Linux is not yet supported by Unity. “Preview” support for Ubuntu will be in Unity 4. Thus, it might not be possible to do a stable release for Linux on the same timeline as for other platforms.
Bradley Macomber said on October 10, 2012
Do Linuxers really use Linux as a gamering platform? And if so, on which distros is this more likely to occur? It seems impractical for Unity to support Linux with so many variations to deal with.
Corey said on October 10, 2012
Since actual release of the game is quite a few months away, and Unity has promised Linux support, I expect it will be there in plenty of time. The only real issue will be testing, and if we reach the stretch goal, we will be able to budget that in.
@Bradley Unity is promising “official” support for Ubuntu 10.04+ with vendor-made graphics drivers (i.e. not the reverse-engineered open-source graphics drivers). Reportedly, some games such as Braid and Humble Indie Game Bundle have sold well in the Ubuntu Software Center. I don’t know whether any other distros also provide easy ways to monetize applications.
James (StarRunner) Rolls said on October 10, 2012
Become king of the moose? Wow, what an awesome title! ;3
Sameer said on October 12, 2012
Thanks for the reply Corey! I’m glad that VO (and keeping the team well nourished – very important!) is part of campaign.
Also, it’s fantastic to hear you and Lori are considering various potential outcomes/experiences for the player. One of my favorite features of computer gaming is when the devs make me go, “Hmm, I wonder what would’ve happened if I *hadn’t* done that” or “Hmm, what if I had done *that* before doing *this*.” Even if the difference just equates to a variation in dialog, it’s the feeling that the gameworld is adapting to our actions that makes me go, “Wow, this is awesome!”
Good thing those names got censored btw! Wouldn’t want any spoilers now!
Jen said on October 21, 2012
I’ve done some VO casting for games, so if there’s anything I can do to help on that front, please let me know.
James (StarRunner) Rolls said on October 21, 2012
Oh really? Anything I would know? I think the projects I VO’d in are a little obsure, but I had just been volunteering to help friends.
Roger said on October 3, 2012
How much of the reward tiers are done so far? Will physical copy of the game be one of them?
Good timing on that question! I worked on the reward tiers tonight.
Absolutely there is a reward tier for a boxed copy of the game. In addition, I think there will be a “premium boxed game” tier with additional enclosures and a unique box cover that will *only* be available to Kickstarter supporters at that level or higher. I have an idea of the price for every tier, but that isn’t 100% locked down yet.
The goal on tier pricing is to make sure that most of the contribution goes to making the game better, but that we also provide good value to the supporter. Partially this is being done by special in-game rewards, the unique box art, autographed copies, etc. We want to increase the value of the rewards while keeping our costs for them reasonable. Nobody wants us to put all of the funding into reward costs, after all!
Sounds really good! Yes, it must be a big challenge to make the reward tiers as attractive to backers as possible, while still not being to expensive. In-game stuff are great I think
Bradley Macomber said on October 17, 2012
I didn’t notice this before, but the Two Guys’ Kickstarter page shows the number of supporters for each tier, and the breakdown is pretty interesting.
You probably have this all planned out by now, but I thought this evidence should be taken into consideration.
Corey said on October 17, 2012
What specifically did you learn from Two Guys? I thought they had somewhat confusing tiers that didn’t seem to add much in the way of rewards. I would appreciate any other insight.
I’ve looked at the reward structures for most of the major games on Kickstarter and tuned ours accordingly. Key tiers include $20 for a digital copy of the game and $75 for for a boxed copy. There are several other digital tiers at $35, $50, and $100, and additional physical tiers at $150 and up. We plan to add a Halloween tier at $125, hopefully convincing some people at lower tiers to upgrade.
We’re trying to keep the number of tiers small initially to avoid confusion, but we have some special promotional tiers planned to help boost support later in the campaign.
Bradley Macomber said on October 18, 2012
Oh, what I meant was that it’s interesting that the tiers aren’t populated in a… uh… a “Towers of Hanoi” fashion. Which suggests that some of those lower tiers are irrelevant, so I think you’re right that you don’t need as many. And more importantly, you could infer which rewards are considered a better value.
Corey said on October 18, 2012
I think it was Seth Godin who pointed out that Kickstarter project supporters are really smart. They will look through the available tiers and find the best values. Although people are there to support the project, they also want to feel they’re receiving good value. If two tiers are similar, people will almost always pick the best one.
They may also feel bad if they “missed out on a deal”, which is one reason why early-bird specials may hurt more than they help.
Amanda said on October 19, 2012
I learned from Quest for Infamy, though that isn’t what you asked, never to offer a late-bird special: don’t announce something extra midway through the campaign, only available to new backers, and also don’t announce special prizes for people who add X amount to their pledge. It infuriates people who have already contributed what they can. People withdrew their funding from QFI for this, although he fixed it when he heard all the complaints. I would imagine most of those people came back later, but I can’t say for sure.
Sameer said on October 19, 2012
Hi Amanda, I think you make some very interesting points! I didn’t follow the Quest for Infamy campaign too closely, but I can see why the changes you described would have rubbed some pledgers the wrong way. I wasn’t even aware that “late bird specials” existed, but I guess what Corey said about “early bird specials” applies to them as well. I believe the team’s planning on adding an extra tier or two later on (Corey mentioned a Halloween special in some interviews), but hopefully it won’t be too limited in number or exclusive to new backers.
Bradley Macomber said on October 19, 2012
This reminds me of the [mildly retarded] complaints earlier customers make on the iPhone App Store when devs change the price of their game from $5 to $2. If this is going to be part of your sales strategy, you’ll have to expect some people to get pissy about it. And maybe Kickstarter’s not a good place for that risk…
I agree with you: I don’t see the issue with dropping prices in the App Store. I liken it to buying something at Best Buy; prices are naturally going to drop over time as demand goes down and sales start to slow. I don’t think the same reasoning applies to Kickstarter though.
Oh also, here’s something I did learn from the Guys from Andromeda: don’t release a playable “demo” that was written in html5 and only runs in Chrome. This also infuriates people.
That’s a relief. I was afraid I was the only one who thought HTML5 was a lame gamering platform. The motives their programmer gave for using it totally didn’t make any sense.
Mr. Card game (a Munchkin-like game set in the world of Kingdom of Loathing) was just successfully funded at 10x the amount asked. They kept adding new stretch goals that would result in more stuff being included in the game for anyone backing, and even had some polls along the way to ask backers if they’d rather see A or B included as the new reward. It was a smart way for anyone backing to feel included in the process, and I think it helped them avoid including incentives that no one was interested in.
Bradley Macomber said on October 29, 2012
I made myself a breakdown of the reward tiers:
Call me obsessed if you like, heh. Anyway, (1) did I miss anything? And (2) do you not want the info posted in this format (for any reason)?
James (StarRunner) Rolls said on October 29, 2012
Ok, you’re obsessed, but it’s great!
I’m thinking about what should be included (or linked to) in a press release package. What’s the availability of:
– trailer video;
– playable (ideally Web-playable) demo?
Joseph-Austin said on October 3, 2012
Demos are hard for a pre-alpha product, even though unity deploys to the web i do believe. Prototype screenshots are very exciting to see, though. The visual style is something a lot of fans want a peek of
Corey said on October 4, 2012
We are just now getting some of that together. You have to remember that everyone is working on their own time and dime currently. It’s a Catch-22, since obviously a Kickstarter campaign is likely to be more successful if you can show more… but if we could show it all, we wouldn’t need Kickstarter funding.
Lori and I are working on the trailer video. We only have the half-gigabyte version so far, so not easy to share. There are no screenshots yet (although MacGuffin’s Curse is close to the right look). Eriq is polishing some concept art we’ll be sharing with media.
Joseph-Austin said on October 4, 2012
“if we could show it all, we wouldn’t need Kickstarter funding.”
That’s why I am sometimes a little worried when I spot a KS campaign that has polished gameplay videos. Sometimes I think it gets used to enhance profits, not just to make funding possible. But I guess that tactic is inevitable.
Looking forward to the trailer
Joseph-Howse said on October 4, 2012
Sounds good. A friend in the game industry suggests sending/posting press releases to the following sites (some of which, I know, are obvious):
Alan Luckachina said on October 8, 2012
I plan to start an enthusastic posting campaigne to various sites & forums once the kickstarter vid is released But I’ve been getting a bunch of people primed and excited on facebook!
Wayland Phillips said on October 8, 2012
Heh. I’ve been just telling several people I grew up with. And the best part is I’ll pull up the link on my phone with one of the images and everyone’s gone, “Oh! I already heard about that!” Which I take as a good sign.
Indeed! And like I told Lori on FB last night In no time my facebook page will become “Hero U updates central!”
I had friends ask me “If I donate will you stop posting about that Space Quest kickstarter so much?” To which I said “No, but thanks for complimenting my good job!” haha
Wayland Phillips said on October 5, 2012
He might be a little young to remember the Quest for Glory series, but day9 (http://day9.tv/) has a huge following on his daily video Starcraft 2 podcasts, I know at release he’s done many video play-a-thons of other games for indy developers. You might want to see if he can do some pimpage of the kickstarter for a decent boost.
Oh and I did some pimpage on my Feral Druid blog, the first post I’d made in over a year.
Sameer said on October 14, 2012
Something else that just popped into my mind: does the team plan on posting production updates for KS supporters? I’m thinking weekly or monthly art updates, designer diaries, sound clips, and the like, just to give us something more immediate to look forward to (fall 2013 seems so far away haha)….
Bradley Macomber said on October 14, 2012
Being allowed to beta-test would be very enticing…
Also the availability of a box is important to me, for what it’s worth.
Corey said on October 14, 2012
Certainly we will be posting updates! We also want to get each team lead (at least) to occasionally post about their part of the process. Eriq Chang has mentioned he’s eager to talk about the art process.
I don’t know about the specific schedule. Possibly every two weeks. The idea is to communicate without severely impacting development time. It sometimes takes me a couple of days to write and edit a Quest Log Blog. On the other hand, writing about a topic helps clarify it in the developer’s mind, and helps get everyone else on the same page, so those are good things.
Alistair-Gillett said on October 14, 2012
As the Kickstarter comes up on the horizon, should we gather the fans and do what we did with the SpaceVenture Kickstarter, and get a Google hangout, or Justin.tv chat with L/C and IRC chatroom, or just IRC chat, or something? Get people asking questions and pumped and interested.
Corey said on October 15, 2012
Those sound like great ideas. Do you know anything about setting them up? My econ class did google hangouts and the instructor was only able to get a few students in on it.
Joseph-Austin said on October 15, 2012
I don’t know much about that but I know that Reddit AMAs can be very useful, especially if they get some notice before they launch. Play-throughs of the creators’ previous games also seem to gather people sometimes.
Alan Luckachina said on October 15, 2012
I plan on writing a series of articles, doing a few youtube videos, getting friends involved to help spread the word, in addition to commenting on progress as I catch wind of it on articles related to the kickstarter that I catch wind of around the cyber world!
An AMA and especially a Google Hangout playthrough of the series would be great! Especially if you and/or Lori were able to pop in and share tidbits and anecdotes. Scott had some very hilariously surprising insights during his appearance at the Space Quest Hangout
Amanda said on October 17, 2012
The Two Guys’ AMA got them a lot of attention from people who were totally unaware of the KS before then. The Two Guys did not have did not have very good press coverage prior to the AMA, though, and it seems like the Coles won’t have that problem.
I think the justin.tv events in which the Two Guys commented on slideshows and playthrough sequences from the Space Quest games were AWESOME and also useful. The events themselves likely didn’t bring in tons of people, but they brought all of us together, which I think helped drive us to go out and promote. The high level of activity on the SpaceVenture comments section was invaluable in my opinion, and the justin.tv events were part of what kept people coming back. If it weren’t for them (and the frequent updates by the Two Guys, which other people HATED), I probably would have dropped in my $30 and then not worried too much about it. But because I felt like I was part of something there, I visited regularly, I increased my pledge massively as time went by (as did many others), and I got involved in promoting the KS in places like reddit and twitter.
Draven said on October 17, 2012
Wait, so I’m a little confused. Basically, this game sounds like the original Fallout (in the sense of a tile based RPG with dialogue choices) with some additional puzzles added to the design and stuff like that. Is that an accurate comparison? Or, am I totally off-base?
Side Note: While I’ll admit that I’m slightly disappointed that it’s not going to be more like Quest for Glory, I still have to thank you for making what I consider to be the greatest gaming series of all time. Those games were pure magic!
Think of it as “the Fallout look” with all the scope of story, dialogue, and game play of Quest for Glory – more if we get enough support to extend the project and add additional content. QG4 cost close to $1M to make, and QG5 over $4M. We aren’t willing to go on Kickstarter and ask for $1.2M (which would leave us an $800K project budget) so that we can make another game that looks like Quest for Glory 4.
Instead, Hero-U will have equally rich game play in a simpler, less expensive to develop, graphic environment. We think the game will play just as well, but we’ll leave more imagination up to the player as far as backgrounds and some of the animation. This is not to say Hero-U won’t be a beautiful game. Our artists are already giving us some amazing work. But the art and programming both become simpler by using the tiled environment.
Look at some screenshots of MacGuffin’s Curse to get a general idea of how the backgrounds might look.
Sameer said on October 17, 2012
Draven, here is the official website where you can check out screenshots and a trailer: http://www.brawsome.com.au/macguffinscurse/
Hmm, I wonder if the on-screen characters will look similiar to MacGuffin’s Curse as well, or if they’ll have a more isometric feel (ala Fallout, Diablo)…
Draven said on October 18, 2012
Oh, awesome! Thanks for the help, I can’t wait for the Kickstarter! My whole family is actually looking forward to this game.
What time does the Kickstarter launch?
12:30 am PST, less than four hours away!
James (StarRunner) Rolls said on October 19, 2012
About the same time I’ll fall asleep then.
I’m on the edge of my seat!
Chris said on October 19, 2012
How customisable (gender, clothes, skills that enable/disable certain quest paths as in the QfG games) will the protagonist be?
Corey said on October 19, 2012
Hi Chris. Equipment and likely clothing will be customizable. We need to do a lot of art experiments to see how much of the customization will be visible other than on the character “paper doll” interface. There will be more equipment choices and upgrades than in QfG.
Skill choice will definitely affect game play and some of the story paths. For example, if you study botany, you can use it to acquire materials for potions and poisons. If you study anatomy, it will improve your combat. We plan to make different “electives” fit different players’ play styles.
AztecMonkeyGod said on October 19, 2012
Since the rogue is our first protagonist, will we see a return of Dag-Nab-It?
Captain Salamander said on October 25, 2012
Are there any chances of meeting someone from Quest for Glory games in Hero-U? Maybe not characters like Shakra or Saleem or FA, but at least some of the races we know and love, like the Katta, or Liontaurs, or the ever-lovable Antwerps? Or Quest for Glory-style Paladins? Or maybe the dreaded Pizza Elemental!
Corey said on October 25, 2012
Well, you’ll certainly meet a few Hero-U-style Paladins. They’re a bit different from QfG Paladins, as they’re still in training and might not yet be quite such paragons as the ones with which you’re familiar. We probably won’t have Antwerps – They were too unique to Quest for Glory. Other races, certainly, and of course new strange (and sometimes even silly) creatures. FA will have a presence in an altered form, as he’s the head of the School for Heroes that we’re upgrading to a University.
Bombermans said on October 31, 2012
Will the game have dead ends?
i absolutely HATE them. They’re not a feature, they are BAD DESIGN. T_T A game must be funny and it’s not funny having to reload your first savegame because you dind’t save a rat from a cat…
Corey said on October 31, 2012
You are totally correct! Dead ends and bad puzzles are the bane of adventure games. We try never to have them.
blackberry-chan said on November 2, 2012
“A Romance where You choose who you want for a friend and maybe even a lover,” says the main page, and that sounds great. The question I have, though, is whether I’ll be able to choose a same-sex lover.
Corey said on November 3, 2012
If you’re willing to put in the effort to make the relationship work, then yes. It won’t be easy.
blackberry-chan said on November 3, 2012
In that case, I am ON BOARD. Let me go email everyone I know
Chris said on November 13, 2012
Since Hero-U is set in Silmaria and the meeps have been featured in art about the website, would it be a safe assumption there may be some Cameos in store from former QFG characters?
Corey said on November 13, 2012
Definitely not “safe”. It could be dangerous for us to advertise appearances of characters from a game to which someone else holds the copyright.
That’s advertising… Having them in cameos, particularly in parody, is fair usage and we do it all the time with other sources. Draw your own conclusions.
Daire said on November 20, 2012
Any chance of getting the copyright in the future similar to Shadowgate?
Corey said on November 20, 2012
It’s possible, but the price would probably be too high for us. Activision is used to high-budget productions, and would likely expect a very high licensing fee. But we will contact them at some point. It took more than two months to get an answer to, “Can we get a discount from gog.com on the QfG 1-5 collection so that we can offer them as Kickstarter premiums for Hero-U?” And the eventual answer was, “No.”
Roger said on November 20, 2012
I’m not a business man but wouldn’t Activision make more money by lending you the IP so games could be made and sold, rather then just sitting on the IP and not do anything with it?
JanusForbeare said on November 22, 2012
Wow, I’m sorry that I only found out about this project recently, I would have liked to contribute to your KS campaign. That said…
Will you be holding auditions for voice actors? I’ve been cracking my way into that industry and would (as a huge fan of your earlier work) would love to be considered for your newest project.
By the way, I found a blackbird on my balcony. Come to think of it, there was one in Silmaria, too. And Mordavia. And Spielburg…
Corey said on November 22, 2012
Janus – You’ll be able to help towards stretch goals on the Hero-U web site once we get the PayPal store up (www.hero-u.net/KS-store).
James (StarRunner) Rolls said on November 22, 2012
Hey Janus! Let me expound on what Corey said. Even though the kickstarter is over, people will still be able to help contribute with PayPal. You may even be able to get a fuzzy meep toy!
Among the stretch goals which have not been reached yet is voice acting. So yes, there will be voice acting IF more money is raised. I myself am really interested in that goal myself since I too want to audition as well. I also have been doing more and more to get in the industry. I’m actually developing a project that VA talent (and mentor) Deb Munro will voice along with me.
JanusForbeare said on November 23, 2012
Great news on both counts! I’ll keep my eyes (and my wallet) open, in hopes that the stretch goals are reached!
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