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Official Updates and Announcements

Update 85: Risk and Reward

Update 85: Risk and Reward

Postby Corey » Sat Nov 12, 2016 3:35 pm

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption project update Nov. 2016

Beyond Random

I learned a lesson in improbability many years ago while playing Risk. My 12 armies were about to eliminate a player’s last two defenders. When the dust cleared multiple dice rolls later, my lone remaining army stared helplessly at the remaining single defender.

The lesson – high probability is not the same thing as certainty, and low probability is not the same thing as guaranteed failure. We all watched those lessons hammered home in last Tuesday’s U.S. Presidential election, and before that with the Brexit vote.

It’s an important lesson for game designers – there is no such thing as a 90% chance in a one-time puzzle. That puzzle is really a 100% chance for 90% of the players, and a 0% chance for the other 10%. If you want players to solve the puzzle, make it 100% solvable, or allow players to try multiple times until they solve it.

Lockpicking in Hero-U works that way – you might encounter a lock Shawn can’t open, but he’ll get a little practice attempting it. After enough practice and study, and a more advanced toolkit, Shawn can come back and open the lock. Trap disarming involves both Shawn’s skill and the player’s, but every trap can be disarmed with practice and cleverness.

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Risky Business

Risk and Reward applies to other aspects of games as well. Backing a Kickstarter project is risky because any project could fail or turn out to be a mediocre game. The hoped-for reward isn’t actually the game itself – it’s helping to make that game become a reality.

From the developers’ viewpoint, the risks are immense. Crowdfunding rarely provides the full budget for a game, so the developer has a monetary risk. They are also committing years of their lives to making the game and other rewards for backers. If the game sells well, they’ll be rewarded. If it fails, all that time and money is gone. However, we’ll have made a game – or hopefully several – of which we can be proud, and that’s its own reward.

Then there are the unforeseen risks, and occasionally rewards. Turnover has been a schedule – and sometimes momentum – killer for us. Thirty people have contributed to the project to date, ten of whom are currently working actively on Hero-U. With our limited budget and distant communications, I don’t know how we could have done much better in that area.

The rewards have come from some amazing team members making terrific contributions to the project. JP Selwood has been with us from the beginning, and his portraits and backgrounds are a beautiful and essential fabric for the game. Our New Zealand contingent of Joshua Smyth and Adam Thompson have added a lot of programming muscle and creativity to the project in the later phases. Finding the right team has been our biggest challenge in making Hero-U.

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Project Status

Several team members have had personal and family challenges recently, but we’re working through them. I’m shooting for “feature complete” and alpha testing in January, with Beta testing in February or early March and release 2nd quarter 2017. It’s been a long, stressful journey, but the end is in sight.

After release, we’ll be very busy for several months. First we’ll fulfill the rest of the physical rewards that depend on the game - the boxed games, art book, and canvas prints. Then we’ll visit our super-backer in Germany and make some publicity stops in Europe. Meanwhile, the team will continue to fix any problems reported by players, and we’ll investigate porting Hero-U to other devices such as tablets.
Then we’ll move on to Hero-U 2. We hope to see you on Wizard’s Way!

Sending them Softly

The “soft goods” are ready to roll. I ordered the Hero-Unicorn caps and “All Kinds of Heroes” t-shirts last month, but a family situation delayed shipping them. I plan to get them out by the end of November.

If your reward tier included a t-shirt, cap, or meep toy, or if you ordered any of those as an add-on in the 2nd (2015) campaign, please visit BackerKit and make sure your address is up to date. Visit https://hero-u-adventure-role-playing-game.backerkit.com to verify your rewards and contact information.

References

For more on the surprising frequency of unlikely events, read:
The Improbability Principle, by David J. Hand, or The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

I haven't been keeping up with recent Kickstarter adventure and role-playing games, so instead let me give a shout out to Serena Nelson's Cliqist site - http://cliqist.com/. Her team does a great job of covering relevant game projects.

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Corey
 
Posts: 371
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:24 pm

Re: Update 85: Risk and Reward

Postby Owl » Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:03 pm

Corey wrote:Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption project update Nov. 2016

Beyond Random

Then we’ll move on to Hero-U 2.


The thought of a Hero-U 2 game is so exciting. :D
Owl
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:58 pm

Re: Update 85: Risk and Reward

Postby Corey » Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:15 am

Owl wrote:The thought of a Hero-U 2 game is so exciting. :D


Exciting and terrifying. :-) Hero-U 1 has taken so much more time and money than we thought it would... apparently because we carefully blanked out all the memories of the stress of making games at Sierra. :-)
Corey
 
Posts: 371
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:24 pm

Re: Update 85: Risk and Reward

Postby Lasse » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:51 am

Can imagine alo not having a big established developer/publisher like Sierra with its resources behind you and having so much personal investment in it making the whole development process way more stressful.

I appreciate what you are doing. Making games is time consuming and having a small independent team like yours making such an ambitious game that it's no wonder it's taking a while.

Talking about puzzles I always liked that there tended to be several ways to solve a fair amount of the puzzles in the QfG series, made it feel so much more dynamic than the average adventure games. Perhaps it's that RPG school of thinking? :) I would like to see more people do something similar with adventure games.

Anyway, looking forward to Hero U a lot.
Lasse
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:33 pm


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