Heroes game


Why and How Did We Create the Second Edition of Heroes?

Why did we develop the second edition of Heroes? What was lacking with the first version? How was the development process?

In this article, we will discuss:

  • The first version of Heroes, what inspired it, how it was developed, and how it turned out
  • The second edition, why and how it was created, and what new features it ended up with
  • What to expect from Heroes in the future

Let’s Begin With the First Version of Heroes

Why was it created?

As discussed in other blogs, Sam Neves was the creator of Heroes. He is the current associate director of communications for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

3 things inspired him to create the game, enumerated as follows:

1) The ever-growing industry of gaming

Heroes: Game console
Photo credit: Canva

The gaming industry is a big market. It continues to grow as gamers all around the globe increase.

In fact, video games have been a “billion-dollar business…for many years,” according to Statista, an online statistics portal.

Because of this, Sam saw a great opportunity to “talk about the greatest Hero of all time.” He wanted to communicate it in “the language that gamers would engage with and understand.”

Also, he knew he had to create a game “because everybody was playing games.”

2) Christ’s gospel commission for the world

Heroes: Reading a Bible encyclopedia
Photo credit: Pexels

Mark 16:15 (ESV) says, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

This gospel commission was given by Jesus to His disciples before He ascended back to heaven from earth. And as their descendants, we have a share in this divine responsibility.

In connection, 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (ESV) mentions, “I have become all things to all people that by all means, I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel that I may share with them in its blessings.”

Because of this, Sam realized that “the gospel needed to be in a game” to connect people with the Bible.

3) The concept of identity by Steve Jobs

Heroes: Steve Jobs
Photo credit: Help Scout

Would you believe that Steve Jobs was one of Sam’s inspirations as well? How and why?

Returning to Apple after having been kicked out, Steve described the company as one “without identity. We are 2,000 employees making computers without knowing why we are making computers.”

Upon hearing that statement, Sam realized that the Adventist Church also “failed to pass on a clear identity to new generations.”

But after creating a successful campaign, Steve affirmed that “instilling identity is easy. You just have to remind people of who their heroes are.”

It had such a strong impact on Sam enough to realize that he had a big responsibility. That is, to “remind this generation of who the real heroes are.”

The first few people who started it

Would you believe only 4 people and 1 organization started Heroes?

Heroes: Sam Neves, Arnaldo Oliveria, Jader Feijo, and Julio Flores

They were the following:

  • Sam Neves – mastermind of the game
  • Arnaldo Oliveira – project manager to oversee the game development, marketing, and all other operations
  • Julio Flores – main developer responsible for coding the visual elements and programming the features of the game
  • Jader Feijo – solutions architect in charge of figuring out which technologies can make the game work and bring it to life
  • F4D Media – a team of artists working on the graphics and animation of the game

How did they work together?

Heroes: Employees collaborating
Photo credit: Canva

The team gathered in London to begin formulating trivia questions. Though it wasn’t easy juggling their time between Heroes and their respective jobs, they pushed through with it.

Meanwhile, Sam drew what the characters, features, and screen should look like in the game. Then, he collaborated with the graphic designer and artists to design and animate them.

After which, he worked with Julio and Jader on playability. Aside from having stunning graphics, animation, and effects, the game also had to be fun and easy to play.

But it wasn’t easy. “You imagine it [was] going to be fun” and “you [would] try to prototype it. But until you [could] see it, you [wouldn’t] know…,” Sam admitted.

Testing the game for the first time, he got bored playing. So, the team had to revise everything, test the improvement, revise it again if needed, and test the results. And the cycle repeated until the game was enjoyable enough to play.

What was the result?

Heroes: Handshaking
Photo credit: Pexels

With the help of more people from other countries, the team released the first version of Heroes in 2013. It was called “Heroes: The Game.”

It was “a great success,” Sam confirmed. “It had more than 10 million minutes played across the globe in eight different languages.” Significantly, it became “a pioneer game that opened the doors to many other Adventist games.”

Arnaldo found it “rewarding to see a project being born that was very relevant at the time.” He called it a “miracle” seeing its success despite the difficulty of gathering volunteers from different places.

Given this success, why was there a need to create the second edition in the first place? That’s what we’re going to tackle next.

Moving on to the Second Edition

What pushed the team to create this?

1) The first version was missing a very important element.

Seeing the success of the first version, Sam asked Marketing Director Jefferson Nascimento what he thought about the game.

Jefferson replied, “I like it! It’s unique. It’s the first one…It’s amazing that you [came] up with this project. But I have some [suggestions] if you don’t mind.”

While the characters, comic-style gameplay, and questions were amazing, it was missing an element of storytelling—the sense of journey or adventure that would excite the player.

Trying it himself, he confessed, “I could answer [the questions]. But after 6 seconds, if [I weren’t] good enough, I [couldn’t] play. I [wasn’t] engaged…”

So, what features did they include in the second edition? Keep reading.

2) A Google search survey inspired the team with a brilliant idea.

3 years after the first release, various Adventist ministries commissioned a study. They looked for the most-searched-for terms on Google related to the Bible.

They found over 250,000 worldwide searches for the terms ”Bible trivia,” “Bible games,” and “Bible quizzes” every 30 days. And among these three, Sam discovered that it is “Bible trivia” that people have been searching for the most.

Consequently, the team envisioned bringing Heroes to the next level. In fact, they dreamed that the second edition would be the “best Bible trivia game ever.”

They wanted to “help every player further understand the Bible [and] find freedom, healing, and hope in Jesus,” Sam explained.

Expanding the workforce

Heroes: Networking of people
Photo credit: Canva

The team grew into hundreds of volunteers coming from different countries, leading to this organizational structure:

  • Art Department – artists, designers, animators, modelers, musicians, and others responsible for bringing life to the characters, effects, and the like
  • Engineering Department – developers, coders, architects, engineers, and other people working on the technical aspect
  • Marketing Department – writers, translators, ambassadors, and others marketing the game with news channels, social media sites, radio stations, and so on
  • Evangelism Department – team working on the Bible study course, prayer support, and other evangelistic features of the game

Improving the game

On the art side

Heroes: Writing on tablet
Photo credit: Canva

The work for the second edition began by redesigning the Bible characters. From 2-dimensional drawings, these characters evolved into 3-dimensional figures with more muscular body build and more colorful dresses.

The designers also transformed the comic-style graphics into a quiz type with elegant, colorful templates.

Alongside, the team worked on recording the sound effects and anthem music of the game. For this, they collaborated with the FILMharmonic Orchestra through the leadership of Williams Costa, Jr., Clayton Nunes, and Peter Pycha.

If you’ve tried playing the game, you could attest to how uplifting the theme song and engaging the sound effects are.

In the engineering aspect

Heroes: Coding on laptop
Photo credit: Canva

Based on the recommendations, the developers modified the code several times until the game was playable enough. For this, they used C++ as the language software and Unreal Engine as the game engine.

Everything in the game—how the characters move, how the features behave, and so on—had a corresponding code to write.

Can you imagine how detailed and meticulous the developers’ work was, and how much patience was required?

On marketing

Heroes: Social media world
Photo credit: Pexels

To market the game, the team had people working on the following:

  • Producing various content for the website
  • Translating it to different languages to cater bigger audience
  • Promoting the game through social media
  • Connecting with news channels, social media influencers, radio stations, and others

On evangelism 

Heroes: Bible study group
Photo credit: Pexels

To promote Bible study, worship, and prayer, the team added the following features:

  • Hope Channel – official television and radio network of the Adventist world church offering programs on Christian living, faith, health, relationships, and community
  • The Big Questions – free course giving answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Bible and the stories of its heroes
  • Prayer support – online prayer chat support by our prayer warriors anytime

Finally published

After performing a beta test, the Seventh-day Adventist Church published the second edition of Heroes on March 25, 2021. It was made possible in partnership with Hope Channel and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

The app is available both in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, free of charge!

What’s new in this second edition?

1) 3D animation with sound effects

Heroes 3D animation with sound effects

From a 2-dimensional comic style, the second edition had 3-dimensional graphics and animation. You could now see depth in the characters’ bodies and all objects in the game as if they were real.

And as we discussed earlier, this version also had orchestra-played music and sound effects. No violent sounds. Just a classical, biblical feel conducive for focus and concentration.

2) Experience points and manna

Heroes: Experience points and manna

Heroes incorporated experience points (XPs) that measure your gaming experience and progression. It’s much like the points you get when playing role-playing games.

Now, what about manna?

In paid games, you spend money to buy effects to upgrade your game.

The second edition of Heroes also made its own. But instead of coins, we had it in the form of manna since the game is free of charge.

Manna? What was it biblically?

It was the daily food provided by God for the Israelites in Moses’ time. They needed to take as much as they needed for the entire day.

So, how do experience points and manna work?

Well, the more correct answers you make, the more points and manna you earn. You use these to buy effects and unlock more heroes to play.

3) Power effects

a. Abraham effect

Heroes: Abraham effect

In Genesis 15:9-10, God asked Abram to offer a goat, ram, dove, and pigeon. He brought these to Him, cutting them (except the birds) in half, and arranging them opposite each other.

In the game, the Abraham effect eliminates 2 of 4 options in a question to help you determine the correct answer.

b. Daniel effect 

Heroes: Daniel effect

In the Bible, Daniel interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and writings on the wall of the royal court. The interpretations were revealed to him by God through prayer.

Similarly, the Daniel effect reveals the Bible verse where the correct answer to the question is found.

c. Elijah effect 

Heroes: Elijah effect

Before Elijah went to heaven, he gave Elisha, his successor, a double portion of his spirit (2 Kings 2:9).

Likewise, the Elijah effect in the second edition doubles your XP to boost your game.

d. Friday effect 

Heroes: Friday effect

As mentioned earlier, God provided manna as the Israelites’ daily bread (Exodus 16).

They were to gather as much as they needed every day. But on Friday, they had to gather twice as much because there would be nothing provided on the Sabbath.

Just like that, the Friday effect doubles your manna every time you get a correct answer in the game.

e. Jonah effect 

Heroes: Jonah effect

God wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach but the prophet ran away to Tarshish (Jonah 1).

Incorporating it into the second edition, the Jonah effect skips a question if you find it too difficult.

f. Joshua effect 

Heroes: Joshua effect

In Joshua 10:12, Joshua asked God to freeze the sun and moon.

In the same way, the Joshua effect freezes your time for 5 seconds, allowing you to think further before answering.

g. Jesus effect 

Heroes: Jesus effect

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, as mentioned in John 14:6.

In the game, the Jesus effect removes your errors and shows you the correct answer.

h. Lazarus effect

Heroes: Lazarus effect

On Lazarus’ death, Jesus told Mary Magdalene and Martha that He was giving them a chance to have faith in Him.

So, the Lazarus effect in the second edition gives you a second chance if your answer is wrong.

i. Revelation effect

Heroes: Revelation effect

An important time element in prophecy is the three-and-a-half symbol. The book of Revelation mentions it in days, months, and years.

Speaking of the half, the Revelation effect halves your match time if you answer all 12 questions correctly.

4) Multiplayer mode

Unlike the first version, the second edition has this multiplayer mode so you can play the game with other people.

You can challenge your family, friends, and even your pastors in a tournament or competition. Exciting, right?

5) Hope Channel

Heroes: Hope Channel
Photo credit: Hope Channel International

This feature of the second edition connects you with Hope Channel, the global television and radio network of the Seventh-day Adventists.

As discussed earlier, it offers programs on Christian living, focusing on faith, health, relationships, and community.

6) The Big Questions

Heroes: Man thinking
Photo credit: Canva

As you learned earlier, this is a free course that provides answers to the most commonly asked questions about the Bible.

The Bible heroes themselves are your tour guides. They share bits of their life stories in some of the modules.

7) Prayer support

Heroes: Teenager praying with the Bible
Photo credit: Pexels

As part of the evangelistic aim of the second edition, Heroes added this prayer feature.

It leads you to a Messenger chat with our prayer warriors ready and willing to pray for you 24/7.

Coming soon!

1) More languages

As of this writing, Heroes is translated into the following languages:

  • English
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Hindi
  • Romanian
  • Swahili
  • Korean
  • Filipino
  • Chinese
  • Malay
  • Thai

But as we’re continually improving the game, expect more languages to come soon, one of which is Ukrainian!

2) Hero mode

This mode will challenge you even more as you answer each of the 12 questions per hero in only 30 seconds. If you won’t make it, the session will close so you need to try again.

Along with this, we will bring new questions, effects, and ranking formats. Isn’t it exciting?

Would you like to be the first one to try this new feature? Join our Discord server and be a beta tester!

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts

How did you find the improvement from the first to the second edition of Heroes? What lessons have you learned from it?

Let us hear from you in the comments below!

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