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Demo Update v1.0.3

The Astra Hunter Zosma demo has been updated to version 1.0.3. This will be the final update for the demo version, pending any serious bugs that need fixing. Outstanding issues will be revisited for the full game.

This is an optional update and includes the following changes:

  • Added visual icons to the tiles in front of the shop counter in the Betwixt. The Shopkeeper will also mention this the first time you talk to them.
  • Fixed the glitch where Zosma's battle sprite would continuing appearing KO'd until his next turn when Never Give Up is activated.

Known outstanding issues:

  • Reports of battles freezing in the Expanding Void (investigating; have not been able to replicate thus far)
  • Some players have reported aliasing and stray pixels for certain battle text popups (investigating; have not been able to identify the cause).
  • Attempting to escape and failing makes the turn order list briefly act unusual.

Progress Report

Dev Log #2: Progress and Demo Feedback

Hello all!

It's been a little while since I last wrote a devlog, but now that the demo has been out for a few days, I figured I'd check in and give an update. Across both itchio and RMN, the Astra Hunter Zosma demo has been downloaded over 80 times! Thank you all for your support.

I've gotten quite a lot of feedback about the game so far, and I'm glad that many of you have enjoyed it! I'll get into the takeaways in a minute, as I'm sure you're all wondering where things stand in development. So let's take a quick look at our friend and savior the Progress Chart:

Our friend the Progress Chart Lock has been doing a good job making sure the game's scope can't extend any further! I'm glad he's there.

To put it simply: the entire second dungeon and second part of the Expanding Void are largely feature-complete and fully playable. I'll be implementing story events and related content soon. All in all, I have about double the amount of content finished that was in the demo.

The demo itself clocked in at about 60-90 minutes if you did both dungeons. That's quite a bit of content! I'll be doing my best to make sure that saves from the demo are compatible with the full game when it is eventually finished. If anything changes in this regard, I'll be sure to let you all know. I'm hoping it won't come to that, however.

Demo Takeaways

Astra Hunter Zosma has been largely an experimental game for me so far, and it's exploring a lot of territory that I haven't really touched yet. Sideview battles, an emphasis on gameplay vs story, and many other things have made this a much different dev experience than any game I've done before it. So far, it looks like everything has been coming together better than I expected.

But there are, of course, a few things I want to improve!

1. Improve the Companion's AI.

Right now the companion character has very basic battle AI: It will choose from one of any of the actions that you have invested Ability Points in, as well as the normal attack command. The regular attack command being shuffled into the mix is actually something of a compromise: RPG Maker MZ seems to do this by default for AI-controlled party members (even if you prevent them from using it in any way), and is something that I'm hoping to remove in the full game if possible. Hopefully I can do something!

2. Revisit Healing Abilities and Defending

Players pointed out two very noticeable things about Zosma's move set: He has no healing abilities, and he can't defend. Healing only through items was an intential decision, because I wanted healing to chain into items, and to make the game more resource-intensive instead of having items sit in your inventory forever. While Zosma does get limited healing abilities later in the game with an equippable Sigil, I might also consider making those available sooner.

As for defending, the default Guard command was too game-breaking as you could still attack several times in a turn AND Guard for the damage reduction. I might also include Guard in a Sigil, but make it less powerful than the default and only usable as Zosma's final action for a given turn.

What's next?

I'll be releasing Demo v1.0.3 soon, which will be a very small update that fixes a couple of visual bugs and makes the shop in the Betwixt a little easier to navigate. Beyond that, work will continue on finishing the second area and beyond. Things are going pretty well! So thank you for continuing to stick with this project.

Until next time!
- Sgt M


Demo Update v1.0.2

The Astra Hunter Zosma demo has been updated to version 1.0.2. This is an optional update and includes the following changes:
  • Added a failsafe in case the Shopkeeper in the Betwixt gets stuck while moving.
  • Added a failsafe in case the player dies before ever saving the game.
  • Updated credits

v1.0.1 changes:

  • Added an icon for Shatter
  • The item Field Muffins should now work as intended

Known outstanding issues

  • Reports of battles freezing in the Expanding Void (investigating; have not been able to replicate thus far)
  • When Never Give Up is activated, Zosma's sprite will still appear KO'd until his next turn comes up.
  • Attempting to escape and failing makes the turn order list briefly act unusual.


Demo Available!

Hello everyone!

The demo version of Astra Hunter Zosma is now available to play! You can play through the first area, as well as the first part of the expanding optional dungeon. The total runtime for the demo is about 45 minutes. Can you find all 6 gold chests and be the best Astra Hunter there ever was?

We're always looking for feedback, so please let us know what you thought of the demo!

- Sgt M

Progress Report

Dev Log #1: Astra Hunter Zosma!

Hello! And welcome to the first devlog for Astra Hunter Zosma.

I'm really excited to finally reveal this game, which has been in development for a few months now. I appreciate all of the warm reception that the reveal has gotten so far, which is quite a relief as it's already shaping up to be quite a different experience than my past projects.

So let's just dive in and talk about how Astra Hunter Zosma came to be, what it's about, and where we are in development.

Inspirations and A Different Approach

Up until now, I've been primarily working on larger-scale RPGs with a primary focus on being big adventures that take place across entire worlds: Brave Hero Yuusha, Soma Spirits, and especially Soma Union all told very big stories in world-spanning journeys. I think these stories worked well for those respective games. But after doing three of those, it felt like it was time to do something a little smaller.

The titular Zosma is a "great" adventurer who falls many miles below the surface during a routine adventure, and his only means of returning back to the surface is through a treasure-filled tower that leads to his world above the depths. And along the way, he'll meet an animal companion and collect all the treasure that he ever dreamed of.

As such, the story is a little more self-contained than Brave Hero Yuusha or the two Soma games: pretty much all of the game takes place within this single and continuous dungeon, and while there is an over-arching plot, much of the story will focus on the blossoming friendship between Zosma and his animal companion. The game takes a considerable amount of inspiration from the PlayStation RPG Guardian's Crusade, which also explored the bond between a player character and a monster buddy. And the gameplay aspect of it, while still at its core a JRPG, also takes cues from the underground treasure-hunting aspect of The Great Cave Offensive from Kirby Superstar. It's quite a strange combination of inspirations! So I hope they mesh well together.

The bond between a player character and an animal is something that I had started exploring in my past project Crescent Prism. Sadly, Crescent Prism was never seen through to completion, but I'm hoping that the spirit of the game will live on in Zosma in many ways.

How is Development Going?

Development so far is going quite well! Which is pretty good, considering that I've been doing a lot of things differently than previous projects. For one, Astra Hunter Zosma is being developed in RPG Maker MZ, which has been both a refreshing change and a bold new challenge after 9 years of making games in VX Ace. Additionally, the game is using a more complex battle system with sideview battlers; I'll forever defend frontview and I'll love it forever, but this has been exciting new territory for me that will also help prevent feeling like I'm just making the same game again. Getting out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways has been invigorating.

The game is much farther along than when I had revealed Soma Union (which was little more than a few debug rooms by the time I had announced it). Most of the gameplay systems, custom menus, battle mechanics, and overall groundwork for the game are completed. The entire first chapter of the game is also finished; there is perhaps enough content for a demo sometime soon! But no promises about a demo until I know for sure.

"Sgt! Just show us the progress chart!"

And a progress chart you shall have!

So this is roughly where things stand! After Soma Union spiraled a bit out of control and became three times longer than I initially planned, I decided to put a hard limit on how long Zosma will be. This game will consist of six areas, and a seventh optional area that continuously expands as the story progresses. The first is pretty much done!

Oh, and the lock fellow you see on the chart is the Progress Chart Lock. As long as he exists on the chart, it cannot grow any larger even if I want it to. Them's the breaks!

Development Continues

I haven't been shy in admitting that I don't have as much time for game development as I used to, but I'm also glad I can work on a smaller project like this one and keep the spark going. Soma Union was definitely my "big one"; I don't think I'll be able to make a 20 hour RPG like that again lol. But I'm hoping I have at least one or two games left in me. And Zosma will have just as much love put into it as anything else I've done.

It's been an exciting new project to work in and delves into a different territory. I hope you'll look forward to seeing more of the game down the road!

- Sgt M
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