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Latest Release
9.0.0b - February 1, 2013

Synopsis
In Starless Umbra, you play as Andoru in a quest to attempt to return home to save your sister after bandits raid your village. This simple task complicates itself quickly, as a strange phenomenon leaves you not only away from your village, but with little direction in a completely new continent.

As you travel, you'll learn the people around you aren't what they seem, and ties begin forming between yourself and others as your past is revealed. Unfortunately, no one can answer the simple question: "how do I get back home to save my sister?"

http://www.starlessumbra.com/
http://www.twitter.com/zexyu
http://www.facebook.com/starlessumbra

Latest Blog

2020 is over!

2020 is over. To briefly reflect on the past year, it has been stressful in ways I'm sure don't need belaboring. On the bright side, I feel like I've endured a year of both personal and professional growth. I've also cherished the positive life moments a bit more. Most notably, I'm a dad now. ("This COVID thing will totally blow over by the time our daughter arrives." --me, completely wrong circa last February)

Anyway, hello 2021! Time for game updates.

I went almost eight years without a release. Yesterday I finally broke that streak. I'm not very good at sticking to dates I set for myself; however, I did push myself to publish something before 2021, no matter what that something was. In good old "Release Something" tradition, I did it! There's now a new download of the latest something I could share with you guys at the literal 11th hour of 2020.

What happened? Why did it take so long? I talked about this a couple months back, but the short story is that Heroes of Umbra became a thing and I don't like leaving projects unfinished, even if they take roughly 15 times longer to complete than planned.

It's not a lot, but mostly everything is there in some shape or form. It's not a true vertical slice--most notably the demo doesn't have any minigames (yet!!)--but it should give you a bit of an unrefined taste of what I'd like to try to accomplish. If you have an opportunity to give it a try, please let me know your thoughts, what you'd improve, if you see this as something you could get into, and so on.

As an aside I did realize right before I published that none of the plaintext data is obfuscated or hidden in any way. Ooops. Feel free to mod the demo to taste. Crank the profanity to 11 or give your characters millions of HP.

To indulge you with the history of this project, I remember the first maps I made dabbling with RPG Maker 2000. I used the circle tool to draw a Mickey Mouse-shaped island with the default RTP assets in all their saturated glory. My mom asked me if I was into a girl who liked Disney. I wasn't. I had just gotten done playing Kingdom Hearts though.

I then went on to create a series of dungeon mazes and a village. With no direction and a vague "find adventure" plot I submitted a demo to GamingW.net. My ego was shredded. But I kept it up and learned to appreciate the criticism and continued to be inspired by contemporary game developers. It's weird to think of a time before the adjective "indie" described video games.

The older I get, the tighter I embrace my childhood dreams. I'm so grateful for all the support I've received in the near two decades I've struggled to make an RPG. The sincere messages I occasionally receive mentioning how they used to play the game way back when it was Dragon Heart or how they still have their scratch and sniff stickers are my fuel.

Enjoy the demo! I hope to share more with you guys in 2021. Thanks for your support.
  • Production
  • dragonheartman
  • GameMaker Studio 2
  • Action RPG
  • 02/20/2008 08:51 PM
  • 01/03/2021 10:52 PM
  • 01/01/2030
  • 655340
  • 336
  • 16027

Posts

dragonheartman
Developer, Starless Umbra / Heroes of Umbra
2729
Nothing yet!

I'm keeping quiet. Things are moving around a lot and nothing ever seems to be final.
Tau
RMN sex symbol
3293
Hiatus? This game, fuck me. I never thought I'd see the day.
author=Tau
Hiatus? This game, fuck me. I never thought I'd see the day.


my thoughts exactly!
Hiatus doesn't mean cancelled though, as stated in dragonheartman's blog on his official website.

In short, he's basically needing all the help he can get because of his frustrations with RPG Maker 2003 (Yeah, you know how buggy RPG Maker 2003 is...)

Read his blog to find out more.
benos
My mind is full of fuck.
559
wtf cannot even press the download section. Or any section for some reason. Stupid browser.
dragonheartman
Developer, Starless Umbra / Heroes of Umbra
2729
I should have a mirror soon. I actually can't update my site right now because my friend (who hosts the site) is having dns issues.

Maybe this URL works?:

http://rpgmaker.net/games/407/downloads/1176/
I finished playing the new demo. The new additions to combat through dynRPG certainly made things a lot more enjoyable. I thought the first bosses' gimmick was pretty interesting, deliberately managing your character's focus to achieve a goal that didn't involve killing the main boss.

The way dungeons were constructed was really cool as well. I liked how they were more about overcoming obstacles and minigames rather than fighting a horde of random battles to the end. The knife throwing minigame was probably my favorite so far. But the partner segment was rather well made as well.

I can't say much about the narrative however, as it seems to have barely kicked off. I was ultimately disappointed to see the 'To be continued' screen after escaping the forest. But, I'll be looking forward to future releases now. Surprised I didn't play this game before actually.
dragonheartman
Developer, Starless Umbra / Heroes of Umbra
2729
author=Skie Fortress
I finished playing the new demo. The new additions to combat through dynRPG certainly made things a lot more enjoyable. I thought the first bosses' gimmick was pretty interesting, deliberately managing your character's focus to achieve a goal that didn't involve killing the main boss.

The way dungeons were constructed was really cool as well. I liked how they were more about overcoming obstacles and minigames rather than fighting a horde of random battles to the end. The knife throwing minigame was probably my favorite so far. But the partner segment was rather well made as well.

I can't say much about the narrative however, as it seems to have barely kicked off. I was ultimately disappointed to see the 'To be continued' screen after escaping the forest. But, I'll be looking forward to future releases now. Surprised I didn't play this game before actually.
Thank you for all the kind feedback! I'm glad you found the changes the the battle system enjoyable--I spent a lot of effort on them. Hopefully releases will be more frequent now. :)
Just played this. Your tweaks to the battle system were neat and I liked the knife throwing minigame. I had fun--looking forward to more.
The new demo was phenomenal. I was upset that it ended. Keep it up, DHM!
dragonheartman
Developer, Starless Umbra / Heroes of Umbra
2729
Thanks for the positive encouragement. I've started on chapter 1 development, by the way. Diablo III also came out so I won't say any words on a release just yet... :)
TFT
WHOA wow wow. two tails? that is a sexy idea...
366
yeah dude, i played this today. like, i appreciate the detail and effort into everything.

it is really hard to get a vibe for the game, because its exceptionally well done in terms of mechanics and mini games or whatever. the pacing is really weird. like, i just kind of breezed through the text, the two characters in your party were really hard to enjoy. like, idk the intro is very hard to get into.

overall i think it is really impressive in terms of design mechanics. the battle system is a really nice improvement. the edits are very well done. lots of animations. i p much did the disco dance several hundred times. like, i cannot put my thumb on why i can't get into it, maybe it is the setting at the start i am not sure.

it's just an incredibly weird introduction. it's just one of those situations where its very difficult to introduce the "cool" factor with bandits raiding a village basically. like, it would be cool if they rode in on dragon/wolf hybrids and just started throwing spears into the buildings. even stuff like that is underwhelming because you can't do very much with the setting.

like, have a cutscene sideview of these animated black images of the bandits riding while the background is fading from sun to darkness and the bottom can have some kind of backstory to get you pumped. idk man, like i said great mechanics, great details. keep it up.

Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7078
author=TFT
yeah dude, i played this today. like, i appreciate the detail and effort into everything.

it is really hard to get a vibe for the game, because its exceptionally well done in terms of mechanics and mini games or whatever. the pacing is really weird. like, i just kind of breezed through the text, the two characters in your party were really hard to enjoy. like, idk the intro is very hard to get into.

overall i think it is really impressive in terms of design mechanics. the battle system is a really nice improvement. the edits are very well done. lots of animations. i p much did the disco dance several hundred times. like, i cannot put my thumb on why i can't get into it, maybe it is the setting at the start i am not sure.

it's just an incredibly weird introduction. it's just one of those situations where its very difficult to introduce the "cool" factor with bandits raiding a village basically. like, it would be cool if they rode in on dragon/wolf hybrids and just started throwing spears into the buildings. even stuff like that is underwhelming because you can't do very much with the setting.

like, have a cutscene sideview of these animated black images of the bandits riding while the background is fading from sun to darkness and the bottom can have some kind of backstory to get you pumped. idk man, like i said great mechanics, great details. keep it up.


Simply put, make a game just like yours.
TFT
WHOA wow wow. two tails? that is a sexy idea...
366
yeah, well i am trying to give the guy constructive feedback from what i've experienced. instead of just circle jerking him, and going "heh gg bro props". and just leaving it at that.

the difference is i truly appreciate what he has created. do you think i would go out of my way to write that for it to translate "just copy me bro". i gave him examples because it might perk his interest vs "HEH G8". i cannot expect someone like you to grasp the concept of indie devs bouncing relevant ideas or concepts off each other to improve their craft, so lol.

it's kind of funny dude, because i thought about dropping a hiroshima burn on you, but then i realized, people like you are pretty much the reason why this site is so bad.
dragonheartman
Developer, Starless Umbra / Heroes of Umbra
2729
Naw it's true, it's like you are dropped into the action but you don't actually witness any of it. I had ideas for having bandits hop in and mess stuff up but ultimately it never got executed because I have to try to balance what changes I put in, otherwise this will never get finished.

It's already something jumping back and redoing so much at about 85% completion, but I do know the importance of the intro. I might make some slight changes down the road but I really want to have more content-wise because I do feel the gameplay will pull you in while it is my goal that the storyline/characters will eventually follow, if that makes any sense. The storyline is honestly not meant to be terribly complex, but at the very least my priority was to make it presentable and clear without some of the inconsistencies in flow the older version had.

Will I change up the intro? It's inevitable, but it's finally at a point where I feel okay with it. Your comments have been noted, though, because as you said I am trying to make this the best I possibly can. It's just I do want to move on to other things in the future and if I do that I might not get to everything I want... I'll gut it and save it for another project (or a remake in three dimensions!!)

Jokes aside, I do appreciate you taking the time to write up some feedback. It is helpful.

tl;dr, it takes me a really long time to make a decent game.
dragonheartman
Developer, Starless Umbra / Heroes of Umbra
2729
And honestly I've also learned so much in terms of game design decisions, characters, and so on that it would be much suited for a new game I feel rather than trying to retrofit it into a project that is for lack of a better words a big (nearly!) ten-year-old mess under the surface. It's a mess I am happy with though. ;)
author=Corfaisus
Simply put, make a game just like yours.

You mad? He's stating feedback very nicely, and you're being sarcastic for no reason. Go away.
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7078
author=eplipswich
author=Corfaisus
Simply put, make a game just like yours.
You mad? He's stating feedback very nicely, and you're being sarcastic for no reason. Go away.


I was in no way being sarcastic.
dragonheartman
Developer, Starless Umbra / Heroes of Umbra
2729
The more I think about it, the more I want progress over perfection. There's no need to argue otherwise about what this will shape into or what it can be compared to. Let's just see where it goes.
I got some weird error that said "Zero battle id" and then another error message popped up but forgot what it said, then it went back to the title screen.