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Latest Release
0.0.1a - December 31, 2020

Synopsis
Join Amalia, a tracker from the simple orphan colony of Tulron, as she discovers the veiled world of Alcuria in search of her friends.

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Legacy 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?"

Latest Blog

January Progress Report

Hello! Can you believe it's February already? Hope you're doing well. As I slowly move forward I wanted to share what's new, hopefully getting into a cadence of updates every month or two.

Before that, I wanted to express my sincere gratitude to those that played last month's prototype. Specifically from RMN, Darken, Zaeran, Aldu, and Zion you guys all gave me solid feedback I've taken to heart moving forward. I think it confirmed a lot of my assumptions (AI should be smarter, tutorials and input could be improved, puzzles are buggy, battles are frustrating.) and also opened my eyes to some questionable design decisions. All in all, for such a rushed release I feel confident with some polish this is something I'm happy to continue working on. On to new stuff.

Content-wise, I've been chugging away on maps. The first major village/hub is in-progress. This will take some time to flesh out, as the asset need for faces increases exponentially here. (Two new characters as well as several basic NPCs are introduced here.)

I've also done maps/cutscenes for the intro sequence of a new character and mapped out the second dungeon.


If you've played previous iterations of SU I'm sure you can guess what's next.

To speed up cutscene implementations, I spent some time creating tools to debug and modify events on-the-fly.



The top console displays the current state of event execution. The special pause() command is used in event scripts as a sort of breakpoint to modify and reload the current event. Additional debugging info is shown here so I can easily test different camera positions and find out where characters need to move to. I might expand this later on to allow stepping forward/backward through the event timeline, but as-is this should speed up cutscene implementation significantly.

Up next I plan on fleshing out the village flow with more cutscenes, small sidequests, shops, villagers, and of course fun banter between Amalia and Illari. After that, the second dungeon needs monsters, cutscenes, and a couple final maps.

Thanks for reading. Moving forward, progress will slow as I adjust to getting back into a schedule of fulltime work + parenting. I do hope to continue the momentum of working in bite-size daily chunks if possible to keep on track. Before you leave, I'd love to know: what tricks do you use to keep focused on your projects?

P.S. Shameless plugs for twitter and discord.
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  • dragonheartman
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  • 02/20/2008 08:51 PM
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Posts

author=dragonheartman
author=VirtualVampire
author=dragonheartman
author=VirtualVampire
Wow this looks so professional, how long before its done?
I wish I could say. :(

I will say it's in progress, and releases should be fairly frequent (quarterly?). I've got a lot planned after the PC release too.

Thanks for checking it out!
Cool, I wish you could make this game for the DS or Vita, I think if companies like Sony started to support the makers of indie titles the gemming community would better off for it. Anyway considering the amount of work your putting into this you should put the game on steam and charge money for it. If you're good at something never do it for free.
If I do all of the graphics myself (eventually I'd like to, or at least commission someone) I may consider it, but I don't really want the money. I'd rather have more people play it. :)


Wow that so cool of you.
Anyway I'm trying my hand at digital art, anime mostly I hope I can be apart of a team some day (when my skills improve) and make cutscene/character animation.
DHM, I played through the release today and I loved it.
Though I like all that you've done with the story, in terms of direction, and pacing, I must say I like how you are introducing and developing characters.
I especially like what you've done with Reene as a character, she seems to have alot more depth and she was definitely more fun to play with, even in the comparatively shorter time you control her.

I did notice a couple mapping errors, notably at the castle, some of which just seemed like event layering issues, but all were minor

Also do you plan on re-implementing the gem syystem you had a couple of versions ago or have you finalized the method of character progression?

Anyway, I loved the release, look forward to chapter 2 and keep up the brilliant work.
dragonheartman
Developer, Starless Umbra / Heroes of Umbra
2743
author=zaeran
DHM, I played through the release today and I loved it.
Though I like all that you've done with the story, in terms of direction, and pacing, I must say I like how you are introducing and developing characters.
I especially like what you've done with Reene as a character, she seems to have alot more depth and she was definitely more fun to play with, even in the comparatively shorter time you control her.

I did notice a couple mapping errors, notably at the castle, some of which just seemed like event layering issues, but all were minor

Also do you plan on re-implementing the gem syystem you had a couple of versions ago or have you finalized the method of character progression?

Anyway, I loved the release, look forward to chapter 2 and keep up the brilliant work.

Thank you! I think the gem system was either hit-or-miss with many players, and it felt like it added a level of unnecessary complexity. I'd still like to add the gems back in, but it would be more for a statbuilding/passive mechanic rather than something layered atop the skills that already exist.

As far as Reene is concerned as a character, I'm glad you enjoyed using her!
Obviously with her losing her abilities, she won't be as bossy/arrogant. (I have Lynia for that role.) She's not going to fall for the typical RPG female protagonist pitfalls though, if I can avoid it. Her backstory is more developed and interesting now too.
Aha, I have feedback as well.

Firstly, a few bugs/things I noticed:
-During the wolf escape/carrying Andoru puzzle, you can inadvertently block the path ahead/the block in the water if you place Andoru down in a certain spot (because you have him move one space in certain directions once he is placed on the ground. What I mean by this is that you place him, run all the way around and push the block into the water to create the path, and then you cannot step on the block because there's something in the coding preventing it. I guess it's not that big of a deal but you can waste a lot of precious time with this, and technically you'd be able to step onto the block and just press enter to pick Andoru back up anyway. Hopefully that makes sense. Also, I feel that there should be some sort of reward at the end, considering winning and losing ends with the same result..

-When eating in Arkor (first scene of Ch1) there is a typo: "how important your sister means to you." I feel as though it should be "How much your sister means to you."

-The chest in Arkor doesn't do your fancy new spinning animation.

-After the event with the bounty, the bounty sheet is back on the wall even though Reene took it and ran off. Also, during the crowd scene, a faceset is used for a man with blue hair (and rightfully so, he is one of the arkor npcs) but he is nowhere in the crowd, so it doesn't make much sense.

-I'm confused about the squats system. Is it supposed to be impossible at a certain point unless your stamina is higher? I got stuck somewhere between 7 or 9/20 and it just wouldn't go up anymore no matter how much I spammed enter.

-In the wastelandy world map battle background, one of the slimes is sitting on the tree. Just a little awkward.

-There's no sound/bgm for the hidden area on the world map.

-I'm guessing a lot of the monsters only have two movement facings (left and right) because you'd have to completely draw new up/down ones, right?

-I love how fast paced and zippy the battles are. I found myself enjoying them quite a lot (this is making me want to use dynrpg!).

-I'm going to miss the old version of events, but I suppose it's interesting how you are developing Reene now. She's more of a bitch though, which I'm not sure how I feel about. Old sweet Reene ftw!

-Though, with all of the changes you are implementing... it almost makes me wonder if there were even plans/plot/revelations in terms of what happened.. I mean in previous releases the church burnt down and Andoru blacked out, resulting in Clydan's cryptic "I can't tell him what happened." That mystery was always one of my favorites that I wanted to solve/figure out, but with the countless changes you're adding it's making me feel as though there never were any solutions or truths to be found/truths that you had planned out at all. It seems like they were just mysteries for the sake of mysteries and hooking the player. Cruel!

I was really concerned with your decision to continuously backtrack and with how long it would take for you to actually get to the ending, but I am really enjoying the tweaks and gameplay additions. Awesome job. Being a veteran player though, the new plot is bound to sting a little.
author=Stedar
-I'm confused about the squats system. Is it supposed to be impossible at a certain point unless your stamina is higher? I got stuck somewhere between 7 or 9/20 and it just wouldn't go up anymore no matter how much I spammed enter.

I assume that after a certain amount of squats you have to tap the confirm key much more frequently. What I did was tap both Z and Enter at the same time to increase frequency. With that method I've completed it 6 times
dragonheartman
Developer, Starless Umbra / Heroes of Umbra
2743
author=Stedar
Aha, I have feedback as well.
...

Thanks, Stedar! Much appreciated and very helpful posts.

Regarding the squats minigame, yes the more often you do it the easier it gets (as the NPC suggests).

In the past, yes, you're correct. I was very vague with the mysteries because I myself wasn't sure of the plot. I didn't have a very clear ending for the project. Now, years later, I finally do. So while that particular mystery doesn't pop up at this segment, it's certainly part of the plot. It will just be introduced in a more meaningful way, hopefully.

Regarding Reene:
Certainly she's very proud of her abilities, but as she says at the end of the chapter, she realizes that it made her blind. This event at the end of the chapter will be the start of the more classic, humble Reene. She's going to come out of the situation humble and grateful.
Bugs:

--> When you are facing the last thief in the knife throw challenge, Andoru sprite holding the knife vanishes after a millisecond. You can still throw the knife though.

--> Later in the cave, when Andoru and Clydan stand on the two triangles to open the path to the next area, the animation still plays even if one of the player has stepped away from the triangle.
(It isn't making much sense; let's try again)
After the blockage has been cleared by stepping on the two triangles, the animation of the blockage opening still plays when the player crosses the triangle.

--> A mapping (passability) error: http://i.imgur.com/JuzoGeE.png

--> Can't level up past Level 7 (EXP: 5623)

--> Andoru never completely heals after a level-up, ie, when the character level-up, their HP is restored to its max value. But in Andoru case, it's always two point less. (85/87 or something like that)

--> When you first enter the mountain, a cutscene plays in which a man falls into a river. If you try to talk to his other partner, he doesn't respond and if you enter the map again, he is no longer there. So maybe you forgot to hide / delete his sprite?

(Not a bug, but you can't talk to the chef after he teaches you cooking. It looked weird because he is the only NPC who goes silent.)

Anyway, I love what you are doing with the game, but on the other hand I hate it because I want to play the game till the very end. Decisions, decisions. I still remember finding the game on Kobras Realm and loving it, and hating the fact that the game was cancelled.

EDIT:
You don't get any prize after you do 20 squats.
He just tells you to come back after you've learned to cook and he would teach you a good post-workout recipe. And if you talk to him again, he will repeat the same thing about doing twenty pushups for a reward.
(You do get the recipe if you've learned cooking)

If that was intended, I feel cheated. :-p
dragonheartman
Developer, Starless Umbra / Heroes of Umbra
2743
Much appreciated! Thanks for playing.

--> When you are facing the last thief in the knife throw challenge, Andoru sprite holding the knife vanishes after a millisecond. You can still throw the knife though.
Fixed and scheduled for 9.0.1b

--> Later in the cave, when Andoru and Clydan stand on the two triangles to open the path to the next area, the animation still plays even if one of the player has stepped away from the triangle.
(It isn't making much sense; let's try again)
After the blockage has been cleared by stepping on the two triangles, the animation of the blockage opening still plays when the player crosses the triangle.
Makes sense. I'll fix that.

--> A mapping (passability) error: http://i.imgur.com/JuzoGeE.png
Fixed in 9.0.1b

--> Can't level up past Level 7 (EXP: 5623)
Feature; the amount of exp you get diminishes as you get stronger. To get more exp you need to go to harder dungeons. In other words, your exp is scaled to the difference in level between your party and the dungeon level (hidden value).

--> Andoru never completely heals after a level-up, ie, when the character level-up, their HP is restored to its max value. But in Andoru case, it's always two point less. (85/87 or something like that)
Likely because VIT and LVL now both add HP. I'll do a proper heal after the level up.

--> When you first enter the mountain, a cutscene plays in which a man falls into a river. If you try to talk to his other partner, he doesn't respond and if you enter the map again, he is no longer there. So maybe you forgot to hide / delete his sprite?
I didn't really bother to do something with this. I should give him some dialogue though. (He's not supposed to disappear until you leave the map.)

You don't get any prize after you do 20 squats.
Agh certainly a bug. Will fix so you learn your recipe.
Bugs:
--> Oatmeal is supposed to heal 15 HP but it heals you completely.

--> Sweet Buns are supposed to heal 20 HP, but they don't restore any HP.

--> You don't get any EXP for killing the monster (whose horn you are supposed to take to the king).

--> You don't get any EXP for killing the monster disguised as unconscious NPCs in the Church.

--> (Not sure about this one) You don't get any EXP for killing the monster in the Dream World.

--> Also, another map error (forgot to take a screenshot though): If you stand just beside the (main) gate of the castle and press the confirm key, you can climb up the wall.

Not sure if these are bugs or not:
--> The monsters in the area after the cart minigame die as soon as you touch them. Is it because I was Level 8?

--> The text colour of the recipes listed in Mini-Furnace changed from golden-yellow to silver.

--> Even if you stop playing the game in window mode, it will start in Fullscreen.

author=dragonheartman
Feature; the amount of exp you get diminishes as you get stronger. To get more exp you need to go to harder dungeons. In other words, your exp is scaled to the difference in level between your party and the dungeon level (hidden value).

Makes sense but the monster on the world map stop giving me EXP after I reached Level 7. Maybe drop the EXP they give by 50% or hide the monster if they aren't going to give any EXP?


Can you save everyone in the church? Because no matter how much I tried, I was only able to save two (or maybe three) clergies.
dragonheartman
Developer, Starless Umbra / Heroes of Umbra
2743
If you're not getting any exp, it means you're overpowered, congrats! Yes that also means you'll automatically destroy enemies you touch. (exception: church enemies triggered by the clergymen because those are technically event battles)

I haven't implemented this yet for the world map.

Regarding the church, you can but it's somewhat random how difficult it is to save them. I think there are only five you can find.

Text color of the recipe dictates how difficult it is to make.

Thanks for all your bug reports.
author=dragonheartman
If you're not getting any exp, it means you're overpowered, congrats!


That was unexpected :-p

And, maybe raise the overpower bar a little because the monsters in the cave were still putting up a good fight when I fought them at Level 7.
(And level 8 is pretty easily reachable)

Thanks for the wonderful game.
for some reason attacks do not generate ep for me ...
Is the rest of the advanced systems working for you, kalalas? For instance, are the monsters animated?

If not, you might have hit the same bug I hit at the beginning (seems an issue with Windows 8 64-Bit), it's solved by putting the DynPlugins folder into the game which you can get here.
I finished the latest demo a few days ago and I have to say I'm impressed. The character development has been good so far. Chapter 1 felt like it flew right by. I honestly expected it to be longer

I'm looking forward to the release of the next chapter.
Do you get anything good for beating the wolf meter minigame in the prologue? It seems that the game continues on even if I lose.

Edit: Nevermind, an earlier post said no. Still, it's a pretty fun game so far. Also, is there any way to flee from random encounters?
author=Bugfragged
Do you get anything good for beating the wolf meter minigame in the prologue? It seems that the game continues on even if I lose.

Edit: Nevermind, an earlier post said no. Still, it's a pretty fun game so far. Also, is there any way to flee from random encounters?

It's been a while since I've played the demo (only been about a month but my memory is absolutely terrible :P) when in the battle menu screen scroll to see if there are more options that are out of sight, that is all I can really suggest. If you don't see it there it's not possible to flee :P
I seem to be having trouble in my download
when I go to the first boss battle of the game and you have to use Clyde's yell and stuff I cannot use it ._.
Is it a bug?, cause when I replayed incase I accidently used it to much of it, but it stayed the same ._.
dragonheartman
Developer, Starless Umbra / Heroes of Umbra
2743
When you attack you should generate EP, which can be used to cast Yell.
That doesn't seem to be working as well :| I can attack just fine, but I cannot Generate
Also when ever I pick up a new weapon that teaches me how to use a special attack
I don't get it ._. it stays the same