• Add Review
  • Subscribe
  • Nominate
  • Submit Media
  • RSS

Are you ready to get your Umbra on?

Sorry for the cheesy title.

It has been a really long time since I released something. My last game update was in February of 2011 and I think the last major update was in something like September of 2010 (Chapter Seven). Since then, I’ve gone through a lot of partial implementations, failed ideas, and changing game directions.

I was always torn down two paths with this project: either finish the project as-is or redo the project from the ground-up fixing everything that I wasn’t happy with.

I’ve been actively developing the project for about a month now and looking back neither path seems feasible. Given the game is about 85% complete, many people have urged me to just finish the project as-is and just do any revisions afterwards. The problem is there are just too many fundamental flaws with the game that I’m not happy with. To release something below my own improving standards wouldn’t be completely satisfying. I don’t want something that’s complete just for the sake of being complete.

The other end of the spectrum doesn’t seem feasible either. Redo the whole game, really? I don’t want what good effort I’ve done to go to waste. I spent some time fiddling with developing a custom battle system in 2k3, and I’m convinced if I finished it it’d kick ass-— I just get so burnt out of developing something that isn’t object-oriented, and there are really only so many data structures you can come up with internally before the whole thing turns into a mess.

As much as I enjoy pushing 2k3 to its limits, I want Starless Umbra to be more than a game with some clever minigames or implementation details. There’s more to making a game than the technical aspects, and that’s why I chose 2k3 in the first place. (Well, technically it was 2k at the time.) I’ve decided to take the middle-ground and re-release certain components of the game incrementally in order to flesh out the main components of the project I’m unhappy with.

This era starts now, with a re-release of the prologue, and subsequent chapters no more than 8-10 weeks following. Future releases should come much more quickly, with an emphasis on fixing most of the rough edges where I can, but not completely redoing or scrapping cutscenes. That means it won’t be perfect, but I’ll be happy with it.

May 1 is the date I’ve chosen to release what I have of the prologue, probably as a beta of sorts. I’m going to be receptive as always and will be maintaining a watchful eye on the bug tracker to ensure all feedback is captured and addressed where appropriate. This release will only be the prologue, but I feel it will really give you an idea of how I’d like the game to feel moving forward. There are four main areas of focus for the re-releases:

• I’m gutting out any graphical inconsistencies, especially with the map tilesets. I want, where possible, the game to feel unified graphically, and it’s amazing what a little changes to some tilesets will do.
• Cutscenes will be much more meaningful early on. A lot of the flow is getting a slight makeover in Chapter 1. The core story will remain the same, but I’d like to try to execute it a bit more elegantly and spend more time with the characters.
• I’ve redesigned the battle system and skill system without causing too much grief. On the surface, it’s quite simple, but I feel it gives a wonderful opportunity for customization and ease of balance.
• I’m finally switching to MP3. There will be two downloads for high- and low-quality background music. For a while I stuck to keeping the filesize small, and I was impressed that for the amount of content I had I was able to keep the size down, but I’m long overdue to get with the times. (Yet I still continue to use 2k3, hah!)

It won’t be perfect, but I’ll be happy with it and it should be done in a timely manner. Timely for me at least.


Releasing something on May 1st.


Pages: 1
Releasing something on May 1st.

That's all I needed to see.
I can't wait for this..but I must try~ :o
I'll be happy to see something from you -- your dedication to this project is super admirable, AND I SALUTE YOU <3
Are you ready to get your Umbra on?

Yes. Yes I am.
Are you ready to get your Umbra on?
Yes. Yes I am.

^ seconded
Developer, Starless Umbra / Heroes of Umbra
Thanks for all the positive comments! It means a lot to me. :) I think at this point a deadline will help me keep things on track.
Wooooooooweeeeeeee! *clears throat*

Now that's what I wanted to hear! It'll be quite interesting as to what improvements will be made to the dialogue to flesh the story out a bit more.

Currently playing Blackmoon Prophecy, will be beta testing Forever's End when NicoB gets ready, and now Starless Umbra is back.

Bravo sir, bravo.
Pages: 1