Monthly Archives: April 2014

New in Version 2

I teased in my last post that something new was added to version 2 of Another Star. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m willing to adjust the balance of the game post-release to “get it right”, and this new thing was created exactly for that purpose. Here it is in action:

The new item being used in battle.

Version 2 introduces a new item called a “Watcher’s Eye”. When used in battle, the Watcher’s Eye reveals the weaknesses of enemies. Before, the only way to discover this was through trial and error. Reading some initial player impressions, I felt that many players were having difficulty with later battles because they weren’t exploiting enemy’s weaknesses as well as they could have, especially when they didn’t know there were two extra elements (light and dark) that the party can really only access through scrolls. Hopefully this will improve that by making combat more fun and fluid, although I’m a bit worried that it will make a certain mid-to-late game boss too easy.

That will just be too bad, though.

Another Star Coming to Linux

It’s official! With the release of Another Star version 2, the game will be available to play in Linux. A last-minute issue kept the game from launching on both Windows and Linux, so I’m happy to be able to bring it to Linux players at long last.

Version 2 of Another Star brings bug fixes to several pesky issues, and even introduces something new and useful that wasn’t in the original release. What is it? You’ll just have to wait and find out. It’s almost ready for release and should be out within a week or so.

Don’t forget to up-vote Another Star on Steam Greenlight, if you haven’t already!

Another Star Save Game Bug

Just a heads-up on a bug that I just came across in Another Star.

Whenever you attempt to delete a save in the save select menu, save slot 2 will always be the one deleted, regardless of which you actually chose. Be aware that the confirmation screen will show you the correct slot, but delete the wrong one anyway.

If this happens to you, you can still undo the damage by exiting the game immediately, going to your My Documents/My Games/Another Star folder, and deleting the file “”. Do not delete “”. If you have file extensions set to “hidden” in Windows, “” will show up as just “Save2”. Delete that one. Now reboot the game, and your old save should be restored from the backup file.

Thankfully, this has been fixed in version 2, which should be released soon. Sorry for any problems this bug may have caused!

FM Synthesis Demo

After completing Another Star, I thought about expanding my fake “emulator” engine that the game ran on, and doing another project. I’d like to add some of the features that Another Star is missing, such as actual palette swapping for example.

Another thing I thought about adding was real-time sound. In Another Star, all the music and sound effects are prerendered and then played back, but this past week I toyed around with programming a six-channel FM synthesizer from scratch. Thus, not only graphics, but audio would also be emulated. Behold!

(The screenshot is a test mockup, although it belongs to the same game idea/project.)

The programming is not particularly efficient at the moment. If you listen closely, you can hear the tempo wobble from time to time as my computer struggles to render just five of the six audio channels. Still, I thought it was quite an accomplishment, reading countless articles online about how sound and FM synthesis works, and then applying it to an actual, working program over the course of a week. I honestly didn’t understand much about sound waves work until now.

That said, I’m not sure if there’s much use for it. The only real appeal is that it’s rendering audio in real time. There’s not really any reason not to use audio files for music and sound effects in games. So, in the end, this week was probably nothing more than a waste of time.

Another Another Star Review

Ashe Collins of has posted a new review of Another Star. Here’s a excerpt:

Another Star isn’t just a great bit of nostalgic NES era scratch for that itch, it’s a great demonstration of what you can do with keeping as simple as possible while still making something far grander. Between the visual look, the simplified and turn-based combat and a soundtrack that feels like it’s right out of the era it’s emulating, Another Star manages to bring you right back to your childhood while giving you something new to play through and a few modern gameplay tweaks that we’ve become accustomed to in this era. If you like classic RPGs and are looking for something new, this shouldn’t just be on your radar you should already be playing this. What are you waiting for? Go get it.

Overall, it’s probably the most positive review yet. You can read the whole thing here.

And don’t forget to upvote the game on Steam Greenlight! It’s making pretty good progress, but it still needs all the help you can give!


A minion climbing a human ladder of servbots. Because banana.

A commission I did for a friend. He specifically requested the minions bossing a couple servbots around to get at a bowl of bananas. Not much to say, other than the fact I’ve never played any of the Mega Man Legends games, and I have yet to see Despicable Me 2. Also, I probably put way too much effort into that china cabinet…

Speaking of which, do you realize how hard it is to make a banana look like a banana? Neither did I!

Done completely in Photoshop CS2. Time taken: ~3-4 hours.

For information about commissioning artwork from me, just check out this page.

The Return of Let’s Draw?

Last year I did a series of Let’s Draw videos. They were kind of like Let’s Play videos, except instead of playing somebody else’s game and talking over it, I drew somebody else’s character and talked over it. Inevitably the quality of the art would suffer from trying to both draw quickly (so that the video doesn’t go on forever), and think of something interesting to say while doing it (which is much harder than I thought it would be), but it made for an interesting end product.

Originally, I settled on doing just six videos, to see how it went, but in the last video I did say I’d do six more. Of course, I never actually got around to doing them. Doh!

I might just change that, though. They were kind of fun to do, and they did generate a fair amount of hits on YouTube (as of writing this, most of them have more hits than the second trailer for Another Star), so it would make sense to continue the series.

But I’m not sure I’ll try to do them on a weekly basis again. Maybe every other week? We’ll have to see.

Difficulty Balance

The difficulty balance in an RPG is an incredibly hard tightrope to walk on. You don’t know exactly what state the player will approach a challenge. Sure, they may be leveled up high enough, but what about their equipment and their strategy? After Another Star, I have a lot more respect for the developers of RPGs in general! Even generic RPGs make player progression seem so easy.

A few people have said that Another Star‘s late game is less fun than earlier sections. However, it’s too soon for me to decide if they’re actually right. I designed the later enemies in the game with specific strategies in mind. Thus, I’m not even sure yet if players are approaching the challenges correctly, or if it’s a failing on my part. And even if it is my fault, is it because the enemies are actually “broken”, or because I didn’t explain a mechanic well enough in game?

I was hoping to see more discussion among players about strategies: enemy weaknesses, what items to use, the best ways to use magic, the fastest ways to take down enemies. This sort of open discussion is an aspect of games that I really love, so it’s really disappointing to see no dialog at all between players. I’m really not sure what to do about it, either.

That said, I’m certainly not above applying “balance patches” in later versions of the game. If a section of the game is just not fun no matter what, then of course I’m open to changing it. However, I don’t want to “fix” anything until I have enough input to know for sure that it’s actually broken, and that players aren’t just missing something.