Monthly Archives: May 2014

Another Star on Sale!

If you’ve been waiting for it, now’s your chance. Another Star is on sale for 33% off through Desura and IndieGameStand. (I’ll try to get the Humble widget to use the sale price too; it’s not automatic through them.) What’s the occasion? I need to upgrade my computer, of course! Also, it’s Memorial Day weekend here in the States, so there’s that too, I guess.

The sale price is good through June 3.

Major Computer Failure

Sorry for the lack of updates, but this has really been an all-around horrible week.

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you probably already know that I’ve been having trouble with my desktop computer. Around Tuesday or so it randomly decided that it wasn’t Direct3d compatible anymore. On a Windows machine, this of course spells major trouble. Not only does it render most games unplayable, it makes it virtually impossible to get any sort of work done. Even browsing the internet can be a chore because Windows is chugging along mostly on CPU-generated software graphics. OpenGL appears works just fine, and the display is going out correctly to both monitors, the computer just refuses to interface with or even recognize Direct3d.

I’ve tried everything. I’ve reseated the video card (multiple times), uninstalled and reinstalled the video card drivers (multiple times), installed older versions of the drivers, started up with all non-Microsoft services shut down, even messed around with the Windows registry and system BIOS. Nothing. The only thing I haven’t tried is wiping the main hard drive and reinstalling Windows, but to give you an idea of just how long it’s been since I’ve had a good system upgrade, the only Windows install disc I have is for XP service pack 1.

The entire reinstall process will take days in and of itself. I’ll have to download install all the updates to bring XP up-to-date (well, as much as XP can be), find and reinstall all my work software, reconfigure all the settings back to how they were, troubleshoot all the new issues that inevitably pop up… I’m getting worn out just thinking about it. And, while this should fix the issue, if it’s a hardware issue with the motherboard/CPU or the video card, I’ll have done it all for naught.

This has been a long time coming. My computer’s failure was inevitable, and I knew it. I’ve only had minor upgrades to my system over the past decade, mostly with hand-me-down-parts, and the last one was five or six years ago. I’ve had lots of issues with my computer over the past few years, becoming increasingly worse, and I knew it was only a matter of time before it finally gave out. It’s part of why I put so much effort into getting Another Star finished before that happened. Sales from the game were supposed to help pay for a major overhaul of my system, but that didn’t work out.

Thankfully, I still have a laptop, which despite some minor issues of its own is functional. It’s not really designed for anything other than playing DVDs and surfing the internet, but it works at least. I suppose I’ll have to be switching over to it for my main system. However, with the lack of storage space and processing power, I’m not sure how long it’s going to hold up as a work machine, especially for a freelance artist.

Only time will tell.

That CRT Effect

Among people who enjoy Another Star‘s look, one of the first things that gets their attention is the CRT effect that simulates the way old tube television sets look. It’s easily the most praised graphical feature of the game. It’s also one of the few things in the game that I didn’t program myself.

Even though I’ve tried my best to credit the original creators of the shader (cgwg, Themaister, and DOLLS), and adhere to the GPL license their work was released under, it’s still something I feel bad about because people are always complimenting me on it even though I had very little to do with it at all.

Prototype platformer screenshot, with CRT effect.

This may very well end up being my next game.

As I begin prototyping my next project, I’m seriously considering doing another game that uses the look of old tube sets. However, while you can see I’m currently still reusing the same filter from Another Star, if I decide to stick with it this time I’m going to go through the trouble of making my own from scratch. It’ll let me get a little closer to the look I really want, and I won’t feel so bad about hogging all the glory.

Prototype platformer screenshot of character hanging from ledge.

Don’t mind me. Just hanging around.

Version 2 is Live

Version 2 of Another Star is out now on all three retailers. If you own the game, you should update when you have the chance because this version of the game fixes a major save game bug that pops up if you try to delete your old saves. Here’s the full change list for version 2:


  • Official Linux support added
  • New item: Watcher’s Eye


  • Deleting saves one or three no longer deletes save two
  • Battle results now always display correct loot amount
  • Victory music no longer glitchs on repeat

Another Star Sales Numbers – March/April 2014

Let’s talk numbers!

In making Another Star, I didn’t plan for it to make enough income to live off. I’m not that niave. There are a lot of indie games out there to compete with for attention—not to mention games and entertainment in general—and going into the game’s development, I hadn’t released a game in over ten years. The game was primarily meant to pad my portfolio and generate some freelance work so I could get back on track, both financially and in regards to my career.

To that end, I was hoping for about 1,000 sales in the first three months. I didn’t necessarily expect to get that much, but it was a goal to shoot for. 1,000 sales would earn Vision Riders a little under $9,000 after fees, which I felt would be enough to proceed straight into another six month project.

However, the minimum number of sales I decided I would need was a mere 100 total in the first three months. That would give me enough to pay for a critically-needed upgrade to my aging computer, and maybe even have a little left over on the side for spending money. To reach that, I’d only need about one sale a day for three months straight. That should be easy enough, I thought.

Another Star first went on sale on 20 March, 2014. As of 30 April, it has sold only 24 copies across all retailers, and brought in approximately $217.92 (after initial fees). Here’s the raw numbers:

Another Stars sales numbers chart for March and April 2014

The gaps, of course, mean that I’m not meeting my one-a-day minimum sales. In order to reach the meager 100 sales, the game really needs to be at about twice the sales numbers that it is right now. As it stands, the game has not yet reached the payout level for any of the three retailers it’s on, which means the company doesn’t even get that money yet.

It’s certainly not the end of the world, but it is more than a little disappointing. It’s also going to make it difficult to go on, unless I start getting some really well-paying freelance stuff in the near future. But that’s another discussion for another day.

Meanwhile, here’s how the game is faring on Steam Greenlight as I write this:

Steam Greenlight Numbers for 2014

As you can see, it’s not doing too bad for only being on the service for a couple weeks now. However, it’s still lagging significantly behind where the current top 100 were at this point in their lives. The percentage of “no” votes is also a bit discouraging. As you can see, I get a lot of no votes, which I suppose comes with the territory of the game’s art style.

There’s still plenty of time for improvement, though. I’ve been putting money into marketing where I can afford to, and friends are helping me push it through Greenlight as much as they can. Hopefully next month I’ll have better news to report!