Dec 172014
 

Thanks everyone for the kind words in regards to the gameplay video we posted last week. Since we’ve received many questions about the game since then, we decided to put together a FAQ that collects some of the major details about the game.

Cosmic Star Heroine FAQ

When will Cosmic Star Heroine come out?
In 2015 when it’s good & done and when it’s been approved by all platform holders.

What platforms will Cosmic Star Heroine be released on?
PS4 & Vita. Windows/Mac/Linux via Steam & other PC distribution sites (like Humble Store). Also Xbox One.

Will you release Cosmic Star Heroine on other platforms besides those?
Possibly, but if we do, we won’t be adding any platforms until after we’ve already released on those.

Will you sell a physical version of the game?
From what we’ve heard, it’s become much easier to do this now that Retro City Rampage released a physical PS4 copy of the game. With that said, there’s no definite plans in this area at the moment, but we’ll definitely be looking into it at some point.

Will the game have cross-buy & cross-save on the PSN?
It will definitely have cross-buy (buy once and get both the PS4 & Vita versions). We’d like to get cross-save working as well, but we haven’t actually done so yet.

How much will Cosmic Star Heroine cost?
Most likely $10 or $15.

Can I preorder Cosmic Star Heroine?
The Windows/Mac/Linux version of the game can be pre-order from our website (http://zeboyd.com) via the Humble Store.

How long will Cosmic Star Heroine be?
We’re guessing it’ll be in the 15-25 hour range (longer than our longest game to date). We’ll have a better idea close to launch.

How many playable characters are there?
11 total. You’ll be able to use 4 characters at a time. Non-active party members will still gain XP. Some sections of the game will mandate the use of certain characters, otherwise, you’ll be able to freely pick out of the characters you have available (Alyssa stays in as the leader).

Who is making Cosmic Star Heroine?
Bill Stiernberg at Zeboyd Games (Art, Animation, Map Design)
Robert Boyd at Zeboyd Games (Code, Writing, Gameplay Design)
Chris Geehan at Hyperduck Soundworks (Music & Sound Effects)
Dan Byrne-McCullough at Hyperduck Soundworks (Music & Sound Effects)

How much music is in the game?
We’re currently planning on over 40 different songs in the game, not counting cutscene audio.

Cutscenes?
Yes, the game has a number of Sega CD/Turbo-CD inspired cutscenes a la the Lunar series.

What’s the general story premise of the game?
Alyssa L’Salle is a top secret agent for the galactic empire. While she’s on a mission, she discovers some information that the government doesn’t want her to have and so the government reveals her to the world. Will she be able to save the galaxy while everyone is out for her blood?

Will you be stuck on one planet for the entire game?
No, there are 3 main planets that you’ll be adventuring on in Cosmic Star Heroine – Araenu (kind of a cyberpunk vibe), Nuluup (nature & magic), and Rhomu (surface ruined by war with people living in underground cities).

How linear/non-linear will the game be?
Similar to the JRPGs of old, there will be linear sections of the game, as well as more non-linear sections where you’ll be able to freely explore. We have a number of fun optional quests as well that tie into character & world development and many of which take place in areas you don’t visit during the course of the main plot.

How’s combat work?
Combat takes place directly on the exploration maps (no separate battle screen). No random battles; everything is pre-set and some battles can be avoided if you manage to sneak past the enemies. Battles once won tend to stay won, however if you leave a dungeon and return, some battles will respawn (in case you want to get more XP & money).

In combat, there’s no MP. Instead, most abilities you have can only be used once until you use a Defend/Recharge move to restore everything. This encourages the player to not just spam the same moves over and over again but instead think on how best to use their whole arsenal.

Two other features closely govern combat. One, as you choose abilities, your character’s style score goes up and as that goes up, your abilities become more effective. There are also a few “Burst” abilities that you can use that will spend all of your existing style points for one massive effect. Two, every X turns, your characters will go into Hyper mode and abilities will deal double damage and ailments are more likely to work. Plan in advance to take advantage of hyper & style for combat success.

Will there be multiple character combination abilities like in Chrono Trigger, Phantasy Star, Suikoden, etc?
Yes. Alyssa will be able to perform 1-2 unique combination moves with each other character. We set it up this way both to make Alyssa more unique as the leader & because having every combination of 2 characters result in unique combination moves was overwhelming with so many playable characters.

How does the base building part of the game work?
At one point in the game, you’ll gain access to a spaceship that will serve as your headquarters. Certain NPCs can be recruited to work for you and may enhance your headquarters in various ways or give your main characters bonuses in combat when equipped as support personnel.

How’s the ability system work?
Each character can equip 7 main abilities & one defend/recharge ability at a time. Characters will also gain ability enhancers that they can equip to certain abilities to increase their potency or add effects. Abilities & enhancers are automatically learned as characters LV-Up.

In addition to innate abilities, characters can take advantage of “programs” that act as additional abilities. Which programs are available depends on the shield they have equipped and the character’s Hackitude stat.

How does the equip system work?
Each character can equip a weapon, a shield, an accessory, and a support personnel. Equipment improves stats, gives the character passive abilities, and in the case of shields and their programs, gives the character additional abilities.

How do stats work?
In addition to HP/MaxHP and your Attack power (based on your weapon) and Defense power (based on your shield), there are 4 main stats for characters in the game.

Physique – This determines the damage that your physical-oriented attacks do. It also affects your HP growth and your defense against physical attacks.
Sparke – This determines the damage that your magic-oriented attacks do. It also affects your maximum style effectiveness (100% at 0 sparke, 200% at 100 sparke) and your defense against magic attacks.
Hackitude – This determines the damage that your tech-oriented attacks do. It is also necessary to unlock more programs (based on which shield you have equipped).
Cunning – This determines the success of ailments & the power of items. It also affects your ailment resistance & gives a small bonus to turn speed.

How do ailments work?
Whether or not an ailment succeeds is not random. Based on the ability used and the character’s stats, a certain amount of “ailment damage” specific to that ailment is done – if this brings the target’s related “ailment HP” to 0, the ailment succeeds. What this means is that if an ability fails to inflict an ailment on the target, that effort isn’t wasted but instead makes it easier for future attempts to succeed.

Ailments in the game include stun (skip a turn), charm (may target allies), vulnerable (takes double damage from the next attack), enrage (targets the last person to hurt them & lowers area attack effectiveness), and disarm (lowers attack power for their next move). There is also a set of 3 ailments that are specific to different enemy types – Poison (Organic only, takes damage every turn), Rust (Robotic only, takes damage & lowers speed), and Curse (Astral only, lowers stats).

Why weren’t there very many sound effects in the demo video?
Because the game isn’t done! The final game will have sound effects in battle, actually useful items in treasure chests, and in general, be more polished than the demo we showed at Playstation Experience.

How hyped should we be for Cosmic Star Heroine?
Very hyped.

 Posted by at 2:17 pm
Dec 132014
 

It’s up! 30 minutes of footage of us playing through the Playstation Experience demo for Cosmic Star Heroine.

Note, this is still a work-in-progress. Most sound effects aren’t in the game, treasure chests have jokes instead of actual items (since we figured in a demo setting where you can’t save your progress that’d be more fun), and there are various things we plan on polishing up between now and release. Still, we think it looks & sounds pretty cool already and it’ll just get better. Hope you enjoy it! :)

 Posted by at 5:51 pm
Dec 122014
 

New Kickstarters:

Thimbleweed Park – $508k ($375k goal). 6 days left. New old-school point & click adventure game from Ron Gilbert.

Hollow Knight – $28k AUD ($35k AUD goal). 6 days left. Fantasy/insect-based Metroidvania with a cool art style.

Crossing Souls – $43k ($45k goal). 4 days left. Adventure/RPG with a Saturday morning cartoon vibe.

Theresa Duncan CD-ROMs: Visionary Videogames for Girls – $10k ($20k goal). 6 days left. A kickstarter to bring three 90′s adventure games to the Internet for free.

Prismata – $117k CAD ($140k CAD goal). 8 days left. Turn-based card-based competitive game with minimal reliance on chance or grinding.

To Azimuth – $7k ($20k goal). 5 days left. 3D puzzle adventure game. Interesting art style with dreamlike areas that come into being as you enter (a la Bastion).

Americana Dawn – $20k ($70k goal). 10 days left. JRPG set in American Revolution times. Was previously kickstarted in 2012.

Previous Kickstarters:

That Dragon, Cancer – $100k ($85k goal). 11 hours left.

Clannad Official English Release – $287k ($150k goal). 28 days left.

Recently Completed Kickstarters:

You Are Now Earthbound – $306k ($100k goal).

Lizard – $18k CAD ($12k CAD goal).

VIDEO GAMES LIVE: LEVEL 4! – $187k ($150k goal).

RETRO Video Game Magazine Year Two – $50k ($20k goal).

Ethereal – $5k ($17k goal).

 Posted by at 7:13 am
Nov 142014
 

New Kickstarters:

You Are Now Earthbound – $204k ($100k goal). 7 days left. All sorts of fan material celebrating the classic RPG, Earthbound.

That Dragon, Cancer – $40k ($85k goal). 28 days left. 3D point & click adventure game about a child with cancer.

Lizard – $11k CAD ($12k CAD goal). 13 days left. Adventure/Platformer for the NES & computers.

Clannad Official English Release – $213k ($150k goal). Translation of the famous Clannad visual novel.

Previous Kickstarters:

VIDEO GAMES LIVE: LEVEL 4! – $130k ($150k goal). 14 days left.

RETRO Video Game Magazine Year Two – $38k ($20k goal). 3 days left. Video Game magazine focused on retro games with content from many well established writers. Previous kickstarter for year 1 raised $75k.

Ethereal – $5k ($17k goal). 4 hours left.

Recently Completed Kickstarters:

Commodore Amiga: a visual Commpendium - £129k (£25k goal).

Rogue Wizards – $74k ($70k goal).

The Interactive Adventures of Dog Mendonça & Pizza Boy – $30k ($30k goal).

The Flame in the Flood – $251k ($150k goal).

Impact Winter - £21k (£95k goal).

Black The Fall - £28k (£25k goal).

Battle Chef Brigade – $100k ($38k goal).

Bedlam – $166k ($130k goal).

 Posted by at 10:01 am
Oct 302014
 

We’re pleased to announce that we’ll be showing off Cosmic Star Heroine at Sony’s Playstation Experience convention in December! If you’re attending, be sure to stop by our booth where you’ll be able to play part of the game, say hi, and talk to us (both of us will be there) and ask questions. And for everyone who is unable to attend, we’ll be sure to upload screenshots & footage soon after the event!

 Posted by at 4:44 pm
Oct 242014
 

New Kickstarters:

Commodore Amiga: a visual Commpendium - £77k (£25k goal). 18 days left. Art book with information about a lot of Amiga games. Previous kickstarter (Commodore 64) raised £35k.

VIDEO GAMES LIVE: LEVEL 4! – $94k ($150k goal). 35 days left. Goal to create a 4th album of video game music. Previous kickstarter for #3 raised $285k.

RETRO Video Game Magazine Year Two – $19k ($20k goal). 24 days left. Video Game magazine focused on retro games with content from many well established writers. Previous kickstarter for year 1 raised $75k.

Previous Kickstarters:

Rogue Wizards – $37k ($70k goal). 18 days left.

Ethereal – $3k ($17k goal). 21 days left.

The Interactive Adventures of Dog Mendonça & Pizza Boy – $10k ($30k goal). 14 days left.

The Flame in the Flood – $200k ($150k goal). 13 days left.

Impact Winter - £10k (£95k goal). 17 days left.

Black The Fall - £17k (£25k goal). 6 days left.

Battle Chef Brigade – $79k ($38k goal). 3 days left.

Bedlam – $155k ($130k goal). 20 HOURS left.

Recently Completed Kickstarters:

That Which Sleeps – $85k ($12k goal).

Elegy for a Dead World – $72k ($48k goal).

Human Resources – $384k ($1.4 mil goal). Cancelled.

No Pineapple Left Behind – $18k ($35k goal). Failed.

Blossom Tales – $20k ($45k goal). Failed.

 Posted by at 11:28 am
Oct 172014
 

New Kickstarters:

Rogue Wizards – $33k ($70k goal). 25 days left. Rogue-like + town sim.

Ethereal – $2k ($17k goal). 28 days left. Puzzle/Platformer with a spirit going through memories.

Previous Kickstarters:

The Interactive Adventures of Dog Mendonça & Pizza Boy – $6k ($30k goal). 21 days left. Action/Comedy point & click adventure game based on the comic.

The Flame in the Flood – $173k ($150k goal). 27 days left. Post apocalyptic river journey rogue-lite.

Impact Winter - £8k (£95k goal). 31 days left. Post-apocalyptic ice world survival RPG.

Human Resources – $316k ($1.4 mil goal). 18 days left.

Elegy for a Dead World – $49k ($48k goal). 3 days left.

Black The Fall - £14k (£25k goal). 13 days left.

That Which Sleeps – $60k ($12k goal). 5 days left.

No Pineapple Left Behind – $10k ($35k goal). 13 days left.

Battle Chef Brigade – $64k ($38k goal). 10 days left.

Bedlam – $95k ($130k goal). 7 days left.

Blossom Tales – $20k ($45k goal). 2 HOURS left.

Recently Completed Kickstarters:

Pinball Arcade: The Addam’s Family – $115k ($97k goal).

 Posted by at 10:28 am
Oct 102014
 

New Kickstarters:

The Interactive Adventures of Dog Mendonça & Pizza Boy – $3k ($30k goal). 28 days left. Action/Comedy point & click adventure game based on the comic.

The Flame in the Flood – $118k ($150k goal). 27 days left. Post apocalyptic river journey rogue-lite.

Impact Winter - £4k (£95k goal). 31 days left. Post-apocalyptic ice world survival RPG.

Previous Kickstarters:

Human Resources – $240k ($1.4 mil goal). 25 days left.

Elegy for a Dead World – $30k ($48k goal). 10 days left.

Black The Fall - £10k (£25k goal). 20 days left.

That Which Sleeps – $44k ($12k goal). 12 days left.

No Pineapple Left Behind – $8k ($35k goal). 13 days left.

Battle Chef Brigade – $58k ($38k goal). 17 days left.

Bedlam – $68k ($130k goal). 14 days left.

Pinball Arcade: The Addam’s Family – $108k ($97k goal). 2 days left.

Blossom Tales – $17k ($45k goal). 7 days left.

Recently Completed Kickstarters:

Pathologic – $333k ($250k goal).

Adventures of Pip – $65k ($40k goal).

Cube and Me – $7k ($15k goal). Failed.

 Posted by at 10:21 am
Oct 062014
 

Of course, this isn’t the only way to make a multi-class system, but I think these are generally sound design decisions if you want to make a multi-class system as seen in many RPGs (like FFT, Blue Dragon, Bravely Default, Wild Arms XF, etc).

1) Use slots to equip secondary abilities & passives into, thus requiring the player to make choices rather than just allow everything learned to be used at all times (encouraging extreme grinding for ultimate characters).
2) Provide enough free slots to allow creativity and prevent feeling trapped into 1 or 2 best abilities.
3) Make it so that classes give all of their currently learned abilities and passives for free while currently equipped.
4) Ensure that classes aren’t useless at base level, thus allowing for late-game experimentation & emergency switching if the player’s planned strategy fails.
5) Reveal limited previews of future abilities to be learned thus allowing for planning. However, don’t do total preview to prevent the player from becoming bored with the job system early on (maybe just the next ability to be learned is revealed).
6) Give all characters innate attributes that distinguish them from other characters, regardless of class. Examples: stat differences (major stat differences, not just mild variations), unique usable items & equipment, exclusive jobs & abilities, etc.
7) Avoid making the innate character attributes & abilities too powerful – you want them to make each character feel unique, rather than invalidate the rest of the class system.
8) Avoid truly broken combinations – primarily combinations that render the player essentially invincible or able to take infinite numbers of turns or win every battle with no risk of defeat.
9) “Sort of” broken combinations, on the other hand, are to be encouraged since they make the player feel powerful & clever for discovering them.
10) Design unique classes – not just the standard Warrior/Mage/Healer generic classes.
11) Don’t overwhelm the player. If you give the player too many options, too quickly, they’ll just pick a few favorites and ignore the rest.
12) If equipment is class-specific, save class equipment load-outs to avoid having to spend too much time re-equipping.
13) Have fun!

 Posted by at 5:10 pm