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A beautiful 2D sci-fi metroidvania about love, hope, and redemption. Gameplay influenced by Super Metroid and Dark Souls.
A beautiful 2D sci-fi metroidvania about love, hope, and redemption. Gameplay influenced by Super Metroid and Dark Souls.
3,014 backers pledged $54,007 to help bring this project to life.

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First Look: Ghost Song gameplay


The video link is down below. First, a call to action: 


Please vote for Ghost Song on Steam Greenlight!


I'll lead off by apologizing for neglecting the updates a bit. Honestly, I've been through a few transitions in terms of how I'm doing the game, and, for a time, I wasn't sure what to update with that would be concrete.

I'm gonna try to get you caught up on what's been going on. If you don't care, just scroll down and look for the youtube link. :)

Over the past months I've done things like evaluate and re-evaluate the combat mechanics and pace of the game -- Eventually coming back to the idea that the combat should be pretty fast, with twitchy dash moves, as portrayed in the original Kickstarter videos. It was always a challenge figuring out how to properly balance this, but with a little more experience comes new ideas and new approaches to things. The balance is in a pretty good spot now -- You can dash about pretty easily with "L1" and "R1" (or equivalent) buttons, avoiding damage, but doing so costs "armor" -- There's a resource in the game tentatively called "armor" -- But in effect it's more like armor and stamina together. It regenerates on its own, it's used to defend against damage and also consumed by your abilities. You can be fast and aggressive, but, as you'll see, so can enemies. The game is challenging.

Also not discussed in updates was the engine switch. I know I talked a lot about Unity during the Kickstarter period, and, indeed, an early Unity build of the game exists. The problem was it was just far too hard to be hands on. As someone trying to design a game down to exacting details, with a very specific vision, I longed for the freedom I enjoyed back in the early days with Stencyl. To those of you who aren't acquainted with me, I'm primarily an artist and designer. I just lack the knowledge, experience, or even the disposition to program a game on my own without the assistance of a scripting tool.

Some months ago Stencyl made an internal library change, from NME, to Open FL. As a subscriber, I have access to beta and nightly builds, so at some point I decided to try some experiments in the new Stencyl engine to see what was possible. I also reached out to Jon, creator of Stencyl, who has been very helpful.

Suffice it to say, after much testing and discussion internally, I decided to move the game back to Stencyl as a Windows/Mac/Linux release. The game looks and plays well, and my increased control and freedom compared to designing second-hand has improved productivity greatly. This wasn't a decision made quickly or rashly, it was made in the best interest of the game and my own sanity.

For historical purposes or for more details, you can check the original announcement I made about this matter on the Stencyl forums.

Onto the video. When it came time to decide how to go about the video and what to include, there were many ways to go about it. I ultimately decided against a tightly edited approach, because I wanted to show you all what it's like to play the game. For that, I really needed one long unedited gameplay take.

I'm one of those people who has been bandying about the "Dark Souls inspired" tag since the beginning. Super Metroid and Dark Souls. I think the Metroid influences have always been self evident, but with this video I hope to show you that I really meant it on both counts. 

This is a love letter to my favorite games of all time.



Please understand that while I have put effort into the presentation of the game, it is still very much a work in progress, and I am quite acutely aware of some minor sound glitches and a couple of ugly placeholder sounds. Please don't bust my chops too hard over it. :) That said, let me know what you think!


House cleaning:

Ghost Song website has been revamped to be more useful and less of an eyesore.

Heart Forth, Alicia This is a game made by a guy I've talked to on Skype over the past four months or so. I've followed the progress of his game and I am delighted to see that his Kickstarter is doing phenomenally well. He doesn't need my help at all, but I'm happy to give it all the same. This is a quality 'vania by a serious person, and soon persons. If you already backed GS and feel the intense urge to back something else, then I strongly recommend it. I've backed it as well.

Greenlight As mentioned, Ghost Song is now on Greenlight. Please vote for it so we can get this Steam thing finalized.

Stencyl The video you see is of the current build of Ghost Song, which was done in Stencyl. If you are a visually oriented person or new to programming it might be just the ticket.


Thanks again, guys, and feel free to hit me with your questions or comments, I'll field them as best I can. On the extremely off chance that someone will ask about XYZ console port, I have no information yet but it remains something I'm interested in!


Quick note to Paypal backers


If you donated by Paypal through our website, and your contact email address is different from your Paypal email (ordinarily I recorded the Paypal email address in my records as the contact address unless otherwise specified), please contact me at asap and let me know. Be sure to tell me what your Paypal email was as well as what your desired contact email is.

Incidentally, on a related note, in the near future the Paypal backing option will no longer be offered. Just a heads up.

Thank you!


Quick Update!


Hey guys. I try to check in with *something* at least once a month just so you know I'm still alive.

After a lot of growing pains in both the art and engine fronts, things are moving forward more smoothly now, the game is working pretty good, and the art style is 100% solidified and looking really good in high res and on a big screen.

I was looking through old stuff today, and I have a crystal clear example of how much better the game looks now as a result of the KS campaign and rebuild.

Here's an area near the surface, near the start of the game, in the original Ghost Song, pre-Kickstarter:

Original game
Original game

I was pretty happy with that at the time, I had animated particles and an animated light beam bobbing about, but we can definitely do better now!

New version -- Click for big
New version -- Click for big

It's worth noting that while in the above example we have the same room between versions, the map has changed and been generally expanded.

Anyway, moving forward, I definitely have an interest in consolidating these updates into one home and giving backers and fans of the game a place to go. Soon we'll have a better website and some forums to facilitate better and more regular communication and community. Maybe have some fun contests and stuff, too.

I plan to have this timed to go along with the video unveiling of the new game, which I hope to have ready late this month or early next (I REALLY want this milestone done before Dark Souls 2 comes out so I can have a moment to myself!). It's really just a matter of going a bit sideways, finishing out some art, and fine tuning some things so they look good in the video. The video will be pretty meaty, and take a load off me because I'll be able to stop describing the game and just let the game speak for itself. You'll all finally see what it's *really* like.

Oh, one other thing, what do you guys think of this logo idea? (top is something I made recently, bottom is original) This is a work in progress, feedback welcome.

Thanks again for backing the game, follow me on twitter because sometimes I tweet stuff!


New year and new screens


 I feel like I've turned a bit of a corner lately. There was a bit of a "mushy" time in the process for a while, where ideas weren't 100% baked and everything wasn't totally gelled -- But over the past couple of weeks, everything has really come into focus. I've figured out what's in the game, what's not, where everything is, and ironed out all the details that were a bit mushy in the past.

Crash site art, click for big
Crash site art, click for big

 I want to have new video materials as soon as I possibly can, so I've turned my attention toward working on environment art. All of the art in the game is new (basically almost nothing carried over from the old game -- just a couple tiny odds and ends) and made natively for 1080p. Incidentally, I have a 42 inch TV hooked up to my workstation and I frequently use it to test assets or test the game itself to continuously have a feel for how things look on a big TV screen. It's going to be really cool!

Please see these screens. The usual disclaimer... The game is still considered "pre-alpha" and therefore everything is subject to change. Incidentally, if you have been following me on twitter, you may have seen these because I tweet things in advance on some occasions.

Click for big versions.

Crash Site. The flowers will move and emit particles
Crash Site. The flowers will move and emit particles
This guy is in a deep sleep, but can be awakened if you're not careful. The flowers here will also be move-y
This guy is in a deep sleep, but can be awakened if you're not careful. The flowers here will also be move-y
Meet Saymund, well of knowledge and study-er of interesting things
Meet Saymund, well of knowledge and study-er of interesting things

One of my core tenants of visual design for the game is motion. This was true in the old version of the game, and even more true now. So -- Imagine layers of fog, staticy overlays, particles floating, and flowers waving gently. A thick atmospheric effect is paramount to the presentation. Nothing should appear too "static".

Why stop at screens? Well, I wish I could show you full video materials, but as things go it's just not quite ready yet.

Zombie kill. (Usual disclaimer, test case in a test environment, don't pay too much attention to the surroundings. In fact, don't pay too much attention to any of it! :))

Oh, one last thing... I've been going through a certain degree of uncertainty about the game's title logo. You may all remember this from the campaign:

There were others, though, including sort of a more "distressed/horror" style series of logos, such as this one and many variants of it: (In either case, the backwards G will NOT be in it, I've decided against that completely, don't worry)

Don't think too much about the background, but think about the logos themselves -- Do you like the old one, or something more like the new one, or do you like neither at all?

Anyway, happy new year to all, and hopefully in coming weeks/whatever I'll be able to show you the game in video form, and at that point I'll have some new things to discuss as well.

Twitter! Facebook! I post things early on those sometimes! Store!

Peace out!


Profiles: Saymund & The Reskk


Saymund of Ayon 9

A mysterious entity who wanders the moon, eternally observing, eternally studying. He aids the player by providing wisdom and insight. His identity and motives are unclear, but he is nonetheless a fountain of knowledge, eager to impart wisdom and tell stories of the history of Lorian V.

Saymund with Dizzy in toe
Saymund with Dizzy in toe

Saymund is one of the central NPCs in the game. Among other things, he is the vehicle from which backstory and lore are delivered. He frequently tells tales remotely via his droid companion, a small floating droid named Dizzy.

Encounter a curious artifact, or see something unusual in the environment? If Dizzy is with you, Saymund is never far, and he's more than willing to tell you all about it.

Reskk, The Devil Stalkers

The Reskk are fearsome warriors, the corporeal arm of the Gornah. Their origin is a mystery, but they tend to show up wherever there is any threat to the local Gornah. You will come across several during your travels on Lorian IV, usually alone, traveling the caves and tunnels, looking for the Construct. They are not interested in you and will ignore you unless aggravated, in which case they respond with deadly force.

Devil Stalkers are well protected by thick bio armor, and wield powerful blades
Devil Stalkers are well protected by thick bio armor, and wield powerful blades

Random Events

Speaking generally, using a save room will cause common enemies to respawn in the game world, as well as roll dice to determine certain chance based occurrences in the game world. Make no mistake, this is not, generally speaking, a "random" focused game, but there are a few occurrences or appearances that are based on chance that help to enrich the experience.

One type of chance based encounter are Devil Stalkers. There are a number of locations on the map where there is a small chance one can appear, this dice being rolled any time you use a save room.

Devil Stalkers are among the most powerful entities in the game. Fortunately, they are not interested in you and will ignore you unless provoked. Once spotted, they will go about their way, traveling the map, until they make their eventual exit. 

It is technically possible, however unlikely, to defeat a Devil Stalker, but doing so will require the most powerful weaponry and defenses available.

House Cleaning

- As I usually say, the Paypal store remains open to anyone who is interesting in lending their support. 

- I know some of you probably wanted to see new screenshots or animations, but I am going to be a bit stingy on new game assets for the time being, I want something a bit more polished and interesting to unveil -- Which will be at the soonest possible time. I don't want to oversell, but I think you guys will be happy once you see the game.

- I'm considering options as far as promotional ideas for early next year, especially if we go forward on Greenlight. I've stayed out of Greenlight so far because I thought it was too risky -- The idea being, if you list on Greenlight, your hands are tied and you'll have no route onto Steam until you become greenlit, which could take a long time if it even happens at all. We have had many inquiries and offers from various publishers (publishers who can provide Steam access) -- But this is an important decision with pros and cons all around. Suffice it to say, I'm less nervous about the idea of Greenlight than I once was, with my confidence in the quality of the game growing as well as confidence in our supporters.

Which leads me back to my previous thought: Would any of you be interested in participating in a game jam hosted by Ghost Song? It's something I'm considering for early next year. There'd be an appropriate theme, prizes, and other contests/fun to go along with it as well. This could potentially be a nice way to build some community as well as have a lot of fun with like minded people. (Incidentally, if you would like to be a sponsor and throw a prize onto the pile, get in touch with me directly. My direct email address is listed in my twitter profile.)

About to sign off for now -- One quick last thing. A friend of mine launched his own Kickstarter a while ago and he could really use some support. He's been working on this thing for a long time. It's kind of an interesting, Scrabble-like spin on Puzzle Quest. It's called Apexicon. If it looks like something you might enjoy, consider giving it a back or two.

Safe journeys!


P.S. So who's getting a PS4 and who's getting an Xbox One? :) I don't know a lot about PS4 yet as it pertains to Unity fees, but I've learned Xbox One will cover the Unity fees to those accepted into their Indie program. Combine that with every console being its own dev kit, and this is very interesting indeed...