Legacy of the Elder Star (Canceled)
Legacy of the Elder Star (Canceled)
A side-scrolling arcade shooter with fast, fluid mouse control, dynamic enemy patterns, weapon upgrades, tiered leaderboards, and more!
A side-scrolling arcade shooter with fast, fluid mouse control, dynamic enemy patterns, weapon upgrades, tiered leaderboards, and more! Read more
About this project
FUNDING FOR THIS PROJECT HAS BEEN CANCELLED. SEE HERE FOR DETAILS.
Become the Cosmonaut, mythic hero of the stars, and defend the universe against the Infinite Legion in this fast-paced arcade shooter featuring unique mouse-driven movement, dynamic enemy patterns, weapon unlocks and upgrades, skill-tiered leaderboards, and more!
"An intense and thoroughly enjoyable shmup experience."–Alpha Beta Gamer
"Fans of the genre should definitely be checking this game out."–True PC Gaming
"An absolute joy to look at, as well as play."–Gamers Haven
"Could be a hit in the coming year."–Fast Paced Reviews
Legacy of the Elder Star is a side-scrolling arcade shooter inspired by games like Gradius and R-Type, but with one key difference: this game is controlled entirely with the mouse.
That lets us do some cool things with our weapons and special abilities. The most obvious example is the star dash, where you just click and drag right through enemies to destroy them:
We had some questions about how that really works, so we made this explainer video that walks you through the first quest in our demo:
Most shmups (short for “shoot-em-up”) have 5-7 stages that you play back-to-back, and twenty minutes later the credits roll. We wanted to put a twist on that, so instead, we have “quests”.
Each quest is a bite-sized story, like an episode of a TV show. Some quests unlock in story order – like a TV season – and others are side quests you can run in any order. We’re shooting for around 15-20 total at launch.
We also change up the enemy patterns each time you run a quest. The overall flow of the quest remains the same, but you’ll never know exactly which pattern is coming next. We’re putting the emphasis on mastering your tools and learning a library of patterns, rather than just memorizing a fixed sequence of moves.
Before starting each quest, you’ll pick two weapons and a special ability. Over time, you’ll unlock lots of options and upgrades for each.
You get new weapons and abilities by collecting components. Some are dropped by enemies, some are found in the environment, and some require that you meet special conditions, like defeating a boss within a certain time limit or without taking any damage.
When you destroy an enemy, you earn XP for the weapon you used. Earn enough and you’ll unlock upgrades for that weapon, from simple things like increased damage or reduced cooldown, to behavior modifications like bouncing between enemies or slowing time.
LEADERBOARDS & BOUNTIES
Chasing the #1 score on the leaderboard is the standard shmup "end game". And like everything else in Legacy of the Elder Star, we’re putting a twist on it.
We’ll feature separate online leaderboards for each quest, and each leaderboard will be divided into skill tiers: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Everyone starts out in bronze, and each week we’ll graduate the top players on each board up to the next tier.
When you graduate, you’ll earn a trophy for that quest: bronze for bronze tier, silver for silver tier, and so on. It’ll take some serious skill and dedication to fill up your trophy case, and especially to go all-platinum!
Bounties are optional, challenging objectives you can complete in any quest (or across many quests). A randomized selection of new bounties will become available at real-time intervals (probably daily; we haven’t decided yet).
Clearing a bounty awards a significant score boost for the quest you finished the bounty in. Because of that, and also the fact that bounties are consumable and only restocked every so often, if you’re playing competitively you’ll want to think strategically about which bounties to clear and which quests to clear them in!
GAMEPLAY CAPTURE TOOLS
We have two gameplay capture tools in the build right now: screenshots, and animated GIF captures.
Screenshots are... well, they're screenshots. Share 'em on Twitter or something. 'Nuff said. :P
The GIF capture tool continuously records the last 4 seconds of gameplay. When you do something awesome, just press G and it'll save a GIF of your shining moment. In fact, we used that very tool to record all the animated screenshots you see on this page!
MEMORIES OF THE UNIVERSE
The universe is a place full of life… but the Infinite Legion seeks to destroy all that.
During your travels you’ll find remnants of past civilizations and shattered worlds. Cataloging these “memories of the universe” will lead to startling insights into ancient technologies, unlocking special blueprints for legendary-tier weapons and abilities.
At the dawn of time, there was only the Elder Star. When it went supernova, its atoms spread far and wide, giving birth to the Universe.
Some worlds accreted around tiny fragments of the Elder Star, called “star sparks”. On these planets, life evolved.
But then, from beyond the edge of the universe came the Infinite Legion, hunting the star sparks.
Only the Cosmonaut, the living legacy of the Elder Star and protector of the Universe, can stand against them!
The cosmos is rich with life and wonders, seeded by the sparks of the Elder Star.
All our environments are hand-painted and deeply-layered, with ambient animation and effects. We apply some procedural composition to keep things visually fresh, and soon we’ll be working on some color-shifting techniques to add even more visual variety at minimal cost.
Our soundtrack is a 100% original, modern mix of breaks and chiptune, with dashes of cinematic orchestra and ambient electronica to add drama.
Our composition approach is a little like a TV show: we’re writing a handful of key themes, then adapting those into customized scores for each episode. Right now we’re scoring manually, but in the near future we’ll integrate a proper dynamic music system so the score adapts properly to your progress.
We’re releasing on PC, Mac, and Linux (yes, Linux!) right out of the gate. And every backer tier that includes a copy of the game will get early access.
If we get greenlit on Steam (vote for us!), backers will get Steam keys, and early access will happen there too. If we don't, then we'll probably do it through itch.io at first, and look into other avenues (Humble Store, etc.) as we go along.
Most of the rewards over on the right should be self-explanatory, but let's talk about a few of them...
MEMORIES OF THE UNIVERSE
If you back us at this tier, we'll add a personal memory of your choice to Melchior's archive. After the campaign we'll send you a backer survey where you can tell us about an interesting memory you'd like to share; it could be tiny detail from your childhood, a major life-altering event, or anything in between.
We'll take your memory and adapt it into one of the many micro-stories (short passages of flavor text) you'll discover throughout your travels. Collecting enough memories of the universe will unlock in-game rewards just like every other collection in the archive.
This is a pretty experimental thing for us, but if it goes well then together we'll all fill Melchior's archive to overflowing with powerful and diverse memories of life and love: the very things the Cosmonaut, and all of you, will fight to defend.
If you back us at this tier, you'll get a digital soundtrack and a digital art book/strategy guide combo, in addition to everything in the MEMORIES OF THE UNIVERSE tier.
We'll have more info on the digital art book soon, but the basic idea is that we'll showcase a bunch of concept art, in-game assets, screenshots, and key and promo art in a beautifully-laid out digital book, and we'll infuse that with in-depth strategies, secrets, and behind-the-scenes developer commentary of the sort you'll remember from the old Prima and BradyGames strategy guides back when you were a kid.
...unless you're a kid now, in which case you probably have no idea what we're talking about. God, we're old. :(
If you back us at this tier, you'll not only get the king's ransom of wonders included in the FIRST SPARK tier, but we'll also send you a signed and numbered copy of our official promo poster:
It's 18x24" printed on high-quality poster stock with a gloss finish, and suitable for framing... which we totally recommend, as it looks awesome framed!
LEGACY OF A YOUNGER STAR
If you back us at this tier, we'll take your memory from the MEMORIES OF THE UNIVERSE tier and upgrade it into a full-blown quest about its discovery.
Some time after the campaign, we'll get some additional information from you to figure out how best to write and design your personal quest to get the best impact out of your chosen memory. This will take some creativity – it's still a shmup, after all – but it's not so different from the kind of thing we're already doing to write our other quests.
Only a few of you will get to etch your memory so brightly into the stars. We look forward to making your acquaintance. :)
"This colorful shoot-them-up demo offers a glimpse of what could be a hit in the coming year." –Fast Paced Reviews
"Legacy of the Elder Star sounds like it has massive potential." –Gamers Haven
"There are times where you find little gems hidden among the smorgasbord of games... and when you do it’s great. Meet Legacy of the Elder Star." –DigiSpun
We've demoed Legacy of the Elder Star at a bunch of public events over the last year, gathering feedback and refining our design.
- Salt Lake Comic Con, September 2014
- Crimson Carnival, February 2015
- Teen Hackathon, March 2015
- Utah Scouting Expo, May 2015
- ToshoCon, July 2015
- Salt Lake Gaming Con, August 2015
We've enjoyed universally positive reception at these events, which is a big part of the reason we're now confident enough to bring the game to Kickstarter!
JOSH SUTPHIN – DESIGN, CODE, AND MUSIC
Josh has worked in the games industry for eleven years. Most notably, he was a designer on the PS3 reboot of Warhawk, and lead designer of its spiritual successor, Starhawk. He founded Kickbomb Entertainment in early 2013, did contract work for a while, then started Legacy of the Elder Star later that same year.
Josh is also a co-founder of the Utah Games Guild, an organization dedicated to growing and supporting the indie game dev community in Utah.
ERIK EXETER – ART AND ANIMATION
After getting hooked on making video game mods in high school, Erik went to Salt Lake Community College to learn animation, illustration, and 3D modeling. He then contributed to a few small animation startups before joining Sensory Sweep Studios as a production and concept artist for video games.
After a few years there he decided to take a hiatus to sharpen his basic drawing, sculpting, and painting skills, while reconnecting with his love of the mountains and snowboarding. He now works as a freelance artist in the games industry, and is the principal artist on Legacy of the Elder Star.
- Website: elderstargame.com
- Twitter: @elderstargame
- Facebook: facebook.com/kickbombentertainment
- Tumblr: elderstargame.tumblr.com
We’ve worked together on Legacy of the Elder Star for just over a year now, and today we have a build with solid core gameplay and a handful of weapons and quests we’re pretty happy with, as well as a battle-tested toolset and development process for churning out new content fast.
Our next steps are to implement the other game systems – weapon unlocks, Melchior’s archive, the bounty system, and the online leaderboards – and then build out the rest of our content – weapons, enemies, quests, and bosses. And that work is what we’ve come to Kickstarter to raise money for.
What do each of those labels mean?
- Art: This part of the budget covers Erik's expenses so he can work full-time on art production.
- Taxes & fees: Kickstarter takes 5%, Stripe takes about 3%, and we'll have to pay income tax on the part of the budget that won't get spent until after the new year. We also accounted for a small percentage of declined credit cards here.
- Marketing: Ad buys, press releases, stuff like that.
- Overhead: Regular monthly business expenses for things like our accounting service, web hosting, software subscriptions, etc.
- Rewards: Fulfillment costs for backer rewards, including printing, packing, and shipping. (This is a "worst-case" estimate that assumes we sell out of all physical rewards.)
- Safety net: A little slush fund to cover unexpected expenses and anything we forgot.
Why isn't programming, design, or music accounted for?
Josh handles all of those, and he's covering his own expenses with personal savings so he can work full-time on the game until we ship.
The Kickstarter money is primarily to cover Erik's expenses so he, too, can stay focused on Legacy of the Elder Star full-time.
What about [this other thing] or [that other thing]?
We actually created two budgets: one "critical" (which you see above) and one "stretch". The critical budget covers everything we absolutely cannot ship the game without. The stretch budget includes everything else.
We classified things like localization, conventions, and travel as "stretch", because technically we can still ship the game without them.
Having a stretch budget allowed us to keep our critical budget as low as possible, to increase our odds of funding successfully and thereby actually shipping the game.
What happens if we don't reach our funding goal?
We'll still have 2-3 months to try to come up with the money by other means: angel investors, publishers, business loans, etc.
If that doesn't work, we'll have to pick up some contract work for a while to replenish our savings. That would slow down development of the game dramatically, potentially pushing our release well into 2017.
What happens if we over-fund?
We celebrate! And if we make enough extra, then maybe Josh even gets to start paying himself again. <3
Actually, the first thing extra funds will go toward are the items in our "stretch" budget: things like convention appearances, localization, etc.
We'll talk about our stretch budget and stretch goals if and when we get close to being funded. For now, we have two basic principles in mind:
- Stretch goals shouldn't delay the release of the game. That means either a) they're accomplished by hiring one or more people to work in parallel with us, or b) they result in content or features that can legitimately be released as add-ons some time after the game's official launch.
- Stretch goals should be developed with feedback from the community. We could come up with a bunch of random stuff and assign arbitrarily big numbers to it, but we'd rather see what y'all actually want, and work out stretch goals that make sense and have real value for everyone.
Where did all the cool screenshots go?
Sorry, we know: that was a big ol' wall of text. We wanted to explain our budget decisions in detail so you know where we're coming from, and because a lot of Kickstarters, well... don't.
But you're awesome for having read all of that, so here you go! :D
Risks and challenges
Our primary risk is the same as with any small team: there are only two of us, so if one of us gets hits by a bus, the project might not be able to recover.
We do have some features — like the weapon unlock system – that we haven’t implemented and validated yet. There’s always a chance those systems could turn out to suck, which would force us to redesign them, and that extra work would eat up more time and money.
Our unique approach to online leaderboards will be uncharted territory for us. There’s certainly a possibility that it’ll turn out to be technically infeasible, or a much larger undertaking than we think it’ll be.
We're building the game in Unity, and since that's a closed-source third-party technology, there's always the slimmest chance we'll run into some showstopper bug that we can't work around and that's not high on their priority list.
And finally, there's always the possibility of some external delay impacting our schedule. This would mostly affect the distribution of physical rewards and includes things like a giant snowstorm grounding the plane that was supposed to bring you your poster. Or, like, everyone at UPS going on strike, because reasons.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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