Stardust Vanguards has been Greenlit and is coming to Steam!

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Stardust Vanguards was greenlit on Steam! The game will be released on Steam very soon , hang tight while we finalize everything and we’ll let you know as soon as release date is ready! Special thanks to everyone that’s supported our team and the game. We definitely owe you guys and gals. I cannot express enough how grateful we are for your support.

Hang tight! We’ll be back with more news very soon!

Ten Fun Facts About Stardust Vanguards

Fun fact #1: The green character was designed to be the average most relatable character. He’s essentially our “everyman.” The green color was our default color since it was the first and only player color in the game’s early prototype against the still ever-so-manly pink/magenta space pirates. And going one step further, all of our default sprites utilize that green color which we change depending on the team you pick.

Fun fact #2: The blue character is gender neutral. The character’s sex is intentionally left vague, as well as the character’s voice overs utilizing a blend of both male and female voice takes blended and filtered on top of each other. The character’s oxygen mask also serves to hide his/her identity. Beyond that, if you pay special attention to Blue’s in-game player avatar, when the character dies an x-ray image of its skull quickly pops up showing quite a number of augmentations implying a lot of technological modification, maybe even ascending the character beyond a mere human.

Fun fact #3: The game’s initial prototype was built in Construct 2 then once its concept was proven, redone in Unity. Construct 2 is a speedy little game development application and while it excels at HTML5 development it couldn’t quite utilize the power we were looking for. Unity was our engine of choice to get the type of gameplay we wanted to create. Combined with solid performance across the board and plenty of porting options, we made our decision to use Unity. Still, Construct 2 remains a very solid and useful prototyping tool for our team since it helps quickly test design ideas to make sure they work in principle.

Fun Fact #4: You may or may not have noticed… players oddly have 11 bullets by default when they spawn in. We figured we needed to turn it all up to 11. In all seriousness, 10 bullets was initially the number of choice, but the UI just didn’t look pretty in its current form with only 10 bullets. So we added one last bullet to make sure it all lined up properly. A single bullet is certainly a powerful tool in Stardust Vanguards, but after testing it didn’t make too much of a difference in battles so we left it in.

Fun Fact #5: Everyone knows you can deflect bullets with your sword. So what? Well, what happens during those moments is that the sword strike doubles the projectile’s speed! That means the bullet is going crazy fast when you deflect it back. About the only way to avoid a reflected bullet is to utilize your dash. The deflections were added in as a way to lower the dominating power of the player’s guns. With deflections being a powerful counter-attack to bullets, it really helps balance out the ranged power of projectiles. You’re taking a risk firing bullets so use your guns wisely and strategically. And if you manage to deflect an already deflected bullet, the speed of the projectile that returns back may very well be something you can’t dodge: an instakill. In the event that you’re able to even do that you flat-out deserve the kill since managing such a deflection is beyond challenging. For what it’s worth, during our own development tests we only managed to do that once or twice over hours and hours and hours of internal playtesting while intentionally attempting it. So it’s an extremely rare occurrence and it’s probably even more rare that you could even hit someone with a deflected-deflected bullet.

Fun Fact #6: All teams were supposed to be named after stones. The green faction is the “Emerald Coalition.” Our blue faction is the “Azure Singularity.” And our yellow faction is the “Amber Federation.” Well, except for the red faction who goes by the moniker the “Scarlet Kingdom.” The obvious choice for red would have been a ruby stone, but it just didn’t have the same ring to it that the term scarlet did so we went ahead with that instead. This also factored heavily into the team’s player selection insignias. The “Scarlet Kingdom” is aiming to be a more traditional, honor-driven faction so it’s insignia utilizes a sword and lion crest. The green team aims to be more of a modern military power. The blue team is a society that has fully embraced technological enhancement. The yellow faction was designed to be a group of rag-tag rebels with hearts of gold. Hopefully the insignias kind-of demonstrate that, and it may likely go unnoticed, though there was a lot of careful planning to make sure the colors, names, and insignias matched their personalities in that regard.

Fun Fact #7: The game’s title early on was “Zero-G Aces.” The name was changed just days before we publicly announced the game.

Fun Fact #8: The game uses 634 sprites total. From least to greatest the sprite distribution breaks down like this: 02% are enemies, 08% are player character animations, 09% are background art, 35% are UI elements, and a whopping 46% of our sprites are devoted to FX art like sparks and explosions. So that means just under half of all of the game’s assets on the art side of Stardust Vanguards were effects animations. When you think about the course of a battle though with everything¬† happening it makes sense, though admittedly seeing the numbers can be a bit jarring. The game’s visual style really depends on those loud, bright sparks and explosions. In fact, I think you could largely define the style in Stardust Vanguards by that giant brightly colored glare that occurs when a player dies. Going a bit further, there are a lot of extra details in those explosions including sparks, debris, small plumes of smoke, large plumes of smoke, and plenty of bombastic speed lines to draw your attention to really important big explosions (like for capital ships and transport ships). Even simple bullet hits have potentially 7 different spark animations that can play, which we choose 2 to 3 randomly and rotate them randomly on each hit to make them look more diverse and further define the game’s bright style. It also helps make kills and hits feel oh-so satisfying when you finally nail a baddie with the perfect shot. And our shielding effect for newly spawned players has a lot of special animations going on, too. Almost ten animation can play when a bullet hits a shield and while its a subtle addition, it helps add to the dynamics of the visual presentation, in addition to the boot up and fracturing animations the shield does. Suffice to say, it’s all integral to the game’s visual style and without the in your face, over the top effects, the game wouldn’t have the same style.

Fun Fact #9: The game converts analog input into digital to ensure a retro feel when using a thumbstick. Furthermore, this make the d-pad and thumbstick options equally viable as a means to play the game so no-one has an advantage over another player just because they learned (or prefer) the game with a specific control method. While we know it’s a bit unusual to downgrade things like digital controls, we had to make a few compromises to achieve the tight, precise controls the game required. From the onset of development we were committed to making the game play solidly.

Fun Fact #10: Last but certainly not least, there are approximately 28,000 lines of code lovingly coded into Stardust Vanguards.

Stardust Vanguards Development Complete!

Development on Stardust Vanguards is 100% done! Exciting huh?

So here’s the low down on what’s going to happen from here ladies and gentlemen. What we had hoped is that the game’s Steam Greenlight campaign would have been prepped and ready for a Steam launch by now, but our Greenlight campaign looks like it won’t make it in time for the game’s release. That makes us sad pandas! We’re still looking for those oh-so important yes votes (so vote vote vote), but in the meantime, what we’re going to do is launch anyway just on a different distribution service outside of Steam! I know a lot of people we had talked to were really looking forward to having the game available on Steam, and a Steam release very well could be a possibility at some point in the near future assuming we can garner the votes, but right now we just want to get the game out into the wild and into your hands while we continue acquiring votes on Greenlight. If you haven’t voted and like Stardust Vanguards please help the game in that regard, just because we’re releasing outside of Steam first doesn’t mean we’re turning our back on Steam by any means!

We’re looking into distribution methods right now. There’s some stuff to attend to on the business side of things so there’s a little bit of work on our end to facilitate all that, but the game is finished and we’re working to get it out as soon as possible!

Upon launch we’ll also make the soundtrack available too via Bandcamp, just like the old Heaven Variant album from last year. This service is safe and really cool because you can download the audio in any format you want, from MP3s to lossless FLAC files, and anything in between. So look for that too if you’re into that sort of thing. And in case you missed it, we also have the soundtrack available for listening for free over in our Youtube channel.

So this is our big update to let you all know where things are going! Sorry for the delays in getting the distribution handled. Our game plan had changed just a little with the Greenlight slowness, but just hang in there with us!

And just to clarify, we’re still going to aim to get released over Steam, but that’ll just have to take a bit of a backseat to our launch now that the game is completed. In the meantime what you can do to help Stardust Vanguards is to tell your friends, help us spread the word across the internet, and drop the game’s Greenlight link to anyone you might think would be interested in this kind of thing.

We’ll definitely make a big racket so you know when the game will become available. Drop us a line on Twitter or Facebook and let us know what you think!

Stardust Vanguards Preview over at Manly Gamedays

There’s a really great preview article about Stardust Vanguards over at Manly Gamedays. Special thanks to Stanley K for the in depth look at the game.

Definitely make sure you check it out. [LINK]

And don’t forget Stardust Vanguards is still battling it out on Steam Greenlight, so make sure to vote and tell your friends!¬† Big news coming up soon. The game is nearing completion and we’ll have information on how the launch is going to roll out very soon.

The GigaBoots Guys Do a Stardust Vanguards Quick Play

So with our press demo out in the wild, we’re starting to get some really great battles showing up online. The strategies emerging are just as unique as all the players in the battle. In this video in particular you can see how even just hanging back and letting your reinforcements harass other players can be a perfectly viable strategy. You’re your team’s commander in Stardust Vanguards so use those reinforcements!

Special thanks to the guys at GigaBoots for checking out our early press demo. (And please forgive the bugs, we’ve already ironed them out!)

In other news, our Steam Greenlight campaign is moving, but we still need more votes, and we’re getting ready to be finalized with the game very soon. We’ll likely launch elsewhere just so we can get the game into people’s hands, but we’ll let you know how everything is going to roll out as soon as we get more information!

And we also have some new game modes we want to talk about soon, so we’ll be showing off all of that stuff soon right before launch!