Announcing our new shoot ’em up: WESTGUNNE


We’re happy to announce our new 2D shoot ’em up project WESTGUNNE. With Stardust Vanguards now behind us, we’re moving back to a horizontal shoot ’em up! While it isn’t our older, cancelled project Heaven Variant, WESTGUNNE will borrow heavily from our previous designs. In the end , if you liked what you saw of HV’s gameplay, WESTGUNNE’s will play better and be a true realization of that game’s design, expanding on those design principles. While we are shifting the visuals to 2D, the game’s visual presentation will have much more personality and better animations since we won’t need the budget and time requirements necessary for 3D assets and animation. Plus our armor system has already become deeper since we can more efficiently piece together enemies and tweak them fairly quickly. I can already vouch for the better armor system, but we’ll show that to you soon enough. Suffice to say, we have more armor on enemies right now than we ever did in Heaven Variant, and these ships look cooler when half-destroyed to boot. We’re very excited when it’s all said and done.

So what we learned from Heaven Variant’s failure we’re applying to fully realize a modern shoot ’em up, and with Stardust Vanguards now successfully released on Steam we’re ready to rekindle the flame with our first love: shoot ’em ups!

I still offer my sincerest apology to fans that wanted Heaven Variant, it was with a heavy heart that we cancelled that project, but I want to make sure you know that we’re not going to mess this one up. We’re scaling back to 2D to one day get back to that kind of development, but we don’t want to fail ever again. Back then, we let a lot of you down, and I know a few fans may not trust us at this point, but think of it this way: we started Stardust Vanguards to get back on the saddle. And we successfully released it. We used Unity for SV, and we’ll use it for WESTGUNNE so we’re already very familiar with the toolset. We also have HV’s core design, concepts, and world to work with. So the cool thing is a lot of the heavy lifting is already prepped for us (including music, too). We’re already well into the game’s own development, too. With the shift to 2D, I can guarantee a much more precise gameplay experience than HV’s 3D visuals had, and while we will lose a little bit of the cinematic experience that a 3D camera naturally offers, I think we can still achieve a very exciting 2D experience that has it’s own cinematic qualities in it’s own right. And I think my artwork will be hell of a lot better this time around, too, with a few years extra practice! We’ll push for the best highly-animated pixel art we can. I want to be clear to say this isn’t a 2D remake (or demake) of what we had in Heaven Variant, but we are heavily borrowing from the design, visuals, setting, and, well, the titular character “Eind Westgunne” (who we still receive loving emails about regularly from a few die-hard fans telling us they miss his loudmouth ways). It’s possible a few landscapes you saw in our old trailers could make it into this game, so it could be similar, it could be different, but it is wholly it’s own project. We’re in a continuum and we’re building off of what we’ve learned. I’ll be damned sad if I can’t create a space colony destruction sequence with a blue-screen of death on the sky simulator, though. In fact, if anything, with hand-animated 2D art, I have even more control and flexibility over exactly what kind of events can be possible, much better than we ever had in 3D.

We’re lean, we’ve learned from our mistakes, we’ve successfully released a new game just a few months ago, and we’re firing on all cylinders. We’re ready for this. Let’s rock!

And one last super special shout out to everyone that’s supported STARDUST VANGUARDS on Steam and Humble! We appreciate your support and we hope you’ll take this next journey into game development with us, too! Hit us up with your comments on Twitter and Facebook!



We’ve decided to mix things up for Stardust Vanguards by implementing an immediate change to the game’s design. Announcing STARLUST VANGUARDS, a big update that transforms the original game by adding numerous saucy eroge dating-sim gameplay elements! Engage in clumsy one-sided dialog, seduce rival player locally, and enjoy the awkwardly-inappropriate-yet-ambiguous ages of our characters with the new “moe” art-style! And with our new aggressive NPC pirate classmates, this coming-of-age high-school space opera will leave you clamoring for the sultry shenanigans that only a hunky pixel spaceman’s tender and muscular embrace can satiate. STARLUST VANGUARDS is coming April 1st, 2184! Be still my beating heart!

UPDATE NOW! Stardust Vanguards V1.1 is live!


The new update is out! Steam should automatically download it if you haven’t turned off auto-updates, but make sure you grab it! We know you’ll love all the new stuff we’ve added in. We’re unofficially calling it the “Prettiness Update” largely because the extra polish that’s gone in really makes the game shine in a whole new light. It’s got some prettied-up additions and the game itself just plays a whole lot better with the new features, effects, UI enhancements, event balances, and fixes! If you liked Stardust Vanguards before, you’ll really love it now.

The coolest new feature is our new bounty target system! If a player suddenly gains a strong lead during the battle, we’ll issue a bounty awarding 50 reinforcement points for that player’s head instead of the normal 10. This new feature has been a blast during our tests and we know you’ll just love it. A giant crosshair spins down on the target and everyone scrambles to take them out. We previewed this feature at our show at SXSW earlier this month, and it was a real hit with the crowd not only because it offers a way for losing players to fight back up the ranks, but it’s such a dramatic moment when everyone stops what they’re doing and focuses their attention on a single commander with a massive target on them. It’s great and just as much fun to watch!

We also added a lot of really cool UI additions. You guys and gals asked for quicker menus and rematch options so we delivered on that. After each match you can return to the title (without seeing our logo everytime), or you can replay the same round or choose a new arena. We also wanted to give you more info while in-game without forcing you to look away from your character, so we unified the player arrow labels (you know, the ones that say P1, P2, etc.) to include both your currently earned RP as well as how much shield time you have remaining. It’s really a cool system because this new arrow will also start blinking at you when you’re at max RP so you don’t forget to call your valuable reinforcements into battle.

There’s also a ton of new explosion effects, UI enhancements (better win screens and windows), fun extras (like dry firing your gun when it’s empty), and a bunch of balances and fixes. Check out the entire changelist in my last post get the full picture on every change we made. And yes, each robot’s eyes glow on the character select screen now because… that’s clearly a very important thing to add in an update. The one thing you can take away from this update is that we want to make Stardust Vanguards the best it can be, and a lot of the more superfluous extras are a labor of love to make the game the best it can be.

Make sure to drop us a line on Twitter or Facebook and let us know what you think of this new definitive version of Stardust Vanguards!

STARDUST VANGUARDS V1.1 “Prettiness Update” Coming This Week!

Hello ladies and gentleman! The V.1.1 “Prettiness Update” will be available by midweek as a free update for everyone that’s already purchased on Steam and Humble, so keep an eye out for that! We added a whole bunch of improvements that people asked for like rematch options and quicker menus. Plus we added a new bounty system, as well as a lot of extras, fixes, and balance adjustments that give the game a much more solid feel. You’ll have to check it out because it almost feels like a new game. In the meantime take a look at the entire v1.1 changelist:


  • New “BOUNTY TARGET” feature added
  • Added post-game and pause rematch options
  • New UI enhancements across the board
  • New in-game player-arrows now display RP and remaining shield duration
  • Added visual cues when a player charges reinforcements or has max RP
  • All win screens have been overhauled
  • Empty guns can now be dry fired
  • New visuals for battle start and end
  • The title screen has been enhanced
  • Returning to the title and transitioning through menus is quicker and more polished
  • Character select now has a confirmation launch screen
  • Players now join different teams sequentially when joining in at the character select
  • Mecha eyes now glow on the character select
  • A random music track will now play for each new battle
  • Post-battle kill screen now counts up player kills
  • Added a scoreboard for all game modes
  • Overhauled all +RP notifications
  • Players will gloriously explode when eliminated
  • VIP ships will gloriously explode when assassinated
  • Players have a new 2D lens-flare glimmer animation when spawning or dying
  • NPC capital ships now have a large glimmer animation when exploding
  • Unlocks are granted when quitting the game now
  • In CO-OP MODE, players may continue fighting until all players are killed off
  • In CO-OP and CONQUEST MODE, announcer will count down lives/time remaining
  • SPACE BALL announcer audio has been tweaked to be more versatile
  • SPACE BALL MODE dynamically balances base positions based on number of teams
  • Engine burnout cooldown has been significantly decreased
  • The shield has been made much more responsive and quicker to activate
  • Pirates have been removed completely from FAST MODE
  • The PIRATE VIP ASSASSINATION event has been made significantly easier
  • Removed two incompatible stages from SPACE BALL MODE
  • Fixed a few bugs with the shield timer remaining on screen
  • Fixed reported resolution overdraw issues
  • Numerous minor fixes

We’ll be at the SXSW 2015 Game Expo this weekend!


Hey ladies and gentlemen! Jason here just letting you know me and Simon will be at SXSW 2015 this weekend at the Palmer Events Center in sunny downtown Austin, Texas. It all goes down starting this Friday through Sunday and unlike the rest of SXSW, the game expo is open to the public. So come on down and battle it out with us. We’ll also be previewing our new “Prettiness Update” at the expo before pushing the update to everyone’s home copies of Stardust Vanguards. So look for that update coming soon, it makes the game even better.

While I’ve been calling the update the “Prettiness Update” it’s got a lot more than that to it. The new update has some cool stuff that we can’t wait to show off, including a whole slew of new visual effects, a lot of new menu items, rematch options, snappier menu transitions, and an awesome new bounty feature that helps losing players get a lot of sweet sweet RP when killing off the leading player. It’s only fair a player with a big lives advantage be worth more RP right? Beyond that we modified the player labels so at a glance, right on your character, you can see your own RP as well as how much shielding you have left. New explosions when player’s are eliminated, new indicators when you’re at MAX RP, or charging up… it’s a pretty exhaustive list of minor details that really add up to a much prettier, user friendly package! When it comes down to it, this update is a labor of love to make the game feel and play better, and we definitely think you all will love it. So if you’re in Austin definitely swing on by, check it out, and get in on the shenanigans.

We’re Working on a New Update!

Hey everyone! Thanks so much for a great launch! We’ve been listening to your feedback and are prepping for our first update. I’m just dropping by to let everyone know we’re cooking up an update that generally makes the game feel more polished, look prettier, and function in a more user friendly way. We also added a really fun new gameplay feature called “Bounty Targets!” Players with decisive advantages in survival deathmatch will have a bounty issued on them. Killing a targeted player rewards you with 50 RP if you can kill them off! That’s 5 times the reinforcement points from a single player kill since player kills are usually only worth +10 RP. It’s a really fun system that acts as both a sign of prestige for good players and as a way for players that are losing to catch back up.

We also have a lot of usability fixes and adjustments to the game’s interface and user friendliness, like prompts that you have reinforcement points available, an overhauled and unobtrusive RP meter that follows your character around, a shield indicator to know how much shielding you have left, and a few prompts to notify you when you’ve got maximum reinforcements (so you make sure and use them!). There’s a lot of smaller fixes and modifications too and we’ll have a detailed changelist coming soon, but generally speaking the game feels more polished, prettier, and user friendly. We took a lot of user feedback into account and we’re working on making the game play even better!

Timeframe should be soon-ish! Sorry for a lack of specifics, but we have to test it to make sure it works properly, but it should be available within a few weeks, tops!

We’re also gearing up for SXSW in two weeks where we plan to put our update through it’s paces! We’ll make sure to give you the latest info as things develop! And one last special thanks to everyone that’s supported us! We’re just about to near the game’s one month mark since it released and we just want to genuinely express our gratitude to our fans and supporters. Thanks ladies and gentlemen!

We Met Rami Ismail Last Night


Hey guys, Jason here! Last night me and Simon met Rami Ismail of Vlambeer fame at the Dallas Society of Play meeting. We showed Stardust Vanguards to everyone and it seemed like they really enjoyed it. Special thanks to Rami for chatting with us and helping us spread the word on Twitter. The DSOP arcade machine is genuinely a thing of beauty. We’re very grateful to have the game running on there hardware there, so again a very special thanks to Russell Fincher and the DSOP crew for having us.

And we are but mere hours away from launch! As Sir Ike says : PREPARE YOURSELF!