News:

Ego Orb in Space:

Today we would like to present to you the first Fan-Game Showcase! And it's a dilly! "Wait... What's this you're talking about?" you ask. Fan-Game Showcase is when a fan-game currently being worked on by the community, one which shows much hard work and love, is selected to be shown off and talked about at length with the developer(s). And now, take a sneak peek at...


Click title for download. Click on the thumbnails below for more screen shots.
It's Ego Orb and... it's in space!   Whoa, close one!   Nice and big now.   AHH! Heavy fire!   Don't forget your handy bottle rockets.   This might get ugly...   Is that a r-r-reward?!


This opportunity allowed us to sit down and have a talk with the project's director and sole developer, The Dave.

General Info:
This game has turned into much more than I had originally planned. That's a good thing though! I had originally planned it only to be a simple never-ending scrolling shooter type game, like The Fan Game. Anyway, I've got a lot planned for this little game gone big. I'm shooting for ten levels, each with their own unique style. They could be just space, or a planet's surface, or even the fourth dimension! I also have more assists planned, like Fobbies for example. The possibilities are endless! And maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to add some sort of multiplayer functionality to the game.

Interview:
Q: How did you come about starting this game?
A: I think the thought process went something like this: "Hm, I want to make a new game.", "What should it be about?", "What should it be like?", "How about a scrolling shooter, those are fun to make.", "It needs an Ego Orb, 'cause they're awesome.", "You know, Ego Orbs look like moons.", "I know! Ego Orb In Space!" I then proceeded to attempt a movement system I had just dreamed up. That didn't work out at all. The project then sat in the dark recesses of my hard drive for another month or so. Then one night I was talking to my friend about that crazy idea I had for a game, and all he said was, "DO IT." So I tried once more. This time I realized how overcomplicated I made things in my first attempt and easily finished the movement system. I then added in some enemies and a place holder title screen, and posted it here on the forums. It received wonderful feedback, and that's what has inspired me to continue on to what I've made today. Thanks guys!

Q: What do you think has been most difficult for you so far? Easiest?
A: Well, hm, I have to think about this one. I think the most difficult thing for me has been spriting. I'm really not that great of a spriter, at least not with big things. When I started the project, I thought it'd be a good idea to make all the sprites myself. But when I wanted to make the Super power-up, I needed a big sprite - which I'm not so great at making. I just decided to use EB's sprite. Same thing with the Spinning Robo boss, and the Octobot boss as well. Now the easiest thing... I really don't know what was easiest, most of the programming went along really smoothly. I suppose the easiest thing that I thought would be difficult was the Online Highscore system. Sending stuff via HTTP isn't as confusing as I thought it would be, and the server side stuff was pretty simple too.

Q: What are your goals for this game... what are you trying to convey to your players?
A: My main goal for the game is to make it fun as fun to play as it is to make. I know that sounds cheesy and cliché, but that's what I'm hoping for. I want it to be something that will put a smile on the player's face and have them say, "Hey, this is fun! This was totally worth the few seconds I spent downloading it!" Knowing that I've made someone's day a little brighter is what makes me happy the most as a game developer - even if I am only an amateur. Yeah, yeah cheesy and cliché.

Q: Any tips for aspiring game developers?
A: I have three big ones.
  • Never take on a big project without planning ahead. Just winging it as you go never works! Trust me, I've done that countless times, you should see all the projects I've dumped.
  • Don't get discouraged! If you're having a hard time with something, ask for help! But don't ask for someone else to do it for you, you'll never learn that way. If you really don't get it, try doing something different, or starting from a tutorial.
  • Don't burn yourself out. Don't try to pump out a game in a week or something, pace yourself. Usually, the awesomeness of a game is directly proportional to the amount of time it takes to make it.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to say about the project?
A: Well, I think I've covered everything I wanted to say. I hope you guys keep playing, and I hope I've at least inspired someone to try out making a game. Thank you all again!

If you'd like to see more "EgoOrb in Space" action or want to download the game yourself, check it out HERE.


Saturn Valley Online:

It's another Fan-Game Showcase comin' atchya! This time around there's an interview with an entire team of developers--with their own website no less. Yep, the MOTHER series is about to embark on a great adventure into the realms of online play. Introducing...


Click title for download. Click on the link below for screen shots and more detailed info.
Saturn Valley Online official website!


General Info:
SVO will be true to the MOTHER style of presentation but even more special care is being given towards environment. There will be dynamic maps and ambient sounds. Plenty of references and familiar humor as well. Enter the world of "New Morel" (Numeral, get it?) through various lobbies where you become a character in MOTHER! Get into teams of four and take on quests, or go solo just to explore... it's up to you. Oh yeah, and there is player vs player as well.

As mentioned, several people showed up for a live interview. First, some introductions.
Skye - Team Lead
Darkfrost & Walkingman* - Programming
Xander & CSWavely - Graphics
Crocket* - Environments
Achturn
*Team members that were not available for interview.

Check out the Interview at the Jump!

Saturn Valley Online is available for download NOW! The server will be up and running May 1st... Don't miss out!
Interview:
Q: What inspired you to initially take on a MOTHER related game?
A: Darkfrost: The mother series kicks serious butt.
Achturn: I actually got into this project because "Father" was down when I tried it, and I was a super MOTHER fan, so I googled "Mother MMORPG" and Skye's project came up.
Skye: Yeah, on one side I chose EB because I knew it would probably interest the whole fanbase and on the other side it's our way to keep the spirit of EB alive and hopfully get some attention of big N.
Xander: Devon showed me EB and there was something about it I immediately loved. Another game project I was working on had just died so I said I wanted to help out.
CSWavely: I actually joined this project a few days ago when I was contacted by Skye. After doing some images and such for the website, my attention went towards buildings and various sprites for SVO.

Q: There are many MMO's these days--how will this one be unique?
A: Skye: There are many MMORPGs, but do they have the absurdity of the MOTHER games? Nope.
Xander: Yeah, we're focusing more on bringing the MMO experience to an EB setting, rather then to come up with something original I think.
CSWavely: For me, I'd say that the community aspect of SVO will be great, especially for the MOTHER fans. Sure there are the Starmen.net forums, IRC and other fan areas on the web that cover all things MOTHER related, but this gives everyone a chance to play a new MOTHER experience together in real time.

Q: What sort of complications arise when working on an online game as opposed to a standard one?
A: Skye: Well, first of all, you gotta keep in mind there is more than one player around so you gotta make areas bigger, more enemies to encounter; make things such as friend lists, guilds, etc.
Darkfrost: It's quite a lot more work, but it's also a lot funner
Skye: But as it's online we gotta have some kind of "keep it family friendly" policy so there's a kick/ban system and we gotta have moderators across the globe.
Darkfrost: Programming-wise, everything has to be optimized so less information is sent, but still not be vulnerable to cheaters.

Q: Briefly describe your experience with this project. What were fun things to do? What has been frustrating?
A: Skye: For me, seeing the project grow is the most fun part. We started with a handful of people who visited the forum every now and then... Now we got an active community. In-game we started with one map with 2 houses... Now we got a big city with a total 27 maps and we got a whole world-map ready (as you might've seen on the site) The most fun part will be when I see people online during the alpha.
Darkfrost: One of the frustrating things is timezones.
Skye: Yeah. Dark, Ara & I live in EU and the others in US so sometimes it's hard to catch each other.
CSWavely: I'm on all the time anyway, ha ha.
Achturn: East Coast US, so I'm not always on the same time as everyone else.

Q: Cool features?
A: Skye: PvP is in. We'll have EB style crafts, PSI butterfly collector, Escargo Express delivery boy--things like that. And we got a special Quest system made around Picky.

Q: Any last words you wish to relate to us about Saturn Valley Online?
A: Darkfrost: Boing?
Skye: Ding!
Achturn: Zoom!



Cognitive Dissonance:

Time for another Fan-Game Showcase! If you're not familiar with it yet, the Showcase is where we take an in depth look at promising or completed, such as this (yes, you heard that right) fan-games which were developed right here by fellow Starmen.net denizens. Today we shall be taking a gander at an RPG set in the MOTHER universe. Introducing...


Click title for download. Click on the link below for screen shots and more detailed info.
Bizarre alien landscapes!   Seems to be a diverse cast of characters.   The Combinulator well... combines things. Proceed with caution!   Hmm, this place looks more familiar.  
Cognitive Dissonance official website!


General Info:
Cognitive Dissonance takes place between the first and second games in the MOTHER series; after Giegue’s first defeat, yet before Ness’s adventure. It tells a story of Giegue’s descent into madness and the wandering band of aliens who once protected the Apple of Enlightenment, in a chapter-based format similar to MOTHER 3.

As customary in the Showcase there was a brief interview with the project lead, handish2000.

View the interview here...

Cognitive Dissonance is available for download NOW!
Interview:
Q: What was your primary motivation behind creating Cognitive Dissonance?
A: Well, originally CogDis was never meant to be such an expansive project. It was going to be a little story about a few aliens and robots who fly to Earth and set in motion some of the things that allow EarthBound to happen. I was just making it so that I could spend some more time with the series before Mother 3’s translation came out. But then, I just kinda kept going… and making the plot larger and larger… and, well, this happened. This thing is massive now and much deeper than I thought it’d turn out to be.

Q: Was it difficult coming up with a story to fill in the MOTHER universe?
A: Slightly at first, but I’ve played the games so much at this point that it’s almost second nature now. About midway through chapter 2 or 3, a huge plot point suddenly came to me somehow and I knew I should put it in, that being Niiue’s role in the game. Also, I had a lot of help from a friend who quite enjoys to debate over storyline.

Q: What’s your favorite part of developing a MOTHER fan-game? The worst?
A: Oh, I love the characters and variety in places you can go. They’re very fun to work with. Suddenly, when you consider it next to the other games, having things like walking around inside someone’s mind or flying around in a silly generic UFO straight out of a bad sci-fi, these scenes don’t seem to have such trouble fitting in. That said, the most painful thing about it was definitely the engine limitations that kept me from implementing features the originals had, or made it much more difficult to do so.

Q: If you could have another year to work on it, what, if anything, would you change?
A: Definitely port the entire thing to RPG Maker XP and have some of those features I couldn’t include, such as by-pixel movement and a dash button. Other than that, there’s really not a whole lot I want to add at this point. Maybe some battle system improvement.

Q: Are there any new projects up your sleeves to look forward to?
A: …Well, yes.. but the “MoP Project” is not Mother-related, although does take a bit of inspiration from the series. I don’t have a whole lot of details to show yet, though.


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