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A member registered Jul 16, 2014 · View creator page →

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Legacy of the Elder Star launched on Steam today for PC, Mac, and Linux!

It's been a long road, through PR challenges and a failed Kickstarter to a strong MAGFest showing and a successful beta program. It's taken a lot to get here, and we're incredibly proud and excited to finally get to share Legacy of the Elder Star with the world. :)

A non-Steam version (including here on will be available in a few weeks. Right now we're relying on the Steam API for leaderboards, achievements, etc. and I still need to replace that with a platform-agnostic solution (incidentally, if you have any recommendations for reasonable secure and affordable third-party leaderboards, I'd love to hear them).

We showed at MAGFest last weekend, and it was insane. :o

Legacy of the Elder Star was accepted into one of six 24-hour slots in the indie hall, which means I needed to have the booth up and running for 74 hours straight, from noon Thursday to 2pm Sunday. I say "I" because we couldn't afford to fly Erik (my artist) out with me, so I had to transport, set up, man, and tear down the booth on my own.

I just posted a massive article about how I did it. It includes loads of details, photos, links to all the specific equipment and supplies I bought, analytics reports, and a full cost breakdown.

Most conventions don't run 24 hours a day, but the stuff I had to do to make it work for this one – booth security and special build features – will actually yield great benefits for all our future shows, because if nothing else it lets you walk away from the booth for a few minutes without worrying that all your stuff will disappear or your build will go up in flames. ;)

Hopefully it might benefit some of y'all as well!

Those are such beautiful games. This is high praise! Thanks a ton. <3

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It's official: we're launching on Steam in April! Windows, Mac, and Linux. Here's our store page if you want to follow/wishlist the game.

We'll be launching here on at the same time, and purchases will include Steam keys.

We also published a couple new trailers recently:

Story trailer:

Gameplay teaser:

If you happen to be press, you might be interested in requesting preview keys or grabbing our presskit.

There's still some dev left to do on the game (obviously) but I'm starting to shift into much more of a marketing focus and, y'know, it's terrifying because I have no idea what I'm doing.

Yeah. Shocked

We added a couple rad new gameplay elements to flesh out the fourth stage. Spinners change your relationship with screen space, forcing you to move your engagements in an arc ahead of the beam:

And our new stage boss, unofficially known as Robot Space Hydra (^_^) literally throws crap at you with its space hydra arms. (It also has another surprise in store that we won't spoil here!)

We've built the environment and first-pass gameplay for our fifth-and-final stage:

This stage takes place amidst the Infinite Legion's fleet, and through Clever Videogame Trickery™ we've created the sense of immersion in a vast fleet stretching far into the distance. I took a relatively "calm" screenshot here to better show off the background, but rest assured this level plays as intensely as you'd expect a shmup's final stage to play!

We've made some design quality-of-life improvements, too. We added detentes to bosses' health bars indicating the thresholds at which they'll break into their next damaged state. Crossing these thresholds causes a burst that captures all onscreen enemy bullets, which – if timed correctly – grants both a tactical scoring opportunity and a chance for a clutch escape from an overwhelming pattern:

And by long-standing popular demand, we added a health extend feature. Now you'll get back one lost hit point at every 20M-point interval. (Right now a very good 1cc run is averaging about 50M.) We also changed HUD messages to a more bold, graphic style, as seen here for the first time:

Coming soon...

We're working on a new, extended trailer for MAGFest which we hope to be able to share very soon. This will be our first trailer to properly address the game's story (plus plenty of gameplay, of course!)

We're about 95% of the way to both feature- and content-complete right now, and we'll be moving into postproduction imminently. We expect our MAGFest build to be a solid beta, and we're very close to being ready to announce a hard launch date. Stay tuned!

Legacy of the Elder Star has officially been accepted to the MAGFest Indie Videogame Showcase (MIVS) at MAGFest 2016!

We'll be at the Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center February 18-21, and we'll have the complete story mode available to play from start to finish. In fact, we're expecting to achieve our first complete internal playthrough later this week, which gives us plenty of time to test, balance, and polish!

Now to start working up our booth design...

Posted a new dev diary today. Here's the highlights...

We've achieved a significant milestone: every weapon and special ability in the game is now implemented! The last one is what I like to call COMET BUDDY:

This little guy bounces between targets in a chaotic dance of seek-and-destroy. It's got a time limit, but it gains a tiny bit more time for each kill, which positions it for strong crowd control (with long, satisfying combos!) while keeping its power in check against bosses.

We've also added a chargeable plasma cannon and deployable star mines, plus a new enemy missile attack that creates an AoE you have to dodge. There's a new WIP soundtrack for the final stage (which I'm starting work on today) and some fresh hot load screens (so exciting) but I'll just have you click over to the blog post so I don't totally flood this thread with media.

I should hear back from MAGFest within the next few days whether we get to show the game there next month. Fingers crossed!

And I haven't contacted any publishers yet, because I'm still so indecisive about that. Ugh.

For Unity users, Moments is a fantastic, free plugin which automatically and continuously records the last N seconds of gameplay and dumps that buffer to a .gif on-demand, asynchronously in the background without interrupting your game. You can easily configure the length of the buffer, the frame rate, the resolution, and the amount of color compression.

I integrated it into Legacy of the Elder Star in about ten minutes; it runs constantly in the background during gameplay and saves a Twitter-friendly .gif of the last 4 seconds whenever you hit G. All the animated gifs I've posted on the official website, our page, our social media accounts, and even the super high-res ones we put on our (now-defunct) Kickstarter page, were all captured using Moments.

I'm glad that talk is helping some folks. Figuring out how to describe that paradigm shift from traditional OOP to Unity-style CA was really hard, especially since I don't actually remember how I made that shift myself. >_>

The original prototype was actually on iOS, and the control scheme over there works great (aside from a certain amount of touch occlusion, but that's unavoidable with continuous-input mobile games). I chose to launch on desktop first, though, because as an unknown dev with an unknown game I see a better chance of reaching a market and making money there than on mobile, where it all seems to be about huge advertising budgets nowadays.

Once (if) the game gets a little bit popular on desktop, a mobile port will be on the table for sure. I'd also really like to hit consoles, but I haven't figured out yet how to translate the 1:1 mouse controls over to a thumbstick in a legitimately playable way. I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually, but solving that problem just isn't very high on the priority list yet.

What is it?

Legacy of the Elder Star is a side-scrolling shooter in the tradition of Gradius and R-Type. You play as the Cosmonaut, an eternal cosmic hero who must fight the robotic Infinite Legion to rekindle a dying star.

There are two unique mechanics that set the game apart:

  • You control the Cosmonaut with 1:1 mouse movement. That grants a speed and precision of control you can't get from a thumbstick, and we make use of it with special attacks like the star dash, where you click and drag through enemies to destroy whole patterns in a single, graceful gesture.
  • Our gameplay sequences are procedurally composed. Note that I didn't say procedurally generated. Every enemy pattern is hand-authored, but we randomize their selection each time you run a stage. You can still get a feel for each stage's unique gameplay style and assortment of patterns, but you never know exactly what's going to happen next, which keeps things fresh for much longer than your traditional shmup.

Ok, devlog time!

Earlier today I posted a big ol' update on our progress during November. It included stuff like our new battleship boss:

Our new stage 2 environment:

Our new carrier boss, which is cool in that it doesn't actually have any guns at all; it fights entirely by spawning randomized waves of enemies and throwing in a really aggressive ramming attack from time to time:

In the full post on our site there's also a preview of a new music track which AFAIK I can't embed here (Soundcloud?) and a couple other things.

Oh, and our biggest news: we recently applied to show at MAGFest in February and we've passed the first round of judging and just submitted a playable build for the second/final round! Fingers crossed that we'll get a booth there, because that'll probably be right around the time we actually launch the final game and that would be an amazing launch opportunity. \o/

Right now I'm researching whether or not it makes sense to partner with a publisher, and if so, who. I started a reddit thread about it which has already gotten some good replies. I'd love to hear from any of you about it, and some of you might find the discussion over on reddit interesting too.

I'm Josh, ex-AAA developer (former lead designer on Starhawk), founder of Kickbomb Entertainment, and co-founder of the Utah Games Guild. Right now I'm working on a mouse-driven side-scrolling shooter called Legacy of the Elder Star. (Here's its page.) I do all the design, code, writing, and music, and Erik Exeter does all the art and animation. We're just a couple months out from release and I'm currently stressing about how best to handle QA and whether or not to partner with a publisher. Game development! \o/