Foreword

This one's been a long time coming.

Greetings. I'm Mike Prinke, technical designer and director of StarCaster, a space opera RPG that I've wanted to put together ever since I started learning to develop games. 11 years later it finally begins with this dev blog.

What This Game Is

StarCaster is an RPG following the story of three outlaws: Nick Caligo, a bounty hunter from the rough end of space; Christina Temran, a con artist technician with a flare for elaborate heists; and Ariel Nova, a street performer and one-time cybernetic guinea pig who harbors a secret power. Together onboard the eponymous ship, the StarCaster, they bag bounties, hunt for treasure, pull heists, and generally get themselves into trouble as they find themselves on the trail of a venemous conspiracy that threatens those who live under the Imperium of the First Star. It's a little bit of space-fantasy, a little bit of cyberpunk, and a whole lotta' action!

The long and short of it is that this is a classic JRPG following a sort of Robin Hood story in space. Think Final Fantasy meets Outlaw Star and you'll have an idea what we're aiming at... although maybe in some sense it's more apt to compare it to a meeting of Phantasy Star on the Sega Genesis with The Fast and the Furious. There's a range of anime and RPG influences behind it, but one way or another it's a kind of high-tech, low-life space adventure full of mysteries and daring capers that we've always wanted to play but never gotten to, built in a traditional JRPG format with a few unique twists to get the user into the "sufficiently advanced" setting.

Who We Are

We are a team of game developers with a love of interactive storytelling, coming together to create a project that will make us proud.

I myself have 6 years and counting of experience as a technical designer in the service of RPGs and adventure games of one sort or another, with some of the titles I've worked on including WayForward and Amazon's Til' Morning's Light and, more recently, Terrain of Magical Expertise, which I've been co-directing with Chris Niosi. Workflow architecting is my specialty. My ideal is to make the act of building games feel just a little bit more like how we all imagine it feeling, as opposed to the technical nightmare we so often have to wade through. So far I've found a lot of success in that approach as the tools and processes I build have helped many teams overcome the technical barriers between them and their creative goals -- often on a tight budget.

Adam Price, my writing partner and co-designer, has a professional background more so in web development. Prior to that, however, he also worked in video games as a technical artist, and he himself has a formal background in game design that matches my own. With an emphasis on playful humor and character-driven storytelling, his sensibilities have gone a long way in fleshing out the cast and tone of the game, and his mission is to ensure that you feel the characters not only through writing, but through their play styles and the unique ways you interact with them. Whereas a lot of designers will often try to champion either gameplay or narrative as if they were somehow mutually exclusive, we believe that narrative-oriented games are greater than the sum of their parts when the mechanics support the story and vice-versa. That is the sensibility that Adam will be championing.

In time I hope to introduce a few others who've been helping us along with StarCaster so far, but suffice it to say there's more than a few people who've heard about this dream project of ours over the years and showed some interest in seeing it become real.

What's Ahead?

At this point we've nailed down the basics of StarCaster's design and a few key elements of the story and setting -- now comes prototyping. Over the coming months we're going to steadily build and test our ideas and share how they progress, then gradually incorporate them into the main game as we find successful game systems on top of some essentials. Note that this isn't a project in "full swing" so much as a hobby project for the time being, as I'm still focused on Terrain of Magical Expertise as my main project. However, it is my goal to have a solid demo showcasing the intended direction of StarCaster sometime in the near future, and we will be very interested in trying to grow the team.

Keep looking to the sky, and look forward to more updates soon!

About Michael S Prinke

Mike Prinke is a video game technical designer with six years of experience, his past credits including 'Til Morning's Light, Adventure Time Puzzle Quest, Cryamore, and Terrain of Magical Expertise.

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