Gravastar Dev Progress Update : Here There Be Monsters


We are a little late with this update due to vacations and celebrating 'Murica and Freedom with illegal fireworks and BBQ'd meats. We made some awesome progess over the month of June, so strap in! Here we go! 

The Humble Slime


No JRPG would be complete without the classic slime enemy-type. Slimes, goo's, and flans are all usually monsters you meet early on, to help you get a feel for the battle mechanics without completely destroying your party. Naturally, Gravastar is following in the traditions of those who have lead the way. 

The Gobbly-Goo-a-gobbles-a-you, and the Ectoplasm is oozing with powerful Chroma magic. Both will require different tactics to defeat, so choose your Actions wisely!

Meet the Composer for Gravastar: Chris Hurn

This month we have a special interview with Gravastar composer Chris Hurn! Chris was kind enough to answer a few questions about how he got into composing and give some insight into his process and greatest influences.

Chris hurn, Sonic Mage (3.5e Prestige Class)

Tell everyone a little about yourself.

I am from a little place called Auckland, New Zealand! I recently graduated with a degree in Music Composition from The University of Auckland, and have been writing and playing music all my life. When I'm not writing I like watching films, stand up comedy, drinking way too much coffee and thinking about writing music...I also play in a synth-pop band on the side called Lightning On Me.

How did you get into composing?

When I was five years old I went and saw the Lion King. I loved the movie, but I liked the music even more. I was totally captivated and I will never forget that day - I was so moved by Hans Zimmer's score. I went home, grabbed my crappy plastic recorder and worked out all the main themes from memory. I knew straight away that I wanted to become a composer. 

How many instruments do you play?

I play the piano and guitar mainly, but I dabble in other instruments (drums/percussion, sax, harmonica, household appliances, etc.). 
I also like to sing!

Do you live with an epic orchestra? Because it sounds like you do.

Yes. And they are all my slaves!! 

I wish! For now I'm using virtual instruments, and whilst the quality is definitely getting pretty good in terms of what's available to buy, nothing beats the experience of a real orchestra playing your work.

Who do you look up to?

I'm very inspired by my favorite media composers (Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Nobuo Uematsu), but also people who just go out there, don't take themselves too seriously and just get on with it. I like people who follow their passions and take risks. Someone I look up to outside of music is Henry Rollins. He has a very intense energy, and I really like his spoken word shows. It resonates with me. 

Who are your top 5 favorite game composers?

1. Nobuo Uematsu
2. Hitoshi Sakimoto
3  Jeremy Soule
4  Jesper Kyd
5. Koji Kondo

What are your top 5 favorite game scores?

1. Final Fantasy VII
2. The Legend of Zelda - A Link to the Past
3. Metal Gear Solid II
4  Pokemon Red/Blue
5. Crash Bandicoot

So hard to choose five scores, but I've picked five that have elements to them I like to try and emulate when I come up with music. For example, the themes of Final Fantasy VII are just so fantastic, but also the variation that Uematsu is able to bring, the instrumentation, the mood, it's just a fantastic piece of work. And Pokemon - the limitations on the Gameboy were intense but here you have these extremely memorable tunes that you can totally hear orchestrated when you play along, I really dig that soundtrack.

What's coming up next for Gravastar?

I'm working on the Overworld theme and Battle Victory Fanfare music next. I've had a lot of ideas already about the Overworld music but I'm patiently waiting to see some more imagery and sprites so I can really get a good feel for it. Can't wait -  it's a really great project to be apart of, and I was honored to be approached to be on the team.

Thanks Chris!

You can check out all of the other cool projects that Chris has worked on here:

Personal Website:
Lightning On Me:

Message from the Dev

Hello, again, dear readers! It's been a little bit of a slow month, but we got some stuff ready for your viewership!

Some news from the code-front. We've got animations for Baird ported into the battle system and synced, so now you get the awesome real-time feedback of seeing Baird slice up some enemies! AWESOME!

Also, we've got the menus all prettied up for you, so now you can see what you're selecting as we've envisioned it.

What's coming up?

We're going to be implementing more of the super cool and secret (SEEEECRETS) battle system. Once we get that up and running, we're hoping you'll have to pick up your jaws from the ground.

Also, we've opened up a Twitter account to try to give background from the code side. We'll try to keep it updated with interesting things that we find along the way!

UI, Act lists, and animated sprites!

Animation Integration Progress

TexturePackin' 'n Sprite Sheetin'

Over the last month, we got our test animations into Unity, built our blend trees in Mecanim, and hooked the test moves up to some basic controller input. We are still animating and implementing our test animations as they are completed, fine-tuning and refining before we go into final ink and paint.

Because the main character animation is all hand-drawn, it is easily one of the most time-consuming tasks to tackle in production. Each character has 12 unique moves, as well as all of their other animations like idles, getting hit, casting Chroma, etc. Luckily, we have amazing tools like Toonboom Animate Pro and TexturePacker to help us streamline the cleanup and iteration process.

That about wraps it up for the June Progress Dev Update! Over this next month, we will be fine-tuning our battle flow and implementing more test animations! 

Come with us if you want to live.

As always be sure to follow us on your favorite social media sites to get updates as they happen, and sign up for The Aetheran Alliance Newsletter up on the right.

Thanks for all of your continued support!

Until next time, JRPG fans.