Starlight Alliance Developer: Origamihero Games (Interview)

Oct 18, 2021

Starlight Alliance is a new game from developer Origamihero Games. I first discovered this developer when they released Heart Chain Kitty in August of 2021. The game visually stood out and recalled early 3D platformers. The studio released Starlight Alliance on October 13, 2021. I reached out to the developer to find out more about the size and scope of their projects.

Please tell us a little about Origamihero Games.

There’s not much going on here. It’s just me sitting in front of a computer in the room where the game consoles and the scratching posts for the cats are. That’s it, that’s my, uh, “game studio”. We call it “office”, though.

The website for Starlight Alliance describes it as a solo development project. Were others part of the creation of Starlight Alliance?

I made the game mostly by myself. My friends helped out with playtesting and came up with some additional QoL features like the location overview. I hired freelancers for the localizations but did the English and German translations on my own. Turns out that that sure is a lot of work. Pay your translators well, please!

How did you get started in game design/development?

I started many years ago with The Games Factory, an old game-making software by Clickteam. That’s actually a pretty good way to start if you’ve got no previous programming experience. This software introduced me to the concepts of game loops, x and y positions for objects and collisions. I made quite a few freeware games with later versions of TGF and then tried my hand at C++ and Allegro, a game programming library. That made the jump to Unity and C# pretty easy. I also had a GameMaker Studio phase somewhere in-between. I’d recommend going from easier software (GameMaker, Clickteam Fusion, etc) to more complex development tools, especially for those without any programming knowledge. The good thing is that the logic behind programming is always the same, so once you understand the basics, switching languages isn’t that hard.

Where did the idea of Starlight Alliance come from? Where did you draw inspiration? 

“What if bullets like in Megaman but bigger and in an RPG” is the idea, as well as “My blue collar job kinda sucks sometimes, and THIS is why”. And here we are, in a world where workplace nonsense is turned up to eleven and the automated systems work TO WELL, maybe. Or not. I guess it really depends on who you’re asking.

Can you share the rough cost of development for Starlight Alliance? 

About 8000 EUR [$9300], and most of that went to the translators. I can’t really spend much on these projects. I’m just a worker at a factory after all. And I’m not sure if I can spend that amount of money on a videogame project ever again.

Origamihero Games also developed and produced Heart Chain Kitty. How much shared structures do the games have? They look similar in style and color pallet. Is there overlap?

One gameplay element they share is the bullet system. It’s all about avoidance, deflection and reflection. It’s a bit more complex in Starlight Alliance, where countering certain bullet types can restore HP or SP.

The unique (haha) color palette is a result of my color blindness. I’m usually trying to make something I like visually, but that might not translate well to color-seeing normies. There isn’t much overlap otherwise. There’s just my weird and crusty eyes.

How long was the development cycle for Starlight? How does this compare to Heart Chain Kitty?

It’s actually pretty much the same: A year for each game. Starlight Alliance just has a lot more text. Development time would be much longer if I tried to do something like hiring voice actors, but I can’t afford that

Did the scope of Starlight change during development? If so, what shifted, contracted, or expanded?

The planned content didn’t change much from beginning to end, but I added a few harder optional areas after finishing the beta version. Players have to suffer through at least one of them for the best ending now.

Finally, what’s next for you and the studio?

More games! There’s Unstrong: Space Calamity, a 3d platformer about nerds in space with daddy problems who visit mini-planets in their (t)rusty StarScooter. That game’s currently in beta right now and will come out in December for Steam and Switch.

Then there’s a 3d turn-based jRPG with the working title Eternal White. It’s about 75% finished. Got my work cut out for me!