Today we’ve had an extremely long meeting detailing the very final bits of the Ghost Ship, namely a bunch of cutscenes and the things that will drop from the enemies!

There are three important cutscenes left to finish, and in order for Fred to be able to write down each animation he needs to make, we decided it was time to plan them out in detail. The first cutscene we discussed is the very first cutscene of the ship: when the Black Ferrets drop you off. This will be the last planned scene we have for the Black Ferrets, so we want them to go out with a bang (not a literal bang – don’t worry, you won’t have to fight them again). The second and third cutscenes are when you start your battle with Luke and what happens after you’ve (hopefully?) defeated him. To avoid spoiling too much, I won’t go into detail of how any of these cutscenes will unfold, but I think all three of them will be quite exciting!

As for the drops, here’s what we’ve come up with so far!

The skeletons will drop bones (no surprise there) and pieces of cloth (unique to each type of skeleton, so the warrior will have one piece of cloth drop and the mages another, each which you’ll be able to craft into their respective armours). The warrior skeletons will drop a two-handed scimitar and the mage skeletons will drop their own arms which can be used as a magic wand!

The Hauntie will drop purple ectoplasm, twilight core, fabric, and a new blindfold.

The crab will be a little different! It will drop a pincer (a one handed weapon), but aside from that it will only drop pieces of its armour; however, it will drop a lot of them! So whereas an enemy will usually only drop one of each item, the crabs will drop multiple of the same, which can then (once you have enough of them) be crafted into either an armour, a shield or a helmet!

Other than that, we’ve come up with a couple items to be found in the chests around the game: a skull housing item, a bottle of rum, and a pirate captain’s hat!

We’ve also jotted down some ideas for the enemy cards, and since we’ve more or less settled on the size of the area where you’ll battle Luke, it’s time for me to get back and do some more work on the ghost ship again! Exciting times :)

So, time to get on with the remaining ghost ship stuff! First up, getting that ship ready for battle! Aside from the changes seen in the gif below, we’ve also increased the ship’s size again by quite a bit from last time you saw it:

And now, some drop and equipment fiesta! First, the things that will get dropped by the skeleton enemies, plus a couple of Hauntie drops:

Next, some things dropped by the crab, a bottle of rum, a skull made for housing and the strange twilight core:

And finally, a bunch of equipment plus the appearance of the strange device that allows you to look into the ghost world!

The final building to improve in on the previous batch is the Blacksmith’s, which has been in dire need of some graphics updates for quite a while! Without further ado:

And with that batch out of the way, what’s next? Another one, of course! Slowly finishing up Evergrind itself, it’s time to start looking at the places surrounding it, such as Evergrind South and West!

When it comes to the farmer’s shop itself, we’ll do what we’ll do for the Arena reception room and the Dojo in Evergrind – swap it out for its arcade version:

Because I’ve been doing a lot of work in Evergrind already, I thought it might be refeshing to take a break from it all and go to a place a bit further south! Time to make some improvements to Robin’s house:

Evergrind West is getting a ton or more greenery as well! While I didn’t make any new unique props for this upgrade so far, I still think the difference between the original version and the improved one is pretty massive! The old one looks pretty bare and unfinished in comparison, in my opinion anyway:

Next up in the improvement spree: the school! This place needed a bit more detail (what sort of school is this where every single desk is empty?) and some fresh new furniture! Take a look:

Next up, some more Evergrind Improvement plans! Another batch of these things, mainly wanting to upgrade the overall graphics for each of these areas but also add some stuff and spice things up:

Meanwhile, these two buildings will be fully replaced by their Arcadia versions, which were made much later on and feature much better art:

So, first up in this new batch of improvements we have the waiting room in the arena! To start with, this room felt a bit too big and empty, so we’re making it smaller and more compact, adding more benches for people to sit at and some things added to the walls for their reading pleasure as they eagerly await the next match. Other than that, the graphics have been touched up overall, so the room feels as fresh as the newer parts of the game:

Next, the hat shop! This place needs a bit more color, some updated graphics and just some more details. I might go back and change some of the colours of this house further on so it’s colour scheme isn’t as close to the cafes, but we’ll see!

And now, the garden and its surrounding area! Here I wanted to add some more flowers, update the fountain graphics and the fence behind the alchemist’s house, as well as some details. The benches have also been updated as well to fit the more clean style of the later parts of the game:

Fred, meanwhile, has been working on some new animations for Captain Bones, where he seems awfully… Distraught? Whatever could be happening to him?

We also started making a test for the weather effect we’d like for the battle with Luke, adding some rain to give the battle a more epic feel (plus we haven’t really had any weather effects before, so about time!):

Next up, the plushie collector’s house! I’m adding a couple more plushies, but the rest I think we’ll add as they get added into the game: so whatever plushies you give her will appear in the house after you’ve handed them over. In other words, I’ll return to this house later on, once all of the plushies have been made :)

And now, the area surrounding the smithy! This time I’ll be focusing on the space around the smithy building, saving the laundry and adding some decorations to the café upper floor later on:

Time for the alchemist’s shop to get a bit of an upgrade as well! I decided to keep the worn out look of some of the props here, to make the house feel a bit old and worn out. Also added a bunch of more things to make the place seem a bit more cluttered, and some bonus carpets and vines for a touch of color:

The café looks rather drab and boring as well, so it’s time to spice it up a bit! More colors, better rendered props, a touch of mint (the color), and some new things on the walls:

Didn’t take too long, it’s already time to look back on the ghost ship a little bit! Some minor changes and addition have been added here and there, starting with making the globe resemble the world map a slight bit more:

As well as settling for a zone name, which we decided would be The Lost Ship:

Also been working on a few upgrades to the Luke portrait, featuring a shirt that now more closely resemble his sprite, some anatomy fixes and a bit thicker outline here and there!

Time to plan out some more of the improvements needed for the Evergrind part of the game! Of course, the houses that use the old version of the Startington furniture needs to get the upgraded versions of that:

The area around the Smithy looks rather dull and the laundry hanging to dry could definitely be drawn better:

The entire café looks pretty outdated, so gonna have to do some revamping there as well:

And same for the alchemist’s house, where I’d like to add even more clutter, some wild plants and other things to liven things up a bit and make it seem less drab and abandoned, and more like the colorful abode of a crazy alchemist:

So starting off with the first improvement batch, time to upgrade this little house, the first you see as you enter Evergrind City:

We’ve also had another meeting discussing the final dungeon! We have a bunch of ideas for specific challenges and rooms now. Some of the new ideas are as follows:

* A phase shift puzzle where you have to catch x number of items in a certain amount of time. Sort of inspired by the torch puzzle we’ll have in the ghost ship where you need to light a certain number of torches in a short amount of time; here you need to get a hold of x pieces of a key (or something like that) in order to unlock the next room.

* A slime encounter where you get to battle every type of slime in the game! When you’ve killed them all, the goo they left behind will merge together into 4 bigger slimes, which will provide more of a challenge. After defeating these slimes, they will merge together into a rainbow giga slime, which will be a much more difficult version of the giga slime fight!

* A room surrounded by a ghostly essence that comes to life when you enter the ghost world (which you must in order to kill a number of ghost guardians) – for ever second you’re in the ghost world, the ghostly essence will grow bigger and bigger and will hinder your movement and will end up damaging you

* An encounter with enemies from across the game and a master wizard that will turn them all into elites

* A room where you’ll be trapped within 4 guardians that are connected with their laser beams; their movements will determine the size and shape of the space where you can move. Meanwhile you have to dodge a bullet hell, possibly summoned by phaseman!

* A challenge room with either Gifts of Presents (or both), which will eat a key and it’s your goal to find and defeat the one who ate it.

* An overgrown room in which you’ll battle every plant enemy in the game, ending with a short guest appearance from the power flower

… and more! Needless to say, we’re getting more excited about this final dungeon by the minute. Hope you are too! :)

Now it’s time for another look at Luke’s boss battle! It’s coming together quickly now, with a bunch of his attacks being mixed and match to create an interesting pattern for the first stages of his fight that will be unique every time:

Some of the effect graphics have been improved since the last time as well, and I feel like it already looks pretty good (with the exception of the placeholder background, hehe – I’ll get to that eventually)!

 

What we want now is to amp up the second part of the fight. We already know he will enter berserk mode at a certain point, but aside from that we want to mix it up a bit so it’s not just the same (random) mix and match combo patterns for the entirety of the fight. We have a couple of ideas for ‘bigger’ attacks that we’ll try out in the near future though, so we’ll see how that ends up!

And here we have a closer look at a bunch of those fancy Luke animations:

Exciting times!

So, new week and new Monday, which brings with it another meeting! This time around we’ve talked a lot about the near future, basically where we’re heading from here and what’s the most important on our to-do lists.

For Teddy and Fred, this mainly means the Luke battle and the cutscenes directly after and a final one leading up to where Frontline will end this time.

For me, there’s a lot more improvements to the earlier stages of the game, particularly around Evergrind City and the like.

And for all of us, it’s still the quest for the perfect final dungeon. We’ve already had a bunch of meetings discussion a variety of ideas, but seeing as we want a lot of floors, there’s still some work to be done and more floor ideas to shape – and eventually, actual floors to design. This week our homework is the sit down for 20 minutes to an hour here and there and create those ideas, so that next week we have even more of them to discuss. This will continue on while we finish up the rest of the ship until we have enough ideas, and eventually, proper designs, that we can make a whitebox sketch version of the final dungeon which we can run through and try out without the mechanics being implemented yet.

The main thing we want to avoid is one of the pitfalls that made work on the Ghost Ship such a struggle; in every other previous case where we designed an area or a dungeon, we had a clear design in mind before we actually started making the proper graphics. With the Ghost Ship, we did a whole ton of just winging it and designing as we went on, and it’s fair to say that designing a dungeon like that didn’t work out as well for us as the other way at all. So – no more of that, and more pre-design like we did before! With some luck, we won’t struggle as much this time, and it won’t be as long before an update hits ever again (touch wood) :)

Now, while I’m quite done with Ghost Ship stuff for now, there’s one ghost I have a feeling we’ll get to see at some point so I thought I might as well ghostify her portrait now while I’m kind of in the zone with the ghost stuff!

Who? Tannie of course!

Of course, I have no proof we’ll actually ever use this portrait, I suppose it depends on where we decide to take certain quests or side quests, but we’ve been talking so much about it that the chance seems pretty darn high she will appear in some shape, at some time…

Now, with all of the other Startington houses having new and fresh graphics, it’s beyond time that the player’s own house get a bit of an upgrade as well! Without further ado:

Next up, another part of the player’s house in Startington we can’t forget about; your own room! Like the rest of Startington, it’s about time it gets the appropriate visual upgrade:

In Luke’s boss fight, we’re working on the level of destruction that will take place as he slams into the ship with his unparalleled strength! We’re currently choosing between three options – one where the cracks disappear quickly:

One where they remain a little while:

And one where they could potentially remain forever:

Right now we’re leaning towards the middle option. What do you guys think? :)

So, time for some Spookington fixes! First up, a couple new expressions for some of the characters you’ll meet there, namely Jonathan (cured of his cough!) and Luke’s mom (who is a little concerned):

The pathway up to Spookington felt a little claustrophobic so we’re turning it into utter darkness, as far as the eye can see:

And as part of the mechanics on this town, we’ll be using a couple globes, which in this version were what we’d like to call programmer art, now replaced with the real deal:

Finally, adding some more stuff to your childhood home in this Spookington version, making it a bit more messy:

Next up on my list of things is putting someone in that ghostlike shop to manage business there! It took a while for us to decide on a design for this guy; should he be human, a ghost, or something else entirely? In the end though we decided to go for something of a shadowlike demonic creature, just to mix things up a bit lore wise (plus it would be cool to design an actual creature based off of the darkness we’ve introduced this far in the ghost ship).

Without further ado:

Some minor adjustments to the Startington Spooky version, featuring more clutter, stacks of books, and a mysterious night sky:

Next up, what I now honestly believe will be my final contribution to the Ghost Ship for now (or at at least until we finalize the boss battle and I’ll have to make any changes to the boss area and such): Luke’s boss portrait!

And now it’s time to take a look at what’s cooking with the Luke battle! The prototyping stage is in full swing, and we’re currently experimenting with a set of attacks and combos for him to throw at you:

No Grindea battle is complete without a bit of dodging as well, so naturally what other skill would Luke master than Smash:

So far so good, we’re feeling quite excited about this battle and hope you guys will too… :)

Moving on with a new week and new spooky Startington stuff, it’s time to spookify some trees and bushes:

Also making the whole place fly (cause why not?):

For the third and final challenge of spooky Startington we’ll be using this puzzle, which of course in turn needs the appropriate puzzle background:

Another part of this new spooky Startington is a nice little picnic which all of your friends and family will take part in! It will be available both in a nice bright version and an abandoned, dark version after things have taken a turn for the worse:

Next up, another ghost portrait, featuring a long dead diva, who used to be a hell of a singer on the Ghost ship:

Meanwhile, the spooky Startington bit, or should I call it the Spookington bit, has been finished enough for us to try it out! Here are some screens from my playthrough:

Playing through this portion of the game takes approximately 20 minutes and while it’s mostly done there’s some minor thing we’ll need to add and fix before we’re fully satisfied. Shouldn’t take too long though! After that, just the Luke battle remaining. Exciting times!

Meanwhile in the animation department, some further additions to spooky Startington, which will further increase the creep factor of the place:

This week, we’ll start with making a new statue, featuring your mom Charlotte! This statue will be part of one of the spooky Startington challenges and will contain one of the objects needed to progress:

Some more fixes in preparation for the spooky Startington bit, starting with a mysterious hole in the floor of this room:

This hole is there for the perfect guard challenge, making it clear for the player that they are not able to wander off during the challenge.

Next, some minor adjustments to the statue from before, editing her outfit to match what we’ve previously shown Charlotte wearing:

There are also a couple more Ghost portraits to be made, with the first one being a spooky Tai Ming seamstress :

Next, an old man looking for his wife, lost somewhere on the ship:

Finally, as part of the new creepy Startington, Fred has been working on some old NPCs that will be returning:

Exciting times! Slowly but surely, this part of the dungeon comes together as well :)

For those of you who have opted into Steam’s client beta, you’ll have noticed that there’s a new library style in the works, which calls for new and improved graphics to showcase each game. For starters, here’s what the header of each game looks like now, and more specifically what the default was and how we changed it around adding our own graphics:

Unfortunately for us, being a pixel game and all, the automatic resizing won’t do us many favours, but it could be worse!

You library has a more clean view featuring cover art as well, like so:

How do you guys find this new library update? Do you like it or not? I think the best bit is how more visually satisfying it is to browse your library, seeing all of the juicy cover art all lined up! And of course, it’ll only get better as more and more games add these new graphics :)

Next it’s time for a bunch of smaller graphic assets needed here and there throughout the game! Starting off with a super cute very scary chest:

And a skeleton key, because which ghost ship would be complete without them:

For this room, we added some spooky decorations on a wooden board to give the players a hint there might be something there if you swap over to the ghost world:

We also weren’t quite happy with how fresh and clean these shelves looked, so we wore them down a bit:

Finally, a couple expressions for the captain, to give the cutscenes a bit more oomph:

Speaking of expressions, here are some more, featuring the rest of the main story cast in the Ghost Ship:

And since we decided to put Pine in one of the cabins, we thought we’d put in a bunch of Flying Fortress decorations in there as well:

Finally, let’s take a look at some animations for the final boss of the dungeon… Our dear friend Luke!
First up a bunch of sketches for what he could look like in this boss version:

And the first batch of animations made for him combo’d together: