This week we’re starting off with the boss portrait! Just like last week, I’ll be using his sprite as a base, to make sure I get his features right. This time around I’ll be editing his expression slightly to look a bit more menacing though:

Next up, some more ghost world stuff! Since adding all the boxes to the first room, it’s ghost world version has been looking rather tame, so it’s time to spice it up a bit by adding some creepiness factor. As usual, it’s all about the darkness, teeth and strange faces:

Finished version of the room (for now) – ignore the red squares, they’re there for measuring purposes and won’t be visible in the actual game:

We’re drawing ever closer to working on the creepy surreal version of Startington you’ll be visiting as part of your journey through the ghost ship as well, and one of the things we want to happen here is that once you leave each building, they’ll turn from clean and regular looking to run down and abandoned. As such, I needed to go back and make that version of each of the houses:

And now, due to Teddy having to wait for some animations from Fred’s department, I’ve been asked to start working on the Arcade Mode floors, so Teddy can start putting those together in the meanwhile. First thing I need to do is throw together a bunch of basic rooms for the desert floors in various sizes.

We’ll start off with just the basic room, and then make some mix-and-match decorations for the rooms to give each of them a bit more character. There will be two types of rooms for these floors as well, regular desert rooms and cave rooms, to spice it up a bit and give the backgrounds some variation. This time we’ll be taking a look at the regular desert rooms though, using the size of the Temple of Seasons rooms as a guideline for the room sizes:

And here we have a bunch of examples of these rooms (without the decorations added yet):

In Fred and Teddy’s departments, we’ve been mostly seeing battle improvements this week! Fred has been polishing and finishing up a bunch of animations, while Teddy has been improving some of the mechanics.

Below we can see how the skeletons spawn another enemy by literally losing their heads, which will turn into a jumping-like enemy you’ll have to deal with on the battlefield. The first gif shows what it looks like in the normal world, while the second shows what it’ll look like in the ghost world:

Time to go over the rooms one more time and make a bunch of fixes! First up, making the room we made most recently slightly smaller, just to give it a feeling of being more crowded:

Secondly, roughing up the edges of the water part of the first boss battle room, so it doesn’t look as purposefully made:

Next, because of the mechanic allowing the player to fall down from ghost bridges in this room, I had to change the side of the hole slightly to make sure the player can’t fall down into it:

Also remade part of this background so that as the bookcase slides to the left to reveal the door upon completing the puzzle hidden inside, the floor shows the path accordingly:

And finally, added some numbers to the cabin room entrances, just to give it the feel of actually being cabins:

Now, after talking about it some more, we actually decided to make the small map room even smaller, and by quite a lot:

I made a painting of the ghost ship in its regular as well as its ‘spirit world’ version:

And also made a portrait that will be used later on in the captain’s room, featuring the captain himself. This time I started with the spirit world version, and went on to make make the regular world/human version:

And next, something small from the port town of Port Monnaie, adding a path to the left side entrance to the mayor’s house. At first we tried with a carpet, but we ended up going with the path since we thought it just looked a little bit better in the end:

Next up, it’s time to add some of those decorations Fred were playing around with to the rooms! I’ll start by adding them to the first floor to begin with, since we want to get that floor as completed as possible before moving on. Our hope is to be able to play through the first floor in its proper form asap, so we finally can get a real feeling for what everything’s supposed to be like before moving on.

So, here goes:

I definitely feel these decoration help with giving the ship a more… ship-y feel? And also makes quite a big difference in the detail level of each room as well. What do you guys think?

Now, finally it’s time to get up close and personal with the final enemy in the ghost ship: the crabs! They’ve been ‘finished’ for quite a while, but after we tested them Teddy removed the prototype room so I couldn’t record any gifs showing ’em off!

Now though, let’s take a look at these beasts:

Our inspiration for these guys were pretty much the boars, straight up. Just a semi-tanky enemy that can rush in and annoy you while you’re minding your own business. They also have some regular attacks, but if you stay too far away from them, chances are higher they will run in to mess you up, as seen above.

Upon defeating them, they will fall onto their back and disappear in the usual puff of smoke!

Unlike the other enemies in the ghost ship, the crabs are the only ones that work the same regardless of whether you’re in the ghost world or regular world. So, where the ghosts might become invulnerable or invisible in the regular world and gain increasingly powerful attacks in the ghost world, these guys will continue on as usual.

Meanwhile, Fred’s been busy making all kinds of creepy animations for the ship, taking the props I made and making them even more creepy by having them move (or making completely new and creepy animation we’ll stick here and there across the ship):

Which one’s your favorite? I think mine’s the first, featuring the lovely bag!

Remember this room from last week= One of the doors that lead out of this room will be hidden until you complete the puzzle, so to hide it and give the room a bit more character I’ve been making a couple of shelves and decorations for them!

Once you complete the puzzle, the shelf on the right will slide across the floor and reveal the door behind it!

The next step is of course to ghostify the world, something we’ve been doing for a lot of rooms by now, so the process is pretty straight forward:

Next up, there’s the room that’s waiting inside the one we just finished. This is a room with some maps and notes, and also a key that will lead you to the next floor!

And the next step – of course! More ghostifying! This spirit world version is much like the other spirit world version rooms across the ship, bringing in the snake, spiders and bones:

Another thing we’ve been working on lately is a special encounter / mini boss type of deal featuring…. a fridge! Previously, we talked about the kitchen area of the ship being a bullet hell challenge, but seeing as the boss already uses a lot of bullet hell mechanics we thought we’d spice things up a bit by doing something slightly different.

So what you see below is a prototype of this battle, using the good old living puzzle block as a base (when it’s finished it’ll be an actual fridge, rest assured):

So basically, the idea here is that it jumps around in the kitchen, where some fires spring up from vents in the floor (a normal feature for every decent kitchen, right?) and your goal is to make it land on the fire as it appears, so the flames will damage it. In this first prototype, we used shockwaves as the thing that damages the player, but since it’s a fridge, what we want from it is something closer to this:

Ice attacks! We’re already quite satisfied with this encounter as it is right now, so all we gotta do now is give it some proper graphics.

This week we’ll start off with ghostifying that room from before! Adding some tentacles, bones, spiders and other creepy stuff, let’s go, you know the drill by now:

And now, time for a bunch of details to be added here and there, things we’ve forgotten or decided to add. First up, a big hole in the mess hall, separating the room into two parts:

Second, a stairway leading upward from the room we finished yesterday (not super happy about how it looks right now so might come back to it later):

And thirdly, making the first room slightly bigger, as we discussed a while back. I’ll probably come back to this room as well at a later point and add more boxes and decorations, seeings as you won’t be fighting in this room:

Fred’s been working on a bunch of things, and one of those are the obstacles you’ll face throughout the dungeon. A while back ago we showed a prototype of eyes that open and blast you to death if you’re still in the ghost world when they look at you, and some graphic tests for that has been made:

He’s also been working on some prototypes for the flying masks that will deal damage to you in the ghost world (although we haven’t exactly decided 100% if they should be masks in the end, it’s nice to be able to have some actual graphics for it temporarily compared to the very temporary art made my Teddy):

We’ve also decided to spice things up a bit in terms of the overall decorations of the ship, making it feel a bit more like a ship (hopefully) compared to other areas. So we’ve made some borders, rounding out the entrances/exits between rooms, and we’ll continue playing around with further wall decorations as seen in the examples below:

Next up we have another room! Still a few left before the ghost ship is completed, but not that many. This room is part of the first floor and contains a puzzle that can only be solved after you get hold of the skill that allows you to pass into the spirit world:

Finally, here’s another bunch of stuff Fred’s been working on! Skulls, jumping bones and what have you, all coming together nicely for the boss fight:

New week, and time to finish up the Mess hall by turning its regular version into a spirit world version!

As always, this involves changing the colors around a bit on the moss and such, but for this room it also involves a couple new props, including turning a couple of carrots into a sad and shrunken version of themselves as well as killing a flower in a vase:

Here’s the full WIP:

And the finished thing:

The boss fight prototyping continues, and we’ve made a bunch of changes and additions! First of all, the actual background has been added, which gives the fight a slightly more serious feel, but we’ve also added the proper graphics for some attacks such as the water ball thing:

And we’ve also edited on of his skills slightly, namely the skulls he summons:

Previously these skulls were only visible in the spirit world, which meant you had to swap back into the regular world to avoid them. Now though, we’ve made sure some of the skulls are in the regular world as well, making avoiding them slightly harder!

We still want to improve this fight slightly, but now it’s more about patterns more than anything – we’re kind of happy with what he does, just not the timings for when and in what order. In this version of the prototype seen above, he tends to randomly summon things for you to avoid, but we have since then made him go into various phases instead, meaning he’ll have a period of simply attacking followed by a period of summoning things for you to avoid. The second part will then feature both the bullet hell elements as well as dodging his regular attacks at the same time .

I think we’re really making progress with this and hopefully the finalized boss fight will be done soon – it definitely feels a lot closer to it now, anyway!

Next, it’s time to go back to drawing those disgusting bridges! In the mess hall there needs to be a ton of them, so I better get a move on and make a bunch of variations for them. Here goes:

And here are the finished things:

Next on our prototyping spree, we have another of the challenge rooms in the rather strange version of Startington! In this room, you’ll be facing obsession, and it takes the shape of you killing a whole lot of slimes, which then turn into… yourself?! What could it all mean?

Obviously this segment still needs a lot of work, but we’re getting there, and I think what we do in this part of the game is pretty cool even if it might not be super clear to everyone. Next up we’ll deal with the final(?) challenge, concerning ‘deceit’…

We’ll end this week with a look at a new room, though! This room is the final room of the second floor, so once this is done the whole 2nd floor can be put into the game, yay!

As you can tell, I’ve yet to make a painting to go inside the frame, but I’m kind of thinking I’ll make a painting of the ship itself. What do you guys think?

Time for the second part of the Mess hall, making all of those tables! I’ll be using a bunch of old tables as a base and make them look a bit worse for wear and edit the colors around a bit. In the end, they will be decorated with stuff and ghosts will be dining by them on chairs as well, but one step at a time!

The room where it’s at now:

So, as you know we’ve been talking quite a bit about a strange and creepy version of Startington that you’ll visit during your stay in the ghost ship. This place will feature strange visions of things that have happened or things related to the game in a set challenges with a keyword each.

The first one we’ve prototyped is for ‘expectations’, and will deal with the expectations you put on yourself and that other might have on you, and it takes the shape of a rather strange perfect guard challenge hosted by your dad!

Here’s a first sneak peek:

Kind of strange, huh? Well, it will get even stranger, believe us! This is just the first step of the journey…

Second part of the mess hall! In this part we’ll be decorating the place, adding some plates and whatnot to give the room a feel of actually being a place where people might come to eat.

First though, gotta make this uhm.. trolley thing? That you’ll need to push around a bit to get to the other end of the room:

And now, all about decorating:


We still need to keep the tables somewhat empty so you can move around on them easily on your way to the kitchen, so we haven’t gone too overboard with the decorations. Right now it’s kind of hard to tell that they’re floating as well, but that will be solved with shadows on the floor once they’re in the game. Here’s what it looks like for now though:

Next room we’ll focus on is the boss room! We want to make this room quickly to test out the boss battle in its actual setting, so I had to take a break from the other stuff to start working on it instead. Since we had a basic prototype up and running I already know approximately where everything should be in terms of distances and colliders, so all I gotta do is make sure I follow the sketch version:

Finished room:

And now, time to make the spirit world version of the boss room! Again pretty straight forward stuff, just gotta transform the place into a more spooky version of itself:

Finished version for now, ready to be implemented and tested with the boss battle:

Time to start working on those colors! This is gonna take a while since the ship is super huge, so I’ll split it in two parts (or however many are needed). In the first part we’ll be dealing with the basic colors, getting them down somewhat in any case. Might change them around later but it’s good to start with a base:

Obviously it’s gonna get a lot more detailed than this, and the water will be animated as well. We’re also considering changing the size of the upper front and back of the boat, making them bigger since they look kind of small right now. Oh well, onwards we go!

Time to take a look at what’s happening with the skeletons and discuss a piece of their design!

So one thing we’ve been wanting to do with our skeleton enemies is to give them a quirk where their head will fall off and become an enemy of its own, sort of like the Jumpkin from Pumpkin Woods; a pretty easy enemy that you just whack over a couple of time to get rid of, but that serves as an interesting game play element.

Because of this, Fred has started working on the skulls and what they’ll look like when they fall off and are brought to life on their own, and as he did so, we realized the square shape they currently have isn’t exactly ideal for what we want to do; it’s maybe a bit blocky and simple:

So to remedy this, we’ve now made a different, more regular looking skull, that we feel fit better:

While we do love the idea of the square head, it being a bit more original and all, we think this looks better overall. How do you guys feel?

So these last bunch of days we’ve been playing around with a bunch of new puzzle ideas for the ghost ship – we really want to mix things up and get some interesting use out of these mechanics. So, first thing we’ve tried is using the spirit world mechanic to make a burning ghost light candles for you.

Here’s a GIF showing our super early prototype:

Basically, the ghost ignores you while you’re in the regular world, and will start chasing you once you enter the spirit world, so your goal is to position yourself so that the ghost will pass over the lanterns (currently the white squares) and set them alight. Completing this task will open a door for you.

If you’re too slow however, the candles will stop burning and you need to set them alight again.

These ghosts will appear in other areas of the game as well where they will simply serve as an enemy/obstacle – you won’t be able to kill them, and as soon as you enter the spirit world they will chase you. I believe I might have mentioned them before in relation to the room with all the creepy bridges, where you’ll have to avoid them while making your way to the other end of the room.

The second mechanic we’ve been playing around with has been something slightly different, yet reminding of something we’ve used before. In Tai Ming we had puzzles where you had to kill statues in the right spot, so that they pressed a button for you. In this dungeon, we’ll do something similar.

Below is the WIP gif:

We use statues as the placeholder graphic here, but they will more likely be some kind of floating armors or some such.

The idea is that these armors only live while in the spirit world, where they follow a set pattern of movement. If you go back into the normal world, they will fall to the ground and remain still. So, the trick here is to adjust the timing of their pattern by hitting them a few times, so that when you return to the regular world, they will each fall on a button if you time it right.

This will be a bit clunky in multiplayer, but we’ve decided on going down the path where it’s enough for one person to be in the spirit world to make them move around. In the GIF above, the adjustments are pretty slim as you hit them, but in the final version we want each hit to make a bigger difference so that you really notice something happens to their patterns when you interact with them.

How do you guys feel about these new puzzle ideas? If you have any others, feel free to share!

Next we’ll start making one of the remaining rooms we’ve yet to finish up; the Mess hall! We’ve showed this room a couple of times already – it’s the room with the creepy bridges. In this first part we’ll get all the basics down, the correct walls and floors as well as some basic decorations; ropes, vines, boxes and so on.

There will be a bunch of floating tables here as well, but those we’ll save for another time. For now, here goes:

First of all after showing the lineart of the Ghost Ship exterior to Teddy and Fred and having some discussions, we’ve decided to change it in a couple ways. First, let’s take a look at what it looked like last:

First thing we wanted was to make the ship a bit higher, so with some quick editing here’s what we came up with:

Then we also wanted to make it longer, adding a broken mast to make sure the area you’ll be fighting in doesn’t get too big. Another sketch of that here:

So with these fixes in mind I went ahead and started with the reworks, also removing the door with the ladder and adding one from the left side instead:

And here’s the finished thing, ready to get colored (unless we decide on changing some more things):

Now, with the ghost ship progressing and most rooms actually already being finished, we’ve come to realize we’ve done something different with this dungeon that we haven’t done before, and we’re not sure it’s a good thing.

Usually we start off with sketches of every room and make sure we can run through each of them in a row, just like the dungeon would actually be, before we make the final art. This time however, because Teddy and Fred were so busy getting the last bits of the desert completed, we decided against that and had me work on making the completed rooms first thing. What that has lead to is that we have a lot of finished rooms, but we haven’t even had a possibility of running through the dungeon in its entirety yet as we usually do.

To remedy this, I’m going to take a break from the ghost ship exterior and focus on making quick sketches for the last bunch of rooms that haven’t been made yet, so that Teddy can put them all into the game and we can try it out and see what it feels like.

That was one of the things we discussed in today’s meeting. The other thing was that strange section I’ve mentioned before, where you’ll find yourself awaken back in Startington, but it’s a Startington that’s weird and kind of off. Previously, we wanted 4 mini “challenges” or events to take place here, but for now we’ve settled for three – each one representing obsession, expectations and deceit. These three elements are key to the story in various ways, and by adding these ‘challenges’ / cutscene things we’d like to put some emphasis on that. The deceit one is still in the sketching phase but will likely involve the artifacts you’ve been collecting in some way… Stay tuned for more on that ;)

…. and here they are! The fantastic sketches made for the remaining rooms of the ghost ship dungeon!

The puzzle one is very unclear right now since we haven’t decided exactly what kind of puzzle we want in there right now. Previously we wanted it to be one of those puzzles where you get chased by something in the ghost world, as I mentioned earlier, but now we’re kind of feeling like putting in a phase shift puzzle instead – can’t have enough of those, right?

The rest of the day we’ve been playing through the dungeon, each room now added by Teddy in a strange world with no colliders or enemies whatsoever, imagining what it’ll all be like when it’s finished. The short of it is that we kind of wish we had done this earlier, but alas, here we are. We got a ton of notes on things to fix now at least, which I’ll be talking about shortly.

Overall though, I think it’ll be fine – it’s a bit of a strange dungeon (but then again, so was Tai Ming), but thanks to the ghost world mechanic and the enemies I think it’ll be interesting.

So the first thing we decided to change when running through the dungeon was the size of the first room – always amazing when your first big change is in the first place you see, right? We felt this room was a bit small and didn’t give the proper introduction to the ship as a big and creepy place the way it should.

Same thing with one of the rooms on the third floor – previously we’ve been making a lot of too large rooms so I started making them a lot smaller since I always overestimated the sizes. Turns out I’ve gone too far the other way not instead, haha! Oh well, for this room it will be an easy fix since it hasn’t even been properly made yet.

Next, there’s a room where we thought we’d have some sort of bullet hell thing going on, but we’ve decided to change that for two reasons: one being that the boss already has a lot of bullet hell elements, and second, the room would be a nice opportunity to embrace the creepiness factor of the world instead. So, instead of an exciting bullet hell, there will be some creepy examining things in an abandoned ghastly kitchen, trying to figure out where a lost key is.

Other than that, there have mostly been minor edits and changes to make, such as more details in some rooms and added features in others, like a bookcase that will fire books at you, and possibly an encounter with a possessed refrigerator and oven – it depends on how further testing goes.

This whole dungeon is pretty strange right now as it’s very finished but also very unfinished, many of the rooms are ready but the encounters and puzzles are not. It’s possible we may need to redesign some parts if the puzzles we want to make don’t work out, but we’ll see! Needless to say, right now we’re doing a lot of discussing and testing back and forth, so we’ll see where things end up when all is said and done.

Meanwhile in Fred’s department, it’s time to finish up the crab enemy! We’ve designed this in a way that is kind of similar to the boar, which I think will become apparent once we start prototyping it. For now, here’s a bunch of its animations during battle:

So cute! I personally think this might be the cutest enemy of the game. Who agrees with me?!

Now that the cabins have all been made, it’s time to bring the darkness down and turn ’em scary and creepy for the spirit world! I’ll mostly be using props from the previous rooms for this, so you kind of know the drill already:

Once everything else is in place, Fred will likely add some moving things to these rooms as well, for the bonus creepiness factor.

Now, we’ve seen a lot of the Ghost Ship interior, but so far we haven’t talked much about what it looks like from the outside! As those of you who have played through the desert know, you’ll catch a ride here from the Black Ferrets little boat. I’ve made a temporary sketch showing what the boat could look like, and placed the camera as it will be when you land there for the first time:

It’s not visible right now but our idea is that the ship will be surrounded by some trash and debris like ropes, nets and plants, and you’ll walk over on them into the ship through a hole in the hull. When you first get there, we’ll pan the camera over the top of the ship to show you what it looks like, and who might be waiting on the deck but…. Yeah, that’s right, Luke!

As a lot of you have figured out already, you will definitely be battling Luke here, so getting the size of the deck right is pretty important as there will be a fight going on. In this first sketch though, we’ve made the ship a little bit smaller than we’d like, but it’s a good place to start. In the above screen you can see another placeholder camera for what the boss fight screen would be like, but again, we’ll probably make the ship bigger and seal off the fight area instead – we’ll see!

So now that we have the sketch in place, let’s transform it into something a bit more clear, getting that lineart up and running. Here’s the first part:

As you can see, we haven’t added anything cool the the bow of the ship yet; we’ll see whether you’ll actually even ever see that part of the ship ingame or not; might be that you won’t and then it’s pretty pointless to spent a bunch of time decorating something nobody will see!

As I mentioned before, we’ll make the ship bigger as well, but for now we’ll start with this basic lineart and start editing it to fit our needs in the next step.

Meanwhile, the prototyping for the challenge room continues! Teddy has been making some tests with the absolutely disgusting bridges. We’ll make a few more to mix the way they look up a bit, but at least now we know they look decent enough to run over:

It wouldn’t really be much of a challenge if there was no way to fail though, so here we have an example of what kind of obstacles you’ll be facing in this room, starting with some eerie eyes:

If these eyes see you in the ghost world, you’ll immediately take a whole bunch of damage and get frozen in place, so you better go back and forth between the spirit world and the regular world to avoid them!

Secondly, we have these masks that float around and will start chasing you in the ghost world. Dangerous stuff! Better make sure you don’t get caught by one of these…

As always, this whole room is very very far from done, especially graphics wise, but this is a neat way of testing gameplay ideas before committing to making the proper graphics for them.

Second to last cabin! This is the one that connects to its neighbor on the left. Again, nothing much interesting to say about this, I think!

Final cabin! This one you’ll reach from the room on the right, and will take you back to the corridor where you came from after you’ve completed everything on the right side (the challenge we haven’t 100% designed yet):

Time for something slightly different! This is one of the “challenges” we’re working on, which is basically a room where you have to move over a bunch of floating platforms – however, the bridges between them will only be visible in the ghost world!

Here you can see a rare glimpse of what it looks like with the colliders in place, as well as what happens if you’re on a bridge when you turn back to the regular world (you fall down):

I’ve been testing out some things in regards to what these bridges might look like, and here we have one of the suggestions, which I think will be the one we’ll go for:

And a small test of what it’d look like when the tables are floating the way they should (the eyes on the wall is another mechanic we’ll be playing with, something that will force you back into the regular world so it won’t be too easy to walk through this room):


Since we’re drawing nearer to completing the first boss fight somewhat, it’s time to start tying together the first floor! In doing so, I need to rework the first room a bit, as some things have changed in our design since we made it for the first time:

Basically, we’re adding another “floor”, though all entries and exits are on the first floor of the room. This is so we don’t have to add any level differences in the boss room, which will be the room connecting to this one on the left!

Here’s the new version:

Meanwhile, Fred keeps working on the crab – and look how cute it is! Those tiny legs, aww… I don’t know how I’ll be able to kill this?!