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?!

Time to start working on those cabins! Six in total, and here’s the first one. Let’s go:

The next cabin is pretty much a mirror of the first one, but with some different decoration. You’ll reach it from the cabin to the left of it, and exiting it from the bottom door will get you back in the corridor below, but at a place you couldn’t reach before.

The third cabin has a platform leading to a higher level! How intriguing! The room on the right of this hasn’t been designed yet, but we have a few ideas for a sort of ‘puzzle’ (actually more like a challenge, I guess), where you’ll have to go back and forth into the spirit world to avoid some dangerous ghosts!

Now it’s time to start working on the three bottom cabins, starting with the one on the far left. As with the top two, this one will be connected to its neighbor. Other than that, not much to say about this one!

Of course, we’re not only working on backgrounds for the Ghost Ship. There’s still some enemy stuff to do, one of them being designing the last enemy! So let’s take a look at what Fred has been doing:

Congratulations, it’s a crab! We really wanted one enemy that would just be a “normal” kind of enemy without any fancy spirit world mechanics, and what better thing to put on a ghost ship than a killer crab? (don’t answer that)

As you might guess, the final design we went for is the one within the green circle. Stay tuned for all its fancy animations!

Meanwhile in the programming department, Teddy’s started working on the first boss battle! We’ve made a bunch of prototype attacks and patterns, some which can be seen below:

Here you can see the skull walls that force you out of the ghost world, which we’ve shown before in a regular enemy prototype. He also throws a bunch of cannonballs at you; has a dash attack and, of course, a regular whack with the sword.

In the second one you can see two other attacks we’ve been working on; one being some kind of menace that whirls around the room (though we’re not 100% sure about this one yet).

The other is a big rock that gets lifted out of water (it currently spawns from nothing, since the actual boss room with the water isn’t made yet), and as it gets thrown into a wall or some other such thing, it gets broken into a bunch of smaller pieces the player has to avoid. Right now the broken-up pieces use some old bullet hell-type graphic asset, but that won’t be so in the proper version, of course.

We’ve actually not sure whether we want it to be a rock or some sort of water-ball (or something like that). Another option we had was for it to be a ball of all kinds of stuff he pulls out of the water and merges together, but to be honest we kind of feel that one might be a bit too much work to get nice enough. The experiments continue!

New week, old adventures! Since I’ve been making a ton of random props for each of the rooms spirit world version now, I thought it would be a good idea to go over each room and cross-pollute them with props so that creepy spiders won’t only appear in just one room, and so on.

This is also a great moment to make sure all the moss is red and all the vines are sickly purple, as well. So, with all that considered, here we have it, the rooms so far in their creepy glory:

And this is all just the two first floors! One more to go!! :D

So, time to start working on that third floor, beginning with the room with the locked door and character busts that I made before. What better thing to add here than – you know it – more tentacles?!

Also some bones, spiders, and other things from the previous floors. Yum.

And now I think it’s time for a brand new room. This looks like a simple enough corridor with seven different doors, but in part 2, I think you’ll see that it’s not quite so!

The top and bottom doors will lead to cabins where the ship’s guests sleep. As you might remember I’ve already started working on some basic stuff for such rooms, so now it’s just a matter of making them with the correct exits.

Anyway, here’s the corridor WIP:

And the finished thing:

Next up, adding some more stuff to said corridor, and as it turns out, we’ll be moving some things around as well. So the basic idea here is that you have to pass through a bunch of these cabins to get where you want to go, so I have to block the path through in various ways.

By doing so, you’ll first have to go into the first bottom cabin, find a way from that one into the one on its right, go from that one to the first top cabin and exit it through it’s neighbor as well:

Lots of random stuff later, here’s what we end up with:

Hope you all had great holidays! As we’ve been back at work for about a week it’s time for another recap post!

First up, some words about the Ghost Ship boss: we’ve shown you sneak peeks of the Captain previously, but haven’t gone into much detail yet. Our idea is that you’ll battle this guy twice, but that each of those encounters will play out very differently.

During the first encounter, his fight will be pretty straight forward spirit world themed; you won’t be able to fight him unless you see him (by entering the spirit world), and he’ll summon skulls and such that will force you to leave it lest you take damage. Aside from this, he’ll be able to throw his sword at you, and can use telekinesis for return it to his hand. He can also use this telekinetic power to grab swords from weapon stands around the room, which will attack you separately.

The next time you meet him, he’ll have upgraded his gear, taking some of the items that were transported on the ship to aid him. This includes a giant laser sword and a cannon with the ability to produce – you know it – a bullet-hell like attack! The laser sword will have the special ability to extend and give him increased reach for his attacks, and like his original sword, it can be thrown across the room towards any players in its path.

What’s that? “Only two boss battles in this dungeon?” Well, you’re right, there will be a third. It won’t be the captain though, but – …No. I think we’ll save that for later ;)

Let’s get back to Spirit World stuff instead! Can’t have too many creepy tentacles in a creepy ghost ship, can we? Let’s make some more!

When taking the screen below I of course forgot to change the moss color to red. Rest assured, it will be fixed before long:

But first, let’s do something different. Creepy faces, anyone? What could be more menacing than looking down into darkness and seeing creepy red-eyed monstrous faces with giant teeth gaze back at you? These faces will probably be animated by Fred in the end, so at the very least they’ll blink. Can’t ask someone to stare forever at you without blinking, even if it’s a creepy shadow monster, right?

For this second small room, I thought we’d add a further sprinkling of tentacles and another version of the creepy sack-faces from before. In this room, the jar gets a creepy eye as well. Oh my!

And to end this week, we have an update from the animation and programming department!

Teddy is now working on implementing and polishing the Ghost Ship mechanics (and catching the occasional bug in the beta), while Fred’s full focus is on the Captain we talked about earlier!

There’s a lot of strange animation needed for him, and since you’ll only see the sword outside of the spirit world, it’s a bit of a hassle getting everything to work smoothly. Now, the idle animation is completed, and he’s working on getting the attacks down.

Big boss sprites like this are the most difficult to make, so we expect he’ll be busy with this for quite some time while me and Teddy continue working on the other parts of the ship!

When testing something, Fred also accidentally made the funniest animation of the captain laughing. Perhaps it will end up being used!?

Hey guys! Are you ready for the last post before christmas?! It’s actually christmas eve for us Swedes today, so at the moment you’re reading this we’re probably already eating some classic christmas food. We’ll be working between christmas and new years but the blog will go on its usual 2-week holiday break, so the next post will be available on the January 14th when there’s some new stuff to show!

And now, to add a sprinkle of creepiness, which will be the theme for the rest of this post… As you go into the spirit world you begin to see things, shall we say, a bit differently. Dark things appear, and some things may not be what you thought they were… And so on.

It’s a fine line here between going too far into spooky game territory and having just the right touch of spook, so we’ll see how things go with that.

Here’s a video featuring some of the creepiness in the making, anyway:

And the “finished” backgrounds (in fact, I’ll probably return to these and add more stuff later, cause it’s just too much fun making these creepy things up):

Next up, focusing on a single room. There’s skeletons, spiders, eyes, tongues, skulls, oh my! If you get any more cool ideas for creepy stuff to add, feel free to let me know! Some things will be added by Fred as well, and some of the things I’ve made now will probably get some sort of animation by him too. It’s gonna be a blast!

The video:

And here’s a third video, featuring the random battle room of the first floor:

Here I also played around with making the moss red and the water black, a theme I think we’ll follow in the rest of the rooms (including those I already finished). After I saved the image below I also experimented with making the vines on the wall darker and of a slightly purple shade, as well, which I think will add some bonus creepiness to the room as seen through the spirit world lens.

And here you can see those purple-shade vines for yourself, albeit in a different room! For this room I wanted to make more things seem ‘alive’. It’s a theme I want to use more for these spirit world versions of each room; things being ‘possessed’ or seeming to come alive (by getting a face, a mouth or eye/eyes). So I put strange faces on pretty much everything that’s a static piece of decoration such as the buckets and boxes (and the exit). That and more skeleton pieces, of course:

One more room and we can end this week with darkness from start to end. This room is the bunk room with all the beds, so it’s finally come to the point where it’s time to add all of those skeletons. I made a few in various positions, and again added some faces to random props across the room. Also, tentacles, because nothing says creepy ghost world like a set of tentacles, right?

And with that, we at Pixel Ferrets wish you all merry holidays and a happy new year!

Good news everyone! In case you missed it, on Frontline we now have a bunch of new quests, items, craftables, and so on! Also, sound effects!!

So basically, this patch is what we intend as a release for Stable once all the bugs have been ironed out. As always, we’re super interested in hearing your feedback on these new additions, so please go ahead and share your thoughts!

I’d say the main thing we added aside from a bunch of quests are the memory orbs, of which there are five in total. Can you find them all?

These next few days Teddy will be busy with bug fixing (unless through some miracles there’s none to be fixed), while me and Fred will get back to the ghost ship. First though, here’s a few additional things you’ll be able to find in the game now that I didn’t show before:

We also decided to change the name and shop title for the potion salesman, which was previously simply ‘The Potion’ and is now what you see below:

Lastly, after testing a bunch of quests in the desert each of us got quite annoyed with the fact that there’s no teleport plate in Port Monnaie, so as a bonus for people who have a lot of extra gold to spend, we’ll include a salesman selling a teleport plate that will activate for Port Monnaie once you purchase it.

As such, this NPC salesman need not only a sprite, but also a portrait, both which can be seen below:

Now, however, it’s time for more ghost ship backgrounds! In this second smaller room, we’re introducing the first giant hole in a floor on the ghost ship. On the first floor, we kind of wanted to embrace the fact that we’re on a half-ruined ship by having areas filled with water, but on these upper floors we want dark holes here and there instead, which we intend to fill with blinking eyes and other spooky things when you’re in the ghost world:

And here’s the corridor which will connect the two smaller rooms showed previously. For this room, we’ve made some special decorations; cannons and cannon balls!

We’ll probably place these cannon balls here and there on the first floor to serve as ‘ammo’ for the wizard’s telekinesis attack: after all, what better thing to hurl at the hero but a cannon ball? That should do some damage… :)

Next it’s time to slowly begin with the third floor! Here we’ll have a slightly different floor type, and the decorations will be a bit more fancy seeing as we’re moving up to some fancy people’s living quarters. As such I’ve put two busts in this room, and further, similar decorations will be added; though right now I’m a little unsure of how much I can put in this room since I don’t know if it’ll be used for fighting yet.

I think after this room I’ll go back over the rooms I’ve already made and add some creepy decorations for their spirit world counterparts, where everything gets an added dose creepiness! Stay tuned~

Time to make some more portraits for the flashback orbs you’ll be able to find throughout the world in that upcoming stable patch (and the frontline patch that naturally will precede it). Perhaps you’ll be able to recognize this silly young girl, and imagine what awesome trio will be featured in the next orb we’re making:

Any guesses? ;)

Next up, unsurprisingly… Two young gangsters in the making, and now I think you most certainly can start to guess who will be the subject of this flashback orb:

However, there’s one more character involved in the events that will be portrayed…

Hold your horses. Mandrake. Out of all characters, why Mandrake? What did he do in his young days to warrant a portrayal in a flashback orb? What’s his connection to the Black Ferrets? Has he really always looked this ridiculous?!

I guess y’all better find this memory orb and find out (once it’s been implemented) :D

Alright, so previously I’ve mentioned three flashback orbs that will be available, dealing with Zhamla finding his first card, Young Dad meeting equally young Ivy and Charlotte, and Charlotte speaking to the winter elder after saving Santa Fae from the legendary Goblin King.

Since then we’ve decided to add two more such orbs, one that details how the Black Ferrets gang came to be (which yes, weirdly enough involves professor Mandrake!), and one that features Professor Pine and Tannie working on the weapons they used when trying to defeat Zhamla.

The portraits for the mentioned events have been made, but now they all need expressions to fit what’s going on:

Meanwhile, a different piece remaining before the desert is fully ready for the stable patch is a set of treasure maps. These will be given to you by the archaeologist Finder, who is busy doing other things and cannot dig at so many places at the same time. So it’s up to you to find and bring back these ancient treasures to the archaeologist’s collection:

Perhaps by doing so, you might even get some sort of reward?!

As for the maps themselves, they too need to be made. And since you’re here and have read this far, you can have a look at them before anyone else:

Can you figure out where to look for the treasure? :)

And now an update from the programming and animation department! Teddy and Fred have been working hard on adding the remaining Flashback Orbs, which which means there’s a ton of new sprites and animations needed. First one of young Zhamla casting a spell:

Vilya beating someone up:

Young mandrake’s design and animations of him walking threateningly and running away from something scary (wonder what that could be):

And a bunch of designs for an ancient piece of weaponry, once meant for Phaseman. Unfortunately (?) for the player, the piece ended up sold and shipped off on a certain ship instead. The first time we’ll see this ancient relic is in the flashback orb with Tannie and Professor Pine, but I have a feeling you’ll see it again, somewhere…

Since we’re adding a bunch of quests, drops and a few craftables, there’a also a bunch of items to be made. Here we have the given #1 favorite weapon for all classes, a book:

And the #1 favorite housing item for every player in the world, the cat food bowl in action:

Who can’t wait to fill their house with cats?!

Continuing with the memory orb stuff, it’s time for me to make a bunch of edits to the backgrounds! Since the world the memory orbs show are several (sometimes hundreds of) years in the past, it’s only natural some things have changed.

For one, since we’ve seen the Rabby statues be made around the time of your completion of the Collector’s trial, it needs a background version where they don’t exist yet:

And in Santa Fae / Seasonne, the NPCs comment on how it’s not supposed to be winter in the area yet. So what better way of showing the memory shown in the memory orb is nowhere near recent, but the make the world it shows in a different season altogether?

Finally, in Startington, we go so far back in time there’s not yet anyone living on the mountain. Instead it’s infested by slimes and trees!

Of course, in the above version, we used the old version of the trees, which has since been replaced by the correct ones (and slightly edited since Teddy changed the number of slimes between me making the background above and the finished thing):

As we’ve also decided to add the season orbs needed to reach certain parts you haven’t been able to reach yet, I’ve been making some snowy paths around Grindea to get you across where you need to go:

We’ve also decided to add a housing item in the form of a bowl of cat food! This will be awarded in a quest, and if you place the item in your house you’ll soon find you have a guest… :)

As such, Fred has been making some additional cat animations, to make sure your cat can move around the house:

Teddy, meanwhile, has been implementing said quest and will soon begin working on the next things, among which are those memory orbs!

We’ve also received the sound effects we need, and although there might be a few more needed for these side quests and memory orbs we’re currently working on, most of them have been chosen and ready to be implemented. I think it’s gonna be a quite different experience to play through the areas with all these glorious sound effects, so stay tuned for that :)

P.S. Remember how I mentioned the Ghost Ship “cleaning room” was the first room of the second floor, but it mysteriously didn’t have any stairs leading below deck? I’ve fixed it! And also added a missing door to the right, leading to the bunk room:

Though now I wonder if I should remove the windows haha! Having them there would probably only work if you imagine they’re *really* thick… Oh well!

And now…

https://youtu.be/souq841cuXM

What’s this?! A new kind of room, not exactly fitting into any of the sceneries we’ve been working on lately? Where could this be?!

Alright, so this is a “hidden” (not exactly) room that will be added to the church of Port Monnaie, where you’ll be able to read some interesting (?) documents on the history of the faith and Grindea herself.

…Because that’s clearly the kind of things one would keep in a damp cellar such as this…

Not sure whether this will be added to the upcoming stable patch or if it’ll be a later addition yet, but now it’s been made, anyway!

We’re not only making progress with the stable patch, there’s been a ton of progress in the enemy department as well! Let’s take a first look at our set of enemies, starting with the sword-wielding sailor:

As you can see, his sword is part of the physical world and can harm you even outside of the ghost world. Unfortunately, you can’t damage the sword, so you’ll have to toggle into the spirit world, where his ghastly form is visible, to do damage to him!

On this ship we also have a new and improved version of the Ghosty, which leaves a trail of some kind of ectoplasm on the ground. The ectoplasm doesn’t do anything in the ‘regular’ world, but once you enter the ghost world it will slow you down a lot! Both the Ghosty and the ectoplasm will probably be recolored, the ghost so it’ll look more unique compared to the Pumpkin Woods version, and the ectoplasm because.. red ectoplasm seems weird!

In the gif above you can also see something we’ve been playing around with: a line of skulls that do damage in the ghost world which you can only avoid by toggling back to your own dimension.

And this leads us to the third enemy so far, the sailor mage! These fellows have two main abilities – they can damage you, and they can turn another enemy into an elite. Below you can see our first iteration, where the mage channels a spell at you, which is basically a lightning blast that will hit you for sure unless you return to the regular world, as well as it channeling the make-elite spell at the sailor swordsman:

Since we felt this could be improved on quite a bit, we made a bunch of changes, merging the mage with the skull-line ability: meaning we removed the channeling lightning blast and instead having the mage cast the skull line we played around with in the Ghosty gif.

We also changed the spell type of the make-elite spell from something that channels on top of the enemy to an orb that is released from the mage and flows into the enemy it’s buffing, in this way making the battlefield much less cluttered while the mage channels his spells:

We’re also working on a third type of attack for the mage, where he’ll be able to pick up items in the regular world and hurl them at you from a distance – like some kind of poltergeist! Needless to say, working on these enemies around the the time of Halloween has been great.. :)

…so here we have the first iteration of the poltergeist attack! First as a WIP in Evergrind City:

… and then as a more finalized version inside the ghost ship, looking more like it should in the end:

This attack definitely make things more interesting! With this set of enemies, things are already pretty hectic and fun, but in the end we’ll likely make one more; a crab of some kind that is a ‘regular’, that is, living enemy that works the same both in the normal world and the ghost world.

I personally feel the battles on this ship are among the most fun we’ve made in the game so far, so I hope you guys will enjoy it too!

Lastly, Fred’s making a bunch of progress for the memory orbs as well! Gotta have young version sprites of Dad, Ivy and Charlotte after all! Here we have a bunch of them in action:

Time to start making items that will be sold in the market area of Port Monnaie, and we begin with the jar salesman! Early on we thought he’d sell regular jars from each area, but then we changed our mind into giving him special drops and having the regular jars being crafted from shards instead – you gotta do something with all the jar shards, right?

So, in this video I’ll be making a set of jars he’ll sell. They will be available as housing items after your purchase, so make sure to upgrade your house with these new decorations once they’ve been implemented!

 

At the end of the video and below, the upper row features the items as they will look in your house, while the lower ones are smaller version sprites used in the interface:

More housing items incoming! Today I’ve been making the basic furniture that will unlock for purchase as you reach the desert areas, as well as a bunch that will be available for sale in the market area of Port Monnaie.

First up, the basic items, the usual set of tables, chairs, the bed, a window and some other random things:

These carpets will be for sale in the market:

And here we have some things available from the souvenir salesman, a desert poster, a card container with a fake card, and an essence replica:

Of course, all of these things need inventory sprites as well (which need to be a lot smaller, so I made a bunch of them and recorded the process):

 

And here we have the final set:

And here we have the last desert card, featuring the veggies! Here they’re forming a rather nutritious salad, though who would have the heart to eat these cuties?

 

And now, some random additions, starting with the many variations of Charlotte’s hair- and skin colors! Since she changes appearance based on what the player character looks like, I made a bunch of variations. The hair is a separate sprite put on top of her existing sprite in one of the three skin color variations:

We haven’t forgotten fishing, of course! Brand new fishes will be available in the desert once it’s ready for stable, and here’s two of the new additions:

A sand shark and a Cactish (or some such)! We’ve also made a tiny model ship that will be available as a housing item, however this is a reward from a chest (or quest) rather than being fished up:

I might have spoiled this a bit in our Discord server, but there will indeed be more math puzzles! These ones are optional though, so you can relax – unless you’re out to 100% the game this isn’t something you’ll have to worry about!

These puzzles are a bit different compared to the ones already in the game, as these will involve more actual math (including addition, subtraction and multiplication (OH GOD WHY)). Suffice to say testing these prototypes as someone who is a total disaster at math was… interesting.

In any case, you don’t only need math skills to get through this, you also need some smarts, cause in order to actually reach the math puzzles, you need to solve a different kind of puzzle, involving numbers in a completely different way, and for this a set of statues with the numbers 1-6 had to be made:

Where will this all end?! I’m almost scared to think of it…! In the second cave system, this special entrance is where you need to solve a sequence of six numbers in order to proceed to the actual math puzzles. Here’s the prototype used by Teddy at the moment:

And now it’s my turn to transform this into something that looks more finished. This time around I made a video featuring how I made this entrance, as well as the reward cave that is unlocked after you’ve finished the math puzzles within:

Here’s the finished backgrounds:

…why the reward room has another stairway leading below ground? Oh, that’s so you can access another cave system which has a (literally) never ending supply of math puzzles!

…no, I’m not joking.