Hey guys! In case you missed our updates, Arcadia is live on frontline!!! Wohoo!

If you wanna help us test the new and improved Arcade Mode, please go ahead by swapping into the frontline beta: more on that here. Just remember there are still some things missing, such as sound effects, and that the mode can be a little bug prone in these early stages. However, the new features are all up and running and you’ll be able to build your town step by step, in whatever order you prefer.

Teddy will continue to update with bug fixing patches the next few days, if you find any bugs please go ahead and report them in our bug reports forum.

If you’re interested in the full patch notes, you can find them here. Otherwise go ahead and update your game and try out this new mode! And please let us know what you think :D

Alright! Time to start working on those interiors and cave systems. We’ll begin with one of the most exciting places found in the middle of the desert: the Saloon!

As mentioned before, this place will be home to a number of shady people: cavelings, fae and humans from all over Grindea! Including a few old friends, such as the Black Ferrets… There will be piano playing, dancing and drinking. Maybe even a quest or two, oh my!

The music in the video is actually the Saloon theme, which will be playing in this building. Unfortunately I messed up the looping a little bit in a few places during the video, but you probably get the overall idea anyway :)

And now, time to move on to those cave systems! To begin with, there’s the matter of converting the walls of the desert area to something that fits better with the interiors of a cave, and make a floor to go with it.

Then, since this particular map is a little special, it will house a number of mushroom-like cacti. And some random decorations in the shape of mining carts and rails. I’ll probably return to this map later and add a bit more detail, but as usual, I try to make a basic version of each room first before adding more personality as we move on.

The progress:

Finished room, for now:

Next up we have another portrait! It’s time to start making portraits for those merchants in the market area, so here’s the potion salesman. Here’s a look at what he looks like in his stand, without the roof covering half his head:

And here’s the sprite, WIP and finished version:

Alright, with Arcadia finally out of the way, it’s time for Fred to return to animating stuff in the desert: namely more NPCs. These fellows will hang out around the beach, chilling in the sweet weather:

So lots of more portraits for me to make! Exciting times. Finally, to end this week, this cute little animation of the carpenter. It will appear in Arcadia, but I didn’t post it before and it’s just too cute to skip even though it should be available in the game already. Enjoy!

Let’s start this week with some of Fred’s things for a change! As you know, we’ve added a couple of new rooms to Arcadia, shrines and blessings. Of course, last time we took a look at these new rooms they lacked in the animation department, so here’s the animation Fred made for when you trigger one of the Shrines:

In the actual game, a text describing the effect of the shrine (in more or less vague terms) will also appear:

The icon in the middle of the shrine helps determine the effect of the shrine as well. Right now there are seven different buffs available:

The green shoe represents haste, which gives your character increased movement speed. The sword increases damage, shield the hp of your shield. The heart gives you a slight heal whenever you complete a room in time for an S-rank, the blue blast is for a buff that decreases player knockback, the green clock is a cast and attack-speed buff and the purple bubbles is for an EP-buff!

The blessing rooms have gotten their animation as well, featuring the chest opening and revealing the content of your blessing.

Next, four new treats/curse-icons:

The first is a curse that makes everything slightly harder. More difficult patterns, the enemies have slightly higher HP and so on. We had a treat version of this where everything is slightly easier as well, but we felt it was a kind of lame treat so we actually threw it away for now.

The second is the icon for the curse that causes blinding mushrooms to spawn in the Arcade rooms.

The third is a treat that makes Loods more likely to spawn, and the fourth is a treat that makes items cheaper in the Arcade Mode stores.

Next up we have two new masks! These will be rewards for the Tai Ming and Mount Bloom floors respectively. To unlock these you will need to get S rank on both floors the corresponding mask belongs to.

Then, the drop appearance for time crystals (the item that allows you to restart the floor where you died), and a Level Up icon that is presented to you by Grindea statues, as a blessing:

If you build the Aquarium, there’s a girl available that you might have previously met in Seasonne. Because this area isn’t as cold, she doesn’t have to wear her hood around here:

As such, I needed to modify her portrait to fit her new sprite:

Ideally this is one of the portraits I’d remake in that final batch of remaking all portraits before the game is complete, but until it’s time to do that, here’s the current portraits next to eachother:

A bunch of new eggs:

And here’s Fred’s progress of finding out which face best suits the egg on the left (it’s an epic dragon egg, I’ll have you know!):

Some expressions for another quest-giving fae:

Four stages of a life insurance, a new feature which will allow you to keep a portion of the gold you gain throughout your arcade runs:

From the beginning we wanted you to keep everything from the beginning, but the gold income varies very greatly depending on how far you get, so we thought this might be a good solution to keep those getting very far from unlocking too much all at once! The life insurance can be gained after building the bank, and each new rank of life insurance is the reward for various quests or requests from the bank man.

Shadier merchant, who sells items in exchange for you max HP has gotten a new sprite, and as such, I updated his portrait again as well:

There’s also these rewards for the various dojo challenges! I’m not sure whether the rewards will be implemented in time for the frontline batch, but at least now the rewards have been made. The inspirations are the belts commonly found in martial arts:

One of our new Arcadia quests need another Fae portrait, this one of a special kind – it’s a blind fae! To illustrate this, we put a blindfold on her.

Again, a video showing the progress (do you prefer videos of GIFs?):

 

 

If you’ve built the aquarium, you’ll naturally want to catch a bunch of Mount Bloom’s fishes upon reaching those floors, so they needed animations as well:

Finally, Professor Pine makes an appearance, and since he only existed from the back before, he needed to get a sprite showing him from the front and side as well:

With the the buildings and their corresponding mechanics fully implemented into the new, revamped Arcadia, it’s now time for the final few things we want to add before it’s time to get to testing! We’ve always planned to add more randomized event rooms, and with the rework we feel it’s a good time to add in a few of them.

Here’s the one we’ll add this time around:

Buff Shrines
A shrine that, upon approaching it, gives you a random buff for a limited time. The buffs we’ve got planned are the usual basic ones: increased attack (both magic and physical), increased cast & attack speed and increased EP regeneration. But we’ve also come up with a few less common: one that makes your shield much stronger, one that increases your movement speed, and one in which you won’t get knocked back. These last three will need to be tested to see whether they will actually be nice buffs to have in this setting, but we have our hopes up.

Grindea’s Blessings
A room with a Grindea statue that grants you permanent (as in they last until you end the run) blessings. These can be a level up, a gold skillpoint, a few talent orbs, gold, or a heal!

Shadier Merchant
A mysterious salesman who sells powerful items and skillpoints in exchange for a portion of your max HP. He’ll have three items on display each time this room appears, and depending on the item he’ll reduce your max HP by a certain number.

Little J
…will start appearing as well! First as a prisoner which you’ll need to save from a mean mini-boss, but once he’s released he’ll start appearing in shop rooms, allowing you to upgrade your bow as you progress through the floors.

We have more rooms planned as well, but for now we’ll just include the ones mentioned above (we gotta get that update out after all – we’ve been at it quite a while!) Once they are implemented we’ll only need to do some slight inhouse testing before pushing it out to frontline though, so stay tuned!

Now, with the new event rooms decided upon and fully designed, it’s time to get to making some new graphics. Or rather bringing in and adjusting some of our existing ones to fit the theme of these rooms.

First we have the Blessings of Grindea rooms, which will give permanent upgrades of various sorts (or just a simple heal). Our idea here is that the chest will open up and reveal the blessing as you receive it:

Next, Shadier merchant and his carpets. We might add some more props to this guy in the future, or maybe make him a different character entirely (a vampire, perhaps, seeing as he wants your life force ;)). For now though, he sits by a couple of torches, with each item displayed on a tiny carpet in front of him:

Finally, the buff shrines. Our idea here is that a buff icon will appear in the middle of the circle as you approach it. A strategy might be to avoid going close enough to activate the shrine until you find the boss room – but on the other hand, getting there without the buff might be hard enough! What will you do?

 

With these implemented, the Arcadia rework is more or less done (aside from some smaller polish things). Now all that remains is some inhouse testing to make sure things aren’t too buggy for the frontline users.

…and it’s a good thing we did! One of the first things we noticed was a hard to figure out bug that crashed the game every time we entered a specific type of event room. There’s also been a lot of other smaller but kind of obvious bugs that we’ve been able to clean out that definitely would impact the player experience.

Other than that though, our testing sessions have gone really well. Most things work and the main new feature (the building your town thing) feels pretty satisfying, to us at least! The whole of Arcade Mode has gotten some upgrades pacing wise, with things unlocking as you progress, which feels a lot more satisfying.

There’s still some bug hunting to do, and some smaller things to fix, but you should be able to expect the update around the 10-12th April, if things go as planned.

After several hours played we’ve far from unlocked everything, which is great. While I only get to the second floor of Evergrind and Fred gets to the later floors of the whole thing, we’ve unlocked things in approximately the same amount of time, which is as we intended.

The time it takes to get enough gold to unlock new buildings actually feels surprisingly well balanced in our opinion, but that might of course change once we upload everything to Frontline and hear more opinions!

As always when looking at something you haven’t touched for a while, there’s some eyesores. In between testing (when waiting for Teddy to upload patches with bug fixes), I went ahead and fixed a bunch of smaller things:

I forgot to draw an arrow from the old to the new money bags, but needless to say, the left one is the old and the right one is the new. The portraits have been slightly touched up. I still have a dream of going back and remaking a bunch of the older portraits one final time before we release the game properly, but for now these quick touchups will have to do :)

With this testing we’re getting closer to an actual estimate of when the Arcadia rework will go live on Frontline as well! If nothing unexpected happens, we aim to have it done around 10-12th April, basically somewhere early that week. There are still some small things we need to add or fix graphics wise, and we have a lot more systems to test as well, but this estimate includes the time we expect to spend on bug fixes.

Finally, let’s talk about one of the things Fred has been working on recently: Loods! In Arcadia, this is the name of a new feature, namely these cute little beings who appear randomly in rooms in Arcade Mode runs:

The Loods are mysterious creatures of unknown origins. Some say they are linked to the goddess Grindea in some way, but who can tell for sure? What we do know, though, is that there are several kinds of Loods in different colors, and that upon defeating a Lood, it will turn into treasure!

What kind of treasure the Lood turns into depends on what kind of Lood it is. Currently there are four known kinds who give gold, items, talent orbs and health pots respectively. Defeating them in itself won’t be too hard, since they don’t attack – the challenge lies in defeating them before they get bored and run off! As such, once a Lood spawns you have a very limited time in which you may try to defeat it to get the treasure. Fail, and it will simply leave!

Once the Lood is defeated it will turn into an idle form, which, upon room completion turns into a chest. We hope that the Loods will make Arcade runs even more interesting, as it adds a little random factor to the regular rooms. We have thoughts of including evil Loods that you need to defeat in order to be spared from something annoying as well, but we’ll see how things go with these friendly Loods first.

Can’t wait to hear your feedback on all of this once the patch goes live!

Back to the desert town! Now we’ll move on to making smaller fixes around pretty much everywhere, closing a door to one of the houses we don’t have any particular plans for yet, adding some decorations and making other things blend in better. Also a new version of palm tree!

And here’s where we are right now (except for not having replaced some of the palm trees with version two yet):

Next step on going over the whole desert map to add details is that ship! Gonna add some more personality to it by adding some small things. And yes, the steering thingy is still not fixed by the end of this video, but it is on our fixlist:

Next stop on the des(s)ert menu (ha!) is finishing up a bunch of smaller places found in or around the town! There are two cave systems, for one, that we need to design, as well as that saloon.

The first cave system is found on the first map of the desert. The room in which you enter is filled with mining equipment – seems that Mt Bloom company has some business in other parts of the lands as well. The cacti in here will have a peculiar, mushroom-like shape. I wonder what significance that will have on any potential side quests in this area?

From the first room you’ll be able to go right to an encounter room, after which you’ll be able to make your way upstairs where there’s another exit.

The second cave system is found on the second map of the desert. Much like the first cave system, this too leads to an exit one level above. It also has a dead end sort of deal, but seeing as there’s a jump down thingy leading away from it, maybe it’s possible to reach the other end of this map through some other way… I wonder. ;)

Finally, the Saloon. Fred has already made a bunch of NPCs for this place, so I placed them around the room to get a feel for the place. One of the card player tables will be replaced with the Black Ferret’s table, and there will be a couple of non-occupied slot machines rather than a caveling at each one of them, but you get the idea. We’ve also got plans to put a dancer or two on the small stage next to the bar:

My next mission will be to finish up these areas with, you know, actual graphics. Then there’s one final place to design, but once that’s done Teddy should be able to implement the whole desert area up to the town in one go, without having to wait for more graphics from me and Fred. Of course, there’s usually a bunch of stuff we forget, so it probably won’t go as smoothly as that, but here’s to hoping!

Now, I’m still way behind on portrait creation, so here’s another random guy form the saloon. Drinking the day away (but I’m sure it’s lemonade, so that’s ok, right?):

And with the Arcadia rework drawing ever closer to a finish, I better step up the portrait making speed to keep up with all the characters Fred is making! As such, here’s another one.

I know I’ve mostly been doing GIFs for new portraits but this time my initial reflex was to start recording the whole process so I just went with it! This here is the portrait is of Jar Jar Potter, the resident potter of the desert town:

Time to start tying things together in the desert town (maybe we should come up with a name for it soon)! To start off this week I’m gonna focus on getting the groundwork (haha, get it) done, putting in some sand details and paths around the town, as well as making a few pieces of greenery to decorate the area.

First though, let’s deal with the walls surrounding the town! First I put in a quick something based on the piece of wall I made in the map outside of this one:

But I quickly felt this texture is way too busy, so instead I’m toning it down by a lot, so it doesn’t bother the eye quite as much:

Now, time to start working on that greenery! First up, a palm tree in three different sizes, and then, a little bush with berries:

Along the way I also adjusted the height of the wall, and made a few green versions of the cacti to go inside town:

Now it’s time to work on that sand beginning with the edges towards the water:

And then some sand surrounding the beach and the harbor:

And some decorative grass on said sand:

Applying the grass on the rest of the map:

…. and finally some of those roads, so you know where you’re going:

We continue to work on the details of the desert town, this time zooming into the harbor area. Crates, ropes and carpets are on the menu as we give this place a little more personality:

With so many new characters appearing in and around the desert town, I can only keep making portraits hoping to one day catch up with the number of sprites Fred makes for the area! Today it’d time to introduce the bartender who cleans glasses (and serves drinks) in the Saloon.

First, a reminder of his sprite from a while ago:

And then the WIP and finished version version:

And now, it’s my turn to take a quick break from the Desert Town to fix somethings for Arcadia! First up there’s a new NPC, who will appear as you develop the farm. Her character sprite was actually made a long time ago for story mode, where she’d play a mechanic part that was since scrapped:

Meanwhile, since Chika will be responsible for the eggs and hatching mechanics, we thought it was time to upgrade her from being permanently sad to actually enjoying her job a little (who doesn’t like chickens and/or eggs, right?):

Speaking of eggs, those things need drop appearances since you will be able to walk around with them in your inventory:

And as part of the farm experience, there will be a new perk as well! This one will make capturing eggs easier. Since my first attempt at this perk icon (the left) looked a bit like it had more to do with apples than pet capturing, I made a second version (on the right) which will more likely be the ones we’ll use:

And finally.. A strange little box:

What it will be used for? Announcing that you’ve captured a new fish, that will become available in your Aquarium in town, of course!

As for Fred, this week he has been battling a cold, but that didn’t stop him from making three salespeople for the market area of the desert town!

Here we have a shield maker polishing a shield, a potion salesman tempting you with one of those health pots (possibly?) and a weapon smith applying some final polish on her latest sword:

With the roof and stand decorations covering a little of their appearance, here’s a version showing what they look like without it (for science… or something):

There’s also a jar merchant, doing some final adjustments to his/her latest piece:

The desert town becomes more and more of a bustling town with these additions! We hope it’ll be able to rival Tai Ming in how alive it feels with NPCs and animations here and there. Don’t worry though, we won’t make it into a full “temple/dungeon” kind of deal. It’s just a chill place where you can grab some quests and upgrade your gear before heading on to the next real challenge :)

It’s been a while since we had a post with design decisions and the main reason for that is simply that we haven’t had much to talk about! I’ve been busy making stuff for the desert town while Teddy has been implementing all of the stuff me and Fred made for Arcadia. Recently we sat down to talk about two things though, and the subjects of those talks can be found in the title…

First up the Arcadia version of the Farm. Our first idea was that this place would be a place where you could get taming items and capture the same enemies that you can currently catch in Story Mode, which will then start living in the pasture outside the farm (or inside town if you decide to leave the gate open).

After some discussion we thought this would be a little underwhelming though, seeing as you don’t bring along your pets here as you do in story mode. So instead, our goal is that you’ll be able to tame not only all of the enemies, but also that you’ll be able to capture several of the same species, and decide yourself how many of each or which of the animals you want to display in the farm. To do this we’ll add an interface showing how many of each animal you currently own and how many are currently outside in the pasture.

To catch these animals you’ll use bait in the same way as you do in Story Mode, but you’ll be able to buy more from Oak in order to capture more of the same kind. Chickens will be the main exception to this. They will instead be acquired through eggs that you can purchase from Chika, who will also be present in the Arcadian farm. The eggs can be placed in nests inside the farm building, and take a set amount of ingame time before they hatch.

At the moment you’ll only be able to capture the animals available as pets in Story Mode, but our goal is to be able to tame and keep each type of enemy in the pasture.

Meanwhile, Haddock’s role in Story Mode has been quite underwhelming outside of him giving you a fishing rod early on. To remedy this, we’re having him give you quests, where the rewards are aquariums for your housing house. Each aquarium has enough space for a set number of fishes (which you select yourself from the ones you keep in your inventory). There will be a variety of sizes available and each come with different styles of inside decoration. As for the quests, they will be centered around fishing and presenting Haddock with different fishes.

Now, time for some mixed Arcadia fixes! I know we’re not completely done with the Desert Town, but I needed to go back to Arcadia to fix these things so Teddy can continue implementing ’em. First up, we decided to change the name of:

..to the slightly more ominous:

Our reasoning here was that a ‘challenge’ sounds like something it’s possible to overcome, while the idea of these insane runs is more a case of seeing how far you can get before the inevitable end.

Speaking of insane runs, the boss practice in the Arena needed a new interface where you get a ranking ranging from S to D on your encounter with said boss. Points will be deduced if you take hits or take very long to finish:

Next up, here’s a little reminder of what Master Ji’s dojo looked like when I was done with it:

…and the reason I’m showing it is so you can compare it to this smaller version:

We decided to make it smaller to make better room for the camera and just limit the space in general: there’s really no reason to run around to much when your main goal is to shield the enemies!

Next, another reminder, this time of the farm:

As mentioned, you’ll be able to hatch chickens from (enormous) eggs, so I went ahead and made the nests where these will be placed:

Investigating an egg will give you a hint of how much time remains before the egg is ready to hatch (though in rather vague terms ranging from ‘not in a while’ to ‘soon’, hah! The actual amount of time it’ll take will be decided on as we continue testing.

Next up, some small interface things, namely a button for selecting shield training and ‘shop title’ windows for when you talk to Master Ji, Muffin or Candy respectively:

We’re not completely done with Arcadia yet, and with our new ideas for the farm, it’s time for me to put together some basic interfaces for the new features.

First, an interface for deciding how many animals of each kind you want roaming around the pasture/full map:

The numbers are placeholder for now but are supposed to be how many animals are currently outside vs how many you have in total. The % will be a / in the final version, I just quickly used the % here to make sure there was enough room for everything:

Next, an interface for equipping taming items. We’ve decided that you’ll only be able to carry one taming item with you on your arcade run, to avoid cheese strats where you carry an infinite amount and tame all the difficult enemies rather than battle them. On the flip side of this we also decided that you’ll be able to use the same taming item until you’ve successfully tamed an enemy, rather than having to buy a new one every time.

In the interface, you’ll see the taming item on the left, and what enemy it tames to the right:

Of course, in order to get to this portion of the menu, a button is needed. We considered using the regular Buy button, but since this doesn’t work the same way the regular shop interface does, we made a new one for buying Taming Items:

Meanwhile, the eggs Chika sells will be available in a regular shop, which means it needs a shop title box, as seen below:

Next we have another portrait! This is the second armwrestler, the opponent of the one shown last week. A quick reminder of the sprite version:

The one is actually a young lady, but not much more is known about her for now. Most of these Saloon NPCs will probably mainly be background characters that won’t get much of a story of their own, but never say never! It’s always good to have a number of spare characters for upcoming quest ideas.

Progress and finished portrait:

Fred continues to take requests on animations given by Teddy as he fleshes out the revamped Arcade Mode. Most recently, we needed a receptionist for the Aquarium which will house your collected fishes. Since we have but one master of the fishing rod, we decided to put him on duty here as well, and in doing so give him an animation from the side:

Next, a little something to help enhance Master Ji’s shield training! This shield will appear whole or break, depending on whether you win or lose his current challenge:

Here’s a little sneak peek of what it currently looks like, though we’ll likely change a few details:

As for the pet business, we thought there should be a slightly bigger fanfare to capturing the pets now that they very clearly get sent down to Arcadia rather than go with you (perhaps we should add this effect to story mode as pets get sent to the farm as well):

Finally, another inhabitant of the desert town, a guy who might just have spent a little too long in the sun (or perhaps should have removed his sunglasses first):

This week it’s time to start work on the upper right corner of the desert town, featuring the market area! In this first video, I’ll be making the first market stand which will serve as a base for the rest. The first one here belongs to someone selling jars: how exciting. …Or maybe not!

In the second part of the Marketplace, I’m making a bigger stand featuring three different sellers: one who sells weapons, one who sells potions and one who sells shields. A little more useful for the player, compared to the previous one, perhaps :)

Before continuing on with the market, have a portrait! This one is of one of the armwrestlers from two weeks ago:

The WIP:

…and finished sprite:

The final part of the marketplace means making three new stands, one for carpets, one double for hats/accessories and one for souvenirs! Also changed the color of the jar stand to further separate the stands from one another:

Meanwhile, this week Fred has worked on a bunch of NPCs! Not only will there be an autumn fae bandit leader in the Saloon, you’ll also get to see a couple of old friends(?), who may or may not be too excited about running into you again:

In the desert town more NPCs are appearing as well, and here’s one of them, a swimmer enjoying the clear water:

As Teddy continues to implement Arcadia Rework stuff, one or two new animations were requested as well. Here’s an animation featuring the gate to the farm, which can be either open or closed. If it’s open, the animals you keep at the farm will be able to roam around the entire map, while if it’s closed they’ll be kept inside the pasture:

Another week and more desert progress! This week it’s time to begin making those houses that will appear in the desert town. First up is the church, where a certain follower of Grindea will appear:

In the beginning we thought it’d be fun to have a sword at the top of the building, kind of emulating the way churches here in the west have crosses up there, but we’ll probably replace this to something more associated with Grindea later on, such as a bigger version of Essence or something along those lines. For now though, here’s what it looks like:

Next building is the Ice Cream parlor! A place where you’ll be able to get a yummy snack. In the final image below, the window got mirrored so the light on it comes in opposite directions. I will fix this in the final version and possibly put silhouettes of ice creams through the glass as well.

Here’s the WIP:

And the next part of town I’ll focus on is the beach! A place where people go to relax and enjoy the pleasant weather around this area. Maybe play some beach volleyball or take a swim in the water:

The water around the area looks a little lacking right now, but I plan on asking Fred to make some animations for waves coming onto the shoreline, ans well as the usual water decorations:

Now, another portrait! Continuing on with the family of gardeners, it’s time to make a portrait of the father, the guy with the pot of unknown liquid:

And here’s the WIP:

As the Arcadia rework is well on its way, Fred has moved on to make a couple of things needed for it, in this case a sprite of Candy that isn’t hidden behind her giant cauldron, and a cute little familiar we decided to add that tags along with her:

How cute! Wouldn’t you like to have one of those familiars of your own? ….Well, maybe you will. Maybe you will.

Time to start (continue) working on the desert for real! Since the sketch is all done, it’s time to start bringing the fourth desert area to life, and we’ll start with the Saloon:

There are still a few things to do with this place, but I feel it’s best to iterate things rather than make the whole thing in one go – the best ideas usually come when you have the basics down and let it rest for a day. Instead, I’ll continue working on the basic skeleton of the area: getting the walls and general decorations down, before continuing adding props on a more detailed level!

For now, here’s what the Saloon looks like right now:

And now, time for the rest of the area! As mentioned, this is best done in several parts, starting with the basics:

The entrance to the harbor town will be in the lower parts of this area, which will be indicated by a wall of sorts, much like the wall around Evergrind City:

Next up, I’m adding a bunch of props using the editor, mainly cacti and bushes, and then, the path leading to the town and Saloon:

Then, some texture decorations of the sand and a bunch of pots:

Now it’s time to get down to detail level, adding stuff to give this area a little bit personality. First up, a few wanted posters along the way to the Saloon:

The Saloon will be a hangout for a bunch of shady characters, which will be foreshadowed by the posters above. As for the Saloon itself, there are some details left that I want to get down:

Finally, I’m adding some more stuff to the rest of the area using the editor: crates, barrels, jars, and a few bushes. In the end, here’s the area for now, more or less completed:

In the portrait area, we’re not done with the archaeologists just yet! Here’s the portrait of another one, the pink haired one shown a few weeks ago:

And the WIP:

In Fred’s department, his vegetables are now fully animated, bouncing around ready to be implemented as actual enemies:

And the female gardener from last week gets a husband who’s inside the house stirring.. a pot of water? A bland soup? Who can tell!

What we do know though, is that her father is keeping an eye on him, making sure everything is done correctly:

New week, new interfaces! This time it’s the last couple of interfaces for Arcade Mode, featuring how to build new houses and a notification window for when new NPCs are added to town:

Above is the first quick sketch of the notification box mentioned. We wanted to notify players of when new characters appear in town so they know what/who to look for. Instead of One-Handed it will say “A New Face in Town”, and instead of Defense, it’ll say the character’s name. We used to placeholder text to get a feeling for how big the fonts are.

Here’s the progress of taking the box from the sketch version to the actual one we’ll use in the game:

And the final window in its context:

Next up, building houses. When you inspect a signpost you’ll be presented with a window where Trunk informs you of what will appear in that area and how much it’ll cost. Extremely(!) detailed sketch below:

Again, bringing it from sketch to final box:

Once more we’ve used a placeholder text to get a feeling of how big text will appear inside the box. Instead of One-Handed it’ll say the name of the building, and instead of Candy’s line from Pumpkin Woods there will be a description of the house and what can be done there. The coin box to the bottom left of the window will tell you how much it costs to unlock this building, while the checkmark and x will confirm or cancel. The x will be selected by default to avoid accidentally building things you wouldn’t want.

Final version below:

Next up, a bunch of icons, featuring both curses and Bishop challenges:

This first batch are all Bishop challenges. The first one is the one where you race against time to complete each room in a specific time or get instakilled, the second represents the only elites challenge, the third is for the challenge where you’re blinded the whole time. The fourth is for the runs when you can’t level up, and the fifth and final icon is for the combined no leveling / only elites challenge:

Next up, the next bunch of curses:

The first one being where the floors turn to ice, the second where you’re surrounded by flames, the third being the curse which allows higher level enemies to spawn on lower level floors, the fourth is a curse that makes you take double damage.

The fifth is the curse which makes enemies leave something harmful behind when they die (poison clouds, acid, etc), and the last one is a slightly modified version of the bishop challenge above, for the curse which either blinds you temporarily at the start of each room, or has blinding mushrooms spread across the floor. If we go for the mushroom idea, we’ll likely change the icon, but for now this is the placeholder until we’ve tried the two modes out:

Now, in preparation to move from Arcadia to the desert, here’s some small Arcadia fixes to conclude my work there (for now):

Above is a screen of Trunk talking to Bishop, during which we realized his portrait is a little too big and feels too close to the text. First mission: make it smaller!

Second mission, giving him a proper expression for a special moment where he gets a little surprised to say the least:

This is approximately what Arcadia will look like when you first arrive, but there’s a little something missing here:

What’s that? A ruined bridge, of course! We realized it’s kind of weird that some things have already been set up on the other side of the water without any indication of how people got over, and it looks a little more interesting to have it there:

Okay, so time to move to the desert. Here we have a pathway that’s supposed to be blocked, so you have to move around the area before unlocking a way to pass through here:

And what’s stopping you? More cacti! Bigger ones, this time. Time to make a bunch:

And here they are, in their rather huge glory! We’ll probably add a bunch of these here and there to keep you from being able to destroy everything (most other decorations – the smaller cacti – can be cut down by the player, while these cannot):

Next up, another place that will be blocked until you’re actually supposed to get here:

Here, we want the stairway to be blocked by a couple of archaeologists who have made interesting findings in the area. This serves both as an introduction to the fact that there will be archaeologists here, as well as a temporary way of blocking your progress until you’re ready for the desert storyline:


(Of course I couldn’t leave the stairs looking as empty as they did, or you wouldn’t really buy why the archaeologists are interested in it..)

And with the new, more epic looking staircase, this one looks rather boring in comparison:

Time to fix the problem:

Next up, another portrait! As Fred keeps making new NPCs needed for the upcoming quests, I make the portraits to match. This time it’s another archaeologist, consulting a map. Sprite below:

And here’s the WIP:

As for Fred, this week he has been working on finishing up the vegetable lineup from last week! Here they are, in all directions:

Needless to say, these fellow will of course be animated as well, bouncing around in a cute way:

And where’s there vegetables, there’s a garden, right? Here’s a gardener, pulling up some rather small and sad looking vegetables in comparison to the lively one above: