New week, and it’s time to get back to work after I finally managed to beat that pesky cold! Luckily, only I seem to have gotten sick this time around, so let’s hope Teddy and Fred keep staying healthy.

This week I’ll begin with making one of the more important rooms of the third floor: a ‘hub’ room of sorts that will lead you to various other places, and will also be quite an important place on this ship:

In the second part of the hub room, or the dining hall, or the bar, or whatever you’d like to call it, we’ll focus on some new props and decorations to make the room a bit more interesting. Also, moss!

Going back to the boss room where you’ll meet the giant eye boss, once it got it’s regular version it of course needs a ghost world version as well; in fact, you’ll be spending most of this fight in the ghost world whether you want to or not!

We’re trying to keep this room rather simple, as there will be quite a lot of things on the floor and walls here; eyes of various kinds and magic attacks to avoid, so throwing too many decorations into this space would be a bad idea.

And here we have a comparison of the old, placeholder version of the room (first) and the new, proper version (second):

And so, after another set of long weeks, the second of the three floors of the Ghost Ship has been finished. This includes a bunch of details, more ghosts, the fridge boss in it’s finished form, strange encounters and gunpowder – oh my!

Now it’s on to finishing floor 3, and after that, the last boss fight of the ship which we so far haven’t touched much but which we hope will be super exciting once we get there :D

And of course, with the completion of the second floor, Fred has also finished up a bunch of animations for decorations (and enemies) that you will encounter there! Here’s a bunch

This week was rather different than a regular week, cause it was GGC week! This means we were helping out with the conference, judging the games made at the school and selecting the winners that will receive awards in the award ceremony the whole conference culminates in.

This is always a nice opportunity for us to hang out with some other people in the business, share ideas and learn from them and what they’re doing – there were plenty of interesting talks on work environment this year during the conference which is a very interesting topic for our industry at this time.

First though, a quick finished version of the eye boss room which has so far only existed in a very basic sketch version, before diving into the expo stuff:

So then, GGC officially started and it started with some fun!

Monday evening we went to a meet & greet for all the jury members for this years event, hanging out with old and new friends from the industry at fellow Visby gamedevs Eat, Create, Sleep’s super cool office building.

We had some pizza and some wine, talked and played some games:

Then, it was back to work – although not our usual kind. Instead we spent most of the Tuesday listening to student presentations, after which we were off to the booth crawl, where the jury gets to actually try out all of the games for the first time.

Some pictures from the presentations I watched, I gotta admit I’m very impressed with them this year – the presentations have all been great and everyone’s english is super good compared to way back when I went to the gamedev program (one of the perks of turning it into a proper international education, I suppose):

So, after the presentations were done, all of the judges went to the showfloor for this year’s booth crawl, where we’re allowed to play the games in relative peace (it’s only open to the judges and the other students this evening). There’s also a bar to make things more fun…

During this time we played a majority of the games. There were a lot of cool ones as always, and many interesting new ideas.

Here’s a bunch of pictures from the showfloor:

Then, on Wednesday, we played any games we might have missed. It was also one of the hottest days of this summer yet, so we took a couple breaks to sit by the sea and discuss the games we’d played while slowly melting in the sunlight.

In the evening there was a jury-only dinner at the school’s restaurant, after which we all sat down together to discuss which games we wanted to nominate for each of the award categories.

 

During the final day, we had a couple hours to play any games nominated by the other jurors, before finally sitting down to decide on which games should be given which award. Last year, this discussion took hours – thankfully it was quicker this time around. Then in the evening, there was the great award ceremony and after party which was a blast but from which I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures.

Sadly, I ended up catching a cold right as we finished up GGC, so I haven’t had much energy to do anything the last couple of days. I’m hoping to be back to work in a couple days, but if I know myself well enough this cold will take it’s time to sort itself out so I wouldn’t expect any new recap posts next week – fingers crossed that I’m wrong! :(

New week, and it’s time to finish up that ghost shop room by turning it into it’s spirit world version! For me, that means more darkness and some changed up colours, but once Fred gets his hand on this room, he’ll be adding some floating ghosts and creepy things in those cages among other things :)

Next up we have a special room that will appear in two different version! The first version is this, which is a perfectly ordinary room, no?

Of course, even the regular version of this room needs a proper ghost world version in case the player decides to turn the spirit lens on:

Now, for the second version of this room… It’s certainly different! See, the first time you’ll enter this room, you won’t be able to see the door. Instead, you’ll come face to face with just an ordinary wall.

And what lies behind the wall if you pass into the spirit world?

A mysterious, never ending bridge….. Of course!

And naturally, I have to make the version with just the wall as well, so here goes:

So what’s this bridge? Where does it lead? Can a neverending bridge actually lead anywhere? What does any of this actually mean? Well… It’ll all become very clear soon enough! Soon…

This week, we’ll start off by making some more minor detail stuff, namely adding masks for each of the 2nd level floors now that they’ve been properly finished! As before, these masks help determine over which parts certain floor effects in the ghost world will appear, so that they don’t turn up over objects they shouldn’t:

Next it’s time to finish up the third and final floor of this ship (finally), starting with the captain’s room! We had a sketch for this room from before, and I already made the captain’s portrait that we wanted in here, so it’s just a matter of adding the rest of the stuff:

And after that, it’s of course time to turn the whole room into its ghost world version, standard procedure as always:

And now, time for a new room! This room was born from the type, where Ghost Ship turned into Ghost Shop… and it did seem like such an interesting idea that we thought ‘why not’? So without further ado, the ghost shop:

Meanwhile, Fred’s been busy finishing up a ton of enemy animations, working on the kitchen and making some other flavor animations to make the ghost ship …come alive… a bit more! Here’s a bunch of the stuff he’s been working on recently:

We’re back with a new week, and it’s time for the ghost ship exterior to get more detail work! This time around it’s all about making it look old and worn, adding moss and decorations fit an old ship drifting the sea for quite a while:

Next up, it’s time to start working on the kitchen room, where we’ll have one of the mini boss encounters against that fridge which we’ve shown the prototype of previously.

For those of you that still remember, I did create some of these kitchen props ages ago (among the first things I made for the ghost ship), but now it’s finally time to put them in their actual context and make this room properly:

And here in this second part of the kitchen creation, I’ll add some bonus details to make the room come alive a bit more; more shelves and stuff like that.

In the open space between the desks we’ll put the fridge once Fred has finished making it:

Finally, it’s time to turn the kitchen into a haunted, horrible place for its spirit world version:

And now that the second floor is more or less completed, it’s time to add all of that detail work that we applied to the first floor before! Let’s take a look at the second floor’s before and after:

New weeks and new beginnings! Since I expect to finish the ghost ship before Teddy and Fred are done with it, I’ve started looking at some old places that will need some improvements before we release the finished version of the game (we’re not all too far off now compared to when we started, anyway!).

This entails going back to the early areas and taking a look around, figuring out what things can be added to give each place a bit more character. The idea is to add more unique items and fancy stuff to make these places look cooler and more special. I know some of you might think this is a waste of time at this point, but it’s really good for me to have a detailed to-do list so that I know what to do next. After the ghost ship there’s only one dungeon remaining after all, so I will have quite some time to do improvements like this while Teddy and Fred finish up their things!

So anyway, Startington and Pillar Mountains. Pretty empty areas, and they probably shouldn’t feel too overcrowded given their kind of solitary location, but there are definitely some things that could be added to give it some more personality:

As always, if you have any cool ideas for improvements across the maps, feel free to share them! We love to hear your suggestions :)

Alright: back to the ghost ship, and more specifically it’s exterior! It’s quite the long project with a lot of details needed, so here’s yet another part (of several remaining), this time focusing on getting some floor texture and details in on the masts:

…and here’s more texturing! This time featuring the hull of the ship:

Now that this is done, most of what remains is the actual details; moss, ropes and similar. Next time!

In the boss department, Teddy and Fred has managed to give the eye an actual body and some personality! This also entails another mechanic, where the eye leaps out from its place in the wall and jumps around with a bunch of smaller eyes. Eyes, eyes, everywhere!

Your challenge here is to find the eye that has a different color from the rest and eliminate it, all while being shot at by the remaining smaller eyes on the wall:

Finally, some more updates from Fred’s animation department, featuring the captain, the giant eye, and…. a strange looking ghost?!

This week it’s time for the Ghost Ship Arcade backgrounds, made in pretty much the same way as the other rooms; I’ve been using some of the rooms as a base and then simply edited them to fit our Arcade Mode needs:

Quite simple for now, but some decorations will fix that right up! And the first step to decorating these rooms is the add the basic stuff; moss, vines and background decorations that don’t need colliders. Each room size will get three different versions of these decorations, and each time you enter a room it’ll be randomized which one you get:

And of course, each of these rooms need the corresponding decorations in their ghost world version as well:

Finally, using our editor, it’s time to start adding the props. As with the desert rooms, each room size will have three different decoration types for each corner, and the corners can be mixed and matched so that there will be different combinations each time you enter a room, all to ensure no two rooms are exactly the same during your run:

Hello guys! This post is one day late due to the easter holidays, so apologies for that. Hope you’ve had a great time :D

Now, last week was quite interesting in terms of game design discussions. Our original idea for the ghost ship was for you to battle the Captain two times, where the second encounter would be harder and more bullet hell-y as he’d be using some high tech equipment found on the ship. However, after a lot of discussions back and forth we’ve decided to try out new ideas for the second boss battle. The reason behind this is that we simply didn’t feel too excited about the attacks and patterns we’d come up with for the boss, and we kind of felt like something completely different might fit better gameplay wise.

So, because of this, we’ll start looking into a different type of boss, something that has more of a pattern since there will be enough bullet hell-y elements as is in this dungeon. Our most recent idea is to go with the theme of eyes that has been quite prominent in the ghost world so far, and use some sort of giant eye as a boss – more on that later after we got some prototypes up and running!

Because Teddy has been having some bonus time while he’s waiting for graphics, he’s been starting work on some Arcade Mode stuff; specifically a new type of challenge (or mode if you will) where everything is more randomized!

Specifically, this means when doing this challenge thing, you won’t level up normally, but you’ll get your skills and upgrades through chests and as drops from enemies:

Upon completing a floor you’ll get to choose from three upgrades as well, giving you some options on how to proceed with your build (keep in mind the graphics are still placeholder, we’ll come up with some fancier way of illustrating this):

We’re not yet sure when this mode/challenge will unlock, or when we’ll get to finish it, but the foundation is there now anyway! How do you guys feel about it? Excited for some more randomized factor in Arcadia, or do you think you’ll stick to the regular mode?

Continuing with the Arcade Mode intermission, it’s time to make some more of those rooms! To spice things up a bit in the desert floor(s), we’ll be having some cave rooms as well as those outdoor ones. They will not be as frequent as the others though, so I’m only making two different sizes for these!

For the foundation of the rooms, I’ll be using one of the math caves as a base:

And then, since these rooms will almost always lead back outside, I made a special exit that show the outside rather than darkness:

And here we have the two room sizes:

Now, for that new boss prototype I mentioned earlier! Teddy has put together something quickly with the help of some very basic placeholder art from Fred:

So one of the things with this eye boss is that it automatically forces you into the ghost world, where you’ll have to deal with all sorts of obstacles. After a while you’ll be able to swap back into the regular world – but only for a short while, so you better time it well!

The next thing it does is that it will spawn other eyes with different eye colors, which you have to eliminate in a certain order. Fail to do so (or do it too slowly) and you’ll get punished and take some damage:

Right now the eye simply tells you the order, but in the finished version you’ll get a different sort of hint, probably through the eye changing color or something like that:

Back in Arcade Mode it’s time to make a set of decorations for the different rooms that can be mixed and matched to create a lot of different room graphics. Our strategy for this is that I’ll make 3 different sets of decorations for each corner of every room size, which can then be mixed and match with the other corners, creating a ton of different combinations for each room.

As always, I use the editor to do these things, so that Teddy can easily add each of them into the engine:

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:

This week it’s time for some more trap prototyping! This time we’ve been working on those eyes we’re using in the ‘ghost bridge’ room, but here they serve as a ‘trap’ of sort in an ordinary fighting room.

In our first iteration, we used the eye in the same way we use it in the ghost bridge room; basically moving back and forth in a set speed. If you’re in the regular world, the beam from its eye will be slightly transparent and won’t deal damage, while in the ghost world it’s darker and will damage you quite a bit if you get hit by it.

For the second iteration, we wanted the eye to feel more ‘alive’, so we’ve given it a couple patterns. Either it will slowly open its eye and cast a beam straight forward, or it’ll look to the sides as in the example above for a little bit before closing up again. These patterns are then randomized so you never know which one it will do next; you’ll have to keep track of it to know how to dodge it.

We do prefer the second version so far, as it makes the eye feel more like a living thing rather than something that just ‘blindly’ (ha) looks back and forth forever. It also keeps the players on their toes a bit since they need to keep track of what it will do next, rather than just dodge the eye beam over and over.

And now, time for something much less exciting but still very needed… Some background masking! This is a technique we use when we want certain effects and such to only be visible on the floor and nowhere else. Basically, each part of the floor is painted with a color (in this case a pretty pink), which will be used as a guide in the game for where the effect can appear.

Starting out by applying this to the first floor rooms, since we want to finish up the first floor and get it all sorted out before we move on to the other floors:

Next up, the captain’s portrait! To make sure I’m getting his features right, I’m going to trace the boss sprite for this one, using it as a base for the portrait:

And here’s the finished thing:

As I mentioned before, we’re currently working on finishing up the first floor. That means going over each room and adding the remaining details that have been missing. For the very first room, that entails adding a ton of boxes and crates to give the room a bit more ‘storage room’-y feeling:

Quite a few boxes! We thought of blocking the path leading straight to the door, but ended up keeping it open as we felt like forcing the player to take the long way around might feel a bit overdesigned.

Meanwhile in the animation department, the enemies are finally being polished into their final forms, their animations cleaned up with further details added. Just look at this: