Another week and more boss progress! There are so many things we could do with this boss that it’s difficult to choose which attacks and patterns we want to keep. One of the things we’ve done recently is working on tweaking one of the eye boss new attacks, featuring a barrage of eyes that will eventually explode! There are a bunch of sliders we can use to tweak this attack, and one of them is number of eyes:

..and also the shape of the explosion circles, below with a more circular shape:

The one above is probably closest to what we’re aiming for for now, but as with everything else this might be changed with more testing!

The latest iteration of the laser attack now also has proper lasers, and more eyes:

As you can see here, the trick is figuring out which eye colors are not present in the big eye, which will let you know which eyes won’t be firing the laser. To make this a little easier we’re also adding symbols to the eyes, making them easier to tell apart:

We haven’t decided exactly which of these symbols we’ll use yet, as we want to pick the ones that are the most clear from the side as well. Fred has already started playing around with what the eyes would look like from the side, but we’re not quite there just yet:

We know this boss (and the map in general) is taking ages to finish, but we’re determined to not let it go until each of us is fully satisfied with the fight, and we believe that once we’ve gotten to that point, it will all be worth it! Hopefully the third floor will be complete enough to run through and test very soon… :)

Meanwhile my work outside of the Ghost Ship continues with more improvements, and we’re slowly working out way down to Evergrind East; here’s a couple more of my sketches for more places we’ll improve upon:

And so we’ll start with the first two sketches, adding some more decorations first to the second Pillar Mountains map:

…and then we move to the area right before Evergrind City to spice up Evergrind East a little bit:

Next up, Evergrind City’s entrance itself, a slightly bigger job adding some decorations and making the wall more prominent:

We’ve already mentioned that during your stay in the Ghost Ship, you’ll be transported back to Startington, but things are not the way you remember them… One thing we’ll change in regards to this is your home, which will have a slightly different look… Or rather a few slightly different looks, of which the first one is a more idyllic version!

Take a look at the transformation here:

So, this Startington Home will have multiple versions, and it’s time to get going! First a reminder of the first version, and then each consecutively version as they will become available to you, culminating in a version where things have gone a bit… messy to say the least:

Going back to the overall Pillar Mountains improvements, it’s time to take a look at the area surrounding Mumrik’s tent! I felt this area felt a little bare, so decided to spice it up a bit with some more stuff:

Next up we’ll do something similar to the area surrounding the fisherman on the next map, and after that it’s time to continue scouting more areas to improve upon!

Without further ado: The fisherman’s area in lower Pillar Mountains! Getting some improvements, a little bit of everything:

In Fred’s animation department, we’re finishing up the eye boss..

…and moving on to more exciting things, namely the creepy things that will appear in that strange version of Startington that you’ll soon be visiting, starting with some slime that will cover the entirety of your character:

Another new week, which we’ll begin with some mixed fixes and additions! First up, a new version of the headless chef portrait, where his head has been replaced with… oh my… a tomato?

First of all we needed to decide which size this new tomato head would have, and to start off with we were unsure of whether we wanted a regular size or giant size tomato for the job – in the end we decided to go with the smaller one, and after playing around a bit with the sizing of the thing we got to this conclusion:

Now, how you get to put that tomato head on to a ghost’s body is something you’ll have to figure out for yourself!

Next up, a special type of door that will lead you in to the new Flying Fortress room I made last week:

We’re not yet sure exactly where this door will appear in the fortress, so for now I made the door in a random room – it will move to another location once we know where we want to put the room!

And so finally, some smaller additions to the Pillar Mountains improvements I did so far; more to come:

Now I thought we’d take a little look at how it’s going on with the Ghost Ship progress!

Teddy has been working hard to implement all of the stuff me and Fred made for him, which includes a bunch of cutscenes with the captain and some ghosts:

There’s the ghost ‘recruitment’ system, which allows you to present items to ghosts in order to bring back the memories of their past selves:

As well as that fancy eye boss, which has another attack featuring epic laser redirection:

There’s still a bunch of cutscenes and a bunch of puzzles to add, but the final floor is coming together slowly but surely. Soon we only have the final boss of the ship to deal with, which in itself will be an interesting but very exciting task…

Meanwhile in the portrait department it’s time for one more ghostlike portrait! While the Chef now has a portrait without his head and one with a tomato instead of his head, his actual head needs a portrait of its own, now doesn’t it? So, here we go:

Recognize this guy? Last time we saw him was in the past, in Tai Ming! But now he’s back in a slightly less… living state. Whatever happened to him? Soon it’ll be time for you to find out!

Finally this week, the boss progress continues and Fred has been busy making more and more attacks for giant eye you will be facing off against!

Now, for something we haven’t touched in a very very long time… The Flying Fortress! As part of the Ghost Ship update we want a certain people to.. come back from the dead, as it were, and in order to make them remember who they are it’s time to add a room in the Flying Fortress where they used to work, where you’ll be able to find something to remind them of their long forgotten past!

The character in question may or may not be one you have encountered before… Can you figure out whom?

Next up in the batch of portraits is the Bartender’s assistant, which is one of the ghosts that will play a part in the main story! Can you find them on the ship and bring them back to their work in the bar?

No bar or fancy dining place is complete without someone to keep everything and everyone in check, and so this ship’s bar has it’s very own bouncer whom you’ll need to bring back on duty as well! Looks like he’s kept on working out even after death…

We’ll do one more portrait this week, just to finish up the portraits needed for the time being! This time it’s the ghostly fae’s turn to get their portrait done, like so:

And now, time for something we haven’t done in a long time – a video! This one featuring a bunch of the drops you’ll find around the Ghost Ship:


New week and a new cabin redesign! This cabin belongs to a fashion designer from Tai Ming, who fled their home to start a new life in the Merchant Isles after the great cataclysm started by Zhamla:

After that, it’s time for a quick break from the Ghost Ship to make another one of the Pillar Mountains improvements! Because this cave will have some significance later on, we wanted its entrance to look a bit more fancy:

What you’ll find inside? Well… You’ll see!

For now it’s time for some more ghost like portraits, starting with the headless chef:

Quite an.. eh.. Interesting portrait, no? First time drawing a portrait without an actual head!

And next up, the bartender, who will have an important part to play in the players quest to get through this dungeon:

With the ghost ship ghost quest inclusion, it’s time to do something we haven’t done in a long time – add another interface!

In your quest to help the ghosts, you will need to bring items to them that will remind them of who they are. To do this, you’ll have to first speak with a confused ghost, bringing up an interface featuring all items you’re able to present to the ghosts (mainly misc and key items). Upon selecting an item, the ghost will then let you know if it’s what they’re looking for (which will clear up their confusion), or if it’s not.

We wanted this interface to be quite straight forward with lots of space for items so you don’t have to scroll too far looking for the item you want to give each ghost. We also wanted a box where you can view the item’s name before giving it.

Here’s my early sketch:

And the progress:

We’ll start off this new week with adding a slight puzzle or bonus thing to the corridor thing, featuring a pushable piece of staircase!

Our goal is to include a bunch of these optional things for the players to do while making their way through the ghost ship, as well as the side quests with the ghosts that we’ll be adding likely at a later date.

For now though, let’s take a look at how I move things around and create this rather simple puzzle thing:

As we come up with more of the ghosts that you’ll meet in the ghost ship, a couple of the rooms need to change a little to properly house them. This cabin for instance, which was left rather bland while we decided which ghost we wanted to stay in it, has now been turned into a singing diva ghost’s cabin:

And of course, with the addition of all of these ghosts, it’s time to start making portraits for them as well! Starting today with the pianist:

The next spirit portrait is that of an old lady! Sometime during the many years since the ship left harbour, she got separated from her husband. Will you be able to reunite them again?

In Fred’s animation department, there’s a bunch of more enemy details being worked on! The eerie painting can now spin around like a madma-… err madspirit, and there are some creepy eyeballs rolling around (ew):

For one of the puzzles there will be torches to light, and ghosts holding them up:

And also, a couple more friendly(ish) ghosts to live on the ship:

Alright! New week, and with my work on the ghost ship mostly done for now, it’s time to start looking back on those improvement ideas I was working on a little while ago!

Starting with the Pillar Mountains portion, here’s a bunch of the new props that will decorate the town area:

With more to come – I already have a bunch of new ideas for stuff to add here aside from these items, but I think I’ll continue on with the sketches I’ve already made for now, meaning Pillar Mountains is next!

So, moving on to the Pillar Mountains improvements, we’ll start off with a couple of random things to give the area a bit more personality; some poles and a railing of some sort (gotta keep the kids from falling off the mountain now don’t we):

I’m also gonna make a bunch of other plants and stuff to make the area seem a little bit more lush as well, starting off with this one:

Some more greenery to spice up these backgrounds:

As well as another one of those poles, this one facing the other direction:

I also feel like we could use some bigger variance between the trees so I decided to make another birch, this one a bit smaller than the one we use already:

And here’s where we’re at after having added a bunch of more stuff:

I think Pillar Mountains will definitely look a bit more interesting after this, especially with a bunch of more things added which we’ll look at later on…

For now though, it’s time to return to the Ghost Ship! With Teddy and Fred having started work on the third floor, things become more and more clear and one of the things we wanted to change slightly is the background of the corridor leading to the huts, making it bigger, so here goes:

A bit more space in there! I think I’ll have to add some more random boxes and stuff around the room to keep it from feeling too empty, but one step at a time right :)

And of course, Fred having started work on the third floor means more ghosts! Here’s a bunch of the spirits you’ll meet on your adventures through the ship:

New week, and it’s time to finish up the third floor (my part of it, anyway)! With the hub room finished, the third floor backgrounds are more or less completed, and all that remains now is to add those fancy border decorations:

…and apply the floor masks to make sure the effects all go in their proper places:

Now that the interior of the ship is mostly done, it’s time to start focusing on finishing up the exterior, where the last boss of this dungeon will take place. Looking back at the shape of the ship, I felt a bit displeased with the way it looked and so decided to improve on it a bit, starting with the front:

Slightly better, no? I’ll adjust the back a little bit as well I think, but after that the exterior should be more and less done as well – until we start testing out the boss battle and no doubt need to adjust certain things, at least!

Continuing on then, the back of the ship needed a slight upgrade as well shape wise, so here goes:

In the interior, a while ago we decided to change the direction in which you travel through the eastern part of the ship’s third floor, resulting in that I had to change which of the rooms contained the rope ladder and which contained the jumpdown:

We’ve also had quite a few discussions regarding what we want to happen on the ship’s third floors, and a lot of our talks have revolved around whether or not we’d like to include friendly ghosts on the ship. Early on we wanted to avoid this, but as time went on we became more and more enthusiastic about the idea of having some friendly ghosts to chat to that could also give you quests; so we decided to go for it. As such, the final part of the ship will involve some traditional questing where you need to bring some ghosts back to their senses in order to get to the final part of the ship. Of course, once this is done you’ll also be able to do other quests with ghosts on the ship, making it a semi bustling place of its own (hopefully). Don’t worry though, we won’t go overboard (ha) – we’ll try to keep the amount of NPCs on the ships to a decent amount (and not Tai Ming style 60+) :)

With this addition, we actually feel a lot more excited about the ship as a whole, so hopefully it’ll be something you guys enjoy as well!

And speaking of which, here’s a bunch of Fred’s tests for the ghost NPCs which he starting working on pretty much as soon as we decided this is the route we want to take (did I mention we are quite excited about this addition?):

The first completed ghost is the spirit of a pianist who once played at the grand soirĂ©es of the hub room, but now has forgotten who he is and floats around the ship looking for clues that will return his memories… How sad! Will you be able to help him?

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! :(