Hello everyone! Have you enjoyed your weekend? It’s time for another week and another meeting, this time discussing the next quest we’ll implement for Story Mode.

As you’ve seen before, Fred has been working on a bug net animation for a quest where you’ll capture butterflies. The person who will give you this quest is Luigi, and one of the rewards will be one of those fertilizers that will help the squiggly plants you’ve seen across the world grow. Today we ironed out some more of those details.

To start off with, the point of the quest is that you’ll get a bug net from Luigi, and use it to capture some rare butterflies found across the world. Turn in three (or four – we haven’t decided the exact number yet) and you’ll get a fertilizer, turn in all of them and you’ll get a special trinket.

At first we weren’t sure whether this quest should be given immediately or if it’ll be unlocked later on in the game. Each of these options come with their own pro’s and cons. The positives of having it unlocked immediately (well, after you finish the trial) is that you’ll be able to capture butterflies as you go on your adventures, giving you something extra to do. On the other hand, unlocking it later on will give you a chance to go back to some places you’ve seen before, especially if you’ve taken notice of the butterflies before and wondered what you could do with them.

In the end we settled for having it unlocked immediately, since the first reward you’ll get for the quest is a fertilizer, and that in its own is a sort of backtracking deal, making both the quest and reward a bit too similar if we went for the second option.

As for the final reward, we decided to go for a trinket that will get you a butterfly follower, sort of like the trinket that gives you a fae follower, but with a butterfly instead. We’re also considering allowing you to pick between a set of different appearances for the butterfly, so that you’ll always be able to pick one that you like best and/or matches your look!

We still don’t know exactly how many butterflies you’ll be able to capture across the world, but we’ll try to spread them out evenly throughout the game. The main thing is that they will all be outdoors (and Luigi will tell you as much), to avoid having you look around in every nook and cranny of every cave and building when you’re about to go looking for that final one!

Next, work on the mansion continues, this time with a dining room, where we can only assume Marino and his family have their supper with esteemed guests to entertain:

Next, another face you’ll find in the Mansion: another maid, polishing some statues in the main hallway!

Next in line in the mansion room creation is the second hallway, which connects the kitchen, dining room and first hallway:

And with that, the mansion is more than halfway done! What remains now is the grand corridor where Marino’s dad hangs out, Marino’s room, the master bedroom and Marino’s mother exotic plant room!

Meanwhile, Fred has been working on a bunch of smaller things, including a couple of the new NPCs, and some secret easter egg stuff I won’t show here, but will leave for you to find out during your adventures in the game!

Now, as is customary after a bigger patch, it’s time for us to take a couple days off to recharge the batteries. We’ll be back at the office on August 3rd, meaning the next blog post will be available here on August 10th, a week after we’ve returned to the office and produced new stuff to show!

Hope you guys are enjoying the summer, I’ll see you then :3

It’s finally time for those of you who play on stable to take part of the new Arcade Mode update!! With this new patch, you will get the full rebalance/rework of Arcade, including fewer floors, Traveller and his Pins, the difficulty changing Catalysts and various rebalances. Are you ready?

As always, feedback is much appreciated, and you can leave it here, on the forums, or in our discord! We all look forward to hearing from you soon :)

Now, this week continues with more Marino’s Mansion! To start off, the kitchen:

Next up in the mansion is a room where Marino’s mom takes care of the estate business; her office, if you will:

Next up, the portrait of a woman you’ll meet as part of one of the mansion quests we’re working on; a PR woman hired by Marino’s dad to handle marketing for the arena event:

Now, as part of one of the Marino’s mansion quests, namely the one with an arena challenge, we wanted to introduce some sort of more difficult fight, so we thought it was high time to make a proper boar boss! In our pursuit of this we wanted to make a more dangerous looking boar without having to redo exactly all of its animations completely, so Fred went to experiment on a bunch of different design ideas:

In the end, we went for the one in the top right, giving him massive tusks and some sweet hair (also, eyebrows, because why not?). Next came the question of what colour it would be, and though we were all fond of the red ones and might use one of those for something else (Boar fire train arena challenge anyone?) we decided on going for the ‘elder’ gray-ish look, having it match, in some ways, the Elder Rabby mini-boss:

Excited yet? We sure are! It’s gonna be nice to add some more side quests into the game to make the world feel more populated and alive, with events that happen here and there throughout your journey.

Hey guys! In case you missed it, the Frontline Beta has been updated since a few days back! Among the things that have been added you’ll find the Arcade rebalance, catalysts that will make your runs more difficult as you beat them, Pins and a whole bunch of smaller enemy changes. The full patch notes can be found here or on the steam community hub, as always! Please let us know what you think, and send us any feedback on what you like, dislike, or would like to see changed :)

Time to make that tree stump! I’ll be using the tree stump in Santa Fae as a base for the background and make it it fit the theme by adding moss, leaves and some seed things:

Next up, a cellar room used for a quest in the mansion where you need to clear out some pesky enemies that have invaded! Using the Giga Slime Arcade Mode boss room as a base for the size here:

We’ve also been working on an user interface for adding those catalyst you get that will make your runs more difficult! Here we’re playing around with various font sizes and colours:

To show a bit more emphasis on the statue and the catalysts added, we decided to fade the rest of the background into darkness as you play around with this:

Added ‘headlines’ with the name of the catalyst you’re adding:

Same as above but with more colours:

Then we tried it out with smaller text, making the readability better.

And the end result, big headline, small descriptive text all together in one line and in one colour, which we felt gave the best readability:

Next, work on Marino’s Mansion continues! This time it’s the library’s turn to be made…

Fred’s been busy animating those cute trees from last week:

And another NPC that will be involved in one of the quests in Marino’s Mansion:

Among other things! More next week :)

With Fred finishing up the mirror sprite, I thought it fitting to throw together his portrait as well, while we wait to discuss exactly what will take place in the update coming after this recent Arcade rework:

We also decided to start having a bunch of smaller meetings again, as our work on the backlog of things to discuss has slowed down quite a bit. After the patch we’re currently working on (entailing the loop function for arcade mode as well as the pin mechanic), we’re going back to Story Mode with an update involving a bunch of side quests.

We’ve already mentioned that there will be two side quests relating to Marino’s mansion, but as you may know we’re also looking into sorting out the fertilizer mechanic, allowing you to grow those squiggly plants found around the world.

As part of that, one of the things we discussed and decided to add is another such plant in Seasonne, which will lead you to the giant tree stump which you couldn’t access as of yet! This will lead to a reward of its own, as well as a shop where you will be able to purchase trees for your house – but it will also serve as a help to end the last part of Remedi the Alchemist’s quest.

You will need to access the treestump, finish Fahrmamerahs quest in the desert and go into the mansion to find the ingredients to attempt another try at turning Remedi back into himself. It may or may not also include a fight against Remedi in his troll form, something we’ve all been excited for ever since Fred made the first couple animations for it way back, when it was supposed to be an enemy type in Mt: Bloom.

Next me and Fred will move on from what we’re currently working on and start focusing on those things, starting off with the tree stump and its inhabitants!

So to start off with, Fred has been making a bunch of design ideas for one of the tree stump’s inhabitant, the strange tree creature who sells decorative trees for your house:

In the end, we settled for this design, aiming to keep it a bit cute looking:

And then we have their child, a very small tree, who we first thought would be just a smaller version of the big one:

But then we thought about making it a sapling instead, so Fred made a couple variations for that as well:

Finally, a couple colour variations:

Currently our favourite is the one in the bottom left, which we thought had the cuter face. Next up, its portrait! It’s such a cute little thing that I can only hope the portrait will make it some semblance of justice :3

As mentioned before we’ve been looking into getting new desks for the office, specifically ones you can adjust the height of so you can change whether you sit or stand while working. A little while ago, they finally arrived, and now it’s been time to set them up!

First though, quick reminder of what it used to look like. All black desks that looked completely different:

We had to do a bunch of the assembly ourselves, including drilling our own holes into a table top, which was quite nerve wracking for a bunch of people who spend most of their time by their computers and barely know how to operate a drill!

It all went by more or less smoothly though, and in the end the tables work quite well:

But to be honest, the biggest upgrade IMO is the fact that the office now looks a lot more light and open, with all of us having the same desk as well:

Now it’s finally time to get back to work! See you next week :)

Our polishing continues with some new gameplay changes, this time featuring the enemies in the Temple of Seasons! To start off with, the tornadoes now spawn around the mage and player, and their movement speed is a lot slower:

The season knight’s spin can now be perfect guarded to push him away and make him stop:

And if you aim it well enough, he’ll deal damage to his friends as he’s pushed away:

It’s also time for another Collector! We’ll add a bunch of these to appear randomly during your adventures so it’s high time we make a couple more:

Another thing we’ve decided to add is discounted items at Shadier Merchant, the guy who sells you items in exchange for part of your max HP. There will now be a chance that one of the items is a particularly good deal; a stronger item for the level you’re on, or it’s priced lower. As such, I was tasked with making an indicator for discounted items:

Time for some more minor additions and changes! First up, a button for when you talk to Bishop and decide to change the difficulty settings by adding or removing those loop orbs; which we’ve decided to call ‘Catalysts’. The icon is supposed to indicate how you through this option can increase difficulty by adding another catalyst or decreasing the difficulty by removing one:

One of the oldest graphics in the game is that of the achievement trophy, so I decided to give it a quick makeover:

And finally, we decided to keep the Grindea-decorated fountains in Marino’s mansion for another part of the game, so instead I’ve been making some bee decorations for them:

So what Fred has started moving on to working with now is an entity you’ll find in the final dungeon. While I said we’ll focus on things not relating to the final dungeon for now, Fred has a lot of big animations to make for the last part of the game, so in order to avoid having a massive bottle neck where we’ll have to wait for his animations, we’ve decided that he should start working on some end game stuff after all.

And first up in that regard is this strange mirror artefact, which will appear throughout the tower and throw challenges your way. Here’s his progress on testing out various designs, as well as the one we picked in the end:

We continue to work on the various pin menus, and as a logical next step we need to make all sorts of graphics for the various places you’ll be able to look at your pins or see how many you’ve seen so far. First up, the title for where you can look at what pins you currently have equipped in the menu:

And next, the “shop title” of the Pin Collector where you can see all of the pins you’ve found so far; we decided against giving it a proper name, and went with the route of only showing a variety of pins:

And of course, the button which allows you to get to said list:

A little bit of news regarding the upcoming patch: unfortunately the cinema functions are quite broken and since we don’t feel like it’s vital for it to work before the patch (it will take quite a while to sort it out), we’ve decided to close the cinema for a little bit. People who haven’t bought it yet will receive a warning that it currently doesn’t work, while people who unlocked it already will get a slightly different interior:

Of course it’s our goal that it won’t remain like this for too long, and we hope it won’t be too much of an inconvenience, but right now we’d really like to get the patch up and running sooner rather than later, so fixing the cinema will have to come second to that! :)

Next up, some more gear for that set that will be used as part of a quest in the arena! These items aren’t too good stat wise but they look sort of cool?! Will you be able to survive an arena challenge wearing only these things?

As part of the new patch, we’re adding and improving on a bunch of things both for Arcade and Story Mode. A few of those things involve new projectiles and ‘tails’ for projectiles to make them easier to read:

 

 

And as for a thing that won’t make it’s way into this patch but will be available soon is this nice butterfly net, which will be used as part of a quest given by Luigi in Evergrind City, granting you one of those fertilizer you’ll use on the small plants you can find here and there across the game to make them grow:

 

In Freds department, he continues to make effects, both in general and for the loop orbs specifically. Here’s a collection of his work this far:

As we continue toying with that loop idea mentioned last week, I’ve been fiddling around with some various ways to illustrate the difficulty increase. Our current idea is to showcase it as a type of orb or crystal you insert into the statue by Bishop, but this might change as we explore other ideas. For now though, here’s a few of the experiments in action:

Next, a bunch of expressions for the Pin collector so the cutscene in which he appears can be completed. As always, a lot of these expressions will probably not be used but I like to mix and match a couple extras just in case :)

With the loops progressing, we’re redesigning the Grindea statue a bit so make her sword bigger and more badass looking! We still haven’t decided yet which type of crystal thingies we’re going for but here goes:

The new improved sword with a variety of the crystals:

We’re also considering mixing them so there will be one of each, or at the very least different colors for each one you unlock:

This last one is our favourite currently, but we’ll see! More discussions to be had :)

Our experiments with the Pin Collector’s first appearance continues as well and we’re now playing around with how the pins that scatter around him will look.

The difference between the above two are mainly the sizing of the pins. In the first video, the pins are all of the same size, while in the second one we’ve resized some to be smaller. Between the two of those, we prefer the one where the sizes aren’t all exactly the same, but we weren’t totally happy with the way they faded away, so we decided to try something else:

In this third version, the pins disappear with a bit more of a bang. We prefer this a lot as it gives the feel that the pins disappear into the world rather than simply fade away. However, we weren’t completely happy with the timing, so we decided to change that a bit as well:

So in this version the timing is adjusted and the Pin Collector turns around. Of course, most of the graphics displayed here are placeholder graphics, his turn as well, so each of them will be improved in due time. But so far so good! :)

Meanwhile, Fred has been playing around with a ton of effects for the Pin collector’s appearance, as well as trying out some animations for the “loop orbs”, seen below:

Aand giving the pin collector a bunch of animations as well, as can be seen here:

This week we’ve been busy turning the guest house into an office; which turns out involved two full days of carrying stuff back and forth as well as disassembling and reassembling a whole bunch of furniture… Phew!

Even after these two days we’re not completely done; we’ve been looking into getting new desks (of the kind you can also use to stand up and work), and new, better chairs, seeing as we’ve had these for an incredibly long time and they’re pretty much just the most basic type of IKEA chairs. I spent most of the evening Monday doing some research on that topic, so hopefully we’ll have a better and prettier looking office soon :)

For now though, it’s good to be able to work together again! And being this close to home, it’s a lot easier with lunch breaks and the like as well. Feels great so far!

Now, time for the last of James fans! We felt like two were a bit too few to give a sense of him having a following, so we decided to make one more:

One thing we’ve been talking about a lot recently is the difficulty setting for Arcade Mode and how to adjust it to make it the best possible experience for the most people. Our recent idea is to introduce something we call loops, that I think is a quite popular theme in roguelike style games: the game starts out fairly easy (well, not easy – but easier compared to the current default difficulty setting!), and once you’ve finished all floors once, you’ll unlock a more difficult version.

This will be done through accessing an item you can activate through Bishop, and there will be more than one difficult increase; for instance, our current idea is that Arcade will begin on what could be equivalent to Story Mode’s normal difficulty setting, then once you complete it once you’ll access Arcade Mode’s current difficulty setting through activating the item at Bishop. Complete that difficulty and you’ll unlock another item that will trigger your next runs to be as difficult as the current difficulty setting plus Candy’s Hard Mode curse.

The true ending for Arcade and the final battle would only be accessible if you manage to complete the whole game with all difficulty increasing items activated. You’ll also be able to deactivate them if you find the difficulty has become too much for you to handle.

How do you feel about this “loop” idea? Is it something you think you’d enjoy or do you prefer it the way things are now?

Meanwhile, Fred works on making all sorts of effects for the Pins and their various functions! Our goal is that every pin will have some sort of visual indicator for what they’re doing, so there’s a lot of random small effects to be made:

And then we have this one, an effect showing up as the Pin collector himself literally stumbles into the world of Arcadia! Soon it’ll all be in place.. :)

Going back to story mode for a bit, we’ve talked about the second quest for the Mansion and come up with a rather simple quest for the player to deal with the first time they’re allowed into the Mansion (which will be by the time you defeat Marino after Flying Fortress). Basically one of the maids want some help solving a small infestation of slime in the basement. Oh but what an infestation it is – not quite what you’d expect I think… :)

We’re also finally starting to fiddle around with the things you’ll access when you get the plant fertilizers and will access the areas currently unavailable (remember the small squiggly plants?). So far we know of three places these plants will be: the one in pillar mountains which will lead to a small reward, a little cave system leading back to the cave where you find the sandals (I believe) further down in pillar mountains, and upwards to an old an abandoned Grindea shrine which may or may not play a part in the later stages of the game…

Here are some sketches I made as we were talking about this place during the meeting, more to come later:

The one in Flying Fortress will simply lead you to a treasure, while the third will lead you to the mysterious tree stump house in Seasonne, where it seems you will get a reward and find a housing shop! We haven’t made any sketches for this yet, but I’ll likely start working on that once we finish up the mansion :)

First though, some more Pin stuff for Arcade Mode! There will be a part of the menu where you can see what Pins you currently have equipped, and so I made a little modified version of the Pin equip UI where you can see such things:

One suggestion on where to put this menu was to replace the crafting tab with it, seeing as crafting doesn’t serve a purpose in Arcade Mode, the other was to keep it under equipment. The latter suggestion was mainly because we wanted it to be in the same spot in both modes in a world where we were to include them in Story Mode in some form. For now though, that seems unlikely – so the Crafting tab will be replaced for now :)

Next step on the same topic is that we want there to be a place where you can see all of the pins that are available, as well as those you haven’t seen yet. This will be viewed through the Pin Collector who will hang out in town after you’ve unlocked him!

Here’s the progress:

Obviously each of the icons will be replaced with the corresponding Pin. The questionmark icons will signify a pin you haven’t seen yet but that you could find any run, while the lock means it’s a Pin you’ve yet to unlock. We haven’t yet decided if we will have pins you will unlock, but we’ve talked about having a new batch of pins unlock as a reward for certain quests or certain progression milestones; how do you guys feel about that?

Next up, another portrait for the mansion! This is the goblet, Marino’s dads trusted artefact! Finally some more sentient artefact for you guys to hang out with ;)

In Fred’s department we’re working on some cubes and other types of indicators for all of those pins that allows you to trigger an effect after x hits!

The cubes will grow in size the closer you are to unleashing the effect:

But he hasn’t forgotten about Story Mode! Here’s the shield to match the weapons seen last week:

So, we’ve been focusing quite a bit on Pins and Arcade these couple weeks, and you might wonder what our next step is from here. Our idea is that Teddy will finish up and add a ton of pins and get them polished and ready for a Frontline Patch along with the floor shortening and all of that sometime in the beginning of June – that’s about how long it’ll take for us to iron out all potential bugs and make it all work in multiplayer as well.

The remaining work is pretty heavily focused on the programming bits, so me and Fred will star working on something else, or rather, get back to where we left off before these Pins caught our attention: the Mansion! Once the mansion has been completed we’ll also add one or two quests involving its characters, and possibly some other bits and pieces for Story Mode before that turns into a Frontline Patch as well. In the near future, we’ll likely do an Arcade update here and a Story Mode update there as we work our way through these things we have left on our long list of things we want to add before the game is completed.

First up though, an expected Frontline Update around the first week on June, featuring the shortening of Arcade and around 100 pins for you to explore throughout your journeys in Arcade Mode! Hopefully you’ll like the variation they give as much as we have trying them out so far :)

The thing me and Fred will focus on next is the Mansion. I’ve already shown some sketches of the interior as well as some characters that will live inside its walls, but what’s the actual point of the building? Why, to house quests of course! Over the last couple days our daily meetings have mainly revolved around the quest(s) that will happen around the building, and have gone through a ton of suggestions. In the end though, we’ve settled for a specific questline, featuring Marino’s dad’s business idea.

As some of you may know, while you’re off in Mount Bloom and Tai Ming, Marino and his dad has been in the Merchant Isles for some kind of business trip. Now that they’re back, we’re deciding to bring in that business trip as part of a quest, where you’re tasked with doing marketing for a new set of gear they’ve imported and want to start selling.

The gear looks real fancy, but unfortunately its stats are horrible – it’s basically fashion items only. But to market the set, Marino’s dad wants you to do a publicity stunt in the arena – fighting a bunch of enemies using only the fashionable set from the Merchant Isle! Why you? Well, because the one who was actually going to do the fashion stunt, a famous and popular Collector, has unfortunately taken ill…

The idea here is that around the time you finish Tai Ming, there will be posters and such in Evergrind City featuring the famous collector (whom we’ll add as a side character that you can interact with and who will have been mentioned previously in the game), announcing the event in the arena. Shortly after the quest will become available in the mansion, where Marino’s dad will explain that the famed collector can’t do it but that you have enough popularity to do it instead. After this additional posters will be added to Evergrind, taped over the original ones, this time featuring your face!

The event itself will basically be an arena challenge where it’s your job to defeat a bunch of enemies using only the fashionable set (which will be force equipped and you won’t be able to change during the challenge). Succeed and you’ll get the reward, mess up and well… die… Oops :)

There will also be an additional quest earlier on in the game, which will be available around the time you first gain access to the mansion. We’re not entirely sure what that quest will be yet though, but probably something a bit more simple. Our idea with this bigger quest is to involve not only the mansion, but to give Evergrind City some additional sense of life, kind of like what we did surrounding the festival. We don’t want Evergrind to feel too static, but like a place where things happen and change :)

Now, time to dive back into that Mansion hallway!

Here’s part two, featuring a Solem statue and a little area to sit and have tea in the lobby, while waiting to meet whoever you’re here to see. Also, new and upgraded fountains (although we’ve talked about changing these around again and saving these particular ones for a different place – we’ll see):

Next up it’s time to make the portrait for the famous James Fawke, the popular collector guy that so far hasn’t existed but whom will appear here and there throughout the game (though not as part of the main story)!

Meanwhile, Fred has been working on those fashionable items that look good but are of low quality and don’t do too much damage! Here’s the preview of two of them:

I will be working on making the rest of the set, adding some headgear and face gear as well :)

Fred has also been working on the possibly cutest thing in the game yet, a baby cloud that will be an effect of one of the Pins you can find in Arcade Mode:

Who else wants to go find that pin right now?!