Now that the month has drawn to a close, it’s time to do a quick recap of what’s left for this patch, especially what we want to add to frontline (which is out already, by the way!!) and what we’ll save for stable – so it was high time for another meeting!

One of the things we’ve been talking about has been the boss drops. Right now only a few early bosses have boss drops, which aren’t even dropped 100% of the time, which is a bit weird even now that we’ve added boss rebattles in the arena. We had two options for this – either remove the boss drops altogether or let the boss drops be at 100% and add some more to other bosses across the game. In this case, we decided to go with the later, adding a bunch of new boss drops, including a seed allowing you to grow a Power Flower inside your house, an evil eye mask dropped from the evil eye in the ghost ship, a thorn worm cap allowing you to wear thorns on your head, and a cog shield dropped from the toy machine in Seasonne!

The Power Flower Seed brings us to the next topic, which is a plant system where you can plant seeds and have them grow in your home! How this will work is that you’ll find a seed, dropped from various plant enemies, and if you take the seed to the tree in Seasonne he’ll put it in a pot for you, which you can then place in your house. After some time, the seed will turn into a full grown potted version of the enemy you got the seed from. While this completed system won’t make it into this frontline update, we’ll start it up at the very least.

For the stable update, we’ll be adding Penn Wrythe’s novels, which will appear throughout the game in parts. After meeting her in Port Monnaie you’ll get to influence the way the final part of the story turns out, so think about your answers carefully! We’ll also be adding the cellar beneath the church in Port Monnaie, as well as a bunch of old books here and there across the game.

We discussed whether to add the player scaling feature yet or not, but we’ve decided to save that for another update – possibly the one after this one, where we go back to focusing more on Arcade Mode again.

Now, time for some last minute additions, starting with the final arena award, the arena hat:

Adding some backgrounds for Bishop in the journal, as well as a background for your character when they’re in Bishop’s own little realm:

Here’s something that won’t appear in this next patch, but is important to start working on anyway, namely our continued rework of the menu! In this step you’ll see me making a new layout where we’re removing the text titles of each inventory category and replacing them with icons (although the actual icons haven’t been made yet):

And as an additional bonus, a sneak peek of what Maracus Skill-to-Talent transmute looks like, complete with the awesome song made by our amazing music creator Andrew Riley of Lucky Lion Studios! Look at the old man go :3

Since we decided to make a bunch of new boss drops as well, I better get to work making those! Here’s a Power Flower seed, an Evil Eye Mask, and a Thorn Worm cap:

I also went ahead and made the drop appearance of the power flower seed all grown up for its place in the housing system, although you won’t be able to use it just yet (next update, maybe!)

Finally I was a bit cheeky and made my own suggestion for what the Toy Factory’s shield drop could look like, although it’ll most likely be edited and adjusted a bit by Fred:

And finally, here’s a little early sneak peek of three new collectors that will appear in the collector’s HQ or around the world, featuring a few more veterans, since we felt like the collectors all seemed awfully young:

Now go forth dear friends and try out the new patch over on the frontline beta! Among the new stuff is:

* Three big but optional side “quests”/objectives has been added, you can find them in the lost ship, Pillar Mountains and Mt Bloom respectively

* You can now refight all bosses in the arena, which has been improved in terms of UI and has a few more challenges as well

* A new load screen and splash screen for everyone who has been working on the game; the game should also load more quickly

* More bosses have drops (if you’ve killed them already you have been awarded the drops retroactively as all boss drops are now at 100%)

* Talent orbs can now be transformed into silver skill points and the other way around in the HQ

You can read the full patch notes over at the forums! And as always, all feedback is appreciated, please continue to help us make this game the best it can be, we value each and every one of your comments <3

Now, with this patch out and about, we’ll be taking a little belated easter holiday, since we haven’t had any off time for a while! The blog will be back as usual on April 26th, after we’ve had a full week back at the office with new content to recap for you guys :)

Today we’ve had a meeting talking about various improvements for the game as a whole. One such thing we’ve been meaning to add for a while is a proper loading screen before the game starts up: on some computers the game can take a little bit to start (we’re working on making this quicker as well!) and so it’s really nice to be able to get confirmation that you actually pressed the button in the first place.

As such, we’ve decided to add a little splash screen followed by the customary Pixel Ferrets logo (as well as our sound design teams logos) before a (hopefully) short load screen will appear until the game has properly loaded. Adding the splash picture and the logos should give the game most of the time it needs to start up everything it needs, so adding those will likely come with the added benefit of the game feeling like it’s starting up a bit quicker than it actually does as well (haha..)

We’ve also made the decision to upgrade some more menus: you already saw our work on the Trophies menu redesign last week, and we’ll continue to work on giving most of the in-game menus an upgraded look that fits better with the game’s overall aesthetic as well as work better overall – some just haven’t been streamlined enough, or have issues with the game’s various translations. More on that later!

Another thing we’ve been discussing but won’t be added until later on, if at all, is lobby systems, where you can host your game in a public listing, allowing strangers to join you from the game menu itself. While this is a neat feature for players who don’t have friends playing the game and who do not want to join a community in finding players in a similar ping distance, we feel like people are managing just fine for now and that adding it would be better left to after release, if it’s even needed then. We’ll see!

Now, let’s start work on some of the smaller menu improvements. In this post, I’ll mainly be looking at adding some flavour to the box on the left, where you can read a description of the part of the menu you’re currently in. With this new addition, you’ll get a more proper headline than the one in use right now, which is just more of the same boring white text.

We’re also adding a reward box to the trophies menu on the info box to the right, where you can easily see what you’ll get for finishing up the achievement in question. While this wasn’t totally needed, we felt it’s nice for people to be able to know the reward, so they can decide if they wanna pursue a specific trophy over the rest.

In that same box, we’re also adding another proper headline – although we’re not entirely sure it’ll look in this exact way yet, since it takes up a lot of space and we might need all we can get in order to fit the lengthier descriptions.

As a bonus, while I’m in the world of interface, here’s a little GIF featuring a battle indicator used for Bishop’s boss battle:

Okay, so time for us to take a look at that loading screen I mentioned previously! First of all, here we have the splash art that will appear before anything else. This won’t have the ‘windowed’ look, but will simply appear for a short while before the actual game window pops up:

Once the game window starts, you’ll be greeted with the familiar Pixel Ferrets logo, as mentioned before:

Followed by the three teams that have helped us bring the world of Grindea together in terms of sound effects and music:

Once that is out of the way, you’ll be greeted with the actual load screen. It’ll start like this, completely covered in clouds, but once the game finishes loading, the clouds will part ways and the pre-game menu will be revealed. To the left in this load screen, we’ll also have a random backer’s names show up as thanks for helping us get this far:

A gif showing how it all plays out once the actual game window starts can be seen here (although my computer already properly loaded the game, so there’s not much of a load screen going on here haha):

Now, some of these things are a bit placeholder-y, one of them being the fonts and overall design of the texts used. For example, I’m not too fond of the readability in the sound design teams part of the load screen, with it being on two rows and a bit hard to read overall:

So I made a couple suggestions making it look a bit more streamlined and less in your face:

For the cloudy load screen part, there was a bit of a font issue as well. Here’s what it looked like before:

And here are some suggested improvements, with this first one being my personal favourite (although we haven’t made any final decisions regarding which one we’ll pick yet):

Finally, with this new load screen appearing, I felt like the old in-game load screen between areas look a bit lame (it was one of the very first things we added to the game, after all!) so I made a little mockup of what a new version could look like, tying back to the pre-game load screen we’re implementing right now:

The text on the left will be replaced by the usual gameplay tips, I just didn’t have them on hand so I picked a random rat fact for now! The idea is that the clouds will be floating slowly across the sky, with possibly the occasional bird flying across – although hopefully the game won’t load for so long between areas that you’ll have to spend any longer amounts of time looking at it haha!

Meanwhile, Fred is working on adding and animating some new NPCs, namely the priest and apprentice that will appear in the church in Port Monnaie, as well as giving Bokus the ability to read and turn the pages of his book: