Another week, and work on the desert continues! Before I start sketching the town layout, I wanted to get a feeling of how the houses would look like, so I began to sketch a bunch of alternatives for random basic buildings. Like the house in one of the desert maps, these have a slightly different design compared to the rest of the houses in the game, much like the buildings in Tai Ming:

Once I was done with the sketches, I added a character sprite and quickly realized they were much bigger than they would be in game, so I resized them to fit better:

In order to truly grasp what they look like, I decided to make a few of them in the actual artstyle too. This will give a better feel for color and shape, and I’ll be able to use these houses in the game, or at least parts of them, depending on what the final town design ends up being.

Here’s the WIP:

Alright, time to start looking at the desert town! …Neither the desert nor the desert town has been named yet, I guess we’ll have to fix that sooner or later… But anyway! As mentioned, we had already decided on a bunch of major things we wanted to include in the town, among those a church, an ice cream parlor, a marketplace, a beach and a harbor area with ships. With this in mind I began making a sketch of what I imagined the area to look like, with the list of features in mind:

As always with these sketches, we added it as a flat background to the game and ran around in it, imagining it the way it’d look when everything is done. It led us to a bunch of changes:

* Adding more water to the bottom and left, making sure the camera doesn’t stop scrolling when you near the edge of the land. This makes it more pleasant to the eye and helps give a feeling that the sea is more vast.

* The bridge near the harbor area would be increased in size, both in regards to width as well as length. We plan on adding a bunch of NPCs to make it seem bustling enough. We also added more ships, to increase the sense of it being a lively port.

* We reduced to overall size of the entire thing (but just slightly), with the exception of the beach which we found to be of adequate size.

* We made the north entrance a bit more fancy looking, having space for a couple of guards rather than palm trees being the very first thing you run into. We also moved the fountain near the northern entrance to a more central position.

Here’s the upgraded version, and what we’ll use as a base for the city:

And as Fred keeps making NPCs, I get to make more portrait. This time it’s for the lady gardener, struggling to get the vegetables growing (maybe if she stopped pulling them up and let them grow it’d go better, but who am I to judge). Here’s the sprite, for those who forgot:

And here’ the WIP and final (for now) portrait:


A quick break to fix some Arcadia things that popped up! To begin with, Bishop’s challenges of course needs a interface of its own:

The basic design is pretty much the same as Master Ji’s shield training, but instead of having either a star or nothing, this interface will show you what floor you reached on your best run during a challenge! Completing a whole run will give you a gold star, though to be honest we don’t expect a lot of people to manage that:

A slight adjustment has been made to the inventory title box in Arcadia as well… For as you can see, the original version includes bag:

…and since bag is not included in Arcade Mode, we simply replaced him with trunk instead:

The health pot also won’t be available from Remedi’s potions in Arcadia. It’s possible we’ll include an Arcade-only potion, but until we come up with one or in case we don’t, we made a special icon showing that the health pot is unavailable in this mode:

Teddy’s working on implementing each of the new buildings, and while working on Muffin’s Treats we realized we need to edit how the item frame(s) look:

As you can see the item frames are a bit too big for the treat icons, so I made a slightly edited version of the fancy one in the description box that will be used for these! As I took the opportunity to upgrade the overall look of it, we decided to update the regular item frames in the rest of the game to look more like it as well:

As for the selection frames, they will be using the treat/curse frames seen in the bottom UI instead, but at the time of the screenshot, they hadn’t been implemented just yet.

Next, we forgot that you of course need to browse to Treats, Curses and Challenges in a popup window (same as when you select buy or talk in shops), so they needed icons as well:

Finally, a minor edit: we decided to change name of Trunk of Tricks to Trunk of Tips:

This way it’ll feel slightly more different from Bag of Tricks :)

As for Fred, this time around he has animated the cacti I made a while ago! As mentioned, these won’t be destructible but will only wiggle a little when you hit ’em:

Some of them will be able to get frozen though, and those you’ll be able to destroy to make your way slightly quicker through the first desert area:

In Arcadia, a cage being built to house NPCs that you’ll be able to release during your runs after defeating a mini-boss!

Of course, it also needs an animation for when you successfully save a captured NPC and let them go:

Whew, after close to one week in bed sniffing away with the flu, I’m actually feeling alive again and more than ready to get back to work! Unfortunately I cursed Teddy with the flu as well, so he’s been down and out for a while too… Fred seems to have remained immune this time around!

Because 2/3rds of the company has been unable to do much work the past week, there aren’t much in terms of news! We are drawing ever closer to being able to move into our new office space though, so that’s super exciting and we’re all looking forward to it (and have already begun planning how we’ll move everything and changes we need to make to make it all work for us).

As I mentioned last week, the office is actually already available to us (since Dec 1st), but we’re waiting to move in until the 6th (this Wednesday) when we’ll get helped by a moving company. Since we don’t have too much stuff to move but the items we do have are quite cumbersome to transport in the tiny car that’s available to us – in fact we don’t think the larger of the two desks will fit in it even if we unscrew the whole thing- we decided for our peace of mind it’s probably better to hire a couple guys to move it for us. Less risk of us dropping and breaking stuff, and having to solve how to transport a much too large table.. Carry it to the office by foot, a healthy 50 minute walk…? Hmm.

Now, I’ll be getting back to work properly today, and have already started off by sketching what the final desert map will look like (ignore my amazing misspelling of fight…):

The are three important areas in this map. First, the entrance to the city, indicated by the arrow pointing downwards. Second, the battle area in front of it, where you’ll battle a mini-boss and possibly some random enemy spawns. Third, the Saloon in the top part of the map, home of the shady people of the country. I want to make wanted posters in the surrounding area, featuring the gangsters you’ll meet in there. Maybe you’ll even run into a set of suspicious ferrets again…

The rest of this week will, however, be focused on finishing up the new Arcade Floors (some minor things remaining), and after that I’ll do the last interiors for the Arcadia town rework – just a few left! Once those are done we’ll start designing the new interfaces needed to get all the new systems up and running, and then test, test, test before we’re finally ready to release it all to the public! We’re very excited about the rework and though it’s a little while left before it’s 100% ready we hope you are too :D

So, time to finish up those Arcade floors! There’s a couple of pretty important maps missing from both the Tai Ming and the Mount Bloom floors that need to be added before they are truly complete: the score counting screens!

Whenever you finish a floor in Arcade Mode, you’ll run through a corridor of some sort while the game shows you your current score and how well you did in each room of the floor. These corridors are either connecting two floors of the same area, or serve to connect one type of floor with the next. The first corridor shown above is the corridor that will bridge the two Mount Bloom floors, while the second leads the way into the Tai Ming floors.

Below you have two types of the same corridor, one for past and one for present. Which one you’ll pass through depends on what boss you fought against. Meanwhile, when you transfer from Tai Ming to the desert maps, you’ll simply walk through a door from the Mimic room.

In order to have a proper exit from the above corridors, I had to extract and polish up the entrance/exit to the courtyard used in story mode and make a version of it in both timelines as well:

Finally, some minor changes to one of the boss rooms (the Arcade Mode version, that is):

Instead of having to limit ourselves to having this boss appear after going through a mountain wall, we decided to remove the lower mountain part and adjust how things were placed slightly, so we can put a regular fence there instead (and as such be able to place the boss map anywhere on the map rather than along a mountain). In order to do this we also had to repaint the lower parts of the vertical mountain wall, as can be seen in the second picture.

Now there’s just one more thing to do before these floors are fully complete (unless I’m forgetting something)!! And you guessed it, it’s turning all those polished and clean Past props into their present, ruined versions!!

Actually, since we decided each room will only be available in one of the timelines, I decided to not do exact replicas of some things, such as the buildings. With these I felt it’d be more interesting to bring in more designs to create more variations.

Here’s a few of the buildings that might appear on your run:

The fences were more straight forward, just make a ruined, old-looking version of each part:

And finally, the new (very old looking!) bridges to connect islands or help you cross over streams:

Okay, now that the new bunch of floors are properly completed, let’s celebrate by taking a quick break from Arcade Mode and make another portrait featuring yet another sailor (can’t have too many of those in a harbor town, right?):

And the finished portrait:

Meanwhile, Fred has moved on from fishes and started making a ton of NPCs for the desert! Here are some of the ones you’ll meet during your adventure:

This week it’s time to move on to doing some interiors for the Tai Ming arcade floors! Since Tai Ming is a town, it would be kind of weird to not have any houses you can go into, so we decided to make a few variations!

First up, deciding on the sizes (paying extra attention to the user interface limitations this time):

Starting off with the wider of the rooms, I add some basic walls and floors to create a shell we can use to decorate these interiors in various ways:

First up this entails wall decorations! For this shape, we have three variations of what the walls can look like:

…and they in turn can be combined with three different floor layouts:

Using these six types of decorations, we can mix and mach and create quite different rooms, even though the shape is the same! As you can see, we also added another type of floor texture to mix things up even more:

And then, it’s just doing the same thing all over again, but with the smaller version of the room:

Now it’s time to make a bunch of rooms that go in the other direction (horizontally)! Starting off in the same way, deciding on size and adding the basics:

Then adding a bunch of wall and floor decorations:

And here are some mix and match examples of what these houses can look like:

While there isn’t a ton of variation, there also won’t be a lot of house interiors, and even if there were we think it’s probably not going to look too much the same (especially when you compare it to previous floors, which were all very basic and same-looking)!

As for the final part of interior creation for these floors, there’s of course turning everything into its present version, ruined and forgotten!

Some of you may remember a discussion we had about whether the player would pass through the same rooms, once in past and once in present, or whether enforced time warps between rooms would determine whether the next room is past or present (and as such only available in that state).

Back then we were more into the idea of reusing the same rooms and showcasing them in both past and present, but since then we’ve realized that having the rooms isolated in either a past or present state is more time efficient, and in the end, may be more straight forward for the player as well. In the earlier version it would mean there are two states of the map at the same time, with different room types in them (challenge rooms and the nurse, for instance, would only be available in one of the states and you’d have to travel back and forth if you wanted to return to them after changing time).

So, with that decision, it opened up the opportunity to make even more layouts for the present type rooms, allowing for even more variation!

Here’s some of the wall and floor decorations:

And here’s a bunch of mix and matching, showing all types of rooms:

One step closer to finishing these arcade floors, wohoo! :)

And now, moving on to boss rooms! Each of our bosses are in rather special places, so instead of just sticking them into random rooms, we decided to edit and adjust the areas they are in to fit the Arcade version instead.

Starting with the Mimic, it’s pretty isolated in it’s own room, so technically we could just have had it appear inside a random interior. However, since we want to show off that the Mimic is coming (in more ways than simply having the skull map indicator for those who are looking), we decided to bring in the entrance to his lair from the game:

Of course, a few adjustments were needed. For one, we didn’t want to use the whole map, so we extracted the building part, removed the door, and added ropes to keep you from going up the stairs:

Trying it out in photoshop, it doesn’t look too shabby when you connect it to the stone fence:

We also added some specific decorations for when this room appears, so that nothing will get cut off:

As for the Thorn Worm boss, its arena is pretty set in the middle of town:

…But we extracted the whole building and made it a map of its own, removing all the distracting surroundings and fixing things that got broken in the move. Here, too, we added a bunch of decorations surrounding the battlefield, and you’ll be able to exit to the next floor by going through the big door:

As for the third boss, the Priestess…

…we use pretty much the same method! Extract the whole area, remove things that are unnecessary to the fight and fix any things that need fixing. In this case there was no version of the building with an open door, and since we want the player to progress into the next floor through its interior, I had to repaint the area surrounding the door to make it open:

Now we just need to make a corridor that you will run through in either past or present state depending on which of the bosses you faced, in order to reach the next floor!

Meanwhile, there’s one more week of fishy updates, but this is the last one! With this post all the fishes have been animated and are ready to be added to the aquarium:

Now that those are out of the way, Fred can finally go back to creating NPCs for the desert, which is what we’ll be diving into as soon as we finish up our Arcade Mode business. There are still quite a backlog of portraits I’ve made over the months for random character that will live there, so he has his work cut out for him for a while!

So a really long time ago by now, we started working on the Tai Ming floors. Or rather, I made a bunch of graphics for them and awaited a chance for Teddy to add them to the game for testing. Now, a hundred years later when we finally finished a ton of other important stuff, it’s time to dive back into the actual Arcade floors again, and it begins with fixing a bunch of errors.

To start off, the first thing we noticed when adding things to the engine was that I had somehow failed making the openings in the two types of fences the same width, which creates a bunch of zoning problems….

….and secondly, all of us had completely forgotten how much space the interface takes in in Arcade Mode compared to Story Mode. If you take a look at the screen below, you can see a lot of the fighting area is covered by the map and score board:

Not exactly ideal… SO, two kind of major things for me to fix: one, make sure the fence openings are equally wide, and make the fight areas smaller so they won’t get covered by interface (we certainly don’t want anyone losing precious score because an enemy was hiding behind the map):

The above changes may not look like much but it makes all the difference in the engine! As you may notice, the exits are no longer in the middle of the fence, but further towards the top. This is to save Teddy a ton of work, as he had already implemented the zoning for each of this exits, and would have to manually change them after the fence resize. As such, we decided keep them slightly higher and save the work. It may not look 100% ideal but I think in the heat of battle nobody will really think much of it.

Now, here are a few more screens showing what things look like in the engine so far (using my still not fixed graphics at this point):

As you can see, there’s a lot of stuff missing still, but the core is getting there (it’s basically playable, just not polished graphically at all). Next up I’ll be making a bunch of decorations for the area around the “room”s: grass decorations, randomized trees and rocks, etc. Once everything is added I think this will actually look quite nice!

But before moving on to more Tai Ming floor stuff, I wanted to finish a rather important boss room for Mount Bloom’s arcade floors: the one where you’ll battle the Black Ferrets (the awesomest trio in the game, am I right?!)

As you may know, this battle initially takes place inside the HQ, but will now be in Mount Bloom, as it’s where you’ll be at Arcadia wise. As such, we extracted the vital points of the map (the actual size of the fight area, so Teddy does not have to make new boundaries for it):

…And the proceed to make a new version of the area, set in Mount Bloom instead!

It’s kind of amazing how much smaller the fight area looks when it’s surrounded by water rather than more of the HQ, but it’s the exact same size! Teddy and Freddy will each be on the opposite end, hurling their blades at the unsuspecting player(s), just like in story mode:

Okay, back to the Tai Ming floor decoration stuff! First up, adding a ton of floor decorations around the battle area (inside the battle area it’ll be randomized, so it won’t look so similar each time):

Now, we need to make sure the flowers won’t get cut off when we add water or mountain walls, as seen below (fixed by moving the flowers slightly away from the border):

In order to make the edges of the water look more decorated, we put a bunch of the flowers directly on its sprite:

And now, the most important stuff: making a bunch of variations for trees, rocks and other decorations that will appear around the fences when there is no water or mountain to cover ’em up. I’ve made 6 variation of each side: three for when there’s an exit in that directions, and three for when it’s closed (as seen in the two examples below):

When a horizontal fence connects with a vertical one, there also needs to be a number of corner decorations, so I made three of those for each corner as well, two of which can be seen below:

Mixing and matching these decorations along with water, mountain walls and the buildings I made earlier will surely make this area look a whole lot different each time you play it! I think as far as Arcade floors go, these will probably look the most epic in that way, as each time you get there will truly be a new experience graphics wise.

Now I just need to make a bunch of interiors (you’ll battle through buildings as well), and turn everything into its past version for when it’s time for the time warp!

As for Fred’s work this week:

Even more fishies! When all this is said and done we’ll be able to make a fishing game… Wouldn’t that be exciting?! (Maybe not…)

So while these fishes take a lot of time to complete, we hope that once they’re all available in the aquarium it’ll be worth all the effort! Plus, who knows what else we can come up with now that we have a ton of animated fishes.

If you have any ideas, feel free to share your crazy fish dreams!

This week we mainly continue our work on the Arcadia remake, but we also took some time to bring a bunch of printouts of the desert area to our favorite fast food place for a little chat! Our goal was to discuss more in detail exactly what’s going to happen as you journey through the desert towards the harbour town, and what side quests we aim to include as we add this to the game.

We took a ton of notes on each of the maps, filling them with sentences about what will happen, what things will look like, what caves will connect and what will be in them, etc. After we were done, the desert had gone from a pretty basic set of maps to one of the most well thought out areas so far, at least in my opinion!

We aim to include three bigger side quests when we add it to frontline/stable (not including quests we might come put with for the harbour town), but like most areas, we have more ideas for other quests to include at a later date when it’s time for an overall polish of the entire game. While it won’t have a big side area like the Tai Ming’s phase shift section, the main quest here will bring back a lot of old friends to the plot, and have you travel outside the desert as well.

With all this new information, there’s a ton of new maps (cave interiors, specifically) for me to do, and a few new enemy and mini-boss animations for Fred to deal with as well! It’s all gonna be a lot of fun, and we hope you’ll be as excited to finally explore this area as we are making it.

However, before we start focusing for real on the desert, there’s still something left to do: the Arcadia rework (as mentioned), including the Tai Ming and Mount Bloom floors which currently aren’t in the game. So while we’ve made sure to plan ahead for this, it’ll be a little while before we actually continue working on the desert stuff.

And the next Arcade Mode interior…. is the Inn! Or the tavern! Whatever you wish to call it. True, it does not have beds, but who’s to say there isn’t a hidden door somewhere that leads upstairs?

In either case, this is sort of an upgraded version of the old Tavern in Arcadia. Doesn’t look exactly the same, but I went for the same sort of feel and the overall layout. When everything is implemented this place will probably have more visitors than it currently does, more inhabitants looking to hand out quests!

Here’s the WIP video, using a lot of old housing items for this one:

And the finished version:

Next up, the arena!! Another interior that gets and upgrade, where we aren’t completely decided on whether this new upgraded version will replace the old one in Story Mode.

Like with the farm, I kind of went for the same layout and overall design, though in the original version there are statues of fighters which I opted out of in this version: I just didn’t feel it worked very well with this rather smaller and more compact version of the layout.

Instead, my hope is to have a few spectators chat in the reception area, maybe swooning at the champions (you guys) who are about to enter the fray!

Here’s the WIP video:

And the finished version:

And now, a completely new building, not previously available in any form: the Bank! How exciting! …Maybe.

So for this place we wanted the look of a waiting room, with a kind of office-y feel to it. People requesting loans and whatnot will be waiting for their turn, while the player can just waltz up to one of the desks and request an exchange of gold to essence (or the other way around)!

Aside from the desk where the bank workers will be, there’s a (heavily guarded!) vault, and a water cooler, cause waiting times for non-players can be quite extreme…

The WIP video:

Finished version:

And finally, a bunch of new fishes for the Aquarium, to end this week!

After some discussion we’ve decided to make all of the fishes available in the Aquarium, which means each of them needs to be animated. While Fred has made a bunch already, there’s still a ton left to do…

..and as such, here’s the second fish batch, ready to be put into an aquarium near you:

One thing we didn’t mention in last weeks posts are what will happen to your old potions. We aren’t so cruel as to simply remove or disable the pots you’ve bought so far – instead they will turn into pet food (which, honestly, is probably what most of you have used them for so far).

As such, we’ll be adding a new shop to the game: Oak’s Pet supplies, found at the farm in Evergrind West! At Oak’s Pet Supplies you’ll be able to buy dishes to feed your pet(s) with, each one boosting a different stat.

At first, we weren’t sure whether we wanted to keep these foods simple, calling them simple things (such as HP Food, Crit Food, etc) and having a very basic appearance (basic pet food cans in different colors and with different icons depending on what stat they boost). However, after some discussion we thought it’d be more fun to use ‘real’ dishes, with fancier names.

Sure, it does not make as much sense that Oak is selling outright food at his farm, but we’ll make that work later on. Maybe that’s why nobody is buying things at Belmont’s café? Oak is serving better stuff for cheaper! It’s food for pets but who cares so long as it’s tasty, right..?

Anyway, without further ado, introducing the dishes that have replaced your old potions:

Light Ceasar Salad – Nothing like a light salad to keep you up on our feet! This dish is replacing the old speed potions, and boost speed when fed to your pet.

Hearty Stew – A thick and warming stew to boost your health! Feed it to your pet and you’ll get a nice HP increase.

Spicy Prawn Soup – A hot soup that will help you land those crits after you feed it to your pet.

Grilled Rib Eye Steak – A grilled beef to keep your damage high. Replaces the old damage pots.

Sweet Sundae – Finally, a sweet dessert for your EP needs. Feed your pet this yummy dish and it will be sure to help you keep that EP up and running.

Here’s the final lineup:

And the title of the shop page! We decided to go for Pet Supplies rather than Pet food since we want to keep our options open: maybe Oak will end up selling other things as well! Such as new taming items…. We’ll see!

Now, time to get back to the Arcadia rework, and we begin with a quick update with some random improvements/additions! First up, I felt the Farm outdoors looked awfully empty, so I added a bunch of hay for your pets to eat, just to make it look a bit more special:

Second, way back we decided that the furniture salesman should have a little sign like all the other shops, so I went back and added it outside the player house:

Speaking of the player house, we also mentioned ages ago that the player house in Arcadia would be the one available in Evergrind as well, rather than the random run-of-the-mill house currently available. Said and done:

Finally, something not-Arcadia related! We’re considering adding a painting of the player’s mother in the lab, where you dad hangs out with the artifacts. Just a little reminder of why you’re collecting them in the first place~

Now, finally time to move indoors and start doing some cool house interiors (it’s been a while now)! Today, we’re starting off with the Clock Tower, featuring the world’s longest GIF. I should have just recorded a video of this whole thing but I’ve been doing GIFs so much now that I just completely forgot I also have a YouTube channel for these things. Oh well!

This place was actually quite a bit of a struggle! I’m working on my rendering technique for those pesky wall textures, trying to fins a nice balance between too plain and too much detail/colors.

The main part of this room is the bell, which will allow you to change the time of day, and the window which indicates what time of day it is. The window will be animated by Fred at some point, where the image will turn from night to day. At that point the background might look completely different depending on what’s easier to animate for him, but for now I just put a piece of the Arcadia background there instead of keeping it empty.

Finished version, for now:

Next up we continue the Arcadia rework, today starring the the farm interior! This place will have the same look and feel as the farm in Evergrind West, only with updated graphics and more stuff.

We’re actually considering replacing the old farm interior in Story Mode with this one, but we haven’t fully decided yet. On one hand it looks a lot better graphics wise, on the other it’s kind of nice to have the unlock in Arcadia be a bit more special. On the third hand (…let’s not get into anatomy…) many players will probably never play Arcade Mode or get to the point where they unlock the Farm, so it means a lot of people won’t get to see the better version, while most people likely will visit the farm in Story Mode at some point.

Ah, we’ll see.

Anyway, here’s the creation video:

And the finished version, missing Oak, of course:

And while I continue doing Arcadia stuff, Fred returns to the desert! Over the weeks I’ve made quite a bunch of portraits for people in the desert, and now it’s time for Fred to start making their sprites~

Here’s a bunch of the inhabitants you’ll be able to talk to in the upcoming desert town, also featuring their WIPs and various stages before the final versions were picked (the final selection are the one in the circle on top):

There’s also a bunch of fishes being made for the Aquarium that will be available in the Arcadia Rework! So exciting, look how cute they are:

Gotta catch ’em all… :D

This week we return our focus to the Arcadia Rework! Starting with the usual reminder of where we left things off last:

The first thing on my new fixlist was to make the shape of the arena more rounded:

Then, it was painting paths all day! So many paths! Even with a lot of copy & pasting, this took forever, haha:

After the paths were done, it’s time to add water and the edges around town:

…and the background, kind of bringing everything together! Now all that’s left is a ton of trees, flower, smaller decorations – and to make the version of town that hasn’t been built upon yet! The goal of new Arcadia will be for you to unlock all of this, after all.

So here we go, time to add the last pieces. For instance, the bridge that will connect the right land mass to the left, once you unlock it:

And then……. Trees and flowers!!! So many! With this step, the fully unlocked version of Arcadia is done (aside from any other minor fixes we might decide to add). Of course, in this version there are no animation or NPCs added yet, but that will happen in the game engine:

Now it’s time to demolish everything and make the not unlocked version of each of the plots you can purchase on your journey! Starting off with Remedi’s wagon, which will be nothing but a pile of dirt to begin with:

Each of the plots you’ll be able to unlock/purchase will have their own signpost, so I decided to make a new version of the extremely old sprite we’ve been using so far. Should probably replace the one in Story Mode with this one later on, though it might stand out next to the old background graphics, I suppose:

As for the grand fae tree, it too will start off rather small… as a sapling:

There will be more tiny details added here and there in this version, where nothing has been unlocked yet, plus there will be wood covering certain areas you’ll have to unlock as well. For now, this is what things look if you’ve unlocked all the areas (except the bridge) but not bought any plots yet:

Now, as we decided a while back, only a small part of Arcadia will be available from the beginning, and the remaining three parts will have to be unlocked: one by building a bridge, and the other two by clearing out trees. As such, this is actually what the town will look like from the beginning:

And below are two versions where just one of the remaining areas have been unlocked by clearing out the woods:

Now, in order to make things look a little more interesting around some of the unbuilt plots, we decided to put in some random props, pieces of wood, boxes and the like, to help signify that these areas are a work in progress until you’ve purchased them. So below it’s decorating time, starting with the Farm, moving on to the Aquarium, the Bank, and finally the Arena:

And now, here’s the version of the map where all the plots are visible but none has been bought:

And with this, I believe the outdoors of the Arcadia rework is more or less complete! Wohoo!! Of course, we still need to make a bunch of interiors, but still :)

So to finish this week, I’m throwing in another portrait for the desert crew today, once more playing around with rendering techniques for the final (small) version of the portrait:

Next week will be all about potions and the potion rework! Stay tuned :)

Weeeee’re back! In fact, one whole week has passed since we got back to work and it’s time for a new weekly recap~

As you know, before taking this break, we launched a patch with the complete rework of our current skills in hope of making them more balanced (and fun). We’ve read all of the feedback coming in, and for now there aren’t any major changes we want to do (aside from a bunch of bug fixes that Teddy already has been working on). We will keep monitoring the feedback and possible change a few things, however: such as increasing the HP of certain enemies that have lost some of their tankyness due to the increased damage of most of the skills.

Now, to properly start the next step on our journey to actually completing this game, we had a meeting today discussing the additions of more talents! We have wanted to add a bunch for a while now, as mentioned before. For now, we’ve decided on adding 5 new Melee talents, 5 new Magic talents and 10 new General talents!

Starting with the Magic talents, some talents we discussed and confirmed will be added are:

Fast Talker – Increase Castspeed
Soul Siphon – Hitting an enemy with a wand projectile will grant the user some EP
Concentration – Increase resistance to having the (magic) spells channeling interrupted by enemy hits
Specialist – Increase damage depending on how many skillpoints you have in the same magic tree (as an example, the more fire skills you level, the stronger your fire skills will be overall)
Wand Master – Icreased damage from wand projectiles

As for the General talents, some you may expect there are:

Got You Covered – Increase buff duration
Metabolism – Increase EP regen
Health Insurance – Increase healing from health orbs
Lady Luck –  Introducing a low chance of enemy attacks missing your character
Utility Flow – Chaining Utility skills lower their EP cost (the more utility skills you use in a row the cheaper their cost in EP, up to a maximum percentage). A talent designed with the true support players in mind, who need more EP to buff a full team!
Kinetic Energy – Get EP from blocking attacks with your shield
Efficient Counter – Perfect Guarding lowering the EP cost of the next skill

And the Melee talents we’ve decided on so far:

Knowledge is Power – MATK gives ATK
Riposte – Perfect guarding within x range of an enemy deals some damage to the enemy you guarded against
Blood Thirst – Killing an enemy grants increased attack speed for a short duration
Combo Starter – After a normal attack, your melee skills have increased critchance for a short duration

We’re currently experimenting with a melee talent that increases the attackspeed of your next normal attack(s) when you’ve been out of combat for a short while. In the general tree, there will also be at least one talent relating to the bow.

We’re also considering increasing the number of talents in the general tree to 21 (as opposed to the planned total of 20). The reason for this is that we’d like to fit all talents in a single page, without the player having to scroll down. Our idea is to go for something like this (super early mockup WIP, obviously, we’ll have to adjust all of the graphics to make this work):

It’s a bit cluttered, but with a few adjustments we hope it won’t be too messy on the eye. We believe, at least, it will be better this way than to introduce scrolling. In the Magic and Melee talent sections, things won’t get as cluttered either, as they won’t have as many talents: at least for now, our max total is 15 each.

As for Arcadia, now that the first stage of the Arcadia is done – that is, the main buildings – it’s time to take a look at it and see where things can improve. As a reminder of what things looked like where we left off, take a peek below:

As you can see, not a lot of details or even finished pathways. The reason for this is that I wanted to be sure all the distances felt nice when actually inside the game, after the main buildings were properly made.

To check this, Teddy uploaded the background into the game and we could run around as if it were a real map, only without any colliders or the ability to actually go inside any of the buildings. While doing this, we did feel like the distances are fine, but we came up with a list of other changes which will be what I’ll be working on next:

* The map’s size will be increased in each direction. The reason for this is not so that there will be more room for the buildings, but rather so that more of the edges can be seen, such as the background that will be painted in the top part of the map, or the woods that will serve as the edge of the map.

* The Clock Tower will get another floor and I’ll remake the clock in its middle part to become a lot bigger and detailed enough that it will show a different time depending on if it’s daylight or nighttime.

* The Arena will be reworked: we’ll make it a lot bigger, to make it feel epic enough.

* The Aquarium and the Bank will both be moved slightly to the right, aligning the path to the bank with the path to the cinema. This to make a little more space between the farm and the Aquarium.

* The top, middle part of the roof of the Aquarium will be turned into a pool of water, where silhouettes of fish can be seen once you start catching some!

* The benches in the fountain/garden area will be moved a bit higher, to make more room for whatever characters might find themselves sitting there in the future!

Along the way I’ll also start making the proper paths and decorate the areas with flowers, fences and other small things. Already, we feel this place is a lot more vivid than the old Arcadia was, and by the end of it it’ll hopefully be a truly cool and polished place :)

Now, time to fix those things! First up, the clock tower:

As some of you mentioned, it’s a little short, so we’ll make it slightly longer (though honestly, not by much: we still want the bell on top to be clearly visible when you enter the building). We also wanted to make the clock bigger and more detailed, so that when you change what time of day it is, the clock will change as well. Also, some silly decorations, because why not:

Next up, some minor detail additions for the Cinema and Inn, adding some fences and decorations. Proper grass, flowers and further details will be added once this second iterations of town is completed:

Moving on to the Arena, we decided to make it larger (and in turn, more detailed) so we made the top part of it higher, and the whole thing wider. For decoration, we added a few posters showing upcoming challenges or fights to take place in the arena. I mean if they don’t advertise what kind of stuff goes on there, how will the NPCs of Arcadia ever get interested enough in going? Gotta sell those tickets!

And here’s the new and improved, slightly bigger arena:

We’re also preparing the Aquarium change(s)! First by moving it and the bank to align with the cinema, and next filling the top part of the Aquarium’s roof with water. In the water you’ll see fish silhouettes once it’s properly added to the actual game:

Finally, increasing the size of the map:

It is rather a lot bigger now, but most of the extra space will be covered in trees and only serve to not make it feel like the map is cut off too close to you. It does feel a little more epic if you can imagine the vast forest expanding around the town, after all!

And to end things this week, I’ll throw in a brand new portrait!

Since I got back I wanted to try a slightly different rendering style for the final sprite (particularly for the eyes), which I think turned out alright:

Truly, last week was not so much about art or programming as it was testing. We really want to get the balance right this time, so we’ve decided to play through the game at least once per skill, giving each of them chance to be the main skill in a playthrough. It’s truly a challenge to tweak the numbers to make them mathematically balanced vs each other, without losing the soul of each skill.

Because the game is already quite a few hours long, and we want to make sure each skill scales well as the play progress through it all, it means A LOT of the work week has been spent “simply” playing the game over and over, taking notes on how each skill feels at various points of the game. To our aid, Teddy has made a number of shortcuts, i.e. we can now walk through walls to skip certain puzzles. That’s basically the only skip we use, though, as we still want the level and gear to be as true to a real playthrough as possible.

With each skill completed, we’re getting close to evening them all out, and right now most of them feel a lot more powerful than they did previously.

As we started playing the game using the new version of Blade Flurry (shown last week), we realized we weren’t quite satisfied with the way it looked now, so Fred took a small break from testing skills to make a third version, which is kind of a mix between the two earlier ones (note that this is currently a WIP and hasn’t been fully finished yet):

Chain Lightning will get a slight rework. Instead of seemingly randomly jumping to any enemy within a cone-shape before you, the skill will now favour the enemy you’re looking straight at (though if there isn’t one there, it will jump diagonally still). The main target will then take a bulk of the damage, leaving less damage for secondary targets the lightning then jump onwards to. We hope that by making this change, the skill will feel more satisfying to use, as you can select which target you want to kill first rather than doing rather underwhelming damage to a bunch of them.

The Flame Thrower might get reverted back to its original form, where you could move and damage enemies at the same time, although your movement speed while using the skill will be greatly reduced based on your cast speed. This will, at least, likely be true for Story Mode, where it no longer feels very strong compared to the other skills that got buffed. However, we have not tested these things out in Arcade Mode yet, so it remains to see how OP it feels there at the moment.

Balancing skills between Story Mode and Arcade Mode will probably be one of the biggest challenges during this rebalance period, as the modes are so vastly different from one another. In Story Mode, it’s rather unlikely you’ll ever be as tightly surrounded by enemies as you tend to be in Arcade Mode, which means some skills will work a lot better depending on which of the modes you’re playing. We’re trying our best to balance this without having to change any of the skills EP cost or damage in just one mode.

And in other news, we’ve decided to make respeccing a lot cheaper than it currently is. For a while we considered making it free, but we feel a low cost will give the player a bigger sense of impact as they level skills, compared to if you could just change things around free of charge at any time!

Hopefully, our great rebalance will draw to a close this week, as we all have looking forward to taking a week’s break from 4th and 8th September, just to recharge the batteries before the great long autumn and winter rolls over Sweden. Finishing the patch up just before then would be ideal, as we would be able to return a week later and go through all the accumulated feedback. Fingers crossed!

Now, as more stuff is added to the new revamped version of Arcadia, it’s time to create the Cinema! While we’re still not completely sure this will be available at the end (it kind of depends how well we can solve some of the issues with the mechanics), for now we’re fairly sure we want it there in some shape or form.

Inside the cinema, you’ll have the option to replay previous arcade runs and show them off to your friends. It won’t affect your current runs in any way, but we feel it would be interesting to be able to review a previous run and see where things may have gone wrong – or simply use it to brag of your achievements in front of your friends ;)

Some grasp the mechanics of Grindea almost immediately, others struggle to land a perfect guard for the whole of the game (so far). To help the latter ones along, and add a challenge to the ones who think they’ve mastered the fine art of the shield, we’re adding the Dojo!

In the Dojo, you’ll be able to practice perfect guarding against different sets of enemies, earning headbands in different colors to show at which level your perfect guarding technique is currently at. This mechanic might (likely) be added to Story Mode as well once it’s been implemented, making sure everyone has a chance to practice perfect guarding and becoming masters of the shield!

The theme of the left side of the map is more tranquil and nature-y than the rest, as we’ve decided to put most of the decorative spots in this part of the map. One of these is a small garden with a fountain, which serve to bring more people into town (and more people equals more quests)!

Like the other decorative slots, this plot in itself does not affect the mechanics of your arcade run, but the quest(s) you unlock with it might:

Only two plots left! Drawing close to the end:

This week, the skill rebalance and Arcadia Rework continues!

Fred and Teddy are both hard at work getting new and reworked effects and mechanics into the game, and one of the possibly bigger changes have been coming together over the last week: the new chill and freeze effects!

The ice skills, or rather the Ice Nova and Ice Spikes, will both be able to chill and freeze every enemy on the game! Previously this was reserved for regular enemies, but now they’ll affect bosses as well, drastically improving the skills which have been rather underwhelming against bosses before.

Because there was no way we could use the old effect on enemies as big as the bosses, we had to sit down and try to solve this issue by making an entirely new freeze shader instead. This was all done by Teddy and has had several steps of iteration, two of which can be seen below:

After some effects were added by Fred, we’re left with the result seen below:

The difference between a chilled and frozen enemy is pretty drastic. A chilled enemy will have a slightly altered hue, snowflakes appearing around them and frost beneath their feet. Every once in a while, an enemy might be frozen, which makes it completely unable to move. If an enemy is chilled first, the chance of this happening doubles.

Visually, a frozen enemy is tinted blue and becomes shiny, the frost and snowflakes remaining around it. There’s an increased chance of landing crits on frozen enemies, but they will only remain frozen for a short period of time or until you’ve hit it 3 times with regular-damage attacks or once if it’s a hit with bigger impact (such as the final hit of a gold-charge Heroic Slam).

Fred also wasted no time jumping into refining and reworking the effects of various other skills. One that’s getting a visual and mechanic change is the Flamethrower, which as mentioned earlier won’t deal damage as you move. This meant new smoke effects had to be used:

When we talked about this last, we decided that neither silver nor gold charge would deal damage when moving. However, upon seeing various players distress at the idea of making it that much less OP, we’ve decided to try to keep the damage-while-moving on the gold charge level (which also has new graphics, by the way!):

We’ll balance this with a damage reduction instead, and if we still feel it’s too OP we might still do the full nerf with no damage while moving. Our initial idea with Flamethrower was that positioning would be key to use it, and being able to move and do damage at the same time kind of takes away from that, which is the reason we wanted to make this change to begin with (aside from the skill being too OP, especially at silver level, compared to others).

Hopefully this compromise will keep the fun feel of the skill while not making it too crazy good. It’s always difficult nerfing skills in any game because when you’re used to a skill being really OP, it typically also feels really great using it. Using such a skill after a nerf will of course cause some disappointment, but hopefully the game will be better and more balanced overall after some of these have been made.

Next, there’s been some additional graphics added to the Smash and its new ball!

Each time you hit the ball it changes color and does more damage. After three hits it’ll disappear, so you have to summon it anew. We’re still fiddling around with the arrow indicating which way the ball will go, and the graphic is likely to be changed again, at least slightly.

We’re listening to all of your feedback on our changes thus far, and it’s no secret Smash is the source of a lot of discussion. We’ll continue on this path for now, finalizing this version of the skill and uploading it with the rest once they’re done. Once you can try all the rebalanced skills all at once we’ll see how things turn out! There’s still a possibility Smash might get scrapped altogether, it all depends on what you guys feel when it’s all patched and ready for testing.

Finally, here’s a bunch of the new and improved effects Fred has been working on:

Now, time to focus on Arcadia and its rework. There’s a lot of stuff left to do before it’s anywhere near complete, so it’s time to get a move on! Here’s the next part, featuring the Inn, which will house several characters that are able to give you quests, and will help in making Arcadia a more lively town with more inhabitants:

The clock tower is a brand new addition to Arcadia, by which you’ll be able to change the time of day from day to night (and possibly somewhere in between: we’ll see!). In this video I also add the Bishop, with a new and improved Grindea statue, and remake the old notice board:

Another addition to Arcadia which weren’t available before is the farm! This building will house a set of animals – once you catch them. You’ll have the option to either let the animals roam free in town or keep them inside the pasture surrounding the farm, where no doubt Oak will be working:

And with these new additions, here’s where we’re left:

Still some way to go, but it’s starting to come together. With this, all the houses in the starting area have been finished, only missing the proper paths and decorations. The farm is the first building on one of the unlockable plots, meaning technically I could finish up the first part and add it to the game. However, since we want to make sure all the distances and stuff work out, I’ll complete the rest and make adjustments accordingly, before finishing up the area with more decorations and pathways.

Next week, there will very likely be more of the same, as we continue to get the Skill- and Arcadia Reworks ready! Stay tuned :)