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 :)

As mentioned before, our next main goal is to do a complete rebalancing of the skills in the game. This includes making bigger changes to some of our old darlings, such as Smash.

Smash has been kind of difficult to use since hitting the first enemy does not do a lot of damage: it’s smashing it onto others that’s the main source of epic damage. However, in some cases this isn’t exactly easy to do. In fact, most of the time it probably isn’t for most people, unless they’re in a very crowded area. If you’re facing few enemies, it might be hard to aim where the first one will go, making it near impossible to optimize the damage. Against bosses, the skill has been more or less useless.

So, how do we change this? I’d lie if I said we haven’t considered replacing the skill completely, and I suppose it might still happen. However, our first try will be to improve aiming and giving you something to use against bosses or in those cases where there simply isn’t enough enemies.

SO: the next time you charge your Smash skill (once the patch airs), a magical ball will appear in front of the player. You can hit this ball instead of an enemy, smashing it into approaching foes (or bosses) for maximum damage. To make aiming easier we’ve played around with a couple ideas as well:

In the first one, a set of dots appear behind the ball, indicating where it’s going, including how it would bounce off walls and the like.

Below, there’s a second version, using a more cone-like shape. It’s important to remember that both of these indicators use placeholder graphics, and that in the end, regardless of which one we pick, it’ll look more fitting to the game.

As it is, we feel the second one has better potential of having a clean look, so it’s probably the one we’ll go for. Hopefully these additions to the skill will make it a little more fun and useful. Otherwise, it’s probably back to the drawing board for this skill!

So, now you’ve already seen some of our work on improving the skills, but as mentioned we have plans to improve or make tiny adjustments to almost every single skill in the game. This is all part of our rebalancing effort, which hopefully will end up with the game being a more fun and stable experience regardless of which sets of skills you pick. Here’s the complete rundown:

1-Handed Skills

Dodging Strike will get increased damage, and synergy with Reaper’s Blade (the new utility skill). A Gold Charge Dodging Strike will now automatically cast Reaper’s Blade on the target in front of you: level one by default, but if you put more points in the skill it will automatically use the level you have it at.

Piercing Dash will have its damage improved slightly.

Shadow Clone will be automatically nerfed as we lower the damage one 1-handed normal attacks, but it’s likely we’ll lower the base damage of this skill even further.

2-Handed Skills

Smash will be changed, as you’ve already seen. A ball will spawn when charging the skill, giving you something to hit enemies with for maximum damage.

For Titan’s Throw, we’ll add the option to get your sword back by channeling for a short while at bronze level. Right now, you have to pick the sword up manually until you get the gold charge, but we felt this has been limiting this skill a great deal. So instead, you’ll now be able to get your sword back from the beginning, though it won’t deal damage to enemies on its way back until gold charge.

Magic Skills

The Fireball will have increased speed, a graphic update (part of which has already been shown), and a more polished on-hit effect.

For the Meteor, we’ll increase the damage, and add more aoe.

You will no longer be able to damage enemies while moving, using the Flamethrower. If you start moving, the flames will die down until you stand still again.

Frosty Friend will have a cap of how many enemies can attack him. On the first level this will be a single enemy, but with each charge level he’ll be able to occupy one more enemy. This is to make sure he won’t be a complete meat shield, distracting all the enemies at all times. Instead, he won’t be able to die when shielding.

The Ice Spikes and Ice Nova will get a damage increase. As mentioned last week, you’ll also become able to chill and freeze all enemies (including bosses) with these skills.

Summon Plant‘s melee plants will have increased range, while the ranged plants will have less range.

Chain Lightning will get increased damage, possibly decreased range.

Static Touch will likely remain unchanged, but we are discussing whether to make a change so that you collect the cubes by battling, and by keeping on battling enemies they will get more and more charged. With this change you’d either be able to unleash the cubes upon a single enemy by using the skill again, or they’d be unleashed automatically when they’ve reached max charge level. Again, we haven’t decided whether to actually make this change yet, though.

There may be more changes than the ones listed above, but these are the ones we’ve discussed so far. As each skill gets its makeover we might have to adjust the others more.

Meanwhile, in the Arcadia Rework we finally get to the part with the Player house! This is especially important since we want to use what we make here in Evergrind City (for Story Mode) as well! In this first part I’ll begin with the house itself, and make another, shorter video later featuring the immediate surroundings.

 

The colors I selected were based on the Collector color scheme, which is blue and yellow. Seeing as the technology behind the house is designed, developed and used by collectors, we though these were fitting colors. Next, it’s time to add some much-needed decorations around the area!

 

Short video, but it makes a lot of difference for the house. The fence surrounding the house is based on the fence around the gardens in Evergrind City, as we intend to move the place more or less as-is to Evergrind, with some minor adjustments.

And here’s the full version of the town, with this added plot of land! Getting there, one step at a time:

Finally, in the desert, we need a few more Sailors – it is a port town after all. So here’s another sailor from the Merchant Isles, to help fix that problem:

A little over a week has passed since the new utility skills went live on our Frontline beta, and we’ve had some time to discuss your feedback and make plans for our next step(s).

While we were ready to rework any skill that people felt were too unbalanced or difficult/boring to use, it seems we won’t have to: most of the skills have received positive feedback, and the main points of discussion have been whether some skills have been too OP or not: often with different people claiming the very same skills are either too OP or too underwhelming. Hopefully these issues will be solved through some proper balancing.

In regards to this, there’s a number of changes we want to do to Barrier specifically. First of all, we’ll change the color of the damage numbers that show up when the barrier is absorbing damage, as well as some kind of indicator for when the it’s is about to run out of HP. Hits on the barrier will also count as damage taken in Arcade Mode, meaning it will lower your score. You also won’t be able to resummon the barrier more than once per Arcade Room, since it’s such a powerful spell for getting through the floors (albeit with a drastically lower score).

Now, as for what’s coming next….

Instead of polishing these skills further and adding them to stable, we’ll be finishing up a more or less complete rebalance of nearly all of the skills currently in the game. This will give our sound designer some time to crank out sound effects for the new ones, and makes for a bigger, more interesting stable update.

Some of the changes we are looking into here are:

* One handed weapons will do less damage. Right now they are a bit unbalanced compared to two handed weapons since you can hit way more often with 1H attacks.

* Cast Speed will increase the speed of skills, and not just the charge time. An example of this would be the insect swarm dealing it’s damage faster (and by doing so, run out faster as well), the cloud summon hitting more often or your character finishing a blade flurry attack quicker. These will all be balanced properly, so that summons that block a portion of your EP won’t be affected as much by cast speed as skills that need to be recast.

* We’ll experiment with being able to freeze bosses: Fred will look into suitable visual effects for this, which has been our main concern, as we can’t make individual freeze graphics that suits all bosses the same way we could with regular enemies. We’ll also make a change so there’s a bigger chance of freezing enemies that are chilled (slowed), or possibly that an enemy has to be chilled before it can be properly frozen.

* The magic weapon improvement mentioned previously: the addition of an orb that unleashes from magic weapons as you hit. The orb will trigger when you’re too far away to reach an enemy with your attack, essentially increasing the range of all magic weapons. However, the orb in question will always do less damage than if your weapon hit the enemy directly, and the damage it makes will be based on your magic attack.

* New talents, at least 5 per talent tree, with a maximum of 10 extra per tree, in order to avoid players having to read through too many talent descriptions to find what they’d like to level. These will be discussed in a later meeting.

There will also be, as mentioned, slight edits of nearly every skill, and Fred’s actually already begun working on one of those! Let’s take a look at the fireball:

You might wonder what this new animation has to do with skill rebalance. The thing is, we found that some of the skills were a little lacking in effects, which made them feel less epic or impactful than they actually are. This is by no means true of all skills: so don’t worry, we won’t spend too much time on remaking skill animations now! In fact, for the most part, it’ll be minor adjustments to damage, speed or mechanics.

For the fireball, though, it being the very first skill that was created, it was time for a little upgrade. This goes to show how far we’ve come as graphic artists: the first one being made several years ago, one of the earliest props of the game, while the latter is Fred’s latest version. It looks a lot better, right?

Speaking of animations, we also have a brand new Focus animation! Since we wanted the player to be able to move around as they use this skill, we wanted the character to float in the air: both to make things easier for us, and since it just looks better when channeling the skill compared to trying to look zen while running around!

Below you can see it in action with the indicator/timer and the proper effects:

In Arcadia, we slow down a little and start looking at the details. There’s some vital parts missing, such as the mountain which allows you to enter your arcade runs, as well as actual paths and greenery! Time for a fix:

With these new details you can actually begin to see things coming together a lot better. There’s still a bunch of extras that need to be made: a few trees and bushes, for instance, but the parts that have been made so far already look a lot more finished!

With Arcadia’s rework, we want this Arcade Mode town to feel different from the rest of the world, so almost all graphics will be made more or less from scratch, rather than reusing old sprites. This means not only the buildings, but also the greenery needs to be remade. And the next step on that mission? Trees and bushes!

Above is a few of the sketches I made to get an overall concept of what the greenery of Arcadia could look like. In the end I thought it would be cool to use spherical shapes for the trees and bushes. First up, a bush:

Next, using the newly created bush as a base for creating a tree (with some edits):

These trees and bushes are made so that when you put them next to each other, they kind of blend together, making it hard to see where one prop ends and the other begins. We feel this will create a cool effect when creating small groves of trees:

Next, I made another variation of both the trees and bushes with a more oblong shape, in order to have some variation in the greenery:

And since I like these new bushes a lot more compared to the ones I made for Arcadia previously, I went ahead and upgraded the shrubbery around the well, using the new ones as a base:

Finally, in the desert portrait area, it’s time for a portrait of a woman living in the village (they aren’t all tourists or merchants!):

Finished version below:

Last week was all about the Arcadia Rework for me, something which will continue to be the main focus for a long while to come. As you can tell, it’s coming along at a steady pace, one building at a time!

This week I will begin creating the underlying decorations, grass and paths between the various spaces. Since we’re also fairly sure about the Utility skills, I’ll also start creating their icons, while Teddy and Fred continue to deal with testing, testing, testing and skill graphics!

We’ve had two major discussions these last few days, both in regards to the new Utility skills. First, about the buffs: we are currently disagreeing whether it’s better to keep them as we originally planned (one buff for the offensive stats and one for the defensive stats), or to separate them further. Specifically, there’s an idea it’d be more interesting the have speed be it’s own buff, allowing the current Haste skill to remain (only balanced so it’s more useful). However, there are those of us who feel the “package” buff is a more interesting buff to use, even if it means the speed stat won’t be buffed as much as it could have been if it were its own buff.

Currently, we haven’t actually made up our minds about this! What do you think you guys would prefer? Two buffs: one for offense (damage, speed, crit) and one for defense (defense, shield reg, EP reg), or three: one for damage and crit, one for speed, and the defense buff left as is?

We’ve also talked about the amount of silver points spent on each Utility skill. We’re considering whether to have each skill have 5 levels (as was planned), or if it’s better to cap them at 3 each.

With 5 stages, the skills become more of an efficient silver point sink, but the skill improvement between each level will be rather small. With 3, each point spent on the skill will give a bigger upgrade, but you’ll also finish leveling the skills much sooner. Currently we’re leaning towards 3, as it seems more rewarding to the player that way, but we haven’t fully made up our minds yet.

If you have any ideas in regards to these discussion, feel free to share in the comments! We love to hear your input and what you think about decisions like these – after all, we want to do what’s best for the players :)

Now, last week we left Remedi with his wagon surroundings looking rather empty! Time to remedy (ha) that, and give him some fancy flowers for his collection:

The idea is that, before you’ve unlocked this plot of land, the wagon won’t be there at all, leaving only some dirt in a half circle. A sign describing what will appear there will be in the middle of it, and we’ll probably use some flavor text, such as describing how an alchemist might be lured there if you just get some interesting plants for the dirt (done automatically by paying the amount needed by the sign).

For now, this is what it looks like in its completed form:

As Arcadia continues to grow, it’s time to add that central piece of decoration, right below the mountain where you set your course for another arcade run:

It’s a well! And not just any well, but one of those visual plots that will help increase the number of people entering your town! Instead of being functional in the sense it adds a specific mechanic, it attracts NPCs that might give you a quest or two :)

And here’s the progress on the big map:

In the portrait department, it’s time for another kid roaming the streets of the desert/harbor town:

I have all kinds of ideas for this NPC, though I’m not entirely sure they will actually be realized, so I’ll keep quiet about them for now. All I can say is that Heero Yuy of Gundam Wing might have been an inspiration!

Finally, what Fred and Teddy has been up to: more skill work! The graphics for the Utility skills are coming together one by one, and here’s a few examples of the Barrier skill, tarting with it’s breaking due to a bee attack:

In the current iteration we’ve decided not to go with our original plan, which was that a barrier break like the one seen above would cause you to take the remaining damage (if any) after the last of your barrier hp is used up. Instead, it’ll now absorb the whole attack, keeping you safe from harm even as it’s close to breaking. Our reasoning for this is that it feels more satisfying being able to completely shield yourself from harm, especially against strong enemies which might be able to hit through the barrier with just one attack. We’ll balance this by lowering the amount of hits and hp the barrier can shield you from instead, but if it still ends up too OP we might bring back our original plan.

Of course, after a barrier break you won’t be able to recast the skill for a little while as well, as seen above.

Next, what it looks like as it expires due to the time limit:

After about 10 seconds it fades out, at which point you can recast it so long as it didn’t break due to taking too much damage. Finally, below, you can see the perfect guard effect as you bring it out in the right moment against a bee:

And here’s a closer look at the effects:

We’ve also begun implementing the Death Mark graphics seen in last week’s post! We are, however, considering changing it slightly, perhaps making the sword red and adding a skull, making it better fit its rather ominous name!

And to end this post, here’s a first iteration of the Challenge skill:

This, too, will be further improved. Below you can see an effect that will be added to the animation, to better indicate in which direction you aim your skill. Eventually there will be a speech bubble with curses thrown at the enemy as well:

Onwards we go! With some luck, these skills might be available as soon as this weekend for Frontline players, but it depends a lot of any more bugs that may surface as we continue to test these out. Fingers crossed!

With Fred back in town we had a meeting, as mentioned last week, where we discussed two important things: the new housing patch feedback and something I know many have long awaited… the support skills!

When it comes to the housing build tools, there actually haven’t been much feedback to speak about, which we take as a good thing: hopefully that means they weren’t too confusing! There are still some things we’d like to polish, though – for instance, some kind of visual effect for the clear and delete functions (as the items/rooms disappear).

We also want you to be able to add more than one door to a room, and by doing so connecting it to others. To do this, we’ll add a ‘connect’ button in the menu, which allows you to add another doorway between two rooms that are next to each other but not yet connected.

What about the support skills, then? Well, we’ve come up with eight different skills, which will be introduced in more detail at a later date. For now, let’s talk about the changes compared to what the support trees look like now:

For one, the skill category will change name from “Support” to the more versatile “Utility”. Our reasoning is that with a name like support, many players who expect to play the classical support role will automatically hone in on the support tree without checking the other trees first. However, while these new utility skills will likely make playing a support-like character more fun (compared to the current skills), we want to make a point of the fact that you can pick and choose from any of the skill categories, and use the Utility ones as bonus abilities, rather than either ignoring the tree or focusing too much on it due to the support name.

Inside Utility category there will be three trees: Offensive (3 skills), Defensive (3 skills) and Buffs (2 skills). The old support skills will be completely removed.

Finally, the utility skills won’t use the charge system, and won’t use up gold points. The way we’ve designed them now, they will cap at 5 skill points and only use silver – but this might change as we begin to prototype them and play around with them within the game.

Since the support skills are mainly Teddy and Fred’s area, I’ve focused on other things this week!

First up, I’m continuing work on Tai Ming’s arcade mode stuff, and it begins with changing the initial size of the rooms:

As you can see in the above image, our first version was pretty huge, larger than the biggest room in Flying Fortress (which I believe is the biggest room in all of Arcade Mode to this point). It still is very big, even after we changed the size a little, but less extreme.

So anyway, first thing I had to do was change the size of each of the walls I made currently, and then I went on to add openings/exits for each of them, as seen below:

The mountain walls only need an exit (or rather, entrance), to the bottom, since you’ll only use it once as you come through a Mount Bloom exit!

Then, I started working on another type of wall, featuring houses! Tai Ming is a town, after all… Here are a few of the ones I made in combination with some of the other walls:

When making these “house walls”, or more town like walls for the Tai Ming rooms, I wanted to make sure they could work both alone and next to water or other walls. In order to make this work, I made small versions of each, that are small ends just before the water edges, in case they are placed in a room with some kind of water. I then made four corners (seen above) than can be added to each of the walls to make them longer, for when there’s just greenery in the room, and no water.

An example of this can be seen below. The vertical edges of the battle area used here are the smaller versions, with the corners added on top but not bottom sides, in order to make room for the water that flows there:

Here’s another example, with a single corner connecting the short vertical and short horizontal edges of the battle room. It also showcases how you can use both a water edge and the stone wall together:

Third version, with corners on the left side! Also as you can see, there are a bunch of variations of the layouts, which means hopefully there shouldn’t be too many repeating walls:

And here we have one with only the short versions and no corners:

The actual battle area needs some grass decorations (that is likely to be random generated), but other than that I think we’re nearing something that feels a little more complete. Now we just need to feed these walls into the game engine and figure out in which ways to connect them to make the rooms look interesting and cool!

Now, it’s been a while since we made the first step in the progress of revamping Arcadia, but it’s finally time for another: Candy’s brother Muffin makes an appearance, ready to give you treats that will make your arcade runs easier!

The final form can be viewed below:

And below’s the map as of now! Quite a way to go yet, but we’re slowly getting there:

In Fred’s department, the desert enemies continue to take shape! This time around he has finished up the Mrs. Bird animations and moved on to the Solem~

See how another Mrs. Bird spawns out of the egg of another? We have a feeling this enemy will be quite annoying, hopefully in a good way! The Solem, meanwhile, will be a lone beast, few and far between due to their strength.

Since all paths will be open to the player (once the maps are actually in the game) we plan on sticking one of these guys near the entrance of the desert, deterring any stray new players on their way to Pumpkin Woods from going the wrong direction. One bout with this guy and hopefully they realize they took a wrong turn and continue down the right path! …or perhaps it’ll become a challenge to some, to see how soon they can best these high level beasts? Looking forward to seeing all the cheese strats! :)

As a bonus, Fred has created a step-by-step for the initial creating of the Solem, from sketch to finished sprite:

Excited to battle yet? I know I am.. But first we have some support skills and Arcade Mode reworks to finish :D

Hello guys and sorry for the late recap! Apparently, someone (me) forgot to hit ‘publish’ after finishing the post and nobody noticed until now… Ooops!

Oh well, ready for some new Housing info?

Our basic prototype is more or less done: the items that have been made so far have all been implemented, and most of the ones that will move in some way have their proper animations. Teddy is currently working on two things, the light settings (which are coming along rather nicely so far), and the rather complicated systems behind being able to add more rooms and change the layout of your house.

You see, previously we decided that you’d be able to select between a bunch of pre-designed layouts for your house, which could be unlocked at the proper salesman or through your housing menu (not fully decided). As our conversation went on, though, we started thinking it’d be really cool if you could design your house however you wanted, adding new rooms and change their sizes freely.

Before we fully commit to that can of worms, our current goal is to upload what we have to Frontline (any day now, possibly even tonight!) and let you guys try it out. We’re still a little torn between having pre-designed layouts or having you design the house more freely, as the latter definitely would add a ton more work and I’m sure most of you would like to see the game finished sooner rather than later.

So for now, we’ll upload what we have: a single layout, and the current housing items. The shop and house will be placeholder, with more finalized look for each of them coming later on, as we’ll use the Arcadia redesign versions as a base for the story mode versions after they’re finished.

With your feedback we hope to be able to gauge how much more work (and polish!) will be needed before the housing system can truly be complete, and as such will give us a better idea of which of our options to pick.

There’s also a third option here, where if people are satisfied with the basic version of the house, we might just stay off multiple layouts altogether as that would save a lot of time and would mean we could add the proper housing system much sooner. Anyway, your feedback will decide! Stay tuned for that :)

And now, time to make some walls for Tai Ming’s arcade mode!

“Walls?” you might ask. “Isn’t that quite straight forward?” Oh yes, my friend! Typically walls are the least of my worries when I make Arcade floors, as they’re just a very basic edge signifying the end of the battle area. In other floors, they’re a bunch of random generated trees, or a basic stone wall.

As mentioned in last week’s post, however, Tai Ming will be different. We’ll mix and match various ways to block off the battle area, ranging from streams of water, fences and even cave walls. And while creating each of those is a rather simple task in itself, they also need to be able to connect with each other and different types of walls – and they all need to work together!

Above you can see the size of the battle area we decided to work with for these rooms. It’ll be slightly bigger or smaller depending on which walls are used in the room, but most will be of approximately the same size.

So, first of all, let’s take a look at what we have to work with. In order of appearance: wall, mountain, stream and fence:

In a coming post, we’ll also take a look at houses that will serve as walls, and maybe one or two variations of these that account for other town-like features. After all, we want to convey the feeling that this is town, in whatever ways we can while keeping the Arcade feel!

For now though, let’s look at how we can use these pieces together to create a variety of different room types:

…and so on! Of course, not all of the rooms will have streams or mountain walls, though I suspect many will and they do make for more interesting looking rooms so far (at least until we’ve added some houses)!

There’s still a way to go, but the basics are down and I think this will end up quite interesting once it’s all done.

And now, some housing icons to indicate which tool you’re currently using! …Cause there are quite a few tools, actually. First up, the carpet tool:

This tool is used to edit the size of the carpets. You’ll be able to change the size of many of our carpets freely, and this icon will help indicate what you’re currently doing. The upper version is Fred’s basic version, but we’ll also make one featuring the carpet design beneath to see which one we like the best.

Next up, the move tool, which is rather straight forward:

Select a piece of furniture with the hand tool, and move it around to wherever you wanna put it. We’ll probably add some kind of animation to the arrows, as most of the tool indicators will be animated in some basic way (much like the carpet tool)

Next, the stack tool:

This “tool” appears when you try to select a square that has multiple objects stacked on it, and helps you select which parts of it you want to edit or move. Do you only want to select the top object, the topmost two or the whole stack?

Below’s a test animation I did to make the indicator easier to understand, and beneath it is Fred’s finished version:

Finally, the style tool, which allows you to change the basic appearance of an object. This is indicated by a painter’s brush and palette. The first version had a rather crude version of the brush, so it was quickly changed:

And now, another portrait!

Not much is known about this guy yet, I’m afraid! Other than the fact he’ll be staying in the desert, of course. I’ve been watching a couple of documentaries on Versailles in general and the era of Louis XIV in particular, which I guess shows through the design?

These portraits are a lot of fun to make, and I’m itching to remake the earlier ones to bring ’em all together style wise. That should probably wait, though :D

Finally, some animations! This week, Fred has been busy with the enemies, bringing the Cacute and Mrs. Bird to life~

First up, we have Mrs. Bird’s idle animations, and her laying one of those annoying eggs that will either spawn a new bird or slow you down if you decide to break it:

The annoying and OMG-SO-CUTE egg in question:

And next up, the Cacute! If you decide to be really evil, this is what it looks like when you kill it:

Though why you’d wanna do that when this is how cute it looks in its idle and movement animations, is beyond me:

Now that most of the Housing stuff has been animated, Fred will continue to work with the enemies to ensure that Teddy can just dive in and prototype them once he is done with his part of the housing. The less he has to wait on new animations, the more focused he can be when the prototyping phase starts!

For now though, both he and I will continue to be stuck for a while with housing and Arcadia stuff, as that’s our main missions before we can move on to the desert and rejoin Fred on that venture!

The past couple of weeks, Teddy have been working on bringing the new areas into Arcade Mode, and is finally closing in on finishing up (our hopes are to patch in the four new floors before the end of the week)!

We’re doing our best to find that sweet spot of being infuriatingly difficult, yet fair, and also creating interesting traps and compositions for the different areas. Beta testing these new floors is a bit of a challenge, seeing as only a handful of our glorious beta testers have reached the end of the current content, but eventually we’ll nail it down!

Meanwhile, Fred has been hard at work in the skill factory, creating new charges for all the spells! Below are new animations for the Summon Plant and Blade Flurry spells.

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Vilya’s off doing her own thing, creating the environments for the next “temple”, a village with a twist on time! For those interested in her work (who isn’t?!), you should check out her blog, where she’s begun posting some sweet time lapses of her workflow!

Here’s her latest one for example, where she’s pimping out one of the early village maps:

For quite a while we’ve been going full steam ahead on the main story, focusing all of our effort on the Temple of Seasons. With the temple being more or less completed, we are taking a short vacation from Story Mode to focus on its beloved sibling: Arcade Mode!

Vilya has been busy puzzling together an array of graphical assets for Teddy to use for the upcoming Temple of Season-floors. The Season Change orbs will make the perfect Arcade Mode hazards, setting the stage for some beautiful chaos! 
03 - Items

03 - Stuff

04 - Rooms 2

04 - Rooms

While Vilya have had her hands full with the temple-floors, Teddy have been making sure that the Winterland-floors are up to par with the previous ones. Below are a somewhat graphical WIP of a Toy Factor puzzle turned Arcade Mode challenge!

While it’s not exclusively Arcade Mode, Fred (who’s finally back after his trip to Berlin, wooho!) have been in the animation workshop, crafting a bunch of new weapons for you Collectors to farm your hearts out with!

 

SummmerHammerFrostSpear StaffIcicleVine

I know a lot of you will be disappointed that the spear isn’t being handled like an actual spear. Since introducing a whole new weapons class would be too much work at this point in time, swinging spears like an uneducated fool will have to do for now.

We’ve tried to compensate this by creating the first Twohanded Staff (2H-weapons that boost MATK), something that have been requested for a while!

The multiplayer implementation of the Arcade Mode is almost complete, and we’ve had a long, sweaty testing session in the “office” today! We could’ve streamed it over at Fred’s Twitch channel, but we didn’t think of that until we were nearly finished. However, we’ll probably test it some more in the coming days and we’ll try to remember to stream it then so everyone can watch us fail miserably at our own game! :D

On the subject of streams, Fred has begun streaming on his previously mentioned channel again! Since he might be streaming pretty often, we won’t be posting the link on Facebook each time,  so we recommend anyone interested in watching him do animation work to follow him on Twitch or us over on Twitter.

ArcadeMulti

Anyway, back to Arcade Mode. As always, we’re making an effort to make multiplayer as interesting as the single player experience. The monster scaling carries over automatically from the Story Mode, but we’re also modifying encounters and room sizes to better accommodate the number of players in the game.

To avoid having players becoming more powerful as an effect of the increased enemy count, the drop rates are adjusted to make it comparable to how much money and loot a single player would’ve received. Speaking of loot, a huge difference in the Arcade Mode compared to the Story Mode is that clients receive their own loot, kind of like how it is in Diablo 3. This is to avoid having a single player accidentally (or intentionally) take all the good loot, and it also leads to a lot greater diversity in how players build!

The resurrection system is also altered, disabling in-combat resurrection completely. Instead, any players that die will automatically revive with 1 HP when a room is cleared! This might seem harsh, but since health is the most valuable resource in the Arcade Mode, having regular resurrection would be very powerful as it constitutes a form of healing.

To round things off, here’s an animation from an upcoming skill with the hugely creative work name “Berserker Mode“!

Berserk

Happy new year guys!

We hope you’ve all had a great Christmas as well as a good start to the new year! The three of us took some needed time off and spent some quality time with friends and family, absorbing energy to make this year as productive as we possibly can. Hopefully all the amazing support you’ve given us during last year will carry over to 2014!

Since we pretty much just landed from the holidays we don’t have much too show this week, but we’ve managed to scramble together something!

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We’re doing our best to give each area in the Arcade Mode its own unique challenges, and the Flying Fortress is no different! These little trinkets will take the torch from thorns and beehives at making adventurers’ lives miserable.

The yellow crystal will continuously spawn new random enemies until it’s destroyed, while the red flying thingamajig is part of a bullet hell challenge (a recurring theme during the dungeon in Story Mode)!

Meanwhile in code land… Arcade Mode multiplayer takes its first steps!

arcademodemulti