In this week’s Monday Meeting we spent a great deal of time discussing the final challenge in the creepy version of Startington (among other things)! As you might remember from a previous meeting post ages ago, there will be three challenges in this surrealistic and spooky version of Startington: one where you fight a ton of slimes which gives you a card called Obsession, and one where you do some tough shield training and gain a wooden shield called Expectations.

In our latest iterations of the third challenge, we’ve been working around the theme of Deceit. In this latest iteration of the challenge, there will be a block puzzle in which you move blocks with each of the artifacts to designated squares (rather than a key block puzzle).

Mechanically we have a couple of ideas for how to make this more fitting the strange world; one is that instead of moving the blocks, the room will move, the other that as you attempt to move on block, another of the blocks will move instead. We’re not entirely sure which of these we’ll go for, or if we’ll do something else entirely, but we’ll start off with making prototypes of these two ideas first and see whichever one feels the most cool.

Next up, it’s time for us to “creepify” the interiors of the Startington houses! Our idea is that the player will enter each house in its original form and complete a challenge in there, after which the building will deteriorate and become dark and gloomy:

The second house creepified:

And same thing for the third house:

And we’ll end this week with a bunch of gifs from the second boss fight of the dungeon: the Evil Eye or the Twilight Beholder, that has finally been finished! This boss uses a lot of lasers and creepy eyes to try to eliminate you, so you better keep your wits about you :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take a look at the transformation here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This week, we’ll start off by making some more minor detail stuff, namely adding masks for each of the 2nd level floors now that they’ve been properly finished! As before, these masks help determine over which parts certain floor effects in the ghost world will appear, so that they don’t turn up over objects they shouldn’t:

Next it’s time to finish up the third and final floor of this ship (finally), starting with the captain’s room! We had a sketch for this room from before, and I already made the captain’s portrait that we wanted in here, so it’s just a matter of adding the rest of the stuff:

And after that, it’s of course time to turn the whole room into its ghost world version, standard procedure as always:

And now, time for a new room! This room was born from the type, where Ghost Ship turned into Ghost Shop… and it did seem like such an interesting idea that we thought ‘why not’? So without further ado, the ghost shop:

Meanwhile, Fred’s been busy finishing up a ton of enemy animations, working on the kitchen and making some other flavor animations to make the ghost ship …come alive… a bit more! Here’s a bunch of the stuff he’s been working on recently:

Hello guys! This post is one day late due to the easter holidays, so apologies for that. Hope you’ve had a great time :D

Now, last week was quite interesting in terms of game design discussions. Our original idea for the ghost ship was for you to battle the Captain two times, where the second encounter would be harder and more bullet hell-y as he’d be using some high tech equipment found on the ship. However, after a lot of discussions back and forth we’ve decided to try out new ideas for the second boss battle. The reason behind this is that we simply didn’t feel too excited about the attacks and patterns we’d come up with for the boss, and we kind of felt like something completely different might fit better gameplay wise.

So, because of this, we’ll start looking into a different type of boss, something that has more of a pattern since there will be enough bullet hell-y elements as is in this dungeon. Our most recent idea is to go with the theme of eyes that has been quite prominent in the ghost world so far, and use some sort of giant eye as a boss – more on that later after we got some prototypes up and running!

Because Teddy has been having some bonus time while he’s waiting for graphics, he’s been starting work on some Arcade Mode stuff; specifically a new type of challenge (or mode if you will) where everything is more randomized!

Specifically, this means when doing this challenge thing, you won’t level up normally, but you’ll get your skills and upgrades through chests and as drops from enemies:

Upon completing a floor you’ll get to choose from three upgrades as well, giving you some options on how to proceed with your build (keep in mind the graphics are still placeholder, we’ll come up with some fancier way of illustrating this):

We’re not yet sure when this mode/challenge will unlock, or when we’ll get to finish it, but the foundation is there now anyway! How do you guys feel about it? Excited for some more randomized factor in Arcadia, or do you think you’ll stick to the regular mode?

Continuing with the Arcade Mode intermission, it’s time to make some more of those rooms! To spice things up a bit in the desert floor(s), we’ll be having some cave rooms as well as those outdoor ones. They will not be as frequent as the others though, so I’m only making two different sizes for these!

For the foundation of the rooms, I’ll be using one of the math caves as a base:

And then, since these rooms will almost always lead back outside, I made a special exit that show the outside rather than darkness:

And here we have the two room sizes:

Now, for that new boss prototype I mentioned earlier! Teddy has put together something quickly with the help of some very basic placeholder art from Fred:

So one of the things with this eye boss is that it automatically forces you into the ghost world, where you’ll have to deal with all sorts of obstacles. After a while you’ll be able to swap back into the regular world – but only for a short while, so you better time it well!

The next thing it does is that it will spawn other eyes with different eye colors, which you have to eliminate in a certain order. Fail to do so (or do it too slowly) and you’ll get punished and take some damage:

Right now the eye simply tells you the order, but in the finished version you’ll get a different sort of hint, probably through the eye changing color or something like that:

Back in Arcade Mode it’s time to make a set of decorations for the different rooms that can be mixed and matched to create a lot of different room graphics. Our strategy for this is that I’ll make 3 different sets of decorations for each corner of every room size, which can then be mixed and match with the other corners, creating a ton of different combinations for each room.

As always, I use the editor to do these things, so that Teddy can easily add each of them into the engine:

Time to start working on those cabins! Six in total, and here’s the first one. Let’s go:

The next cabin is pretty much a mirror of the first one, but with some different decoration. You’ll reach it from the cabin to the left of it, and exiting it from the bottom door will get you back in the corridor below, but at a place you couldn’t reach before.

The third cabin has a platform leading to a higher level! How intriguing! The room on the right of this hasn’t been designed yet, but we have a few ideas for a sort of ‘puzzle’ (actually more like a challenge, I guess), where you’ll have to go back and forth into the spirit world to avoid some dangerous ghosts!

Now it’s time to start working on the three bottom cabins, starting with the one on the far left. As with the top two, this one will be connected to its neighbor. Other than that, not much to say about this one!

Of course, we’re not only working on backgrounds for the Ghost Ship. There’s still some enemy stuff to do, one of them being designing the last enemy! So let’s take a look at what Fred has been doing:

Congratulations, it’s a crab! We really wanted one enemy that would just be a “normal” kind of enemy without any fancy spirit world mechanics, and what better thing to put on a ghost ship than a killer crab? (don’t answer that)

As you might guess, the final design we went for is the one within the green circle. Stay tuned for all its fancy animations!

Meanwhile in the programming department, Teddy’s started working on the first boss battle! We’ve made a bunch of prototype attacks and patterns, some which can be seen below:

Here you can see the skull walls that force you out of the ghost world, which we’ve shown before in a regular enemy prototype. He also throws a bunch of cannonballs at you; has a dash attack and, of course, a regular whack with the sword.

In the second one you can see two other attacks we’ve been working on; one being some kind of menace that whirls around the room (though we’re not 100% sure about this one yet).

The other is a big rock that gets lifted out of water (it currently spawns from nothing, since the actual boss room with the water isn’t made yet), and as it gets thrown into a wall or some other such thing, it gets broken into a bunch of smaller pieces the player has to avoid. Right now the broken-up pieces use some old bullet hell-type graphic asset, but that won’t be so in the proper version, of course.

We’ve actually not sure whether we want it to be a rock or some sort of water-ball (or something like that). Another option we had was for it to be a ball of all kinds of stuff he pulls out of the water and merges together, but to be honest we kind of feel that one might be a bit too much work to get nice enough. The experiments continue!

Alright! Time for what I *believe* will be the final batch of fixes (on my end, anyway) for the desert before the patch lands! There’s still a portrait or two left, but here’s a bunch of the minor additons I’ve been working on:

First up, a Merchant Isles’ sailor hat, that might become yours if you complete a certain quest! Another item that is involved in a quest is the below part of a statue:

This farmer is a character who you’ll meet in these new quests as well, so I’ve been making a couple of expressions for him:

Meanwhile, I wasn’t completely happy with the anatomy of the mayor’s portrait, so I’ve made a slight fix for it and also aged her slightly (old version first, then the new one):

There’s a couple new items as well, which means there’s need for more drop appearances! Among these are a bottle based on an animation made by Fred (you can see his sprite on the right in parts of this WIP-gif), as well as a tomato and an onion!

We also changed the layout of the mayor’s house a bit, adding more items and characters, making the place feel more like the art/history exhibition it has become (old version first):

Finally, I wanted to increase the amount of greenery in one of the caves, so I went back and added a bunch of plants and leaves here and there:

Previously, I remade the portrait of the Mayor, but another portrait we weren’t quite happy with was that of Wishi (who also happened to look oddly similar to the Mayor’s first portrait):

Only one way of fixing this, and it’s to throw together another portrait, this one giving a bit more of an attitude:

And the finished remake below:

As usual, you can’t have a boss battle (even if it’s a side battle not related to the main story) without a boss portrait. This portrait will be slightly different as it’s the first one that has a sprite in front of the textbox! We thought the tomato would look cute in front of it, rather than have all his vegetables hidden behind the box.

WIP and finished version below:

I’m working on the cards as well, and while they may not be included in the patch, they should be added shortly after! Here’s a video featuring the creation of the Sand Raven card, where one such annoying bird is preparing a meal:

 

Now, a couple weeks ago I estimated that by now the patch would arrive! However, as you’ve certainly noticed, no patch has been uploaded yet – so what has happened? Well the short version is that we wanted to make things more interesting (don’t we always), so the added work has pushed the patch forward by a couple of days.

In other words, we hope to release the patch in the beginning of this week instead (hopefully tomorrow)! Serves me right for making estimates, they just never end up being correct…

Anyway, in the meanwhile, have some sneak peeks of what you’ll see in the upcoming patch, starting with a couple of animations for the desert carpenter:

Two more items:

Due to something you may or may not do, there will be changes in the desert map:

A new type of halloweed?!

Aaand a ton of new expressions for people you’ll interact with:

Stay tuned, and let’s hope this estimate of the patch release will actually be right this time!!

Next up, we have another boss portrait! This one of course featuring the Solem boss you’ll face off against inside the ruins:

Since he has a gem for a face, we thought what better name for this swell guy, than Sol-Gem? Said and done:

As always, there’s a ton of minor things to add and adjust right before an update, so here’s a very mixed set of things, starting with two new expressions for one of the characters in town:

A slight edit of the first desert ruin room, where we’ve removed one of the scriptures for a small note on the wall, carved by some ancient apprentice:

In the second room of the ruins, we’ve moved down the altar for the gem so there’s enough room for the giant rock to appear behind it, as well as a more broken version of the arc that will replace the previous one once the rock has rolled into it:

The scriptures around the desert have gotten some upgrades too (or should I say downgrades), since we didn’t want the text to be readable we’ve decided to make them look torn and broken enough to justify the text not being legible:

In the math puzzle cave, I also went ahead and added those number wizard statues I mentioned before, and have since decided to upgrade the look and feel of the first cave slightly as well (more on that later):

Now we have this week’s portrait, which features a giant of a man who works in the desert mine. His name is Big Brutus, and I have a feeling he’s not someone you want to mess around with:

Now, for those math puzzles… First up, I’ve made the other two caves in this system, which was pretty straight forward after everything was completed in the first cave:

But then I thought the first one looks just too simple, especially when there’s so much sand in it, so I decided to mix things up and make a slightly more interesting background for this one. So here we have the process:

And the final version of the first room, yay:

Alright, so there was one thing remaining to do in the desert ruins, and as most of the things have been implemented by now, it’s time to get going with these puzzle blocks!

These blocks are special in the sense that you need to place them correctly according to a creation myth found within the temple, so instead of just regular blocks, they have a slightly more interesting look:

 

 

And here’s the final blocks by the end of the video:

Progress on the desert continues! We’ve now started implementing things in those desert ruins, where you’ll face another boss battle. When I mentioned there was gonna be an Indiana Jones-y scene in here, some of you wondered of what kind… I think this GIF should answer that question for you:

WIP of course, this is but the first step of the iteration!

Speaking of iterations, we’re also working on the boss! This Solem is a very dangerous guy who likes to use his laser in creative ways. Good thing he also slams his fists in the ground, causing giant rocks to fall from the ceiling that can block such beams for you:

(One everything is implemented, the rock will look to be part of the ruin, rather than a random Mt:Bloom-esque boulder!)

He has another fierce laser attack as well, featuring multiple beams that follow you for a little while:

Aside from these, he’ll act like a regular, but amped-up Solem, chasing you around trying to hit you. He’ll also have one attack where he slams his fists in the ground causing shockwaves to appear all around him, which you’ll have to dodge.

Fred’s continuing to work on his animations, too, of course so here’s a more finalized version of what he’ll look like as he blasts those laser beams at you:

There are more caves in the making, as well! Those math puzzle caves had to be designed, and to mix things up I decided to go for a slightly different color scheme compared to the rest of the caves in the desert:

It looks a little bare right now, so we’ll probably add some more details, maybe in the form of statues of numbers, or perhaps even of the number wizard who made these challenges in the first time! For now though, here’s the first iteration of the first math puzzle cave:

Can’t have new bosses without new boss portraits, so here’s an upgraded version of Marino’s boss portrait, featuring his lovely shadow clones!

As you might remember, his last subtitle was The Ultimate Rival, however, as the story progresses some things change… Why an “ultimate friend” would fight you? I guess you’ll just have to play through the story and see!

I’ve mentioned this before, but the relationships between the characters haven’t been super fleshed out, a fact we are well aware of and will likely remedy slightly by adding more scenes to the story (once the rest of the game is done). This way we also hope to give an incentive to those of you who have played along chapter-by-chapter with every new update to play through the whole thing once more time, the way it’s supposed to be experienced in the end. In the end, we plan for the finished product to feature slightly more story as well as new side quests for most (if not all) parts of the game.

As for this week’s portrait, it features a pirate hanging out in the saloon! In fact, he’ll be one of the card players (whom I actually made a portrait of before – but his sprite got changed afterwards, so that old portrait will probably become a different NPC at some point instead):

Finally, Marino’s second boss battle has been finished and fully implemented, so now it’s time to spice up the little are where you face him! Previously, we’d left it pretty open, as we weren’t sure exactly how big his battle arena would be (we like to prototype the fight first and base the area on how much space we feel is needed).

Below you can see the old area, with the battle taking place inside the darkened frame:

In order to spice this up, I made a quick sketch of what it could look like instead, adding a level difference to act as the limitation downwards. Adding this, we had to increase the size of the map slightly downward as well, to make room for everything:

And then, it’s time to make the actual graphic adjustments for these changes:

And here’s the final version, featuring a much smaller battle area, and a slightly more interesting looking map overall:

Alright, so as you might know, one of the boss battles you’ll be dealing with in the desert is the return of Marino, who wants a second shot at beating you up! This time around, he’s leveled up and uses some crazy clone action to make this battle even harder.

As part of the prototyping process we’ve played around with a number of different patterns and types of attack. Here’s an early version of one such attack:

We want to play around with Marino and his clones moving across the playfield quickly, meaning you have to mind where you stand, or even move around in order to avoid damage:

We have multiple patterns like this, which will become more and more difficult as the fight progresses. Of course, there’s a lot of placeholder graphics here, but the overall idea is the same: there will be some sort of visual indicator for where Marino and his clones will move next, which fades away once they make that move.

Marino being Marino, he’s also learned the noble art of taunting his opponent, but be careful to attack him blindly, or you might come to regret it:

Now, time to continue working on the second room in those desert ruins! As mentioned before, it’s time to start working on the top part of this map, where some forgotten, ancient treasures will be….

 

In this final part we add more detail, but also that fancy mirror and the pedestal holding a very special crystal which might be directly linked to the boss battle in this ruin:

 

Our first portrait this week is a miner working in the desert! Like the other miners in our game, she wears the typical mining uniform, including the miner hat. The miner hat I use has already been made previously, so I only added it after the rest of the portrait was done:

The second portrait features one of the characters I forgot making a portrait for, which in this case is rather silly seeing as I made his shop stand and everything! This is the jewelry (accessory) salesman, selling items in the desert town’s market area: