Next up, some more Evergrind Improvement plans! Another batch of these things, mainly wanting to upgrade the overall graphics for each of these areas but also add some stuff and spice things up:

Meanwhile, these two buildings will be fully replaced by their Arcadia versions, which were made much later on and feature much better art:

So, first up in this new batch of improvements we have the waiting room in the arena! To start with, this room felt a bit too big and empty, so we’re making it smaller and more compact, adding more benches for people to sit at and some things added to the walls for their reading pleasure as they eagerly await the next match. Other than that, the graphics have been touched up overall, so the room feels as fresh as the newer parts of the game:

Next, the hat shop! This place needs a bit more color, some updated graphics and just some more details. I might go back and change some of the colours of this house further on so it’s colour scheme isn’t as close to the cafes, but we’ll see!

And now, the garden and its surrounding area! Here I wanted to add some more flowers, update the fountain graphics and the fence behind the alchemist’s house, as well as some details. The benches have also been updated as well to fit the more clean style of the later parts of the game:

Fred, meanwhile, has been working on some new animations for Captain Bones, where he seems awfully… Distraught? Whatever could be happening to him?

We also started making a test for the weather effect we’d like for the battle with Luke, adding some rain to give the battle a more epic feel (plus we haven’t really had any weather effects before, so about time!):

Time to plan out some more of the improvements needed for the Evergrind part of the game! Of course, the houses that use the old version of the Startington furniture needs to get the upgraded versions of that:

The area around the Smithy looks rather dull and the laundry hanging to dry could definitely be drawn better:

The entire café looks pretty outdated, so gonna have to do some revamping there as well:

And same for the alchemist’s house, where I’d like to add even more clutter, some wild plants and other things to liven things up a bit and make it seem less drab and abandoned, and more like the colorful abode of a crazy alchemist:

So starting off with the first improvement batch, time to upgrade this little house, the first you see as you enter Evergrind City:

We’ve also had another meeting discussing the final dungeon! We have a bunch of ideas for specific challenges and rooms now. Some of the new ideas are as follows:

* A phase shift puzzle where you have to catch x number of items in a certain amount of time. Sort of inspired by the torch puzzle we’ll have in the ghost ship where you need to light a certain number of torches in a short amount of time; here you need to get a hold of x pieces of a key (or something like that) in order to unlock the next room.

* A slime encounter where you get to battle every type of slime in the game! When you’ve killed them all, the goo they left behind will merge together into 4 bigger slimes, which will provide more of a challenge. After defeating these slimes, they will merge together into a rainbow giga slime, which will be a much more difficult version of the giga slime fight!

* A room surrounded by a ghostly essence that comes to life when you enter the ghost world (which you must in order to kill a number of ghost guardians) – for ever second you’re in the ghost world, the ghostly essence will grow bigger and bigger and will hinder your movement and will end up damaging you

* An encounter with enemies from across the game and a master wizard that will turn them all into elites

* A room where you’ll be trapped within 4 guardians that are connected with their laser beams; their movements will determine the size and shape of the space where you can move. Meanwhile you have to dodge a bullet hell, possibly summoned by phaseman!

* A challenge room with either Gifts of Presents (or both), which will eat a key and it’s your goal to find and defeat the one who ate it.

* An overgrown room in which you’ll battle every plant enemy in the game, ending with a short guest appearance from the power flower

… and more! Needless to say, we’re getting more excited about this final dungeon by the minute. Hope you are too! :)

Now it’s time for another look at Luke’s boss battle! It’s coming together quickly now, with a bunch of his attacks being mixed and match to create an interesting pattern for the first stages of his fight that will be unique every time:

Some of the effect graphics have been improved since the last time as well, and I feel like it already looks pretty good (with the exception of the placeholder background, hehe – I’ll get to that eventually)!

 

What we want now is to amp up the second part of the fight. We already know he will enter berserk mode at a certain point, but aside from that we want to mix it up a bit so it’s not just the same (random) mix and match combo patterns for the entirety of the fight. We have a couple of ideas for ‘bigger’ attacks that we’ll try out in the near future though, so we’ll see how that ends up!

And here we have a closer look at a bunch of those fancy Luke animations:

Exciting times!

So, new week and new Monday, which brings with it another meeting! This time around we’ve talked a lot about the near future, basically where we’re heading from here and what’s the most important on our to-do lists.

For Teddy and Fred, this mainly means the Luke battle and the cutscenes directly after and a final one leading up to where Frontline will end this time.

For me, there’s a lot more improvements to the earlier stages of the game, particularly around Evergrind City and the like.

And for all of us, it’s still the quest for the perfect final dungeon. We’ve already had a bunch of meetings discussion a variety of ideas, but seeing as we want a lot of floors, there’s still some work to be done and more floor ideas to shape – and eventually, actual floors to design. This week our homework is the sit down for 20 minutes to an hour here and there and create those ideas, so that next week we have even more of them to discuss. This will continue on while we finish up the rest of the ship until we have enough ideas, and eventually, proper designs, that we can make a whitebox sketch version of the final dungeon which we can run through and try out without the mechanics being implemented yet.

The main thing we want to avoid is one of the pitfalls that made work on the Ghost Ship such a struggle; in every other previous case where we designed an area or a dungeon, we had a clear design in mind before we actually started making the proper graphics. With the Ghost Ship, we did a whole ton of just winging it and designing as we went on, and it’s fair to say that designing a dungeon like that didn’t work out as well for us as the other way at all. So – no more of that, and more pre-design like we did before! With some luck, we won’t struggle as much this time, and it won’t be as long before an update hits ever again (touch wood) :)

Now, while I’m quite done with Ghost Ship stuff for now, there’s one ghost I have a feeling we’ll get to see at some point so I thought I might as well ghostify her portrait now while I’m kind of in the zone with the ghost stuff!

Who? Tannie of course!

Of course, I have no proof we’ll actually ever use this portrait, I suppose it depends on where we decide to take certain quests or side quests, but we’ve been talking so much about it that the chance seems pretty darn high she will appear in some shape, at some time…

Now, with all of the other Startington houses having new and fresh graphics, it’s beyond time that the player’s own house get a bit of an upgrade as well! Without further ado:

Next up, another part of the player’s house in Startington we can’t forget about; your own room! Like the rest of Startington, it’s about time it gets the appropriate visual upgrade:

In Luke’s boss fight, we’re working on the level of destruction that will take place as he slams into the ship with his unparalleled strength! We’re currently choosing between three options – one where the cracks disappear quickly:

One where they remain a little while:

And one where they could potentially remain forever:

Right now we’re leaning towards the middle option. What do you guys think? :)

So, time for some Spookington fixes! First up, a couple new expressions for some of the characters you’ll meet there, namely Jonathan (cured of his cough!) and Luke’s mom (who is a little concerned):

The pathway up to Spookington felt a little claustrophobic so we’re turning it into utter darkness, as far as the eye can see:

And as part of the mechanics on this town, we’ll be using a couple globes, which in this version were what we’d like to call programmer art, now replaced with the real deal:

Finally, adding some more stuff to your childhood home in this Spookington version, making it a bit more messy:

Next up on my list of things is putting someone in that ghostlike shop to manage business there! It took a while for us to decide on a design for this guy; should he be human, a ghost, or something else entirely? In the end though we decided to go for something of a shadowlike demonic creature, just to mix things up a bit lore wise (plus it would be cool to design an actual creature based off of the darkness we’ve introduced this far in the ghost ship).

Without further ado:

Some minor adjustments to the Startington Spooky version, featuring more clutter, stacks of books, and a mysterious night sky:

Next up, what I now honestly believe will be my final contribution to the Ghost Ship for now (or at at least until we finalize the boss battle and I’ll have to make any changes to the boss area and such): Luke’s boss portrait!

And now it’s time to take a look at what’s cooking with the Luke battle! The prototyping stage is in full swing, and we’re currently experimenting with a set of attacks and combos for him to throw at you:

No Grindea battle is complete without a bit of dodging as well, so naturally what other skill would Luke master than Smash:

So far so good, we’re feeling quite excited about this battle and hope you guys will too… :)

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!