So last week our goal was to each come up with one or a few design ideas for the first floor in the final dungeon, after which we’d go through each of our suggestions and pick our favourites, building our dungeon one floor at a time.

As we mentioned, our guidelines were to remind people of the journey they’ve made throughout the game, bringing back “old classic” events and mechanics. Some of our ideas for the first floor, representing the very beginning of the game, ranged from battling your own sword and shield, a bullet hell with wooden swords, bees circulating around you and attacking you one by one, or an arena where you battle a block puzzle that comes alive.

In the end we decided to combine a few elements of the early parts of the game, namely the arena trials, finding your shield and sword to proceed and battling the Black Ferrets on the bridge. Our main idea is that you’ll start on a Pillar Mountains looking area (perhaps even a pillar), where you have to find your sword and shield by fishing and solving a block puzzle while the Arena commentator Mr Plott comments on what you’re doing, and you’ll only be able to proceed after handing your items to Grandpa Joe who blocks a bridge over which you’ll battle an ever increasing amount of Teddy & Freddy, culminating in a battle against Vilya herself before you’ll be able to progress to the second floor, a floor which will be centered around the Pumpkin Woods.

We also decided on some details around the dungeon. Previously, we’ve decided that the thing that turns the dungeon into what it is is an ancient artefact mirror, which transforms the tower into challenges to stop you from reaching the top. As such, we want to incorporate various mirror effects here and there (like for instance, Grandpa Joe shattering into glass pieces when you show him your sword and shield, enemies spawning by appearing through mirror glass and such). We also reiterated that we want the main focus for each floor to be something iconic to each part of the game, focusing on the story beats and ‘feel’ of certain areas.

Next up, the Pumpkin Woods floor! For the this we felt the key component was the curse of the woods, making you unable to progress, and the hunt for each of the items needed to clear the curse. To capture this, our idea is to create a set of rooms with a ‘lost woods’ feel where you’ll end up back in the first room by taking the ‘wrong’ exit, and having you battle five mini bosses in a room each.

The mini bosses we have in mind here are Pumpking and Helloweed from Arcade Mode, plus a similarly difficult mini boss based around Jack o’ Lantern which will also appear as an Arcade Mode floor boss later on! We’ll also design a challenge based around the Jumpkins and Ghostys.

For the Jumpkins this will most likely involve a living-vegetable like mayhem room with loads of jumpkins, while the Ghosty challenge idea we have so far is more about finding and defeating the correct one out of a bunch that will surround you – though our ideas here are still very much up in the air. For now, our main focus around this floor is the feel of having to cleanse the wood once more, this time by collecting the items from more difficult enemies than simple elites like you had to the first time around. We’ll dice into more specific design details once we get to this floor, our overall idea holds regardless of how we design the challenges.

Once you’ve defeated all of these mini bosses and collected their key item, you’ll be able to cleanse the curse with the aid of a Grindea statue, just like in the original Pumpkin Woods, complete with a minor appearance from Bishop; after that, it’s onto the next floor, featuring the Flying Fortress! :)

Now, you’ve seen a bunch of Bishop’s attack animations made by Fred, but now that we have a basic sketch for the arena, it’s time to start some prototyping of the fight!

At the moment, Bishop has three distinct attacks/patterns, but we have plans to add more as we go along. For now it’s a sword-throwing attack, a giant scythe attack and an attack where a bunch of Bishops emerge from the ground with spears:

We know Bishop disappears a bit into the dark background when he’s towards the top of the fight area, but we have plans on making him more visible by adding a shader that makes a subtle aura or outline around him when he’s against the dark parts. Other than that, what do you guys think so far?

In Arcade Mode, it’s high time we get a proper map through which you can track your progress! As such we’ve been talking about various ways to illustrate this, ending up with illustrating them as isles:

Now, the layout of these isles isn’t in it’s finished version here, the idea is that we want to illustrate how you move upwards a bit more, so we’ll play around with how we place the isles as we move on; and as such might change the design of these isles a bit as well.

On top of that, there are two more isles missing – that of the room where you get your reward for finishing Arcade Mode, and the bonus floor you get to only if you’re strong enough! These will only be added once they’ve been made in their proper forms in the game, though, so I know exactly how to design their isles.

In Fred’s department meanwhile, it’s all about Bishop and giving him more animations! Let’s have a look:

Another week starting with a portrait! This time it’s the mother of a whole lot of guards, chilling in her cottage north of Pumpkin Woods:

Next up, the final room of the mansion, and the room you’ve all been waiting for… Marino’s own! Here it is:

As we may have mentioned before, the tree guy in the tree stump in Seasonne will sell you furniture items for you house, and to be specific, he’ll be selling… Yeah, you guessed it. Trees! So, here’s a bunch of the trees from around the game, converted into housing items:

Now for something completely different, the portrait of a toaster! This was one of our backer items, which we decided to make into a talking toaster. Soon in a treasure chest near you ;)

Finally, Fred’s been finishing up the animations for the two boss battles you’ll be dealing with! You’ve seen a bit of the troll before, but here’s also a new face, that of a strange giant plant creature:

This week we’ll start off with a couple portraits! For starters, a new version of Remedi, this time in a female form (we just really can’t get that potion right, can we?)

And then we have the face of Spierre, the spear wielded by James Fawke, the guy you replaced for the arena challenge… :)

Next we have a bunch of expressions for James and his fanclub, which will be playing a pretty big role in the upcoming arena quest:

And then, the long awaited cave system you’ll reach by climbing up the little sapling in Pillar Mountains! This is the first of a whole set of rooms, more of which will be posted later on:

Now, time for a sneak peek of what Teddy and Fred has been up to: flying trolls! This here is a prototype of the battle against Remedi in his troll form. Looks pretty cool, right?!



More to come soon! :)

Time for another room in Marino’s mansion, and this time it’s his father’s throne room— errr the second corridor. The doors will lead to the master bedroom and Marino’s room respectively:

Next, another face from the Mansion, the private chef responsible for the fancy dinners hosted at the estate:

Now, for the actual quest challenge where you’ll be battling it out in the arena using some pretty trash but fancy looking gear! First up will be a couple of regular waves of enemies, featuring the various types you might have come across here and there across the game thus far. After that, there’s the grand finale, a mini boss battle/challenge featuring one or two elder boars!

In the first iteration, we had one elder boar and a bunch of red slime falling down from the sky:

As you can see, there’s puffs of smoke coming from the boar as he charges around, and stepping into these dust clouds will make you temporarily blinded!

As you can see, we have added a bunch of obstacles in the arena which you can lure the boar into, making it get temporarily dazed. These obstacles respawn in new positions after the boar has destroyed all of them, and as always with early prototype videos like these they graphics are placeholder:

As shown in the above video, we follow the ‘rage’ theme of the elder enemies with these boars as well!

In the next iteration we removed the red slime but added another boar! This is our favourite iteration so far, a bit more action packed and without the annoying slowing slimes:

Next thing I’ve been working on is some sweet PR for that event in the arena that we’re all so excited for! At first, James was the supposed hero of the show, so to start off with these posters will appear in Evergrind City around the time when you can accept the quest:

However, as James can’t attend and you’ve had to take his place, there will be slight adjustments once you’ve accepted the quest, meaning your face will be all over the posters instead! Of course, the PR team doesn’t have all the time in the world so there will have to be a quick solution instead of reprinting:

The actual face of your character will be rendered into those blank pages so you’ll be able to recognize your own character as the hero of this event! Hopefully you won’t let the PR team down with your performance in the show ;)

In Fred’s department, the animation madness continues with more sprites for the upcoming next bit in the journey to transform Remedi back to his former self! As such, a ‘death’ animation for the troll was needed, as well as a potion pitching move by Remedi’s quick nephew:

We’re back! After a bunch of refreshing days in the sun, it’s time to get back to work, and personally I feel more excited about it than I have in a long time.

To kickstart the week, we decided to start off with a meeting, discussing what we’d like to do with the HQ and the whole Collector business in general. Our initial idea, way back when we first started designing the game, was that collecting items and doing quests for the Collectors would be a major part of the game. As the game progressed along we somehow skipped those elements, leaving the HQ feeling a little bit lackluster these days.

Now, we have two different points of view on this. On one hand, nobody seems to really mind the fact that being a Collector doesn’t mean much outside of the main story, and it would be really nice to finally finish up the game – meaning any unnecessary additions shouldn’t be seriously considered at this point. On the other hand, we sort of feel like the Collectors are a bit flat at the moment, and that the HQ and the organization doesn’t really have a life of its own. That, along with the additional sense of progression a player would feel with the addition of a Collector rank system makes it a more interesting addition than many of the other things we’ve planned to add.

As you can tell, both of these POVs are completely valid and have have their own merits, so while we’re not just sure whether this system will make it into the game, we did take some time to discuss what we’d like it to be like, and what it would entail adding it.

In a previous iteration made quite a while ago, we wanted the progression of you collector rank to simply be Quinton rating the amount of item’s you’ve collected. Now, we’d like to do something a bit more interesting. Our idea is that every time you talk to Quinton, he’ll check up on your progress, giving you points for completing quests, discovering new items, defeating new enemies and whatnot. These points will fill up a bar, showing you how much you have left before the next level as well as whenever you level up. He will also offer you basic quests, such as hunting enemies or collecting certain items, which will award you additional points.

At certain levels, you’ll unlock new parts of the HQ, starting with the lab, which will at the latest be unlocked as part of completing the Flying Fortress main story quest. After that, you’ll be able to unlock an armory where you’ll get new items every once in a while, the memory room where you can rebattle bosses you’ve already defeated, and an advanced level briefing room, where experienced collectors will give you end game difficulty quests with their own rewards.

As you might be able to tell, this does involve quite a bit of work, but I think it might be a really good addition as well, so it is a difficult thing to decide. How do you guys feel?

Now, time for a bunch of random drop appearances for the upcoming quests we’re working on atm. Was a while since I made one of these videos again, so let’s go:

Next up, another ghost comes along, this time of an old warrior from ancient times! Will you take on his challenge?

And now, a boss portrait featuring the Furious Giga Slime, the red and more dangerous version of the regular Giga Slime, which may or may not a play a part in one of the quests we’re currently working on.. :)

Fred, meanwhile, has been busy working on a bunch of animations for one of the bonus bosses you’ll battle as part of these quest lines we’re adding. Here’s a sneak peek of a couple more animations for the troll:

It’s finally time for those of you who play on stable to take part of the new Arcade Mode update!! With this new patch, you will get the full rebalance/rework of Arcade, including fewer floors, Traveller and his Pins, the difficulty changing Catalysts and various rebalances. Are you ready?

As always, feedback is much appreciated, and you can leave it here, on the forums, or in our discord! We all look forward to hearing from you soon :)

Now, this week continues with more Marino’s Mansion! To start off, the kitchen:

Next up in the mansion is a room where Marino’s mom takes care of the estate business; her office, if you will:

Next up, the portrait of a woman you’ll meet as part of one of the mansion quests we’re working on; a PR woman hired by Marino’s dad to handle marketing for the arena event:

Now, as part of one of the Marino’s mansion quests, namely the one with an arena challenge, we wanted to introduce some sort of more difficult fight, so we thought it was high time to make a proper boar boss! In our pursuit of this we wanted to make a more dangerous looking boar without having to redo exactly all of its animations completely, so Fred went to experiment on a bunch of different design ideas:

In the end, we went for the one in the top right, giving him massive tusks and some sweet hair (also, eyebrows, because why not?). Next came the question of what colour it would be, and though we were all fond of the red ones and might use one of those for something else (Boar fire train arena challenge anyone?) we decided on going for the ‘elder’ gray-ish look, having it match, in some ways, the Elder Rabby mini-boss:

Excited yet? We sure are! It’s gonna be nice to add some more side quests into the game to make the world feel more populated and alive, with events that happen here and there throughout your journey.

Our polishing continues with some new gameplay changes, this time featuring the enemies in the Temple of Seasons! To start off with, the tornadoes now spawn around the mage and player, and their movement speed is a lot slower:

The season knight’s spin can now be perfect guarded to push him away and make him stop:

And if you aim it well enough, he’ll deal damage to his friends as he’s pushed away:

It’s also time for another Collector! We’ll add a bunch of these to appear randomly during your adventures so it’s high time we make a couple more:

Another thing we’ve decided to add is discounted items at Shadier Merchant, the guy who sells you items in exchange for part of your max HP. There will now be a chance that one of the items is a particularly good deal; a stronger item for the level you’re on, or it’s priced lower. As such, I was tasked with making an indicator for discounted items:

Time for some more minor additions and changes! First up, a button for when you talk to Bishop and decide to change the difficulty settings by adding or removing those loop orbs; which we’ve decided to call ‘Catalysts’. The icon is supposed to indicate how you through this option can increase difficulty by adding another catalyst or decreasing the difficulty by removing one:

One of the oldest graphics in the game is that of the achievement trophy, so I decided to give it a quick makeover:

And finally, we decided to keep the Grindea-decorated fountains in Marino’s mansion for another part of the game, so instead I’ve been making some bee decorations for them:

So what Fred has started moving on to working with now is an entity you’ll find in the final dungeon. While I said we’ll focus on things not relating to the final dungeon for now, Fred has a lot of big animations to make for the last part of the game, so in order to avoid having a massive bottle neck where we’ll have to wait for his animations, we’ve decided that he should start working on some end game stuff after all.

And first up in that regard is this strange mirror artefact, which will appear throughout the tower and throw challenges your way. Here’s his progress on testing out various designs, as well as the one we picked in the end:

Happy New Year everyone! First of all, thank you so much for your encouraging comments on the patch! We’re happy you like it, and we’ll continue ironing out the bugs as you find them! Sounds are on their way as well, and that little bit of polish left before a stable release. Hope you’ve had a splendid start to the year; for us, it’s finally back into action so let’s jump right into it!

We’ll begin this new year with improving the Dojo exterior of Evergrind City, adding the version of the building that’s found in Arcadia (with a few edits), and upgrading the look of the fence and the practice dummies:

With all of us back in the office and a new year upon us, it seemed time to sit down and have a discussion of what’s next to come. This is the first in a series of meeting we’ll have over the coming days, the rest of which I’ll detail in the coming week(s), where we’ll try to make a plan for the coming year so it’ll be a bit more structured – and hopefully more efficient than the previous one.

Our first order of business is to sort out a plan for getting the stable update up and running, so today we made a list of what needs to be made:

* A few more sound effect requests videos, where we record what animations need sound and explain approximately what’s happening or what sort of effect we’re looking for. We’ve already requested most of the sound effects, which are currently in progress of being made by awesome Fark, but there are a few remaining one that we need from things added after we sent the first batch to him.

* Come up with and design the items found in the chests around the ships, a total of four different items. We had some ideas before but we’ll finalize it before making the actual items.

* Finish the ghost quest given by the bartender: aside from the three main quest ghosts, there will be a bunch of optional ghosts you can help regain their memories and gather in the main hall.

* A pet skull

* Effects for the cards; again, we have some ideas, but haven’t finalized them.

* A proper cutscene to end the stable version; there will be one more part of the story which will launch you on your quest to the final dungeon, after which the true ‘to be continued’ will appear.

* Make ghosts around the areas with graves such as the graveyard in pumpkin woods, the lonely grave in Seasonne and some proper ghost versions of the characters still remaining in Tai Ming.

* Add Pine’s office to Flying Fortress

Once these are all up and running we should be happy enough to release the update on stable – after some additional testing, of course. Our aim is to get this out around the end of the month, though some of the things will likely take a while to finish up due to their complex nature, such as the final cutscene of this patch. Fingers crossed!

First though, continuing on with the Evergrind fixes! This time around it’s time for the HQ to get a bit of a touch up:

And before we move on, time to go back and do some quick fixes to some of the things not yet quite ‘there’. First up, adding more carpets to the school, so now everyone gets one of their own:

Can’t have too many carpets, so added one outside the cafĂ© as well:

This laundry has been hanging here to dry forever, so time to change things around and make both new poles and new laundry (hopefully these will dry quicker ;)):

In the hat shop we added another mirror:

As well as updated the target practice outside Robin’s house:

In the animation department, Fred’s working on getting a bunch of ghosts ready with their proper animations, making the torch puzzles more visually pleasing:

So with those in place, the torch puzzles now look a bit more like this:

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 :)

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: