So we’re drawing ever nearer to that final dungeon, and now that we’ve had some time to think about it, we’ve discussed taking a different approach to it!

We’ve gone through several iterations already, although none of them have actually left the sketching board as of yet. At first we wanted the dungeon to have one floor representing each major area in the game, then we considered mixing various themes together and at some point we wanted fewer floors but more of a mishmash of everything…. The only thing we’ve really always agreed upon throughout all this has been that it shouldn’t be super long – often we feel like when players get close to the end of a game, there’s always a risk of getting fatigued and running out of steam just before the final boss, an effect that is often made worse by overly long and complex final dungeons and boss fights.

Our latest idea is to have several shorter floors – some or possibly most just a single room’s worth, and each floor will touch upon something you’ve seen or experienced in the game, but in a sort of strange way – imagine something like the creepy version of Startington, but decidedly less creepy and with more gameplay elements!

Our mission for this week game design wise will be to come up with a bunch of room ideas for the first stretch of the game, up until Flying Fortress, and present our ideas on Friday. Which events throughout the game do you find most iconic and would be something you’d expect to see represented in a dungeon like this? And how do you feel about the length of final dungeons? Do you expect a super long finale, or do you prefer it to be a little shorter?

Now, time for a bunch of mixed things: a bunk bed in Trick & Treat’s house, some new better looking graphics for some of the ambience box sounds, and a new item based on a backer’s request! :)

Another thing I’ve been working on recently has been sketching a couple of the last bunch of maps needed for Story Mode, one which is the room where your card collection is shown and which will grant you a special reward once you’ve collected all of them:

This room will be in Mount Bloom, in front of where the dragon carving on the floor used to be. In this initial sketch, it doesn’t look very mountain-y, but that will be remedied in the final version, which will probably look slightly different in the end, but the concept will remain the same: slots for cards on the wall, and some similar looking decorations across the room to make it look more interesting.

The other room I’ve been sketching has been the strange realm where you’ll battle Bishop! In the beginning we wanted this battle to take place in a surreal dream world governed by Grindea, but after some thought we changed our mind; while Grindea is light, we feel that Bishop is more of a dark creature, and having his battle be in a proper Bishop-y realm would be best.
As such, my design for the room is a bit more grim looking that our initial plan:

Again, it will likely look slightly different in the end, especially once the proper graphics are made, but you get the overall concept and colour scheme!

Time to start working on the background for the card cave! As you can see, the Mount Bloom mountain walls make it feel a lot more like a cave than in the sketch:

I haven’t made the slots for the cards yet, as they will need to be animated with glowing lights and such I thought it best to leave that up to Fred for now so the size of them will work out!

In Fred’s department, it’s been all about figuring out the look for one of the most important characters in the game that hasn’t yet appeared in the game in her physical form…. That is, of course, Grindea! She’ll appear as part of the ending, so we’ve been figuring out how to illustrate her form by having Fred make a ton of sketches!

Here you can see the progress of how it’s evolved:

Originally, we envisioned her as more of an ordinary character, but in the end we went for a bit more shapeless approach, and so these last two are our current favourites! What do you guys think?

This week we’ll start off with another portrait, featuring the sleepy collector Fred made last week:

Next, a new ghostlike figure! This one actually has ties to your family, and can be found on the ghost ship in the near future!

As mentioned before, we’re transforming the Memory room where you could battle previous bosses into a conference room where people are making decisions on the upcoming quests and plans for the Collectors!

So, time to take care of the background:

Next up, another background change! In place of the puzzle tower, which we’re putting on hold for now, there will be… a strange slime altar? How peculiar..!

In Fred’s department, he’s finishing up a bunch of stuff for the next bunch of quest stuff, mainly the Slime Altar one, but also some sound devices you’ll get as a reward for a fun new mini-game we’ll take a look at next week:

So, some more items from the list of things we’d like to include before the full release!

First off, the house in the top right corner of Evergrind City! Remember that house on the little island in the water? It used to be all broken down, then it got cleaned up, and then we have like 50 different ideas for how to use it, until we recently simply decided to move a pretty regular family into the house, which will provide you with some background story for one of the quests we’ll include in the Pumpkin Woods.

Collectors in the Fields, we’ve mentioned this before, but we really do like the idea of including more Collector NPCs out in the world, doing everyday collector stuff such as hunting items, inspecting loot, or just talking about their adventures. At the moment the collectors are pretty much only visible in Evergrind City, so we feel like adding a bunch of additional ones around the world would help flesh out the collectors as an organization.

An easter egg ending for the storyline featuring Pine & Tannie, we know a lot of you want to be able to reunite them, so we’ll make sure you’re able to do just that, if you keep your eyes out!

More treasure maps around the world (pretty self explanatory).

Plant enemies dropping seeds so you can grow them in your own house~

A mini game featuring a sound made by our sound designer NPC Fark, after which you have to guess which sound it belongs to!

So, let’s jump straight into that stuff, starting with the interior of the house on the top right isle in Evergrind City:

Next up, one of the inhabitants of the previously made house, a mother living in Evergrind City with her husband and child(ren)!

And now, another mixed bag of stuff, some expressions, a new decor for one of the rocky parts in the Dragonbone Dunes, a new icon for the arena boss rebattles, and a couple new drops:

Fred, meanwhile, has continued working on a bunch of NPC animations, some of which can be seen here:

This week, we’ll continue with some portraits, starting with a strange mandarine you’ll find in the Pumpkin Woods!

Next up, some improvements to the ship that I made previously! Adding a bunch of details and redesigning its look somewhat so make it look even more different from the other ship in the harbour:

As we’ve continued to discuss where to go from here, we’ve made some changes in our priorities for the remaining tasks. One such thing that we’ve discussed back and forth since almost the start of our process of making this game is the Memory Room, where you battle bosses you’ve previously defeated in Story Mode. We’ve never really decided on whether to keep the room around or not, but now in this hopefully ‘final’ discussion, we’ve decided on some changes that will affect it, and more specifically, the arena.

Right now, there are two categories in the arena, regular challenges and VS, though we haven’t added any modes for the later. In the future, there will still be two categories in the arena, but we’re changing it around so there will be regular challenges and boss battles instead. As such, if you go to the boss battle section, you’ll get a list of all the previous bosses you’ve defeated, and will have the option to battle them again, as you would in the memory room. The regular challenges section will remain largely unchanged, though we’re playing around with the idea of having the challenges scale to your character’s strength.

Because of this move, there will be an empty room to the left in the HQ, where the previous memory room used to be. This room will instead be changed into a sort of planning/conference room, where a few older collectors will hang around with a blackboard, planning the future quests for the collectors!

What will end up happening with the rest of the HQ will be decided in the near future, as we continue arranging these final tasks in order of importance! Stay tuned :)

Now, some additional expressions and portraits for the crew involved in the harbor quest in Port Monnaie, as well as some final fixes of the ship!

Now, in Fred’s department, he’s been busy making all sorts of characters and details, some of which include Trunk (which you’ll stumble upon as a cameo character in Story Mode):

Some sails for the ship in the harbour, as it heads off as part of the quest we’re working on:

The sprite for Fark, who will be creating a variety of sounds:

And the balloon seller, which will appear in Evergrind City during the festival:

When we came back from our week off, we quickly decided it’s time to make some more fixed plans on how to proceed with the game in the near future! As you know, we’re currently working on finishing up Story Mode and we have a long list of things we’d like to add, but we don’t want it to go on forever so our next mission will be to prioritize among the list and see what it’s possible to cut and what we definitely want to add to the game.

One such super important thing we’ve been talking about it the true ending. We’ve known for a very long time that you’ll be able to do the final battle in two different ways, one which leads to a less ideal ending and one that is the true ending, which can only be unlocked after achieving certain things within the game. We haven’t been too sure what these parameters would be before, but after our discussions today we feel fairly certain that you’ll need to do these three things:

* Read a letter from your mother, that will help flesh out the ending a bit.

* Do a Boss battle against Bishop (a fight we’ve been brainstorming on and off for quite a while, which we’re quite excited about! We actually already have the background music for this fight as well..)

* Collect all Cards!

Previously, we wanted the true ending to be quite easy to get, but with the addition of the card requirement, it’ll obviously be a lot more difficult, however, we feel that with all things considered, this will be better suited to the game (I mean, we make jokes about it all the time, but it’s still called Secrets of Grindea, right? ;))

Hopefully by next week we’ll have a more updated list of what exactly we’ll add and what things are in the risk zone of being cut in an effort to finally finish things up properly!

Now, time for a bag of mixed stuff! Some portraits, some item sprites, and a remake of the grave outside the caves in Seasonne!

Next up, a new boat appears in the desert town! Using the previous one as a base, I made some changes to its shape and colours! This ship will be in Port Monnaie temporarily, until you solve a little quest :)

Next, the portrait of one of the guys working in the docks, which will hand you a quest relating to that final quest of Steve’s:

There’s no way we could finish Steve’s story arc without yet another encounter with mushrooms, right? Well, here we go… :)

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:

It’s a new week, with new possibilities! So let’s go back to that bonus cave system in Pillar Mountains, and take the second door, leading down through the mountain:

And now, back to the mansion! Here’s a room filled with plants, cause who wouldn’t want that? Also, it might just be needed for one of the quests we’re working on…

Another house some people have been asking about is the one you pass by on the field just right of Evergrind City, which you haven’t been able to reach just yet. Soon though, you’ll be able to get there through a path in the Pumpkin Woods, so let’s take a look at what’s inside:

Obviously the people living in Marino’s Mansion need somewhere to sleep, so here’s one of the two bedrooms I’ll be making:

Now, time to take a look at a portrait of sorts; a boss portrait made for the fight you’ll have against Remedi in his troll form!

Time for the second map of the cave system in Pillar Mountains, accessible by climbing the sapling you’ve all been walking past for years now, wondering when you’ll be able to do something about it…. Well, soon it’ll all be happening ;)

And then another version of the previous map, as you climb higher up the pillar:

Finally, we go outdoors, reaching an old abandoned Grindea statue! How curious….

For now though, let’s change the subject to something completely different. Trees! A specific tree, actually. The NPC from Seasonne who you’ll meet in the giant tree stump:

Meanwhile in Fred’s department, it’s all about James Fawke, his fan and of course, the troll fight! Here’s some more sneak peeks:

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! :)

New week and new maps! Another piece of map needed is this one, featuring the barn next to the farm, where some strange shenanigans have been taking place:

Now, after starting to implement some of the mansion rooms, we decided on mixing up the layout at bit to make sure the rooms didn’t looks quite as similar. As such, there’s first a quick redesign of Marino’s dad’s “throne room”:

…As well as the hallway leading up to it, which now houses four different rooms instead of the original two:

Next we have a mixed bag with various fixes and additions, starting with a couple new banners for the arena, to replace the collector ones while you do the new quest:

A familiar face reappears in the desert, it’s the travelling merchant that visited Evergrind City during the festival, now selling fertilizers in the desert:

Marino’s mansion is getting a proper zone title, and… well, you guessed it, it’s called…

The posters are getting another version of themselves where they’re more like signs so we can place them all around town:

Next up we’re making a smashed up version of the alchemist’s house so you can battle the troll version of Remedi that you’ve been seeing parts of on the blog in the recent couple of week:

Meanwhile, Fred has been working on the troll, and here’s another sneak peek of a rather strange move:

Soon in a boss battle near you ;)