New week, new interfaces! This time it’s the last couple of interfaces for Arcade Mode, featuring how to build new houses and a notification window for when new NPCs are added to town:

Above is the first quick sketch of the notification box mentioned. We wanted to notify players of when new characters appear in town so they know what/who to look for. Instead of One-Handed it will say “A New Face in Town”, and instead of Defense, it’ll say the character’s name. We used to placeholder text to get a feeling for how big the fonts are.

Here’s the progress of taking the box from the sketch version to the actual one we’ll use in the game:

And the final window in its context:

Next up, building houses. When you inspect a signpost you’ll be presented with a window where Trunk informs you of what will appear in that area and how much it’ll cost. Extremely(!) detailed sketch below:

Again, bringing it from sketch to final box:

Once more we’ve used a placeholder text to get a feeling of how big text will appear inside the box. Instead of One-Handed it’ll say the name of the building, and instead of Candy’s line from Pumpkin Woods there will be a description of the house and what can be done there. The coin box to the bottom left of the window will tell you how much it costs to unlock this building, while the checkmark and x will confirm or cancel. The x will be selected by default to avoid accidentally building things you wouldn’t want.

Final version below:

Next up, a bunch of icons, featuring both curses and Bishop challenges:

This first batch are all Bishop challenges. The first one is the one where you race against time to complete each room in a specific time or get instakilled, the second represents the only elites challenge, the third is for the challenge where you’re blinded the whole time. The fourth is for the runs when you can’t level up, and the fifth and final icon is for the combined no leveling / only elites challenge:

Next up, the next bunch of curses:

The first one being where the floors turn to ice, the second where you’re surrounded by flames, the third being the curse which allows higher level enemies to spawn on lower level floors, the fourth is a curse that makes you take double damage.

The fifth is the curse which makes enemies leave something harmful behind when they die (poison clouds, acid, etc), and the last one is a slightly modified version of the bishop challenge above, for the curse which either blinds you temporarily at the start of each room, or has blinding mushrooms spread across the floor. If we go for the mushroom idea, we’ll likely change the icon, but for now this is the placeholder until we’ve tried the two modes out:

Now, in preparation to move from Arcadia to the desert, here’s some small Arcadia fixes to conclude my work there (for now):

Above is a screen of Trunk talking to Bishop, during which we realized his portrait is a little too big and feels too close to the text. First mission: make it smaller!

Second mission, giving him a proper expression for a special moment where he gets a little surprised to say the least:

This is approximately what Arcadia will look like when you first arrive, but there’s a little something missing here:

What’s that? A ruined bridge, of course! We realized it’s kind of weird that some things have already been set up on the other side of the water without any indication of how people got over, and it looks a little more interesting to have it there:

Okay, so time to move to the desert. Here we have a pathway that’s supposed to be blocked, so you have to move around the area before unlocking a way to pass through here:

And what’s stopping you? More cacti! Bigger ones, this time. Time to make a bunch:

And here they are, in their rather huge glory! We’ll probably add a bunch of these here and there to keep you from being able to destroy everything (most other decorations – the smaller cacti – can be cut down by the player, while these cannot):

Next up, another place that will be blocked until you’re actually supposed to get here:

Here, we want the stairway to be blocked by a couple of archaeologists who have made interesting findings in the area. This serves both as an introduction to the fact that there will be archaeologists here, as well as a temporary way of blocking your progress until you’re ready for the desert storyline:


(Of course I couldn’t leave the stairs looking as empty as they did, or you wouldn’t really buy why the archaeologists are interested in it..)

And with the new, more epic looking staircase, this one looks rather boring in comparison:

Time to fix the problem:

Next up, another portrait! As Fred keeps making new NPCs needed for the upcoming quests, I make the portraits to match. This time it’s another archaeologist, consulting a map. Sprite below:

And here’s the WIP:

As for Fred, this week he has been working on finishing up the vegetable lineup from last week! Here they are, in all directions:

Needless to say, these fellow will of course be animated as well, bouncing around in a cute way:

And where’s there vegetables, there’s a garden, right? Here’s a gardener, pulling up some rather small and sad looking vegetables in comparison to the lively one above:

With the new year coming, it’s time to plan new things. For us that means it’s time to start thinking about the harbor town, a place which has been planned for a long time but never sketched and never discussed in greater detail. So that’s what we’ve done now!

Basically, we’ve had a huge brainstorming session where we just talked about what we’d like to see in the harbor town, what would be cool and a little how things would look. Here’s our list:

The Harbor – Obviously a harbor town needs a harbor or it’s not much of a harbor town, right? So we’ve planned a long dock, next to which there are a bunch of ships. Some will look like regular ships, others might have special themes: a viking ship perhaps, seeing as we’re Swedes and all?

“Loading Area” – An area next to the dock with a lot of strange crates and sailor carrying stuff and loading stuff onto carts and such.

Market Place – A pretty big area with lots of market stands: some where you can buy the usual stuff and gear, some that carry exotic items or fruit for show, to give the area a bit of flavor.

The Beach – A small beach with touristy things such as sunbeds and blankets. Tourists walking around enjoying the sand, water and hot weather!

Ice Cream Parlor – Probably next to the beach? But who knows! Anyway, an ice cream parlor filled with tons of ice cream! Probably some tables outside where people can sit and enjoy their treat.

A Church – With Grindea’s statue inside and one of those creepy priests!

Houseboat(s) – One or a few, for a more interesting way of living.

Regular Houses – A few where NPCs live, one of which will be an author which you’ll help complete the final part of her best selling series! We’ll also add this author character earlier in the game, once the library is implemented. We’d like her to have a book signing there in the beginning of the game, up until the festival (or so), for added recognition once you get to the harbor town (where she’s forced to live away from all of her fans so she can finally complete the next book)!

Wells and Fountains – The town is in the desert so they better have water available for the heat!

Now we (or well, I) just need to mix all of these things together and make a proper sketch of what the town could look like with all these ingredients included. First though, time for some icons and small interface fixes! All related to Arcadia, of course. First up, making a new version of Bag of Tricks, featuring Trunk instead of Bag:

And speaking of Bag, that guy’s actually the inventory icon… not very fitting for Arcade Mode where he doesn’t even exist. Time to replace him with Trunk:

Next, true icon galore as it’s time to make icons for the Treats & Curses we’ve come up with so far. In order of appearance: More Elites Curse, No Heal Curse, No Elites Treat, More Healing Treat, More Treasure Rooms Treat, and Time Crystal Treat (they will probably get better names later):

Finally, not exactly an icon, but cleaning up the background a little! Since it’ll move around as you run across the map (parallax wohoo), I needed to clean up holes of stuff I thought would be permanently hidden behind buildings (oops):

We’ve also been sketching and talking about the details surrounding two big upcoming things: the final desert map, and the interface at the Cinema in Arcadia!

Starting with the desert map, this is the sketch we showed a little while ago:

When I made this sketch I paid no heed to character sizes or what the distances between each section of the map would be in the game, as it was a sketch made on paper after all. Now that we need to translate the sketch into something we can actually use, we need to fix that.

In the above version of the sketch I’ve brought the whole thing into Photoshop and copy pasted a player character into each section, using it to determine distances and how big each thing is. The result is that certain parts of the sketch have been enlarged to better fit the character(s) that will run through the area. For instance, the part above the misspelled fight area has been a bit enlarged on both sides, and there’s a longer corridor coming towards the Saloon from the top right.

Once this was done, we brought the map into the game to run through it and try it out for ourselves (it’s a much different thing actually playing through the map compared to looking at a static character in the midst of it):

Again, we felt some areas were too small, so we made the corridor before the Saloon even larger and added a small space where you can more easily battle enemies there. The area before the (still misspelled) fight area was made larger as well, with the option to add a cave (can’t have too many caves and potential extra maps). Finally we actually made the Fight area slightly smaller to give the user interface in the top of the screen more room without it having to completely cut off the walls.

As mentioned, we also talked about the Cinema, how it would work, and how best to make an interface for it. We decided that when you open the cinema interface you’ll be presented with six options: Personal Best, Most Recent, Favorites, Friends, Public and Sharing.

In the “Personal Best” section, you’ll be presented with a list of your top best runs, automatically saved for your rewatching pleasure! Same thing with “Most Recent”, but with your most recent runs rather than the best. In “Favorites” any runs you’ve saved as a favorite will be available, both your own and those of your friends or strangers: which brings us to “Friends”, where your friends top runs will be available: each friend having one entry each. In Public, you’ll see the runs with the highest scores, and in Sharing you decide whether you want your runs to be shown only to yourself, you and your friends, or if you want them to be public to anyone (i.e if you end up on the high score).

Here’s a very early sketch showing what the selection of a replay could look like, featuring your character’s face (+ parts of the poncho and hat), the top two skills you used, what score you got and which floor you reached:

Continuing on with the cinema interface, though, the first thing we need to design is the header:

I went with a bag of popcorn and film strip to decorate the sides as this felt like two iconic references to the movies! Keeping with that spirit, I designed the movie info boxes to resemble film strips as well (as seen on the sketch earlier):

Also as mentioned earlier the info shown will be part of your character, it’s name (or the first 10 letters of it), the two highest leveled skills, the score (in the brown box), and the floor reached (golden shape at the end). In the final version below, I added a star to indicate someone having added that particular strip to favorites:

Speaking of which, this interface needs quite a few new buttons as well, in order to select everything! Without further ado:

From top to bottom: Play Clip, Most Recent, Favorite(s), Friends, Public, and Settings. The last one will lead to this rather simple popup menu, where you can select who can view your replays by moving left or right (the options being only you, only friends, or public):

Finally, let’s take a look at another portrait. This guy is designed after one of the archaeologists Fred made a while ago:

Like most NPCs made recently, you will run into this guy in the desert, where he’ll be busy excavating some new findings (and in doing so, unfortunately blocking your way for a while)!

Next week we’ll discuss and continue designing the final interfaces for the Arcadia Rework: the one for Master Ji’s shield challenges, and the UI that shows information about each building you can build. After that there’s mostly some smaller detail stuff for me to do before I believe I’m done with all Arcadia Rework things! Exciting times.

Whew, after close to one week in bed sniffing away with the flu, I’m actually feeling alive again and more than ready to get back to work! Unfortunately I cursed Teddy with the flu as well, so he’s been down and out for a while too… Fred seems to have remained immune this time around!

Because 2/3rds of the company has been unable to do much work the past week, there aren’t much in terms of news! We are drawing ever closer to being able to move into our new office space though, so that’s super exciting and we’re all looking forward to it (and have already begun planning how we’ll move everything and changes we need to make to make it all work for us).

As I mentioned last week, the office is actually already available to us (since Dec 1st), but we’re waiting to move in until the 6th (this Wednesday) when we’ll get helped by a moving company. Since we don’t have too much stuff to move but the items we do have are quite cumbersome to transport in the tiny car that’s available to us – in fact we don’t think the larger of the two desks will fit in it even if we unscrew the whole thing- we decided for our peace of mind it’s probably better to hire a couple guys to move it for us. Less risk of us dropping and breaking stuff, and having to solve how to transport a much too large table.. Carry it to the office by foot, a healthy 50 minute walk…? Hmm.

Now, I’ll be getting back to work properly today, and have already started off by sketching what the final desert map will look like (ignore my amazing misspelling of fight…):

The are three important areas in this map. First, the entrance to the city, indicated by the arrow pointing downwards. Second, the battle area in front of it, where you’ll battle a mini-boss and possibly some random enemy spawns. Third, the Saloon in the top part of the map, home of the shady people of the country. I want to make wanted posters in the surrounding area, featuring the gangsters you’ll meet in there. Maybe you’ll even run into a set of suspicious ferrets again…

The rest of this week will, however, be focused on finishing up the new Arcade Floors (some minor things remaining), and after that I’ll do the last interiors for the Arcadia town rework – just a few left! Once those are done we’ll start designing the new interfaces needed to get all the new systems up and running, and then test, test, test before we’re finally ready to release it all to the public! We’re very excited about the rework and though it’s a little while left before it’s 100% ready we hope you are too :D

So, time to finish up those Arcade floors! There’s a couple of pretty important maps missing from both the Tai Ming and the Mount Bloom floors that need to be added before they are truly complete: the score counting screens!

Whenever you finish a floor in Arcade Mode, you’ll run through a corridor of some sort while the game shows you your current score and how well you did in each room of the floor. These corridors are either connecting two floors of the same area, or serve to connect one type of floor with the next. The first corridor shown above is the corridor that will bridge the two Mount Bloom floors, while the second leads the way into the Tai Ming floors.

Below you have two types of the same corridor, one for past and one for present. Which one you’ll pass through depends on what boss you fought against. Meanwhile, when you transfer from Tai Ming to the desert maps, you’ll simply walk through a door from the Mimic room.

In order to have a proper exit from the above corridors, I had to extract and polish up the entrance/exit to the courtyard used in story mode and make a version of it in both timelines as well:

Finally, some minor changes to one of the boss rooms (the Arcade Mode version, that is):

Instead of having to limit ourselves to having this boss appear after going through a mountain wall, we decided to remove the lower mountain part and adjust how things were placed slightly, so we can put a regular fence there instead (and as such be able to place the boss map anywhere on the map rather than along a mountain). In order to do this we also had to repaint the lower parts of the vertical mountain wall, as can be seen in the second picture.

Now there’s just one more thing to do before these floors are fully complete (unless I’m forgetting something)!! And you guessed it, it’s turning all those polished and clean Past props into their present, ruined versions!!

Actually, since we decided each room will only be available in one of the timelines, I decided to not do exact replicas of some things, such as the buildings. With these I felt it’d be more interesting to bring in more designs to create more variations.

Here’s a few of the buildings that might appear on your run:

The fences were more straight forward, just make a ruined, old-looking version of each part:

And finally, the new (very old looking!) bridges to connect islands or help you cross over streams:

Okay, now that the new bunch of floors are properly completed, let’s celebrate by taking a quick break from Arcade Mode and make another portrait featuring yet another sailor (can’t have too many of those in a harbor town, right?):

And the finished portrait:

Meanwhile, Fred has moved on from fishes and started making a ton of NPCs for the desert! Here are some of the ones you’ll meet during your adventure:

This week it’s time to move on to doing some interiors for the Tai Ming arcade floors! Since Tai Ming is a town, it would be kind of weird to not have any houses you can go into, so we decided to make a few variations!

First up, deciding on the sizes (paying extra attention to the user interface limitations this time):

Starting off with the wider of the rooms, I add some basic walls and floors to create a shell we can use to decorate these interiors in various ways:

First up this entails wall decorations! For this shape, we have three variations of what the walls can look like:

…and they in turn can be combined with three different floor layouts:

Using these six types of decorations, we can mix and mach and create quite different rooms, even though the shape is the same! As you can see, we also added another type of floor texture to mix things up even more:

And then, it’s just doing the same thing all over again, but with the smaller version of the room:

Now it’s time to make a bunch of rooms that go in the other direction (horizontally)! Starting off in the same way, deciding on size and adding the basics:

Then adding a bunch of wall and floor decorations:

And here are some mix and match examples of what these houses can look like:

While there isn’t a ton of variation, there also won’t be a lot of house interiors, and even if there were we think it’s probably not going to look too much the same (especially when you compare it to previous floors, which were all very basic and same-looking)!

As for the final part of interior creation for these floors, there’s of course turning everything into its present version, ruined and forgotten!

Some of you may remember a discussion we had about whether the player would pass through the same rooms, once in past and once in present, or whether enforced time warps between rooms would determine whether the next room is past or present (and as such only available in that state).

Back then we were more into the idea of reusing the same rooms and showcasing them in both past and present, but since then we’ve realized that having the rooms isolated in either a past or present state is more time efficient, and in the end, may be more straight forward for the player as well. In the earlier version it would mean there are two states of the map at the same time, with different room types in them (challenge rooms and the nurse, for instance, would only be available in one of the states and you’d have to travel back and forth if you wanted to return to them after changing time).

So, with that decision, it opened up the opportunity to make even more layouts for the present type rooms, allowing for even more variation!

Here’s some of the wall and floor decorations:

And here’s a bunch of mix and matching, showing all types of rooms:

One step closer to finishing these arcade floors, wohoo! :)

And now, moving on to boss rooms! Each of our bosses are in rather special places, so instead of just sticking them into random rooms, we decided to edit and adjust the areas they are in to fit the Arcade version instead.

Starting with the Mimic, it’s pretty isolated in it’s own room, so technically we could just have had it appear inside a random interior. However, since we want to show off that the Mimic is coming (in more ways than simply having the skull map indicator for those who are looking), we decided to bring in the entrance to his lair from the game:

Of course, a few adjustments were needed. For one, we didn’t want to use the whole map, so we extracted the building part, removed the door, and added ropes to keep you from going up the stairs:

Trying it out in photoshop, it doesn’t look too shabby when you connect it to the stone fence:

We also added some specific decorations for when this room appears, so that nothing will get cut off:

As for the Thorn Worm boss, its arena is pretty set in the middle of town:

…But we extracted the whole building and made it a map of its own, removing all the distracting surroundings and fixing things that got broken in the move. Here, too, we added a bunch of decorations surrounding the battlefield, and you’ll be able to exit to the next floor by going through the big door:

As for the third boss, the Priestess…

…we use pretty much the same method! Extract the whole area, remove things that are unnecessary to the fight and fix any things that need fixing. In this case there was no version of the building with an open door, and since we want the player to progress into the next floor through its interior, I had to repaint the area surrounding the door to make it open:

Now we just need to make a corridor that you will run through in either past or present state depending on which of the bosses you faced, in order to reach the next floor!

Meanwhile, there’s one more week of fishy updates, but this is the last one! With this post all the fishes have been animated and are ready to be added to the aquarium:

Now that those are out of the way, Fred can finally go back to creating NPCs for the desert, which is what we’ll be diving into as soon as we finish up our Arcade Mode business. There are still quite a backlog of portraits I’ve made over the months for random character that will live there, so he has his work cut out for him for a while!

So a really long time ago by now, we started working on the Tai Ming floors. Or rather, I made a bunch of graphics for them and awaited a chance for Teddy to add them to the game for testing. Now, a hundred years later when we finally finished a ton of other important stuff, it’s time to dive back into the actual Arcade floors again, and it begins with fixing a bunch of errors.

To start off, the first thing we noticed when adding things to the engine was that I had somehow failed making the openings in the two types of fences the same width, which creates a bunch of zoning problems….

….and secondly, all of us had completely forgotten how much space the interface takes in in Arcade Mode compared to Story Mode. If you take a look at the screen below, you can see a lot of the fighting area is covered by the map and score board:

Not exactly ideal… SO, two kind of major things for me to fix: one, make sure the fence openings are equally wide, and make the fight areas smaller so they won’t get covered by interface (we certainly don’t want anyone losing precious score because an enemy was hiding behind the map):

The above changes may not look like much but it makes all the difference in the engine! As you may notice, the exits are no longer in the middle of the fence, but further towards the top. This is to save Teddy a ton of work, as he had already implemented the zoning for each of this exits, and would have to manually change them after the fence resize. As such, we decided keep them slightly higher and save the work. It may not look 100% ideal but I think in the heat of battle nobody will really think much of it.

Now, here are a few more screens showing what things look like in the engine so far (using my still not fixed graphics at this point):

As you can see, there’s a lot of stuff missing still, but the core is getting there (it’s basically playable, just not polished graphically at all). Next up I’ll be making a bunch of decorations for the area around the “room”s: grass decorations, randomized trees and rocks, etc. Once everything is added I think this will actually look quite nice!

But before moving on to more Tai Ming floor stuff, I wanted to finish a rather important boss room for Mount Bloom’s arcade floors: the one where you’ll battle the Black Ferrets (the awesomest trio in the game, am I right?!)

As you may know, this battle initially takes place inside the HQ, but will now be in Mount Bloom, as it’s where you’ll be at Arcadia wise. As such, we extracted the vital points of the map (the actual size of the fight area, so Teddy does not have to make new boundaries for it):

…And the proceed to make a new version of the area, set in Mount Bloom instead!

It’s kind of amazing how much smaller the fight area looks when it’s surrounded by water rather than more of the HQ, but it’s the exact same size! Teddy and Freddy will each be on the opposite end, hurling their blades at the unsuspecting player(s), just like in story mode:

Okay, back to the Tai Ming floor decoration stuff! First up, adding a ton of floor decorations around the battle area (inside the battle area it’ll be randomized, so it won’t look so similar each time):

Now, we need to make sure the flowers won’t get cut off when we add water or mountain walls, as seen below (fixed by moving the flowers slightly away from the border):

In order to make the edges of the water look more decorated, we put a bunch of the flowers directly on its sprite:

And now, the most important stuff: making a bunch of variations for trees, rocks and other decorations that will appear around the fences when there is no water or mountain to cover ’em up. I’ve made 6 variation of each side: three for when there’s an exit in that directions, and three for when it’s closed (as seen in the two examples below):

When a horizontal fence connects with a vertical one, there also needs to be a number of corner decorations, so I made three of those for each corner as well, two of which can be seen below:

Mixing and matching these decorations along with water, mountain walls and the buildings I made earlier will surely make this area look a whole lot different each time you play it! I think as far as Arcade floors go, these will probably look the most epic in that way, as each time you get there will truly be a new experience graphics wise.

Now I just need to make a bunch of interiors (you’ll battle through buildings as well), and turn everything into its past version for when it’s time for the time warp!

As for Fred’s work this week:

Even more fishies! When all this is said and done we’ll be able to make a fishing game… Wouldn’t that be exciting?! (Maybe not…)

So while these fishes take a lot of time to complete, we hope that once they’re all available in the aquarium it’ll be worth all the effort! Plus, who knows what else we can come up with now that we have a ton of animated fishes.

If you have any ideas, feel free to share your crazy fish dreams!

This week we mainly continue our work on the Arcadia remake, but we also took some time to bring a bunch of printouts of the desert area to our favorite fast food place for a little chat! Our goal was to discuss more in detail exactly what’s going to happen as you journey through the desert towards the harbour town, and what side quests we aim to include as we add this to the game.

We took a ton of notes on each of the maps, filling them with sentences about what will happen, what things will look like, what caves will connect and what will be in them, etc. After we were done, the desert had gone from a pretty basic set of maps to one of the most well thought out areas so far, at least in my opinion!

We aim to include three bigger side quests when we add it to frontline/stable (not including quests we might come put with for the harbour town), but like most areas, we have more ideas for other quests to include at a later date when it’s time for an overall polish of the entire game. While it won’t have a big side area like the Tai Ming’s phase shift section, the main quest here will bring back a lot of old friends to the plot, and have you travel outside the desert as well.

With all this new information, there’s a ton of new maps (cave interiors, specifically) for me to do, and a few new enemy and mini-boss animations for Fred to deal with as well! It’s all gonna be a lot of fun, and we hope you’ll be as excited to finally explore this area as we are making it.

However, before we start focusing for real on the desert, there’s still something left to do: the Arcadia rework (as mentioned), including the Tai Ming and Mount Bloom floors which currently aren’t in the game. So while we’ve made sure to plan ahead for this, it’ll be a little while before we actually continue working on the desert stuff.

And the next Arcade Mode interior…. is the Inn! Or the tavern! Whatever you wish to call it. True, it does not have beds, but who’s to say there isn’t a hidden door somewhere that leads upstairs?

In either case, this is sort of an upgraded version of the old Tavern in Arcadia. Doesn’t look exactly the same, but I went for the same sort of feel and the overall layout. When everything is implemented this place will probably have more visitors than it currently does, more inhabitants looking to hand out quests!

Here’s the WIP video, using a lot of old housing items for this one:

And the finished version:

Next up, the arena!! Another interior that gets and upgrade, where we aren’t completely decided on whether this new upgraded version will replace the old one in Story Mode.

Like with the farm, I kind of went for the same layout and overall design, though in the original version there are statues of fighters which I opted out of in this version: I just didn’t feel it worked very well with this rather smaller and more compact version of the layout.

Instead, my hope is to have a few spectators chat in the reception area, maybe swooning at the champions (you guys) who are about to enter the fray!

Here’s the WIP video:

And the finished version:

And now, a completely new building, not previously available in any form: the Bank! How exciting! …Maybe.

So for this place we wanted the look of a waiting room, with a kind of office-y feel to it. People requesting loans and whatnot will be waiting for their turn, while the player can just waltz up to one of the desks and request an exchange of gold to essence (or the other way around)!

Aside from the desk where the bank workers will be, there’s a (heavily guarded!) vault, and a water cooler, cause waiting times for non-players can be quite extreme…

The WIP video:

Finished version:

And finally, a bunch of new fishes for the Aquarium, to end this week!

After some discussion we’ve decided to make all of the fishes available in the Aquarium, which means each of them needs to be animated. While Fred has made a bunch already, there’s still a ton left to do…

..and as such, here’s the second fish batch, ready to be put into an aquarium near you:

One thing we didn’t mention in last weeks posts are what will happen to your old potions. We aren’t so cruel as to simply remove or disable the pots you’ve bought so far – instead they will turn into pet food (which, honestly, is probably what most of you have used them for so far).

As such, we’ll be adding a new shop to the game: Oak’s Pet supplies, found at the farm in Evergrind West! At Oak’s Pet Supplies you’ll be able to buy dishes to feed your pet(s) with, each one boosting a different stat.

At first, we weren’t sure whether we wanted to keep these foods simple, calling them simple things (such as HP Food, Crit Food, etc) and having a very basic appearance (basic pet food cans in different colors and with different icons depending on what stat they boost). However, after some discussion we thought it’d be more fun to use ‘real’ dishes, with fancier names.

Sure, it does not make as much sense that Oak is selling outright food at his farm, but we’ll make that work later on. Maybe that’s why nobody is buying things at Belmont’s café? Oak is serving better stuff for cheaper! It’s food for pets but who cares so long as it’s tasty, right..?

Anyway, without further ado, introducing the dishes that have replaced your old potions:

Light Ceasar Salad – Nothing like a light salad to keep you up on our feet! This dish is replacing the old speed potions, and boost speed when fed to your pet.

Hearty Stew – A thick and warming stew to boost your health! Feed it to your pet and you’ll get a nice HP increase.

Spicy Prawn Soup – A hot soup that will help you land those crits after you feed it to your pet.

Grilled Rib Eye Steak – A grilled beef to keep your damage high. Replaces the old damage pots.

Sweet Sundae – Finally, a sweet dessert for your EP needs. Feed your pet this yummy dish and it will be sure to help you keep that EP up and running.

Here’s the final lineup:

And the title of the shop page! We decided to go for Pet Supplies rather than Pet food since we want to keep our options open: maybe Oak will end up selling other things as well! Such as new taming items…. We’ll see!

Now, time to get back to the Arcadia rework, and we begin with a quick update with some random improvements/additions! First up, I felt the Farm outdoors looked awfully empty, so I added a bunch of hay for your pets to eat, just to make it look a bit more special:

Second, way back we decided that the furniture salesman should have a little sign like all the other shops, so I went back and added it outside the player house:

Speaking of the player house, we also mentioned ages ago that the player house in Arcadia would be the one available in Evergrind as well, rather than the random run-of-the-mill house currently available. Said and done:

Finally, something not-Arcadia related! We’re considering adding a painting of the player’s mother in the lab, where you dad hangs out with the artifacts. Just a little reminder of why you’re collecting them in the first place~

Now, finally time to move indoors and start doing some cool house interiors (it’s been a while now)! Today, we’re starting off with the Clock Tower, featuring the world’s longest GIF. I should have just recorded a video of this whole thing but I’ve been doing GIFs so much now that I just completely forgot I also have a YouTube channel for these things. Oh well!

This place was actually quite a bit of a struggle! I’m working on my rendering technique for those pesky wall textures, trying to fins a nice balance between too plain and too much detail/colors.

The main part of this room is the bell, which will allow you to change the time of day, and the window which indicates what time of day it is. The window will be animated by Fred at some point, where the image will turn from night to day. At that point the background might look completely different depending on what’s easier to animate for him, but for now I just put a piece of the Arcadia background there instead of keeping it empty.

Finished version, for now:

Next up we continue the Arcadia rework, today starring the the farm interior! This place will have the same look and feel as the farm in Evergrind West, only with updated graphics and more stuff.

We’re actually considering replacing the old farm interior in Story Mode with this one, but we haven’t fully decided yet. On one hand it looks a lot better graphics wise, on the other it’s kind of nice to have the unlock in Arcadia be a bit more special. On the third hand (…let’s not get into anatomy…) many players will probably never play Arcade Mode or get to the point where they unlock the Farm, so it means a lot of people won’t get to see the better version, while most people likely will visit the farm in Story Mode at some point.

Ah, we’ll see.

Anyway, here’s the creation video:

And the finished version, missing Oak, of course:

And while I continue doing Arcadia stuff, Fred returns to the desert! Over the weeks I’ve made quite a bunch of portraits for people in the desert, and now it’s time for Fred to start making their sprites~

Here’s a bunch of the inhabitants you’ll be able to talk to in the upcoming desert town, also featuring their WIPs and various stages before the final versions were picked (the final selection are the one in the circle on top):

There’s also a bunch of fishes being made for the Aquarium that will be available in the Arcadia Rework! So exciting, look how cute they are:

Gotta catch ’em all… :D

This week we return our focus to the Arcadia Rework! Starting with the usual reminder of where we left things off last:

The first thing on my new fixlist was to make the shape of the arena more rounded:

Then, it was painting paths all day! So many paths! Even with a lot of copy & pasting, this took forever, haha:

After the paths were done, it’s time to add water and the edges around town:

…and the background, kind of bringing everything together! Now all that’s left is a ton of trees, flower, smaller decorations – and to make the version of town that hasn’t been built upon yet! The goal of new Arcadia will be for you to unlock all of this, after all.

So here we go, time to add the last pieces. For instance, the bridge that will connect the right land mass to the left, once you unlock it:

And then……. Trees and flowers!!! So many! With this step, the fully unlocked version of Arcadia is done (aside from any other minor fixes we might decide to add). Of course, in this version there are no animation or NPCs added yet, but that will happen in the game engine:

Now it’s time to demolish everything and make the not unlocked version of each of the plots you can purchase on your journey! Starting off with Remedi’s wagon, which will be nothing but a pile of dirt to begin with:

Each of the plots you’ll be able to unlock/purchase will have their own signpost, so I decided to make a new version of the extremely old sprite we’ve been using so far. Should probably replace the one in Story Mode with this one later on, though it might stand out next to the old background graphics, I suppose:

As for the grand fae tree, it too will start off rather small… as a sapling:

There will be more tiny details added here and there in this version, where nothing has been unlocked yet, plus there will be wood covering certain areas you’ll have to unlock as well. For now, this is what things look if you’ve unlocked all the areas (except the bridge) but not bought any plots yet:

Now, as we decided a while back, only a small part of Arcadia will be available from the beginning, and the remaining three parts will have to be unlocked: one by building a bridge, and the other two by clearing out trees. As such, this is actually what the town will look like from the beginning:

And below are two versions where just one of the remaining areas have been unlocked by clearing out the woods:

Now, in order to make things look a little more interesting around some of the unbuilt plots, we decided to put in some random props, pieces of wood, boxes and the like, to help signify that these areas are a work in progress until you’ve purchased them. So below it’s decorating time, starting with the Farm, moving on to the Aquarium, the Bank, and finally the Arena:

And now, here’s the version of the map where all the plots are visible but none has been bought:

And with this, I believe the outdoors of the Arcadia rework is more or less complete! Wohoo!! Of course, we still need to make a bunch of interiors, but still :)

So to finish this week, I’m throwing in another portrait for the desert crew today, once more playing around with rendering techniques for the final (small) version of the portrait:

Next week will be all about potions and the potion rework! Stay tuned :)

Good news everyone: the Bow and Talent patch is officially live (and has been since Thursday afternoon)! Go try those things out and let us know what you think. To summarize, the patch includes 21 new talents, sound effects for the utility skills and the revamped bow including a bunch of upgrades! As always, the full patch notes can be found over here~

In Fred’s department, there has been three main things going on: making the bow upgrading NPC, continuing polishing the Solem animations and starting work on our next system upgrade, namely the potion rework. Once the rework is live your character will visually drink the potions, so that had to have a neat animation of its own. Here are some results from this week:

My main focus last week was also preparing stuff for the patch, starting with the final batch of talent icons! Final three General talents + the Melee talents:

Alchemist – Potions refill faster. Pretty self explanatory talent, and to make things even easier to understand visually I used the other potion talent icon as a base for this one.

Arrow Scavenger – Increases the number of arrows dropped by enemies. Featuring a bunch of arrows (or the ends of them anyway)!

Quickshot – Shoot arrows faster. For this icon I took one of the bow icons and put some effects behind it that I hope illustrates its increased speed!

Blood Thirst – Killing an enemy grants increased attack speed for a short duration. With a name like this I kind of wanted to make a blood thirsty animal or beast of some sort. Not super sold on the look, so might change it around in the future – we’ll see!

Combo Starter – After a normal attack, your melee skills have increased critchance for a short duration. Since we already have a ton of basic looking swords in the old talent icon, I went with a different kind of blade this time!

Knowledge is Power – MATK gives ATK. Using a book from another talent icon as a base, I changed its color around, making this icon’s color scheme a mix between magic colors and melee colors.

Riposte – Perfect guarding within x range of an enemy deals some damage to the enemy you guarded against. Bringing back the perfect guard icon to use it as a base once more, I changed the colors around to better work with the melee page.

Sudden Strike – After being out of combat for a short while, your next normal attack will have increased attackspeed. Here we have another regular-looking blade, but dropping from the sky this time!

Final lineup:

So in order for you to be able to upgrade your bow, we needed someone who can help you do that! While Robin, who first gives you the bow, might seem the obvious choice, we didn’t want him responsible for more than one mechanic – and as he’s currently in charge of the shooting mini-game, it seemed it’d be a better idea to make another character who can deal with bow upgrades.

Introducing Little J:

This guy will be carving bows outside Robin’s house. Once he has a new upgrade for your bow you’ll be able to purchase it for some gold!

After some feedback from my fellow Pixel Ferrets, I made a small adjustment of the eyes:

And next, it was time to actually make Little J feel at home next to Robin’s hut! In order to make it more obvious that there’s something for the player to gain by talking to this guy, we made a bunch of improvements to the surrounding area. Starting with some sketching:

First thing we’ll do is add a notice board of sorts, where the next bow upgrade available will be displayed. Here I’m using the notice board from the Arcadia rework as a base:

Now that the board is done, it’s time to bring in the bows and edit them all slightly so they merge better with the board. The very first bow won’t be on display since that will be the one you’ll have from the beginning (and the first upgrade will be available from the start):

Next, some ground decorations: a bunch of arrows, and a quiver next to Robin’s door:

Finally, Little J’s working table, where an old bow and some arrows lie forgotten:

And here’s Robin’s place after the added stuff! You can kind of see a difference in quality of the props made now compared to the old ones. Maybe someday (when the game is done), we’ll go back and touch up old areas, improving the overall graphics. For now, we’ll try to steer clear of doing too unnecessary improvements, as we want to finish this game within our lifetime:

As some of you have noticed, we also (finally) made a cover image for Secrets of Grindea on Twitch. It’s been on my to-do list for a while, but has been pushed back due to other things being more important – but with this bow upgrade being mostly out of the way, I decided to throw something together before moving back to Arcadia stuff.

So to make the cover image, we wanted to use graphics already available to us, at least for now. Maybe in the future we’ll do something more epic. Using the capsule image from Steam and a screenshot of the Arcadia rework, we pieced some graphics together and made a couple of mockups which can be viewed below (pretending to be Path of Exile).

We resized our mockups on top of other games in order to get a feel for what the image would actually look like in the end – you’re supposed to provide them with a quite large jpeg file, though for the most part its resized by Twitch as seen below. We felt the best way of trial and erroring this was playing around in Photoshop rather than uploading 500 versions of the image and trying it our in real time:

In the end, we decided to go with the third one. The big version can be seen below! Note that the logo has been resized into a bigger version in a rather crude way, which means it’s a little blurry. This is because we didn’t want to completely remake it and take more time from doing actual game stuff at this point. Since the image is mostly viewed in a much smaller version where the blur won’t be visible anyway, we felt this was OK for now:

With the Talent and Bow updates drawing to a close, it’s time to look ahead and start planning for the rest of the Arcadia Rework. I’m almost done with the rework of the outdoors, but after that there’s still some important stuff left: the indoors.

To make sure we’re on the same page, we got together to discuss exactly what will be available in each of the buildings, coming up with the list below:

Inside the Dojo there will be enough space for a small battle area, where your challenges will take place. Beyond it, Master Ji from story mode will sit, and it’s him you’ll have to talk to in order to activate the challenges. Once you activate a challenge, your character will be teleported to the battle area you just passed through.

In multiplayer, you’ll only be able to do these challenges solo. To make sure everyone can use the Dojo at the same time, characters who are currently partaking in the challenge will disappear from the map, meaning – unfortunately – that you can’t spectate other users as they do their challenges. In this case we felt it would be better for players to be able to take on the challenges at the same time rather than having to wait for someone currently doing one to finish.

The interior of the Farm will be pretty straight forward: hay, buckets and sacks of wheat. And enough space for your favorite farmer, Oak to give you new quests!

The Aquarium will feature a huge aquarium on the topside wall, around which painted decorations featuring seaweed and fishes will be added. We’re currently discussing what kind of fishes will be available in the aquarium, whether all of the fishes will be or just one or two from each area. We’re kind of into the idea of having one fish per area (meaning less animation work for Fred), each which you’ll be able to catch and keep during a quest given by the Aquarium owner.

The Bank will be decorated office style. Desks, water coolers, the occasional plant. A vault where the gold is kept!

The Cinema will look pretty much like a cinema, with a receptionist selling tickets near the entrance. This will be where you select which replay you want to watch.

The Inn will look much like it does now, some sitting areas and a bar. The Arena reception will look much like it does in Story Mode as well.

The Clock Tower will have a rather small, round, room, with a window on the opposite wall where you’ll be able to tell what time of day it is. You’ll change time by hitting a small bell in the middle of the room, which will – through magic – cause time to speed up. The big bell on top on the clock tower will chime as the scenery changes outside the window through an animation made by Fred.

And that’s that! Looking forward to diving into all of that soon~ :3

Weeeee’re back! In fact, one whole week has passed since we got back to work and it’s time for a new weekly recap~

As you know, before taking this break, we launched a patch with the complete rework of our current skills in hope of making them more balanced (and fun). We’ve read all of the feedback coming in, and for now there aren’t any major changes we want to do (aside from a bunch of bug fixes that Teddy already has been working on). We will keep monitoring the feedback and possible change a few things, however: such as increasing the HP of certain enemies that have lost some of their tankyness due to the increased damage of most of the skills.

Now, to properly start the next step on our journey to actually completing this game, we had a meeting today discussing the additions of more talents! We have wanted to add a bunch for a while now, as mentioned before. For now, we’ve decided on adding 5 new Melee talents, 5 new Magic talents and 10 new General talents!

Starting with the Magic talents, some talents we discussed and confirmed will be added are:

Fast Talker – Increase Castspeed
Soul Siphon – Hitting an enemy with a wand projectile will grant the user some EP
Concentration – Increase resistance to having the (magic) spells channeling interrupted by enemy hits
Specialist – Increase damage depending on how many skillpoints you have in the same magic tree (as an example, the more fire skills you level, the stronger your fire skills will be overall)
Wand Master – Icreased damage from wand projectiles

As for the General talents, some you may expect there are:

Got You Covered – Increase buff duration
Metabolism – Increase EP regen
Health Insurance – Increase healing from health orbs
Lady Luck –  Introducing a low chance of enemy attacks missing your character
Utility Flow – Chaining Utility skills lower their EP cost (the more utility skills you use in a row the cheaper their cost in EP, up to a maximum percentage). A talent designed with the true support players in mind, who need more EP to buff a full team!
Kinetic Energy – Get EP from blocking attacks with your shield
Efficient Counter – Perfect Guarding lowering the EP cost of the next skill

And the Melee talents we’ve decided on so far:

Knowledge is Power – MATK gives ATK
Riposte – Perfect guarding within x range of an enemy deals some damage to the enemy you guarded against
Blood Thirst – Killing an enemy grants increased attack speed for a short duration
Combo Starter – After a normal attack, your melee skills have increased critchance for a short duration

We’re currently experimenting with a melee talent that increases the attackspeed of your next normal attack(s) when you’ve been out of combat for a short while. In the general tree, there will also be at least one talent relating to the bow.

We’re also considering increasing the number of talents in the general tree to 21 (as opposed to the planned total of 20). The reason for this is that we’d like to fit all talents in a single page, without the player having to scroll down. Our idea is to go for something like this (super early mockup WIP, obviously, we’ll have to adjust all of the graphics to make this work):

It’s a bit cluttered, but with a few adjustments we hope it won’t be too messy on the eye. We believe, at least, it will be better this way than to introduce scrolling. In the Magic and Melee talent sections, things won’t get as cluttered either, as they won’t have as many talents: at least for now, our max total is 15 each.

As for Arcadia, now that the first stage of the Arcadia is done – that is, the main buildings – it’s time to take a look at it and see where things can improve. As a reminder of what things looked like where we left off, take a peek below:

As you can see, not a lot of details or even finished pathways. The reason for this is that I wanted to be sure all the distances felt nice when actually inside the game, after the main buildings were properly made.

To check this, Teddy uploaded the background into the game and we could run around as if it were a real map, only without any colliders or the ability to actually go inside any of the buildings. While doing this, we did feel like the distances are fine, but we came up with a list of other changes which will be what I’ll be working on next:

* The map’s size will be increased in each direction. The reason for this is not so that there will be more room for the buildings, but rather so that more of the edges can be seen, such as the background that will be painted in the top part of the map, or the woods that will serve as the edge of the map.

* The Clock Tower will get another floor and I’ll remake the clock in its middle part to become a lot bigger and detailed enough that it will show a different time depending on if it’s daylight or nighttime.

* The Arena will be reworked: we’ll make it a lot bigger, to make it feel epic enough.

* The Aquarium and the Bank will both be moved slightly to the right, aligning the path to the bank with the path to the cinema. This to make a little more space between the farm and the Aquarium.

* The top, middle part of the roof of the Aquarium will be turned into a pool of water, where silhouettes of fish can be seen once you start catching some!

* The benches in the fountain/garden area will be moved a bit higher, to make more room for whatever characters might find themselves sitting there in the future!

Along the way I’ll also start making the proper paths and decorate the areas with flowers, fences and other small things. Already, we feel this place is a lot more vivid than the old Arcadia was, and by the end of it it’ll hopefully be a truly cool and polished place :)

Now, time to fix those things! First up, the clock tower:

As some of you mentioned, it’s a little short, so we’ll make it slightly longer (though honestly, not by much: we still want the bell on top to be clearly visible when you enter the building). We also wanted to make the clock bigger and more detailed, so that when you change what time of day it is, the clock will change as well. Also, some silly decorations, because why not:

Next up, some minor detail additions for the Cinema and Inn, adding some fences and decorations. Proper grass, flowers and further details will be added once this second iterations of town is completed:

Moving on to the Arena, we decided to make it larger (and in turn, more detailed) so we made the top part of it higher, and the whole thing wider. For decoration, we added a few posters showing upcoming challenges or fights to take place in the arena. I mean if they don’t advertise what kind of stuff goes on there, how will the NPCs of Arcadia ever get interested enough in going? Gotta sell those tickets!

And here’s the new and improved, slightly bigger arena:

We’re also preparing the Aquarium change(s)! First by moving it and the bank to align with the cinema, and next filling the top part of the Aquarium’s roof with water. In the water you’ll see fish silhouettes once it’s properly added to the actual game:

Finally, increasing the size of the map:

It is rather a lot bigger now, but most of the extra space will be covered in trees and only serve to not make it feel like the map is cut off too close to you. It does feel a little more epic if you can imagine the vast forest expanding around the town, after all!

And to end things this week, I’ll throw in a brand new portrait!

Since I got back I wanted to try a slightly different rendering style for the final sprite (particularly for the eyes), which I think turned out alright: