As we continue toying with that loop idea mentioned last week, I’ve been fiddling around with some various ways to illustrate the difficulty increase. Our current idea is to showcase it as a type of orb or crystal you insert into the statue by Bishop, but this might change as we explore other ideas. For now though, here’s a few of the experiments in action:

Next, a bunch of expressions for the Pin collector so the cutscene in which he appears can be completed. As always, a lot of these expressions will probably not be used but I like to mix and match a couple extras just in case :)

With the loops progressing, we’re redesigning the Grindea statue a bit so make her sword bigger and more badass looking! We still haven’t decided yet which type of crystal thingies we’re going for but here goes:

The new improved sword with a variety of the crystals:

We’re also considering mixing them so there will be one of each, or at the very least different colors for each one you unlock:

This last one is our favourite currently, but we’ll see! More discussions to be had :)

Our experiments with the Pin Collector’s first appearance continues as well and we’re now playing around with how the pins that scatter around him will look.

The difference between the above two are mainly the sizing of the pins. In the first video, the pins are all of the same size, while in the second one we’ve resized some to be smaller. Between the two of those, we prefer the one where the sizes aren’t all exactly the same, but we weren’t totally happy with the way they faded away, so we decided to try something else:

In this third version, the pins disappear with a bit more of a bang. We prefer this a lot as it gives the feel that the pins disappear into the world rather than simply fade away. However, we weren’t completely happy with the timing, so we decided to change that a bit as well:

So in this version the timing is adjusted and the Pin Collector turns around. Of course, most of the graphics displayed here are placeholder graphics, his turn as well, so each of them will be improved in due time. But so far so good! :)

Meanwhile, Fred has been playing around with a ton of effects for the Pin collector’s appearance, as well as trying out some animations for the “loop orbs”, seen below:

Aand giving the pin collector a bunch of animations as well, as can be seen here:

Going back to story mode for a bit, we’ve talked about the second quest for the Mansion and come up with a rather simple quest for the player to deal with the first time they’re allowed into the Mansion (which will be by the time you defeat Marino after Flying Fortress). Basically one of the maids want some help solving a small infestation of slime in the basement. Oh but what an infestation it is – not quite what you’d expect I think… :)

We’re also finally starting to fiddle around with the things you’ll access when you get the plant fertilizers and will access the areas currently unavailable (remember the small squiggly plants?). So far we know of three places these plants will be: the one in pillar mountains which will lead to a small reward, a little cave system leading back to the cave where you find the sandals (I believe) further down in pillar mountains, and upwards to an old an abandoned Grindea shrine which may or may not play a part in the later stages of the game…

Here are some sketches I made as we were talking about this place during the meeting, more to come later:

The one in Flying Fortress will simply lead you to a treasure, while the third will lead you to the mysterious tree stump house in Seasonne, where it seems you will get a reward and find a housing shop! We haven’t made any sketches for this yet, but I’ll likely start working on that once we finish up the mansion :)

First though, some more Pin stuff for Arcade Mode! There will be a part of the menu where you can see what Pins you currently have equipped, and so I made a little modified version of the Pin equip UI where you can see such things:

One suggestion on where to put this menu was to replace the crafting tab with it, seeing as crafting doesn’t serve a purpose in Arcade Mode, the other was to keep it under equipment. The latter suggestion was mainly because we wanted it to be in the same spot in both modes in a world where we were to include them in Story Mode in some form. For now though, that seems unlikely – so the Crafting tab will be replaced for now :)

Next step on the same topic is that we want there to be a place where you can see all of the pins that are available, as well as those you haven’t seen yet. This will be viewed through the Pin Collector who will hang out in town after you’ve unlocked him!

Here’s the progress:

Obviously each of the icons will be replaced with the corresponding Pin. The questionmark icons will signify a pin you haven’t seen yet but that you could find any run, while the lock means it’s a Pin you’ve yet to unlock. We haven’t yet decided if we will have pins you will unlock, but we’ve talked about having a new batch of pins unlock as a reward for certain quests or certain progression milestones; how do you guys feel about that?

Next up, another portrait for the mansion! This is the goblet, Marino’s dads trusted artefact! Finally some more sentient artefact for you guys to hang out with ;)

In Fred’s department we’re working on some cubes and other types of indicators for all of those pins that allows you to trigger an effect after x hits!

The cubes will grow in size the closer you are to unleashing the effect:

But he hasn’t forgotten about Story Mode! Here’s the shield to match the weapons seen last week:

So, we’ve been focusing quite a bit on Pins and Arcade these couple weeks, and you might wonder what our next step is from here. Our idea is that Teddy will finish up and add a ton of pins and get them polished and ready for a Frontline Patch along with the floor shortening and all of that sometime in the beginning of June – that’s about how long it’ll take for us to iron out all potential bugs and make it all work in multiplayer as well.

The remaining work is pretty heavily focused on the programming bits, so me and Fred will star working on something else, or rather, get back to where we left off before these Pins caught our attention: the Mansion! Once the mansion has been completed we’ll also add one or two quests involving its characters, and possibly some other bits and pieces for Story Mode before that turns into a Frontline Patch as well. In the near future, we’ll likely do an Arcade update here and a Story Mode update there as we work our way through these things we have left on our long list of things we want to add before the game is completed.

First up though, an expected Frontline Update around the first week on June, featuring the shortening of Arcade and around 100 pins for you to explore throughout your journeys in Arcade Mode! Hopefully you’ll like the variation they give as much as we have trying them out so far :)

The thing me and Fred will focus on next is the Mansion. I’ve already shown some sketches of the interior as well as some characters that will live inside its walls, but what’s the actual point of the building? Why, to house quests of course! Over the last couple days our daily meetings have mainly revolved around the quest(s) that will happen around the building, and have gone through a ton of suggestions. In the end though, we’ve settled for a specific questline, featuring Marino’s dad’s business idea.

As some of you may know, while you’re off in Mount Bloom and Tai Ming, Marino and his dad has been in the Merchant Isles for some kind of business trip. Now that they’re back, we’re deciding to bring in that business trip as part of a quest, where you’re tasked with doing marketing for a new set of gear they’ve imported and want to start selling.

The gear looks real fancy, but unfortunately its stats are horrible – it’s basically fashion items only. But to market the set, Marino’s dad wants you to do a publicity stunt in the arena – fighting a bunch of enemies using only the fashionable set from the Merchant Isle! Why you? Well, because the one who was actually going to do the fashion stunt, a famous and popular Collector, has unfortunately taken ill…

The idea here is that around the time you finish Tai Ming, there will be posters and such in Evergrind City featuring the famous collector (whom we’ll add as a side character that you can interact with and who will have been mentioned previously in the game), announcing the event in the arena. Shortly after the quest will become available in the mansion, where Marino’s dad will explain that the famed collector can’t do it but that you have enough popularity to do it instead. After this additional posters will be added to Evergrind, taped over the original ones, this time featuring your face!

The event itself will basically be an arena challenge where it’s your job to defeat a bunch of enemies using only the fashionable set (which will be force equipped and you won’t be able to change during the challenge). Succeed and you’ll get the reward, mess up and well… die… Oops :)

There will also be an additional quest earlier on in the game, which will be available around the time you first gain access to the mansion. We’re not entirely sure what that quest will be yet though, but probably something a bit more simple. Our idea with this bigger quest is to involve not only the mansion, but to give Evergrind City some additional sense of life, kind of like what we did surrounding the festival. We don’t want Evergrind to feel too static, but like a place where things happen and change :)

Now, time to dive back into that Mansion hallway!

Here’s part two, featuring a Solem statue and a little area to sit and have tea in the lobby, while waiting to meet whoever you’re here to see. Also, new and upgraded fountains (although we’ve talked about changing these around again and saving these particular ones for a different place – we’ll see):

Next up it’s time to make the portrait for the famous James Fawke, the popular collector guy that so far hasn’t existed but whom will appear here and there throughout the game (though not as part of the main story)!

Meanwhile, Fred has been working on those fashionable items that look good but are of low quality and don’t do too much damage! Here’s the preview of two of them:

I will be working on making the rest of the set, adding some headgear and face gear as well :)

Fred has also been working on the possibly cutest thing in the game yet, a baby cloud that will be an effect of one of the Pins you can find in Arcade Mode:

Who else wants to go find that pin right now?!

Hello everyone! We hope you all keep safe out there! To brighten your Monday, I can now announce that the final cutscene of the patch has finally been added to Frontline! It’s taken a bunch of work down to the last minute, but everything should be up and running fine now. Please enjoy these new twists and turns and let us know what you think! :D

Normally this is where I’d post a bunch of stuff from the update itself, but because there’s a heavy amount of spoilers I think we’ll try to stick with the non-spoilery stuff:

First up, we remade the sword portrait a bit, making it look a bit less ‘silly’:

We’re also adding the tower to the world map:

And making sure it can be correctly placed in the map where it’s found:

We did play around with some more options for Ivy’s face:

…however, in the end we decided to not have it revealed after all!

As we mentioned some time ago, we wanted to add an archaeologist who investigates the Ancient Ruins even before the tower appears. Because we feel like it might add to the coolness of it all, we’d like a bunch of people to have gathered around the tower after it appears, so what better time to create her character than ahead of this patch?

Without further ado:

Marino also got a new set of portraits that will be shown as he gets your report on what exactly went down over at the Ghost ship:

Also breaking up the rocks around where the tower will appear, making smaller pieces that can be thrown about as the tower bursts forth:

Which will look something like this in the end:

And of course, a zone title befitting the old thing:

And now, with my part of the final cutscene done it’s time to start looking ahead at the future! There are a ton of things we want to add before the final version of the game (and as such, before we start work on the elusive tower!)

One such thing is Marino’s mansion, which you so far haven’t been able to enter, and one of the things I’ve been working on today has been making a sketch for the interior of it. Because it’s really the only mansion in the game, we want it to feel big and expensive, and as such I’ll be making a ton of rooms for it!

On the first floor, you’ll be greeted by a grand hallway leading to an expensive looking study on the left, and a library on the right. Above the library you’ll find the kitchen, which in turn leads back out into another part of the hallway featuring a grand staircase. On the opposite end will be a grand dining room.

On the second floor we’ll have a massive corridor with the family’s bedrooms on either side, and a nice little throne for the head of the family on top. Cause why wouldn’t he have a throne if he can get one? ;)

In the coming days, I’ll start work on the actual backgrounds and props for this place, while also discussing what else will be made before we start working on the tower – I know we have a lot of points left to discuss properly, such as the improved pet system and so on!

Let’s start off this week with some more maps! These ones belong to the desert, and again, there’s two of each kind:

“East of the broken pillar, amidst the desert dunes”

“Well, well, well! It’s been a long (and hot!) day, but good luck ever figuring out where I hid this treasure!”

Next up is the portrait of a character you might have seen a bunch of times throughout the game, but who has never had an opportunity to speak… until now! Excited? Let me present to you yet another talking artefact:

Some more fixes for the stable release! An improvement of the sword portrait, some new battle indicators and a broken window in Ivy’s office! Oh my…

Now it’s time to add some additional expressions to some by now well known faces! Dad, Quinton and Ivy are some that are getting a whole new range of emotion for the final cutscene of this stable patch! What do you think is gonna happen? :)

I know it’s been a long time now since you got any updates from the animation side of things, and let’s just say it’s because this final cutscene, animation heavy as it is, is also quite spoilery. Things will be revealed, and some things might never be the same again. So we’re keeping away as much of it as possible for now. We’ve made quite a bit of progress though, so at least it’s progressing as it should.

Here’s a little sneak peek of some of the non spoiler-y animations:

What do you think is gonna happen? :)

With the library finally added to the game, it’s been time for us to think about the books one might find in the game, and how we’d like to present them. One such option is displaying books as actual books, and I decided to experiment a little with such a presentation.

Here’s the outside:

…and the inside of a book, with some sample text:

Our dream is that a transition between the pages will be animated as well, so it’ll give you a feel of turning the pages of the book. While we haven’t confirmed how viable this look will be in the end (it might take a lot of work to fit the texts we have in mind into these book templates) this is what we’re aiming for right now! My dream is that small notes and such will be displayed on boxes that have the shape of paper scraps as well, rather than the usual brown box. But we’ll see!

And now that the last of the Ghost Ship stuff is finalized, it’s time to go back to doing improvements for the older areas! And this time, we’ll take a look at the southern entrance to Evergrind City:

We’ve also had another long meeting day, planning in what order to finish the remaining content. We had a discussion whether to finish up Arcade Mode before Story Mode, or to try to finish up as much as possible of it without giving it it’s proper ending (involving an unique Arcade boss and a couple of cutscenes!) until all of the story mode content has been added. For now, we’re aiming for the latter, with our next big priority after finishing everything related to Stable being the final boss designs.

There are four unique bosses left to make, three for Story Mode and one for Arcade Mode (that will be Arcade Mode unique). There’s also another, fourth ‘special’ boss for Story Mode that will draw on powers you’ve seen before during your journeys (basically it’s main power will be summoning previous bosses)!)

The reason why we want to focus on this once Fred has finished up things for the final cutscene of this update is that bosses usually take a very long time to get right, both in terms of design and then to finish up all the animations as well. By starting our design work on the bosses as soon as possible, it will give us a lot of time to fix any issues that might appear, and gives Teddy and Fred a chance to struggle with that while I work on backgrounds for the final dungeon!

Speaking of the final dungeon, we still need to get going with finalizing the design for it. We’re still aiming to have all or at least most areas and dungeons represented in rooms and challenges of their own, but we haven’t yet decided exactly how long to make each floor. We don’t want it to end up being too long; but long enough to provide an interesting and exciting experience.

Meanwhile, we’ve also received a massive sound batch, so we’re now in the process of choosing the sound effects from the options given us and implementing those! Exciting times indeed; we think you’ll be very happy with the sounds overall – we know we are! :)

Another thing we’re working on is turning those Ghost Ship floors into Arcade Mode rooms!

There will be four room sizes, and each of them will have 4×4 types of decorations. What that means is that there’s four different options for each corner in the room, much like in previous Arcade Floor designs. So essentially, the top left part (the left side of the wall) of each room can be 1 out of 4 options and combines with any of the 4 decoration options for the other parts of each room. Mix and matching this way will make the rooms more different from one another, and will hopefully reduce the repetitive feeling of going through the rooms.

Below is a bunch of options for the decorations combined together, with the top left picture being the room without any of the decorations at all. As always, each room won’t have doors in every direction; but I’ve kept them around now for clarity:

And here we have two more room sizes, also ready to be mixed and matched! Looking forward to battling your way through these floors yet? :D

It’s a new week, and if you’ve opted into the Frontline Beta, a new update! It’s finally time for you to try out a bunch of the additional content surrounding the ghost ship and good old Tai Ming! If you haven’t done so yet, go try it all out and let us know what you think :)

In the coming month we hope to have added the last bits needed as well as all of the sound effect and getting it all up and running on stable as well.

In the meanwhile, have a look at some of the stuff you now get to see in this update:

As you may have guessed from the new Flying Fortress building and what I wrote before, there is another phase shift challenge coming up! This one can give you a total of three different rewards, each one more challenging to get than the next. And naturally, it needs a background as well:

In this next step we’re adding a bit of detail to the phase shift course, creating a new block for it, and a shop title for the creepy ghost ship shop!

Next up, another ghost! This painter has been painting for a thousand years. Poor guy!

Drawing ever closer to finishing up the patch, there are still a bunch of expressions needed for our new ghost friends! Here’s another batch of them:

And finally, a bunch of animations from the animation department, featuring ghosts and new weapons available in the patch right now:

This week we’ll start with a bonus building added to the flying fortress! This building will replace the island on the right part of the fortress and will, though a quest unlocked after the ghost ship, give you an opportunity to do some more phase shifting (yay)!

Later on I’ll show you what the progress of creating the insides looks like… :)

But first, something about a long awaited addition! We know a lot of you have been asking for an easy way to change the controls, whether you use a keyboard or a controller. We’ve already implemented the mechanics for changing the controls on a keyboard, and while we want to add the feature for the controller as well, for now it’ll remain a WIP.

However, if you do have a controller plugged in, you’ll soon be able to see what each of the buttons do, with the help of this new graphic:

Without further ado:

To make it a bit more readable, we decided to move the second set of buttons behind the first ones, since that’s how it looks on most controllers – even if this makes the design of the controller graphics itself look a bit less nice. Also added the spaces where the function of each of the buttons will be described:

Next up, another character that will return in a ghostly form! Remember this collector from Tai Ming? She’ll return and feature a little side quest/secret of her own:

This old priest makes an appearance as well, drawn back to the haunting village of Tai Ming after his death:

Brandy will play a pretty big part in a quest/secret as well, are you looking forward to seeing him again?

Now it’s time to start building what will be the final dungeon of the game! Wohoo! Starting us off, let’s begin with some exterior (gotta enter the dungeon somehow, right?).

In this first part, I’ll get the basics down, and some of the decoration; to be fixed and expanded upon in the next:

And here in the second part we’ll improve on the perspective a little bit, add some more details, and a top for the tower! Each floor can be seamlessly put on top of another, so when the tower appears (it’ll come up out of the ground) we’ll stack the floors on top of each other to make the tower seem super tall!

Can’t forget those furniture pieces! With you reaching the ghost ship it’s time to unlock a bunch of furniture stuff for the housing system, so here’s the first batch of basic stuff (more to come!):

In part two we move on from the basic stuff such as beds and wallpapers to more random, specific stuff and decorations! How about having a cannon in your house? Who wouldn’t want that! All of these items appear somewhere in the ghost ship and have been modified in size and/or color to fit the housing system:

Still some portraits to make though, and here we have one featuring a ‘doctor’.. Of a sort! As you can tell from his ghastly shape, he’s one of the poor restless souls and can found in the Ghost Ship:

Another week and another planning meeting! This time around we’ve decided on more new items to be made, some relevant for the remaining quests, as well as some housing items you’ll be able to purchase! Among these will be a painting of the ghost ship (which you’ve already seen on the ship), an old book, a boat ticket, a skeleton fish you can hang on the wall, and the head of captain bones, which is a pretty crazy idea we’ve had where you can get his head to follow you around and do his magic to help you out… Not 100% it’ll actually make the cut yet but I know a couple of us would be quite excited if it did :)

We’ve also decided we’re gonna (finally!) add the library for this next update. The library has been made (and remade) a couple times already while never having been actually implemented for players to explore, but now that we’re drawing near the game’s finish and it’d serve as an useful location related to one of the quests we’re working on, it’s finally time to add it to the game.

Remember how we said we wanted to have finished making these assets before the end of the month? Well, because of these new additions (and the number of animations it turns out we needed for the final cutscene of the patch), it’s likely we’ll not make that deadline, so here’s one more example of how impossible it is to plan how long something’s gonna take when you don’t want to skim on the polish. Sure, we could have finished this patch without adding many animations to the final cutscene or kept that quest out of the library, but it simply wouldn’t have been as good!

Now, after all of our meetings discussing items, it’s time to create a batch! Here’s a little progress video featuring six of the items; a skull ring, a pirate captain’s hat, a spider trinket, a boat ticket, an old book, and the drop appearance for the painting of the ghost ship!

And now, back to some more ghostified portraits! First up, the guard:

Next, one of the collectors you met during your travels through Tai Ming:

…and another one of those: