We’re drawing closer to the stable patch, and in doing so we’re in need of a few more items! Here we have the creation of a vest, a pair of shoes, a full card album (could it be real?!), a pair of earrings and a new hat: the fez!

 

Since we decided that the shield salesman will be dealing with armor as well, I figured I’d put a random armor among his many shields to illustrate that fact as well:

And here’s a bunch of items that weren’t recorded, featuring a shoulder strap, a battery, a camera lens, a …seven.. three drop appearances for cutouts that will become available as housing items and a ton of weapon sprites for all the weapons Fred has been working on. Phew!

Next up, the background for the professor Pine and Tannie cutscene needed a bunch of new (and old) stuff, and for some reason I decided to make a short video of that process:

 

We’re also introducing a pair of friendly faces in the town of Port Monnaie. Remember where these guys are from?

Perhaps this cutout will serve as an additional reminder:

The girl has been animated by Fred as well:

Next, the shop titles for all of the shop! We’ve been so busy making things for them to sell that we actually managed to forget they need graphics for the shop’s interfaces…. Oh well, that’s an easy fix:

All of the shops in Port Monnaie will carry new unique items, though some will also sell things available earlier in the game. The Potion shop will work just like Remedi’s Alchemy and will allow you to change your potions; which, by the way, will be an added function to the potion shop in Tai Ming as well (though if you’ve played so far as to reach the desert, I’m afraid you won’t be able to access the Tai Ming shop anymore).

The Jar, Souvenir and Carpet shops will all be focused on housing items, while the others will carry new gear; Helmut & Headgear carries hats, Topaz’ accessories, Shield + Guard armors and shields, and Blade and Arms sell, unsurprisingly, weapons.

Another thing that remained was making these expressions for Professor Pine and Tannie in the flashback orb showing their work on stopping Zhamla:

And now, finally, with the addition of this final piece..:

..(which is the graphic for the desert fishing achievement), I think (for like the 5th time) I’m officially done with everything needed for the stable patch. Let’s hope I’m right this time :D

Now, there’s a lot more Ghost Ship backgrounds to do, so let’s jump straight back into it! First up is a bunk room of sorts, where the sailors used to sleep when they were still working on the ship and they weren’t ghosts:

Here you will battle enemies, and once a prototype for the kitchen is ready, I will add the kitchen on the right side, one platform up but on the same screen (I will add a jumpdown back into this bunkroom from there). One idea we have for decorations here when toggling into the ghost world is that you’ll see skeletons of the sailors in their beds… But I’m not sure if this will be too macabre or not. What do you guys think?

Next, we have a set of rooms one next to the other, both of the smaller kind. There will be a corridor above these two rooms, where the path is blocked, so you have to pass through these two rooms to get to the other side. And here’s the first one:

Like with the bunk room, we have a few ideas for ghost world-only decorations here too. In this case, we want to make a spooky version of the painting on the right and possibly some spooky shine around the candles and lanterns on the tables.

Continuing with the memory orb stuff, it’s time for me to make a bunch of edits to the backgrounds! Since the world the memory orbs show are several (sometimes hundreds of) years in the past, it’s only natural some things have changed.

For one, since we’ve seen the Rabby statues be made around the time of your completion of the Collector’s trial, it needs a background version where they don’t exist yet:

And in Santa Fae / Seasonne, the NPCs comment on how it’s not supposed to be winter in the area yet. So what better way of showing the memory shown in the memory orb is nowhere near recent, but the make the world it shows in a different season altogether?

Finally, in Startington, we go so far back in time there’s not yet anyone living on the mountain. Instead it’s infested by slimes and trees!

Of course, in the above version, we used the old version of the trees, which has since been replaced by the correct ones (and slightly edited since Teddy changed the number of slimes between me making the background above and the finished thing):

As we’ve also decided to add the season orbs needed to reach certain parts you haven’t been able to reach yet, I’ve been making some snowy paths around Grindea to get you across where you need to go:

We’ve also decided to add a housing item in the form of a bowl of cat food! This will be awarded in a quest, and if you place the item in your house you’ll soon find you have a guest… :)

As such, Fred has been making some additional cat animations, to make sure your cat can move around the house:

Teddy, meanwhile, has been implementing said quest and will soon begin working on the next things, among which are those memory orbs!

We’ve also received the sound effects we need, and although there might be a few more needed for these side quests and memory orbs we’re currently working on, most of them have been chosen and ready to be implemented. I think it’s gonna be a quite different experience to play through the areas with all these glorious sound effects, so stay tuned for that :)

P.S. Remember how I mentioned the Ghost Ship “cleaning room” was the first room of the second floor, but it mysteriously didn’t have any stairs leading below deck? I’ve fixed it! And also added a missing door to the right, leading to the bunk room:

Though now I wonder if I should remove the windows haha! Having them there would probably only work if you imagine they’re *really* thick… Oh well!

And now…

https://youtu.be/souq841cuXM

What’s this?! A new kind of room, not exactly fitting into any of the sceneries we’ve been working on lately? Where could this be?!

Alright, so this is a “hidden” (not exactly) room that will be added to the church of Port Monnaie, where you’ll be able to read some interesting (?) documents on the history of the faith and Grindea herself.

…Because that’s clearly the kind of things one would keep in a damp cellar such as this…

Not sure whether this will be added to the upcoming stable patch or if it’ll be a later addition yet, but now it’s been made, anyway!

We’re not only making progress with the stable patch, there’s been a ton of progress in the enemy department as well! Let’s take a first look at our set of enemies, starting with the sword-wielding sailor:

As you can see, his sword is part of the physical world and can harm you even outside of the ghost world. Unfortunately, you can’t damage the sword, so you’ll have to toggle into the spirit world, where his ghastly form is visible, to do damage to him!

On this ship we also have a new and improved version of the Ghosty, which leaves a trail of some kind of ectoplasm on the ground. The ectoplasm doesn’t do anything in the ‘regular’ world, but once you enter the ghost world it will slow you down a lot! Both the Ghosty and the ectoplasm will probably be recolored, the ghost so it’ll look more unique compared to the Pumpkin Woods version, and the ectoplasm because.. red ectoplasm seems weird!

In the gif above you can also see something we’ve been playing around with: a line of skulls that do damage in the ghost world which you can only avoid by toggling back to your own dimension.

And this leads us to the third enemy so far, the sailor mage! These fellows have two main abilities – they can damage you, and they can turn another enemy into an elite. Below you can see our first iteration, where the mage channels a spell at you, which is basically a lightning blast that will hit you for sure unless you return to the regular world, as well as it channeling the make-elite spell at the sailor swordsman:

Since we felt this could be improved on quite a bit, we made a bunch of changes, merging the mage with the skull-line ability: meaning we removed the channeling lightning blast and instead having the mage cast the skull line we played around with in the Ghosty gif.

We also changed the spell type of the make-elite spell from something that channels on top of the enemy to an orb that is released from the mage and flows into the enemy it’s buffing, in this way making the battlefield much less cluttered while the mage channels his spells:

We’re also working on a third type of attack for the mage, where he’ll be able to pick up items in the regular world and hurl them at you from a distance – like some kind of poltergeist! Needless to say, working on these enemies around the the time of Halloween has been great.. :)

…so here we have the first iteration of the poltergeist attack! First as a WIP in Evergrind City:

… and then as a more finalized version inside the ghost ship, looking more like it should in the end:

This attack definitely make things more interesting! With this set of enemies, things are already pretty hectic and fun, but in the end we’ll likely make one more; a crab of some kind that is a ‘regular’, that is, living enemy that works the same both in the normal world and the ghost world.

I personally feel the battles on this ship are among the most fun we’ve made in the game so far, so I hope you guys will enjoy it too!

Lastly, Fred’s making a bunch of progress for the memory orbs as well! Gotta have young version sprites of Dad, Ivy and Charlotte after all! Here we have a bunch of them in action:

Last week I made the entrance cave and the reward cave for the optional math puzzle sequence. This time around it’s the actual math puzzle’s turn to be made! In the GIF below you can see the basic process for the creation of each of these rooms:

And now we can take the same graphics and apply them for each of the difficulty settings (yes, the last one gives me nightmares too – in fact, most of these give me nightmares):

On top of these, there will be a set of wall- and floor variations so it won’t look like you go through the exact same room every time. For the endless math puzzle version there’s also this counter on the wall as seen below, which allows you to keep track of how many puzzles you’ve completed so far (we’ve capped it at 999 since we don’t think anyone has the stamina to do any more of those… but maybe one of you will prove us wrong?):

There’s still some random fixes I want to get done before the stable patch hits, so here’s a bunch of those again!

First up, closing up the tree so it doesn’t look like you can walk into it (I know this is a common enough problem in the game already!):

The optional Math Caves need its own entrance as well, which fits its aesthetics better than the current; hence the removal of the wood in favor of this more metal-y entrance:

Of course, in the final thing, there will be a few of those flaming goblets as well.

There’s one of two more quests to add for the stable patch, one of them involving this drinking fellow at the Saloon. As such, it’s fair to give him a bunch of new expressions:

And since you can’t have a quest without a reward, here are two mysterious sprites involved in this quest:

It was a while since we had a meeting, but now it’s time to start getting serious about the Ghost Ship and design the 2nd and 3rd floors! So we sat down and discussed what kind of things we’d like to see, brainstorming various design ideas for how the floors could look.

We already had some basics down: we wanted there to be a kitchen and dining area for the ship’s crew on the 2nd floor, and a grand ballroom, a set of cabins as well as the captain’s bedroom on the 3rd. With this information in mind we made a bunch of sketches, quickly discarding a few of them.

Here’s one of our ideas for floor 2:

A quick sketch for one of the “puzzle” rooms:

The 3rd floor:

And one of the versions we scratched:

As before, we’re not quite sure about how some of the puzzles will look in the end, so I’ll probably stay away from making backgrounds for those rooms until we have some kind of prototype, focusing instead of the more static rooms such as the basic battle rooms! And one such room I can make is this cleaning room:

Using the base from a previous room idea, I make a bunch of cleaning sprites and water on the floor. The idea is that the mops will be animated and that this room will be used as a battle room, the first of the 2nd floor!

Meanwhile, Fred has been a busy necromancer, animating a bunch of skeletons (haaaaha – get it?):

The above are, as you might realize from the sword, the melee version! The magic user version looks slightly different and has another color scarf as well:

As Fred made these sprites, he came up with a rather interesting idea: to be able to cut off the head of the skeletons and have it turn into a stand-alone, different enemy (which would work much like a Jumpkin). The idea was born as he made the head on a separate layer and removed the layer from the animation:

Pretty neat, huh? I think these enemies will be a lot of fun! What do you guys think?

Let’s start this new week with some friendly faces! As memory orb progress is coming along, it’s time for a whole bunch of expressions for the main trio featured in one or a few of them, who so far only have one portrait expression.

First up, Charlotte, aka ‘mom’, who has expressions in three different skin tones depending on how you designed your character (her hair color will be changed by putting another sprite with just the hair on top of this one):

Next, we have Dad, for whom I made a couple of expressions I’m not even sure will be used, but it’s kind of hard to stop once you’re in the flow of making weird faces:

And finally, Ivy, who is somewhat more reserved and doesn’t have as many expressions as the others:

Now, out of nowhere, a new NPC for the desert appears! A long time ago, Fred secretly made an animation for a Merchant Isle NPC working in the docks, and now that I found it it’s of course time to make a portrait for him!

Since this NPC already has a sprite, he will likely appear in the stable patch when it goes live; I’m uncertain whether the priest and acolyte will make it since they haven’t gotten any Fred-made sprites yet. I guess we’ll see! :)

Next, the second to last card! This time a Solem, making a little sand castle in the dunes. Such a peaceful sight! Maybe he’s just angry you’re stepping all over the sand he uses for his castles?

WIP video:

 

 

And now, time for some combined bug testing with story developing and writing! Today I’ve taken some time to play through the entirety of the desert as well as Port Monnaie, finding areas to add flavor text through the magnifying glass-mechanic used here and there throughout the game.

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re keen on making the world of Grindea seem a vast and lively place, and one part of doing so is adding optional things to examine that might give you a tiny bit of flavor in terms of added information or simple commentary on what you see in the world.

In order to do this, I’ve played through each of the areas as we’ve finished them, writing down snippets here and there for things you can examine. Because it’s such a low priority thing, it hasn’t really been added to the game yet, though – at first it was something we neglected, and then as things progressed we thought it would be weird to suddenly start adding a ton of ‘inspectable’ (is that a word? haha!) things in the middle of the game without having added the previous ones, but adding all of the previous ones would take so long it simply isn’t a high enough priority at the moment (we want to finish the game, after all).

For now, it seems unlikely we’ll add these until the game is more or less done, when they will be one of the final things we add before the proper release (along with the bonus side quests and stuff we want to add in a true polish stage). Even so, it’s a nice opportunity to play through an area after completion and look at the world in a different light, where you try to imagine yourself in the role of someone exploring the game for the first time, trying to see what items might be interesting enough for closer examination.

Speaking of the future polish stage, I thought it’s time to take a look at what’s ahead of us. We’re actually very close to the end, believe it or not (though “very close” in this case likely means dev time for quite a while yet).

In terms of what we have left story wise, we’re talking one more regular dungeon (the ghost ship, which you’ve already seen a bit of), and then a special dungeon to tie it all together: a dungeon that will be a combination of all the previous dungeons made into one.

Our ideas for the final dungeon are varied, but one of the key parts is that we will be reusing previous enemies, but add a twist: they will be improved versions, not only stronger but likely also having one or more new attacks. There will also be mixed enemies from various parts of the game.

Our goal with this final dungeon is to bring all the parts of the game together, so there will be a little bit of everything, both in terms of enemies and areas, but also characters you’ve met and interacted with throughout the game. Because we’ll in part reuse enemies and area graphics, we hope it won’t take as crazily long to make compared to the other dungeons – but on the other hand a final dungeon needs a certain level of epicness, so, well…

But what about after this final dungeon, what then? As you know if you’ve been following this blog, we’ve talked a lot about adding things to each part of the game before we actually call it a day and release it as 1.0. That of course entrails more sidequests and the added story scenes I’ve been talking about before, but our “wishlist” for what we’d love to add is huge and it will probably be impossible to add everything – but one can hope.

Here’s a few things from our list (note that these are some things we wish to add; it doesn’t necessarily mean we will add them – it kind of depends on how long we think it’ll take and how we feel about these things at the end – and there are plenty more, as well):

We’d like to have more dialogues and other such things about the ‘gaming’ aspect of the world. In certain areas there’s already parts where scientists have investigated things such as card drops and the science behind some things in the game, but we’d like to add even more. We’re talking things such as people talking about them having leveled up or unlocked new skills, someone talking about a rare drop they found, people commenting on how OP some combos are, and so on.

Some random UI improvements:
* An indicator for when someone is typing in the chat (such as a speech bubble with a pen or something, simply to show people why you’re standing still but aren’t in the menu)
* Add an indicator on players with low health (such as a red circle beneath a character beneath a certain hp %)
* A progress bar for Trophies

We’d like to add Collector NPCs out in the fields as well – it can feel kind of empty right now, and it’d be cool to see Collectors out there doing what they do best: collecting things!

Lots of more arena challenges , including PVP.

More mini-games and other optional content, such as a quiz-like thing in the library (which also needs to get implemented, of course), a tower of block puzzles near Mount Bloom (you’ve probably already seen the exterior of the building).

Some kind of mechanic that gives you a Collector rank based on how many items you have, or something similar – basically give collecting some meaning! Right now the whole Collector thing isn’t really used much mechanics wise (or even story wise), and we’d like to improve on that.

Are there any such things you’d like to see in the game before the 1.0 release? Let us know and who knows what might make it into the game! :)

Alright! Time for what I *believe* will be the final batch of fixes (on my end, anyway) for the desert before the patch lands! There’s still a portrait or two left, but here’s a bunch of the minor additons I’ve been working on:

First up, a Merchant Isles’ sailor hat, that might become yours if you complete a certain quest! Another item that is involved in a quest is the below part of a statue:

This farmer is a character who you’ll meet in these new quests as well, so I’ve been making a couple of expressions for him:

Meanwhile, I wasn’t completely happy with the anatomy of the mayor’s portrait, so I’ve made a slight fix for it and also aged her slightly (old version first, then the new one):

There’s a couple new items as well, which means there’s need for more drop appearances! Among these are a bottle based on an animation made by Fred (you can see his sprite on the right in parts of this WIP-gif), as well as a tomato and an onion!

We also changed the layout of the mayor’s house a bit, adding more items and characters, making the place feel more like the art/history exhibition it has become (old version first):

Finally, I wanted to increase the amount of greenery in one of the caves, so I went back and added a bunch of plants and leaves here and there:

Previously, I remade the portrait of the Mayor, but another portrait we weren’t quite happy with was that of Wishi (who also happened to look oddly similar to the Mayor’s first portrait):

Only one way of fixing this, and it’s to throw together another portrait, this one giving a bit more of an attitude:

And the finished remake below:

As usual, you can’t have a boss battle (even if it’s a side battle not related to the main story) without a boss portrait. This portrait will be slightly different as it’s the first one that has a sprite in front of the textbox! We thought the tomato would look cute in front of it, rather than have all his vegetables hidden behind the box.

WIP and finished version below:

I’m working on the cards as well, and while they may not be included in the patch, they should be added shortly after! Here’s a video featuring the creation of the Sand Raven card, where one such annoying bird is preparing a meal:

 

Now, a couple weeks ago I estimated that by now the patch would arrive! However, as you’ve certainly noticed, no patch has been uploaded yet – so what has happened? Well the short version is that we wanted to make things more interesting (don’t we always), so the added work has pushed the patch forward by a couple of days.

In other words, we hope to release the patch in the beginning of this week instead (hopefully tomorrow)! Serves me right for making estimates, they just never end up being correct…

Anyway, in the meanwhile, have some sneak peeks of what you’ll see in the upcoming patch, starting with a couple of animations for the desert carpenter:

Two more items:

Due to something you may or may not do, there will be changes in the desert map:

A new type of halloweed?!

Aaand a ton of new expressions for people you’ll interact with:

Stay tuned, and let’s hope this estimate of the patch release will actually be right this time!!

Alright, let’s get back to that ghost ship. It’s about time I started making a few backgrounds for the place, so to start things off I’m going to make the very first room of the dungeon!

We have a pretty detailed sketch of what the first floor will look like, but as there are a couple of question marks in regards to sizing (there’s a boss battle and a puzzle that’s yet to be designed), this and one more room will be the only ones I’ll be able to make for this floor before heading on to the upper levels of the ship!

As the entrance room, this will give you your very first view of this dungeon and what’s to come. It has two levels, and you can only access the upper once you’ve made your way there through the floor:

The second room will be a fight room! In other words, this is a room where you’ll battle a few of the ship’s enemies, and since it’s made just for that, the sizing isn’t hugely important – there will always be enemy setups that fit any sized room.

So, I went ahead with the mission to create a rather simple room where there won’t be a lot of things in the way for the players as they fight their way through:

And here we have the finished piece:

Once Fred finished his part of the desert, he’ll decorate the water and such as usual, so it’ll feel lively enough!

The portrait work continues as well, as there’s still a few needed. Now it’s time for the guards, which look similar to the previous guards in the game, but slightly edited to fit the desert. Sprite below:

In Evergrind city, the guards had large hats that covered most of their heads, while in Tai Ming they had very small hats. In the desert, they will have medium sized hats, and will go without their uniforms, sporting a bare upper body in order to deal with the heat:

The second portrait this week is that of a kid, living with her family in a hut in the desert.

The family has a bit of an issue with growing vegetables (it’s extremely difficult in the heat of the Dragonbone Dunes!), but luckily for her, her mother is an expert when it comes to growing carrots, which happens to be her favorite food.

Since I moved on to doing more and more Ghost Ship stuff, I’m sure a lot of you are wondering where the patch is. The answer to that is that Teddy and Fred are busy finishing up the possibly most time consuming part of each new update: the polish and cutscenes!

Because of this, the rest of the post is quite spoiler heavy, so beware! (also beware of the crappy GIF quality of some of these, haha)

Here’s a small collection of things they’ve been working on most recently, starting with a new cool effect for when you complete a math/enemy puzzle and the enemies spawn:

There’s an animation for when you complete another puzzle, causing the dragon to grab hold onto the globe and a door to open:

There’s this effect when the rock comes tumbling into the ancient decorations in the ruins:

And the spawning animation for one of the bosses, the Sol-Gem:

Each of these things have to be properly timed, have the right amount of effects (both in terms of animations and particle effects generated by the engine), and about a hundred other tweaks to make. For the Sol-Gem spawning alone, we’ve gone through about four different versions before settling for the version you see above!

Some might ask whether it’s worth all the time we spend on these details, but we’re all very convinced it is! I’d say these last percentages of the progress are the ones that matter the most, as the timing of a couple of animations alone can be what changes something from feeling lackluster to feeling polished and thought through!

Speaking of the patch timing, we finally have a rough estimate, where we hope it will be ready to be uploaded in 1-2 weeks! Let’s cross our fingers there are no more unforeseen delays happening until then :D

Can’t have a desert with lots of enemies to beat without any rewards for actually beating them, right?! Time to get to those desert drops!

 

The first portrait this week features a carpet salesman, selling his wares in the Port Monnaie market area:

Not much to say about this guy, really. Here’s the finished sprite:

As we’re drawing closer to the patch and there’s still a lot of character portraits to be made, so there’s actually two more this week! This girl is an archaeologist who works in the desert – perhaps she has a tool or some book that might help you on your way?

So many characters in the desert!! Whew! This one is a carpenter, possibly the daughter of the carpenter in Evergrind City.

Unfortunately, she’s fallen asleep on the job, forgetting to mend a broken bridge– oh my.. Let’s hope you can wake her up so you don’t have to walk around the entire area to get where you wanna go!

And the closer we draw to the patch, the more tiny fixes we make! Here’s a bunch of them again, starting with adding more the rocks by this crossing, to make sure you as a player don’t get frustrated when you can’t walk over them (before it felt kind of ambiguous whether they were there to block your path or simply decorative):

Next, we decided to add a fancier door to the math caves rather than temporary spear blockades, giving the solving of a puzzle a slight more oomph as these will open:

We’ve added more decorations to the ruins as well. We wanted to give it the feel of having had a bunch of traps, many of which have already been sprung, and so we added the remnants of them:

Another portrait appears as well, this one of a caveling hanging out in the saloon:

…as well as some bonus expressions for one of the characters you’ll be talking to:

Finally, I decided to adjust the puzzle block colors slightly! Below you see the old version, which we felt were a bit too dark to properly fit with the desert background:

And here’s the new, which are much lighter and slightly more yellow, to make them blend in more:

Next up, we have another boss portrait! This one of course featuring the Solem boss you’ll face off against inside the ruins:

Since he has a gem for a face, we thought what better name for this swell guy, than Sol-Gem? Said and done:

As always, there’s a ton of minor things to add and adjust right before an update, so here’s a very mixed set of things, starting with two new expressions for one of the characters in town:

A slight edit of the first desert ruin room, where we’ve removed one of the scriptures for a small note on the wall, carved by some ancient apprentice:

In the second room of the ruins, we’ve moved down the altar for the gem so there’s enough room for the giant rock to appear behind it, as well as a more broken version of the arc that will replace the previous one once the rock has rolled into it:

The scriptures around the desert have gotten some upgrades too (or should I say downgrades), since we didn’t want the text to be readable we’ve decided to make them look torn and broken enough to justify the text not being legible:

In the math puzzle cave, I also went ahead and added those number wizard statues I mentioned before, and have since decided to upgrade the look and feel of the first cave slightly as well (more on that later):

Now we have this week’s portrait, which features a giant of a man who works in the desert mine. His name is Big Brutus, and I have a feeling he’s not someone you want to mess around with:

Now, for those math puzzles… First up, I’ve made the other two caves in this system, which was pretty straight forward after everything was completed in the first cave:

But then I thought the first one looks just too simple, especially when there’s so much sand in it, so I decided to mix things up and make a slightly more interesting background for this one. So here we have the process:

And the final version of the first room, yay:

Alright, so there was one thing remaining to do in the desert ruins, and as most of the things have been implemented by now, it’s time to get going with these puzzle blocks!

These blocks are special in the sense that you need to place them correctly according to a creation myth found within the temple, so instead of just regular blocks, they have a slightly more interesting look:

 

 

And here’s the final blocks by the end of the video:

Progress on the desert continues! We’ve now started implementing things in those desert ruins, where you’ll face another boss battle. When I mentioned there was gonna be an Indiana Jones-y scene in here, some of you wondered of what kind… I think this GIF should answer that question for you:

WIP of course, this is but the first step of the iteration!

Speaking of iterations, we’re also working on the boss! This Solem is a very dangerous guy who likes to use his laser in creative ways. Good thing he also slams his fists in the ground, causing giant rocks to fall from the ceiling that can block such beams for you:

(One everything is implemented, the rock will look to be part of the ruin, rather than a random Mt:Bloom-esque boulder!)

He has another fierce laser attack as well, featuring multiple beams that follow you for a little while:

Aside from these, he’ll act like a regular, but amped-up Solem, chasing you around trying to hit you. He’ll also have one attack where he slams his fists in the ground causing shockwaves to appear all around him, which you’ll have to dodge.

Fred’s continuing to work on his animations, too, of course so here’s a more finalized version of what he’ll look like as he blasts those laser beams at you:

There are more caves in the making, as well! Those math puzzle caves had to be designed, and to mix things up I decided to go for a slightly different color scheme compared to the rest of the caves in the desert:

It looks a little bare right now, so we’ll probably add some more details, maybe in the form of statues of numbers, or perhaps even of the number wizard who made these challenges in the first time! For now though, here’s the first iteration of the first math puzzle cave:

Can’t have new bosses without new boss portraits, so here’s an upgraded version of Marino’s boss portrait, featuring his lovely shadow clones!

As you might remember, his last subtitle was The Ultimate Rival, however, as the story progresses some things change… Why an “ultimate friend” would fight you? I guess you’ll just have to play through the story and see!

I’ve mentioned this before, but the relationships between the characters haven’t been super fleshed out, a fact we are well aware of and will likely remedy slightly by adding more scenes to the story (once the rest of the game is done). This way we also hope to give an incentive to those of you who have played along chapter-by-chapter with every new update to play through the whole thing once more time, the way it’s supposed to be experienced in the end. In the end, we plan for the finished product to feature slightly more story as well as new side quests for most (if not all) parts of the game.

As for this week’s portrait, it features a pirate hanging out in the saloon! In fact, he’ll be one of the card players (whom I actually made a portrait of before – but his sprite got changed afterwards, so that old portrait will probably become a different NPC at some point instead):

Finally, Marino’s second boss battle has been finished and fully implemented, so now it’s time to spice up the little are where you face him! Previously, we’d left it pretty open, as we weren’t sure exactly how big his battle arena would be (we like to prototype the fight first and base the area on how much space we feel is needed).

Below you can see the old area, with the battle taking place inside the darkened frame:

In order to spice this up, I made a quick sketch of what it could look like instead, adding a level difference to act as the limitation downwards. Adding this, we had to increase the size of the map slightly downward as well, to make room for everything:

And then, it’s time to make the actual graphic adjustments for these changes:

And here’s the final version, featuring a much smaller battle area, and a slightly more interesting looking map overall:

Okay! Who’s ready for more desert fixes?! Seeing as we’ve named the desert Dragonbone Dunes, we wanted to add more dragon stuff to the area. First step is to make some dragon head statue pillars:

We also wanted to decorate those walls with some dragon wing plates:

But not all fixes on this map are of the dragon-decorative kind! There’s also a puzzle, which, as it’s now been properly designed, needs a more permanent background:

As part of the puzzle, we decided to add a bonus chest as well, so made a slight extension of one of the rocks to make room for that:

Behold the progress so far, almost done:

…actually, scratch that! Since the cave in the middle is a mushroom cacti cave, I thought it’d be fitting to put a bunch of them outside as well:

In the animation department, Fred has been hard at work with some cool environmental things that will appear in the desert! First up, we have the frozen cacti that will unlock a shortcut further into the desert, once you reach a certain season orb:

Second, a rope ladder! Since there’s a place where we really want the player to be able to move up and down quickly (though only after getting there the first time), we decided to introduce a rope ladder that you’ll be able to ‘activate’ after making your way to it.

No desert is complete without tumbleweed, so Fred has been experimenting with getting those up and running as well! Here’s a bunch of his WIP ideas:

He’s also making more NPCs, and here we have the progress sheet of the old scientist looking for ghosts! We’ve decided to name her Dr. Spengler as tribute to a special character in this sort of field. Who do you think that is?

As for something completely different: as I believe we have mentioned, once you complete Tai Ming, flashback orbs will activate throughout all of Grindea. While we haven’t added any just yet, these flashback orbs are set to give you insights into events that happened before you were around; stories of your parents, Zhamla, and other important events that have occurred throughout the world.

As part of the desert update, at least before it gets released on stable, we’ll include a set of these with more to be added in later updates.

The ones we’ll include in this update features memories that give some insight into your mother’s friendship with the fae, how your parents met, and how Zhamla found his first card! While they might not be vital to the story as a whole, we feel that each of these orbs will give some depth to the world and the people within it.

The dialogue for these have already been written, but we’ll return to actually implement them once the rest of the desert is done; likely while you guys are all busy beta testing those new enemies and boss fights!

In the end, once the game is done, we want to add plenty of these orbs, to give you a glimpse of many different things of the past. Are there any events or characters in particular you’d like to see? Let us know and we’ll see what we can do!

As or the portraits this week, the first one features the hat salesman of Port Monnaie, which we actually have decided to give quite a story. Because Helmut is a real life name that’s simply too good to pass up on, we decided to name this guy just that. However, seeing as we have a helmet called Helmit, we didn’t want to confuse people too much by having two characters with very similar names…. So we decided that Helmut and Helmit will be friends!

As such, you old acquaintance from Tai Ming will make a comeback in the desert town, where he’ll be hanging out with this swell fellow:

Finished sprite:

And you can’t have a beach town without tourists, so the second portrait this week will feature a guy shopping for souvenirs at the market place in Port Monnaie: currently, he’s very interested in a t-shirt!