For those of you who have opted into Steam’s client beta, you’ll have noticed that there’s a new library style in the works, which calls for new and improved graphics to showcase each game. For starters, here’s what the header of each game looks like now, and more specifically what the default was and how we changed it around adding our own graphics:

Unfortunately for us, being a pixel game and all, the automatic resizing won’t do us many favours, but it could be worse!

You library has a more clean view featuring cover art as well, like so:

How do you guys find this new library update? Do you like it or not? I think the best bit is how more visually satisfying it is to browse your library, seeing all of the juicy cover art all lined up! And of course, it’ll only get better as more and more games add these new graphics :)

Next it’s time for a bunch of smaller graphic assets needed here and there throughout the game! Starting off with a super cute very scary chest:

And a skeleton key, because which ghost ship would be complete without them:

For this room, we added some spooky decorations on a wooden board to give the players a hint there might be something there if you swap over to the ghost world:

We also weren’t quite happy with how fresh and clean these shelves looked, so we wore them down a bit:

Finally, a couple expressions for the captain, to give the cutscenes a bit more oomph:

Speaking of expressions, here are some more, featuring the rest of the main story cast in the Ghost Ship:

And since we decided to put Pine in one of the cabins, we thought we’d put in a bunch of Flying Fortress decorations in there as well:

Finally, let’s take a look at some animations for the final boss of the dungeon… Our dear friend Luke!
First up a bunch of sketches for what he could look like in this boss version:

And the first batch of animations made for him combo’d together:

Another week has gone past and more plans have been made for the final dungeon! As homework over the week we decided that each of us had to come up with two ideas for things that could happen in the various floors of the dungeons. When we met up again it became clear that each of us was quite divided between two various ways of dealing with the dungeon: either as a pure gameplay mechanical experience, or one where old friends from the rest of the game return in various ways, allowing for more story focused floors.

One such thing we’d like to include is the ghost of Tessen, whom you met in Tai Ming, as well as Naniva helping you out with the Temple of Seasons floor. A couple weeks ago I mentioned a beast of some kind that will resummon bosses for you to fight – in one such idea we’d like a resummoned winter that wreacks havoc on the Seasonne floor, adding icy winds or spikes for you to deal with aside from fighting the regular enemies.

For Pillar Mountains, we have ideas of adding your mother in some way, and in the Ghost Ship floor reintroduce some other old ghosts from Tai Ming, namely those of Sizou and Mana. However, all of these are just in the idea stage at the moment – so we’ll see how many of them (if any) end up in the final design of the dungeon.

Gameplay wise we’re trying to spice up each of the floors a bit by adding elements or enemies from other areas of the game. One example of such an idea is to have a Phase Shift puzzle in the Flying Fortress floor, where you have to change the layout of the course by using season orbs that will change the various blocks; causing roots to overgrow some, while others are revealed.

We’ve also finally played through the Ghost Ship up to the very last portion of it (the creepy Startington and the last boss battle of the dungeon). This portion of the game takes us about 1 and a half hour to complete, and even though it’s taken us a very long time, we’re really happy with how the dungeon looks and feels at this point. It also has some of our top favourite boss fights, so we hope you’ll enjoy those as well!

Next up for us will be to complete the creepy Startington portion and boss fight, which are both now well under way before we can finally upload it all to Frontline. Hang in there guys! :)

Meanwhile, let’s take a look at the creation of one of the final rooms in the Ghost Ship – the Phase Puzzle room! Here’s where Kailan, the Flying Fortress engineer from ancient times, has set up a Phase Puzzle course for you that you need to pass to get to the eye boss!

We’re starting with the basics, following a sketched designed made by Teddy after he prototyped the puzzle:

Next we’re adding all of the Flying Fortress details, to give the room a more high tech feel to fit the Phase Puzzle course:

And after that, it’s time to make some Ghost Ship special phase shift blocks:

These blocks will only be visible in the ghost world, so better keep your wits about you when you try to phase through this challenge!

And, finally… Making the ghost world version of the room!

In this week’s Monday Meeting we spent a great deal of time discussing the final challenge in the creepy version of Startington (among other things)! As you might remember from a previous meeting post ages ago, there will be three challenges in this surrealistic and spooky version of Startington: one where you fight a ton of slimes which gives you a card called Obsession, and one where you do some tough shield training and gain a wooden shield called Expectations.

In our latest iterations of the third challenge, we’ve been working around the theme of Deceit. In this latest iteration of the challenge, there will be a block puzzle in which you move blocks with each of the artifacts to designated squares (rather than a key block puzzle).

Mechanically we have a couple of ideas for how to make this more fitting the strange world; one is that instead of moving the blocks, the room will move, the other that as you attempt to move on block, another of the blocks will move instead. We’re not entirely sure which of these we’ll go for, or if we’ll do something else entirely, but we’ll start off with making prototypes of these two ideas first and see whichever one feels the most cool.

Next up, it’s time for us to “creepify” the interiors of the Startington houses! Our idea is that the player will enter each house in its original form and complete a challenge in there, after which the building will deteriorate and become dark and gloomy:

The second house creepified:

And same thing for the third house:

And we’ll end this week with a bunch of gifs from the second boss fight of the dungeon: the Evil Eye or the Twilight Beholder, that has finally been finished! This boss uses a lot of lasers and creepy eyes to try to eliminate you, so you better keep your wits about you :)

Another week and more boss progress! There are so many things we could do with this boss that it’s difficult to choose which attacks and patterns we want to keep. One of the things we’ve done recently is working on tweaking one of the eye boss new attacks, featuring a barrage of eyes that will eventually explode! There are a bunch of sliders we can use to tweak this attack, and one of them is number of eyes:

..and also the shape of the explosion circles, below with a more circular shape:

The one above is probably closest to what we’re aiming for for now, but as with everything else this might be changed with more testing!

The latest iteration of the laser attack now also has proper lasers, and more eyes:

As you can see here, the trick is figuring out which eye colors are not present in the big eye, which will let you know which eyes won’t be firing the laser. To make this a little easier we’re also adding symbols to the eyes, making them easier to tell apart:

We haven’t decided exactly which of these symbols we’ll use yet, as we want to pick the ones that are the most clear from the side as well. Fred has already started playing around with what the eyes would look like from the side, but we’re not quite there just yet:

We know this boss (and the map in general) is taking ages to finish, but we’re determined to not let it go until each of us is fully satisfied with the fight, and we believe that once we’ve gotten to that point, it will all be worth it! Hopefully the third floor will be complete enough to run through and test very soon… :)

Meanwhile my work outside of the Ghost Ship continues with more improvements, and we’re slowly working out way down to Evergrind East; here’s a couple more of my sketches for more places we’ll improve upon:

And so we’ll start with the first two sketches, adding some more decorations first to the second Pillar Mountains map:

…and then we move to the area right before Evergrind City to spice up Evergrind East a little bit:

Next up, Evergrind City’s entrance itself, a slightly bigger job adding some decorations and making the wall more prominent:

We’ve already mentioned that during your stay in the Ghost Ship, you’ll be transported back to Startington, but things are not the way you remember them… One thing we’ll change in regards to this is your home, which will have a slightly different look… Or rather a few slightly different looks, of which the first one is a more idyllic version!

Take a look at the transformation here:

So, this Startington Home will have multiple versions, and it’s time to get going! First a reminder of the first version, and then each consecutively version as they will become available to you, culminating in a version where things have gone a bit… messy to say the least:

Going back to the overall Pillar Mountains improvements, it’s time to take a look at the area surrounding Mumrik’s tent! I felt this area felt a little bare, so decided to spice it up a bit with some more stuff:

Next up we’ll do something similar to the area surrounding the fisherman on the next map, and after that it’s time to continue scouting more areas to improve upon!

Without further ado: The fisherman’s area in lower Pillar Mountains! Getting some improvements, a little bit of everything:

In Fred’s animation department, we’re finishing up the eye boss..

…and moving on to more exciting things, namely the creepy things that will appear in that strange version of Startington that you’ll soon be visiting, starting with some slime that will cover the entirety of your character:

Another new week, which we’ll begin with some mixed fixes and additions! First up, a new version of the headless chef portrait, where his head has been replaced with… oh my… a tomato?

First of all we needed to decide which size this new tomato head would have, and to start off with we were unsure of whether we wanted a regular size or giant size tomato for the job – in the end we decided to go with the smaller one, and after playing around a bit with the sizing of the thing we got to this conclusion:

Now, how you get to put that tomato head on to a ghost’s body is something you’ll have to figure out for yourself!

Next up, a special type of door that will lead you in to the new Flying Fortress room I made last week:

We’re not yet sure exactly where this door will appear in the fortress, so for now I made the door in a random room – it will move to another location once we know where we want to put the room!

And so finally, some smaller additions to the Pillar Mountains improvements I did so far; more to come:

Now I thought we’d take a little look at how it’s going on with the Ghost Ship progress!

Teddy has been working hard to implement all of the stuff me and Fred made for him, which includes a bunch of cutscenes with the captain and some ghosts:

There’s the ghost ‘recruitment’ system, which allows you to present items to ghosts in order to bring back the memories of their past selves:

As well as that fancy eye boss, which has another attack featuring epic laser redirection:

There’s still a bunch of cutscenes and a bunch of puzzles to add, but the final floor is coming together slowly but surely. Soon we only have the final boss of the ship to deal with, which in itself will be an interesting but very exciting task…

Meanwhile in the portrait department it’s time for one more ghostlike portrait! While the Chef now has a portrait without his head and one with a tomato instead of his head, his actual head needs a portrait of its own, now doesn’t it? So, here we go:

Recognize this guy? Last time we saw him was in the past, in Tai Ming! But now he’s back in a slightly less… living state. Whatever happened to him? Soon it’ll be time for you to find out!

Finally this week, the boss progress continues and Fred has been busy making more and more attacks for giant eye you will be facing off against!

Now, for something we haven’t touched in a very very long time… The Flying Fortress! As part of the Ghost Ship update we want a certain people to.. come back from the dead, as it were, and in order to make them remember who they are it’s time to add a room in the Flying Fortress where they used to work, where you’ll be able to find something to remind them of their long forgotten past!

The character in question may or may not be one you have encountered before… Can you figure out whom?

Next up in the batch of portraits is the Bartender’s assistant, which is one of the ghosts that will play a part in the main story! Can you find them on the ship and bring them back to their work in the bar?

No bar or fancy dining place is complete without someone to keep everything and everyone in check, and so this ship’s bar has it’s very own bouncer whom you’ll need to bring back on duty as well! Looks like he’s kept on working out even after death…

We’ll do one more portrait this week, just to finish up the portraits needed for the time being! This time it’s the ghostly fae’s turn to get their portrait done, like so:

And now, time for something we haven’t done in a long time – a video! This one featuring a bunch of the drops you’ll find around the Ghost Ship:

New week and a new cabin redesign! This cabin belongs to a fashion designer from Tai Ming, who fled their home to start a new life in the Merchant Isles after the great cataclysm started by Zhamla:

After that, it’s time for a quick break from the Ghost Ship to make another one of the Pillar Mountains improvements! Because this cave will have some significance later on, we wanted its entrance to look a bit more fancy:

What you’ll find inside? Well… You’ll see!

For now it’s time for some more ghost like portraits, starting with the headless chef:

Quite an.. eh.. Interesting portrait, no? First time drawing a portrait without an actual head!

And next up, the bartender, who will have an important part to play in the players quest to get through this dungeon:

With the ghost ship ghost quest inclusion, it’s time to do something we haven’t done in a long time – add another interface!

In your quest to help the ghosts, you will need to bring items to them that will remind them of who they are. To do this, you’ll have to first speak with a confused ghost, bringing up an interface featuring all items you’re able to present to the ghosts (mainly misc and key items). Upon selecting an item, the ghost will then let you know if it’s what they’re looking for (which will clear up their confusion), or if it’s not.

We wanted this interface to be quite straight forward with lots of space for items so you don’t have to scroll too far looking for the item you want to give each ghost. We also wanted a box where you can view the item’s name before giving it.

Here’s my early sketch:

And the progress:

We’ll start off this new week with adding a slight puzzle or bonus thing to the corridor thing, featuring a pushable piece of staircase!

Our goal is to include a bunch of these optional things for the players to do while making their way through the ghost ship, as well as the side quests with the ghosts that we’ll be adding likely at a later date.

For now though, let’s take a look at how I move things around and create this rather simple puzzle thing:

As we come up with more of the ghosts that you’ll meet in the ghost ship, a couple of the rooms need to change a little to properly house them. This cabin for instance, which was left rather bland while we decided which ghost we wanted to stay in it, has now been turned into a singing diva ghost’s cabin:

And of course, with the addition of all of these ghosts, it’s time to start making portraits for them as well! Starting today with the pianist:

The next spirit portrait is that of an old lady! Sometime during the many years since the ship left harbour, she got separated from her husband. Will you be able to reunite them again?

In Fred’s animation department, there’s a bunch of more enemy details being worked on! The eerie painting can now spin around like a madma-… err madspirit, and there are some creepy eyeballs rolling around (ew):

For one of the puzzles there will be torches to light, and ghosts holding them up:

And also, a couple more friendly(ish) ghosts to live on the ship:

Alright! New week, and with my work on the ghost ship mostly done for now, it’s time to start looking back on those improvement ideas I was working on a little while ago!

Starting with the Pillar Mountains portion, here’s a bunch of the new props that will decorate the town area:

With more to come – I already have a bunch of new ideas for stuff to add here aside from these items, but I think I’ll continue on with the sketches I’ve already made for now, meaning Pillar Mountains is next!

So, moving on to the Pillar Mountains improvements, we’ll start off with a couple of random things to give the area a bit more personality; some poles and a railing of some sort (gotta keep the kids from falling off the mountain now don’t we):

I’m also gonna make a bunch of other plants and stuff to make the area seem a little bit more lush as well, starting off with this one:

Some more greenery to spice up these backgrounds:

As well as another one of those poles, this one facing the other direction:

I also feel like we could use some bigger variance between the trees so I decided to make another birch, this one a bit smaller than the one we use already:

And here’s where we’re at after having added a bunch of more stuff:

I think Pillar Mountains will definitely look a bit more interesting after this, especially with a bunch of more things added which we’ll look at later on…

For now though, it’s time to return to the Ghost Ship! With Teddy and Fred having started work on the third floor, things become more and more clear and one of the things we wanted to change slightly is the background of the corridor leading to the huts, making it bigger, so here goes:

A bit more space in there! I think I’ll have to add some more random boxes and stuff around the room to keep it from feeling too empty, but one step at a time right :)

And of course, Fred having started work on the third floor means more ghosts! Here’s a bunch of the spirits you’ll meet on your adventures through the ship: