Remember this room from last week= One of the doors that lead out of this room will be hidden until you complete the puzzle, so to hide it and give the room a bit more character I’ve been making a couple of shelves and decorations for them!

Once you complete the puzzle, the shelf on the right will slide across the floor and reveal the door behind it!

The next step is of course to ghostify the world, something we’ve been doing for a lot of rooms by now, so the process is pretty straight forward:

Next up, there’s the room that’s waiting inside the one we just finished. This is a room with some maps and notes, and also a key that will lead you to the next floor!

And the next step – of course! More ghostifying! This spirit world version is much like the other spirit world version rooms across the ship, bringing in the snake, spiders and bones:

Another thing we’ve been working on lately is a special encounter / mini boss type of deal featuring…. a fridge! Previously, we talked about the kitchen area of the ship being a bullet hell challenge, but seeing as the boss already uses a lot of bullet hell mechanics we thought we’d spice things up a bit by doing something slightly different.

So what you see below is a prototype of this battle, using the good old living puzzle block as a base (when it’s finished it’ll be an actual fridge, rest assured):

So basically, the idea here is that it jumps around in the kitchen, where some fires spring up from vents in the floor (a normal feature for every decent kitchen, right?) and your goal is to make it land on the fire as it appears, so the flames will damage it. In this first prototype, we used shockwaves as the thing that damages the player, but since it’s a fridge, what we want from it is something closer to this:

Ice attacks! We’re already quite satisfied with this encounter as it is right now, so all we gotta do now is give it some proper graphics.

This week we’ll start off with ghostifying that room from before! Adding some tentacles, bones, spiders and other creepy stuff, let’s go, you know the drill by now:

And now, time for a bunch of details to be added here and there, things we’ve forgotten or decided to add. First up, a big hole in the mess hall, separating the room into two parts:

Second, a stairway leading upward from the room we finished yesterday (not super happy about how it looks right now so might come back to it later):

And thirdly, making the first room slightly bigger, as we discussed a while back. I’ll probably come back to this room as well at a later point and add more boxes and decorations, seeings as you won’t be fighting in this room:

Fred’s been working on a bunch of things, and one of those are the obstacles you’ll face throughout the dungeon. A while back ago we showed a prototype of eyes that open and blast you to death if you’re still in the ghost world when they look at you, and some graphic tests for that has been made:

He’s also been working on some prototypes for the flying masks that will deal damage to you in the ghost world (although we haven’t exactly decided 100% if they should be masks in the end, it’s nice to be able to have some actual graphics for it temporarily compared to the very temporary art made my Teddy):

We’ve also decided to spice things up a bit in terms of the overall decorations of the ship, making it feel a bit more like a ship (hopefully) compared to other areas. So we’ve made some borders, rounding out the entrances/exits between rooms, and we’ll continue playing around with further wall decorations as seen in the examples below:

Next up we have another room! Still a few left before the ghost ship is completed, but not that many. This room is part of the first floor and contains a puzzle that can only be solved after you get hold of the skill that allows you to pass into the spirit world:

Finally, here’s another bunch of stuff Fred’s been working on! Skulls, jumping bones and what have you, all coming together nicely for the boss fight:

New week, and time to finish up the Mess hall by turning its regular version into a spirit world version!

As always, this involves changing the colors around a bit on the moss and such, but for this room it also involves a couple new props, including turning a couple of carrots into a sad and shrunken version of themselves as well as killing a flower in a vase:

Here’s the full WIP:

And the finished thing:

The boss fight prototyping continues, and we’ve made a bunch of changes and additions! First of all, the actual background has been added, which gives the fight a slightly more serious feel, but we’ve also added the proper graphics for some attacks such as the water ball thing:

And we’ve also edited on of his skills slightly, namely the skulls he summons:

Previously these skulls were only visible in the spirit world, which meant you had to swap back into the regular world to avoid them. Now though, we’ve made sure some of the skulls are in the regular world as well, making avoiding them slightly harder!

We still want to improve this fight slightly, but now it’s more about patterns more than anything – we’re kind of happy with what he does, just not the timings for when and in what order. In this version of the prototype seen above, he tends to randomly summon things for you to avoid, but we have since then made him go into various phases instead, meaning he’ll have a period of simply attacking followed by a period of summoning things for you to avoid. The second part will then feature both the bullet hell elements as well as dodging his regular attacks at the same time .

I think we’re really making progress with this and hopefully the finalized boss fight will be done soon – it definitely feels a lot closer to it now, anyway!

Next, it’s time to go back to drawing those disgusting bridges! In the mess hall there needs to be a ton of them, so I better get a move on and make a bunch of variations for them. Here goes:

And here are the finished things:

Next on our prototyping spree, we have another of the challenge rooms in the rather strange version of Startington! In this room, you’ll be facing obsession, and it takes the shape of you killing a whole lot of slimes, which then turn into… yourself?! What could it all mean?

Obviously this segment still needs a lot of work, but we’re getting there, and I think what we do in this part of the game is pretty cool even if it might not be super clear to everyone. Next up we’ll deal with the final(?) challenge, concerning ‘deceit’…

We’ll end this week with a look at a new room, though! This room is the final room of the second floor, so once this is done the whole 2nd floor can be put into the game, yay!

As you can tell, I’ve yet to make a painting to go inside the frame, but I’m kind of thinking I’ll make a painting of the ship itself. What do you guys think?

Time for the second part of the Mess hall, making all of those tables! I’ll be using a bunch of old tables as a base and make them look a bit worse for wear and edit the colors around a bit. In the end, they will be decorated with stuff and ghosts will be dining by them on chairs as well, but one step at a time!

The room where it’s at now:

So, as you know we’ve been talking quite a bit about a strange and creepy version of Startington that you’ll visit during your stay in the ghost ship. This place will feature strange visions of things that have happened or things related to the game in a set challenges with a keyword each.

The first one we’ve prototyped is for ‘expectations’, and will deal with the expectations you put on yourself and that other might have on you, and it takes the shape of a rather strange perfect guard challenge hosted by your dad!

Here’s a first sneak peek:

Kind of strange, huh? Well, it will get even stranger, believe us! This is just the first step of the journey…

Second part of the mess hall! In this part we’ll be decorating the place, adding some plates and whatnot to give the room a feel of actually being a place where people might come to eat.

First though, gotta make this uhm.. trolley thing? That you’ll need to push around a bit to get to the other end of the room:

And now, all about decorating:

 

We still need to keep the tables somewhat empty so you can move around on them easily on your way to the kitchen, so we haven’t gone too overboard with the decorations. Right now it’s kind of hard to tell that they’re floating as well, but that will be solved with shadows on the floor once they’re in the game. Here’s what it looks like for now though:

Next room we’ll focus on is the boss room! We want to make this room quickly to test out the boss battle in its actual setting, so I had to take a break from the other stuff to start working on it instead. Since we had a basic prototype up and running I already know approximately where everything should be in terms of distances and colliders, so all I gotta do is make sure I follow the sketch version:

Finished room:

And now, time to make the spirit world version of the boss room! Again pretty straight forward stuff, just gotta transform the place into a more spooky version of itself:

Finished version for now, ready to be implemented and tested with the boss battle:

Time to start working on those colors! This is gonna take a while since the ship is super huge, so I’ll split it in two parts (or however many are needed). In the first part we’ll be dealing with the basic colors, getting them down somewhat in any case. Might change them around later but it’s good to start with a base:

Obviously it’s gonna get a lot more detailed than this, and the water will be animated as well. We’re also considering changing the size of the upper front and back of the boat, making them bigger since they look kind of small right now. Oh well, onwards we go!

Time to take a look at what’s happening with the skeletons and discuss a piece of their design!

So one thing we’ve been wanting to do with our skeleton enemies is to give them a quirk where their head will fall off and become an enemy of its own, sort of like the Jumpkin from Pumpkin Woods; a pretty easy enemy that you just whack over a couple of time to get rid of, but that serves as an interesting game play element.

Because of this, Fred has started working on the skulls and what they’ll look like when they fall off and are brought to life on their own, and as he did so, we realized the square shape they currently have isn’t exactly ideal for what we want to do; it’s maybe a bit blocky and simple:

So to remedy this, we’ve now made a different, more regular looking skull, that we feel fit better:

While we do love the idea of the square head, it being a bit more original and all, we think this looks better overall. How do you guys feel?

So these last bunch of days we’ve been playing around with a bunch of new puzzle ideas for the ghost ship – we really want to mix things up and get some interesting use out of these mechanics. So, first thing we’ve tried is using the spirit world mechanic to make a burning ghost light candles for you.

Here’s a GIF showing our super early prototype:

Basically, the ghost ignores you while you’re in the regular world, and will start chasing you once you enter the spirit world, so your goal is to position yourself so that the ghost will pass over the lanterns (currently the white squares) and set them alight. Completing this task will open a door for you.

If you’re too slow however, the candles will stop burning and you need to set them alight again.

These ghosts will appear in other areas of the game as well where they will simply serve as an enemy/obstacle – you won’t be able to kill them, and as soon as you enter the spirit world they will chase you. I believe I might have mentioned them before in relation to the room with all the creepy bridges, where you’ll have to avoid them while making your way to the other end of the room.

The second mechanic we’ve been playing around with has been something slightly different, yet reminding of something we’ve used before. In Tai Ming we had puzzles where you had to kill statues in the right spot, so that they pressed a button for you. In this dungeon, we’ll do something similar.

Below is the WIP gif:

We use statues as the placeholder graphic here, but they will more likely be some kind of floating armors or some such.

The idea is that these armors only live while in the spirit world, where they follow a set pattern of movement. If you go back into the normal world, they will fall to the ground and remain still. So, the trick here is to adjust the timing of their pattern by hitting them a few times, so that when you return to the regular world, they will each fall on a button if you time it right.

This will be a bit clunky in multiplayer, but we’ve decided on going down the path where it’s enough for one person to be in the spirit world to make them move around. In the GIF above, the adjustments are pretty slim as you hit them, but in the final version we want each hit to make a bigger difference so that you really notice something happens to their patterns when you interact with them.

How do you guys feel about these new puzzle ideas? If you have any others, feel free to share!

Next we’ll start making one of the remaining rooms we’ve yet to finish up; the Mess hall! We’ve showed this room a couple of times already – it’s the room with the creepy bridges. In this first part we’ll get all the basics down, the correct walls and floors as well as some basic decorations; ropes, vines, boxes and so on.

There will be a bunch of floating tables here as well, but those we’ll save for another time. For now, here goes:

First of all after showing the lineart of the Ghost Ship exterior to Teddy and Fred and having some discussions, we’ve decided to change it in a couple ways. First, let’s take a look at what it looked like last:

First thing we wanted was to make the ship a bit higher, so with some quick editing here’s what we came up with:

Then we also wanted to make it longer, adding a broken mast to make sure the area you’ll be fighting in doesn’t get too big. Another sketch of that here:

So with these fixes in mind I went ahead and started with the reworks, also removing the door with the ladder and adding one from the left side instead:

And here’s the finished thing, ready to get colored (unless we decide on changing some more things):

Now, with the ghost ship progressing and most rooms actually already being finished, we’ve come to realize we’ve done something different with this dungeon that we haven’t done before, and we’re not sure it’s a good thing.

Usually we start off with sketches of every room and make sure we can run through each of them in a row, just like the dungeon would actually be, before we make the final art. This time however, because Teddy and Fred were so busy getting the last bits of the desert completed, we decided against that and had me work on making the completed rooms first thing. What that has lead to is that we have a lot of finished rooms, but we haven’t even had a possibility of running through the dungeon in its entirety yet as we usually do.

To remedy this, I’m going to take a break from the ghost ship exterior and focus on making quick sketches for the last bunch of rooms that haven’t been made yet, so that Teddy can put them all into the game and we can try it out and see what it feels like.

That was one of the things we discussed in today’s meeting. The other thing was that strange section I’ve mentioned before, where you’ll find yourself awaken back in Startington, but it’s a Startington that’s weird and kind of off. Previously, we wanted 4 mini “challenges” or events to take place here, but for now we’ve settled for three – each one representing obsession, expectations and deceit. These three elements are key to the story in various ways, and by adding these ‘challenges’ / cutscene things we’d like to put some emphasis on that. The deceit one is still in the sketching phase but will likely involve the artifacts you’ve been collecting in some way… Stay tuned for more on that ;)

…. and here they are! The fantastic sketches made for the remaining rooms of the ghost ship dungeon!

The puzzle one is very unclear right now since we haven’t decided exactly what kind of puzzle we want in there right now. Previously we wanted it to be one of those puzzles where you get chased by something in the ghost world, as I mentioned earlier, but now we’re kind of feeling like putting in a phase shift puzzle instead – can’t have enough of those, right?

The rest of the day we’ve been playing through the dungeon, each room now added by Teddy in a strange world with no colliders or enemies whatsoever, imagining what it’ll all be like when it’s finished. The short of it is that we kind of wish we had done this earlier, but alas, here we are. We got a ton of notes on things to fix now at least, which I’ll be talking about shortly.

Overall though, I think it’ll be fine – it’s a bit of a strange dungeon (but then again, so was Tai Ming), but thanks to the ghost world mechanic and the enemies I think it’ll be interesting.

So the first thing we decided to change when running through the dungeon was the size of the first room – always amazing when your first big change is in the first place you see, right? We felt this room was a bit small and didn’t give the proper introduction to the ship as a big and creepy place the way it should.

Same thing with one of the rooms on the third floor – previously we’ve been making a lot of too large rooms so I started making them a lot smaller since I always overestimated the sizes. Turns out I’ve gone too far the other way not instead, haha! Oh well, for this room it will be an easy fix since it hasn’t even been properly made yet.

Next, there’s a room where we thought we’d have some sort of bullet hell thing going on, but we’ve decided to change that for two reasons: one being that the boss already has a lot of bullet hell elements, and second, the room would be a nice opportunity to embrace the creepiness factor of the world instead. So, instead of an exciting bullet hell, there will be some creepy examining things in an abandoned ghastly kitchen, trying to figure out where a lost key is.

Other than that, there have mostly been minor edits and changes to make, such as more details in some rooms and added features in others, like a bookcase that will fire books at you, and possibly an encounter with a possessed refrigerator and oven – it depends on how further testing goes.

This whole dungeon is pretty strange right now as it’s very finished but also very unfinished, many of the rooms are ready but the encounters and puzzles are not. It’s possible we may need to redesign some parts if the puzzles we want to make don’t work out, but we’ll see! Needless to say, right now we’re doing a lot of discussing and testing back and forth, so we’ll see where things end up when all is said and done.

Meanwhile in Fred’s department, it’s time to finish up the crab enemy! We’ve designed this in a way that is kind of similar to the boar, which I think will become apparent once we start prototyping it. For now, here’s a bunch of its animations during battle:

So cute! I personally think this might be the cutest enemy of the game. Who agrees with me?!

Second to last cabin! This is the one that connects to its neighbor on the left. Again, nothing much interesting to say about this, I think!

Final cabin! This one you’ll reach from the room on the right, and will take you back to the corridor where you came from after you’ve completed everything on the right side (the challenge we haven’t 100% designed yet):

Time for something slightly different! This is one of the “challenges” we’re working on, which is basically a room where you have to move over a bunch of floating platforms – however, the bridges between them will only be visible in the ghost world!

Here you can see a rare glimpse of what it looks like with the colliders in place, as well as what happens if you’re on a bridge when you turn back to the regular world (you fall down):

I’ve been testing out some things in regards to what these bridges might look like, and here we have one of the suggestions, which I think will be the one we’ll go for:

And a small test of what it’d look like when the tables are floating the way they should (the eyes on the wall is another mechanic we’ll be playing with, something that will force you back into the regular world so it won’t be too easy to walk through this room):

 

Since we’re drawing nearer to completing the first boss fight somewhat, it’s time to start tying together the first floor! In doing so, I need to rework the first room a bit, as some things have changed in our design since we made it for the first time:

Basically, we’re adding another “floor”, though all entries and exits are on the first floor of the room. This is so we don’t have to add any level differences in the boss room, which will be the room connecting to this one on the left!

Here’s the new version:

Meanwhile, Fred keeps working on the crab – and look how cute it is! Those tiny legs, aww… I don’t know how I’ll be able to kill this?!

Time to start working on those cabins! Six in total, and here’s the first one. Let’s go:

The next cabin is pretty much a mirror of the first one, but with some different decoration. You’ll reach it from the cabin to the left of it, and exiting it from the bottom door will get you back in the corridor below, but at a place you couldn’t reach before.

The third cabin has a platform leading to a higher level! How intriguing! The room on the right of this hasn’t been designed yet, but we have a few ideas for a sort of ‘puzzle’ (actually more like a challenge, I guess), where you’ll have to go back and forth into the spirit world to avoid some dangerous ghosts!

Now it’s time to start working on the three bottom cabins, starting with the one on the far left. As with the top two, this one will be connected to its neighbor. Other than that, not much to say about this one!

Of course, we’re not only working on backgrounds for the Ghost Ship. There’s still some enemy stuff to do, one of them being designing the last enemy! So let’s take a look at what Fred has been doing:

Congratulations, it’s a crab! We really wanted one enemy that would just be a “normal” kind of enemy without any fancy spirit world mechanics, and what better thing to put on a ghost ship than a killer crab? (don’t answer that)

As you might guess, the final design we went for is the one within the green circle. Stay tuned for all its fancy animations!

Meanwhile in the programming department, Teddy’s started working on the first boss battle! We’ve made a bunch of prototype attacks and patterns, some which can be seen below:

Here you can see the skull walls that force you out of the ghost world, which we’ve shown before in a regular enemy prototype. He also throws a bunch of cannonballs at you; has a dash attack and, of course, a regular whack with the sword.

In the second one you can see two other attacks we’ve been working on; one being some kind of menace that whirls around the room (though we’re not 100% sure about this one yet).

The other is a big rock that gets lifted out of water (it currently spawns from nothing, since the actual boss room with the water isn’t made yet), and as it gets thrown into a wall or some other such thing, it gets broken into a bunch of smaller pieces the player has to avoid. Right now the broken-up pieces use some old bullet hell-type graphic asset, but that won’t be so in the proper version, of course.

We’ve actually not sure whether we want it to be a rock or some sort of water-ball (or something like that). Another option we had was for it to be a ball of all kinds of stuff he pulls out of the water and merges together, but to be honest we kind of feel that one might be a bit too much work to get nice enough. The experiments continue!

Hope you all had great holidays! As we’ve been back at work for about a week it’s time for another recap post!

First up, some words about the Ghost Ship boss: we’ve shown you sneak peeks of the Captain previously, but haven’t gone into much detail yet. Our idea is that you’ll battle this guy twice, but that each of those encounters will play out very differently.

During the first encounter, his fight will be pretty straight forward spirit world themed; you won’t be able to fight him unless you see him (by entering the spirit world), and he’ll summon skulls and such that will force you to leave it lest you take damage. Aside from this, he’ll be able to throw his sword at you, and can use telekinesis for return it to his hand. He can also use this telekinetic power to grab swords from weapon stands around the room, which will attack you separately.

The next time you meet him, he’ll have upgraded his gear, taking some of the items that were transported on the ship to aid him. This includes a giant laser sword and a cannon with the ability to produce – you know it – a bullet-hell like attack! The laser sword will have the special ability to extend and give him increased reach for his attacks, and like his original sword, it can be thrown across the room towards any players in its path.

What’s that? “Only two boss battles in this dungeon?” Well, you’re right, there will be a third. It won’t be the captain though, but – …No. I think we’ll save that for later ;)

Let’s get back to Spirit World stuff instead! Can’t have too many creepy tentacles in a creepy ghost ship, can we? Let’s make some more!

When taking the screen below I of course forgot to change the moss color to red. Rest assured, it will be fixed before long:

But first, let’s do something different. Creepy faces, anyone? What could be more menacing than looking down into darkness and seeing creepy red-eyed monstrous faces with giant teeth gaze back at you? These faces will probably be animated by Fred in the end, so at the very least they’ll blink. Can’t ask someone to stare forever at you without blinking, even if it’s a creepy shadow monster, right?

For this second small room, I thought we’d add a further sprinkling of tentacles and another version of the creepy sack-faces from before. In this room, the jar gets a creepy eye as well. Oh my!

And to end this week, we have an update from the animation and programming department!

Teddy is now working on implementing and polishing the Ghost Ship mechanics (and catching the occasional bug in the beta), while Fred’s full focus is on the Captain we talked about earlier!

There’s a lot of strange animation needed for him, and since you’ll only see the sword outside of the spirit world, it’s a bit of a hassle getting everything to work smoothly. Now, the idle animation is completed, and he’s working on getting the attacks down.

Big boss sprites like this are the most difficult to make, so we expect he’ll be busy with this for quite some time while me and Teddy continue working on the other parts of the ship!

When testing something, Fred also accidentally made the funniest animation of the captain laughing. Perhaps it will end up being used!?

Hey guys! Are you ready for the last post before christmas?! It’s actually christmas eve for us Swedes today, so at the moment you’re reading this we’re probably already eating some classic christmas food. We’ll be working between christmas and new years but the blog will go on its usual 2-week holiday break, so the next post will be available on the January 14th when there’s some new stuff to show!

And now, to add a sprinkle of creepiness, which will be the theme for the rest of this post… As you go into the spirit world you begin to see things, shall we say, a bit differently. Dark things appear, and some things may not be what you thought they were… And so on.

It’s a fine line here between going too far into spooky game territory and having just the right touch of spook, so we’ll see how things go with that.

Here’s a video featuring some of the creepiness in the making, anyway:

And the “finished” backgrounds (in fact, I’ll probably return to these and add more stuff later, cause it’s just too much fun making these creepy things up):

Next up, focusing on a single room. There’s skeletons, spiders, eyes, tongues, skulls, oh my! If you get any more cool ideas for creepy stuff to add, feel free to let me know! Some things will be added by Fred as well, and some of the things I’ve made now will probably get some sort of animation by him too. It’s gonna be a blast!

The video:

And here’s a third video, featuring the random battle room of the first floor:

Here I also played around with making the moss red and the water black, a theme I think we’ll follow in the rest of the rooms (including those I already finished). After I saved the image below I also experimented with making the vines on the wall darker and of a slightly purple shade, as well, which I think will add some bonus creepiness to the room as seen through the spirit world lens.

And here you can see those purple-shade vines for yourself, albeit in a different room! For this room I wanted to make more things seem ‘alive’. It’s a theme I want to use more for these spirit world versions of each room; things being ‘possessed’ or seeming to come alive (by getting a face, a mouth or eye/eyes). So I put strange faces on pretty much everything that’s a static piece of decoration such as the buckets and boxes (and the exit). That and more skeleton pieces, of course:

One more room and we can end this week with darkness from start to end. This room is the bunk room with all the beds, so it’s finally come to the point where it’s time to add all of those skeletons. I made a few in various positions, and again added some faces to random props across the room. Also, tentacles, because nothing says creepy ghost world like a set of tentacles, right?

And with that, we at Pixel Ferrets wish you all merry holidays and a happy new year!