This week was a very special week, since the annual GGC was hosted (and also the week where we launched housing on frontline – go check it out)!

GGC is short for Gotland Game Conference, which is basically a game expo where the students at the game design education showcase their game and a bunch of people from the industry is invited as judges to give feedback and select which ones did the best. It all culminates in an award ceremony with an after-party where we all get a chance to hang out together and share experiences with other game developers. So basically, it’s great!

For those of you wanting a glimpse of all the game presented at the conference, check out this video:

One of the showfloor favorites, and clear winner of many of the awards at the award ceremony was this little gem called Pump the Frog, made by a bunch of first year students:

Totally charming and so well polished. It was hard to imagine they only had 8 weeks from start to finish, incredibly impressive work! It’s also nominated for several SGA (Swedish Game Awards) categories, so its success might continue on to other venues as well!

If you want to know more about the conference or would like to see some cool pictures from the showfloor and presentations, head over to the conference website!

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Now as I mentioned, this week we also launched the housing system, which is now playable on frontline! So, when we weren’t at GGC judging games and hanging out with fellow game developers, this week was all about some last minute housing polish, finishing up the remaining details and the graphics needed for them!

First up, we realized there were some more forgotten things we needed to take care of!

Some miniatures for the carpets from before, for example:

And then, a couple of items some of you have likely had in your inventory for quite some time! The red slime carpet and the green slime bad:

Hopefully that’s the last of our forgotten objects, and we can now focus on just adding new ones in the future :)

As for the housing system itself, the way you get the house, for now, is that once you’ve completed Flying Fortress, the scientist Kim will appear in Evergrind City next to your currently not-yet-built house, explaining one or two things about the science behind the houses in the game (and your own)!

She also wonders if you’d like to help test out some new systems, and upon agreeing to do so you’ll be able to purchase the house from the carpenter, who will build it for you. After this is done we plan to move Kim back to the lab in the HQ where she’ll continue doing other experiments (gotta keep busy, you know)!

As for the house, once it’s been finished (this happens once you change screens once), you’ll get a very short and basic explanation of how to use it upon entering the building.

We’ve continued working on the icons that illustrate what tool you’re currently using, and here they are in action:

First up, the style icon (seen above). After some thinking we’ve decided the arrows for each of the icons need to be remade, and it’s also missing a proper outline and an animation at this point.

Next, the carpet tool’s “carpet version”:

For this one we’re actually considering using the old version (seen below) after all, to make it stand out a bit more from the carpets you’re editing.

Finally, a GIF showcasing both the stack and the move tool:

The stack tool (as well as the carpet tool) don’t use the correct freeze frames in these GIFs which means the animation isn’t paced exactly right (it’s supposed to pause for longer on each stack), but it gives you an idea of what it’ll look like. The move tool is missing an animation in these GIFs as well, but it has since been added to the game. Finally, we added outlines to all the icons, which made them stand out a bit more against the background. This can also be viewed in the game.

We did have a discussion regarding whether or not to use a more simplistic style for each of these (like the old version of the carpet tool), but decided against it in the end. This way there will be a little more color, and hopefully each icon will stand out enough on their own once the outlines and proper animations have been added!

As for Fred, his main focus has been getting all those housing icon moving. Here are the finished icons he worked on:

We didn’t talk about the hand tool much in the previous post on housing, but the hand tool is a very basic tool accessible from the housing menu that allows you to move around your house and select any furniture piece you want (which in turn brings you into the other tools). The hand tool is also connected to your skin color in-game, and matches that of your character.

Here’s the new and improved move tool! We changed the arrows quite a bit, both in shape and color, plus it now moves and has an outline. It works a lot better than the old version, to say the least!

There’s also this new and improved version of the carpet tool icon (above), and the stack tool which you’ve already seen, below:

And here’s the style tool, a little bit interesting now that the brush is moving about:

Finally, Kim got a slight redesign to better resemble her portrait as well as an additional animation. In her regular one, she’s doing some chemistry stuff, mixing a liquid of some sort. While she’s outdoors telling you about the housing science, we thought we’d give her a different animation to better suit the theme (as well as one that doesn’t make sounds every few seconds):

We currently haven’t decided whether she’ll pick her chemistry set back up once she returns inside, or if she’ll continue using her newfound tablet instead!

Now, if you haven’t tried out the housing system yet, go ahead and let us know what you think! We’re eagerly awaiting your feedback :)

Hello Collectors!

This week, Teddy has been focusing on the multiplayer aspect of the Temple of Seasons! We’ll patch the Frontline beta to include this in the next few days.

Bug hunters can rejoice in that multiplayer is, as always, the most error prone part, although from basic testing it seems stable. Which means in reality, when you guys get your hands on it, it probably won’t be stable at all! :D

templeofseasonswithhomiesIt all works if you stand perfectly still!

Meanwhile, Fred has been whipping together the final animations required for the cutscenes at the end of the temple, and Vilya is making the desert area interesting with tons of props and details!

01 - Skeleton

03 - Arc

As you can see, we’re going for a rocky type of desert, with lots of ridges and set pieces! Apparently, people absolutely love deserts as it is, so hopefully ours won’t be an exception.

…but wait, what is this? Looks like Evergrind City but something’s different

05 - CityFair Details

GGC may be done and over with, but there’s still one big event to go! The SGA deadline is this Thursday, so there’s no rest in sight just yet. We’re currently spending most of our time hunting bugs in the multiplayer feature, but since that isn’t particularly exciting to look at we’ll show you some things we recently finished in time for GGC instead:

First of all, we decided to let one of our main characters, your irreplaceable friend the Bag, handle the gameplay hints:

Click it!

The hint box will appear when the Bag feels like there’s something you should know. For instance how a new item works, how to best defeat special enemies, when you’re heading in the wrong direction, and so on. You will be able to move freely while it’s there, so it won’t interrupt your battle or exploration like talking to a normal NPC would.

Another thing we added right before GGC was Signposts:

Click it!

As you can see, there’s no plain text going on here! We thought it would be more interesting and visually pleasing to use images instead. What do you think?

The signpost graphics will also appear automatically when you come close to a sign, and will disappear once you move away from it – so your hands are free here as well!

Speaking of visually pleasing, we also started working on a new portrait style with the feedback we received on the old ones in mind. Here’s a couple of the newcomers:

Hopefully you like these better, as we do. If not, let us know! We always appreciate the feedback, especially on such important matters as the portraits which will appear a lot in the game.

Last but not least, Evergrind is now almost fully populated! After you beat the Exam you may now explore the city and talk to its current inhabitants. At the moment we haven’t put in any shops, but they are well underway as well.

Click it!

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have some bugs to hunt! ;3

We welcome you this week to the headquarter of The Collectors! This is the place where you’ll get a lot of your quests, and the most important ones at that. But of course, you have to earn your right to actually visit this place by completing a difficult trial first. Will you succeed? I guess we’ll see…

Click for larger version!

This week some people finally moved into the city of Evergrind as well! Here you can see them, minding their own business while waiting for their neighbors to settle :)

 

Last but not least, here’s a banner you’ll be able to see, should you visit Visby in 2½ weeks. Our school is arranging GGC, a small game conference on the island of Gotland and we’ll be there showing off our game live for the first time to the public! We’re very excited to see how people respond after playing it, and as you might guess we’ll be going into beta shortly after that weekend!

 

This week we have continued to refine and change small parts of the city. There’s always things to change for the better, so it’s quite easy to keep busy that way..

One of the many touch ups Vilya has been working with this week is giving the old dirt roads a face lift! Shout out to the guys over at the TIGsource forums for their great feedback and keeping us motivated!

Anyway, we continue on, this time showing you another screen (an animated one on top of that!) of another part of Evergrind City:

(Click the image to watch it in full size and animated!)

Fred keeps filling the city with NPCs and animations, to help Evergrind come to life! Some of the stuff he did this week can be seen in the screenshot above.

There’s still a ton of NPCs and other animations to go before Evergrind is even close to finished, so stay for more of the same the coming weeks!

Also, as promised, below is the song that’s playing in Evergrind City! It’s written by Andrew Riley of Luckylionstudios.com, who’s composing the entire soundtrack for us!

[audio:http://www.secretsofgrindea.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Andrew-Riley-Secrets-of-Grindea-OST-Evergrind-City.mp3|titles=Andrew Riley – Secrets of Grindea OST – Evergrind City]

Author’s comment: I wanted to write an upbeat, fun song, with a certain sentimentality that would come with spending time in the city with your friends. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for listening!

-Weekly Programming Haiku-

“Formed by pixly gods
Brought to life through wizard’s writ
Art of crafting games”

[Teddy has mostly been busy with his favourite part of the job: implementing the tidal wave of stuff created by the artists!]

Next week: We venture indoors in Evergrind and we take a shot at spicing up the combat!

We’re back! The holidays were great and we all got some time together with our friends and family, but we also managed to squeeze in some work. Here’s what we’ve been doing lately:

Vilya has been putting together the major city of the game: Evergrind City. The outside areas are almost completely done and the only thing missing is creating what will be inside the houses. Quite some work, of course, but we’re well under way! Here’s a screen from the city, more to come next week:

Click on it to view it in in-game size!

Fred has had his hands busy with three things: skills, NPCs, and being sick once again.

Here’s the Ice Nova skill in action. Close ranged AoE at its best! The added chance to freeze your enemies is a pretty sweet bonus.

And here we have one of the many NPCs living in Evergrind. The Blacksmith! Besides having one of the finest beards in all of Grindea, this fellow will help the players along their quest by forging some of the sweetest gear you can get your hands on!

-Weekly Programming Haiku-

“Skills to pay the bills
Sharpened blades and crippling cold
Winter is coming”

[In the programming department, most time has been spent on getting Fred’s skill animations into the game and working, as well as making them look as good as possible!]

Next week: More Evergrind goodness, plus a special treat for your ears!

This week Vilya worked on the arena which now is in waiting-mode while Fred takes care of the next step! It is almost done, but need some tweaking and of course an excited crowd to watch your trials.

While waiting, she spent her time making portrait for a cutscene involving the first mini-boss battle, a mean bandit leader and her two thugs.

Next thing she went on doing was small props to be placed all around the city. Many more to come, of course:

Fred has spent some time adding a few flavor animations to the bandit gang, this here showing one of the thugs cheering on as the leader fights the player/players!

But mostly he has been busy with bringing the first boss to life! Even though being sick (damn you Vilya!) he has been able to finish up most of the animations, with just a couple left to clean up!

We don’t want to spoil all the fun by revealing too much about the bosses yet, so you guys will have to settle with this for now! Who’s that pokemon!?

-Weekly Programming Haiku-

“Written destiny,
even Escape brings same end:
The Wobbling Giant.”

[I have made some in-game cutscenes, and also implemented the first ‘real’ boss. Of course, unlike in some games (looking at you Tales of Vesperia), you can press escape during a cutscene to skip it!]

Next week: The city keeps growing and the first NPCs moves in! Also, treasure hunting (for real this time!)

This week has been a little bit all over the place! We have had about a hundred subjects to discuss and plan as a result of soon having to implement the city and all that comes with it.

In short we have designed a fishing mini-game and treasure map system, made a mockup of the arena, sent out descriptions for the next batch of songs we need, made concepts of the first real boss character and finally continued on the various things we left unfinished last week.

We also made some changes in the planning of what stuff to make first, but that is hardly interesting enough to be talking about: instead, let’s take a look at what our group members have been focusing on outside of these discussions.

In the animation department, Fred has continued working on the female bandit leader. So far she’s weighing in at around 20 animations with just one or two left before she’s all done! Here’s another sneak peek of her and her madness:

We know we mentioned NPCs last time, but as a result of changing things and priorities around a bit we’re afraid they will have to wait until after we’re done with the next big thing: the arena!

In the city building district Vilya finished off the houses, all of which are now more or less ready for implementation. Here’s a preview of three of the stores that will be featured in the shopping district:

Can you guess what they are? The purple one is the hat shop, the brown is a smithy and armory, the green is, of course, the alchemist’s potion shop.

-Weekly Programming Haiku-

“A black clad demon,
raging death in human form,
tamed by tester’s tears.”

(The boss is in the game. She was too difficult at first, but now she’s nicer)

Next Time: The arena takes shape and we go treasure hunting!

A big hug to everyone who’s subscribed to us on Facebook, Twitter and other places! Having people show interest in what you’re doing is a great morale boost.

Let’s celebrate with a recap of the past week!

Fred has made some sweet animations for our first miniboss: a familiar looking, female bandit leader! She’s no behemoth but she might still prove a challenge to the inexperienced adventurer.

Meanwhile, Vilya has started building houses for the main city while battling a terrible cold. The buildings below are common residencies – the shops and other special houses will have huge signs on the roof implying what use they have.

Here’s the sketch she used as reference:

And here’s the end result (still to be tweaked):

The city is going to be fairly big, featuring about 15 buildings (including a smithy, an alchemist store, a hat store, a café and more), a market and the grand Colosseum!

In the coding department, a recoloring shader was made to make the creation of new clothing colors easier. First, a tool turns every spritesheet into a Na’vi, and in-game the shader will recolor it.

This makes it possible to change the colors of individual pieces of clothing separately on the fly, without any additional asset loading.

Next time: The miniboss will be put into the game, and the citybuilding will continue! Maybe we’ll see some NPCs?!