Some more stuff we’ve been talking about recently is tying up a couple of the “semi-started” quests we’ve been foreshadowing around the world. One such thing is the Scarecrow quest – remember the scarecrow that talks about the purple garland in Pumpkin Woods? While we’re going to rewrite her(!) line a little bit, we will end up with a quest dealing with the curse of the pumpkin, while also solving another question mark of the world – the house on the little island in Evergrind City. We’ve decided to let there be a bridge there from the beginning, rather than you having to fix one, and inside will be a worried father talking about his missing daughter, who is a collector. At some point in the story, once you’ve progressed far enough or you’re strong enough, he will appear in the Collectors’ HQ asking for your assistance in finding his daughter; who, it turns out, has been cursed into a scarecrow!

Another thing you might have forgotten about (but we surely haven’t) is the grave up in Seasonne! The grave will be reached through a cave which we’re about to make as well, and which will give clues about the owner of the grave – a math genius who is depressed about his attempts at math caves not being as popular as his rival in Port Monnaie. There will be a different kind of math puzzle here as well, but the quest itself will be given after speaking to the ghost inhabiting the grave outside the little cave system.

We’re also going to (finally!) add the option to turn a couple rooms in the Temple of Seasons into spring, revealing a hidden room in one such room where you’ll get a trinket that has been in the game since pretty much forever, but which you haven’t been able to get yet because we never actually got around to making it possible to turn the room in question into its spring version… Oops!

More to come as well, but there isn’t that much left on our list for Story Mode now! :)

Now, before we dive into more upcoming stuff here’s one more thing that’ll go into the patch we’ll release soon(tm)! This guy could be seen in a blog post last week in the shape of a spooky sprite made by Fred, a strange creature found in the bonus Pumpkin Woods map!

The girl cursed into a scarecrow is a collector as well, so here’s her portrait since we’re doing collectors now anyway:

And here we have her beloved father, who at some point in the near future will seek your help in saving his daughter:

Meanwhile, Fred keeps polishing up the last remaining effects and things happening for this patch, as well as sending off a video with instructions to our sound designer! Here’s another sneak peek of that upcoming strange demon creature in the bonus Pumpkin Woods map:

Hello everyone! Have you enjoyed your weekend? It’s time for another week and another meeting, this time discussing the next quest we’ll implement for Story Mode.

As you’ve seen before, Fred has been working on a bug net animation for a quest where you’ll capture butterflies. The person who will give you this quest is Luigi, and one of the rewards will be one of those fertilizers that will help the squiggly plants you’ve seen across the world grow. Today we ironed out some more of those details.

To start off with, the point of the quest is that you’ll get a bug net from Luigi, and use it to capture some rare butterflies found across the world. Turn in three (or four – we haven’t decided the exact number yet) and you’ll get a fertilizer, turn in all of them and you’ll get a special trinket.

At first we weren’t sure whether this quest should be given immediately or if it’ll be unlocked later on in the game. Each of these options come with their own pro’s and cons. The positives of having it unlocked immediately (well, after you finish the trial) is that you’ll be able to capture butterflies as you go on your adventures, giving you something extra to do. On the other hand, unlocking it later on will give you a chance to go back to some places you’ve seen before, especially if you’ve taken notice of the butterflies before and wondered what you could do with them.

In the end we settled for having it unlocked immediately, since the first reward you’ll get for the quest is a fertilizer, and that in its own is a sort of backtracking deal, making both the quest and reward a bit too similar if we went for the second option.

As for the final reward, we decided to go for a trinket that will get you a butterfly follower, sort of like the trinket that gives you a fae follower, but with a butterfly instead. We’re also considering allowing you to pick between a set of different appearances for the butterfly, so that you’ll always be able to pick one that you like best and/or matches your look!

We still don’t know exactly how many butterflies you’ll be able to capture across the world, but we’ll try to spread them out evenly throughout the game. The main thing is that they will all be outdoors (and Luigi will tell you as much), to avoid having you look around in every nook and cranny of every cave and building when you’re about to go looking for that final one!

Next, work on the mansion continues, this time with a dining room, where we can only assume Marino and his family have their supper with esteemed guests to entertain:

Next, another face you’ll find in the Mansion: another maid, polishing some statues in the main hallway!

Next in line in the mansion room creation is the second hallway, which connects the kitchen, dining room and first hallway:

And with that, the mansion is more than halfway done! What remains now is the grand corridor where Marino’s dad hangs out, Marino’s room, the master bedroom and Marino’s mother exotic plant room!

Meanwhile, Fred has been working on a bunch of smaller things, including a couple of the new NPCs, and some secret easter egg stuff I won’t show here, but will leave for you to find out during your adventures in the game!

Now, as is customary after a bigger patch, it’s time for us to take a couple days off to recharge the batteries. We’ll be back at the office on August 3rd, meaning the next blog post will be available here on August 10th, a week after we’ve returned to the office and produced new stuff to show!

Hope you guys are enjoying the summer, I’ll see you then :3

Our polishing continues with some new gameplay changes, this time featuring the enemies in the Temple of Seasons! To start off with, the tornadoes now spawn around the mage and player, and their movement speed is a lot slower:

The season knight’s spin can now be perfect guarded to push him away and make him stop:

And if you aim it well enough, he’ll deal damage to his friends as he’s pushed away:

It’s also time for another Collector! We’ll add a bunch of these to appear randomly during your adventures so it’s high time we make a couple more:

Another thing we’ve decided to add is discounted items at Shadier Merchant, the guy who sells you items in exchange for part of your max HP. There will now be a chance that one of the items is a particularly good deal; a stronger item for the level you’re on, or it’s priced lower. As such, I was tasked with making an indicator for discounted items:

Time for some more minor additions and changes! First up, a button for when you talk to Bishop and decide to change the difficulty settings by adding or removing those loop orbs; which we’ve decided to call ‘Catalysts’. The icon is supposed to indicate how you through this option can increase difficulty by adding another catalyst or decreasing the difficulty by removing one:

One of the oldest graphics in the game is that of the achievement trophy, so I decided to give it a quick makeover:

And finally, we decided to keep the Grindea-decorated fountains in Marino’s mansion for another part of the game, so instead I’ve been making some bee decorations for them:

So what Fred has started moving on to working with now is an entity you’ll find in the final dungeon. While I said we’ll focus on things not relating to the final dungeon for now, Fred has a lot of big animations to make for the last part of the game, so in order to avoid having a massive bottle neck where we’ll have to wait for his animations, we’ve decided that he should start working on some end game stuff after all.

And first up in that regard is this strange mirror artefact, which will appear throughout the tower and throw challenges your way. Here’s his progress on testing out various designs, as well as the one we picked in the end:

We continue to work on the various pin menus, and as a logical next step we need to make all sorts of graphics for the various places you’ll be able to look at your pins or see how many you’ve seen so far. First up, the title for where you can look at what pins you currently have equipped in the menu:

And next, the “shop title” of the Pin Collector where you can see all of the pins you’ve found so far; we decided against giving it a proper name, and went with the route of only showing a variety of pins:

And of course, the button which allows you to get to said list:

A little bit of news regarding the upcoming patch: unfortunately the cinema functions are quite broken and since we don’t feel like it’s vital for it to work before the patch (it will take quite a while to sort it out), we’ve decided to close the cinema for a little bit. People who haven’t bought it yet will receive a warning that it currently doesn’t work, while people who unlocked it already will get a slightly different interior:

Of course it’s our goal that it won’t remain like this for too long, and we hope it won’t be too much of an inconvenience, but right now we’d really like to get the patch up and running sooner rather than later, so fixing the cinema will have to come second to that! :)

Next up, some more gear for that set that will be used as part of a quest in the arena! These items aren’t too good stat wise but they look sort of cool?! Will you be able to survive an arena challenge wearing only these things?

As part of the new patch, we’re adding and improving on a bunch of things both for Arcade and Story Mode. A few of those things involve new projectiles and ‘tails’ for projectiles to make them easier to read:

 

 

And as for a thing that won’t make it’s way into this patch but will be available soon is this nice butterfly net, which will be used as part of a quest given by Luigi in Evergrind City, granting you one of those fertilizer you’ll use on the small plants you can find here and there across the game to make them grow:

 

In Freds department, he continues to make effects, both in general and for the loop orbs specifically. Here’s a collection of his work this far:

This week we’ve been busy turning the guest house into an office; which turns out involved two full days of carrying stuff back and forth as well as disassembling and reassembling a whole bunch of furniture… Phew!

Even after these two days we’re not completely done; we’ve been looking into getting new desks (of the kind you can also use to stand up and work), and new, better chairs, seeing as we’ve had these for an incredibly long time and they’re pretty much just the most basic type of IKEA chairs. I spent most of the evening Monday doing some research on that topic, so hopefully we’ll have a better and prettier looking office soon :)

For now though, it’s good to be able to work together again! And being this close to home, it’s a lot easier with lunch breaks and the like as well. Feels great so far!

Now, time for the last of James fans! We felt like two were a bit too few to give a sense of him having a following, so we decided to make one more:

One thing we’ve been talking about a lot recently is the difficulty setting for Arcade Mode and how to adjust it to make it the best possible experience for the most people. Our recent idea is to introduce something we call loops, that I think is a quite popular theme in roguelike style games: the game starts out fairly easy (well, not easy – but easier compared to the current default difficulty setting!), and once you’ve finished all floors once, you’ll unlock a more difficult version.

This will be done through accessing an item you can activate through Bishop, and there will be more than one difficult increase; for instance, our current idea is that Arcade will begin on what could be equivalent to Story Mode’s normal difficulty setting, then once you complete it once you’ll access Arcade Mode’s current difficulty setting through activating the item at Bishop. Complete that difficulty and you’ll unlock another item that will trigger your next runs to be as difficult as the current difficulty setting plus Candy’s Hard Mode curse.

The true ending for Arcade and the final battle would only be accessible if you manage to complete the whole game with all difficulty increasing items activated. You’ll also be able to deactivate them if you find the difficulty has become too much for you to handle.

How do you feel about this “loop” idea? Is it something you think you’d enjoy or do you prefer it the way things are now?

Meanwhile, Fred works on making all sorts of effects for the Pins and their various functions! Our goal is that every pin will have some sort of visual indicator for what they’re doing, so there’s a lot of random small effects to be made:

And then we have this one, an effect showing up as the Pin collector himself literally stumbles into the world of Arcadia! Soon it’ll all be in place.. :)

We’re back from our little Easter holiday (spent at home)! Did you guys have a nice holiday? We hope you did try to find some peace even in the midst of this crisis the world is facing!

We’ve recharged our batteries and were very excited to get back to working properly. We started off the week with a long meeting discussing the mails we’ve received from a lot of the people who are to design items for the game! As I mentioned before we went on holiday, we would start sending out requests for the designs, and have since received quite a few replies which we’ve discussed and answered accordingly.

If you bought one of the tiers which allow you to design an item, please check your mail and get back to us whenever you can! :)

In order to make it easier for us to read and remember what needs to be made for each item and where to put it in the game, I was then tasked with sorting out a document that includes all of the most recent and relevant information given for each design. As this involves around 30 unique designs made by 30 different people, it’ll be a lot of info to make easily accessible!

We also managed to discuss some more end game things that have been on our mind for a bit; mainly regarding the Bishop’s role in the later parts of the game. I believe we will end up having several more conversations around this topic, and I think the specifics will be better saved for later on… But stay tuned!

Finally, we talked about the fact that a lot of people seem to misunderstand how best to farm in the game, with people often thinking you need to reset an area to farm most efficiently. The way it actually works is that the more you clear out an area, the quicker the respawn gets, so after clearing an area completely and killing the newly spawned enemies for a bit, the respawn rate will accelerate and get quicker and quicker (up to a point). To make this easier to know we’ll add a loading screen tip hinting at it, as well as some info about it in the school (that once it’s properly up and running will feature a lot of random mechanical information about the game).

And now, onwards to continue work on that mansion! :)

Taking the mansion on its first step to completion, starting with the hallway:

We’ll still improve on some things. To start off with, I’ll be making new decorations for the fountains, making them look a bit more luxurious and unique to the mansion. We’re also gonna replace the bottom pools and put some sort of statues and plants around them, and maybe add some paintings on the wall. But that’s for next time!

First, a portrait of one of the inhabitants of the mansion, namely one of the maids! There will be more of these later on, but here’s a start:

And here’s Fred’s work on the maids so far!

In order to get a finalized and proper view of everything left to do for the game and to check in with each other a bit more frequently, we’ve recently decided we’re gonna have (more or less) daily meetings over voice!

During these meetings we’re going to discuss at least one of the things we’ve yet to properly establish until we know exactly all that is left to do and what we need to do to finish it up. This time, our main subject was that of books, how to present them, what books we’d like to add to the game, and so on.

In a previous post I made a new interface for books which is in the shape of an actual book, complete with the ability to turn pages. However, due to space limitations, Teddy is worried that there might not be a way to make such a book while still allowing a good amount of space for the text that needs to be in it. After today’s meeting we’ve decided we’ll at least give it a go, since we feel like an interface like that would look so much better than just a box (even if our fallback plan would be to at least make it look like a piece of paper, rather than the regular brown box). I’ll keep you updated with how our testing around works out.

In terms of books to include, we want to keep a decent balance between informative things that might make the player understand the world and how it works better with more flavourful things like tales of collectors from days gone past.

We want there to be a “quest” (not yet sure if it’ll be an official quest with it’s own quest tracker and everything) where you can find books around the world and hand it in it to the library to read it. And of course, once you’ve found all of the hidden books, you’d get an additional reward as well.

We’d also like there to be a series of book by Grindea’s top author Penn Wryte, so that you can find Part 1 early on in the game, and then continue to find parts throughout your journey, until you have the complete story.

Outside of all this book talk, we’ve also started to send out mails to all of you that supported us in the early days and bought one of the tiers where you get to design items or quests for the game! We expect it will take some time to settle some of the designs, and it’ll be easier to find spots for these additional items to be found before everything else has been finished up; hence it’s about time to get going :)

Now, a look at some of those new faces from the cutscenes, including a few that were only included once the Stable patch went life (if you haven’t played table in a while, now might be a good time to check it out!):

Now, for a much longed for update from Fred’s department! Because of the spoilery nature of nearly every animation he’s made for a long time there hasn’t been many updates from him, but you can view all of his progress in the update which should also be on stable in one of the coming days if it isn’t up already!

Now, however, as we move on to less spoiler-y things, such as the mansion in Evergrind South, we can start showing more stuff again! Here we have a few of the inhabitants of the mansion, starting with the butler (as well as a few options for how he’s gonna look in the end):

Our current favorite is the second one from the left! Which one do you prefer?

There’s also the long awaited(?) appearance of Marino’s father, sitting in his solitude on the throne upstairs:

On to the portraits! Marino’s dad is a character we’ve definitely all longed to meet (no? just me?), and for reasons unknown we’ve decided to be inspired by a famous video game character when designing him, with hints being both in the portrait and the sprite itself. Can you guess who?

And a look at the second portrait, that of the Butler:

With Easter now being upon us next week, and the Stable update released and ready, it’s time for us to take a week off to rest and gather energy for the next stretch of work: finishing up all the loose threads in Story Mode and adding some more quests! Final stretch soon, can’t believe it :)

As usual, the blog will be on pause during our holiday, but it’ll be back up and running on Monday the 20th! Happy Easter everyone, and stay safe out there!

So as a lot of you may have noticed, our world is currently facing a new kind of illness that is spreading rapidly as we speak. This illness, Covid-19, is now found in every part of Sweden, including the island where we live. The government is keeping us updated daily with the changes they’re making and how they rally the fight against it, with big changes is happening fast.

In order to help slow down and limit the spread, a lot of companies are suggesting their employees work from home if they’re able. This isn’t a recommendation from our government as of yet, though it’s been implemented in other countries and a lot of companies make their own recommendations. Now we’re making that same move ourselves.

We’re only a small studio with three people, but because our office is part of an office hotel where a lot of other companies work as well, we’ve decided to move our work stations home for the time being. While we love our office and the opportunities it gives us to see other people (or just the exercise of walking or cycling to it), we’ve decided that if through working from home for a bit we can help slow down the spread, it’s what we’ll do. For the company, this means little change except out discussions will be held over voice or video chats instead of in person. Technically, it’s possible for us to work from anywhere with little hassle.

In other words, hopefully we’ll be able to continue on as normal. We hope that all of you are staying safe and remember to wash your hands! Let’s not panic but do what we can to protect those around us who are in risk of being seriously affected by this virus :)

Now, we’re starting off this week with a random surprise addition to the stable update, the ability to view Trick & Treat (the strange twins in Pumpkin Woods) true form if you talk to them in the spirit world! We do still have plans for these twins, but now it’s likely they will have to wait until post release. However, this little secret will do no harm in the game in the meanwhile :)

As part of the final cutscene before stable ends, Ivy will be briefly unveiled, so a new portrait had to be made! There will be a bunch of expressions going on here as well, but we’ll get to that once the cutscene is closer to completion.

Without further ado:

Next, when I was looking to add more maps to the desert, I quickly realized there’s a big lack of treasure maps featured in Mount Bloom and Tai Ming as well! In order to solve this, I went straight ahead and made a bunch, starting with Mount Bloom:

“[…] that cave long forgotten, beneath the dragon’s jaw.”

I buried my treasure
So none be aware
And took great measure
That none could compare
To guard these great riches
I asked Mother fair
And that little one
Whose teeth you beware
Between them my precious
Now has its lair

And another batch, for Tai Ming this time:

“Buried with these pink daisies
I leave with you my [item]”

—-

“By the entrance to our holy shrine
Beneath the bell forever silenced
Cracked with time and dust
I lie my hope and dreams to rest”

Can you guess where they all are?

Hello everyone! We’ve been talking a lot about the last remaining things and in what order to do them. We have a very long (about 30 pages!) document featuring ideas we’d like to implement at some point, and last week we decided to go through a bunch of those things and sort them into categories being: Included in 1.0, Added Post-Release, Unsure, and Scrapped.

The things that go into the “Included in 1.0” list are things we’ll start making as soon as possible, at least before we start work on the final dungeon. At first we were thinking of making the dungeon first, but thinking about it we’d rather get all the other bits and pieces done first, so that once the final dungeon, and with it, the finale to Story Mode gets added to the game people can start (re)playing the game from start to finish without worrying about missing out on content that will be added afterwards.

Some of the things currently set to be added before the final dungeon:

* Progress bar for trophies – to give you an idea of how much you’ve got left to do before unlocking them!

* In the card album, make the enemy icons grayed out for enemies you’ve encountered but haven’t gotten the card of yet – just a minor graphic upgrade to make things look more clean and gives you a better idea of what cards you’re missing.

* Adding more collectors, a lot of whom will appear out in the fields and areas. We don’t want the player to feel like all of the collectors are just being lazy at home in Evergrind City! A lot of them are out there adventuring, just like you.

* More treasure maps; a lot have already been made but haven’t yet been implemented. Make new ones for the desert.

* Add some basic PVPing to the arena.

* Add some basic shield training to the Dojo in Evergrind City

* Decide what to do about the cut off house in Evergrind; either add a bridge from the beginning or a quest in which it gets added/fixed.

* Finish up loose quest lines (such as Remedi’s and Grandpa Joe & Miss Pidgy)

* An archaeologist that will be investigating the ancient ruins to the north of the farm

* The fertilizers that will make the sprouts grow and allow you to climb them. These will be found here and there throughout the game, with the last one being given to you after you beat the boss for the first time.

* A system where Quinton will rate your collection and give you a proper Collector rank depending on how much you’ve managed to collect this far.

* The Mansion in Evergrind South! About time you get to see what it’s like in there and who lives there, isn’t it?

* Reveal Trick & Treat’s true forms if you talk to them in the spirit world…

* A quest to resolve the mysterious scarecrow’s plight.

* The spring room in the Temple of Season’s lobby

* A satisfying ending to Steve’s journey to escape mushrooms

* Some sort of quest relating to the giant tree in the desert (not yet decided upon)

We also have a list of quests that we may or may not implement before 1.0 depending on how it all ends up feeling once the above things have been added. If we don’t add them now, they’ll likely be added later on, in a post release update. We’ve already started thinking about a couple such updates, among them two seasonal ones adding stuff for Halloween and Christmas in their respective areas (Pumpkin Woods & Seasonne).

We’ve also decided that Griddle’s card game (which is yet to be designed), the Puzzle Tower outside of Mount Bloom, the mandatory chicken boss you only get to meet after beating the chickens a bazillion times, and a New Game+ mode will be added after 1.0.

There’s still a lot of details to iron out, and a lot of meetings to have regarding some of the remaining systems we need to fix (such as a new and improved pet system), but for now we’ve actually gone through most of the list for Story Mode, although there’s a bunch of suggestions left to pick for Arcade Mode.

And with us having decided to add a bunch of random collectors, I’ll waste no time getting to those portraits as they’re needed for Fred to make the sprites! I also don’t want there to get to a point where I have to make only portraits for a long while to catch up, so let’s get to it; the first collector of a whole bunch:

…and her brother:

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

Here’s the outside:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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