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

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!

Hello guys! This post is one day late due to the easter holidays, so apologies for that. Hope you’ve had a great time :D

Now, last week was quite interesting in terms of game design discussions. Our original idea for the ghost ship was for you to battle the Captain two times, where the second encounter would be harder and more bullet hell-y as he’d be using some high tech equipment found on the ship. However, after a lot of discussions back and forth we’ve decided to try out new ideas for the second boss battle. The reason behind this is that we simply didn’t feel too excited about the attacks and patterns we’d come up with for the boss, and we kind of felt like something completely different might fit better gameplay wise.

So, because of this, we’ll start looking into a different type of boss, something that has more of a pattern since there will be enough bullet hell-y elements as is in this dungeon. Our most recent idea is to go with the theme of eyes that has been quite prominent in the ghost world so far, and use some sort of giant eye as a boss – more on that later after we got some prototypes up and running!

Because Teddy has been having some bonus time while he’s waiting for graphics, he’s been starting work on some Arcade Mode stuff; specifically a new type of challenge (or mode if you will) where everything is more randomized!

Specifically, this means when doing this challenge thing, you won’t level up normally, but you’ll get your skills and upgrades through chests and as drops from enemies:

Upon completing a floor you’ll get to choose from three upgrades as well, giving you some options on how to proceed with your build (keep in mind the graphics are still placeholder, we’ll come up with some fancier way of illustrating this):

We’re not yet sure when this mode/challenge will unlock, or when we’ll get to finish it, but the foundation is there now anyway! How do you guys feel about it? Excited for some more randomized factor in Arcadia, or do you think you’ll stick to the regular mode?

Continuing with the Arcade Mode intermission, it’s time to make some more of those rooms! To spice things up a bit in the desert floor(s), we’ll be having some cave rooms as well as those outdoor ones. They will not be as frequent as the others though, so I’m only making two different sizes for these!

For the foundation of the rooms, I’ll be using one of the math caves as a base:

And then, since these rooms will almost always lead back outside, I made a special exit that show the outside rather than darkness:

And here we have the two room sizes:

Now, for that new boss prototype I mentioned earlier! Teddy has put together something quickly with the help of some very basic placeholder art from Fred:

So one of the things with this eye boss is that it automatically forces you into the ghost world, where you’ll have to deal with all sorts of obstacles. After a while you’ll be able to swap back into the regular world – but only for a short while, so you better time it well!

The next thing it does is that it will spawn other eyes with different eye colors, which you have to eliminate in a certain order. Fail to do so (or do it too slowly) and you’ll get punished and take some damage:

Right now the eye simply tells you the order, but in the finished version you’ll get a different sort of hint, probably through the eye changing color or something like that:

Back in Arcade Mode it’s time to make a set of decorations for the different rooms that can be mixed and matched to create a lot of different room graphics. Our strategy for this is that I’ll make 3 different sets of decorations for each corner of every room size, which can then be mixed and match with the other corners, creating a ton of different combinations for each room.

As always, I use the editor to do these things, so that Teddy can easily add each of them into the engine:

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.

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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WIP video:

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lots of more arena challenges , including PVP.

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

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

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