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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some more greenery to spice up these backgrounds:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This week, we’ll start off by making some more minor detail stuff, namely adding masks for each of the 2nd level floors now that they’ve been properly finished! As before, these masks help determine over which parts certain floor effects in the ghost world will appear, so that they don’t turn up over objects they shouldn’t:

Next it’s time to finish up the third and final floor of this ship (finally), starting with the captain’s room! We had a sketch for this room from before, and I already made the captain’s portrait that we wanted in here, so it’s just a matter of adding the rest of the stuff:

And after that, it’s of course time to turn the whole room into its ghost world version, standard procedure as always:

And now, time for a new room! This room was born from the type, where Ghost Ship turned into Ghost Shop… and it did seem like such an interesting idea that we thought ‘why not’? So without further ado, the ghost shop:

Meanwhile, Fred’s been busy finishing up a ton of enemy animations, working on the kitchen and making some other flavor animations to make the ghost ship …come alive… a bit more! Here’s a bunch of the stuff he’s been working on recently:

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:

This week it’s time for some more trap prototyping! This time we’ve been working on those eyes we’re using in the ‘ghost bridge’ room, but here they serve as a ‘trap’ of sort in an ordinary fighting room.

In our first iteration, we used the eye in the same way we use it in the ghost bridge room; basically moving back and forth in a set speed. If you’re in the regular world, the beam from its eye will be slightly transparent and won’t deal damage, while in the ghost world it’s darker and will damage you quite a bit if you get hit by it.

For the second iteration, we wanted the eye to feel more ‘alive’, so we’ve given it a couple patterns. Either it will slowly open its eye and cast a beam straight forward, or it’ll look to the sides as in the example above for a little bit before closing up again. These patterns are then randomized so you never know which one it will do next; you’ll have to keep track of it to know how to dodge it.

We do prefer the second version so far, as it makes the eye feel more like a living thing rather than something that just ‘blindly’ (ha) looks back and forth forever. It also keeps the players on their toes a bit since they need to keep track of what it will do next, rather than just dodge the eye beam over and over.

And now, time for something much less exciting but still very needed… Some background masking! This is a technique we use when we want certain effects and such to only be visible on the floor and nowhere else. Basically, each part of the floor is painted with a color (in this case a pretty pink), which will be used as a guide in the game for where the effect can appear.

Starting out by applying this to the first floor rooms, since we want to finish up the first floor and get it all sorted out before we move on to the other floors:

Next up, the captain’s portrait! To make sure I’m getting his features right, I’m going to trace the boss sprite for this one, using it as a base for the portrait:

And here’s the finished thing:

As I mentioned before, we’re currently working on finishing up the first floor. That means going over each room and adding the remaining details that have been missing. For the very first room, that entails adding a ton of boxes and crates to give the room a bit more ‘storage room’-y feeling:

Quite a few boxes! We thought of blocking the path leading straight to the door, but ended up keeping it open as we felt like forcing the player to take the long way around might feel a bit overdesigned.

Meanwhile in the animation department, the enemies are finally being polished into their final forms, their animations cleaned up with further details added. Just look at this:

Time to go over the rooms one more time and make a bunch of fixes! First up, making the room we made most recently slightly smaller, just to give it a feeling of being more crowded:

Secondly, roughing up the edges of the water part of the first boss battle room, so it doesn’t look as purposefully made:

Next, because of the mechanic allowing the player to fall down from ghost bridges in this room, I had to change the side of the hole slightly to make sure the player can’t fall down into it:

Also remade part of this background so that as the bookcase slides to the left to reveal the door upon completing the puzzle hidden inside, the floor shows the path accordingly:

And finally, added some numbers to the cabin room entrances, just to give it the feel of actually being cabins:

Now, after talking about it some more, we actually decided to make the small map room even smaller, and by quite a lot:

I made a painting of the ghost ship in its regular as well as its ‘spirit world’ version:

And also made a portrait that will be used later on in the captain’s room, featuring the captain himself. This time I started with the spirit world version, and went on to make make the regular world/human version:

And next, something small from the port town of Port Monnaie, adding a path to the left side entrance to the mayor’s house. At first we tried with a carpet, but we ended up going with the path since we thought it just looked a little bit better in the end:

Next up, it’s time to add some of those decorations Fred were playing around with to the rooms! I’ll start by adding them to the first floor to begin with, since we want to get that floor as completed as possible before moving on. Our hope is to be able to play through the first floor in its proper form asap, so we finally can get a real feeling for what everything’s supposed to be like before moving on.

So, here goes:

I definitely feel these decoration help with giving the ship a more… ship-y feel? And also makes quite a big difference in the detail level of each room as well. What do you guys think?

Now, finally it’s time to get up close and personal with the final enemy in the ghost ship: the crabs! They’ve been ‘finished’ for quite a while, but after we tested them Teddy removed the prototype room so I couldn’t record any gifs showing ’em off!

Now though, let’s take a look at these beasts:

Our inspiration for these guys were pretty much the boars, straight up. Just a semi-tanky enemy that can rush in and annoy you while you’re minding your own business. They also have some regular attacks, but if you stay too far away from them, chances are higher they will run in to mess you up, as seen above.

Upon defeating them, they will fall onto their back and disappear in the usual puff of smoke!

Unlike the other enemies in the ghost ship, the crabs are the only ones that work the same regardless of whether you’re in the ghost world or regular world. So, where the ghosts might become invulnerable or invisible in the regular world and gain increasingly powerful attacks in the ghost world, these guys will continue on as usual.

Meanwhile, Fred’s been busy making all kinds of creepy animations for the ship, taking the props I made and making them even more creepy by having them move (or making completely new and creepy animation we’ll stick here and there across the ship):

Which one’s your favorite? I think mine’s the first, featuring the lovely bag!

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?