With the the buildings and their corresponding mechanics fully implemented into the new, revamped Arcadia, it’s now time for the final few things we want to add before it’s time to get to testing! We’ve always planned to add more randomized event rooms, and with the rework we feel it’s a good time to add in a few of them.

Here’s the one we’ll add this time around:

Buff Shrines
A shrine that, upon approaching it, gives you a random buff for a limited time. The buffs we’ve got planned are the usual basic ones: increased attack (both magic and physical), increased cast & attack speed and increased EP regeneration. But we’ve also come up with a few less common: one that makes your shield much stronger, one that increases your movement speed, and one in which you won’t get knocked back. These last three will need to be tested to see whether they will actually be nice buffs to have in this setting, but we have our hopes up.

Grindea’s Blessings
A room with a Grindea statue that grants you permanent (as in they last until you end the run) blessings. These can be a level up, a gold skillpoint, a few talent orbs, gold, or a heal!

Shadier Merchant
A mysterious salesman who sells powerful items and skillpoints in exchange for a portion of your max HP. He’ll have three items on display each time this room appears, and depending on the item he’ll reduce your max HP by a certain number.

Little J
…will start appearing as well! First as a prisoner which you’ll need to save from a mean mini-boss, but once he’s released he’ll start appearing in shop rooms, allowing you to upgrade your bow as you progress through the floors.

We have more rooms planned as well, but for now we’ll just include the ones mentioned above (we gotta get that update out after all – we’ve been at it quite a while!) Once they are implemented we’ll only need to do some slight inhouse testing before pushing it out to frontline though, so stay tuned!

Now, with the new event rooms decided upon and fully designed, it’s time to get to making some new graphics. Or rather bringing in and adjusting some of our existing ones to fit the theme of these rooms.

First we have the Blessings of Grindea rooms, which will give permanent upgrades of various sorts (or just a simple heal). Our idea here is that the chest will open up and reveal the blessing as you receive it:

Next, Shadier merchant and his carpets. We might add some more props to this guy in the future, or maybe make him a different character entirely (a vampire, perhaps, seeing as he wants your life force ;)). For now though, he sits by a couple of torches, with each item displayed on a tiny carpet in front of him:

Finally, the buff shrines. Our idea here is that a buff icon will appear in the middle of the circle as you approach it. A strategy might be to avoid going close enough to activate the shrine until you find the boss room – but on the other hand, getting there without the buff might be hard enough! What will you do?

 

With these implemented, the Arcadia rework is more or less done (aside from some smaller polish things). Now all that remains is some inhouse testing to make sure things aren’t too buggy for the frontline users.

…and it’s a good thing we did! One of the first things we noticed was a hard to figure out bug that crashed the game every time we entered a specific type of event room. There’s also been a lot of other smaller but kind of obvious bugs that we’ve been able to clean out that definitely would impact the player experience.

Other than that though, our testing sessions have gone really well. Most things work and the main new feature (the building your town thing) feels pretty satisfying, to us at least! The whole of Arcade Mode has gotten some upgrades pacing wise, with things unlocking as you progress, which feels a lot more satisfying.

There’s still some bug hunting to do, and some smaller things to fix, but you should be able to expect the update around the 10-12th April, if things go as planned.

After several hours played we’ve far from unlocked everything, which is great. While I only get to the second floor of Evergrind and Fred gets to the later floors of the whole thing, we’ve unlocked things in approximately the same amount of time, which is as we intended.

The time it takes to get enough gold to unlock new buildings actually feels surprisingly well balanced in our opinion, but that might of course change once we upload everything to Frontline and hear more opinions!

As always when looking at something you haven’t touched for a while, there’s some eyesores. In between testing (when waiting for Teddy to upload patches with bug fixes), I went ahead and fixed a bunch of smaller things:

I forgot to draw an arrow from the old to the new money bags, but needless to say, the left one is the old and the right one is the new. The portraits have been slightly touched up. I still have a dream of going back and remaking a bunch of the older portraits one final time before we release the game properly, but for now these quick touchups will have to do :)

With this testing we’re getting closer to an actual estimate of when the Arcadia rework will go live on Frontline as well! If nothing unexpected happens, we aim to have it done around 10-12th April, basically somewhere early that week. There are still some small things we need to add or fix graphics wise, and we have a lot more systems to test as well, but this estimate includes the time we expect to spend on bug fixes.

Finally, let’s talk about one of the things Fred has been working on recently: Loods! In Arcadia, this is the name of a new feature, namely these cute little beings who appear randomly in rooms in Arcade Mode runs:

The Loods are mysterious creatures of unknown origins. Some say they are linked to the goddess Grindea in some way, but who can tell for sure? What we do know, though, is that there are several kinds of Loods in different colors, and that upon defeating a Lood, it will turn into treasure!

What kind of treasure the Lood turns into depends on what kind of Lood it is. Currently there are four known kinds who give gold, items, talent orbs and health pots respectively. Defeating them in itself won’t be too hard, since they don’t attack – the challenge lies in defeating them before they get bored and run off! As such, once a Lood spawns you have a very limited time in which you may try to defeat it to get the treasure. Fail, and it will simply leave!

Once the Lood is defeated it will turn into an idle form, which, upon room completion turns into a chest. We hope that the Loods will make Arcade runs even more interesting, as it adds a little random factor to the regular rooms. We have thoughts of including evil Loods that you need to defeat in order to be spared from something annoying as well, but we’ll see how things go with these friendly Loods first.

Can’t wait to hear your feedback on all of this once the patch goes live!

Time to start tying things together in the desert town (maybe we should come up with a name for it soon)! To start off this week I’m gonna focus on getting the groundwork (haha, get it) done, putting in some sand details and paths around the town, as well as making a few pieces of greenery to decorate the area.

First though, let’s deal with the walls surrounding the town! First I put in a quick something based on the piece of wall I made in the map outside of this one:

But I quickly felt this texture is way too busy, so instead I’m toning it down by a lot, so it doesn’t bother the eye quite as much:

Now, time to start working on that greenery! First up, a palm tree in three different sizes, and then, a little bush with berries:

Along the way I also adjusted the height of the wall, and made a few green versions of the cacti to go inside town:

Now it’s time to work on that sand beginning with the edges towards the water:

And then some sand surrounding the beach and the harbor:

And some decorative grass on said sand:

Applying the grass on the rest of the map:

…. and finally some of those roads, so you know where you’re going:

We continue to work on the details of the desert town, this time zooming into the harbor area. Crates, ropes and carpets are on the menu as we give this place a little more personality:

With so many new characters appearing in and around the desert town, I can only keep making portraits hoping to one day catch up with the number of sprites Fred makes for the area! Today it’d time to introduce the bartender who cleans glasses (and serves drinks) in the Saloon.

First, a reminder of his sprite from a while ago:

And then the WIP and finished version version:

And now, it’s my turn to take a quick break from the Desert Town to fix somethings for Arcadia! First up there’s a new NPC, who will appear as you develop the farm. Her character sprite was actually made a long time ago for story mode, where she’d play a mechanic part that was since scrapped:

Meanwhile, since Chika will be responsible for the eggs and hatching mechanics, we thought it was time to upgrade her from being permanently sad to actually enjoying her job a little (who doesn’t like chickens and/or eggs, right?):

Speaking of eggs, those things need drop appearances since you will be able to walk around with them in your inventory:

And as part of the farm experience, there will be a new perk as well! This one will make capturing eggs easier. Since my first attempt at this perk icon (the left) looked a bit like it had more to do with apples than pet capturing, I made a second version (on the right) which will more likely be the ones we’ll use:

And finally.. A strange little box:

What it will be used for? Announcing that you’ve captured a new fish, that will become available in your Aquarium in town, of course!

As for Fred, this week he has been battling a cold, but that didn’t stop him from making three salespeople for the market area of the desert town!

Here we have a shield maker polishing a shield, a potion salesman tempting you with one of those health pots (possibly?) and a weapon smith applying some final polish on her latest sword:

With the roof and stand decorations covering a little of their appearance, here’s a version showing what they look like without it (for science… or something):

There’s also a jar merchant, doing some final adjustments to his/her latest piece:

The desert town becomes more and more of a bustling town with these additions! We hope it’ll be able to rival Tai Ming in how alive it feels with NPCs and animations here and there. Don’t worry though, we won’t make it into a full “temple/dungeon” kind of deal. It’s just a chill place where you can grab some quests and upgrade your gear before heading on to the next real challenge :)

It’s been a while since we had a post with design decisions and the main reason for that is simply that we haven’t had much to talk about! I’ve been busy making stuff for the desert town while Teddy has been implementing all of the stuff me and Fred made for Arcadia. Recently we sat down to talk about two things though, and the subjects of those talks can be found in the title…

First up the Arcadia version of the Farm. Our first idea was that this place would be a place where you could get taming items and capture the same enemies that you can currently catch in Story Mode, which will then start living in the pasture outside the farm (or inside town if you decide to leave the gate open).

After some discussion we thought this would be a little underwhelming though, seeing as you don’t bring along your pets here as you do in story mode. So instead, our goal is that you’ll be able to tame not only all of the enemies, but also that you’ll be able to capture several of the same species, and decide yourself how many of each or which of the animals you want to display in the farm. To do this we’ll add an interface showing how many of each animal you currently own and how many are currently outside in the pasture.

To catch these animals you’ll use bait in the same way as you do in Story Mode, but you’ll be able to buy more from Oak in order to capture more of the same kind. Chickens will be the main exception to this. They will instead be acquired through eggs that you can purchase from Chika, who will also be present in the Arcadian farm. The eggs can be placed in nests inside the farm building, and take a set amount of ingame time before they hatch.

At the moment you’ll only be able to capture the animals available as pets in Story Mode, but our goal is to be able to tame and keep each type of enemy in the pasture.

Meanwhile, Haddock’s role in Story Mode has been quite underwhelming outside of him giving you a fishing rod early on. To remedy this, we’re having him give you quests, where the rewards are aquariums for your housing house. Each aquarium has enough space for a set number of fishes (which you select yourself from the ones you keep in your inventory). There will be a variety of sizes available and each come with different styles of inside decoration. As for the quests, they will be centered around fishing and presenting Haddock with different fishes.

Now, time for some mixed Arcadia fixes! I know we’re not completely done with the Desert Town, but I needed to go back to Arcadia to fix these things so Teddy can continue implementing ’em. First up, we decided to change the name of:

..to the slightly more ominous:

Our reasoning here was that a ‘challenge’ sounds like something it’s possible to overcome, while the idea of these insane runs is more a case of seeing how far you can get before the inevitable end.

Speaking of insane runs, the boss practice in the Arena needed a new interface where you get a ranking ranging from S to D on your encounter with said boss. Points will be deduced if you take hits or take very long to finish:

Next up, here’s a little reminder of what Master Ji’s dojo looked like when I was done with it:

…and the reason I’m showing it is so you can compare it to this smaller version:

We decided to make it smaller to make better room for the camera and just limit the space in general: there’s really no reason to run around to much when your main goal is to shield the enemies!

Next, another reminder, this time of the farm:

As mentioned, you’ll be able to hatch chickens from (enormous) eggs, so I went ahead and made the nests where these will be placed:

Investigating an egg will give you a hint of how much time remains before the egg is ready to hatch (though in rather vague terms ranging from ‘not in a while’ to ‘soon’, hah! The actual amount of time it’ll take will be decided on as we continue testing.

Next up, some small interface things, namely a button for selecting shield training and ‘shop title’ windows for when you talk to Master Ji, Muffin or Candy respectively:

We’re not completely done with Arcadia yet, and with our new ideas for the farm, it’s time for me to put together some basic interfaces for the new features.

First, an interface for deciding how many animals of each kind you want roaming around the pasture/full map:

The numbers are placeholder for now but are supposed to be how many animals are currently outside vs how many you have in total. The % will be a / in the final version, I just quickly used the % here to make sure there was enough room for everything:

Next, an interface for equipping taming items. We’ve decided that you’ll only be able to carry one taming item with you on your arcade run, to avoid cheese strats where you carry an infinite amount and tame all the difficult enemies rather than battle them. On the flip side of this we also decided that you’ll be able to use the same taming item until you’ve successfully tamed an enemy, rather than having to buy a new one every time.

In the interface, you’ll see the taming item on the left, and what enemy it tames to the right:

Of course, in order to get to this portion of the menu, a button is needed. We considered using the regular Buy button, but since this doesn’t work the same way the regular shop interface does, we made a new one for buying Taming Items:

Meanwhile, the eggs Chika sells will be available in a regular shop, which means it needs a shop title box, as seen below:

Next we have another portrait! This is the second armwrestler, the opponent of the one shown last week. A quick reminder of the sprite version:

The one is actually a young lady, but not much more is known about her for now. Most of these Saloon NPCs will probably mainly be background characters that won’t get much of a story of their own, but never say never! It’s always good to have a number of spare characters for upcoming quest ideas.

Progress and finished portrait:

Fred continues to take requests on animations given by Teddy as he fleshes out the revamped Arcade Mode. Most recently, we needed a receptionist for the Aquarium which will house your collected fishes. Since we have but one master of the fishing rod, we decided to put him on duty here as well, and in doing so give him an animation from the side:

Next, a little something to help enhance Master Ji’s shield training! This shield will appear whole or break, depending on whether you win or lose his current challenge:

Here’s a little sneak peek of what it currently looks like, though we’ll likely change a few details:

As for the pet business, we thought there should be a slightly bigger fanfare to capturing the pets now that they very clearly get sent down to Arcadia rather than go with you (perhaps we should add this effect to story mode as pets get sent to the farm as well):

Finally, another inhabitant of the desert town, a guy who might just have spent a little too long in the sun (or perhaps should have removed his sunglasses first):

This week it’s time to start work on the upper right corner of the desert town, featuring the market area! In this first video, I’ll be making the first market stand which will serve as a base for the rest. The first one here belongs to someone selling jars: how exciting. …Or maybe not!

In the second part of the Marketplace, I’m making a bigger stand featuring three different sellers: one who sells weapons, one who sells potions and one who sells shields. A little more useful for the player, compared to the previous one, perhaps :)

Before continuing on with the market, have a portrait! This one is of one of the armwrestlers from two weeks ago:

The WIP:

…and finished sprite:

The final part of the marketplace means making three new stands, one for carpets, one double for hats/accessories and one for souvenirs! Also changed the color of the jar stand to further separate the stands from one another:

Meanwhile, this week Fred has worked on a bunch of NPCs! Not only will there be an autumn fae bandit leader in the Saloon, you’ll also get to see a couple of old friends(?), who may or may not be too excited about running into you again:

In the desert town more NPCs are appearing as well, and here’s one of them, a swimmer enjoying the clear water:

As Teddy continues to implement Arcadia Rework stuff, one or two new animations were requested as well. Here’s an animation featuring the gate to the farm, which can be either open or closed. If it’s open, the animals you keep at the farm will be able to roam around the entire map, while if it’s closed they’ll be kept inside the pasture:

Time to make Grindeas first set of boats! Starting with a small and rather simple one, there will be several more before we’re done. This is actually the first time I’m drawing boats, so bear with me and expect several stages of improving and adding details to these as we continue on.

Without further ado, the first one:

The second boat is actually more of a ship! There will be another similar one of these nearby, too. As you can see in the WIP video below, at first the sail was down, but as it was pointed out to me you don’t keep sails down while in port… I changed it (I know absolutely nothing of ships but it was a pretty dumb thing to not realize sooner! I’m sorry!)

WIP and finished thing:

Time for the third “boat”, which also is no regular boat, but a houseboat! I’m not 100% this is the color scheme we’ll go for in the end, but for now it’s a green, red and brown quirky kind of deal:

The final boat post this week and the final boat in the port: another smaller vessel this time, filled with cargo! Maybe it has come in from a bigger ship docked outside the harbor area?

As for Fred, this week he continues to make NPCs for the Saloon! As mentioned last week, there will be a lot of different characters here, and not all are human… Below is another selection of people visiting or working at this place: a bartender cleaning a glass, a caveling using a slot machine, someone at the bar, and a pianist for entertainment!

…and yes, Teddy is still working on implementing all the new Arcadia systems! Keep in mind there’s a lot of new mechanics to add, so it’s taking a little while. He’s aaaalmost done and ready to let us inhouse test before handing it over to you guys though! Stay with us just a couple of more weeks~

With the desert town progress underway, we decided to make a few changes on the right side of the map before I start rendering those houses. Here’s the original sketch (please excuse the house on the left side which I forgot to remove before saving this):

We decided to change the bottom left house in the picture below to one big two-story house instead, and add a large crate on the right house with a jump down, as well as another jump down on the lower level of the left house. This will make the houses stand out a bit more from the rest, and will look more interesting overall.

We also decided to add an entrance to the topmost house and move the marketplace a bit accordingly. We found that it having no entrance looked a bit empty, and the market place will probably only look better if it’s a little more pushed together:

On to the Ice cream parlor, which as I mentioned had a problem with the mirrored windows. I fixed this and added some silhouettes showing through the glass:

And now, since we have done a bit of work on the lower left side of the map, I decided to tie things together a bit by adding the remaining houses and some decorative stuff. I also replaced the church’s weaponry with Grindea-related imagery:

Now, the desert town creation continues with two new houses, a pair of buildings linked together by a rather thin pair of planks! The one on the left is supposed to be the living quarters of someone, while the one on the right is thought to be a warehouse of sorts. Not sure if both will be open or if we’ll close the doors on the warehouse until we can figure out a cool quest or something to happen in there.

For now, here’s the progress of the exterior:

Next we have the harbor, a rather big undertaking that will have to be divided in multiple parts! First up, the core of it all, the bridges:

These bridges will lead to a number of boats of different sizes, which will be what I focus on next. There will be crates and NPCs unloading cargo and strange items here as well, which is why this part is quite big compared to the rest of the town. By the time everything is finished we hope it’ll be all bustling with activity!

And now, time for another desert portrait! This time it’s the grandpa of the gardener family, the father of the mother who keeps pulling out poor baby carrots. His sprite, made by Fred, was posted a couple of weeks ago first:

This week Fred has been working on a bunch of NPCs, these too for the desert area. First up is several iterations of the NPC responsible for the jumping vegetable enemies posted before! This guy is an old gardener who has become a little.. unhinged in later years… I will say no more than that! Here’s a bunch of iterations, with the final version inside the green circle:

Next up, it’s time to fill the Saloon with people! While the interior of the Saloon hasn’t been made yet, there will be a ton of people there, so Fred has already begun working on a bunch of them!

First, there are two people in the midst of arm wrestling, and a trio playing cards:

There will be more like these coming, as we hope to create a feeling of the Saloon being bustling with activity, card games and entertainment :)

Another week and more desert progress! This week it’s time to begin making those houses that will appear in the desert town. First up is the church, where a certain follower of Grindea will appear:

In the beginning we thought it’d be fun to have a sword at the top of the building, kind of emulating the way churches here in the west have crosses up there, but we’ll probably replace this to something more associated with Grindea later on, such as a bigger version of Essence or something along those lines. For now though, here’s what it looks like:

Next building is the Ice Cream parlor! A place where you’ll be able to get a yummy snack. In the final image below, the window got mirrored so the light on it comes in opposite directions. I will fix this in the final version and possibly put silhouettes of ice creams through the glass as well.

Here’s the WIP:

And the next part of town I’ll focus on is the beach! A place where people go to relax and enjoy the pleasant weather around this area. Maybe play some beach volleyball or take a swim in the water:

The water around the area looks a little lacking right now, but I plan on asking Fred to make some animations for waves coming onto the shoreline, ans well as the usual water decorations:

Now, another portrait! Continuing on with the family of gardeners, it’s time to make a portrait of the father, the guy with the pot of unknown liquid:

And here’s the WIP:

As the Arcadia rework is well on its way, Fred has moved on to make a couple of things needed for it, in this case a sprite of Candy that isn’t hidden behind her giant cauldron, and a cute little familiar we decided to add that tags along with her:

How cute! Wouldn’t you like to have one of those familiars of your own? ….Well, maybe you will. Maybe you will.

Another week, and work on the desert continues! Before I start sketching the town layout, I wanted to get a feeling of how the houses would look like, so I began to sketch a bunch of alternatives for random basic buildings. Like the house in one of the desert maps, these have a slightly different design compared to the rest of the houses in the game, much like the buildings in Tai Ming:

Once I was done with the sketches, I added a character sprite and quickly realized they were much bigger than they would be in game, so I resized them to fit better:

In order to truly grasp what they look like, I decided to make a few of them in the actual artstyle too. This will give a better feel for color and shape, and I’ll be able to use these houses in the game, or at least parts of them, depending on what the final town design ends up being.

Here’s the WIP:

Alright, time to start looking at the desert town! …Neither the desert nor the desert town has been named yet, I guess we’ll have to fix that sooner or later… But anyway! As mentioned, we had already decided on a bunch of major things we wanted to include in the town, among those a church, an ice cream parlor, a marketplace, a beach and a harbor area with ships. With this in mind I began making a sketch of what I imagined the area to look like, with the list of features in mind:

As always with these sketches, we added it as a flat background to the game and ran around in it, imagining it the way it’d look when everything is done. It led us to a bunch of changes:

* Adding more water to the bottom and left, making sure the camera doesn’t stop scrolling when you near the edge of the land. This makes it more pleasant to the eye and helps give a feeling that the sea is more vast.

* The bridge near the harbor area would be increased in size, both in regards to width as well as length. We plan on adding a bunch of NPCs to make it seem bustling enough. We also added more ships, to increase the sense of it being a lively port.

* We reduced to overall size of the entire thing (but just slightly), with the exception of the beach which we found to be of adequate size.

* We made the north entrance a bit more fancy looking, having space for a couple of guards rather than palm trees being the very first thing you run into. We also moved the fountain near the northern entrance to a more central position.

Here’s the upgraded version, and what we’ll use as a base for the city:

And as Fred keeps making NPCs, I get to make more portrait. This time it’s for the lady gardener, struggling to get the vegetables growing (maybe if she stopped pulling them up and let them grow it’d go better, but who am I to judge). Here’s the sprite, for those who forgot:

And here’ the WIP and final (for now) portrait:


A quick break to fix some Arcadia things that popped up! To begin with, Bishop’s challenges of course needs a interface of its own:

The basic design is pretty much the same as Master Ji’s shield training, but instead of having either a star or nothing, this interface will show you what floor you reached on your best run during a challenge! Completing a whole run will give you a gold star, though to be honest we don’t expect a lot of people to manage that:

A slight adjustment has been made to the inventory title box in Arcadia as well… For as you can see, the original version includes bag:

…and since bag is not included in Arcade Mode, we simply replaced him with trunk instead:

The health pot also won’t be available from Remedi’s potions in Arcadia. It’s possible we’ll include an Arcade-only potion, but until we come up with one or in case we don’t, we made a special icon showing that the health pot is unavailable in this mode:

Teddy’s working on implementing each of the new buildings, and while working on Muffin’s Treats we realized we need to edit how the item frame(s) look:

As you can see the item frames are a bit too big for the treat icons, so I made a slightly edited version of the fancy one in the description box that will be used for these! As I took the opportunity to upgrade the overall look of it, we decided to update the regular item frames in the rest of the game to look more like it as well:

As for the selection frames, they will be using the treat/curse frames seen in the bottom UI instead, but at the time of the screenshot, they hadn’t been implemented just yet.

Next, we forgot that you of course need to browse to Treats, Curses and Challenges in a popup window (same as when you select buy or talk in shops), so they needed icons as well:

Finally, a minor edit: we decided to change name of Trunk of Tricks to Trunk of Tips:

This way it’ll feel slightly more different from Bag of Tricks :)

As for Fred, this time around he has animated the cacti I made a while ago! As mentioned, these won’t be destructible but will only wiggle a little when you hit ’em:

Some of them will be able to get frozen though, and those you’ll be able to destroy to make your way slightly quicker through the first desert area:

In Arcadia, a cage being built to house NPCs that you’ll be able to release during your runs after defeating a mini-boss!

Of course, it also needs an animation for when you successfully save a captured NPC and let them go:

Time to start (continue) working on the desert for real! Since the sketch is all done, it’s time to start bringing the fourth desert area to life, and we’ll start with the Saloon:

There are still a few things to do with this place, but I feel it’s best to iterate things rather than make the whole thing in one go – the best ideas usually come when you have the basics down and let it rest for a day. Instead, I’ll continue working on the basic skeleton of the area: getting the walls and general decorations down, before continuing adding props on a more detailed level!

For now, here’s what the Saloon looks like right now:

And now, time for the rest of the area! As mentioned, this is best done in several parts, starting with the basics:

The entrance to the harbor town will be in the lower parts of this area, which will be indicated by a wall of sorts, much like the wall around Evergrind City:

Next up, I’m adding a bunch of props using the editor, mainly cacti and bushes, and then, the path leading to the town and Saloon:

Then, some texture decorations of the sand and a bunch of pots:

Now it’s time to get down to detail level, adding stuff to give this area a little bit personality. First up, a few wanted posters along the way to the Saloon:

The Saloon will be a hangout for a bunch of shady characters, which will be foreshadowed by the posters above. As for the Saloon itself, there are some details left that I want to get down:

Finally, I’m adding some more stuff to the rest of the area using the editor: crates, barrels, jars, and a few bushes. In the end, here’s the area for now, more or less completed:

In the portrait area, we’re not done with the archaeologists just yet! Here’s the portrait of another one, the pink haired one shown a few weeks ago:

And the WIP:

In Fred’s department, his vegetables are now fully animated, bouncing around ready to be implemented as actual enemies:

And the female gardener from last week gets a husband who’s inside the house stirring.. a pot of water? A bland soup? Who can tell!

What we do know though, is that her father is keeping an eye on him, making sure everything is done correctly:

New week, new interfaces! This time it’s the last couple of interfaces for Arcade Mode, featuring how to build new houses and a notification window for when new NPCs are added to town:

Above is the first quick sketch of the notification box mentioned. We wanted to notify players of when new characters appear in town so they know what/who to look for. Instead of One-Handed it will say “A New Face in Town”, and instead of Defense, it’ll say the character’s name. We used to placeholder text to get a feeling for how big the fonts are.

Here’s the progress of taking the box from the sketch version to the actual one we’ll use in the game:

And the final window in its context:

Next up, building houses. When you inspect a signpost you’ll be presented with a window where Trunk informs you of what will appear in that area and how much it’ll cost. Extremely(!) detailed sketch below:

Again, bringing it from sketch to final box:

Once more we’ve used a placeholder text to get a feeling of how big text will appear inside the box. Instead of One-Handed it’ll say the name of the building, and instead of Candy’s line from Pumpkin Woods there will be a description of the house and what can be done there. The coin box to the bottom left of the window will tell you how much it costs to unlock this building, while the checkmark and x will confirm or cancel. The x will be selected by default to avoid accidentally building things you wouldn’t want.

Final version below:

Next up, a bunch of icons, featuring both curses and Bishop challenges:

This first batch are all Bishop challenges. The first one is the one where you race against time to complete each room in a specific time or get instakilled, the second represents the only elites challenge, the third is for the challenge where you’re blinded the whole time. The fourth is for the runs when you can’t level up, and the fifth and final icon is for the combined no leveling / only elites challenge:

Next up, the next bunch of curses:

The first one being where the floors turn to ice, the second where you’re surrounded by flames, the third being the curse which allows higher level enemies to spawn on lower level floors, the fourth is a curse that makes you take double damage.

The fifth is the curse which makes enemies leave something harmful behind when they die (poison clouds, acid, etc), and the last one is a slightly modified version of the bishop challenge above, for the curse which either blinds you temporarily at the start of each room, or has blinding mushrooms spread across the floor. If we go for the mushroom idea, we’ll likely change the icon, but for now this is the placeholder until we’ve tried the two modes out:

Now, in preparation to move from Arcadia to the desert, here’s some small Arcadia fixes to conclude my work there (for now):

Above is a screen of Trunk talking to Bishop, during which we realized his portrait is a little too big and feels too close to the text. First mission: make it smaller!

Second mission, giving him a proper expression for a special moment where he gets a little surprised to say the least:

This is approximately what Arcadia will look like when you first arrive, but there’s a little something missing here:

What’s that? A ruined bridge, of course! We realized it’s kind of weird that some things have already been set up on the other side of the water without any indication of how people got over, and it looks a little more interesting to have it there:

Okay, so time to move to the desert. Here we have a pathway that’s supposed to be blocked, so you have to move around the area before unlocking a way to pass through here:

And what’s stopping you? More cacti! Bigger ones, this time. Time to make a bunch:

And here they are, in their rather huge glory! We’ll probably add a bunch of these here and there to keep you from being able to destroy everything (most other decorations – the smaller cacti – can be cut down by the player, while these cannot):

Next up, another place that will be blocked until you’re actually supposed to get here:

Here, we want the stairway to be blocked by a couple of archaeologists who have made interesting findings in the area. This serves both as an introduction to the fact that there will be archaeologists here, as well as a temporary way of blocking your progress until you’re ready for the desert storyline:


(Of course I couldn’t leave the stairs looking as empty as they did, or you wouldn’t really buy why the archaeologists are interested in it..)

And with the new, more epic looking staircase, this one looks rather boring in comparison:

Time to fix the problem:

Next up, another portrait! As Fred keeps making new NPCs needed for the upcoming quests, I make the portraits to match. This time it’s another archaeologist, consulting a map. Sprite below:

And here’s the WIP:

As for Fred, this week he has been working on finishing up the vegetable lineup from last week! Here they are, in all directions:

Needless to say, these fellow will of course be animated as well, bouncing around in a cute way:

And where’s there vegetables, there’s a garden, right? Here’s a gardener, pulling up some rather small and sad looking vegetables in comparison to the lively one above: