And now, the red slime card! Since a side effect of one of the quests is that red slimes will spawn across the evergrind fields, it’s only fair they get a card of their own, wouldn’t you say?

And now a bunch of mixed stuff, including some sprites for a bunch of drops and bonus items you’ll get to see and use in these new quests:

As well as some smaller additions and improvements to Marino’s Mansion:

Next up, the boss portrait for another of the bosses you’ll be dealing with! This is one giant shrub, so what better name for it than Shruboss? :D

Now that everything on my part is done for the upcoming patch, I’m celebrating by making a portrait of another random Collector that you will find out and about in the fields:

Today we had a meeting discussing what we’ll do once this update is done, but we’ll dive into that next week once everything has been properly finished up for the update. Instead, let’s take a look at one of the final bits we’ll add before this update is ready to go live!

This is a sprite haunting a tree in the short additional Pumpkin Woods map we’ll be adding. It’s kind of getting sick of its surroundings and would like your help to find a new home. Because we haven’t decided on its colours yet I made three different versions of its portrait:

New week and new maps! Another piece of map needed is this one, featuring the barn next to the farm, where some strange shenanigans have been taking place:

Now, after starting to implement some of the mansion rooms, we decided on mixing up the layout at bit to make sure the rooms didn’t looks quite as similar. As such, there’s first a quick redesign of Marino’s dad’s “throne room”:

…As well as the hallway leading up to it, which now houses four different rooms instead of the original two:

Next we have a mixed bag with various fixes and additions, starting with a couple new banners for the arena, to replace the collector ones while you do the new quest:

A familiar face reappears in the desert, it’s the travelling merchant that visited Evergrind City during the festival, now selling fertilizers in the desert:

Marino’s mansion is getting a proper zone title, and… well, you guessed it, it’s called…

The posters are getting another version of themselves where they’re more like signs so we can place them all around town:

Next up we’re making a smashed up version of the alchemist’s house so you can battle the troll version of Remedi that you’ve been seeing parts of on the blog in the recent couple of week:

Meanwhile, Fred has been working on the troll, and here’s another sneak peek of a rather strange move:

Soon in a boss battle near you ;)

Time for another room in Marino’s mansion, and this time it’s his father’s throne room— errr the second corridor. The doors will lead to the master bedroom and Marino’s room respectively:

Next, another face from the Mansion, the private chef responsible for the fancy dinners hosted at the estate:

Now, for the actual quest challenge where you’ll be battling it out in the arena using some pretty trash but fancy looking gear! First up will be a couple of regular waves of enemies, featuring the various types you might have come across here and there across the game thus far. After that, there’s the grand finale, a mini boss battle/challenge featuring one or two elder boars!

In the first iteration, we had one elder boar and a bunch of red slime falling down from the sky:

As you can see, there’s puffs of smoke coming from the boar as he charges around, and stepping into these dust clouds will make you temporarily blinded!

As you can see, we have added a bunch of obstacles in the arena which you can lure the boar into, making it get temporarily dazed. These obstacles respawn in new positions after the boar has destroyed all of them, and as always with early prototype videos like these they graphics are placeholder:

As shown in the above video, we follow the ‘rage’ theme of the elder enemies with these boars as well!

In the next iteration we removed the red slime but added another boar! This is our favourite iteration so far, a bit more action packed and without the annoying slowing slimes:

Next thing I’ve been working on is some sweet PR for that event in the arena that we’re all so excited for! At first, James was the supposed hero of the show, so to start off with these posters will appear in Evergrind City around the time when you can accept the quest:

However, as James can’t attend and you’ve had to take his place, there will be slight adjustments once you’ve accepted the quest, meaning your face will be all over the posters instead! Of course, the PR team doesn’t have all the time in the world so there will have to be a quick solution instead of reprinting:

The actual face of your character will be rendered into those blank pages so you’ll be able to recognize your own character as the hero of this event! Hopefully you won’t let the PR team down with your performance in the show ;)

In Fred’s department, the animation madness continues with more sprites for the upcoming next bit in the journey to transform Remedi back to his former self! As such, a ‘death’ animation for the troll was needed, as well as a potion pitching move by Remedi’s quick nephew:

It’s finally time for those of you who play on stable to take part of the new Arcade Mode update!! With this new patch, you will get the full rebalance/rework of Arcade, including fewer floors, Traveller and his Pins, the difficulty changing Catalysts and various rebalances. Are you ready?

As always, feedback is much appreciated, and you can leave it here, on the forums, or in our discord! We all look forward to hearing from you soon :)

Now, this week continues with more Marino’s Mansion! To start off, the kitchen:

Next up in the mansion is a room where Marino’s mom takes care of the estate business; her office, if you will:

Next up, the portrait of a woman you’ll meet as part of one of the mansion quests we’re working on; a PR woman hired by Marino’s dad to handle marketing for the arena event:

Now, as part of one of the Marino’s mansion quests, namely the one with an arena challenge, we wanted to introduce some sort of more difficult fight, so we thought it was high time to make a proper boar boss! In our pursuit of this we wanted to make a more dangerous looking boar without having to redo exactly all of its animations completely, so Fred went to experiment on a bunch of different design ideas:

In the end, we went for the one in the top right, giving him massive tusks and some sweet hair (also, eyebrows, because why not?). Next came the question of what colour it would be, and though we were all fond of the red ones and might use one of those for something else (Boar fire train arena challenge anyone?) we decided on going for the ‘elder’ gray-ish look, having it match, in some ways, the Elder Rabby mini-boss:

Excited yet? We sure are! It’s gonna be nice to add some more side quests into the game to make the world feel more populated and alive, with events that happen here and there throughout your journey.

Hey guys! In case you missed it, the Frontline Beta has been updated since a few days back! Among the things that have been added you’ll find the Arcade rebalance, catalysts that will make your runs more difficult as you beat them, Pins and a whole bunch of smaller enemy changes. The full patch notes can be found here or on the steam community hub, as always! Please let us know what you think, and send us any feedback on what you like, dislike, or would like to see changed :)

Time to make that tree stump! I’ll be using the tree stump in Santa Fae as a base for the background and make it it fit the theme by adding moss, leaves and some seed things:

Next up, a cellar room used for a quest in the mansion where you need to clear out some pesky enemies that have invaded! Using the Giga Slime Arcade Mode boss room as a base for the size here:

We’ve also been working on an user interface for adding those catalyst you get that will make your runs more difficult! Here we’re playing around with various font sizes and colours:

To show a bit more emphasis on the statue and the catalysts added, we decided to fade the rest of the background into darkness as you play around with this:

Added ‘headlines’ with the name of the catalyst you’re adding:

Same as above but with more colours:

Then we tried it out with smaller text, making the readability better.

And the end result, big headline, small descriptive text all together in one line and in one colour, which we felt gave the best readability:

Next, work on Marino’s Mansion continues! This time it’s the library’s turn to be made…

Fred’s been busy animating those cute trees from last week:

And another NPC that will be involved in one of the quests in Marino’s Mansion:

Among other things! More next week :)

With Fred finishing up the mirror sprite, I thought it fitting to throw together his portrait as well, while we wait to discuss exactly what will take place in the update coming after this recent Arcade rework:

We also decided to start having a bunch of smaller meetings again, as our work on the backlog of things to discuss has slowed down quite a bit. After the patch we’re currently working on (entailing the loop function for arcade mode as well as the pin mechanic), we’re going back to Story Mode with an update involving a bunch of side quests.

We’ve already mentioned that there will be two side quests relating to Marino’s mansion, but as you may know we’re also looking into sorting out the fertilizer mechanic, allowing you to grow those squiggly plants found around the world.

As part of that, one of the things we discussed and decided to add is another such plant in Seasonne, which will lead you to the giant tree stump which you couldn’t access as of yet! This will lead to a reward of its own, as well as a shop where you will be able to purchase trees for your house – but it will also serve as a help to end the last part of Remedi the Alchemist’s quest.

You will need to access the treestump, finish Fahrmamerahs quest in the desert and go into the mansion to find the ingredients to attempt another try at turning Remedi back into himself. It may or may not also include a fight against Remedi in his troll form, something we’ve all been excited for ever since Fred made the first couple animations for it way back, when it was supposed to be an enemy type in Mt: Bloom.

Next me and Fred will move on from what we’re currently working on and start focusing on those things, starting off with the tree stump and its inhabitants!

So to start off with, Fred has been making a bunch of design ideas for one of the tree stump’s inhabitant, the strange tree creature who sells decorative trees for your house:

In the end, we settled for this design, aiming to keep it a bit cute looking:

And then we have their child, a very small tree, who we first thought would be just a smaller version of the big one:

But then we thought about making it a sapling instead, so Fred made a couple variations for that as well:

Finally, a couple colour variations:

Currently our favourite is the one in the bottom left, which we thought had the cuter face. Next up, its portrait! It’s such a cute little thing that I can only hope the portrait will make it some semblance of justice :3

As mentioned before we’ve been looking into getting new desks for the office, specifically ones you can adjust the height of so you can change whether you sit or stand while working. A little while ago, they finally arrived, and now it’s been time to set them up!

First though, quick reminder of what it used to look like. All black desks that looked completely different:

We had to do a bunch of the assembly ourselves, including drilling our own holes into a table top, which was quite nerve wracking for a bunch of people who spend most of their time by their computers and barely know how to operate a drill!

It all went by more or less smoothly though, and in the end the tables work quite well:

But to be honest, the biggest upgrade IMO is the fact that the office now looks a lot more light and open, with all of us having the same desk as well:

Now it’s finally time to get back to work! See you next week :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

As we continue toying with that loop idea mentioned last week, I’ve been fiddling around with some various ways to illustrate the difficulty increase. Our current idea is to showcase it as a type of orb or crystal you insert into the statue by Bishop, but this might change as we explore other ideas. For now though, here’s a few of the experiments in action:

Next, a bunch of expressions for the Pin collector so the cutscene in which he appears can be completed. As always, a lot of these expressions will probably not be used but I like to mix and match a couple extras just in case :)

With the loops progressing, we’re redesigning the Grindea statue a bit so make her sword bigger and more badass looking! We still haven’t decided yet which type of crystal thingies we’re going for but here goes:

The new improved sword with a variety of the crystals:

We’re also considering mixing them so there will be one of each, or at the very least different colors for each one you unlock:

This last one is our favourite currently, but we’ll see! More discussions to be had :)

Our experiments with the Pin Collector’s first appearance continues as well and we’re now playing around with how the pins that scatter around him will look.

The difference between the above two are mainly the sizing of the pins. In the first video, the pins are all of the same size, while in the second one we’ve resized some to be smaller. Between the two of those, we prefer the one where the sizes aren’t all exactly the same, but we weren’t totally happy with the way they faded away, so we decided to try something else:

In this third version, the pins disappear with a bit more of a bang. We prefer this a lot as it gives the feel that the pins disappear into the world rather than simply fade away. However, we weren’t completely happy with the timing, so we decided to change that a bit as well:

So in this version the timing is adjusted and the Pin Collector turns around. Of course, most of the graphics displayed here are placeholder graphics, his turn as well, so each of them will be improved in due time. But so far so good! :)

Meanwhile, Fred has been playing around with a ton of effects for the Pin collector’s appearance, as well as trying out some animations for the “loop orbs”, seen below:

Aand giving the pin collector a bunch of animations as well, as can be seen here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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