So last week our goal was to each come up with one or a few design ideas for the first floor in the final dungeon, after which we’d go through each of our suggestions and pick our favourites, building our dungeon one floor at a time.

As we mentioned, our guidelines were to remind people of the journey they’ve made throughout the game, bringing back “old classic” events and mechanics. Some of our ideas for the first floor, representing the very beginning of the game, ranged from battling your own sword and shield, a bullet hell with wooden swords, bees circulating around you and attacking you one by one, or an arena where you battle a block puzzle that comes alive.

In the end we decided to combine a few elements of the early parts of the game, namely the arena trials, finding your shield and sword to proceed and battling the Black Ferrets on the bridge. Our main idea is that you’ll start on a Pillar Mountains looking area (perhaps even a pillar), where you have to find your sword and shield by fishing and solving a block puzzle while the Arena commentator Mr Plott comments on what you’re doing, and you’ll only be able to proceed after handing your items to Grandpa Joe who blocks a bridge over which you’ll battle an ever increasing amount of Teddy & Freddy, culminating in a battle against Vilya herself before you’ll be able to progress to the second floor, a floor which will be centered around the Pumpkin Woods.

We also decided on some details around the dungeon. Previously, we’ve decided that the thing that turns the dungeon into what it is is an ancient artefact mirror, which transforms the tower into challenges to stop you from reaching the top. As such, we want to incorporate various mirror effects here and there (like for instance, Grandpa Joe shattering into glass pieces when you show him your sword and shield, enemies spawning by appearing through mirror glass and such). We also reiterated that we want the main focus for each floor to be something iconic to each part of the game, focusing on the story beats and ‘feel’ of certain areas.

Next up, the Pumpkin Woods floor! For the this we felt the key component was the curse of the woods, making you unable to progress, and the hunt for each of the items needed to clear the curse. To capture this, our idea is to create a set of rooms with a ‘lost woods’ feel where you’ll end up back in the first room by taking the ‘wrong’ exit, and having you battle five mini bosses in a room each.

The mini bosses we have in mind here are Pumpking and Helloweed from Arcade Mode, plus a similarly difficult mini boss based around Jack o’ Lantern which will also appear as an Arcade Mode floor boss later on! We’ll also design a challenge based around the Jumpkins and Ghostys.

For the Jumpkins this will most likely involve a living-vegetable like mayhem room with loads of jumpkins, while the Ghosty challenge idea we have so far is more about finding and defeating the correct one out of a bunch that will surround you – though our ideas here are still very much up in the air. For now, our main focus around this floor is the feel of having to cleanse the wood once more, this time by collecting the items from more difficult enemies than simple elites like you had to the first time around. We’ll dice into more specific design details once we get to this floor, our overall idea holds regardless of how we design the challenges.

Once you’ve defeated all of these mini bosses and collected their key item, you’ll be able to cleanse the curse with the aid of a Grindea statue, just like in the original Pumpkin Woods, complete with a minor appearance from Bishop; after that, it’s onto the next floor, featuring the Flying Fortress! :)

Now, you’ve seen a bunch of Bishop’s attack animations made by Fred, but now that we have a basic sketch for the arena, it’s time to start some prototyping of the fight!

At the moment, Bishop has three distinct attacks/patterns, but we have plans to add more as we go along. For now it’s a sword-throwing attack, a giant scythe attack and an attack where a bunch of Bishops emerge from the ground with spears:

We know Bishop disappears a bit into the dark background when he’s towards the top of the fight area, but we have plans on making him more visible by adding a shader that makes a subtle aura or outline around him when he’s against the dark parts. Other than that, what do you guys think so far?

In Arcade Mode, it’s high time we get a proper map through which you can track your progress! As such we’ve been talking about various ways to illustrate this, ending up with illustrating them as isles:

Now, the layout of these isles isn’t in it’s finished version here, the idea is that we want to illustrate how you move upwards a bit more, so we’ll play around with how we place the isles as we move on; and as such might change the design of these isles a bit as well.

On top of that, there are two more isles missing – that of the room where you get your reward for finishing Arcade Mode, and the bonus floor you get to only if you’re strong enough! These will only be added once they’ve been made in their proper forms in the game, though, so I know exactly how to design their isles.

In Fred’s department meanwhile, it’s all about Bishop and giving him more animations! Let’s have a look:

Good evening everyone!

Have you had great holidays despite the strange year we left behind? We’ve been taking it easy, not meeting to many people – in fact, me and Fred and Fred’s brother (whom he lives with) decided we wouldn’t go anywhere and risk getting or spreading the virus, so we celebrated christmas and new years together on the island instead!

Today we got back to work, and the first thing we decided on doing is having a meeting to discuss our upcoming patches!

There are three big patches left, one featuring the final story mode stuff (except for the ending bit), where we’ll add the last bunch of backer items, some arena stuff (making you able to rebattle bosses in the arena + some bonus challenges), adding a fight with bishop and the cave where you can track your progress on how many cards you’ve found (as well as getting a special item once you’ve collected them all).

The second patch will involve Arcade Mode, where we’ll be reworking the challenge rooms to make them a bit more fun and varied, add a proper map so you can track your progress, adding a proper room to end your runs as well as a final boss battle featuring none other than the goddess herself, Grindea! We’re also gonna make sure we feel each run is varied enough and possibly add more types of rooms to make sure each new run won’t get too repetitive.

The third and final patch before proper release is the Main Story ending patch, where we’ll add the final dungeon, both endings and both final bosses (the version of the battle you face will depend on whether it’s the default or true ending path you’re on)! It’s possible we’ll save the final battle of Arcade Mode to this patch as well, so both endings come out at the same time.

We’re aiming for the first patch to be done by the end of March – however we’re not sure whether this is actually realistic or if we’re just being hyped after having some time off for two weeks! Regardless, we’ll do our best to make it happen :)

Stay tuned for our continued progress as we head into this new year together!

So the first thing for me to do is a proper house for the Trick & Treat twins. We might postpone any optional boss battle they might have been part in, but they still get a house of their own!

The first floor was made ages ago when we still had big plans for those guys, so I decided to add a bit more detail to it:

This place will also be the home of another smaller character (in more than one way) – the evil mandarine I made a portrait of quite a while ago (still remember him?)

Next up, we’re working on adding that stuff to the arena! As part of that, you’ll be able to select difficulty for the boss rebattles, and so I was tasked with making an interface for said difficulty setting:

As you can see, there will be three settings available, and they will be Default (the way the boss was when you first encountered it), Scaled (which means we scale its difficulty to your current level), and Overpowered (which will be a much more difficult version, overpowered for your current level)! I haven’t added the texts to the buttons here as they will the rendered directly in the game engine:

Working on this interface again makes me feel like it looks a little bit bland, so I feel like I might improve on its general look in the near future as well…. :)

(You know what, said and done, time to touch up these old UI graphics a little bit:)

Meanwhile in Fred’s department, it’s all about giving Bishop some more weaponry! Scared yet?

So, some more items from the list of things we’d like to include before the full release!

First off, the house in the top right corner of Evergrind City! Remember that house on the little island in the water? It used to be all broken down, then it got cleaned up, and then we have like 50 different ideas for how to use it, until we recently simply decided to move a pretty regular family into the house, which will provide you with some background story for one of the quests we’ll include in the Pumpkin Woods.

Collectors in the Fields, we’ve mentioned this before, but we really do like the idea of including more Collector NPCs out in the world, doing everyday collector stuff such as hunting items, inspecting loot, or just talking about their adventures. At the moment the collectors are pretty much only visible in Evergrind City, so we feel like adding a bunch of additional ones around the world would help flesh out the collectors as an organization.

An easter egg ending for the storyline featuring Pine & Tannie, we know a lot of you want to be able to reunite them, so we’ll make sure you’re able to do just that, if you keep your eyes out!

More treasure maps around the world (pretty self explanatory).

Plant enemies dropping seeds so you can grow them in your own house~

A mini game featuring a sound made by our sound designer NPC Fark, after which you have to guess which sound it belongs to!

So, let’s jump straight into that stuff, starting with the interior of the house on the top right isle in Evergrind City:

Next up, one of the inhabitants of the previously made house, a mother living in Evergrind City with her husband and child(ren)!

And now, another mixed bag of stuff, some expressions, a new decor for one of the rocky parts in the Dragonbone Dunes, a new icon for the arena boss rebattles, and a couple new drops:

Fred, meanwhile, has continued working on a bunch of NPC animations, some of which can be seen here:

When we came back from our week off, we quickly decided it’s time to make some more fixed plans on how to proceed with the game in the near future! As you know, we’re currently working on finishing up Story Mode and we have a long list of things we’d like to add, but we don’t want it to go on forever so our next mission will be to prioritize among the list and see what it’s possible to cut and what we definitely want to add to the game.

One such super important thing we’ve been talking about it the true ending. We’ve known for a very long time that you’ll be able to do the final battle in two different ways, one which leads to a less ideal ending and one that is the true ending, which can only be unlocked after achieving certain things within the game. We haven’t been too sure what these parameters would be before, but after our discussions today we feel fairly certain that you’ll need to do these three things:

* Read a letter from your mother, that will help flesh out the ending a bit.

* Do a Boss battle against Bishop (a fight we’ve been brainstorming on and off for quite a while, which we’re quite excited about! We actually already have the background music for this fight as well..)

* Collect all Cards!

Previously, we wanted the true ending to be quite easy to get, but with the addition of the card requirement, it’ll obviously be a lot more difficult, however, we feel that with all things considered, this will be better suited to the game (I mean, we make jokes about it all the time, but it’s still called Secrets of Grindea, right? ;))

Hopefully by next week we’ll have a more updated list of what exactly we’ll add and what things are in the risk zone of being cut in an effort to finally finish things up properly!

Now, time for a bag of mixed stuff! Some portraits, some item sprites, and a remake of the grave outside the caves in Seasonne!

Next up, a new boat appears in the desert town! Using the previous one as a base, I made some changes to its shape and colours! This ship will be in Port Monnaie temporarily, until you solve a little quest :)

Next, the portrait of one of the guys working in the docks, which will hand you a quest relating to that final quest of Steve’s:

There’s no way we could finish Steve’s story arc without yet another encounter with mushrooms, right? Well, here we go… :)

We’re back in action, and with our batteries fully recharged! To celebrate, I decided to remake the portrait of the old math genius fascinated with the number 3, making him slightly older and with his signature 3 on his clothing:

Another portrait we decided to remake is that of the ninja (again), since we decided to change the quest/secret to getting her ninja outfit! Quite interesting getting back to a bunch of remakes, but that’s because we’ve been having a bunch of talks about the future of the game and moving things around a bit (more on that later on). For now though, here’s the ninja remake in her “regular” clothes:

And of course, she also needs a version with the ninja outfit in question, the portrait which will replace the current old one. Thanks to these minor changes we’ll be able to keep the sprite itself looking as is, so less rework for Fred!

Now, since we’re on the topic of new portraits, it’s also time to introduce this little fae, who will have the very important job of polishing the ice of the frozen fae in Santa Fae!

Finally, some of the things Fred has made for the areas we’ve been working on currently, including the obstacle in Temple of Seasons that can only be removed by turning the room into spring, the ninja in her sad version after failing the trials, and the ghost haunting Seasonne!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, we’re drawing ever closer to releasing these bunch of quests, and so last week we had a meeting where we discussed where to head now. There are still some things we’d like to add to story mode to make it feel a bit more fleshed out before we start working on the final dungeon, in fact there’s a massive list of things that we tend to go through every once in a while and decide on what to keep and what to skip. Ideally we would have loved to do everything, but as we’ve been developing this game for a really long time now and there are some things that really don’t need as much improvement as we initially thought, we’ve ended up skipping more things recently. Hopefully we’ll soon be done with the list and will be able to actually finish up the game!

Anyway, during the meeting last week we decided we’re going to add a respawn area for Bloomos to make them a bit easier to farm. This will be either in Evergrind South or in Evergrind West (not yet decided). This is a minor thing which will just make it a bit easier to get those items.

Next, we’re going to add more books to various book cases around the world. Previously we wanted to include rare books that one could read only once you handed it in to the librarian, but we’ve decided against this and will now focus on putting more books in book cases around the world instead, to make the world feel a bit more alive and give it more depth, something we feel is better done if you can read the books at any time as you find them rather than having to hand them in first.

Next, the arena. We will add a bunch of mini games in there that you can challenge your friends in. We’ve discussed PvP, and unfortunately we’ve decided against adding it, as it would take a lot of time to get right, and even longer to make it balanced. We think there’s a bigger risk people end up disliking it if it’s there rather than feel it’s missing from the game if it’s not.

We’ll also add the tutorial shield training to Master Ji’s Dojo in Story Mode, however the challenges will remain Arcade Mode only, to give you a bit more value for unlocking it in Arcadia.

We’ll also add a quest in which you’ll clean up Evergrind City from all the trash that was left around the place after the festival. Once you trigger the quest, each trash item lying around will turn into a regular item that will automatically be added to your loot like enemy drops, so you’re able to run around and collect them all.

We’ll also add seed drops to each of the plant enemies, and special housing jars in the Tree shop in Seasonne in which you can plant them, so you can have your own collection of home grown enemy plants!

Finally for this week’s update, we decided to add a talking anvil, since we feel we need one more sentient artefact around town. As you may have guessed, it’ll be the anvil Smith uses to make his sword, so prepare to say hello to this new friend soon :)

And now that we’ve decided on the next bunch of things to add to the game, here’s the first of them; the talking anvil:

A little mixed bag featuring some last minute fixes for the patch, namely some new expressions/portrait edits, some background details for the barn, a hat for the Guard’s mother and some new drops:

Another cameo we’ve wanted to add for quite some time now is that of our brilliant sounddesigner Hallvard or Fark as he’s better known! He’ll be jamming it out with Riley on the stage in Port Monnaie :3

Meanwhile Fred has been busy making NPCs that will inhabit the bonus Pumpkin Woods area north of the first map. Here you’ll be able to meet Mama Guard (we’re aware her portrait doesn’t match the sprite at the moment but haven’t decided on which one to keep), her dog, and a very strange shadow creature:

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: