Finally(!) we are happy to announce that Stable has received the long awaited update, introducing Tai Ming in its entirety to those of you who haven’t opted into the frontline updates! A quick rundown of what to expect in this patch can be found here.

Naturally, since we’ve spent most of our time last week preparing for the update, those of you who have played it might have already seen the following things. For some new housing items and a design question we’d like your input on, scroll to the bottom of this post!

First up though: when we talked about adding new items to the shops, we totally forgot about one pretty important store: the hat salesman! Because of this I went ahead and made a bunch of random hats for him:

We hadn’t really discussed exactly what hats would be available in this store, so it’s possible we’ll move things around and have some (or all?) of these somewhere else before the game is done. There are a bunch of hats available that haven’t been placed somewhere in the game yet, so if we feel any of them fit better we’ll just swap them out. In either case, there can never be too many hats, right?

Next up, the final Merchant Isles visitor to join the group in Tai Ming:

This guy has traveled far in hopes of selling things in Tai Ming, however since he won’t be let into the town itself (several years waiting time and all that), he’ll have to settle for something else…

As we draw close to releasing the stable version of Tai Ming, there’s – as usual – a bunch of tiny fixes needed as well.

First up: as you might remember, we talked about whether you’d be able to move a puzzle block to solve a puzzle in the middle of the Mimic battle. After our first discussion, we said it’d be possible to solve it mid-battle, but later on we changed our mind. For reference, here’s the final stage of the boss room, the way it looked before:

And here’s our solution: a bunch of wood that blocks the solution, so you can’t solve it while the battle is raging:

Instead, you’ll have to wait until after the battle, where some of the fire the Mimic spits out cause the wood on the map to burn:

Next, there were some sprites missing for the weapons in the area, which are now properly added, both in their proper animated form and as menu sprites:

Third, we decided to give that newly added Merchant Isles Merchant a couple expressions where he’s a bit bothered by the fact he is not allowed to sell his wares inside Tai Ming:

And finally, we decided that each of these Tai Ming housing paintings will be their own object, purchased separately, and so I made miniatures for them as well:

And now, time for a bigger batch of Tai Ming housing item miniatures!

These are the wall decor items, and there’s quite a few of them as you can see! I’m not sure if these will all be unlocked as part of the Tai Ming batch yet, or if we’ll move things around a bit to even it out between the batches. The three rectangular paintings to the lower right only have one display miniature for now, since I wasn’t sure if they were going to be objects of their own or various styles/skins of the same item:

And finally, something we’d like to ask our players regarding the Tai Ming floors of Arcade Mode!

The Tai Ming Arcade floors poses an interesting challenge that none of the other floors do. After all, Tai Ming is a town, and a town you can explore both in the past and present, so how do we properly convey that over a set of not-overly-decorated rooms where you battle a ton of monsters?

The first thing we decided was that there would have to be enemies in both past and present state rooms: we definitely want to include the time travel aspect in some way, and keeping the past rooms enemy-free (as they are in Story Mode) just isn’t an option.

As for the layout of the floors, we have two options.

Option #1 is to have the Tai Ming floors be about half as long as a regular Arcade Mode floor. That means there will be half the amount of rooms, and your goal is to find a specific room which contains a time rift that allows you to travel forward in time, passing through the rooms once more in another time!

For example, say you begin in past. You battle your way through a set of different rooms, all decorated in Tai Ming’s past style with cherry trees, statues and whatnot. Then you reach a big room, which is empty. This is the boss room, but you’re not yet able to battle the boss because you’re in the wrong time. You go back and find another room containing a time rift which you pass through. Now on your mini map the empty room gets the boss icon, and you start making your way back there.

Now that you’re in a different time, all of the rooms have transformed into Tai Ming’s present state instead, with the statues broken and cherry trees bare. In each room you pass, new enemies will spawn: you essentially battle your way from the portal room back to the boss room you found before. Once you reach the boss room again, you can finally battle the boss and get to the next floor.

There will of course be cases where you find the time rift before you reach the boss room, and in those cases the floor will be shorter than normal, since you don’t have to backtrack through as many rooms.

The upside to this version is that you’ll get to see each room you already went through in its past and present state, and that it makes these floors a bit more unique compared to the other floors of Arcade Mode. The downside is the backtracking, which might not feel as interesting as going through a unique set of rooms, and the fact that you have to find a specific room (the rift room) before you can progress through the floor as usual, which might feel annoying to some people.

Option #2 is a bit more straight forward. This idea is simply that certain rooms have a time rift you pass through as you go between one room and another, so some rooms will be past and some will be present. This means the floor will be the same length as and work in the same way as the other Arcade floors (when you find the boss room, it will always be in the correct timeline and you can battle the boss at once). What rooms will appear and whether they are past or present rooms will be randomly generated by the map rather than you going through a set of past rooms first, which then transform into present rooms.

Perhaps not as interesting mechanically, but might be more so visually (more unique rooms rather than two versions of the same, shorter floor).

———————–

Since we can’t really decide which one we prefer, we’d like to hear what you guys think. Would you prefer Option #1 or Option #2? This game is designed to be enjoyed by our players, so we’re very interested to hear which one of these you’d like to see!

In order to collect your votes, I have made a topic with a poll on our forums! Please cast your vote in THIS THREAD to let us know what you prefer. Thank you :D

A new week, in which we continue to work on the Mount Bloom side quests!

There are new doors, leading deeper into the caves, where two very different challenges appear…

Door

The first one, as you know, is the Phase Puzzle challenge. Last week we decided to change the graphics of the Spark puzzle a bit, having the barrels move on rails instead of floating in the air (to make it less abstract and easier to spot when the rails are covered in electricity that will throw you out of the barrel):

PhasingBonus

The second challenge will involve this new crystal type:

Crystals

05 - Editor Stuff

(The crystals will be randomly generated by the game engine, so it only looks as if it’s the same one in this Photoshop screenshot. Also, the lower walls will appear above everything in the game, so ignore any overlaps you spot!)

In this challenge you have to get past a large number of these heavier crystals, which don’t easily break when you hit them. In fact, it takes a long long time to get them out of the way – and it’s time you don’t have. You see, the corridor where you’ll find these heavier crystals is filled with poisonous gas! How will you ever get through to the other side?!

This Caveling, called Chix, is a new character which has a very important quest for you:

Portrait

You see, it seems he has lost his pet inside the cave system, and he really wants his dear old pal to find its way back to him. Can you help him find it?

Of course, you can’t have side quests and challenges without proper rewards. One of which (spoiler alert) will be a gas mask! Since Vilya has a tradition of uploading videos featuring 4 hats, she threw together 3 more which we don’t know exactly where they will appear yet:

Hats

(In the end, we decided to go for dark eyes for the gas mask, so after the video was finished we changed it into this:)

Hats02

While we’re close to finishing up these side quests (we only have very minor things left), unfortunately Teddy is leaving for Stockholm in a few days, which means he’ll be unable to patch until he gets back home (his laptop messes up the game font when compiling). However, he’ll still work from there, so while we’re not hitting upload on this patch just yet, we’ll continue to work on the next temple until he’s back and ready to patch from a safe computer :)

We’re entering the final stages of finishing the first two challenges! We’ve also done some more prototyping for the third, but we’re still not 100% satisfied with that one yet, so it needs some more work.

Anyway! Since we’ve more or less finished the flower challenge, it’s time for it to get a proper background! So here it is, along with a step-by-step gif showing how Vilya created it:

GIF

05 - Flowers

Since it’s almost time to start battling stuff in Mt Bloom, there were a couple of more hats that needed to be made as well (what are quest rewards or item drops without one or two hats, right?). Here are three Mt Bloom themed hats, plus a duck beak for good measure:

Hats3

Oh, and of course there needs to be a couple of NPCs to guide (or hinder) your progress through the cave system. Here’s one such NPC, a miner, whose portrait Vilya made last week:

06 - Finished Sprite
Fred has been busy making sprites of said NPCs! Here’s a few sprites for the Cavelings Vilya put together last week:

Caveling Elder Poker

As you may already know, the festival patch is finally live, and if you haven’t checked it out already, you definitely should go do so in the Frontline Beta! :D

We also released the Original Soundtrack a few days ago, since a lot of you were asking for it! It currently contains 31 songs from Story Mode + 6 Arcade Mode Remixes, and will be updated as new songs get added to the game :)

Here’s the link to the OST on Steam!

capsule_main

01

02

Since a new patch often means new bugs, Teddy has been on bug hunting duty while Fred & Vilya moved on to do other things!

For Vilya, that meant doing a whole lot of different tasks, including creating a new portrait and a bunch of new hats:

06 - Finished Sprite

hats

Fred, meanwhile, has started animating some of the new enemies you’ll be facing in the next area: Mt.Bloom! As they’re still WIP at this stage, though, here’s a mix of some of the cleaned up animations from the flashback cutscene:

CoverBlog

Right now, Teddy is busy prototyping the next boss fight, which we’ll hopefully be able to show some stuff from in next week’s recap! For now, here’s another sneak peek of who you’ll be facing:

01 - Sketch

This week Teddy spent finishing up the translation tool (finally!), which should go live in a few days! He’s now looking into starting up that cutscene business for real, just as Fred has finished his part of that job, giving him a ton of sketched out animations to work with.

Now, instead of cutscene things, Fred is working on a new mini-boss that you’ll have to face soon after the cutscene ends:

QueenBee

Yes, it’s a Queen Bee!! :D Do you feel the horror?!

Vilya, meanwhile, has been all over the place, starting off by creating an interface for Mold Essence in Arcade Mode, which allows you to turn essence into visual upgrades & housing items (among other things):

MoldEssence

She then moved back to the time travel area, creating hats, masks, drops and portraits to fill the area with life & loot:

Hats&Masks

Itens

05 - Finished Sprite

06 - Finished Sprite

And that’s all for this week! Next up will be prototyping the cutscene, bug fixing the translation tool, and preparing Evergrind City for the next installment of the main story :)

Two weeks ago, we showed a bunch of new menu icons. This week, Vilya continues to rework the menu graphics! First up, we have new menu titles, adding a touch of color to the otherwise very brown menu:

header_character

Second, we reworked the skill boxes a bit:

02 - Nya Skillrutor

With this new look, we hope to tie the appearance of the Skill-tabs together with the Talent counterpart. Also, more graphics & colors, yay!

We’ve also begun reworking the character box, again removing some brown (in the current version, it’s floating in a brown box) and having it stand on its own:

01 - Short

We’ll continue working on this left side of the menu later, literally tying things together a bit more visually, so it’s not just three boxes floating next to eachother!

Now, for something that’s actually already in the game… As of the latest update, we now have actual Steam Achiements! And with some of these achievements, we’ve added new rewards for your character.

Below you can see a selection of these rewards (go get ’em now!):

Hats

Lastly, we’re currently thinking of ways to implement the new promo art in our website background. Here’s a mockup of what it could like, though we’re not quite there yet:

05 - Websitemockup

This week has been fraught with biological interference! Teddy had begun bringing the Seasonne floors into the Arcade Mode properly, including making elite versions of all enemies, “traps” and some floor specific challenges. Sadly, his work got rather ham stringed by a seasonal thing known as the “winter vomiting bug”. We’ll leave the details of that to your imagination!

Incidentally, Vilya got hit with some severe toothache towards the end of the week, but still managed to put out some good stuff before getting incapacitated by lack of sleep. She’s been getting a bit too much sand in her eyes over the past weeks, so she decided to take a break from desert building by becoming a mad hatter!

Those of you who’ve played through the latest content has probably noticed a certain aspect of it that’s fairly lackluster, namely the sound effects!

While it’s pretty cool that everything in the entire dungeon either sounds like a slime getting hit or have no sound at all, that’s not how it’s supposed to be. To rectify this, Fred has been working on making video guides for our dear sound designers, which means we should have the assets we need to make the aural experience complete Soon™!

Lastly, we’d like to do a little shout out for the people over at Radical Fish Games, not only for their radical studio name, but also because they’ve set up a crowd funding campaign for their super cool ARPG project Cross Code! Check out their IndieGoGo-page, where you can find a free demo (playable in the web browser with help of black magic), and see if it’s something for you!

hej

This week we decided to backtrack and polish parts of the story mode in preparation for a future demo! Our main focus has been to tweak smaller things here and there as well as fixing bugs, but we’ve also been adding some new features such as these long awaited style slots:

Stylish!

The idea behind the style slots is to allow players to show off the gear they think look good without sacrificing combat potential. In the screenshot above, I felt the Bandana and Glasses had better stats, but I preferred the visual appearance of my Straw Boater and Blindfold. Style slots give players the best of both worlds!

There’s also a bunch of weapons being added, with a focus on two-handed weapons as they’ve been heavily underrepresented as of late. Below is a simpler version of the Axe from last week, as well as a Spiked Club and the wicked Slime Hammer:

Axe SpikedClub HAMMER
Lastly, we’ve been making a bunch of new items to balance what you can buy in the stores. Here’s a sneak peek of a couple of hats and facegear which you’ll be able to equip in the near future:
headgear

Now it’s back business! See you next week :)

This week we’re jumping back into the flying dungeon!

We have planned ahead for what to do next, and Vilya started off making a bunch of drops that you’ll find as you slay your way through the area.

All of the items are either equipable, edible or build into something that is. Exactly what they are and what they’re used for is something you’ll have to find out for yourself, though! Can you guess already?

There’s also a hat:

Next week will be spent making cards and the very last few rooms of the dungeon. Hopefully by then Fred has done away with his remaining schoolwork so we’ll see some more animations too! Perhaps we’ll even start on the dungeon boss…

After gaining weight and laziness over the duration of our little break, it’s finally time to start getting back to work.

Vilya’s still trying to keep the spirit of christmas alive by making sprites for our winter area:

There’s christmas trees, snowmen, and lots and lots of snow, as you can see! Of course, no area is complete without hats, so it’s time we started making a few of those as well:


Another piece of development news, which will be very exciting to some, and not-so-exciting to others, is that we’re working on some translation tools! We’ve gotten quite a few offers to have fansub groups translate our game to various languages, and if there are fans out there who want to bring the game to their non-English speaking countrymen, why not let them?

Basically, it’s a set of tools that can be used by anyone to change dialogue (and other texts). You have access to everything you need, like coloring parts of the text, or adding conditional phrases (like having a character say different things depending on character gender, or how many is in your party). By saving it into the game’s language folder, you can then select it in game.

Our hopes are that the tools will be used to make better translations than we’d be able to get even if we hired someone to help us! In their final version, the goal is to have good support for collaboration, with options to merge different language files and keep the best translated lines.

Also, having an approach like this can let players choose between, say, a literal translation by one group and an idiomatic translation by another. Perhaps a fan with a great knack of dialogue writing will even release an improved English version!

What happened to the dungeon? Fear not, it hasn’t been forgotten! We’ll most likely get back to it in the coming week, after discussing how to proceed :)