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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here’s the finished thing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, here goes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New week, and time to finish up the Mess hall by turning its regular version into a spirit world version!

As always, this involves changing the colors around a bit on the moss and such, but for this room it also involves a couple new props, including turning a couple of carrots into a sad and shrunken version of themselves as well as killing a flower in a vase:

Here’s the full WIP:

And the finished thing:

The boss fight prototyping continues, and we’ve made a bunch of changes and additions! First of all, the actual background has been added, which gives the fight a slightly more serious feel, but we’ve also added the proper graphics for some attacks such as the water ball thing:

And we’ve also edited on of his skills slightly, namely the skulls he summons:

Previously these skulls were only visible in the spirit world, which meant you had to swap back into the regular world to avoid them. Now though, we’ve made sure some of the skulls are in the regular world as well, making avoiding them slightly harder!

We still want to improve this fight slightly, but now it’s more about patterns more than anything – we’re kind of happy with what he does, just not the timings for when and in what order. In this version of the prototype seen above, he tends to randomly summon things for you to avoid, but we have since then made him go into various phases instead, meaning he’ll have a period of simply attacking followed by a period of summoning things for you to avoid. The second part will then feature both the bullet hell elements as well as dodging his regular attacks at the same time .

I think we’re really making progress with this and hopefully the finalized boss fight will be done soon – it definitely feels a lot closer to it now, anyway!

Next, it’s time to go back to drawing those disgusting bridges! In the mess hall there needs to be a ton of them, so I better get a move on and make a bunch of variations for them. Here goes:

And here are the finished things:

Next on our prototyping spree, we have another of the challenge rooms in the rather strange version of Startington! In this room, you’ll be facing obsession, and it takes the shape of you killing a whole lot of slimes, which then turn into… yourself?! What could it all mean?

Obviously this segment still needs a lot of work, but we’re getting there, and I think what we do in this part of the game is pretty cool even if it might not be super clear to everyone. Next up we’ll deal with the final(?) challenge, concerning ‘deceit’…

We’ll end this week with a look at a new room, though! This room is the final room of the second floor, so once this is done the whole 2nd floor can be put into the game, yay!

As you can tell, I’ve yet to make a painting to go inside the frame, but I’m kind of thinking I’ll make a painting of the ship itself. What do you guys think?

Second to last cabin! This is the one that connects to its neighbor on the left. Again, nothing much interesting to say about this, I think!

Final cabin! This one you’ll reach from the room on the right, and will take you back to the corridor where you came from after you’ve completed everything on the right side (the challenge we haven’t 100% designed yet):

Time for something slightly different! This is one of the “challenges” we’re working on, which is basically a room where you have to move over a bunch of floating platforms – however, the bridges between them will only be visible in the ghost world!

Here you can see a rare glimpse of what it looks like with the colliders in place, as well as what happens if you’re on a bridge when you turn back to the regular world (you fall down):

I’ve been testing out some things in regards to what these bridges might look like, and here we have one of the suggestions, which I think will be the one we’ll go for:

And a small test of what it’d look like when the tables are floating the way they should (the eyes on the wall is another mechanic we’ll be playing with, something that will force you back into the regular world so it won’t be too easy to walk through this room):

 

Since we’re drawing nearer to completing the first boss fight somewhat, it’s time to start tying together the first floor! In doing so, I need to rework the first room a bit, as some things have changed in our design since we made it for the first time:

Basically, we’re adding another “floor”, though all entries and exits are on the first floor of the room. This is so we don’t have to add any level differences in the boss room, which will be the room connecting to this one on the left!

Here’s the new version:

Meanwhile, Fred keeps working on the crab – and look how cute it is! Those tiny legs, aww… I don’t know how I’ll be able to kill this?!

Time to start working on those cabins! Six in total, and here’s the first one. Let’s go:

The next cabin is pretty much a mirror of the first one, but with some different decoration. You’ll reach it from the cabin to the left of it, and exiting it from the bottom door will get you back in the corridor below, but at a place you couldn’t reach before.

The third cabin has a platform leading to a higher level! How intriguing! The room on the right of this hasn’t been designed yet, but we have a few ideas for a sort of ‘puzzle’ (actually more like a challenge, I guess), where you’ll have to go back and forth into the spirit world to avoid some dangerous ghosts!

Now it’s time to start working on the three bottom cabins, starting with the one on the far left. As with the top two, this one will be connected to its neighbor. Other than that, not much to say about this one!

Of course, we’re not only working on backgrounds for the Ghost Ship. There’s still some enemy stuff to do, one of them being designing the last enemy! So let’s take a look at what Fred has been doing:

Congratulations, it’s a crab! We really wanted one enemy that would just be a “normal” kind of enemy without any fancy spirit world mechanics, and what better thing to put on a ghost ship than a killer crab? (don’t answer that)

As you might guess, the final design we went for is the one within the green circle. Stay tuned for all its fancy animations!

Meanwhile in the programming department, Teddy’s started working on the first boss battle! We’ve made a bunch of prototype attacks and patterns, some which can be seen below:

Here you can see the skull walls that force you out of the ghost world, which we’ve shown before in a regular enemy prototype. He also throws a bunch of cannonballs at you; has a dash attack and, of course, a regular whack with the sword.

In the second one you can see two other attacks we’ve been working on; one being some kind of menace that whirls around the room (though we’re not 100% sure about this one yet).

The other is a big rock that gets lifted out of water (it currently spawns from nothing, since the actual boss room with the water isn’t made yet), and as it gets thrown into a wall or some other such thing, it gets broken into a bunch of smaller pieces the player has to avoid. Right now the broken-up pieces use some old bullet hell-type graphic asset, but that won’t be so in the proper version, of course.

We’ve actually not sure whether we want it to be a rock or some sort of water-ball (or something like that). Another option we had was for it to be a ball of all kinds of stuff he pulls out of the water and merges together, but to be honest we kind of feel that one might be a bit too much work to get nice enough. The experiments continue!

New week, old adventures! Since I’ve been making a ton of random props for each of the rooms spirit world version now, I thought it would be a good idea to go over each room and cross-pollute them with props so that creepy spiders won’t only appear in just one room, and so on.

This is also a great moment to make sure all the moss is red and all the vines are sickly purple, as well. So, with all that considered, here we have it, the rooms so far in their creepy glory:

And this is all just the two first floors! One more to go!! :D

So, time to start working on that third floor, beginning with the room with the locked door and character busts that I made before. What better thing to add here than – you know it – more tentacles?!

Also some bones, spiders, and other things from the previous floors. Yum.

And now I think it’s time for a brand new room. This looks like a simple enough corridor with seven different doors, but in part 2, I think you’ll see that it’s not quite so!

The top and bottom doors will lead to cabins where the ship’s guests sleep. As you might remember I’ve already started working on some basic stuff for such rooms, so now it’s just a matter of making them with the correct exits.

Anyway, here’s the corridor WIP:

And the finished thing:

Next up, adding some more stuff to said corridor, and as it turns out, we’ll be moving some things around as well. So the basic idea here is that you have to pass through a bunch of these cabins to get where you want to go, so I have to block the path through in various ways.

By doing so, you’ll first have to go into the first bottom cabin, find a way from that one into the one on its right, go from that one to the first top cabin and exit it through it’s neighbor as well:

Lots of random stuff later, here’s what we end up with:

Hope you all had great holidays! As we’ve been back at work for about a week it’s time for another recap post!

First up, some words about the Ghost Ship boss: we’ve shown you sneak peeks of the Captain previously, but haven’t gone into much detail yet. Our idea is that you’ll battle this guy twice, but that each of those encounters will play out very differently.

During the first encounter, his fight will be pretty straight forward spirit world themed; you won’t be able to fight him unless you see him (by entering the spirit world), and he’ll summon skulls and such that will force you to leave it lest you take damage. Aside from this, he’ll be able to throw his sword at you, and can use telekinesis for return it to his hand. He can also use this telekinetic power to grab swords from weapon stands around the room, which will attack you separately.

The next time you meet him, he’ll have upgraded his gear, taking some of the items that were transported on the ship to aid him. This includes a giant laser sword and a cannon with the ability to produce – you know it – a bullet-hell like attack! The laser sword will have the special ability to extend and give him increased reach for his attacks, and like his original sword, it can be thrown across the room towards any players in its path.

What’s that? “Only two boss battles in this dungeon?” Well, you’re right, there will be a third. It won’t be the captain though, but – …No. I think we’ll save that for later ;)

Let’s get back to Spirit World stuff instead! Can’t have too many creepy tentacles in a creepy ghost ship, can we? Let’s make some more!

When taking the screen below I of course forgot to change the moss color to red. Rest assured, it will be fixed before long:

But first, let’s do something different. Creepy faces, anyone? What could be more menacing than looking down into darkness and seeing creepy red-eyed monstrous faces with giant teeth gaze back at you? These faces will probably be animated by Fred in the end, so at the very least they’ll blink. Can’t ask someone to stare forever at you without blinking, even if it’s a creepy shadow monster, right?

For this second small room, I thought we’d add a further sprinkling of tentacles and another version of the creepy sack-faces from before. In this room, the jar gets a creepy eye as well. Oh my!

And to end this week, we have an update from the animation and programming department!

Teddy is now working on implementing and polishing the Ghost Ship mechanics (and catching the occasional bug in the beta), while Fred’s full focus is on the Captain we talked about earlier!

There’s a lot of strange animation needed for him, and since you’ll only see the sword outside of the spirit world, it’s a bit of a hassle getting everything to work smoothly. Now, the idle animation is completed, and he’s working on getting the attacks down.

Big boss sprites like this are the most difficult to make, so we expect he’ll be busy with this for quite some time while me and Teddy continue working on the other parts of the ship!

When testing something, Fred also accidentally made the funniest animation of the captain laughing. Perhaps it will end up being used!?

Hey guys! Are you ready for the last post before christmas?! It’s actually christmas eve for us Swedes today, so at the moment you’re reading this we’re probably already eating some classic christmas food. We’ll be working between christmas and new years but the blog will go on its usual 2-week holiday break, so the next post will be available on the January 14th when there’s some new stuff to show!

And now, to add a sprinkle of creepiness, which will be the theme for the rest of this post… As you go into the spirit world you begin to see things, shall we say, a bit differently. Dark things appear, and some things may not be what you thought they were… And so on.

It’s a fine line here between going too far into spooky game territory and having just the right touch of spook, so we’ll see how things go with that.

Here’s a video featuring some of the creepiness in the making, anyway:

And the “finished” backgrounds (in fact, I’ll probably return to these and add more stuff later, cause it’s just too much fun making these creepy things up):

Next up, focusing on a single room. There’s skeletons, spiders, eyes, tongues, skulls, oh my! If you get any more cool ideas for creepy stuff to add, feel free to let me know! Some things will be added by Fred as well, and some of the things I’ve made now will probably get some sort of animation by him too. It’s gonna be a blast!

The video:

And here’s a third video, featuring the random battle room of the first floor:

Here I also played around with making the moss red and the water black, a theme I think we’ll follow in the rest of the rooms (including those I already finished). After I saved the image below I also experimented with making the vines on the wall darker and of a slightly purple shade, as well, which I think will add some bonus creepiness to the room as seen through the spirit world lens.

And here you can see those purple-shade vines for yourself, albeit in a different room! For this room I wanted to make more things seem ‘alive’. It’s a theme I want to use more for these spirit world versions of each room; things being ‘possessed’ or seeming to come alive (by getting a face, a mouth or eye/eyes). So I put strange faces on pretty much everything that’s a static piece of decoration such as the buckets and boxes (and the exit). That and more skeleton pieces, of course:

One more room and we can end this week with darkness from start to end. This room is the bunk room with all the beds, so it’s finally come to the point where it’s time to add all of those skeletons. I made a few in various positions, and again added some faces to random props across the room. Also, tentacles, because nothing says creepy ghost world like a set of tentacles, right?

And with that, we at Pixel Ferrets wish you all merry holidays and a happy new year!

Once again, thanks for all the feedback surrounding the desert patch! Now it’s a new week with new adventures, and for now we’ll focus more on upcoming stuff!

So while the actual room-by-room design of the upper floors of the ghost ship haven’t been decided, we know what types of rooms we want, and one such room is the cabin. Or cabins, really. We’d like the player to battle their way through a set of cabins on the second or third floor, so naturally we need to make a bunch of items that can be seen in these cabins. As such, I made a random design of what one such room could look like, and made a bunch of random props to put in it.

I know I mentioned we’d continue on adding things for the desert’s stable release, but I’ll have plenty of time to do that while throwing in a ghost ship background or two… :)

Let’s take a look:

 

 

Next, another portrait from past times: this time featuring young dad!!

At this time in his life, he recently got accepted as a Collector after passing the trials, along with Charlotte (your mom) and Ivy, who went on to become the grandmaster of the Collectors.

And now, what I believe to be the last in a series of the younger version portraits: Ivy, from a time before she became the leader for the Collectors!

Who is this mysterious person, and what was her relationship with Dad and Charlotte like in the past? All questions that may soon be answered through those memory orbs…

Next up, another card… There are still a few left, after all! This is the Orange Slime card, featuring an orange slime used as a saw by the desert’s own carpenter, Mallet:

 

 

Meanwhile, after having made a ton of NPCs for the desert, it’s finally time for Fred to start working on the Ghost Ship enemies!!

The first enemy he’s making is a skeleton ghost, which will come in two versions: one that wields a sword, and one that uses magic to buff and debuff the surrounding players and enemies! As usual, he’s made a lot of sketches featuring different versions of the enemy below (starting with the sword-wielding one), with the one in the green circle representing the one he’s decided to work with for the first couple of animations.

The magic user version will likely have a different color scarf and a slightly changed hat:

Exciting times! Can’t wait to start prototyping and testing these guys out, it’s gonna be so nice to move on to a different area after so many months working on the desert! As always, it’s great to be an indie dev cause as soon as you get tired of one thing, everything changes and you need to start working on something else!

Warning! This blog contains spoilers for the upcoming parts of the game, if you wish to be surprised, stop reading here!

The ghost ship plans continue to unfold, and the next big things we’ve decided on is to take the player on a strange dream, caused by the ghostly presences on the ship. In this dream, you’ll find yourself back in Startington (?!), but it’s a quiet, somewhat “wrong” version of itself. Here you need to solve four different challenges in order to find your way back to the ghost ship and continue on your journey.

There will be things in this dream referencing events that have happened in the game this far, with each building in Startington holding its own challenge. In one, you’ll need to battle a ton of slimes searching for that one card, in another you’ll be pressured to show your skill with the shield. A third urges you to remember you friends, and a forth the dreams you had for the future.

Needless to say, this will be a slightly very surreal world, and we’ll be hard pressed to make sure things have just the right amount of eeriness. We’ve had a ton of crazy, creepy ideas for this part, but our intention isn’t to turn into a psychological horror game – we just want approximately 5% of that feeling!

Right now we’re still undecided exactly how this place will look graphically – we’ve got ideas ranging from having it be just regular Startington (without the people – and probably without the song, making it a too quiet, too still version of itself) all the way to going full sepia-toned, dark, with shadows and mists lurking around the edges of the screen. We’ll see where it all ends up, and here I think we’ll need a lot of help from you guys as you test it out in Frontline.

After the Tai Ming storyline, things have taken a turn for the darker already, but as I said, we don’t want it to go full horror. It’ll be very interesting to get this right, but I think and hope we will!

Now, more places implemented means more places that need fixes! Here’s a bunch of changes we’ve decided to make since the desert started getting into place.

First up, closing off one of the caves. Previously we wanted it to look open, but since there will be a map change between them, we felt it’s more consistent to use the regular cave doors:

Second, we realized if you manage to get out of the cave exit to the right on this map, you’d be stuck on this plateau forever (there’s a jump-down inside the cave, so you’re unable to go back that way… oops):

Some detail changes to the wall here, making it more consistent with how it looks inside the city. Keep in mind most of the wall will be offscreen:

Same thing here, I’ve changed the texture of the wall and made it more consistent with the size inside town. Also edited the path to align better after you change screen:

We’ve also added a slight bit of decoration outside the number cave, which will have magical flames as well once Fred has used some of his animation magic:

Finally, as we were looking around the NPC folders while implementing the desert NPCs, we realized we made a collector’s outfit for Sally a long, long time ago, but forgot to add it. We’ll remedy this in time, and in preparation for that I made a recolored version of her sprite, featuring her Collector uniform:

And now it’s time to start the second room of those Desert Ruins! There’s been a lot of talk about the Ghost Ship so it’s easy to forget we’re still not done with the desert, haha. This place is where you’ll battle the Solem Boss, and have an Indiana Jones-y cutscene! Let’s take a look:

 

 

It’s all pretty bare so far, but the video got long enough already. In the next part, we’ll continue working on the upper part of this map, where a treasure lies waiting!

As Teddy has started implementing NPCs, both me and Fred were in for a surprise. Not only were there NPC sprites made by Fred that I forgot to make portraits for, there were portraits of NPCs that Fred forgot to make sprites for as well… Silly things happen when you work on multiple parts of the game at once!

In other words, it’s time to start mashing out a couple more portraits, so for a while there will be two presented every week once more.

This guy here is someone selling souvenirs in the Desert Town, though by the looks of his outfit, I wouldn’t be surprised if his real job was to be a Collector:

And finally, we have the ghost scientist I think I mentioned before – this person will appear in the lab in Evergrind City in the beginning of the game, where she’s investigating the spirit world. Later on, she’ll play a part in your ghost ship journey: