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?

This week we’ll start off with another portrait, featuring the sleepy collector Fred made last week:

Next, a new ghostlike figure! This one actually has ties to your family, and can be found on the ghost ship in the near future!

As mentioned before, we’re transforming the Memory room where you could battle previous bosses into a conference room where people are making decisions on the upcoming quests and plans for the Collectors!

So, time to take care of the background:

Next up, another background change! In place of the puzzle tower, which we’re putting on hold for now, there will be… a strange slime altar? How peculiar..!

In Fred’s department, he’s finishing up a bunch of stuff for the next bunch of quest stuff, mainly the Slime Altar one, but also some sound devices you’ll get as a reward for a fun new mini-game we’ll take a look at next week:

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:

It’s a new week, with new possibilities! So let’s go back to that bonus cave system in Pillar Mountains, and take the second door, leading down through the mountain:

And now, back to the mansion! Here’s a room filled with plants, cause who wouldn’t want that? Also, it might just be needed for one of the quests we’re working on…

Another house some people have been asking about is the one you pass by on the field just right of Evergrind City, which you haven’t been able to reach just yet. Soon though, you’ll be able to get there through a path in the Pumpkin Woods, so let’s take a look at what’s inside:

Obviously the people living in Marino’s Mansion need somewhere to sleep, so here’s one of the two bedrooms I’ll be making:

Now, time to take a look at a portrait of sorts; a boss portrait made for the fight you’ll have against Remedi in his troll form!

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 ;)

Hello everyone! Have you enjoyed your weekend? It’s time for another week and another meeting, this time discussing the next quest we’ll implement for Story Mode.

As you’ve seen before, Fred has been working on a bug net animation for a quest where you’ll capture butterflies. The person who will give you this quest is Luigi, and one of the rewards will be one of those fertilizers that will help the squiggly plants you’ve seen across the world grow. Today we ironed out some more of those details.

To start off with, the point of the quest is that you’ll get a bug net from Luigi, and use it to capture some rare butterflies found across the world. Turn in three (or four – we haven’t decided the exact number yet) and you’ll get a fertilizer, turn in all of them and you’ll get a special trinket.

At first we weren’t sure whether this quest should be given immediately or if it’ll be unlocked later on in the game. Each of these options come with their own pro’s and cons. The positives of having it unlocked immediately (well, after you finish the trial) is that you’ll be able to capture butterflies as you go on your adventures, giving you something extra to do. On the other hand, unlocking it later on will give you a chance to go back to some places you’ve seen before, especially if you’ve taken notice of the butterflies before and wondered what you could do with them.

In the end we settled for having it unlocked immediately, since the first reward you’ll get for the quest is a fertilizer, and that in its own is a sort of backtracking deal, making both the quest and reward a bit too similar if we went for the second option.

As for the final reward, we decided to go for a trinket that will get you a butterfly follower, sort of like the trinket that gives you a fae follower, but with a butterfly instead. We’re also considering allowing you to pick between a set of different appearances for the butterfly, so that you’ll always be able to pick one that you like best and/or matches your look!

We still don’t know exactly how many butterflies you’ll be able to capture across the world, but we’ll try to spread them out evenly throughout the game. The main thing is that they will all be outdoors (and Luigi will tell you as much), to avoid having you look around in every nook and cranny of every cave and building when you’re about to go looking for that final one!

Next, work on the mansion continues, this time with a dining room, where we can only assume Marino and his family have their supper with esteemed guests to entertain:

Next, another face you’ll find in the Mansion: another maid, polishing some statues in the main hallway!

Next in line in the mansion room creation is the second hallway, which connects the kitchen, dining room and first hallway:

And with that, the mansion is more than halfway done! What remains now is the grand corridor where Marino’s dad hangs out, Marino’s room, the master bedroom and Marino’s mother exotic plant room!

Meanwhile, Fred has been working on a bunch of smaller things, including a couple of the new NPCs, and some secret easter egg stuff I won’t show here, but will leave for you to find out during your adventures in the game!

Now, as is customary after a bigger patch, it’s time for us to take a couple days off to recharge the batteries. We’ll be back at the office on August 3rd, meaning the next blog post will be available here on August 10th, a week after we’ve returned to the office and produced new stuff to show!

Hope you guys are enjoying the summer, I’ll see you then :3

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 :)

For those of you who have opted into Steam’s client beta, you’ll have noticed that there’s a new library style in the works, which calls for new and improved graphics to showcase each game. For starters, here’s what the header of each game looks like now, and more specifically what the default was and how we changed it around adding our own graphics:

Unfortunately for us, being a pixel game and all, the automatic resizing won’t do us many favours, but it could be worse!

You library has a more clean view featuring cover art as well, like so:

How do you guys find this new library update? Do you like it or not? I think the best bit is how more visually satisfying it is to browse your library, seeing all of the juicy cover art all lined up! And of course, it’ll only get better as more and more games add these new graphics :)

Next it’s time for a bunch of smaller graphic assets needed here and there throughout the game! Starting off with a super cute very scary chest:

And a skeleton key, because which ghost ship would be complete without them:

For this room, we added some spooky decorations on a wooden board to give the players a hint there might be something there if you swap over to the ghost world:

We also weren’t quite happy with how fresh and clean these shelves looked, so we wore them down a bit:

Finally, a couple expressions for the captain, to give the cutscenes a bit more oomph:

Speaking of expressions, here are some more, featuring the rest of the main story cast in the Ghost Ship:

And since we decided to put Pine in one of the cabins, we thought we’d put in a bunch of Flying Fortress decorations in there as well:

Finally, let’s take a look at some animations for the final boss of the dungeon… Our dear friend Luke!
First up a bunch of sketches for what he could look like in this boss version:

And the first batch of animations made for him combo’d together:

Another week has gone past and more plans have been made for the final dungeon! As homework over the week we decided that each of us had to come up with two ideas for things that could happen in the various floors of the dungeons. When we met up again it became clear that each of us was quite divided between two various ways of dealing with the dungeon: either as a pure gameplay mechanical experience, or one where old friends from the rest of the game return in various ways, allowing for more story focused floors.

One such thing we’d like to include is the ghost of Tessen, whom you met in Tai Ming, as well as Naniva helping you out with the Temple of Seasons floor. A couple weeks ago I mentioned a beast of some kind that will resummon bosses for you to fight – in one such idea we’d like a resummoned winter that wreacks havoc on the Seasonne floor, adding icy winds or spikes for you to deal with aside from fighting the regular enemies.

For Pillar Mountains, we have ideas of adding your mother in some way, and in the Ghost Ship floor reintroduce some other old ghosts from Tai Ming, namely those of Sizou and Mana. However, all of these are just in the idea stage at the moment – so we’ll see how many of them (if any) end up in the final design of the dungeon.

Gameplay wise we’re trying to spice up each of the floors a bit by adding elements or enemies from other areas of the game. One example of such an idea is to have a Phase Shift puzzle in the Flying Fortress floor, where you have to change the layout of the course by using season orbs that will change the various blocks; causing roots to overgrow some, while others are revealed.

We’ve also finally played through the Ghost Ship up to the very last portion of it (the creepy Startington and the last boss battle of the dungeon). This portion of the game takes us about 1 and a half hour to complete, and even though it’s taken us a very long time, we’re really happy with how the dungeon looks and feels at this point. It also has some of our top favourite boss fights, so we hope you’ll enjoy those as well!

Next up for us will be to complete the creepy Startington portion and boss fight, which are both now well under way before we can finally upload it all to Frontline. Hang in there guys! :)

Meanwhile, let’s take a look at the creation of one of the final rooms in the Ghost Ship – the Phase Puzzle room! Here’s where Kailan, the Flying Fortress engineer from ancient times, has set up a Phase Puzzle course for you that you need to pass to get to the eye boss!

We’re starting with the basics, following a sketched designed made by Teddy after he prototyped the puzzle:

Next we’re adding all of the Flying Fortress details, to give the room a more high tech feel to fit the Phase Puzzle course:

And after that, it’s time to make some Ghost Ship special phase shift blocks:

These blocks will only be visible in the ghost world, so better keep your wits about you when you try to phase through this challenge!

And, finally… Making the ghost world version of the room!