We’re in our new office!! Last Wednesday we finally made the move, but we had already started preparing the day before. Here’s the old office in our apartment’s guest room, as it used to be, and fully packed:

The saddest thing we’ll be leaving behind is the cats! It’s been so nice to be able to spend all day long with our lovely two cats, who will have to wait alone at home for us to return from the office every day now ;_;

Yesterday, the moving company knocked on our door at 8 am, ready to move our stuff. The whole thing took about an hour, plus another 30 minutes of putting everything together at the new office, here pictured empty:

After we were done, we went to have lunch and went by a couple stores to buy a few things to make our office more cozy: a few plants (fake, so they won’t die if we have to leave the office for a few days), a clothes hanger where we can put our coats, and a few decorations for the window (including a cute little christmas tree):

The whole place feels very cozy now, and we’re very happy with the space. At first we thought it might be a little on the small side, but we’re really satisfied with the amount of room we have and how comfy we could make it.

The only sad part, as mentioned, is leaving behind the cats – but the walks and ability to separate work and free time should be worth it! Already work feels much more focused and distraction-free, so that’s great :)

Now, let’s jump straight into continuing the interior spree of the Arcadia Rework! It’s time to take a look at the Cinema, another of those brand new buildings that don’t exist in Story Mode. Here, you’ll be able to watch replays of your previous Arcade runs, and even share them with your friends.

While most of this will take place in one of the ticket booths near the entrance, we couldn’t resist adding a bit of a cinema feel with a big screen and some seats for flavour. Perhaps some NPCs will be here, watching a short movie on screen? Maybe some of them will even offer a quest of two!

The second to last interior before all the interior designs of the new and improved Arcadia are completed, belongs to the Aquarium! This place will feature a set of fishes that you captured during your run, as well as the typical souvenirs:

In the sketch, I included a set of fish shaped balloons, but I think we’ll let Fred make those from start to finish since they will need to be animated to really have that proper balloon feel! For now, here’s what the Aquarium looks like, sans the proper fishes and mentioned balloons:

And now, the final part of the Arcadia rework (interior wise, anyway): the Dojo interior! This is another building that exists in Story Mode, and may have its old version replaced by this new Arcade version. It’s designed to have a big enough fighting area for you to prove yourself in a set of challenges, as well as a shield block training session we may include in the earlier parts of story mode: we’ll see!

Without further ado, the WIP video:

And the finished version! I thought it’d be cool to save some space at the bottom where Master Ji’s apprenticed can stand and watch/cheer for you as you do your challenges! In the section above, the master himself will spectate your progress:

As for Fred’s department…. It’s time to introduce a new character of quite some importance: the Trunk!

This little guys will be the equivalent of Bag, but for Arcade Mode. We didn’t have a character like this in Arcade Mode previously, but the more we thought about it, the more we felt it was lacking somehow. It kind of felt strange to have bag say random things when he isn’t even a character in this part of the game, and as we start to get to the point where we need to design how to unlock the new features, we felt a sidekick that can help you understand how to do that felt more interesting than random info boxes.

Aside from being your sidekick in the Arcade Mode portion of the game, bag and trunk have very little in common, though! This little fellow is cheerful and happy, excited to be a part of your adventures. (Well, maybe Bag is too, but he doesn’t show it half as well as this one!)

Stay tuned for more information about this new character and how you’ll interact in Arcade Mode!

This week it’s time to move on to doing some interiors for the Tai Ming arcade floors! Since Tai Ming is a town, it would be kind of weird to not have any houses you can go into, so we decided to make a few variations!

First up, deciding on the sizes (paying extra attention to the user interface limitations this time):

Starting off with the wider of the rooms, I add some basic walls and floors to create a shell we can use to decorate these interiors in various ways:

First up this entails wall decorations! For this shape, we have three variations of what the walls can look like:

…and they in turn can be combined with three different floor layouts:

Using these six types of decorations, we can mix and mach and create quite different rooms, even though the shape is the same! As you can see, we also added another type of floor texture to mix things up even more:

And then, it’s just doing the same thing all over again, but with the smaller version of the room:

Now it’s time to make a bunch of rooms that go in the other direction (horizontally)! Starting off in the same way, deciding on size and adding the basics:

Then adding a bunch of wall and floor decorations:

And here are some mix and match examples of what these houses can look like:

While there isn’t a ton of variation, there also won’t be a lot of house interiors, and even if there were we think it’s probably not going to look too much the same (especially when you compare it to previous floors, which were all very basic and same-looking)!

As for the final part of interior creation for these floors, there’s of course turning everything into its present version, ruined and forgotten!

Some of you may remember a discussion we had about whether the player would pass through the same rooms, once in past and once in present, or whether enforced time warps between rooms would determine whether the next room is past or present (and as such only available in that state).

Back then we were more into the idea of reusing the same rooms and showcasing them in both past and present, but since then we’ve realized that having the rooms isolated in either a past or present state is more time efficient, and in the end, may be more straight forward for the player as well. In the earlier version it would mean there are two states of the map at the same time, with different room types in them (challenge rooms and the nurse, for instance, would only be available in one of the states and you’d have to travel back and forth if you wanted to return to them after changing time).

So, with that decision, it opened up the opportunity to make even more layouts for the present type rooms, allowing for even more variation!

Here’s some of the wall and floor decorations:

And here’s a bunch of mix and matching, showing all types of rooms:

One step closer to finishing these arcade floors, wohoo! :)

And now, moving on to boss rooms! Each of our bosses are in rather special places, so instead of just sticking them into random rooms, we decided to edit and adjust the areas they are in to fit the Arcade version instead.

Starting with the Mimic, it’s pretty isolated in it’s own room, so technically we could just have had it appear inside a random interior. However, since we want to show off that the Mimic is coming (in more ways than simply having the skull map indicator for those who are looking), we decided to bring in the entrance to his lair from the game:

Of course, a few adjustments were needed. For one, we didn’t want to use the whole map, so we extracted the building part, removed the door, and added ropes to keep you from going up the stairs:

Trying it out in photoshop, it doesn’t look too shabby when you connect it to the stone fence:

We also added some specific decorations for when this room appears, so that nothing will get cut off:

As for the Thorn Worm boss, its arena is pretty set in the middle of town:

…But we extracted the whole building and made it a map of its own, removing all the distracting surroundings and fixing things that got broken in the move. Here, too, we added a bunch of decorations surrounding the battlefield, and you’ll be able to exit to the next floor by going through the big door:

As for the third boss, the Priestess…

…we use pretty much the same method! Extract the whole area, remove things that are unnecessary to the fight and fix any things that need fixing. In this case there was no version of the building with an open door, and since we want the player to progress into the next floor through its interior, I had to repaint the area surrounding the door to make it open:

Now we just need to make a corridor that you will run through in either past or present state depending on which of the bosses you faced, in order to reach the next floor!

Meanwhile, there’s one more week of fishy updates, but this is the last one! With this post all the fishes have been animated and are ready to be added to the aquarium:

Now that those are out of the way, Fred can finally go back to creating NPCs for the desert, which is what we’ll be diving into as soon as we finish up our Arcade Mode business. There are still quite a backlog of portraits I’ve made over the months for random character that will live there, so he has his work cut out for him for a while!

This week we mainly continue our work on the Arcadia remake, but we also took some time to bring a bunch of printouts of the desert area to our favorite fast food place for a little chat! Our goal was to discuss more in detail exactly what’s going to happen as you journey through the desert towards the harbour town, and what side quests we aim to include as we add this to the game.

We took a ton of notes on each of the maps, filling them with sentences about what will happen, what things will look like, what caves will connect and what will be in them, etc. After we were done, the desert had gone from a pretty basic set of maps to one of the most well thought out areas so far, at least in my opinion!

We aim to include three bigger side quests when we add it to frontline/stable (not including quests we might come put with for the harbour town), but like most areas, we have more ideas for other quests to include at a later date when it’s time for an overall polish of the entire game. While it won’t have a big side area like the Tai Ming’s phase shift section, the main quest here will bring back a lot of old friends to the plot, and have you travel outside the desert as well.

With all this new information, there’s a ton of new maps (cave interiors, specifically) for me to do, and a few new enemy and mini-boss animations for Fred to deal with as well! It’s all gonna be a lot of fun, and we hope you’ll be as excited to finally explore this area as we are making it.

However, before we start focusing for real on the desert, there’s still something left to do: the Arcadia rework (as mentioned), including the Tai Ming and Mount Bloom floors which currently aren’t in the game. So while we’ve made sure to plan ahead for this, it’ll be a little while before we actually continue working on the desert stuff.

And the next Arcade Mode interior…. is the Inn! Or the tavern! Whatever you wish to call it. True, it does not have beds, but who’s to say there isn’t a hidden door somewhere that leads upstairs?

In either case, this is sort of an upgraded version of the old Tavern in Arcadia. Doesn’t look exactly the same, but I went for the same sort of feel and the overall layout. When everything is implemented this place will probably have more visitors than it currently does, more inhabitants looking to hand out quests!

Here’s the WIP video, using a lot of old housing items for this one:

And the finished version:

Next up, the arena!! Another interior that gets and upgrade, where we aren’t completely decided on whether this new upgraded version will replace the old one in Story Mode.

Like with the farm, I kind of went for the same layout and overall design, though in the original version there are statues of fighters which I opted out of in this version: I just didn’t feel it worked very well with this rather smaller and more compact version of the layout.

Instead, my hope is to have a few spectators chat in the reception area, maybe swooning at the champions (you guys) who are about to enter the fray!

Here’s the WIP video:

And the finished version:

And now, a completely new building, not previously available in any form: the Bank! How exciting! …Maybe.

So for this place we wanted the look of a waiting room, with a kind of office-y feel to it. People requesting loans and whatnot will be waiting for their turn, while the player can just waltz up to one of the desks and request an exchange of gold to essence (or the other way around)!

Aside from the desk where the bank workers will be, there’s a (heavily guarded!) vault, and a water cooler, cause waiting times for non-players can be quite extreme…

The WIP video:

Finished version:

And finally, a bunch of new fishes for the Aquarium, to end this week!

After some discussion we’ve decided to make all of the fishes available in the Aquarium, which means each of them needs to be animated. While Fred has made a bunch already, there’s still a ton left to do…

..and as such, here’s the second fish batch, ready to be put into an aquarium near you:

One thing we didn’t mention in last weeks posts are what will happen to your old potions. We aren’t so cruel as to simply remove or disable the pots you’ve bought so far – instead they will turn into pet food (which, honestly, is probably what most of you have used them for so far).

As such, we’ll be adding a new shop to the game: Oak’s Pet supplies, found at the farm in Evergrind West! At Oak’s Pet Supplies you’ll be able to buy dishes to feed your pet(s) with, each one boosting a different stat.

At first, we weren’t sure whether we wanted to keep these foods simple, calling them simple things (such as HP Food, Crit Food, etc) and having a very basic appearance (basic pet food cans in different colors and with different icons depending on what stat they boost). However, after some discussion we thought it’d be more fun to use ‘real’ dishes, with fancier names.

Sure, it does not make as much sense that Oak is selling outright food at his farm, but we’ll make that work later on. Maybe that’s why nobody is buying things at Belmont’s café? Oak is serving better stuff for cheaper! It’s food for pets but who cares so long as it’s tasty, right..?

Anyway, without further ado, introducing the dishes that have replaced your old potions:

Light Ceasar Salad – Nothing like a light salad to keep you up on our feet! This dish is replacing the old speed potions, and boost speed when fed to your pet.

Hearty Stew – A thick and warming stew to boost your health! Feed it to your pet and you’ll get a nice HP increase.

Spicy Prawn Soup – A hot soup that will help you land those crits after you feed it to your pet.

Grilled Rib Eye Steak – A grilled beef to keep your damage high. Replaces the old damage pots.

Sweet Sundae – Finally, a sweet dessert for your EP needs. Feed your pet this yummy dish and it will be sure to help you keep that EP up and running.

Here’s the final lineup:

And the title of the shop page! We decided to go for Pet Supplies rather than Pet food since we want to keep our options open: maybe Oak will end up selling other things as well! Such as new taming items…. We’ll see!

Now, time to get back to the Arcadia rework, and we begin with a quick update with some random improvements/additions! First up, I felt the Farm outdoors looked awfully empty, so I added a bunch of hay for your pets to eat, just to make it look a bit more special:

Second, way back we decided that the furniture salesman should have a little sign like all the other shops, so I went back and added it outside the player house:

Speaking of the player house, we also mentioned ages ago that the player house in Arcadia would be the one available in Evergrind as well, rather than the random run-of-the-mill house currently available. Said and done:

Finally, something not-Arcadia related! We’re considering adding a painting of the player’s mother in the lab, where you dad hangs out with the artifacts. Just a little reminder of why you’re collecting them in the first place~

Now, finally time to move indoors and start doing some cool house interiors (it’s been a while now)! Today, we’re starting off with the Clock Tower, featuring the world’s longest GIF. I should have just recorded a video of this whole thing but I’ve been doing GIFs so much now that I just completely forgot I also have a YouTube channel for these things. Oh well!

This place was actually quite a bit of a struggle! I’m working on my rendering technique for those pesky wall textures, trying to fins a nice balance between too plain and too much detail/colors.

The main part of this room is the bell, which will allow you to change the time of day, and the window which indicates what time of day it is. The window will be animated by Fred at some point, where the image will turn from night to day. At that point the background might look completely different depending on what’s easier to animate for him, but for now I just put a piece of the Arcadia background there instead of keeping it empty.

Finished version, for now:

Next up we continue the Arcadia rework, today starring the the farm interior! This place will have the same look and feel as the farm in Evergrind West, only with updated graphics and more stuff.

We’re actually considering replacing the old farm interior in Story Mode with this one, but we haven’t fully decided yet. On one hand it looks a lot better graphics wise, on the other it’s kind of nice to have the unlock in Arcadia be a bit more special. On the third hand (…let’s not get into anatomy…) many players will probably never play Arcade Mode or get to the point where they unlock the Farm, so it means a lot of people won’t get to see the better version, while most people likely will visit the farm in Story Mode at some point.

Ah, we’ll see.

Anyway, here’s the creation video:

And the finished version, missing Oak, of course:

And while I continue doing Arcadia stuff, Fred returns to the desert! Over the weeks I’ve made quite a bunch of portraits for people in the desert, and now it’s time for Fred to start making their sprites~

Here’s a bunch of the inhabitants you’ll be able to talk to in the upcoming desert town, also featuring their WIPs and various stages before the final versions were picked (the final selection are the one in the circle on top):

There’s also a bunch of fishes being made for the Aquarium that will be available in the Arcadia Rework! So exciting, look how cute they are:

Gotta catch ’em all… :D

Last week me and Teddy had full focus on getting the house building tools up and running, and I’m happy to say the patch is ready and has been uploaded!! Finally you’ll be able to be more creative with your house, adding new rooms and editing their shape or size in more detail.

The full patch notes can be seen here, and as always, we’d LOVE to hear your feedback on these new tools, anything that may be confusing with them, improvements to be made etc. Let us know! You can comment either here or in the thread above (or make a new suggestions post on the forums).

Last week, Fred was also gone on vacation, and since he returns tonight and the build tools are done (aside from some polishing and anything we learn from your feedback), our next move will be to get together and discuss the support skills! Yes, finally! We’ve put them off for so long, but with the game drawing ever closer to a finished state I guess it’s best we finally get to adding them before there’s no reason to use them anymore, right?!

We’d like to thank all of you for your input and suggestions in regards to them up to this point, and we’ll consider each of them as we move on to iron out in which direction we want to take these spells. Again, though, it’s unlikely there will be any kind of healing skills, but most of you are used to the thought of that by now! It’s a cool skill to have, but we’ve made the decision it won’t be available in Grindea (unless you’re a certain NPC) for a variety of reasons I don’t think we need to rehash once more.

What we DO end up implementing we’ll only know after tomorrow’s meeting, and will be disclosed in a future post!

Since I don’t get to do much for the support spells (it’s mainly Teddy implementing mechanics and Fred doing animations for them), I’ll return to focusing on the Arcadia rework and its new floors until the skills are properly decided and I can make icons for them (likely after some prototyping as been made). We’ll keep you updated!

FOR NOW THOUGH, let’s take a look at last week and the path to creating the tools you now have in your game:

In the first screenshot (above), we added a very simple way of being able to drag each wall tile down however far you need. At the point of this screen, it’s a very basic way of handling things: the darkness above each wall tile looks very square and unpolished, and the black outlines have actually been added manually in Photoshop as a visual test.

Since we don’t want the outlines to be completely black in the final game – it will look jarring next to some of the wallpapers – what we’ll do is have me make a 1 pixel wide line for each wallpaper, using a much darker version of its own color. This way we can also manually account for the lower part of the wallpaper being a different color. For the particular wallpaper above, this would mean the outline will be dark gray and dark red.

As a next step, we polished the darkness, and added a way to pull wall tiles upwards as well, as seen below:

If you’ve an eye for details, you’ll notice the corners aren’t as rounded as in the previous screen. The reason for this is that rooms with multiple extra corners (such as the one above) looked super weird with the smooth corners attached everywhere – it looked less like a house, and more like an organic shape. Even now, the edges might look a little bit too rounded, but I think this is a lot better, and I feel completely square corners would end up looking too flat.

Next step: attaching doors that connect your rooms. Each wallpaper will have its own door, and unfortunately as of now you won’t be able to mix and match between them.

When making the doors, we had two options regarding sizing: either making them 40 pixels wide, equaling 2 floor tiles – which honestly is rather small compared to most doors in the game – or going for 60 pixels / 3 floor tiles, which is rather huge compared to most doors in the game.

SO, I made a bunch of suggestions, the left ones being 40 pixels / 2 floor tiles and the bigger ones on the right equaling 3 floor tiles of width:

In the end, we decided to go for the smaller doors, as they don’t look quite as gigantic and it seems easier to fit in doors that are 2 tiles wide inside your house. It’s going to be a challenge keeping each door this tiny, but that’s what makes it fun too, right? Continuing on, I made one door for each wallpaper, both facing upwards and to the sides:

And now that those are out of the way, it’s time to return to something we haven’t touched in a rather long while… User interfaces! First, we need to get some stuff together so you can purchase the lumber that allows you to extend the size of your house and rooms!

And it all begins with a basic item sprite (you will be carrying the lumber in your inventory, after all), and a modified version for the shop menu:

Next, we begin sketching what the lumber purchasing interface could look like. Since lumber is a very different item compared to furniture, we wanted to keep them separate. Therefore, rather than being part of the regular sales, lumber purchasing will have a special interface, loosely based on the Nurse in Arcade Mode:

The main things of importance in this interface is how much lumber you wish to purchase (and how much it costs), how much gold you have, and how much each lumber costs at this level. We decided that after you’ve purchased a number of lumber, the overall price per lumber will go up. This way it’ll take some extra work (or rather gold), to get those huge mansion type buildings!

Once we were satisfied with the sketch I went ahead and made the rendered version, also featuring how much lumber you currently own, which we realized might be interesting to see as well:

Next up, the build tools menu! Gotta access those tool some way, right?

Every menu we design starts with a basic sketch, and in this case a messier one than usual! In the above screen, we were discussing various ways of making the tools available to the player, sketching as we went on. Our first idea was to merge the build tools with the hand tool, but we quickly changed it to be its own focused menu in the settings tab, where we could fit all of them – including the light settings, which would be slightly out of place otherwise.

Similarly to the shop menus, this menu will use buttons that allow you to enter each tool. In the above screen, I added some of the already made shop menu buttons to see what it’d look like if we used them as a base for the new bunch. Since the size in length fits well with the background and it’s edited to fit all font types in height, we decided to stick with these and just swap out the icons to represent each tool.

Next I began editing the background to make the buttons stand out more, as well as making room for the menu title (which as of now will be”Room”). The icons on each side of the band (on which the title text will be) will move with the text, so no matter the length of the title they will be a pixel or two away. We made it this way to make sure it’ll look as good as possible in the translations:

Then it’s all about making those icons, and doing our best to come up with images that fit with the tool and make them easier to understand. Can you guess what each tool means below?

The correct answer is, from top to bottom: Add New (room), Resize, Reshape, Light Settings, Clear and Delete!

Add room will create a ready room with a door that you’ll be able to place on the wall in the room you’re currently in. Resize will replace the current resize system and allows you to pull at any of the walls, making the room longer in that direction. In Reshape you can pull down (or up) walls to change the shape of the room, and Light Settings will replace the current light setting – after you press the button, it’ll allow you to change the percentage. Clear will clear all furniture from the room, and Delete will, naturally, delete it.

Since this will be the new settings menu, you might wonder what will happen to the Save and Load options. They will remain in their own box, beneath the above Room settings (you might have to scroll down to access them). These are designed much in the same way, and will work just like the Light Settings button: after you press their buttons you’ll be able to edit which slot you want to save/load into, just like before:

And now, some work in progress gifs showing the early stages of the build tools:

First up, the add new (room) tool, seen above! The cost of the room will be shown in the middle, and you use the arrow keys to decide where to place the entrance.

Below, you can see the prototype for the resize tool, where you use arrows to first select which wall you want to make bigger, and then keep pressing the arrow key in the direction you want it to increase. As you do this, the amount of lumber needed to complete the action is shown. Right now it displays with a minus sign, while the add new room does not, but in the end they’ll both use the same format.

You’ll be able to pull at the walls however long you wish even if you cannot afford it, but you won’t be able to confirm your edit unless you have enough lumber. The reason for this is so that you can try making the room the size you want it and see how much lumber you’d need to make it that big before you go purchase more at the Carpenter.

Finally, there’s the reshape tool, where you can edit the inside of the room. Pulling down (or up) these walls don’t cost anything, so you can redesign the shape of your room freely!

This week was a very special week, since the annual GGC was hosted (and also the week where we launched housing on frontline – go check it out)!

GGC is short for Gotland Game Conference, which is basically a game expo where the students at the game design education showcase their game and a bunch of people from the industry is invited as judges to give feedback and select which ones did the best. It all culminates in an award ceremony with an after-party where we all get a chance to hang out together and share experiences with other game developers. So basically, it’s great!

For those of you wanting a glimpse of all the game presented at the conference, check out this video:

One of the showfloor favorites, and clear winner of many of the awards at the award ceremony was this little gem called Pump the Frog, made by a bunch of first year students:

Totally charming and so well polished. It was hard to imagine they only had 8 weeks from start to finish, incredibly impressive work! It’s also nominated for several SGA (Swedish Game Awards) categories, so its success might continue on to other venues as well!

If you want to know more about the conference or would like to see some cool pictures from the showfloor and presentations, head over to the conference website!

———–

Now as I mentioned, this week we also launched the housing system, which is now playable on frontline! So, when we weren’t at GGC judging games and hanging out with fellow game developers, this week was all about some last minute housing polish, finishing up the remaining details and the graphics needed for them!

First up, we realized there were some more forgotten things we needed to take care of!

Some miniatures for the carpets from before, for example:

And then, a couple of items some of you have likely had in your inventory for quite some time! The red slime carpet and the green slime bad:

Hopefully that’s the last of our forgotten objects, and we can now focus on just adding new ones in the future :)

As for the housing system itself, the way you get the house, for now, is that once you’ve completed Flying Fortress, the scientist Kim will appear in Evergrind City next to your currently not-yet-built house, explaining one or two things about the science behind the houses in the game (and your own)!

She also wonders if you’d like to help test out some new systems, and upon agreeing to do so you’ll be able to purchase the house from the carpenter, who will build it for you. After this is done we plan to move Kim back to the lab in the HQ where she’ll continue doing other experiments (gotta keep busy, you know)!

As for the house, once it’s been finished (this happens once you change screens once), you’ll get a very short and basic explanation of how to use it upon entering the building.

We’ve continued working on the icons that illustrate what tool you’re currently using, and here they are in action:

First up, the style icon (seen above). After some thinking we’ve decided the arrows for each of the icons need to be remade, and it’s also missing a proper outline and an animation at this point.

Next, the carpet tool’s “carpet version”:

For this one we’re actually considering using the old version (seen below) after all, to make it stand out a bit more from the carpets you’re editing.

Finally, a GIF showcasing both the stack and the move tool:

The stack tool (as well as the carpet tool) don’t use the correct freeze frames in these GIFs which means the animation isn’t paced exactly right (it’s supposed to pause for longer on each stack), but it gives you an idea of what it’ll look like. The move tool is missing an animation in these GIFs as well, but it has since been added to the game. Finally, we added outlines to all the icons, which made them stand out a bit more against the background. This can also be viewed in the game.

We did have a discussion regarding whether or not to use a more simplistic style for each of these (like the old version of the carpet tool), but decided against it in the end. This way there will be a little more color, and hopefully each icon will stand out enough on their own once the outlines and proper animations have been added!

As for Fred, his main focus has been getting all those housing icon moving. Here are the finished icons he worked on:

We didn’t talk about the hand tool much in the previous post on housing, but the hand tool is a very basic tool accessible from the housing menu that allows you to move around your house and select any furniture piece you want (which in turn brings you into the other tools). The hand tool is also connected to your skin color in-game, and matches that of your character.

Here’s the new and improved move tool! We changed the arrows quite a bit, both in shape and color, plus it now moves and has an outline. It works a lot better than the old version, to say the least!

There’s also this new and improved version of the carpet tool icon (above), and the stack tool which you’ve already seen, below:

And here’s the style tool, a little bit interesting now that the brush is moving about:

Finally, Kim got a slight redesign to better resemble her portrait as well as an additional animation. In her regular one, she’s doing some chemistry stuff, mixing a liquid of some sort. While she’s outdoors telling you about the housing science, we thought we’d give her a different animation to better suit the theme (as well as one that doesn’t make sounds every few seconds):

We currently haven’t decided whether she’ll pick her chemistry set back up once she returns inside, or if she’ll continue using her newfound tablet instead!

Now, if you haven’t tried out the housing system yet, go ahead and let us know what you think! We’re eagerly awaiting your feedback :)

Hello guys and sorry for the late recap! Apparently, someone (me) forgot to hit ‘publish’ after finishing the post and nobody noticed until now… Ooops!

Oh well, ready for some new Housing info?

Our basic prototype is more or less done: the items that have been made so far have all been implemented, and most of the ones that will move in some way have their proper animations. Teddy is currently working on two things, the light settings (which are coming along rather nicely so far), and the rather complicated systems behind being able to add more rooms and change the layout of your house.

You see, previously we decided that you’d be able to select between a bunch of pre-designed layouts for your house, which could be unlocked at the proper salesman or through your housing menu (not fully decided). As our conversation went on, though, we started thinking it’d be really cool if you could design your house however you wanted, adding new rooms and change their sizes freely.

Before we fully commit to that can of worms, our current goal is to upload what we have to Frontline (any day now, possibly even tonight!) and let you guys try it out. We’re still a little torn between having pre-designed layouts or having you design the house more freely, as the latter definitely would add a ton more work and I’m sure most of you would like to see the game finished sooner rather than later.

So for now, we’ll upload what we have: a single layout, and the current housing items. The shop and house will be placeholder, with more finalized look for each of them coming later on, as we’ll use the Arcadia redesign versions as a base for the story mode versions after they’re finished.

With your feedback we hope to be able to gauge how much more work (and polish!) will be needed before the housing system can truly be complete, and as such will give us a better idea of which of our options to pick.

There’s also a third option here, where if people are satisfied with the basic version of the house, we might just stay off multiple layouts altogether as that would save a lot of time and would mean we could add the proper housing system much sooner. Anyway, your feedback will decide! Stay tuned for that :)

And now, time to make some walls for Tai Ming’s arcade mode!

“Walls?” you might ask. “Isn’t that quite straight forward?” Oh yes, my friend! Typically walls are the least of my worries when I make Arcade floors, as they’re just a very basic edge signifying the end of the battle area. In other floors, they’re a bunch of random generated trees, or a basic stone wall.

As mentioned in last week’s post, however, Tai Ming will be different. We’ll mix and match various ways to block off the battle area, ranging from streams of water, fences and even cave walls. And while creating each of those is a rather simple task in itself, they also need to be able to connect with each other and different types of walls – and they all need to work together!

Above you can see the size of the battle area we decided to work with for these rooms. It’ll be slightly bigger or smaller depending on which walls are used in the room, but most will be of approximately the same size.

So, first of all, let’s take a look at what we have to work with. In order of appearance: wall, mountain, stream and fence:

In a coming post, we’ll also take a look at houses that will serve as walls, and maybe one or two variations of these that account for other town-like features. After all, we want to convey the feeling that this is town, in whatever ways we can while keeping the Arcade feel!

For now though, let’s look at how we can use these pieces together to create a variety of different room types:

…and so on! Of course, not all of the rooms will have streams or mountain walls, though I suspect many will and they do make for more interesting looking rooms so far (at least until we’ve added some houses)!

There’s still a way to go, but the basics are down and I think this will end up quite interesting once it’s all done.

And now, some housing icons to indicate which tool you’re currently using! …Cause there are quite a few tools, actually. First up, the carpet tool:

This tool is used to edit the size of the carpets. You’ll be able to change the size of many of our carpets freely, and this icon will help indicate what you’re currently doing. The upper version is Fred’s basic version, but we’ll also make one featuring the carpet design beneath to see which one we like the best.

Next up, the move tool, which is rather straight forward:

Select a piece of furniture with the hand tool, and move it around to wherever you wanna put it. We’ll probably add some kind of animation to the arrows, as most of the tool indicators will be animated in some basic way (much like the carpet tool)

Next, the stack tool:

This “tool” appears when you try to select a square that has multiple objects stacked on it, and helps you select which parts of it you want to edit or move. Do you only want to select the top object, the topmost two or the whole stack?

Below’s a test animation I did to make the indicator easier to understand, and beneath it is Fred’s finished version:

Finally, the style tool, which allows you to change the basic appearance of an object. This is indicated by a painter’s brush and palette. The first version had a rather crude version of the brush, so it was quickly changed:

And now, another portrait!

Not much is known about this guy yet, I’m afraid! Other than the fact he’ll be staying in the desert, of course. I’ve been watching a couple of documentaries on Versailles in general and the era of Louis XIV in particular, which I guess shows through the design?

These portraits are a lot of fun to make, and I’m itching to remake the earlier ones to bring ’em all together style wise. That should probably wait, though :D

Finally, some animations! This week, Fred has been busy with the enemies, bringing the Cacute and Mrs. Bird to life~

First up, we have Mrs. Bird’s idle animations, and her laying one of those annoying eggs that will either spawn a new bird or slow you down if you decide to break it:

The annoying and OMG-SO-CUTE egg in question:

And next up, the Cacute! If you decide to be really evil, this is what it looks like when you kill it:

Though why you’d wanna do that when this is how cute it looks in its idle and movement animations, is beyond me:

Now that most of the Housing stuff has been animated, Fred will continue to work with the enemies to ensure that Teddy can just dive in and prototype them once he is done with his part of the housing. The less he has to wait on new animations, the more focused he can be when the prototyping phase starts!

For now though, both he and I will continue to be stuck for a while with housing and Arcadia stuff, as that’s our main missions before we can move on to the desert and rejoin Fred on that venture!

Finally, after many twists and turns (and a ton of housing items), we’ve managed to make a somewhat playable test build of the housing system, which we’ve started testing within the team!

Without further ado, here’s a bunch of GIFs, featuring the most basic features (changing wallpaper/floor texture, adding basic furniture, creating carpets, changing the style of an item, and placing items on top of each other):

And here are some of our (not very creative) test houses:

Since this is the very first steps on creating a fully functional housing system, there were a ton of things we needed to discuss, and a bunch of changes we definitely have to make!

In order to plan all of that, we decided to have a looong meeting at our favorite fast food place (as usual). Immediately there were a bunch of things we decided had to change (or be added), and here’s some of them:

* More house layouts, and varying sizes. From the beginning we thought it’d be enough to use this one layout, but we quickly felt not only did it feel a bit big, it’s also a little boring to only be able to work with a single open space room. We also felt it was a little big. So, there will be an option to change between a set of house layouts, with a smaller room and multiple rooms available.

* A character who creates duplicates of unique housing items you already own. For obvious reasons! Unlike the items you buy in the store (where you can buy as many items as you like), there are unique items out there which you’ll only be able to find one of. In order to be able to place more of these in your house, you’ll be able to make duplicates of them – either at the regular store guy or through another NPC.

* We’ll look into making the area around your house a little bigger so there can be some kind of decorations surrounding it rather than it being placed in the middle of nowhere (well, in the middle of Evergrind) just like that.

* A furniture section should probably be added to your character’s inventory menu.

* The hand tool (which is used to move furniture around or delete it), is currently a long basic line/beam, and will be replaced with a pointing hand.

* The option to flip an item horizontally will be added to items where that feature makes sense, such as the pick-axe

* A mini-icon for furniture items that have more than one style. Styles are various skins of an object, and can be a color change or detail change in some way. For example, a bookcase might have different sets of shelves or stacks of items you can pick between.In order to make it more clear which items have more than one style, we’d like to add one of those tiny icons (like the 1H/2H/housing item icons in the main menu), only visible in the housing menu.

* When you place an item you have more than one copy of, you’re able to keep placing more of it until you run out of that particular item. Currently, what happens after you’ve placed your final item of that kind is that you’ll get automatically moved back to the menu again.

This, we quickly realized, felt a bit jarring, so next we’ll try adding a sound indicating you’ve run out of the item when you try to place another one, forcing you to cancel back into the menu rather than automatically getting there. This might seem counter productive, as it means you’ll have to press an extra button before being able to select your next piece of furniture, but we believe it’ll be less annoying then the jarring feeling of going from moving objects around to changing between new objects in the menu.

* Visual- and sound effects for placing and deleting objects in your house. An outline around the currently selected object. A better icon for the wallpaper section, which currently can be mistaken for a floor texture. Sound effect and visual feedback when you try to delete an item you currently can’t remove (for instance if it has other items on top of it).

* The currently not used star menu will be replaced with a settings menu, where you’ll be able to save your current house, change between different lightning settings and house layouts and other things we might think of.

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…Aaand a bunch of other small things. As you can tell, when we add a new system things are far from perfect the first time around, and the only way of getting to that polished state is to change and add things until it feels nice :)

Once these things have been added we’ll try the system out again and reevaluate!

Speaking of housing, when we planned the housing batches and I made them, there was one thing we had completely forgotten about: carpets! Now that I’m done with each of the batches up to the point of the game where we’re currently at, we decided it was time to go back and add something to stick on the floor for most of the areas (we felt it wasn’t necessary to include in each and every one, and Temple of Seasons already have a bunch of floor decorations!)

In the Pumpkin Woods batch, there will be two carpets, one that has a static size with moons, and one that you can change the size of to fit your needs (second one from the right).

In the Flying Fortress batch, there won’t be a carpet, but a “big item” that you can put on the ground where you can see the sky below.

In Seasonne, there’s a red christmas-y carpet matching the tablecloths of the batch, which you’re also able to change the size of.

Mount Bloom will have a static sized moss carpet, and in Tai Ming, there’s the red and beige carpet that you’re used to seeing inside the houses, but with a slightly adjusted pattern so it’s possible to change the size of it:

And to end this week, something more simple and straight forward: new portraits!

You might wonder where we could possible need more people right now, but aside from pretty much everywhere (or at least everywhere in Evergrind City!), the answer lies in the desert town you’ll soon be heading towards.

I figured it’s better to start making portraits now and make a few every week, than to do everything else until I end up having to spend weeks doing nothing but portraits when it’s time to finally add them! Makes for more varied blog posts, anyway.

So, first up, here’s a tourist girl, enjoying the nice weather of the yet-unnamed harbor town:

And her companion: a tourist boy!

With the Arcade Mode rework drawing closer, we sat down to iron out more of the houses that will be available so I can begin work on the new Arcadia design. We also changed a few things around:

Candy and Muffin were said to have a house in the last Arcade Mode meeting. That has been changed into two vendor stands near the exit to the Arcade Mode run, in order to avoid having to load into a house every time you want to try out new treats or curses.

The Alchemist Remedi will also appear somewhere close to the exit, and like candy and Muffin he will be available without moving into a building, although the exact design of his spot hasn’t been fully decided yet. Remedi will allow you to select one (or multiple, not decided yet) potion(s) to bring with you on your arcade run, and it will work much like the potions in story mode after the rework has been implemented: battling enemies will slowly refill your bottle.

The Bank is something that isn’t available in story mode, so it’s an all-new thing. At the bank you’ll be able to trade in your essence for money, or money for essence!

Master Ji’s Dojo will make an appearance as well, and at this place you’ll be able to train your perfect guard by selecting enemies that will spawn in his training ground. We have plans on having perfect guard challenges here as well, where you have to complete a series of challenges using only your perfect guard and your reward will be headbands in different colors signifying which rank(s) you have passed. This feature might make an appearance in story mode as well!

The Cinema is another feature not available in story mode, and we’re not 100% it will make it to the game yet, although it would be pretty cool. Teddy has been working on a feature that allows you to save replays of your arcade runs, and our idea is that you will be able to load and watch your own and others replay in this building!

The Carpenter will have a shop that sells housing items! Each batch will be unlocked by reaching the corresponding floor in an Arcade Mode run.

Farmer Oak will appear with a petting zoo! He’ll have a set of quests and taming items that will bring animals to Arcadia. Our idea is that it’ll be optional whether the animals are gathered at the petting zoo or if you allow them to roam free in town.

There will also be a Clock Tower where you can change the time of day: initially between day and night but we might add support for dawn and evening as well.

Other than that we have a bunch of decorative slots planned that will help bring in new inhabitants and quests. Some of those ideas include a garden and a fae tree (but plenty of smaller ones as well). We also came up with a couple of quests, but I think we’d rather have you explore those on your own once they’re in the game, rather than have me tell you now what they will be all about!

Next up is some more housing miniatures! Since the Tai Ming-themed ones are sooo many, I’m going to divide them into groups depending on which item type they are. Some batches will be bigger, other smaller. This is one of the smaller batches, featuring the ‘small items’, or things you can stick on tables and other surfaces!

 

Finished sprites below:

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And now, some more design talk! As you might know by now, the next dungeon is going to be a ghost ship. What you might not know, though, is that the ghost ship will be populated with the possessed spirits of sailors from the Merchant Isles.

Since we want the enemies to have a cool design, we wanted the sailors from the Merchant Isles to have a particular look about them, so it’s easy to spot them. Our idea is that you’ll see some of these sailors throughout your travels, and be able to recognize the design when you meet the enemies in the ghost ship.

Fred had a design in mind, so he went on the make a bunch of suggestions:

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After seeing these designs, I made a quick sketch of a portrait version and wrote down a bunch of suggestions for common points among the sailors. The clothing style is basically a toned down version of the ones seen on characters from Merchant Isles that are already in the game: kind of 1700’s pirate/seafarer inspired clothing, only with the sailors it’s in earthy tones rather than the bright noble tones of the merchants we’ve already met.

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In the beginning, our first thought was that each sailor would have a different version of the hats Fred designed, and that the hats would be common among all the people from Merchant Isles, regardless of their occupation. In the end though, we decided against this, and selected a single hat type for all the sailors, as seen below.

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After deciding this, Fred made a bunch of different version of the new hat, as well as a couple edits of the characters clothing, to better fit with the clothing designs of my portrait. In the end, our favorite is the fourth hat from the left, which is likely to be the one we’ll use for all of the sailors.

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There will still be some clothing adjustments before we’re completely satisfied, but this is an example of how me and Fred sometimes work back-and-forth in creating designs, with all three of us coming with feedback and ideas along the way. Next up I’ll actually be making the proper portrait of this guy, who will be one of the additional NPCs added to Tai Ming’s first zone before the Stable Patch :)

This week got cut a little bit short due to Fred’s birthday and us taking a couple days off for easter to spend with friends and family. Next week, there will be another design talk featuring what the desert enemies will look like, and we get to see the finished Merchant Isles portraits (among other things). Stay tuned~

Another week has passed, which has been another week filled with preparing for the final Tai Ming boss. Finally, we’ve completed the third and last stage of the Mimic boss room… Time to bring in some Mt. Bloom!

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So basically in this third stage you’re back to your own time, but we wanted this room to be more ruined than the rest in order for some health crystals to have grown in the room after this time jump! The boss battle is very long, after all, and being so close to Mount Bloom we thought this was a nice solution for including some health without forcing random health orbs.

The health crystals aren’t pictured in the finished version below, but they’ll be growing in the parts where the cave floor is peeking through:

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Another thing we’ve been focusing on lately is the cutscenes surrounding the Mimic fight. And with this one, we have a question for you guys!

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Above you can see one of the cutscenes we’ve been prototyping lately. Now the question is: when should the boss portrait appear? We have two suggestions:

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In this first alternative, the boss portrait (yes it’s a thorn-worm for now, since the real one hasn’t been made yet) appears as the Mimic sucks the crown into its chest.

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…And in this one it appears as its tongue is around the crown, pausing mid-animation.

What do you guys think? We’re currently torn, and while it might not seem like a huge decision, it’s always better to pick the version that the most people like better! When I asked this in my own work blog, the overwhelming result so far indicates the second one is better. Do you agree? Please comment with your preference! :D

Now, we can’t let the Mimic boss portrait remain a thorn-worm now, can we? Time to fix that!

We are actually not yet sure if this will be *the* boss portrait, or if we’ll have several, one for each state. So before making this one, I made some quick sketches to work out what size each of the iterations would have in their portrait versions, should we decide to add the other ones:

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For now though, we are gonna start with just the small one, and play around with adding the other two in a prototype, to get a sense of what it’d feel like to have them appear after you complete each iteration:

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What do you think? Would you like to have a new boss portrait appear every time you beat one version of the Mimic, or do you feel it would get too spammy, throwing you out of the mood of the battle? I guess it’s hard to imagine without actually trying out the fight, though.. Maybe we should include a way to try out the different versions in next frontline update, unless it would mean too much work for our poor overworked programmer!

And now, some mixed stuff!

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First up, fixing a graphical error shown above! Behind the door transparency the closed door peeked through, rather than the floor. It has now been fixed.

I also added a bunch of extra decorations for the second fighting room in zone 3. It just looked a bit empty, so I felt it needed a bit more polish:

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I also adjusted the garland you’ll unlock in the Seasonne batch of housing items, making sure it’s properly stackable. Previously, you had to put them next to each other like in the left version below, but by editing the size they will now stack seamlessly when you put two next to eachother:

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Finally, we’re swapping out the map painting in the Mimic boss room for a portrait of Grindea! Progress and finished versions below:

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Now, a lot of you have asked when frontline will be updated with the third Tai Ming area. Here’s our estimate: HOPEFULLY this weekend! We’ll do our very best to make that happen, at least :)