Going back to story mode for a bit, we’ve talked about the second quest for the Mansion and come up with a rather simple quest for the player to deal with the first time they’re allowed into the Mansion (which will be by the time you defeat Marino after Flying Fortress). Basically one of the maids want some help solving a small infestation of slime in the basement. Oh but what an infestation it is – not quite what you’d expect I think… :)

We’re also finally starting to fiddle around with the things you’ll access when you get the plant fertilizers and will access the areas currently unavailable (remember the small squiggly plants?). So far we know of three places these plants will be: the one in pillar mountains which will lead to a small reward, a little cave system leading back to the cave where you find the sandals (I believe) further down in pillar mountains, and upwards to an old an abandoned Grindea shrine which may or may not play a part in the later stages of the game…

Here are some sketches I made as we were talking about this place during the meeting, more to come later:

The one in Flying Fortress will simply lead you to a treasure, while the third will lead you to the mysterious tree stump house in Seasonne, where it seems you will get a reward and find a housing shop! We haven’t made any sketches for this yet, but I’ll likely start working on that once we finish up the mansion :)

First though, some more Pin stuff for Arcade Mode! There will be a part of the menu where you can see what Pins you currently have equipped, and so I made a little modified version of the Pin equip UI where you can see such things:

One suggestion on where to put this menu was to replace the crafting tab with it, seeing as crafting doesn’t serve a purpose in Arcade Mode, the other was to keep it under equipment. The latter suggestion was mainly because we wanted it to be in the same spot in both modes in a world where we were to include them in Story Mode in some form. For now though, that seems unlikely – so the Crafting tab will be replaced for now :)

Next step on the same topic is that we want there to be a place where you can see all of the pins that are available, as well as those you haven’t seen yet. This will be viewed through the Pin Collector who will hang out in town after you’ve unlocked him!

Here’s the progress:

Obviously each of the icons will be replaced with the corresponding Pin. The questionmark icons will signify a pin you haven’t seen yet but that you could find any run, while the lock means it’s a Pin you’ve yet to unlock. We haven’t yet decided if we will have pins you will unlock, but we’ve talked about having a new batch of pins unlock as a reward for certain quests or certain progression milestones; how do you guys feel about that?

Next up, another portrait for the mansion! This is the goblet, Marino’s dads trusted artefact! Finally some more sentient artefact for you guys to hang out with ;)

In Fred’s department we’re working on some cubes and other types of indicators for all of those pins that allows you to trigger an effect after x hits!

The cubes will grow in size the closer you are to unleashing the effect:

But he hasn’t forgotten about Story Mode! Here’s the shield to match the weapons seen last week:

More pin work this week! Here we have the progress of two more pins, as well as two more icons and a bunch of colour variations:

For some of you these aren’t exactly new; the last couple of days we’ve uploaded what we have done with the pins right now as a hidden command for our most devoted testers to try out. So far, we’re pretty happy with the feedback, and the feeling we have right now is that pins is definitely a positive thing for Arcade Mode! So far so good; though obviously we have a lot more to come up with and add before we are satisfied – we want some epic variation, after all :)

Speaking of variation in Arcade Mode, another thing we’ve been discussing a lot lately is the addition of more types of rooms, to make each run feel even more unique. Some of these ideas include:

Cursed Item Shop
A shop that sells items that are really good but you can’t unequip them or swap them out (this room type would mainly appear on the early floors, so in later floors the equipment might fall off and not be as good anymore). Possibly other curses as well.

Zombie J
A ghastly version of the bow salesman who sells a cursed quiver that is smaller (so you’ll have fewer arrows in total), but you can fire extra arrows at the expense of your own health. Could appear alongside the Cursed Item Shop, to mirror the regular shop.

Archie
The guy who appears here and there around the world to open up shortcuts or sell you items you’ve missed and can’t reach again, only in arcade he’ll offer you access to a bonus room he’s found. Pay up the money and he’ll let you through to a path he’s cut up leading to either a random guaranteed ‘good’ room (a shop, healing, etc), OR…

…A Lood Fountain
A room with a bunch of Loods floating around a fountain! We haven’t decided if this is only gonna be the reward for paying Archie or if it’ll be a room of its own. In the end we might end up having this be Archies only reward instead of random rooms as well. We’ll see!

A Mischievous Sprite
Think we might have mentioned this before ages ago, but it was brought up again. A sprite that appears in multiplayer only, secretly offering one of the players an advantage of some sort at the expense of his friends (like them getting less atk, def, aspd or something like that). Just something a bit silly to mess with your friends!

It’s not a certainty we’ll add all of these, but they are some suggestions at the very least. Which one is your favourite? And what sort of additional rooms would you like to see?

Now, some more stuff for the pins! Starting with a trash can icon for when you’re about to throw away one of your pins:

And two more pin types, using a special colour scheme:

These pins are what we call “sticky” pins, meaning they’ll permanently take up a slot and there’s no way to get rid of them. Better think twice before you equip these!

There’s also another shape for pins, as well as a specific icon for potion related pins:

And finally, one more palette to mix things up a bit:

After a few discussions as well as checking in with the community about the subject, we’ve decided that rather than have pins appear from the get-go, it will be another thing that will be introduced after you’ve played arcade mode for a little bit, complete with its own NPC who will tell you how it all works. As such, I was tasked with making his portrait:

Do you recognize from where we have gotten the inspiration for this guy? :)

Meanwhile in Freds department he’s been working on some effects that will spawn around the player for some specific pins where you collect charges as you battle, as well as doing some work on the Pin collector himself:

Now, back to Arcade Mode for a bit. As you know there are a bunch of changes we’ve been wanting to make to Arcade Mode, among them a rebalancing and removal of the dual floors per area. We’ve decided to take some time to focus on Arcade things for now, and so today as part of our meeting we spend a couple hours playtesting the changes that have been made so far.

To start off with, there’s now just one floor per area instead of the usual two. Some floors are slightly longer to make up for it (such as the first, where you battle Pillar Mountains enemies). The earlier floors have had their difficulty slightly adjusted as well, since we want it to be possible for players to get further – at least in terms of areas, compared to before.

Some gauntlet style rooms have been added, meaning new enemies will spawn as you defeat the ones already in the room when you enter. We’ve tried it out both with an indicator for such rooms (meaning you will know before hand that the room you enter will spawn more enemies), and without. Which one we will go for in the end depends on how common and normalized we want these rooms to be: either they will be rare, special occurrences, meaning an indicator might be fitting, or they will be so common that it makes no sense to indicate them as anything special.

For now, to make it easier to see what is happening, we have a special spawn indicator for which enemy will spawn right before it does, to avoid any unpleasant surprises for the player. Whether this will still be the case or whether the new enemy will simply appear in a puff or smoke is still something we will need to test further.

Right now it feels somewhat odd to have cut down the floors this much, but we do feel like the overall length of a run will be a lot better compared to having to battle through twice the amount of floors to get to the end. We don’t want the player to have to fight his or her way through floor after floor for hours to finish a run! More testing will need to be done, though.

Another thing we’ve been playing around with is ideas for how to make each run a bit more unique compared to your previous runs, challenging you to change your play style or at least experience things more differently. We feel that right now each run is very similar to the last one, and a player is rarely encouraged to try new skills. Last week we talked about a feature we wanted to add to help out with that (Badges – which we have now renamed to Pins) and this week we have tried out some of those as well.

As a reminder, a Pin is something that will affect your run in some way, giving you certain bonuses while sometimes coming with a negative on the side (though mostly you will just get something nice). For now, we’ve divided the pins into seven categories depending on what they affect, such as: Arrows, Skills, Basic Attacks, Room changes, Passives, Potions and Shield.

Some examples we’ve been testing this week include:

* Casting a spell fires an arrow.
* Hitting an enemy with an arrow casts a meteor
* Three arrows drop after each regular battle room
* The first spell in each room is a guaranteed crit
* Every 5th spell deal triple damage
* A fae follows the player and casts a fire ball every few seconds
* Each basic attack increases the damage of your next skill
* One enemy in each room receives an automatic death mark when you enter the room
* Perfect Guarding an enemy causes them to be death marked

So far, we’ve quite pleased with how these serve to make each run a bit more different compared to the last, especially ones that encourage you to use other skills or abilities than what you’d normally use. We also have a ton of ideas for more pins we want to test and play around with; the current pool isn’t too big so repeats tend to happen quite often during our test runs. We also feel the lack of a proper interface; right now there’s simply a message in the chat letting you know what badge you’ve gotten and what it does.

In order to properly test this and how it feels, we’ll therefore start working on a basic interface for distributing your pins, as well as some basic proper graphics for them to see how it all feels with some more visual cues.

Right now you will receive a pin for defeating a boss, but we’ve also played around with awarding them in chests or for challenges. The exact amount and what you’ll receive pins for are yet to be decided, but for now we feel like it feels the most rewarding to get it post boss fight. As of now, you’ll be able to have four pins, and if you receive any more past that you will need to replace one of the ones you currently have.

Part of our daily tasks right now is coming up with more pins to add, so there will be enough that each run feels new and fresh. Do you have any pins you’d like to see? Let us know and we might end up adding it :)

So in order to get a true feel for the whole Pin system I’ve been tasked with making an interface for it where you select whether to equip, replace of throw away a new bag that you get.

We started of with this super basic sketch:

And translated it into something slightly more visually pleasing:

And here’s the interface the way it looks currently:

“Attack DMG” in white represents the name of each pin. Green “DMG” above the first info box is supposed to say “New”, while the blue “Attack” above the second info box is supposed to say “Current”. The numbers represent the descriptions. However, these designs might change slightly as certain translations need a bigger font size than the rest of the game, and we try to design everything so that it will work out in any translation. In other words: we’ll see!

Next up, making some actual pins to try this whole thing out with:

Pins will come in many shapes and colours, but for now I’m starting off with this color, making it in a variety of different shapes with icons to match. They all use the same palette so colour swapping will then hopefully be easy enough!

In Fred’s department, he’s been working on giving the pins proper representation as sprites! Like most other things, this involves a lot of iterating and trying out different ideas and designs:

With the final result looking something like this:

As you know by now, we’ve been starting to have daily meetings discussing the upcoming final pieces of the game, and today I thought I’d give you a rundown of some of the Arcade things we’ve been talking about!

We’ve mentioned before that it is our goal to shorten to length of Arcade Mode now that all of the floors are being added, as two floors per area is a lot and takes a very long time to play through. Our current idea is that there will be one floor per area, and that we’ll rebalance it slightly so you’ll have come a bit further in the areas before it gets terrifyingly difficult; right now most people die way before even getting halfway through, which is a bit too soon for our liking.

Since we’ll effectively only use half of the floors we have, it means there will be a lot of spare bosses floating around. In order to make each run balanced in difficult, you’ll always meet a set number or the more difficult bosses, while the remaining bosses will be one of those we deem slightly easier. We’ve also discussed the option to have optional bosses out of the remaining pool spawn in their own (clearly marked out) rooms, but we’ve yet to decide exactly how about to go this or if it’s something we wanna do at all.

We’ll also add some gauntlet style rooms, so there will be some rooms where enemies respawn in a couple waves or so, just to mix things up a bit more and make each room feel a bit more unique.

Another Bishop bet we’ll add is one where you have to perfect guard certain enemies before you can deal damage to them, and we’ll make a new interface to indicate when you’re in a bishop bet room; more details on this as I start making it.

There will also be a proper Arcade Mode version of the map, which will give you some indication of how far you’ve come and how far you’ve got left to go. Again, more on this once I start actually designing it.

Finally, we’ve discussed the addition of a special item we currently call a ‘badge’ which is something you can get as a reward or possibly purchase in the shop. A badge will change or your character in some way, such as increasing card drop rate, give new effects for a perfect guard, increase the damage of your next spell based on how many normal attacks you’ve hit, and so on. We might also add ‘mixed’ bags which will give you a stronger bonus in exchange for limiting something else. Such as your spells doing a lot more damage but you’re unable to use the same spell twice in a row.

Our goal with these badges are to make each Arcade run a bit more unique, giving you various options for how you play rather than it always being the exact same playstyle. If it works, we’ll see! We’re gonna play around with it for now and see how it feels :)

As work continues all across the game there are a bunch of smaller things added here and there. One such thing is the ability to now “turn off” the fireplace in your house, which used to be burning all the time! As such, a version of it without the fire needed to be made:

And as mentioned a little while ago, we’re introducing a new interface indicating when you’re in bet room. Here’s the initial sketch:

And the progress/final thing:

We don’t want this to be too much in your face, but a low key reminder of what’s happening. If you fail the challenge, Bishop will teleport away from the interface into the map and perform his punishment as usual :)

And here we have the second maid portrait for the mansion! A dark haired young lady dusting the extensive collections :)

Next, the portrait of Marino’s mom! She’s the lovely lady of the mansion, making lists of all the charities they’re gonna contribute to:

And finally, a look at what’s happening in Fred’s department! With us deciding to finish up a bunch of random things, it’s time for start looking at some of the many loose ends and one of the most asked such things is when you’ll be able to grow those pesky little plants into something you can climb to reach certain places. Well, the answer is soon! And here’s the first step on that way, namely Fred making some graphics for it:

There are also more mansion inhabitant to make, among them a chef to make a fancy dinner for Marino’s family:

With the library finally added to the game, it’s been time for us to think about the books one might find in the game, and how we’d like to present them. One such option is displaying books as actual books, and I decided to experiment a little with such a presentation.

Here’s the outside:

…and the inside of a book, with some sample text:

Our dream is that a transition between the pages will be animated as well, so it’ll give you a feel of turning the pages of the book. While we haven’t confirmed how viable this look will be in the end (it might take a lot of work to fit the texts we have in mind into these book templates) this is what we’re aiming for right now! My dream is that small notes and such will be displayed on boxes that have the shape of paper scraps as well, rather than the usual brown box. But we’ll see!

And now that the last of the Ghost Ship stuff is finalized, it’s time to go back to doing improvements for the older areas! And this time, we’ll take a look at the southern entrance to Evergrind City:

We’ve also had another long meeting day, planning in what order to finish the remaining content. We had a discussion whether to finish up Arcade Mode before Story Mode, or to try to finish up as much as possible of it without giving it it’s proper ending (involving an unique Arcade boss and a couple of cutscenes!) until all of the story mode content has been added. For now, we’re aiming for the latter, with our next big priority after finishing everything related to Stable being the final boss designs.

There are four unique bosses left to make, three for Story Mode and one for Arcade Mode (that will be Arcade Mode unique). There’s also another, fourth ‘special’ boss for Story Mode that will draw on powers you’ve seen before during your journeys (basically it’s main power will be summoning previous bosses)!)

The reason why we want to focus on this once Fred has finished up things for the final cutscene of this update is that bosses usually take a very long time to get right, both in terms of design and then to finish up all the animations as well. By starting our design work on the bosses as soon as possible, it will give us a lot of time to fix any issues that might appear, and gives Teddy and Fred a chance to struggle with that while I work on backgrounds for the final dungeon!

Speaking of the final dungeon, we still need to get going with finalizing the design for it. We’re still aiming to have all or at least most areas and dungeons represented in rooms and challenges of their own, but we haven’t yet decided exactly how long to make each floor. We don’t want it to end up being too long; but long enough to provide an interesting and exciting experience.

Meanwhile, we’ve also received a massive sound batch, so we’re now in the process of choosing the sound effects from the options given us and implementing those! Exciting times indeed; we think you’ll be very happy with the sounds overall – we know we are! :)

Another thing we’re working on is turning those Ghost Ship floors into Arcade Mode rooms!

There will be four room sizes, and each of them will have 4×4 types of decorations. What that means is that there’s four different options for each corner in the room, much like in previous Arcade Floor designs. So essentially, the top left part (the left side of the wall) of each room can be 1 out of 4 options and combines with any of the 4 decoration options for the other parts of each room. Mix and matching this way will make the rooms more different from one another, and will hopefully reduce the repetitive feeling of going through the rooms.

Below is a bunch of options for the decorations combined together, with the top left picture being the room without any of the decorations at all. As always, each room won’t have doors in every direction; but I’ve kept them around now for clarity:

And here we have two more room sizes, also ready to be mixed and matched! Looking forward to battling your way through these floors yet? :D

This week we’ll start with a bonus building added to the flying fortress! This building will replace the island on the right part of the fortress and will, though a quest unlocked after the ghost ship, give you an opportunity to do some more phase shifting (yay)!

Later on I’ll show you what the progress of creating the insides looks like… :)

But first, something about a long awaited addition! We know a lot of you have been asking for an easy way to change the controls, whether you use a keyboard or a controller. We’ve already implemented the mechanics for changing the controls on a keyboard, and while we want to add the feature for the controller as well, for now it’ll remain a WIP.

However, if you do have a controller plugged in, you’ll soon be able to see what each of the buttons do, with the help of this new graphic:

Without further ado:

To make it a bit more readable, we decided to move the second set of buttons behind the first ones, since that’s how it looks on most controllers – even if this makes the design of the controller graphics itself look a bit less nice. Also added the spaces where the function of each of the buttons will be described:

Next up, another character that will return in a ghostly form! Remember this collector from Tai Ming? She’ll return and feature a little side quest/secret of her own:

This old priest makes an appearance as well, drawn back to the haunting village of Tai Ming after his death:

Brandy will play a pretty big part in a quest/secret as well, are you looking forward to seeing him again?

New week and a new cabin redesign! This cabin belongs to a fashion designer from Tai Ming, who fled their home to start a new life in the Merchant Isles after the great cataclysm started by Zhamla:

After that, it’s time for a quick break from the Ghost Ship to make another one of the Pillar Mountains improvements! Because this cave will have some significance later on, we wanted its entrance to look a bit more fancy:

What you’ll find inside? Well… You’ll see!

For now it’s time for some more ghost like portraits, starting with the headless chef:

Quite an.. eh.. Interesting portrait, no? First time drawing a portrait without an actual head!

And next up, the bartender, who will have an important part to play in the players quest to get through this dungeon:

With the ghost ship ghost quest inclusion, it’s time to do something we haven’t done in a long time – add another interface!

In your quest to help the ghosts, you will need to bring items to them that will remind them of who they are. To do this, you’ll have to first speak with a confused ghost, bringing up an interface featuring all items you’re able to present to the ghosts (mainly misc and key items). Upon selecting an item, the ghost will then let you know if it’s what they’re looking for (which will clear up their confusion), or if it’s not.

We wanted this interface to be quite straight forward with lots of space for items so you don’t have to scroll too far looking for the item you want to give each ghost. We also wanted a box where you can view the item’s name before giving it.

Here’s my early sketch:

And the progress:

Aaaand we return, slightly more well rested and ready to get back into the action!

Now that the desert and desert town is in place, it’s time to update the world map into a somewhat final version (there’s still the ghost ship remaining, but I’ll easily be able to add that later, as it’s in the midst of the water anyways)!!

Let’s take a look:

 

 

 

So basically, this is what the world map will look like after you’ve visited all of the areas (except the ghost ship):

So exciting! Only one more little ship to add, and then it’s all done. I’ve reworked the shadows that covers each area before you’ve explored it slightly as well, so you’ll notice things will look a bit different once this has been implemented. There will be 12 pieces to uncover in total, once the ghost ship has been added (13 if you count Tai Ming – but the Tai Ming piece of the map isn’t visible at all until you’ve actually been there). Right now I think there are a couple more than that since we wanted to make sure we had space for the areas we hadn’t designed yet, and their shapes look a little random. The water will be visible from the start, giving the map some more color from the beginning, as well.

Exciting times! This actually feels like such a huge milestone, even if the ghost ship is missing. I mean, even if the ship is missing – it looks complete on a whole different level compared to before. It’s been a long journey, but you can finally start to see it all coming together!

Speaking of the ghost ship, we’ve been making a ton of prototypes for various challenges and mechanics we’d like to include. First we have a challenge where you need to go between various platforms, and the only way of doing so is entering the spirit world. Only problem is, there’s an angry ghost attacking you if you enter his domain – so you can’t stay too long or you’ll take guaranteed damage.

We’re currently considering whether you’ll fall down if you leave the spirit world in the midst of a bridge. The other idea would be that you simply can’t leave until you’re on solid ground.

Next, a variation on the same theme. Here we have a prototype where you battle enemies in the ‘real’ world, in which you do less damage than you normally would on a similar enemy. Entering the spirit world, you do full damage, but you also get chased by the angry ghost from before! Decisions, decisions…

Finally, and old classic we’d like to include somehow: the good old phase shift puzzle – ghost version. Here, you need to swap between the spirit world and normal world on the fly (ha!), in order to make your way across.

As for the overall design of the place, we’ve decided on dividing the ship in three parts. The first part will be where you first meet the ghost captain, and where you’ll get the skill that allows you to enter the spirit world. This part of the ship will be mostly storage, so there will be rooms with lots of crates, barrels, buckets and other kinds of storage. The ship will have had lots of cool cargo, so hopefully we’ll be able to make this part look interesting.

The second part (and second floor) will house the living quarters for the sailors that ran the ship. Here we’ll have their sleeping quarters (great halls with many beds), a kitchen, dining hall, and such. There might also be one or two optional friendly ghosts here, who might give you a quest or two.

On the third floor will be a more luxe area: here they’ll have a grand entertainment hall with a bar and ghastly piano playing by itself, there will be huts for high paying passengers, and finally, the path to the captains own room…

We’ve also talked about adding another type of “enemy” (sketched above), which you actually won’t be able to kill! These things are in fact armors that were part of a shipment, which have now been possessed. So long as you’re in the regular world, they’ll just lie on the floor blocking your way – but once you enter the spirit world, the armors will come to life and float in to the air towards you. If they get too close, they’ll attack, but you won’t be able to damage them back. Instead, your only option is to leave the spirit world and have them fall back unto the ground – a mechanic that might also be helpful in certain puzzles…

On a similar note, during these talks we’ve decided that the long you are in the spirit world, the more ghostly it becomes. As such, spending a long time in the spirit world will cause shadowlike arms or spikes appear out of walls or even the floor, damaging and slow you as you go. If you’ve spent a long time in the spirit world, you might even begin to see hints of these things in the regular world as well…

Now, over to something else, such as this week’s portrait! This time it features the pianist, a guy who, as you may have guessed, plays the piano (in the saloon, the be specific). Since he’s in the saloon I went with the theme and made him sort of buff looking. Otherwise not much else to say about this guy for now!

WIP:

Finished sprite:

In the animation department, Fred continues with the desert stuff and has made a really cool death animation for the Solem, which kind of gets frozen in place before it disintegrates:

There’s also a lovely little salamander in progress, which we want running around the place here and there, as a purely decorative detail. Here’s a bunch of suggestions he made, with the one we ended up choosing the the red circle:

And of course, it needs a few animations as well, so here’s one where it’s sticking its tongue out, one where it runs off, and one where it escapes by digging its way into the sand – how cute!

Teddy has been hard at work implementing all of Fred’s NPCs, too, and for the fun of it he decided to put most of them in one screen, just to see what it’d look like. Have a peek:

And with that, back to work! See you next time~

This week we’ve taken a slight break from the desert to add some final touches to Arcade Mode in preparation for launching the Arcadia Rework on stable (which has now been done)! Aside from the sound effects, we wanted to add a couple of new quests and mechanics, one which is brand new and will probably also make an appearance in some form in Story Mode: Photography!

Above you can see the first WIP of the photography mode, basically it’s a camera you equip which allows you to take a photograph of whatever is happening right now. You’ll be given quests by a photographer who wants you to take photos of certain things, and once you give her a picture of what she asked for, she will give you a reward.

Upgrades graphics seen below, along with an indicator for whether it’s the right motif of not (not only will Trunk tell you it’s wrong, there will be an ‘x’ showing it as well):

The rewards in question will be a painting version of whatever you were asked to take a photo of. Of course, that means I had to make a few paintings featuring that:

I accidentally forgot to record making the background for the Giga Slime hammer painting, so it kind of looks like it magically manifests at once, haha! Oops… Anyway, here are the three painting that will be available so far, more to come:

Next up, a return to the Temple of Seasons! No, don’t worry, we haven’t gone crazy! This isn’t exactly a Temple of Seasons room as much as it is an extra Arcade Mode room :)

This, too, will feature in a newly added quest, and is based off of a room from story mode, though for the sake of Arcade Mode we’re mixing it up a little, making it a mixed seasons room rather than a simple autumn room:

Do you have any ideas of whom you might meet here? Finished thing:

Some new, quick sprites have been made as well, this time a bunch of rewards for the various quests (fae wings for your head! wohoo!), as well as the camera used for the photography quests and a sack of bird feed for another quest featuring another well-known face from Story Mode, who wishes to see some birds in Arcadia!

I’ve been particularly bad at hitting that ‘record’ button so once more I forgot to record a whole section, namely the bird feed bag… Oh well :D

Now, back to those portraits! This guy is a card player found in the Saloon near the desert town. After this there are 10 portraits left, though Fred keeps adding new NPCs so we’ll see where it all ends! :D Did you know that so far, not counting the portraits I haven’t made yet, there’s 40 NPCs unique to the desert area!? In other words there will likely be over 50 before we’re done! Oh my…

Finished version:

We’ll end this week with one more portrait, this time the quirky sword smith from the market area in the desert town:

Nothing much to say about this one! Just another silly face :) More next week~

Time to start tying things together in the desert town (maybe we should come up with a name for it soon)! To start off this week I’m gonna focus on getting the groundwork (haha, get it) done, putting in some sand details and paths around the town, as well as making a few pieces of greenery to decorate the area.

First though, let’s deal with the walls surrounding the town! First I put in a quick something based on the piece of wall I made in the map outside of this one:

But I quickly felt this texture is way too busy, so instead I’m toning it down by a lot, so it doesn’t bother the eye quite as much:

Now, time to start working on that greenery! First up, a palm tree in three different sizes, and then, a little bush with berries:

Along the way I also adjusted the height of the wall, and made a few green versions of the cacti to go inside town:

Now it’s time to work on that sand beginning with the edges towards the water:

And then some sand surrounding the beach and the harbor:

And some decorative grass on said sand:

Applying the grass on the rest of the map:

…. and finally some of those roads, so you know where you’re going:

We continue to work on the details of the desert town, this time zooming into the harbor area. Crates, ropes and carpets are on the menu as we give this place a little more personality:

With so many new characters appearing in and around the desert town, I can only keep making portraits hoping to one day catch up with the number of sprites Fred makes for the area! Today it’d time to introduce the bartender who cleans glasses (and serves drinks) in the Saloon.

First, a reminder of his sprite from a while ago:

And then the WIP and finished version version:

And now, it’s my turn to take a quick break from the Desert Town to fix somethings for Arcadia! First up there’s a new NPC, who will appear as you develop the farm. Her character sprite was actually made a long time ago for story mode, where she’d play a mechanic part that was since scrapped:

Meanwhile, since Chika will be responsible for the eggs and hatching mechanics, we thought it was time to upgrade her from being permanently sad to actually enjoying her job a little (who doesn’t like chickens and/or eggs, right?):

Speaking of eggs, those things need drop appearances since you will be able to walk around with them in your inventory:

And as part of the farm experience, there will be a new perk as well! This one will make capturing eggs easier. Since my first attempt at this perk icon (the left) looked a bit like it had more to do with apples than pet capturing, I made a second version (on the right) which will more likely be the ones we’ll use:

And finally.. A strange little box:

What it will be used for? Announcing that you’ve captured a new fish, that will become available in your Aquarium in town, of course!

As for Fred, this week he has been battling a cold, but that didn’t stop him from making three salespeople for the market area of the desert town!

Here we have a shield maker polishing a shield, a potion salesman tempting you with one of those health pots (possibly?) and a weapon smith applying some final polish on her latest sword:

With the roof and stand decorations covering a little of their appearance, here’s a version showing what they look like without it (for science… or something):

There’s also a jar merchant, doing some final adjustments to his/her latest piece:

The desert town becomes more and more of a bustling town with these additions! We hope it’ll be able to rival Tai Ming in how alive it feels with NPCs and animations here and there. Don’t worry though, we won’t make it into a full “temple/dungeon” kind of deal. It’s just a chill place where you can grab some quests and upgrade your gear before heading on to the next real challenge :)