New week, new interfaces! This time it’s the last couple of interfaces for Arcade Mode, featuring how to build new houses and a notification window for when new NPCs are added to town:

Above is the first quick sketch of the notification box mentioned. We wanted to notify players of when new characters appear in town so they know what/who to look for. Instead of One-Handed it will say “A New Face in Town”, and instead of Defense, it’ll say the character’s name. We used to placeholder text to get a feeling for how big the fonts are.

Here’s the progress of taking the box from the sketch version to the actual one we’ll use in the game:

And the final window in its context:

Next up, building houses. When you inspect a signpost you’ll be presented with a window where Trunk informs you of what will appear in that area and how much it’ll cost. Extremely(!) detailed sketch below:

Again, bringing it from sketch to final box:

Once more we’ve used a placeholder text to get a feeling of how big text will appear inside the box. Instead of One-Handed it’ll say the name of the building, and instead of Candy’s line from Pumpkin Woods there will be a description of the house and what can be done there. The coin box to the bottom left of the window will tell you how much it costs to unlock this building, while the checkmark and x will confirm or cancel. The x will be selected by default to avoid accidentally building things you wouldn’t want.

Final version below:

Next up, a bunch of icons, featuring both curses and Bishop challenges:

This first batch are all Bishop challenges. The first one is the one where you race against time to complete each room in a specific time or get instakilled, the second represents the only elites challenge, the third is for the challenge where you’re blinded the whole time. The fourth is for the runs when you can’t level up, and the fifth and final icon is for the combined no leveling / only elites challenge:

Next up, the next bunch of curses:

The first one being where the floors turn to ice, the second where you’re surrounded by flames, the third being the curse which allows higher level enemies to spawn on lower level floors, the fourth is a curse that makes you take double damage.

The fifth is the curse which makes enemies leave something harmful behind when they die (poison clouds, acid, etc), and the last one is a slightly modified version of the bishop challenge above, for the curse which either blinds you temporarily at the start of each room, or has blinding mushrooms spread across the floor. If we go for the mushroom idea, we’ll likely change the icon, but for now this is the placeholder until we’ve tried the two modes out:

Now, in preparation to move from Arcadia to the desert, here’s some small Arcadia fixes to conclude my work there (for now):

Above is a screen of Trunk talking to Bishop, during which we realized his portrait is a little too big and feels too close to the text. First mission: make it smaller!

Second mission, giving him a proper expression for a special moment where he gets a little surprised to say the least:

This is approximately what Arcadia will look like when you first arrive, but there’s a little something missing here:

What’s that? A ruined bridge, of course! We realized it’s kind of weird that some things have already been set up on the other side of the water without any indication of how people got over, and it looks a little more interesting to have it there:

Okay, so time to move to the desert. Here we have a pathway that’s supposed to be blocked, so you have to move around the area before unlocking a way to pass through here:

And what’s stopping you? More cacti! Bigger ones, this time. Time to make a bunch:

And here they are, in their rather huge glory! We’ll probably add a bunch of these here and there to keep you from being able to destroy everything (most other decorations – the smaller cacti – can be cut down by the player, while these cannot):

Next up, another place that will be blocked until you’re actually supposed to get here:

Here, we want the stairway to be blocked by a couple of archaeologists who have made interesting findings in the area. This serves both as an introduction to the fact that there will be archaeologists here, as well as a temporary way of blocking your progress until you’re ready for the desert storyline:


(Of course I couldn’t leave the stairs looking as empty as they did, or you wouldn’t really buy why the archaeologists are interested in it..)

And with the new, more epic looking staircase, this one looks rather boring in comparison:

Time to fix the problem:

Next up, another portrait! As Fred keeps making new NPCs needed for the upcoming quests, I make the portraits to match. This time it’s another archaeologist, consulting a map. Sprite below:

And here’s the WIP:

As for Fred, this week he has been working on finishing up the vegetable lineup from last week! Here they are, in all directions:

Needless to say, these fellow will of course be animated as well, bouncing around in a cute way:

And where’s there vegetables, there’s a garden, right? Here’s a gardener, pulling up some rather small and sad looking vegetables in comparison to the lively one above:

With the new year coming, it’s time to plan new things. For us that means it’s time to start thinking about the harbor town, a place which has been planned for a long time but never sketched and never discussed in greater detail. So that’s what we’ve done now!

Basically, we’ve had a huge brainstorming session where we just talked about what we’d like to see in the harbor town, what would be cool and a little how things would look. Here’s our list:

The Harbor – Obviously a harbor town needs a harbor or it’s not much of a harbor town, right? So we’ve planned a long dock, next to which there are a bunch of ships. Some will look like regular ships, others might have special themes: a viking ship perhaps, seeing as we’re Swedes and all?

“Loading Area” – An area next to the dock with a lot of strange crates and sailor carrying stuff and loading stuff onto carts and such.

Market Place – A pretty big area with lots of market stands: some where you can buy the usual stuff and gear, some that carry exotic items or fruit for show, to give the area a bit of flavor.

The Beach – A small beach with touristy things such as sunbeds and blankets. Tourists walking around enjoying the sand, water and hot weather!

Ice Cream Parlor – Probably next to the beach? But who knows! Anyway, an ice cream parlor filled with tons of ice cream! Probably some tables outside where people can sit and enjoy their treat.

A Church – With Grindea’s statue inside and one of those creepy priests!

Houseboat(s) – One or a few, for a more interesting way of living.

Regular Houses – A few where NPCs live, one of which will be an author which you’ll help complete the final part of her best selling series! We’ll also add this author character earlier in the game, once the library is implemented. We’d like her to have a book signing there in the beginning of the game, up until the festival (or so), for added recognition once you get to the harbor town (where she’s forced to live away from all of her fans so she can finally complete the next book)!

Wells and Fountains – The town is in the desert so they better have water available for the heat!

Now we (or well, I) just need to mix all of these things together and make a proper sketch of what the town could look like with all these ingredients included. First though, time for some icons and small interface fixes! All related to Arcadia, of course. First up, making a new version of Bag of Tricks, featuring Trunk instead of Bag:

And speaking of Bag, that guy’s actually the inventory icon… not very fitting for Arcade Mode where he doesn’t even exist. Time to replace him with Trunk:

Next, true icon galore as it’s time to make icons for the Treats & Curses we’ve come up with so far. In order of appearance: More Elites Curse, No Heal Curse, No Elites Treat, More Healing Treat, More Treasure Rooms Treat, and Time Crystal Treat (they will probably get better names later):

Finally, not exactly an icon, but cleaning up the background a little! Since it’ll move around as you run across the map (parallax wohoo), I needed to clean up holes of stuff I thought would be permanently hidden behind buildings (oops):

We’ve also been sketching and talking about the details surrounding two big upcoming things: the final desert map, and the interface at the Cinema in Arcadia!

Starting with the desert map, this is the sketch we showed a little while ago:

When I made this sketch I paid no heed to character sizes or what the distances between each section of the map would be in the game, as it was a sketch made on paper after all. Now that we need to translate the sketch into something we can actually use, we need to fix that.

In the above version of the sketch I’ve brought the whole thing into Photoshop and copy pasted a player character into each section, using it to determine distances and how big each thing is. The result is that certain parts of the sketch have been enlarged to better fit the character(s) that will run through the area. For instance, the part above the misspelled fight area has been a bit enlarged on both sides, and there’s a longer corridor coming towards the Saloon from the top right.

Once this was done, we brought the map into the game to run through it and try it out for ourselves (it’s a much different thing actually playing through the map compared to looking at a static character in the midst of it):

Again, we felt some areas were too small, so we made the corridor before the Saloon even larger and added a small space where you can more easily battle enemies there. The area before the (still misspelled) fight area was made larger as well, with the option to add a cave (can’t have too many caves and potential extra maps). Finally we actually made the Fight area slightly smaller to give the user interface in the top of the screen more room without it having to completely cut off the walls.

As mentioned, we also talked about the Cinema, how it would work, and how best to make an interface for it. We decided that when you open the cinema interface you’ll be presented with six options: Personal Best, Most Recent, Favorites, Friends, Public and Sharing.

In the “Personal Best” section, you’ll be presented with a list of your top best runs, automatically saved for your rewatching pleasure! Same thing with “Most Recent”, but with your most recent runs rather than the best. In “Favorites” any runs you’ve saved as a favorite will be available, both your own and those of your friends or strangers: which brings us to “Friends”, where your friends top runs will be available: each friend having one entry each. In Public, you’ll see the runs with the highest scores, and in Sharing you decide whether you want your runs to be shown only to yourself, you and your friends, or if you want them to be public to anyone (i.e if you end up on the high score).

Here’s a very early sketch showing what the selection of a replay could look like, featuring your character’s face (+ parts of the poncho and hat), the top two skills you used, what score you got and which floor you reached:

Continuing on with the cinema interface, though, the first thing we need to design is the header:

I went with a bag of popcorn and film strip to decorate the sides as this felt like two iconic references to the movies! Keeping with that spirit, I designed the movie info boxes to resemble film strips as well (as seen on the sketch earlier):

Also as mentioned earlier the info shown will be part of your character, it’s name (or the first 10 letters of it), the two highest leveled skills, the score (in the brown box), and the floor reached (golden shape at the end). In the final version below, I added a star to indicate someone having added that particular strip to favorites:

Speaking of which, this interface needs quite a few new buttons as well, in order to select everything! Without further ado:

From top to bottom: Play Clip, Most Recent, Favorite(s), Friends, Public, and Settings. The last one will lead to this rather simple popup menu, where you can select who can view your replays by moving left or right (the options being only you, only friends, or public):

Finally, let’s take a look at another portrait. This guy is designed after one of the archaeologists Fred made a while ago:

Like most NPCs made recently, you will run into this guy in the desert, where he’ll be busy excavating some new findings (and in doing so, unfortunately blocking your way for a while)!

Next week we’ll discuss and continue designing the final interfaces for the Arcadia Rework: the one for Master Ji’s shield challenges, and the UI that shows information about each building you can build. After that there’s mostly some smaller detail stuff for me to do before I believe I’m done with all Arcadia Rework things! Exciting times.

We’re back! Hope you guys have had a great holiday, a merry christmas and a happy new year! Now it’s 2018, and as we continue working on and implementing Arcadia rework, it’s only natural that our weekly meeting has a lot to do with establishing the smaller details of how everything will work!

Early Gold Quests
In order to quickly get your first building(s) up and running, we’ll add a couple early quests with gold rewards to speed things up and get your into the whole building thing as soon as possible! Some will probably be reused from old Arcadia, while a couple will be brand new.

Balancing Gold Rewards for Slow Builds
How much gold you get per run/room will be balanced is a tough one, because we don’t solely want it to depend on how quickly you clear rooms (even if they will play into it too, of course). Using only speed as an indicator would mean that certain builds, such as anything involving Insect Swarm for instance, would get a lot less gold vs the builds with faster clear times. To counter this, we’ll award extra gold depending on how long your active time on a run is, meaning if you play for a long while with a slower build, you’ll still get the proper gold reward that quicker builds get.

Build Time for Unlocked Buildings

Remember how I mentioned a build time that would count either IRL time or Arcade run time (or a mix of the two where time passes faster if you play Arcade Mode)? After some discussions, our current stance is that we’ll probably skip build times altogether.

This was a kind of difficult decision because we wanted to give players another incentive to play more Arcade Mode (play the game to unlock your building/unlock it faster)! However, you’ve already played Arcade Mode to gain the gold used to unlock the building, so it felt a little unfair that now you have to play the game more before it actually spawns, even though you already paid for it. Instead, we’ll probably use a fade to black effect with some building sounds before you return in front of your fully built property.

We’re still not 100% sure about this, and each of us actually have our own preferred version with the fade to black being the compromise. What would you guys prefer? Would build time be a nice or annoying thing?

A couple of Treats & Curses
We’ve only just begun planning for these, but here are the ones we’ve come up with so far:

Curse – Increased Elite spawn rate
Curse – No/Reduced healing (or both as two separate curses)

Treat – No Elites spawn at all
Treat – More HP from HP orbs
Treat – You start your run with a Time Crystal that rewinds time to when you first entered the floor if you should die. Meaning you get a chance to play through the floor again and fix your mistakes!
Treat – Increased chance of getting treasure rooms

Keep sharing your best ideas and we’ll see where we end up with all of these!

And now, time for more interface design, this time featuring the Arena! As a reminder, here’s what it looks like in Story Mode:

There are two categories, Challenges and VS. Challenges won’t be available in Arcade Mode, but there will be something else:

Boss practice! For those of you who have troubles with bosses, we know it’s really difficult and annoying to get chances of practicing against them as you have to survive a whole lot of regular enemies first. To give players a chance to polish their skill against these more difficult bad guys (as well as a way of learning their patterns), the Arcadia Arena will let you pick and choose among the bosses you’ve reached so far (no skipping ahead). When designing this interface, I presented two options: one featuring three bosses per page (with a scrollbar), and their name next to them:

..and another, featuring just the boss images, with their title and description shown only in the text box instead:

It’s likely we’ll go for this second version as it has room for a lot more enemies and the text box won’t be used much anyway!

Once you’ve selected the boss you want to practice against, you’ll be presented with three character slots, featuring the last three characters who reached that specific boss, with their equipped weapon and main skill of choice shown beneath them:

This is so that you’ll have approximately the right level and equipment for the boss fight (as your current Arcadia character is level 0 with no gear what so ever)! It gives an accurate representation of the fight, as it reflects how you got there last time, and allows you to try out the fight with possibly different builds (if you change playstyle between runs).

Once you’ve selected which of your old characters you want to rebattle the boss as, you’ll be transported directly to the boss room for another go at the battle! Currently, none of these will cost gold or any other value, so you can practice as much as you like :)

The next interface up on the design table belongs to the Bank and involves trading essence for gold, and gold for essence! For this interface we’ll use the Quantum Lumber interface from Housing as a base:

The main difference between the Lumber interface and the Bank’s interface is that instead of Lumber we’ll deal with Essence (obviously), and that you’ll be able to either buy Essence by handing in gold, or sell Essence and get gold back for it.

From the beginning we thought we’d deal with both in the same interface (calling it exchange instead), where you’d scroll right to get more Essence and less gold, and scroll left to get more Gold but less Essence (with a symbol for the respective currency on either side). However, we felt it’s probably easier to understand if we just call it Buy/Sell Essence and keep them separated.

Here’s our first try at a modified version of the Lumber interface:

Here, the Lumbers have each been replaced by an Essence statue. The top box will contain a number indicating how many Essence you want to buy (or sell), the number next to the big coin will let you know how much that will cost you (or how much you’ll get back for selling your precious Essence), and the number next to the Essence-with-a-coin indicates the current exchange rate (which don’t change the way things are designed now, but we thought it might be interesting to know).

The small gold coin is next to your current gold total, and the Essence-with-a-bag shows how many Essence you currently own. Pretty much like it is in the Lumber interface, in other words!

To make it more clear whether you’re in buy or sell mode, we made two variations of the above interface, one with a plus next to the top Essence icon (indicating this is the buy interface), and one with a minus (indicating this is the sell interface). There’s also a corresponding plus and minus next to the coin, to show whether you’ll gain or lose gold on the affair:

Finally, the shop menu (where you select Buy/Sell or Talk) needed two new buttons for this, so here they are as well:

Remember Trunk, the sidekick who will fill the role of (a more cheerful and optimistic) Bag in Arcade Mode? In order to communicate with you properly, he of course needs to have his own portrait:

The final version, slightly cut off to fit the text box:

Finally, there’s a bunch of NPCs made by Fred! Some of these have portraits that have been showed before, but the two on the right are brand new archaeologists that will be inspecting the old ruins and skeletons found in the desert!

Alright, back to business (ALSO SORRY THIS POST IS SO LATE! Scheduling got messed up again (I will set an alarm to check that it actually works, I promise)! As mentioned before, we’re at the point where we need to design a lot of interface stuff and decide how things will work together and unlock in terms of the new Arcadia rework features.

These include new interface indicator for gold, treats and curses when you’re running around inside Arcadia itself. Here we decided to combine Treats and Curses. Previously we said you could pick either Treats or Curses, and have three of each, but since then we have changed our minds: now, you’ll be able to pick and choose between Treats and Curses, but you can only pick 3 in total. It’s good to keep in mind that 3 isn’t a 100% fixed number at this point, we’ll have to try things out and see what feels good. The final number could be anywhere between 2-5 (is my guess, anyway).

We haven’t actually decided on which specific Treats or Curses to include yet, so if you have any cool ideas, feel free to share them with us! As a reminder, Treats are features that will make an Arcade run easier, but lowers your score, while Curses make your runs harder and increases your score!

Selecting Treats/Curses at their respective NPC will need a menu of its own too, as will the Cinema’s replay feature (where you’ll be able to view past runs), the Bank exchange service (where you can convert Essence to Gold and the other way around), and Master Ji’s challenge selection (where you pick which of his shield-focused challenges you want to try). We also need to come up with the challenges the latter will have.

The Arena will mainly use the interface from Story Mode, but we will also need a menu where you can select your last three characters that reached any boss in the game and have a go at the boss again. Here, we’ve decided to keep the Multiplayer mini-games, while the single player ones will be replaced by the boss-rebattle feature. Our reasoning here is that it might be fun to be able to challenge your friends to mini-games in the Arena without having to start Story Mode (since we have the arena anyway, you know), while the single player portion of the Arena doesn’t make as much sense to keep and works better in Story Mode alone.

There’s also another matter we need to discuss, and finalize: whether the build time of unlocked buildings will count IRL time, the time you play Arcade runs, or both. Last time we talked about this we could not decide, so now’s possibly your last chance: what would you prefer? To wait a short while regardless of what you do, to have to play arcade runs for the buildings to finish, or to be able to shorten the waiting time by playing arcade mode?

Let us know what you think!

So, time to get those new interfaces going! First up, the main interface as you run around Arcadia. Here’s the old version of the interface:

And here’s a basic suggestion with a new gold indicator and slots for Treats/Curses:

Now, the treats and curses will affect your score multiplier by a certain percentage each: either they’ll increase your score or they’ll reduce your score. More score equals more rewards (and a higher place on the high score list!), so we felt it was important to include this in the interface somehow. Here’s a quick sketch featuring the score multiplier increase both next to the score and next to the treats/curses:

While we liked the idea of having the percentage show next to the score counter (that way it can show all through your run as well), we weren’t sold on having an exact copy of it next to the treats/curses. Instead, we thought maybe we should separate them and show how much each of your curses or treats actually subtract or add to your score:

As of now, we still haven’t decided whether we want to include the above version or just keep the cleaned up score multiplier next to your score (as seen below). Do you think you’d prefer to see how much each score adds/subtracts, or is that unnecessary information that only clutters up the interface?

Next up, we’ll continue the interface business by taking a look at the interface of one of the more important new features: Treats and Curses!

For this interface the important part is having enough room for a bunch of treats/curses, with a text box featuring a description of each treat/curse, a title bar (so you know which interface you’re in), as well as some way of letting the player know when treats/curses don’t work together – for example if you have on treat that disables all elite enemies along with a curse that makes them more likely to spawn.

In the above sketch I used the potion interface as a base. There will be a few key differences though: for one, it won’t cost you money to change curses/treats, at least not the way it’s currently designed. If you’re currently hovering over a curse/treat that won’t work with the ones you have selected currently, a speech bubble popup will appear with a stop sign, showing you which ones are incompatible. Next to the curse/treat title in the text box will be how much score will be added or subtracted to your score, in percent.

Once you select a curse, a new interface will pop up where you can select which slot you want to add the curse/treat to:

In this interface there will also be a total score counter showing how much your total score will be with your selected curses/treats. In the sketch above there’s another stop sign next to the incompatible curse/treat, however this will likely not be added to the game: instead, if you try to select a curse or treat when you have others selected that wouldn’t work with it, there will be a prompt asking if you’d like to remove the ones that are incompatible with the one you’re trying to select. If you answer yes, the above interface will pop up with the incompatible curses/treats removed: if you answer no, you’ll remain in the curse/treat selection screen.

Now, time to freshen up the graphics a bit:

Here I’ve added some proper graphics to nearly everything: Muffin’s Treats has a title sprite, the pop-up speech bubble indicating which curses/treats are incompatible has been added, and the background is properly made as well. The text I haven’t touched though, as it will be added properly with the game engine.

Next, same thing but with Candy’s title sprite:

And finally, the screen where you select which slot to add your selected curse/treat to! Again, the stop sign will probably not be used the way we ended up designing things, but we hadn’t finalized that by the time I finished making the graphics:

Next, a quick portrait, with and without hat:

And Fred’s section of this post features a return to the desert and more of its inhabitants! Here’s a whole bunch of the iterations for four of the characters you’ll meet in the harbor town, with the final versions inside each green circle:

…And an animation for that poor winter fae, who has been lured into the desert by his friend! Poor thing is suffering from the less than ideal weather for a winter loving creature!

With only a few days left before Christmas, we’ll take a small break and will return on January 1st! No weekly recap next week, in other words, but we’ll make sure to post a happy holiday post to cheer you all on over the holidays :) In the meanwhile you can sneak a peek of what will be shown in the recap of Jan 1st over on my own workblog! Until then~

Another week has passed, during which Fred has been busy finishing up the Solem…

.., and starting work on his part of the whole potion business! This includes a sprite and animation for a new character who will stand outside the potion shop with a signpost. This way we hope people will easily come across him and learn how to get a bottle on their way to the Pumpkin Woods and Flying Fortress:

Next up will be more potion stuff, as we’ve decided to change some things around with Remedi’s quest, and add another one where you’ll get the second bottle. A sneak peek of what’s going to happen:

Excited? We sure are! In fact, most of this week has been about potions in their various forms as we’ve prototyped, tested, made changes, and tested some more! In the beginning of the week we had a meeting where Teddy showed us his basic prototype of the system and wanted to discuss it with us.

To refresh your memory, the potion rework is about giving you three bottles that you can fill with one potion each. After you drink a potion, the bottle will refill slowly as you battle enemies. This was the basic prototype added by Teddy, but unfortunately he did not feel it was very fun, and after trying it out as well, me and Fred agreed – to an extent.

In fact, for a while we talked about scrapping the potion rework altogether!

However, after playing around with the system (Teddy also included settings which allowed us the change the speed of which a potion recharges, their duration, as well how big of an effect they have), we found that we’d been looking at it the wrong way, making it too difficult to recharge the potions.

Basically, in our first iteration, you got quite a large effect but refilling the bottles (done only by battling enemies) took forever, and felt more like a chore. So instead, we decided to reduce the effect quite significantly, but have the recharge process be much faster. We also decided to add a passive refill that slowly refills the bottles for you even when you’re not in battle. This way it doesn’t feel like you’re losing out on refill time when you move from one group of enemies to the next.

We’ve also decided on what potions we want to have, which so far is a lineup of nine:

* Health Potion – refills a tiny portion of your health
* EP Potion – restores your EP
* DMG Potion – Increases the damage you do for a short duration
* Crit Potion – Increases crit chance for a short duration
* Gold Potion – Increases gold droprate for a short duration
* Arrow Potion – Increases the number of arrow that drops
* Loot Potion – Increases drop rate of items
* Speed Potion – Increases your cast and attack speed

And finally, the most important one:

* Chicken Potion – Turns the player into a chicken!

Yes, we’re serious about that one. Might not be very useful (or will it?), but fun at the very least!

Okay, time for the next step in our potion-centric week! Starting with the basic UI where you assign which potions you want to carry with you on your journey. To my help with this I had a little sketch we made over at our meeting where we discussed these things:

Using the buff- and Frosty Friend interface arrows as a base, I made a version that will feature the potions. These arrows will not only appear in the Assign Potion interface, but will also appear around the character in the same way as when you command Frosty Friend or buff a friend with your utility skills:

After selecting which of your potion slots you want to change, you’re brought down to a shop-like list where all the potions will be displayed. Right now there are prices beneath the potions, but in the version we’re aiming for, swapping potions will be free of charge and can be done anytime (all of the potions will be unlocked from the beginning).

Also the menu may not look exactly like this when it’s done, but it’s close to what we’re aiming for:

Next up, the portrait of that new character! So the guy outside the potion shop is the nephew of Remedi the Alchemist. As mentined, he will appear in Evergrind City carrying a signpost directing you to his uncle’s shop. He’s also the one to notify you about Remedi giving out a free bottle to adventurers! What a nice kid, huh?

Next, time to get some more interface done. This time we’ll take a look at what the player will see more often, i.e. the interface that will appear as you drink your potions. Using the arrows from before, here’s what they will look like in action:

And now, it’s time for an indicator showing how long you have left before your potion(s) have been refilled:

These bottles will appear filled when ready to use, or will refill in real time as you battle enemies or just wait around. In the finished version we’ll try making the top row of pixels a little darker to make it more clear how much recharge time is left:

Now, as for the potions, I will remake all of them in a fresh new style, using our talent icon as base, but making it smaller so it better fits inside the UI arrows:

Each potion will have their own color, and as they appear in the arrow another icon will indicate their effect, making it easier to distinguish between the different potions even when they are of similar color:

The Speed and Loot potions aren’t pictured here because as I was making these, we hadn’t decided they would be included yet! They will appear in next week’s post instead, so stay tuned for that~

Good news everyone: the Bow and Talent patch is officially live (and has been since Thursday afternoon)! Go try those things out and let us know what you think. To summarize, the patch includes 21 new talents, sound effects for the utility skills and the revamped bow including a bunch of upgrades! As always, the full patch notes can be found over here~

In Fred’s department, there has been three main things going on: making the bow upgrading NPC, continuing polishing the Solem animations and starting work on our next system upgrade, namely the potion rework. Once the rework is live your character will visually drink the potions, so that had to have a neat animation of its own. Here are some results from this week:

My main focus last week was also preparing stuff for the patch, starting with the final batch of talent icons! Final three General talents + the Melee talents:

Alchemist – Potions refill faster. Pretty self explanatory talent, and to make things even easier to understand visually I used the other potion talent icon as a base for this one.

Arrow Scavenger – Increases the number of arrows dropped by enemies. Featuring a bunch of arrows (or the ends of them anyway)!

Quickshot – Shoot arrows faster. For this icon I took one of the bow icons and put some effects behind it that I hope illustrates its increased speed!

Blood Thirst – Killing an enemy grants increased attack speed for a short duration. With a name like this I kind of wanted to make a blood thirsty animal or beast of some sort. Not super sold on the look, so might change it around in the future – we’ll see!

Combo Starter – After a normal attack, your melee skills have increased critchance for a short duration. Since we already have a ton of basic looking swords in the old talent icon, I went with a different kind of blade this time!

Knowledge is Power – MATK gives ATK. Using a book from another talent icon as a base, I changed its color around, making this icon’s color scheme a mix between magic colors and melee colors.

Riposte – Perfect guarding within x range of an enemy deals some damage to the enemy you guarded against. Bringing back the perfect guard icon to use it as a base once more, I changed the colors around to better work with the melee page.

Sudden Strike – After being out of combat for a short while, your next normal attack will have increased attackspeed. Here we have another regular-looking blade, but dropping from the sky this time!

Final lineup:

So in order for you to be able to upgrade your bow, we needed someone who can help you do that! While Robin, who first gives you the bow, might seem the obvious choice, we didn’t want him responsible for more than one mechanic – and as he’s currently in charge of the shooting mini-game, it seemed it’d be a better idea to make another character who can deal with bow upgrades.

Introducing Little J:

This guy will be carving bows outside Robin’s house. Once he has a new upgrade for your bow you’ll be able to purchase it for some gold!

After some feedback from my fellow Pixel Ferrets, I made a small adjustment of the eyes:

And next, it was time to actually make Little J feel at home next to Robin’s hut! In order to make it more obvious that there’s something for the player to gain by talking to this guy, we made a bunch of improvements to the surrounding area. Starting with some sketching:

First thing we’ll do is add a notice board of sorts, where the next bow upgrade available will be displayed. Here I’m using the notice board from the Arcadia rework as a base:

Now that the board is done, it’s time to bring in the bows and edit them all slightly so they merge better with the board. The very first bow won’t be on display since that will be the one you’ll have from the beginning (and the first upgrade will be available from the start):

Next, some ground decorations: a bunch of arrows, and a quiver next to Robin’s door:

Finally, Little J’s working table, where an old bow and some arrows lie forgotten:

And here’s Robin’s place after the added stuff! You can kind of see a difference in quality of the props made now compared to the old ones. Maybe someday (when the game is done), we’ll go back and touch up old areas, improving the overall graphics. For now, we’ll try to steer clear of doing too unnecessary improvements, as we want to finish this game within our lifetime:

As some of you have noticed, we also (finally) made a cover image for Secrets of Grindea on Twitch. It’s been on my to-do list for a while, but has been pushed back due to other things being more important – but with this bow upgrade being mostly out of the way, I decided to throw something together before moving back to Arcadia stuff.

So to make the cover image, we wanted to use graphics already available to us, at least for now. Maybe in the future we’ll do something more epic. Using the capsule image from Steam and a screenshot of the Arcadia rework, we pieced some graphics together and made a couple of mockups which can be viewed below (pretending to be Path of Exile).

We resized our mockups on top of other games in order to get a feel for what the image would actually look like in the end – you’re supposed to provide them with a quite large jpeg file, though for the most part its resized by Twitch as seen below. We felt the best way of trial and erroring this was playing around in Photoshop rather than uploading 500 versions of the image and trying it our in real time:

In the end, we decided to go with the third one. The big version can be seen below! Note that the logo has been resized into a bigger version in a rather crude way, which means it’s a little blurry. This is because we didn’t want to completely remake it and take more time from doing actual game stuff at this point. Since the image is mostly viewed in a much smaller version where the blur won’t be visible anyway, we felt this was OK for now:

With the Talent and Bow updates drawing to a close, it’s time to look ahead and start planning for the rest of the Arcadia Rework. I’m almost done with the rework of the outdoors, but after that there’s still some important stuff left: the indoors.

To make sure we’re on the same page, we got together to discuss exactly what will be available in each of the buildings, coming up with the list below:

Inside the Dojo there will be enough space for a small battle area, where your challenges will take place. Beyond it, Master Ji from story mode will sit, and it’s him you’ll have to talk to in order to activate the challenges. Once you activate a challenge, your character will be teleported to the battle area you just passed through.

In multiplayer, you’ll only be able to do these challenges solo. To make sure everyone can use the Dojo at the same time, characters who are currently partaking in the challenge will disappear from the map, meaning – unfortunately – that you can’t spectate other users as they do their challenges. In this case we felt it would be better for players to be able to take on the challenges at the same time rather than having to wait for someone currently doing one to finish.

The interior of the Farm will be pretty straight forward: hay, buckets and sacks of wheat. And enough space for your favorite farmer, Oak to give you new quests!

The Aquarium will feature a huge aquarium on the topside wall, around which painted decorations featuring seaweed and fishes will be added. We’re currently discussing what kind of fishes will be available in the aquarium, whether all of the fishes will be or just one or two from each area. We’re kind of into the idea of having one fish per area (meaning less animation work for Fred), each which you’ll be able to catch and keep during a quest given by the Aquarium owner.

The Bank will be decorated office style. Desks, water coolers, the occasional plant. A vault where the gold is kept!

The Cinema will look pretty much like a cinema, with a receptionist selling tickets near the entrance. This will be where you select which replay you want to watch.

The Inn will look much like it does now, some sitting areas and a bar. The Arena reception will look much like it does in Story Mode as well.

The Clock Tower will have a rather small, round, room, with a window on the opposite wall where you’ll be able to tell what time of day it is. You’ll change time by hitting a small bell in the middle of the room, which will – through magic – cause time to speed up. The big bell on top on the clock tower will chime as the scenery changes outside the window through an animation made by Fred.

And that’s that! Looking forward to diving into all of that soon~ :3

As we move on with implementing the Talents, it became clear we needed to finalize some things in the game – namely the bow and the new potion system. It felt like a given that these systems should have their corresponding Talent(s), but we felt we couldn’t truly decide what they should do until we knew exactly where we wanted to take these features.

So, we sat down and had a long discussion about how exactly these will change.

Starting with the bow, it will get quite an overhaul! It will get a rather big damage increase, but will have lowered speed (meaning you can’t spam arrows as fast). You’ll be able to upgrade the bow at a new NPC available where you first got the bow, and new upgrades will unlock about every time you complete a new dungeon. This will unlock new visuals for the bow as well as increased damage. You’ll be able to upgrade your quiver multiple times through crafting as well. Finally, you’ll be able to charge each bowshot, which increases its damage. Just spamming the button will release arrows faster, but they won’t be nearly as powerful.

There will be two new talents for the bow, one which increases its speed (at max level this should bring it back to its original ultra-fast speed), and one which increases the droprate of arrows.

As for potions, we’ve talked about the general idea several times before. Basically, you will be able to carry three magical bottles, each of which can be filled with the potion of your choice (however, we’ve decided you cannot carry more than one of the same kind). After you use a potion, it will start refilling itself when you’re in battle: specifically, the refill will start every time you deal damage to something and it will lasts for x seconds after your last damage.

To make using them easier, the three potions will be a single item, meaning a single quickslot. As you press the button to use it, an interface similar to the Frosty Friend/buff interface will appear, allowing you to select which potion you want to consume by pressing up, left or right. The interface will disappear once you drink a potion or release the button.

Potions already have a talent where it makes the effect last longer, but we’ll add another that makes them refill faster.

These will be the next things to implement, and at least the bow should be available along with the new talents in the upcoming patch (the potions may be too complex and will in that case be added in a future patch instead)!

As for preparing for that patch, let’s take a look at what we’ve been up to this week! You already saw the mockup we made of how we’d like the General talent page to look:

The above design was originally thrown together by Teddy, but it’s my job to make sense of it and turn it into something that actually works in reality. To do this, we first need to make a new mockup using the maximized version of each talent, as that graphic is significantly larger then the unleveled ones used above.

Then comes the exciting issue of what to do about the shield! With so much going on in the page, it can’t remain exactly as it was before, or it’ll be covered by a bunch of talents. As such, we spend a lot of iterations trying out various layout ideas until we found one we liked:

As you can see, the shield is a lot higher than it was before, but though we experimented with reducing its size, in the end we stuck with the large one:

Meanwhile, the Magic and Melee talent pages didn’t need as much editing, as their icons were of less height – however they are also quite a bit higher in the layout to match the shield of the General page. These pages will have fewer talents altogether, so there’s a lot more whitespace in these layouts compared to the General page as well, but hopefully that won’t be too annoying on your eyes as you move between the pages:

With the layout out of the way, it’s time to start looking at creating icons for the new batch of Talents being implemented. First up though, a slight update of the Arcadia perk icon “Smart Start”, as you’ll now get the wand seen below rather then the green rod:

Okay, onto the Talents. We’ll begin with the Magic talents, which I’ve managed to put into a single long gif with the power of Photoshop (wohoo):

In order of appearance:

Concentration – Increase resistance to having the (magic) spells channeling interrupted by enemy hits. For this icon I made an eye, as it feels like you often focus your eyes when you concentrate. Or maybe that’s just me?

Fast Talker – Increases castspeed. And yet I used an open mouth to make a play at the name of the Talent, rather at something relating to speed. To make it more readable I first wanted to show some of the person’s face, but ended up changing it around to showing their neck and some clothing instead.

Soul Siphon – Hitting an enemy with a wand projectile will grant the user some EP. My idea here was a slime which oozes of EP. My first version of this wasn’t very readable so I changed it to small orbs instead of a crazy ooze.

Specialist – Increase damage depending on how many skillpoints you have in the same magic tree (as an example, the more fire skills you level, the stronger your fire skills will be overall). Supposed to be a magnifying glass on top of four colors representing each elemental skill tree.

Wand Master – Increased damage from wand projectiles. And here we have a wand, and an arrow pointing upward! Might change the color from green, as green, as always, tend to make people think about healing. We’ll see!

Next up, most of the General tree:

In order of appearance, starting from the top and moving to the right:

Unknown – An as of yet unknown armor talent. We had one remaining general talent to come up with, and Teddy half-jokingly asked me to come up with an icon and we’d come up with the talent based on that. I don’t know if this will actually end up being a real talent, but I decided to rise to the challenge! Seeing as both the Melee and Magic pages have an armor talent each, I figured it was only fair to have one in general as well, using the icons from those pages as a base.

Our ideas for it range from having increased armor while battling bosses, starting off new fights with increased armor and a bunch of others. But again, this may not even end up being an actual talent, we’ll see!

Utility Flow – Chaining Utility skills lower their EP cost (the more utility skills you use in a row the cheaper their cost in EP, up to a maximum percentage). A talent designed with the true support players in mind, who need more EP to buff a full team! This was a bit of a challenge to come up with, but after discussing what kind of icon to use for this talent, we came up with having an increasingly bigger ball to illustrate the chaining of skills.

Efficient Counter – Perfect Guarding lowering the EP cost of the next skill. For this icon, I used another perfect guarding talent icon as base, but changed the colors and details around to better reflect it’s EP bonus.

Got You Covered – Increase buff duration. An hourglass with an arrow up. Perhaps one of the more descriptive icons out there!

Health Insurance – Increase healing from health orbs. A bunch of health orbs against a (finally appropriately used) green background!

Kinetic Energy – Get EP from blocking attacks with your shield. Once more, a shield with our signature EP color: purple.

Lady Luck – Introducing a low chance of enemy attacks missing your character. At least for us, the most well-known symbol of luck is a four-leaf clover, and so that became the base for this icon.

Metabolism – Increase EP regen. Not much to say about this icon: some EP against a blue background.

And the lineup so far:

Teddy and Fred have kept busy this week as well! Most of the talents are already implemented in some shape or form, and Fred has for the most part returned to working on completing the desert enemies by cleaning up their animations (specifically the Solem who he had to abandon to make new graphics for a bunch of skills):

He’s also been working on new visuals for the bow, each a new upgrade (exactly how much powerful each step will be compared to the last has not yet been decided):

Meanwhile, we’ve made a decision to make chain buffing easier. Instead of having to bring up the interface again for each new player you want to buff, you’ll now be able to cast the buff on all of your teammates in one go:

Just a small thing that will hopefully make playing a support a little easier on your fingers!

Weeeee’re back! In fact, one whole week has passed since we got back to work and it’s time for a new weekly recap~

As you know, before taking this break, we launched a patch with the complete rework of our current skills in hope of making them more balanced (and fun). We’ve read all of the feedback coming in, and for now there aren’t any major changes we want to do (aside from a bunch of bug fixes that Teddy already has been working on). We will keep monitoring the feedback and possible change a few things, however: such as increasing the HP of certain enemies that have lost some of their tankyness due to the increased damage of most of the skills.

Now, to properly start the next step on our journey to actually completing this game, we had a meeting today discussing the additions of more talents! We have wanted to add a bunch for a while now, as mentioned before. For now, we’ve decided on adding 5 new Melee talents, 5 new Magic talents and 10 new General talents!

Starting with the Magic talents, some talents we discussed and confirmed will be added are:

Fast Talker – Increase Castspeed
Soul Siphon – Hitting an enemy with a wand projectile will grant the user some EP
Concentration – Increase resistance to having the (magic) spells channeling interrupted by enemy hits
Specialist – Increase damage depending on how many skillpoints you have in the same magic tree (as an example, the more fire skills you level, the stronger your fire skills will be overall)
Wand Master – Icreased damage from wand projectiles

As for the General talents, some you may expect there are:

Got You Covered – Increase buff duration
Metabolism – Increase EP regen
Health Insurance – Increase healing from health orbs
Lady Luck –  Introducing a low chance of enemy attacks missing your character
Utility Flow – Chaining Utility skills lower their EP cost (the more utility skills you use in a row the cheaper their cost in EP, up to a maximum percentage). A talent designed with the true support players in mind, who need more EP to buff a full team!
Kinetic Energy – Get EP from blocking attacks with your shield
Efficient Counter – Perfect Guarding lowering the EP cost of the next skill

And the Melee talents we’ve decided on so far:

Knowledge is Power – MATK gives ATK
Riposte – Perfect guarding within x range of an enemy deals some damage to the enemy you guarded against
Blood Thirst – Killing an enemy grants increased attack speed for a short duration
Combo Starter – After a normal attack, your melee skills have increased critchance for a short duration

We’re currently experimenting with a melee talent that increases the attackspeed of your next normal attack(s) when you’ve been out of combat for a short while. In the general tree, there will also be at least one talent relating to the bow.

We’re also considering increasing the number of talents in the general tree to 21 (as opposed to the planned total of 20). The reason for this is that we’d like to fit all talents in a single page, without the player having to scroll down. Our idea is to go for something like this (super early mockup WIP, obviously, we’ll have to adjust all of the graphics to make this work):

It’s a bit cluttered, but with a few adjustments we hope it won’t be too messy on the eye. We believe, at least, it will be better this way than to introduce scrolling. In the Magic and Melee talent sections, things won’t get as cluttered either, as they won’t have as many talents: at least for now, our max total is 15 each.

As for Arcadia, now that the first stage of the Arcadia is done – that is, the main buildings – it’s time to take a look at it and see where things can improve. As a reminder of what things looked like where we left off, take a peek below:

As you can see, not a lot of details or even finished pathways. The reason for this is that I wanted to be sure all the distances felt nice when actually inside the game, after the main buildings were properly made.

To check this, Teddy uploaded the background into the game and we could run around as if it were a real map, only without any colliders or the ability to actually go inside any of the buildings. While doing this, we did feel like the distances are fine, but we came up with a list of other changes which will be what I’ll be working on next:

* The map’s size will be increased in each direction. The reason for this is not so that there will be more room for the buildings, but rather so that more of the edges can be seen, such as the background that will be painted in the top part of the map, or the woods that will serve as the edge of the map.

* The Clock Tower will get another floor and I’ll remake the clock in its middle part to become a lot bigger and detailed enough that it will show a different time depending on if it’s daylight or nighttime.

* The Arena will be reworked: we’ll make it a lot bigger, to make it feel epic enough.

* The Aquarium and the Bank will both be moved slightly to the right, aligning the path to the bank with the path to the cinema. This to make a little more space between the farm and the Aquarium.

* The top, middle part of the roof of the Aquarium will be turned into a pool of water, where silhouettes of fish can be seen once you start catching some!

* The benches in the fountain/garden area will be moved a bit higher, to make more room for whatever characters might find themselves sitting there in the future!

Along the way I’ll also start making the proper paths and decorate the areas with flowers, fences and other small things. Already, we feel this place is a lot more vivid than the old Arcadia was, and by the end of it it’ll hopefully be a truly cool and polished place :)

Now, time to fix those things! First up, the clock tower:

As some of you mentioned, it’s a little short, so we’ll make it slightly longer (though honestly, not by much: we still want the bell on top to be clearly visible when you enter the building). We also wanted to make the clock bigger and more detailed, so that when you change what time of day it is, the clock will change as well. Also, some silly decorations, because why not:

Next up, some minor detail additions for the Cinema and Inn, adding some fences and decorations. Proper grass, flowers and further details will be added once this second iterations of town is completed:

Moving on to the Arena, we decided to make it larger (and in turn, more detailed) so we made the top part of it higher, and the whole thing wider. For decoration, we added a few posters showing upcoming challenges or fights to take place in the arena. I mean if they don’t advertise what kind of stuff goes on there, how will the NPCs of Arcadia ever get interested enough in going? Gotta sell those tickets!

And here’s the new and improved, slightly bigger arena:

We’re also preparing the Aquarium change(s)! First by moving it and the bank to align with the cinema, and next filling the top part of the Aquarium’s roof with water. In the water you’ll see fish silhouettes once it’s properly added to the actual game:

Finally, increasing the size of the map:

It is rather a lot bigger now, but most of the extra space will be covered in trees and only serve to not make it feel like the map is cut off too close to you. It does feel a little more epic if you can imagine the vast forest expanding around the town, after all!

And to end things this week, I’ll throw in a brand new portrait!

Since I got back I wanted to try a slightly different rendering style for the final sprite (particularly for the eyes), which I think turned out alright:

After a couple more weeks of designing, implementing, polishing and remaking, we have finally patched the frontline beta to include the new set of Utility skills! With the addition of these skills, we expect the game change a lot for some players, if not all – we suspect a lot of you have longed for something to use spare silver points on, and many of the Utility skills offer new paths of gameplay. In short, we can’t wait to see how you guys use them, and what the feedback will be.

While we hope it will be possible to balance all of this properly (we’ve done our best so far, but we’re always ready for your feedback on what’s broken and what may be too lame), we are aware that depending on your feedback, we might have to rethink certain things. For instance, if every single one of you hate a specific skill! Because of this, it’s important to let us know what bothers you (and what you like!) so we know how to proceed. As always, feel free to share your opinions on this patch and the skills here or on the forums!

And as always, to see the full patch notes, go to this forum thread. Now go ahead and try them out!! :D

.. and in the meanwhile, let’s take a look at what our previous workweek looked like, with the Utility skills coming together:

First up, some skill Icons, starting with the Focus skill (the very first frame of each WIP-animation shows our current placeholder icon made by Teddy, and the last frame is my reinterpretation):

Focus is the meditate skill which allows you to channel EP by holding the skill button, and allows you to cast a skill for free after a set amount of time. Since it’s EP focused, we decided to use a purple background (as the EP meter is purple).

Next, the Barrier, which in our game kind of looks like a bubble engulfing the character, and so I wanted to focus on that in its skill icon:

For the blink skill, we had a bit of a hard time coming up with something that would resemble the skill at all, in such a limited amount of space. The color of this skill was later changed to orange/yellow to avoid healing associations:

Next, Death Mark, or as it’s called now: Reaper’s Blade, fittingly using a skull (I modified the one used in the animation where boss-Vilya yells out insults at her minions in the second battle), and added some decorations based off of a sword behind it. Red, as it’s an offensive skill that will help you deal a lot more damage:

For the Stasis icon, I focused on the stasis effect, which grays out an enemy and disables them from combat. In this case I took a Rabby sprite, turned it black & white and painted some background patterns around it. In the final version of this, the whole thing is black and white, however, I added more color to the background later to make sure it stands out from when the skill is unavailable (at which point all skills are grayed out):

Finally, for Challenge (or as it’s called now: Provoke) I brought out boss-Vilyas insults once more! As you yell at the enemy you’re targeting, your own character will begin cursing at them in a similar way, so I thought it’d be nice to use the same graphic indicators for the insults:

And here’s the lineup:

In the end, we decided to divide the buffs into three, so they’re now divided into one that boosts you damage and crit, one improved version of haste (increased cast and attack speed) and a defense and shield boosting buff. The icons of these can be seen below, along with their “buff timer” counterparts:

Our reasoning is that separating attack/castspeed from the damage buff allows for more varied builds, and each of the buffs can be stronger than they could be if they buffed more things. With that in mind, we’ll likely cap each of the Utility skills at three silver points as well, with each level making a bigger difference.

Now that the buffs are in place, it’s time to implement the targeting system for them. As mentioned in a previous post, you’ll be able to buff your friends in multiplayer one at a time, with a system similar to what we use for the Frosty Friend: you start channeling the spell, and as you do so several arrows will appear showing your friends. Press in the direction of the friend you want to buff and the buff will land on them. To buff another friend, simply cast the spell again and press in another direction. In order to buff yourself, you’ll need to press upwards after channeling the spell – but only in multiplayer. In single player the buff will automatically target yourself.

Our first idea was to show each character’s face along with the arrows, but as Teddy started implementing this targeting system, he came up with a different plan: showing the entire characters, including what they’re doing:

While this wasn’t exactly what we had in mind from the beginning, it kind of grew on us as we tried it out. At the very least it makes it easier to know which direction you need to press for which friend, as you can check what they’re doing right now and compare it to what’s going on in the arrows, while our previous idea would make things a little confusing if you had several friends with the same face and hairstyle.

One might argue that this version is a lot more messy, and I supposed they’d be right: however, seeing as you’ll not bring up this interface a lot after confirming which direction your friends are in (most likely you’ll just quick-cast your buffs as seen below once you get a hang of it, anyway), we don’t view this as a too great drawback.

As can also be seen above, if you bring up the cast menu again after buffing everyone, you’ll see a timer counting down on top of each character. These timers show how much time is left before the buff runs out, which makes it easier saving up EP. Once the buffs run out an icon and text will appear above each character which indicating that this has happened (as seen below). This will only be visible to the one who cast the buff(s). You can always recast a buff before it runs out, so long as you have the EP to do so.

In the above GIFs, the arrows used are placeholder arrows (the Frosty Friend’s arrows, to be precise), with the character stuck randomly on top of them. Because we didn’t have any arrows that fit this purpose already, I made a bunch. The bottom image shows how we intend to place the characters on top of them, which is slightly different to how they’re standing on the Frosty Friend arrows as well:

The next step on our quest to implement the Utility skills was making the proper menu backgrounds for it! The old one was rather outdated, and in fact much older than the rest of the skill menu:

So the first thing we needed to decide was what kind of layout we want to use for these guys. Three in a row, or two next to each other with the buffs centered beneath them?

To avoid any confusion when jumping between the different levels, we decided to go three in a row, but make them slightly longer so they’d be more visually pleasing. Next, time for some decorations, beginning with a sword to don the offensive utility skill section:

For the defensive utility skills, I made an edited version of a shield that’s used in a different section of the menu (the talent area, to be precise):

Finally, for the buff section (which we haven’t given a proper name yet – might become something else entirely), some magic and glitter:

And in the end, here’s the new and improved utility skill section! At this point still missing the title texts and actual skill graphics, but that’s for Teddy to puzzle together with the engine:

In Fred’s department, the Utility skill stuff kept going on. First, the development of the blink:

From the beginning, what you see above is the effect we intended for the blink. However, because of how it looks when you’re not travelling in a straight line (for instance, if you blink diagonally), it became more of a hassle than we first anticipated. We could either rotate the effect in engine, which left us with a bunch of ugly artifacts, or we could have Fred make the effect in 8 directions – both options which weren’t too great.

So, we ditched the above design and decided to go for light globes spawning around the character instead instead:

In the newest iteration, the globes are a bit smaller than what is seen in the above GIF, but it sill gives a good idea of what it looks like.

For the Stasis skill, we still needed one more thing: an indicator of some sort above the enemies as you target them, before you unleash the skill. Fred came up with a bunch of suggestions based on our initial discussion, where we though it should either be a clock or an hour glass, indicating time stopping for the enemy in question:

In the end, we decided to go for the hourglass, and as an added bonus, Fred made a quick animation as you unleash the spell on an enemy: having the hourglass either turn of shatter as the skill lands. While we liked both ideas, the shattering hourglass is the one we’ll use in the game for this skill:

The Focus skill, which allows you to regenerate EP faster, got a new indicator appearing beneath the character:

The purple lines serve as a timer, of sorts. If you channel the spell until all four lines appear, you’ll be able to cast the next skill free of EP. We’ll also have a different channeling animation for this skill, possibly where the character is hovering above air – but at the time of writing this (which was before the patch) we’re still uncertain whether this will be available in the initial patch, or if it will be added in one of the many upcoming bug fixing patches once you start trying out (and breaking) these new skills!

Finally, a little sneak preview of the work in progress of that damage buff we’ve been talking about:

We’re not 100% it’ll look like this once it’s done (could be a little too big for a skill that will be cast rather frequently), but it’s just a bit too funny not to show!

Now, I hope you enjoy the patch and come back to us with lots of feedback. Actually finishing all the skills seem like a big step closer on our journey to finishing the game as well, wohoo :)

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!