This week, we’ve managed to push out a new content update for the Frontline beta. The main focus of the update is the new Marino Encounter, as well as some new cut scenes setting up where the story is heading next.

The update is not massive in size but we are still very much interested in hearing feedback from you guys who are in the beta, especially about the Marino fight. Was it too hard, too easy, any suggestions how to make it more interesting?

The in house testing has been a bit all over the place ranging from it being “impossible” to “I’ve played this game so much I don’t even know if it’s hard”. We’ve set up a thread over at the forums where you can post any suggestions and thoughts you have about the fight, it would really help us a ton!

With this update out of the way, we are already hard at work with the next one. Below are the sprites for the rest of the Season Fae Elders, which all will play a crucial role during your visit in the Winterland!

FallIdle SummerIdle WinterIdle

This week we’ve kept on working on getting things in order – fixing bugs, adjusting levels and implementing the new animations and interfaces.

We’ve also been discussing the portraits (yes, again!). This time around we’re toying with the idea of keeping the high-res versions of the portraits in the game rather than making them more pixelated, which proved quite a challenge when it comes to keeping all of the details.

Nothing has been decided yet as all our options each have their own issues and advantages, but here’s a mockup of what it might look like with the high-res portraits in the game:

portrait(Click image for full size)

What do you guys think? Is it too distracting to have a high-res portrait among the rest of the pixel art, or do you prefer to see the characters in this form, which is more detailed compared to the old portraits?

In the animation department we’ve noticed that the Collectors’ Headquarters have been in grave need of some extra flare for a while and we figured it’s finally time to start correcting that! We really want to give the HQ a busy feel, so Fred have been bashing away at some minor flavor animations to liven up the place:

Reading

WalkSide

We’ve also got some news regarding the game outside of our workroom! It seems like we’ll be going to Gamex again this year, so if you’re near Stockholm/Kista at the end of October, be sure to visit us there!

This week, we’ll take a first glance at a less dangerous part of the Winterland, a yet to be namned village area!

This place is inhabited by the race of Faes. Despite being about as tall as an apple, they play a pretty major role in the world of Grindea.

Below is a screenshot of the village, as well as a portrait and some sprites of its tiny population.

Staying with the winter stuff, Teddy has been adding a bit more flair to the area by putting together some weather effects. No winter area is complete with a proper snow effect after all!


Click the image to view the animation

This week has been quite busy! It’s only been a few days since the SGA deadline now, for which we finished up and tested the co-op feature like there was no tomorrow. While that was our big focus of the week, we also managed to improve some of the old portraits:

These portraits have actually made quite the journey to get to this point. Here’s a pic showing how they improved since the first version:

Kind of make you wonder how different they will be once the game is done. I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last iteration just yet!

Other than that, we also added a couple of animations for the people in Evergrind City, to make the area feel a little more alive:

Now, wish us luck with SGA! Nominees should be announced in the next couple of days :)

GGC may be done and over with, but there’s still one big event to go! The SGA deadline is this Thursday, so there’s no rest in sight just yet. We’re currently spending most of our time hunting bugs in the multiplayer feature, but since that isn’t particularly exciting to look at we’ll show you some things we recently finished in time for GGC instead:

First of all, we decided to let one of our main characters, your irreplaceable friend the Bag, handle the gameplay hints:

Click it!

The hint box will appear when the Bag feels like there’s something you should know. For instance how a new item works, how to best defeat special enemies, when you’re heading in the wrong direction, and so on. You will be able to move freely while it’s there, so it won’t interrupt your battle or exploration like talking to a normal NPC would.

Another thing we added right before GGC was Signposts:

Click it!

As you can see, there’s no plain text going on here! We thought it would be more interesting and visually pleasing to use images instead. What do you think?

The signpost graphics will also appear automatically when you come close to a sign, and will disappear once you move away from it – so your hands are free here as well!

Speaking of visually pleasing, we also started working on a new portrait style with the feedback we received on the old ones in mind. Here’s a couple of the newcomers:

Hopefully you like these better, as we do. If not, let us know! We always appreciate the feedback, especially on such important matters as the portraits which will appear a lot in the game.

Last but not least, Evergrind is now almost fully populated! After you beat the Exam you may now explore the city and talk to its current inhabitants. At the moment we haven’t put in any shops, but they are well underway as well.

Click it!

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have some bugs to hunt! ;3

This week we spent writing the major cutscenes that will be found in the beginning of the game. These things might change slightly as the game evolves, but should still tell the story properly.

Vilya also created the inside of the headquarters from last week:

Clickety click!

For now there are only three doors, but after the beta we plan on adding special rooms that will unlock as you progress on your adventure and gain rank within The Collectors Guild.

Fred spent the time making some more NPCs, ready to move into the soon bustling city.

We plan on making all our NPCs (save for the guards) special in some way, and in the end most of them should have at least one quest related to them. We’re doing our best to make sure it’s not just a bunch of the traditional “go kill 10 slimes” and try to come up with different types of activities for your character to participate in, but for the beta we might keep it simple to give people a chance to get familiar with the basic systems.

Other than that, we decided to spice up the spell casting graphics a little, adding this effect when releasing a charged spell:

The color will vary slightly depending on what type of spell it is.

We welcome you this week to the headquarter of The Collectors! This is the place where you’ll get a lot of your quests, and the most important ones at that. But of course, you have to earn your right to actually visit this place by completing a difficult trial first. Will you succeed? I guess we’ll see…

Click for larger version!

This week some people finally moved into the city of Evergrind as well! Here you can see them, minding their own business while waiting for their neighbors to settle :)

 

Last but not least, here’s a banner you’ll be able to see, should you visit Visby in 2½ weeks. Our school is arranging GGC, a small game conference on the island of Gotland and we’ll be there showing off our game live for the first time to the public! We’re very excited to see how people respond after playing it, and as you might guess we’ll be going into beta shortly after that weekend!