Finally the patch is up and running on Frontline!


After months of hard work, this update includes the desert Dragonbone Dunes and desert town Port Monnaie in all its glory, with a ton of new NPCs (the most NPC heavy area yet!), the continuation of the main quest, a bunch of side quests and a couple of boss battles!

As you might guess, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong when adding this amount of stuff at once, so even though the patch has been out for a while already and a lot of bugs have been fixed, you should be prepared to do some bug hunting and let us hear about all the wonky and broken things! As always, all feedback is highly encouraged and much appreciated, so let us hear what you think when you’ve finished this installment. You can leave a comment here, on our forums, or make a topic over at the Steam forums!

If you haven’t checked it out already, go ahead and take a look :D

Now we set our eyes on the next target: getting it all ready for stable! Aside from the bug fixes and some of your suggested improvements (as always, we’re very thankful for the feedback), there are a few things we’d like to add before feeling completely satisfied with the desert for now. There are two reasons for this, one being the obvious ‘of course the area will be better with more quests’, but the other is that it gives Fred (and to some extent, me) some time to get ahead with the Ghost Ship before we start prototyping that place for real.

You see, in order to get an idea of what the Ghost Ship will entail design wise, we need to get some enemy prototypes up and running, and the best way of doing that is to have Fred make a bunch of animated sketches we can use against my placeholder backgrounds. This will help us get a feel for the dungeon and to make sure our enemy combinations work as intended.

Therefore, the things we’ll add to the desert for stable mainly involves Teddy programming stuff, and me throwing together some minor graphics such as more item sprites for rewards and such. Once we’re done with that, Fred should have made enough enemy sketches that Teddy can begin prototyping their behavior, and I can continue making backgrounds while he does that.

So, before the desert is released on stable, we intend to add the following:

* Another (optional) challenge in the math cave.
* A side quest involving a cat of Port Monnaie…
* A side quest solving the troubles of the depressed drunkard in the Saloon (which also involves elite versions of the desert enemies, which haven’t been added thus far)!
* A questline with the photographer Cammy, who is working in Port Monnaie, using the mechanics from Arcadia where you take photographs of various places or things in the game.
* Each shop in the marketplace, with new items to buy (lots of housing items)!
* A bunch of memory orbs to show a few past events

and, finally:
* More treasure maps, which will be given to you by Finder the Archaeologist, who wants your help in retrieving some ancient treasures.

Like the other areas, more stuff will be added before release, but we think this is a good way to start. It’s also possible we’ll add a bunch of those season orbs across the world, which will help you reach a few of those chests that have been taunting you… We’ll see!

First though, there are still some cards to make, so here we have the Cacute card! Quite simple in its design, it features a Cacute relaxing in the sun with a drink. Remember to drink a lot when it’s hot outside (I recommend water, though)!

 

There’s also this portrait of another character that will appear in Port Monnaie but may not make it into the stable patch (we’ll see): an boy, who will help the priest out in the church! His outfit, like the priest’s, is inspired by real life priest robes.

Now, back to those flashback crystals/memory orbs where you’ll get to see certain events from the past… A few of these will include Charlotte, the player character’s mother, and because these events happen quite a few years ago, I got to make a younger version of her, which was super fun!

As with the grown up portrait in the game, this one will also change hair- and skin color based on how you designed your own character :)

Since the first version had quite a long neck, I decided to shorten it slightly in the finished version: the old one is shown first below, with the final version shown last:

Enjoy the patch and see you next week :D

And so, the potion patch is up! This patch includes the complete potion rework, a ton of new pots, a rework of Remedi and his first quest plus a brand new quest involving Remedi and his nephew (which will be available if you’ve finished his first quest and have started your journey in Mount Bloom).

As always, especially with new systems, we’re eager to hear your input on these changes to the potion system. There are a bunch of potions to test, and we’re interested to hear how you feel about the effects: are they powerful enough compared to the recharge time? Is it satisfying to recharge potions in battle? Are you more inclined to use potions now, or did you prefer the old system?

A lot of you have waited a long time for some kind of healing spell or health pot, and health potions are now available!! So let us know how you feel about that as well.

The full patch notes are available here, so be sure to check them out if you’re interested in the specifics! And do let us know how you feel about this new system (and the new quests), either on our forums or here in a comment. We look forward to hearing all of your feedback!

Now, let’s turn back time and take a look at what we’ve been up to last week:

So as we we’re drawing ever closer to finishing up the whole potion business, it’s time to pump out a bunch of new portraits to fit in with Remedi’s new questline which will grant you the empty bottles you need to use this new mechanic!

First up is his old man version, which will be the original form in which you meet him, rather than the kid-self you’re probably used to right now:

He won’t stay this way for long though, as that pesky accident with a stray potion has him transformed back to his ‘regular’ form. Unfortunately, with our tweaks to this storyline it seems he won’t stay very long in that shape either… ;)

Now, what in the world is this?! A portrait of a cave troll? What is it doing here? What part will it have in our story? For now, all I’ll say is that it’s related to the potion quests, and will appear in this patch!

Unfortunately I had to cut all of its back or it wouldn’t fit the text box without covering the letters! Oh well… :D

Finally, some finishing touches before I’m done with my parts for this patch! First up, the Speed and Loot potions mentioned before:

…which of course also were in need of proper interface icons:

I also made small versions of each of the icons, to serve as buff icons / timers for the potions that work over time (and whatever else we might need them for)!

Then, there’s another portrait for poor Remedi, who will go through quite a number of shapes in his quest to return to his original form. Here’s the pumpkin version:

Aaand a bunch of expressions for his Nephew, as well as an icon for refilling potions in Remedi’s workshop:

Like me and Teddy, Fred too has been busy doing potion stuff this week as well!

As Remedi got a new, older self, his first mission was to make the old man version of the sprite, to go with the new portrait. As usual, when deciding on a look for a new sprite, he made a whole bunch of iterations until we selected our favorite:

Which one do you like best?

Next, we need Remedi’s nephew to do some pretty advanced stuff in the upcoming new quest, so he needed a few new animations as well:

And finally, a ton of potion effects for when you drink those pots, signalling to the player what effect is about to happen:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This week we uploaded another patch to the frontline beta, featuring a bunch of smaller updates! The biggest changes, from the patch notes:

World Map Completion: Based on a suggestion on our forums, we’ve added completion tracking for the World Map! It tells you how many cards, drops, fishes, quests and secrets you have yet to find in any given area. This should help people figure out what it is they’re missing for that juicy 100 % completion! Note that the Achievements and Crafting completion is still tracked via their own menus.

Damage Numbers: The new default setting for displaying damage numbers is “Composite”, which turns your damage into one big number per enemy instead of many small numbers. We did this change mainly because some builds dish out so many hits that the old damage numbers cluttered everything, and in multiplayer this happened pretty much regardless of builds. It also makes damage over time a bit more readable, as well as how much damage a flamethrower or blade flurry cast actually does in the end! For people unhappy with this change, there’s a “Classic” option that mimics the old style, as well as an even more streamlined option called “Minimalistic”, and of course… an option to turn off damage numbers completely!

HP Bars: Enemies now have HP bars above their heads by default. These appear after an enemy has taken damage, and fade away after a while if no new damage is taken! Also, low HP allies in multiplayer also have their HP displayed above their heads. Both of these types of HP bars can be disabled, or set to always appear if an enemy or player is below full HP.

There’s also the accessory shop, among other things (which we already began preparing in last week’s post), and a bunch of new characters!

Joining his sister in the store will be this young fellow! Yes, it’s a guy, you know the drill, Vilya can’t draw guys… though I think they do look a bit manlier now…maybe (ignoring the braids)??

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Anyway! Being the heir to their father’s business, he’s sick and tired of the boring stuff and would like nothing more than to become a collector. Perhaps there’s some way you can help him? We actually haven’t decided on any quests surrounding this family but it would be pretty cool :)

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There’s also the father of the accessory store’s shop keeper and her brother! This is one famous merchant, visiting to check up on his daughter who has moved abroad to open up a shop of her own:

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As mentioned before, he’d like nothing more than for one of his children to take over his business, but with the daughter setting up a store of her own and his son’s lacking interest… Whatever will become of it?!

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Now, remember the person entertaining a bunch of artifacts in the first part of Tai Ming?

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Well, they’re back! Only this time in the second zone! Some of the artifacts have been replaced, and this Helmet appears instead!

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Not much is currently known about Helmet, but I’m quite sure Teddy has come up with some awesome dialogue for this guy (or girl). I mean, life has to be kind of cool as a helmet, right?

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…Right?

Now, as always before a patch, there’s a bunch of smaller things to be edited or fixed!

First up, the accessory-siblings. We adjusted the skin tone of the brother slightly to make him fit in better with the rest of his family, and changed the hair color of the shop owner girl for the same reason:

accessorybrother

accessorysister

We also played around with the Accessory shop title, which previously was called “Accessory & Co” but is “Ruby’s Rubies”. Our current favorite (and the one who made it to the patch) is the middle one:

accessorytitle

Next up, we wanted the Accessory shop to stand out a bit more, so I was tasked with changing its colors! Below is the previous version as well as two color alternatives for the shop. We’ll probably go for the standard wall color, though in the future I might go back and edit the houses in Evergrind City in general.. Who knows what colors the walls will end up having then?

Before:

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After, version 1 and version 2:

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The ruins in the west needed their own title to appear as you enter the area as well as a name! We settled for Ancient Ruins for now, subject to change if we come up with something else… :)

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Some of you noticed the chest closing in the present after you opened it and the water is low. Fear not, it has been solved – the chest will now remain open. Though where did the plants go? :o

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Then, since a flashback scene with Mana and the children (Zhamla and Tessen) has been added, so I got to make a bunch of new expressions for our favorite nanny! :)

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Finally……. Back to the third Tai Ming map and that old shrine!!

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Aside from being a place to battle enemies in the present, this room will also hold another flashback orb, with the people of Tai Ming enlisting the help of the Flying Fortress crew to deal with a certain threat.

Since I don’t know exactly how much of the room will be shown in the flashback orb yet, I’m keeping the past version quite bare for now. I’ll probably add more decorations once I know where and how the cutscene will play out :)

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Next week we’ll continue working on the third part of Tai Ming, and since the holidays are coming up and we’ll spend some time apart we’ve begun having more design meeting so everyone knows what’s coming next in the game! For those cases when we want to work but can’t get a hold of the others to ask questions, you know. Therefore, I expect the next two posts (or so) will contain more design talk and mentions of upcoming features…. But we’ll see :)

The first Tai Ming zone was released on Frontline this weekend! Wohoo!

If you don’t know what Frontline is, here’s a forum post explaining what the two beta versions are, and how to swap between them on Steam.

Last week was all about getting stuff ready for this patch, so here’s a quick recap of the most important things:

First up, we changed the Plantae Hostilis’ (or the cute little moss-enemy) attack a bit. In previous iterations the flowers it launched exploded on impact (with the ground), but since then we reworked it a little.

Basically we had two options that we tried out, one where the flowers took root and grew large, only to stay on the playfield for a while before exploding. Running into them would trigger the explosion as well, so you had to care where you stepped.

The second option was more or less a mix of the old version and the version mentioned above. The flowers would grow large before exploding after only a short while:

Flowers

We thought this version was the better one, in the end, since it made sure you really saw where the explosion would take place clearly (it was a bit of an issue with the old version, where they just exploded upon landing), while not filling the area with more things to avoid.

There were a bunch of new characters to be made as well, so Vilya has been on portrait duty:

 

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And let’s not forget, a new addition to some of Zhamla’s portraits:

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We’ve already received a ton of great feedback, which has given us food for thought! Overall you guys seem to like the area, which we are incredibly happy about! There are some minor things we’d like to change for clarity’s sake though, and a few bugs that need to be straightened out. The usual stuff! That’s what we’ll be focusing on in the upcoming week, likely :)

Meanwhile, enjoy these animations made by Fred:

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Shieldd

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If you checked our Forums or the Steam updates, you probably know this already, but if not: the main story part of Mount Bloom is now available on the Frontline beta!

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This is an early update, so some vital things are still missing! For instance, most things in this area lack the proper sound effects (and a lot of ’em are completely silent as a result). We also haven’t added any side quests or secrets to the mountain – that’s what we’ll be working on the next 1-2 weeks or so. But it’s now possible to run through the part of the main story that will lead you up to the door of the next temple. Once we’ve thrown in a couple of side quests, added the proper sound effects and patched it all into stable, we’ll continue working on the actual temple!

For now though, it’d be awesome if you guys could run through the mountain and let us know of any silly bugs you come across!

Anyway, as you can guess, last week was all about getting this patch up and running. While Teddy furiously put everything together Vilya made the last few backgrounds. So here they are:

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And now, we’ll go back to adding side quests and picking out sound effects! See you next week :D

Another week has gone by, in which a new fronline update was released! In this update you will battle a mini-boss and investigate a suspicious character… For full patch notes, check the game client or this thread!

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The patch leaves Evergrind HQ in a mess…

We’d love to hear your feedback on this new encounter and the surrounding story elements, so don’t hesitate to leave a comment here or on the forums!

Moving on, though, Vilya has been doing some improvements to the Mt. Bloom maps now that they’re finally about to be added to the game:

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Basically, tons of new greenery and details!

Meanwhile, Fred was busy creating the mess that is the Collector’s HQ now that the patch is up, including a cleaning Wedge which will be added in a later update!

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Next up, adding colliders & enemies to Mt. Bloom, as well as prototyping a bunch of challenges you’ll be doing there! :)