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~

Whew, after close to one week in bed sniffing away with the flu, I’m actually feeling alive again and more than ready to get back to work! Unfortunately I cursed Teddy with the flu as well, so he’s been down and out for a while too… Fred seems to have remained immune this time around!

Because 2/3rds of the company has been unable to do much work the past week, there aren’t much in terms of news! We are drawing ever closer to being able to move into our new office space though, so that’s super exciting and we’re all looking forward to it (and have already begun planning how we’ll move everything and changes we need to make to make it all work for us).

As I mentioned last week, the office is actually already available to us (since Dec 1st), but we’re waiting to move in until the 6th (this Wednesday) when we’ll get helped by a moving company. Since we don’t have too much stuff to move but the items we do have are quite cumbersome to transport in the tiny car that’s available to us – in fact we don’t think the larger of the two desks will fit in it even if we unscrew the whole thing- we decided for our peace of mind it’s probably better to hire a couple guys to move it for us. Less risk of us dropping and breaking stuff, and having to solve how to transport a much too large table.. Carry it to the office by foot, a healthy 50 minute walk…? Hmm.

Now, I’ll be getting back to work properly today, and have already started off by sketching what the final desert map will look like (ignore my amazing misspelling of fight…):

The are three important areas in this map. First, the entrance to the city, indicated by the arrow pointing downwards. Second, the battle area in front of it, where you’ll battle a mini-boss and possibly some random enemy spawns. Third, the Saloon in the top part of the map, home of the shady people of the country. I want to make wanted posters in the surrounding area, featuring the gangsters you’ll meet in there. Maybe you’ll even run into a set of suspicious ferrets again…

The rest of this week will, however, be focused on finishing up the new Arcade Floors (some minor things remaining), and after that I’ll do the last interiors for the Arcadia town rework – just a few left! Once those are done we’ll start designing the new interfaces needed to get all the new systems up and running, and then test, test, test before we’re finally ready to release it all to the public! We’re very excited about the rework and though it’s a little while left before it’s 100% ready we hope you are too :D

So, time to finish up those Arcade floors! There’s a couple of pretty important maps missing from both the Tai Ming and the Mount Bloom floors that need to be added before they are truly complete: the score counting screens!

Whenever you finish a floor in Arcade Mode, you’ll run through a corridor of some sort while the game shows you your current score and how well you did in each room of the floor. These corridors are either connecting two floors of the same area, or serve to connect one type of floor with the next. The first corridor shown above is the corridor that will bridge the two Mount Bloom floors, while the second leads the way into the Tai Ming floors.

Below you have two types of the same corridor, one for past and one for present. Which one you’ll pass through depends on what boss you fought against. Meanwhile, when you transfer from Tai Ming to the desert maps, you’ll simply walk through a door from the Mimic room.

In order to have a proper exit from the above corridors, I had to extract and polish up the entrance/exit to the courtyard used in story mode and make a version of it in both timelines as well:

Finally, some minor changes to one of the boss rooms (the Arcade Mode version, that is):

Instead of having to limit ourselves to having this boss appear after going through a mountain wall, we decided to remove the lower mountain part and adjust how things were placed slightly, so we can put a regular fence there instead (and as such be able to place the boss map anywhere on the map rather than along a mountain). In order to do this we also had to repaint the lower parts of the vertical mountain wall, as can be seen in the second picture.

Now there’s just one more thing to do before these floors are fully complete (unless I’m forgetting something)!! And you guessed it, it’s turning all those polished and clean Past props into their present, ruined versions!!

Actually, since we decided each room will only be available in one of the timelines, I decided to not do exact replicas of some things, such as the buildings. With these I felt it’d be more interesting to bring in more designs to create more variations.

Here’s a few of the buildings that might appear on your run:

The fences were more straight forward, just make a ruined, old-looking version of each part:

And finally, the new (very old looking!) bridges to connect islands or help you cross over streams:

Okay, now that the new bunch of floors are properly completed, let’s celebrate by taking a quick break from Arcade Mode and make another portrait featuring yet another sailor (can’t have too many of those in a harbor town, right?):

And the finished portrait:

Meanwhile, Fred has moved on from fishes and started making a ton of NPCs for the desert! Here are some of the ones you’ll meet during your adventure:

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:

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~

This week we return our focus to the Arcadia Rework! Starting with the usual reminder of where we left things off last:

The first thing on my new fixlist was to make the shape of the arena more rounded:

Then, it was painting paths all day! So many paths! Even with a lot of copy & pasting, this took forever, haha:

After the paths were done, it’s time to add water and the edges around town:

…and the background, kind of bringing everything together! Now all that’s left is a ton of trees, flower, smaller decorations – and to make the version of town that hasn’t been built upon yet! The goal of new Arcadia will be for you to unlock all of this, after all.

So here we go, time to add the last pieces. For instance, the bridge that will connect the right land mass to the left, once you unlock it:

And then……. Trees and flowers!!! So many! With this step, the fully unlocked version of Arcadia is done (aside from any other minor fixes we might decide to add). Of course, in this version there are no animation or NPCs added yet, but that will happen in the game engine:

Now it’s time to demolish everything and make the not unlocked version of each of the plots you can purchase on your journey! Starting off with Remedi’s wagon, which will be nothing but a pile of dirt to begin with:

Each of the plots you’ll be able to unlock/purchase will have their own signpost, so I decided to make a new version of the extremely old sprite we’ve been using so far. Should probably replace the one in Story Mode with this one later on, though it might stand out next to the old background graphics, I suppose:

As for the grand fae tree, it too will start off rather small… as a sapling:

There will be more tiny details added here and there in this version, where nothing has been unlocked yet, plus there will be wood covering certain areas you’ll have to unlock as well. For now, this is what things look if you’ve unlocked all the areas (except the bridge) but not bought any plots yet:

Now, as we decided a while back, only a small part of Arcadia will be available from the beginning, and the remaining three parts will have to be unlocked: one by building a bridge, and the other two by clearing out trees. As such, this is actually what the town will look like from the beginning:

And below are two versions where just one of the remaining areas have been unlocked by clearing out the woods:

Now, in order to make things look a little more interesting around some of the unbuilt plots, we decided to put in some random props, pieces of wood, boxes and the like, to help signify that these areas are a work in progress until you’ve purchased them. So below it’s decorating time, starting with the Farm, moving on to the Aquarium, the Bank, and finally the Arena:

And now, here’s the version of the map where all the plots are visible but none has been bought:

And with this, I believe the outdoors of the Arcadia rework is more or less complete! Wohoo!! Of course, we still need to make a bunch of interiors, but still :)

So to finish this week, I’m throwing in another portrait for the desert crew today, once more playing around with rendering techniques for the final (small) version of the portrait:

Next week will be all about potions and the potion rework! Stay tuned :)

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

After A LOT of crazy testing, the skill rework patch is finally up and running for Frontline users!!

There are so many changes (to skills) in this patch that a lot of them aren’t even covered in the patch notes: it’d just turn out too long and detailed. Basically, pretty much every single skill has been adjusted in one way or another. Some have graphical improvements, some have new mechanics: most of them do more damage than before.

Because this is such a huge overhaul, we’re (as always) looking forward to your feedback. We have tried to balance things to the best of our ability, but of course there are sure to be things we have missed or situations that haven’t occurred to us where certain skills might end up too weak – or too good. So, as you play the game, please share any and all thoughts you have on the “new” skills, maybe especially those that have had their mechanics reworked, such as Smash, Titan’s Throw or Chain Lightning!

Aside from editing every skill, here are some of the other changes that goes live with this patch:

* Magical weapons (wands) now produce an orb that shoots in a straight line from the weapon if it does not hit an enemy directly. Longer range for magic user, yay!

* HP and Arrows refill upon reaching a boss fight

* All spells are now able to crit

* Refunding skillpoints is a lot cheaper, and the cost is based on storyline progress rather than character level (as it was before)

The full patch notes can be viewed here.

Now that this patch is up and running, we’ll await your feedback on things and take a much needed week off to recharge our batteries before the long and cold Swedish winter sets in! Because of this, there will be no blog updates (including the weekly recap), until we’re back on Sep 11th, upon which my workblog will resume as normal. The weekly recaps will returning on the 18th.

First thing we’ll do when we get back to the office is discuss all of the feedback we’ve received over the week (which we’ll keep monitoring in case of game breaking bugs), and decide if there are more changes that need to be made, and if so, which ones. So make sure to share your thoughts on the rebalance, so we can fix anything that may not be working as well as it should! Best place for that would be in a comment here or at the forums. We look forward to hearing your thoughts :)

But aside from the rebalance stuff, we also continue working on the Arcadia things, and the second to last plot of the Arcadia Rework houses the player statue! It’s been available in the original Arcadia for quite some time, and showcases a statue version of the character that has your highest score.

For the rework of the town, instead of having your statue standing rather randomly in the middle of things, it now has its very own plot with surrounding decorations, making it more of a centerpiece. The stand of the statue is also a lot bigger compared to the previous version as well, again to make it seem a little more epic on its own.

In the version below, the character is in full color – keep in mind it’s just a sample. The real statue will be…statue-colored, like it is in the game at this point.

And now, only one main piece left of the rework: the Fae tree! This tree will house a bunch of fae, which needless to say brings more NPCs to your town, in the shape of tiny colorful sprites. The fae will be animated and added once it’s in the game, but for now, here’s their home:

And here’s the finished thing! Of course, the map still lacks paths, a bridge and a ton of decorations among other things, but now all of the main pieces are made and it’s time to start phase two, polishing and moving things around if needed:

And finally, to celebrate having completed a rather large milestone in the Arcadia rework, here’s another desert portrait I made: It’s been a rather long break after all! This time we’ll make another sailor lad from the Merchant Isles:

Like most of these characters, his story is not fully fleshed out yet, but we’re drawing ever closer to putting the town together. Exciting times ahead!