This week it’s on to more desert town interiors! When this one is done there’s just one more to make, oh my! Time sure flies when you have lots of fun things to do… :)
So this building belongs to the mayor of the desert town, and the story I’ve come up with for the bottom floor is that he has it open to visitors that want to come in and look at his small but very expensive collection of antiques. Maybe you’ll recognize some of the items from your travels back in time… ;)
Unfortunately tragedy has befallen the collection and a statue has broken. If only you knew someone who could fix it…..
Finished floor, for now:
Next, the second floor! Upstairs we have a bedroom, with a staircase that leads to the rooftops. Here you might meet the Mayor’s wife, who is yet to be designed :)
Finished room, for now (I’m not super happy about the bed so I might remake it at some point!):
The first portrait this week features a lady hanging out in the beach area of the desert town, enjoying the wonderful weather. We’ve had epic weather here the last couple of weeks too, so it actually fits really well!
The second portrait features the person throwing coins into the well in the desert area, shown a while back! This girl is a visitor from Merchant Isle’s. What do you think she’s wishing for?
As for for Fred’s work this week, we have a little sneak peek of one of the next bosses you’ll run into! Ohhh yeahhh, he’s back:
Marino returns and has learned a new skill! To be precise, he’ll be using one of the player skills in his second fight against the main character. We felt that there are already so many humans relying solely on weapons that we wanted to mix it up and add some more skills in this battle. Can you guess which one he’ll be using?
There are also some new faces in the desert town (yeah, they keep coming!), this time in the shape of the couple (literally) who own the ice cream parlor! I’ll be adding these to my to-do portrait list as well, so stay tuned for more of them in the near future :)
This week has been a very busy time for us Pixel Ferrets! It was time for the annual Gotland Game Conference, where we got to go to our old campus and judge the games the students made this year.
This year things were a little different: there were new award categories and a whole new voting system, which means as opposed to previous years we were expected to play all of the games this time! We’ve always tried to play as many games as possible, but this year it was for real. GGC started off, as usual, with us getting split into groups in order to listen to the student presentations (which we were judging as well), then we had the rest of the day until way into the evening and the day after to play their games.
The second day (Tuesday) continued with another full day of game testing (there are 34 games in total, so as you can imagine playing all of them takes a lot of time)! In the evening we met up with the other judges and voted on what games we thought were fit to win each award. Then we had one final day (Wednesday) to play any remaining games, especially the ones nominated by the other jurors, before we met up for a 3 hours long discussion about which games should win. At about 19:00 there was be a fancy award ceremony with an after party. Whew!
Here are some photos, courtesy of Gotland Game Conference’s Facebook page:
We tried our best to mash in some dev time among this craziness as well, so first up we have the possibly most important (for the inhabitants of Grindea anyway) room interior of them all: the Ice Cream Parlor!!! What stroll along the beach in this hot seaside town is complete without a cooling ice cream?
Best part about this is I got to be creative with the ice cream flavors, which was a blast. I’d totally try most of these, no questions asked. Which ones would you like to try?
Next up, we have a shield maker! This dude sells shields in the market area of the desert town, sharing a stand with the potion seller and sword smith!
The next portrait is of an old, forgotten master farmer (in the literal sense), whom you’ll have the (mis)fortune of meeting along your travels! Forgotten by his family, this man holds a grudge that will come back to haunt the inhabitants of the desert! Oh my…
Meanwhile in Fred’s department, we have the animation for the photographer girl who hands you the photography quest (if you’ve played the latest Arcadia rework update you might have seen her already), as well as possibly the most important thing in any typical harbor town. What I’m talking about? Seagulls, for course!!
This week we’ve taken a slight break from the desert to add some final touches to Arcade Mode in preparation for launching the Arcadia Rework on stable (which has now been done)! Aside from the sound effects, we wanted to add a couple of new quests and mechanics, one which is brand new and will probably also make an appearance in some form in Story Mode: Photography!
Above you can see the first WIP of the photography mode, basically it’s a camera you equip which allows you to take a photograph of whatever is happening right now. You’ll be given quests by a photographer who wants you to take photos of certain things, and once you give her a picture of what she asked for, she will give you a reward.
Upgrades graphics seen below, along with an indicator for whether it’s the right motif of not (not only will Trunk tell you it’s wrong, there will be an ‘x’ showing it as well):
The rewards in question will be a painting version of whatever you were asked to take a photo of. Of course, that means I had to make a few paintings featuring that:
I accidentally forgot to record making the background for the Giga Slime hammer painting, so it kind of looks like it magically manifests at once, haha! Oops… Anyway, here are the three painting that will be available so far, more to come:
Next up, a return to the Temple of Seasons! No, don’t worry, we haven’t gone crazy! This isn’t exactly a Temple of Seasons room as much as it is an extra Arcade Mode room :)
This, too, will feature in a newly added quest, and is based off of a room from story mode, though for the sake of Arcade Mode we’re mixing it up a little, making it a mixed seasons room rather than a simple autumn room:
Do you have any ideas of whom you might meet here? Finished thing:
Some new, quick sprites have been made as well, this time a bunch of rewards for the various quests (fae wings for your head! wohoo!), as well as the camera used for the photography quests and a sack of bird feed for another quest featuring another well-known face from Story Mode, who wishes to see some birds in Arcadia!
I’ve been particularly bad at hitting that ‘record’ button so once more I forgot to record a whole section, namely the bird feed bag… Oh well :D
Now, back to those portraits! This guy is a card player found in the Saloon near the desert town. After this there are 10 portraits left, though Fred keeps adding new NPCs so we’ll see where it all ends! :D Did you know that so far, not counting the portraits I haven’t made yet, there’s 40 NPCs unique to the desert area!? In other words there will likely be over 50 before we’re done! Oh my…
We’ll end this week with one more portrait, this time the quirky sword smith from the market area in the desert town:
Nothing much to say about this one! Just another silly face :) More next week~
This week we’ve finally started going through (and implementing) the sound effects! As usual when we start this part of development, we’ve sent out a request for a bazillion sounds to our trusted sound effect person, Fark who then promptly provides us with what we asked for, sometimes with several options!
To decide on these options, we go through each sound effect one by one and select our favorites. We tend to do this separately when we have the time, so to note others of our preference we have a grand google doc which looks something like this:
Whenever someone has listened to a sound effect, they put down their preference beneath the name of the sound effect, noting who they are by using the first letter of their name. If two people are in agreement that’s the sound that gets chosen, and if nobody agrees on any one option, there’s usually a discussion some time after everyone has noted their preferences.
Sound effects really make such a huge difference to the game, and we’re super happy to be able to work with Fark in this way and get the bestest sounds for Grindea! Can’t wait for you to hear those cute Loods – which, by the way, you might be able to later today when we have a frontline update scheduled! :)
Moving on with the desert stuff, there are still a bunch of interiors to finish. By now I’ve made so many random items across the game that a lot of them can be reused in various ways, and for this room in particular I used a bunch of old stuff either as is or after making some slight changes to them.
This house, you see, is a warehouse that stores a ton of random objects, so what better place to reuse a bunch of those random things, such as jars, chests, boxes and whatnot? Of course, we wanted to keep the feel of the desert interiors so where’s a bunch of carpets and such as well.
Below you can see it in its current form, though I couldn’t help myself and added a few more items after finishing up the video (as well as fixing the missing pixels on one of the carpets, oops) :)
Next up we have another portrait! This guy is strolling along the market, looking at the wares. How interesting!
The next portrait is of one character you might have come across before, though not personally. You see, this is Professor Mandrake, who has been corresponding with Ivy recently. Such a swell guy, helping her with her research!
As you might guess, he will also be found in the desert. What he’s doing there? Why, wouldn’t you like to know!? You’ll just have to play and see ;)
Fred continues to make desert NPCs as well! Since I made the portrait for Mandrake, he began making his sprite:
When we designed this guy we though it’d be fun to make him a really buff guy. There’s this stereotype that professors are bookish and quiet, so this time we wanted to mix things up a little and make him a very charismatic, body building type of guy. Cause why not? :D
In the desert town, there’s another new NPC throwing coins into a fountain for luck:
…Meanwhile out in the water, something very strange is taking place:
Perhaps you recognize these silly guys from somewhere else. What are they doing in a boat? Where are they going? What will they do there? All to be answered in the upcoming main quest :D
The next desert interior we’ll take a look at is the house boat in the harbor area! In this version the door is centered while the exterior has it more to the left, so I’ll move that around later to suit the outside version.
Other than that the interior is slightly different compared to the regular houses, with different kinds of windows and another type of bed. There’s also some slight color variations and edits of some of the props!
WIP & finished version below:
Next up we have a random house that will be right next to the market! We don’t really have any fixed plans for this house yet, so I’m just whipping together a quick basic house that can be inhabited by pretty much any of the NPCs already made:
Maybe in the future we’ll have a more specific idea of who lives here and what kind of person they are, in order to make the place more personal. Until then, it’s just another example of the desert style housing~
This week’s first portrait features a girl walking around in the desert town! I call her a beach girl even though she will probably be walking around in the market, as she is dressed like someone strolling along the beach! She’s probably visiting the town as a tourist, having a relaxing vacation.
The second portrait features a guy lying on the beach getting an intense sunburn. Do not do this at home kids, this is not very healthy for your skin! The character is based on this sprite made by Fred:
WIP video (also featuring the creation of the final sprite this time, woohoo):
…and the finished thing:
Meanwhile in the animation department, the boss work continues! Fred has worked hard with the new epic Solem boss, who gets an epic laser attack through a mystical gem, oh my!!
Previously we said all Solems will have the laser attack, but we then changed our minds and decided that it would simply make them a bit too crazy for regular enemies. Saving the attack for a boss is totally OK though!
No ancient ruin is complete without its own sets of traps, of course, and since we all grew up watching the #1 adventurer of all time running away in panic from a rock, it’s time for you to do just that in Grindea!
In order to have a cool rock to run away from Fred started making a bunch of ’em, to see which one we liked the most:
And here we have it, in all its glory, chasing our unsuspecting heroes as they steal an ancient treasure totally mind their own business, how unfair!
After having gone many weeks now without having any meetings (we’ve all been busy doing our parts for the Arcadia rework and desert) it was finally time for us to have another discussion about future events in the game!
Very soon we hope that Teddy will have rid Arcade Mode of the more severe bugs, and as such be ready to move on to the desert. Story wise, there are a couple of important things happening here before the player is ready to move on to the fourth ‘dungeon’. One such thing is a boss fight inside a small temple we have yet to make – which is what we discussed today.
So, in this temple we plan on having one special puzzle where you have to use a translation of an ancient language to move blocks (or something similar) to specific places in order to unlock a secret doorway. This doorway leads to an open room with a long staircase (exactly how long, we’ll have to test). At the top of the staircase is a treasure which the player needs. As you take the treasure something horrible will happen that causes you to run down the stairs, only to have your way blocked and a boss fight to ensue – more on what boss will appear later in the post… :)
Above you have a very finished (not) sketch of the area inside the secret door.
Next, you need to get to the final ‘dungeon’. As we have mentioned before, this will be a ghost ship, and as such, you will need to get there by boat (a very small one, to be precise). We’ve had some ideas on how to go about getting the player there – we of course knew it had to be by boat, but how to actually get inside the ship, and what the scenery would look like from outside. Today we talked and made some sketches that deal with that as well!
Basically you’ll approach the ghost ship from the side, and the camera will scroll up once you get to an entry point, to show the ship as a whole along with the zone title. We hope this will serve as a semi-dramatic introduction to the area!
Then, the camera will scroll back down to your little boat which now has a pair of boards connecting it to the bigger ship so you can enter it:
11/10 sketches I know, haha.. Well, as soon as I’ve completed my part of the desert graphics I’ll start working on this ship and its interiors for real. Already looking forward to it! :)
Before I can do any work on the ghost ship, I need to finish up this church, among other things! Using the clock tower as a base, I create this random holy space in the middle of the port town. Who might you find here? You might be able to guess!
Finished interior, for now:
The first portrait this week (yeah, I’ll probably start posting at least two per week to keep up with Fred’s output and be able to post them all before we’re done with the town, haha) belongs a character made by Fred quite a while ago, a guy who fell asleep on the beach while reading. Here’s a reminder of what he looks like:
I don’t know whether he will wake up later or not, for now though I opted to make his portrait asleep as well. Most likely his dialogue will simply be ‘zzz’ or some sleep talking for now. If he were to wake up he would need a new animation, so I’ll save making an expression for him when he’s awake until then :)
Finished sprite for now:
So the NEXT one this week ( did you know there are 14 more after this to be precise? Oh my)! I’m not sure exactly what this guy’s backstory will be but I believe Fred intended for him to be one of Master Ji’s graduated students (it is based off a NPC sprite he made). The WIP:
So obviously Fred keeps busy doing desert things as well! Not only does he continue making NPCs, he has also started working on one of the bosses you will face in this area. Below you can see the work in progress and final version of the boss you’ll fight inside the temple mentioned earlier:
Basically it’s a more advanced version of the Solems which will appear in the desert as regular enemies, powered by a mysterious crystal, oh my!
Fred has also been working on this NPC whose portrait was posted before, who I think might be Master Ji’s graduated pupil:
And here’s some of the work in progress versions of this guy before the final version was decided upon:
Another week means more interior stuff for the desert! In this next and final part of that first desert house, it’s time to add some details. Tassels, carpet fringes, carrots and half-dead plants are some of the things that are on the menu for this video. Check it out here:
Now it’s time for the next interior, the one belonging to an author living in the desert town! As with the previous interior, in this first video I’ll add and create all the basics, with details to be added in a later part:
The next part is adding the smaller details. It’s a slightly shorter video since the base for several of these items already exists! The idea here was to fill the house with books and papers – previous drafts, notes and other things she might have jotted down in her work. Stuff like that! Also made room for a pet of some kind in the video above (the bed and water bowl), I am hoping for a cat but it’s not yet decided :)
And here’s the finished house:
Next up, a portrait – there’s still a bunch left before all of the desert NPCs have their portraits, whew! This one belongs to the character sitting in the harbor, made by Fred last week :)
And the finished sprite:
…and as we draw ever closer to completing the desert, there are more NPCs and more portraits needed! Hence another one this week. This one is the author who will live in the house I just made, while she’s working on her latest novel. Perhaps you can help her with some ideas?
Time for another update on what goes on behind the scenes so to speak!
First of all, we’ve verified our Discord server (a while ago actually, but since we haven’t talked about the Discord server much on this blog I thought it was time to mention it)! What this means is basically that we got a fancy new invite link, which I would recommend you to use if you’re interested in joining our awesome community for a chat: https://discord.gg/secretsofgrindea
Come hang out with me, Teddy and the amazing people of our server :)
We’ve also recently had our annual meeting! Development wise, this isn’t really affecting anything (except that we need to actually have the meeting), but it’s a good opportunity to make sure everything’s working as it should business wise. It’s sometimes easy to forget that being an indie developer is not just a matter of doing art or programming day in and day out: sometimes we have to take care of the boring stuff as well (such as financial statements and other joyous things).
Since keeping track of our finances and making sure everything we do is properly reported to the Swedish government is something that very much affects development (in that it eats a lot of time), we’ve made the decision to get rid of as much of that as possible. In other words: hire someone to do it for us. The three of us have always taken pride in doing as much as possible by ourselves, but we feel that this bookkeeping aspect has little to do with actually making the game, and paying someone to do it for us will unlock more development time for Teddy, who has done those things so far.
And in other streamlining news, we’ve made it a lot easier to test new maps. Previously, whenever I made a sketch of a new area, Teddy had to manually load the background into the game and update the build (which can take a while). Then what often happened as we ran around the map with our characters, is that I’d find really dumb flaws that are quite obvious once you see the sketch in a more realistic setting with the full interface and all that.
So now, Teddy has made it possible for me to upload any background I need to test in the game simply by replacing a .png file in the build’s folder. This will then automatically add the map to the game, which can then be accessed through a shortcut in character select. Now I can try out the maps myself and fix all those obvious flaws before involving Fred and Teddy at all! This way, when we finally try out the map together in multiplayer, I’ve already removed distracting polish-issues like the one below:
Now, time to continue with the cave system! Here’s the final cave, the one I never decorated last week when I did the others. You see, this is a very special cave, where there will be a boss fight of some sort… But I will say no more!
Anyway, this cave is a little more moist than the rest of the desert, and so there will be some greenery in here. Also some strange old rags, and a place to sleep. How odd! Here’s the WIP video:
Now, finally, it’s time to move on to some interiors. The first building we’ll do is the little farmer’s hut in one of the desert maps. The first house in any new area is very important, as it will set the tone and style for the interior in the surrounding buildings as well. As such, I’ll be making a ton of new items for this house alone, and have decided to split up the work in a couple of videos!
In this first part, we begin in the lower left part of the house, creating a bench, a table, a bad, some cushions to sit on and some decorations in the form of carpets, a new flower pot and a small table cloth:
In the second part it’s time to add wall decors, a chest, another flower in a jar, the bed in another direction, a shelf – and some poor plants failing to grow that will likely only be seen in this house – they are having some troubles with their crops in this harsh desert!
In the animation department, Fred delivers some more NPCs this week. We want the desert town to feel bustling indeed, so we need a ton of people populating the area. So, here’s another batch of people, featuring a girl sitting by the port swinging her legs, a guy applying sunscreen, and two people walking around town:
Hey guys! It’s a new week and new adventures. First, though, let’s take a look at some of those last minute fixes for Arcadia.
Some of you might have noticed some very wonky backgrounds for some of the Mt Bloom challenges! This is due to a miscommunication between me and Teddy: he had made a couple of backgrounds by copying and pasting random pieces of old backgrounds into something that fit with the phase challenges he designed. However, he forgot to tell me about these and so when the patch initially launched, it launched with the WIP bakgrounds – oops!
While this has been fixed, though it hasn’t been updated in the game yet. For now, enjoy the rather wonky WIP versions, haha!
Another thing that will be added soon-ish are the achievements for the two new floors. As always, there will be one achievement for reaching the floors, respectively, as well as one for clearing all the available challenges and for getting S-rank on both floors of the same theme.
Other than that, it’s more bug fixing and fixes on the menu for Teddy while me and Fred will continue on to the desert! Fun times :)
And the next step on the desert menu for me is of course to repeat the whole process of the previous cave map and create aaaall the rest of them in their most basic form to begin with: meaning walls, floors and any stairs/dropdowns/doorways:
The room above will be used twice for two different caves, and you’ll be able to tell them apart by the decorations.
Next, this big boss room will be cut off at the top…
…to make sure you don’t spot the boss if you were to enter the cave from this side:
Finally, it’s time to decorate everything! Starting with the first floor, I added a bunch of crystals in the walls, more mushroom types, and a bunch of small rocks to decorate the areas as a whole:
Then, it’s on to apply it all to all of the other maps! For this map I also created a stair leading to the upper floor:
…and for these, stairs leading to the lower floors. Here you can also see the difference between the two maps, making them quite distinct from one another even though they’re the same size:
As you may notice, the cave with the alleged boss fight is missing from this lineup: that’s because I will make a different kind of decoration for that area! Stay tuned ;)
First though, it’s time for another portrait, and another video! I decided to record this one since I was making this portrait at home rather than the office, and the quick export feature that I use to make the images that make up the GIF is broken there (I should fix it, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet). So for now, here’s another video featuring the creation of one of the card players in the saloon:
And finally, let’s end the week with one more portrait. This is a very important NPC, based on our composer: Andrew Riley of Lucky Lion Studios! His NPC will, naturally, be a musician, who among other things will appear in Arcadia to help you change the town music.
In story mode, he’ll be hanging out in the desert town, playing music to anyone who passes by. Maybe he’ll make an appearance somewhere else as well? Who can tell!
Hey guys! In case you missed our updates, Arcadia is live on frontline!!! Wohoo!
If you wanna help us test the new and improved Arcade Mode, please go ahead by swapping into the frontline beta: more on that here. Just remember there are still some things missing, such as sound effects, and that the mode can be a little bug prone in these early stages. However, the new features are all up and running and you’ll be able to build your town step by step, in whatever order you prefer.
Teddy will continue to update with bug fixing patches the next few days, if you find any bugs please go ahead and report them in our bug reports forum.
If you’re interested in the full patch notes, you can find them here. Otherwise go ahead and update your game and try out this new mode! And please let us know what you think :D
Alright! Time to start working on those interiors and cave systems. We’ll begin with one of the most exciting places found in the middle of the desert: the Saloon!
As mentioned before, this place will be home to a number of shady people: cavelings, fae and humans from all over Grindea! Including a few old friends, such as the Black Ferrets… There will be piano playing, dancing and drinking. Maybe even a quest or two, oh my!
The music in the video is actually the Saloon theme, which will be playing in this building. Unfortunately I messed up the looping a little bit in a few places during the video, but you probably get the overall idea anyway :)
And now, time to move on to those cave systems! To begin with, there’s the matter of converting the walls of the desert area to something that fits better with the interiors of a cave, and make a floor to go with it.
Then, since this particular map is a little special, it will house a number of mushroom-like cacti. And some random decorations in the shape of mining carts and rails. I’ll probably return to this map later and add a bit more detail, but as usual, I try to make a basic version of each room first before adding more personality as we move on.
Finished room, for now:
Next up we have another portrait! It’s time to start making portraits for those merchants in the market area, so here’s the potion salesman. Here’s a look at what he looks like in his stand, without the roof covering half his head:
And here’s the sprite, WIP and finished version:
Alright, with Arcadia finally out of the way, it’s time for Fred to return to animating stuff in the desert: namely more NPCs. These fellows will hang out around the beach, chilling in the sweet weather:
So lots of more portraits for me to make! Exciting times. Finally, to end this week, this cute little animation of the carpenter. It will appear in Arcadia, but I didn’t post it before and it’s just too cute to skip even though it should be available in the game already. Enjoy!
Posted byVilya at 2018/04/16.