This week we continue to prepare things for a mini-patch adding the new features we talked about last week (new damage numbers etc)!

Remember the Accessory shop from the last recap? Well, someone has to run it! Time for another portrait~


This girl comes from the Merchant Isles and has moved to Evergrind City to open her Accessory shop! Her father and brother will be visiting as well, checking out her new business, so they will be upcoming portraits later on :)


Last week I also mentioned adding some stuff to the world map. A big thanks to Own who came up with the great idea in this thread :)

So, for a long time now we’ve wanted to add some things to the world map in order to give more clarity for people wishing to 100% the game and as a general incentive to explore each area a bit more thoroughly (if you see how many secrets you have left you feel more inclined to find the rest, right?)


So anyway! We have two sets of additions. First, a bunch of icons on the left side, indicating (in order) Enemy drops, Cards, Quests, Fishes and Secrets. Next to these icons will be a counter showing how many you’ve got vs how many there are (for example 06/10). These numbers are map specific and will change depending on which part of the map you’re hovering over.

The second part is the pet and map counter in the lower right corner of the map, indicating how many pets and maps you’ve found vs hos many there are. These are global and will show the same number regardless of which area you’ve currently selected.

We also plan on adding a percentage next to each area name, so in the case above, it would say “Evergrind City 48%” indicating I have achieved 48% completion of said area. As some things get added in patches or you unlock new quests as you progress through the story, it will be possible to get 100% on one area, only to have it revert back to say 70% as new content gets unlocked. When this happens you’ll get a notice letting you know your map has been updated, and there will be a “New” sign above each part of the map with new stuff to do/find :)

Now, with the world map expanding and new areas being added, it’s time to rebuild and add to the world map :D

First of all, it’s time to rebuild some of the puzzle pieces that make up the world map. These will be changed further as we go along and add the desert map & the maps past it. But first things first! This time, it’s the upper left corner that has been adjusted.





Next, time to take a look at what happens beneath those puzzle pieces… Previously, we hadn’t added the ancient ruins above the western Evergrind fields, so there was no need to include it on the world map. Now that it’s been implemented, no more excuses!

We also expanded the size of the winter area a bit in the process, filling out some empty spaces and making sure the ruins don’t look too big compared to their size in the game.





But what about Tai Ming, you ask? Of course, the old town needs some kind of indicator as well! We’ve solved that by adding a speech bubble indicating the city’s past or present state (depending on how far along the story you are) once you enter the town for the first time:


Finally, I made the stars which will indicate when you’ve achieved 100% completion of an area. I thought my 200+ hour character Masken who I use to bug test things would have a ton of these stars, but turns around I’m a terrible Collector – no stars for me :(


How many will you get once this gets uploaded to the beta? :D

Finally, a brief return to the third Tai Ming zone! The exit/meeting room in it’s present state:


It’s always fun painting broken glass and vases, so I got to have some fun with this! Also had to split the table in two, so the flashback orb can be placed in the middle, showing everyone around the table!


Also, no enemies in this room so no problem having a bunch of props lying around :)

Hello guys!! This weekly recap will be a little different, to say the least! I (Vilya) had to go home to my hometown for a funeral last week, so I haven’t prepared anything to show on the blog. But rest easy, things have kept moving on in the Pixel Ferrets office anyway!

While Fred continues to prepare a ton of cutscene animations for the third zone, Teddy has set his sight on fixing and adding a bunch of things we’ve wanted to include in the game for quite a long time!

First up, and perhaps most importantly – new damage numbers! We’ve totally revamped the way these work. Take a look below for the old version:


And now, the new version:


So a bunch of things have happened here! First up, there will be tiny numbers showing how much damage you make with each hit, and a big number showing how much damage you’ve done in total within a limited amount of time! So long as you continuously damage an enemy this number will continue to increase. When you crit, the damage text flashes and there are pretty stars flying about! We also have plans to have the damage number increase in size the longer/bigger your combo is, and add some smaller stars to the crit-effect as well. But all in good time…

Another thing you might notice in the above GIF is – yes – Health bars above the enemies! Wohoo! I’m personally very happy about this update, as it makes hitting enemies much more satisfying when you can see their hp dwindle. True, you could do so before by checking the lower right corner, but it’s just not as effective (at least, I kept taking damage while doing that) or as satisfying. The health bar will appear once you hit an enemy and disappears after a while after you quit dealing damage to it.

And YES, this means health bars in Multiplayer will be a thing! You’ll be able to see the health bar of your friends when they go under a certain amount of HP, so now you’ll know who really deserved that health orb, and who was the petty thief!

Teddy also added The Western Ruins to the game, so there’s one more “Sorry this area ain’t implemented yet” notice gone. You can’t actually do anything here yet, except look at the scenery and battle a few slimes, but hey! At least it’s not an annoying invisible wall:


Also, we’ve finally added the Buy Back feature, which we’ve talked about for a loooong time. Shady Merchant is now officially your go-to guy for buying back anything you’ve sold in the game, and the Accessory Shop has moved into a building of its own:



Ok, ok. One more thing. In order to make it clearer when a quest has been updated, we’re adding this new feature:


This is still an early work in progress, but the idea is that whenever a quest gets updated in some way, you’ll get a notice saying ‘Update’ above your head, after which the corresponding quest window will flash in the upper right corner. If you’re currently tracking another quest, it’ll fade back to that one after some time, and if you don’t track any quest at all it’ll simply fade away. This is all to make it a bit easier knowing when you’ve done something that change the objectives of a quest, or if you’re tracking another quest and ‘accidentally’ make progress in another, so you know what’s going on.

We also plan on doing a ton of improvements on the in-game map before Fred is fully done with all the animations needed to implement the scenes in Tai Ming’s third zone! There will be a ton of helpful trackers there, showing you exactly how much you’ve got left to do before achieving 100% on each area. But that’s for another post!

Before saying bye-bye today, here’s one of the few non-spoiler animations Fred is able to show you guys. Behold, a bunch of praying priests:


Stay tuned! :)

Time to move into the sacred shrine! What could be hidden in here?

The first room is planned to be a room where you’ll do some fighting and… well, not much else really! Now, we haven’t even planned on adding a flashback orb to this place, which means that technically, this room will only be viewed in the present (there will be no time rifts in this third part of Tai Ming).


Because of this, I could have chosen to jump into doing the old and ruined stuff from the beginning, and completely skipped this step of making a past version. However, because we’re known to change our minds a lot, and since it’s a lot easier to start from something whole and ruin it after, than to start with something broken and paint it whole, I decided to make this version anyway!

Below is the finished result! Again, it’s possible you won’t even get to see this in the game, so I guess you could see it as a true behind-the-scenes treat ;)


Next up, making the ruined version, which might even show up in the game!!

As usual, this is typically a matter of dulling down color and painting a bunch of cracks and holes in everything.

For this room, I also added a bunch of thrash in the corner which may serve as a spawning point for monkeys when you fight (it looks much better if they appear from behind somewhere, rather than just fade into existence)!


Since you’ll mainly be fighting in here, there’s not a lot of stuff on the floor (as usual). In the end the room will hopefully look lively enough one there’s a bunch of enemies roaming about!


From the first to the last room: time to take a look at the Shrine’s exit/meeting room…


In this room, there will be a quite important flashback orb, showing you the priests trying to deal with certain horrible things that have happened in Tai Ming since your last time jump!


They will be in meeting by this long table, discussing… Things ;) There’s also a scheduled guest appearance of an Arcade Mode character! Can you guess who?

Now, we’ve also been making some slight changes and improvements that will be added to the second zone in a later update!

First up, the crown of Zhamla! In the first version, which we decided to change a little. It’s still the same crown, but he wears it differently, in a way we thought felt ‘cooler’, basically. The old version is on the left, the new is on the right:


We also made a chewing/munching portrait for the girl who eats noodles in the inn! Honestly I’m not sure this portrait will actually appear in the game (we kind of made it for fun), but we’ll see:


Next, we added some more decorations around the entrance to Puzzle World, indicating that something is being built here. It still looked a little bare with just the sign:


Finally, just some slight extra decoration of the first Puzzle World room, in the shape of a half-installed button and a hammer:


Those of you who have tried the new Tai Ming areas on Frontline have probably noticed a bunch of sound effects missing…

And that’s because we haven’t ordered them yet! So, the other day we decided to make a big list of all the sound effects we could possibly want, by playing the areas and writing down any sound effects that seemed to be missing.

After that, we went through the list and decided whether:

A) We should request a new sound effect
B) We already have a sound effect that could fit
C) It doesn’t really need a sound effect after all

To make the list easier to read, we color coded the sound effects, as you can see here:


Red means we felt a sound effect was unnecessary, Orange means we’ll use a previously made sound, and Blue means we’ll ask for a new sound effect.

While we want to have a lot of sound effects in the game to make everything feel alive, sometimes it can get a little too much. Such as in the inn, where we at first had a ‘eating noodles’-sound, a ‘drinking’-sound, some ambience, and a ‘sighing’-sound (for Faita). Playing all of those would likely make the inn a bit too noisy, so we decided against requesting all of them.

As we continue working on the third part of Tai Ming we definitely look forward to adding these sound effects! It’s gonna make a huge difference to actually hear things as they happen, and we’re very happy to work with amazing people who help us bring the world of Grindea to life through sound effects and music! A very important aspect of gamedev that should not be forgotten :)

And so, it’s time to begin making the Third Tai Ming zone for real. I (Vilya) can’t believe we’re finally starting on the last stretch of this dungeon… It’s taken a looong while for sure :D

In this post, I’ll be making the basics of the first map, which features the entrance to the sacred shrine where the artifact you’re after sleeps. There’s a lot to add – walls, grass, the platform and the building on top of it. Some things can be reused from previous maps (parts of the architecture and the cave walls), others have to be made from scratch (such as the platform and it’s decoration):


After all of that’s been made, I add trees, bushes and rock with our editor tool. Finally, it’s back to Photoshop to add flowers and grass decorations! Once all of that’s done, we’re left with the basic version of the area:


Now it’s time to think about the various ways we can spice this up and make it look more unique! Let’s begin by adding some banners around the platform. Too much stone texture never made anyone happy, after all, so let’s break it up with some cloth:


The cutscene you’ll see here is all about celebration (which may or may not end in a strange way… but more on that later), so I added some pennants hanging from the roof as well:


There has to be some kind of light source around here, and what better than some lanterns? I add a bunch of them between the decorative cloth around the platform:


Next, the most fun part. Painting some bells! They felt like a nice addition to the sacred shrine, and may or may not begin to chime as the celebrations proceed (we haven’t discussed it in detail yet):


To make the parts of the shrine building that’s behind the entrance look a little more interesting, I decided to remove the middle window and add a couple of statues instead, as well as some crates with flowers to decorate this holy place:


Finally, some additional flower decoration, to make the statue look less out of place against the floor, and add to the festive feeling:


And now, here’s the map after all the decorations have been added! Looks a little more interesting now, I’d say:


But let’s not stop there! As the years go by, even this sacred shrine is forgotten and doomed to fall into disrepair.

Working on this was pretty much a case of “how much of this can I ruin?” and then setting to work. The lanterns are broken or have fallen down, some of the pillars have fallen, there’s some vines growing, the bells have fallen, statues have broken, cloth have ripped, and sometime in the past people began to move a lot of storage stuff outside of the shrine, leaving broken crates, jars and barrel there now.


There’s still a lot of fun things I’d like to add, but at some point I had to stop myself, or I’d keep going on this for days! Maybe I’ll go back and add some more stuff before everything gets implemented though :)

Feel free to share ideas on how to add further destruction to this map (so long as the building itself remains intact)!


Aside from beginning on the third and final part of Tai Ming, we’ve also continued improving the second zone, polishing the area up a bit. One of the major improvements we’ve added is a ton of water effects, since the water was quite stiff earlier! Here’s a preview GIF of what it’ll look like once it’s been patched into Frontline:


Hello guys, Vilya here! The first week since the second part of Tai Ming was uploaded to Frontline has now gone past, and we’ve spent eagerly listening to your feedback (and fixing bugs)! Thank you to everyone who left comments and suggestions, we’ll add and improve a bunch of things before we consider this part properly done.

Some of you have already noticed that after finishing the first zone, it’s possible to get stuck, with the time warp portals disappearing. While this isn’t quite working as intended, the truth is that once you’ve finished an area, you’ll only be able to return to it in the present time.

We have a couple of reasons for this, and it wasn’t an easy choice to make. I mean, of course it would have been great if you could always go back to finish any puzzles or secrets you might have missed. On the other hand, we felt like the area would have a bigger impact once you realize that when you’ve seen all there is to the story here, you can’t go back to talk to the people again. They have passed on already and belong only in a distant past which you shouldn’t have had access to in the first place.

We also didn’t want the player to feel frustrated because they can’t go back to, say, the first zone, and simply try to convince Zhamla or Sizou to change their ways once you realize how events in that zone turned Zhamla from a young, optimistic boy into a serious and rather obsessed young man.

We could have just simply not mentioned the fact, or thrown in a line about not changing past events, but again, this way felt like it’d have more of an impact.

Now, obviously you’re not supposed to get stuck anywhere in the present. So how are we gonna solve the fact that there are a ton of blockades that you need time travel to get past?

Cue this guy:


This fellow is a traveling adventurer (with dreams of becoming a Collector, perhaps?) who you’ll meet many times on your journey. Once you’ve finished the first part of Tai Ming, he’ll arrive to move things out of the way and create a passage that you can use as well. Once you’re done with the second zone, he’ll move on and do the same there.


So what about all the treasures you might have missed on your first play through? Worry not, you’ll be able to get them later in the game, one way or another (we have a bunch of ideas), so missing an item in Tai Ming won’t affect your 100% completion if you manage to find it somewhere else later.


After all, hundreds of years have passed since the time when Tai Ming was a bustling town, and it’s not unlikely that once you stop messing around with the time jumps, someone simply moved the items somewhere else.


With this new information, it might be worth going through Tai Ming one more time to see if you missed any secrets, would you say? Head out and collect! The 100% completion awaits you!

Next up, in celebration of having completed my part of Tai Ming’s second zone, I decided to take a quick break from the asian theme and move back to Evergrind City and its surrounding fields!

This map here is in fact the one that can be found north of the farm, in the western Evergrind Fields! It’ll be the key to opening the final dungeon, but until you figure out how to do that it’s just a bunch of resting ruins in the middle of the woods.

For this area, I began with a very simple sketch just to get a feel of the layout. Then I added a bunch of the surrounding props (trees, and the like) with our editor, before creating the new stuff:


Then, it’s on to making the actual ruins:







And finally, adding all the details to bring the place together:


While this map likely won’t be implemented until all three zones of Tai Ming are completed, it’s been on my mind for a long time, and I’m sure the “this way is blocked until we implement temple x” notice has bothered a lot of you guys as well! This way, at least you’ll be able to move around almost everywhere (with the exception of the desert and onwards, which hasn’t been added yet of course) without annoying notices!

And now, time to start working on Zone03. We’ve already begun prototyping most of the area, with the exception of the final two rooms (one which will house the Mimic boss, and one which will feature… something else).


Our very first prototype consists of extremely simple black & white sketches, where I just draw whatever I think would look cool. I mainly freestyle the size of each map, but try to keep in mind certain things like whether there will be battles taking place, or where the camera will pause in cutscenes and such.


Once I’ve sketched whatever I feel is important to size-check or run by the others, I give the sketches to Teddy who adds them to the game engine. He won’t add any colliders or anything at this point, but often he’ll make sure the doors work in cases like this where we need to run through more than one map connected to one another.


Then, me, Teddy and Fred run through the maps in multiplayer, talking about what we think as we go along. Are the rooms big enough? Will there be enough room to fight? Does the camera position well?


Often I’ve come up with ideas for what should happen in the rooms, either before or while I make the sketches, and in this multiplayer test we tend to brainstorm a lot as well. We’ll ask ourselves things like “wouldn’t it be cool if this happened here”, or “wouldn’t it be nice to have a painting of x there”, among other things.


In the case above, I made a design with 2 tables, but as we talked about what the flashback orb will show in this room, we decided it’d be better to have it take place at one long table instead. We talked about how long the table should be, and two of us had to act as indicators so I could take a screenshot and add a table approx. the size the characters show (plus some more decorations):


After going through each of the rooms in a similar way, with us talking about the sketches and me editing them as per what we decide, we’ve got a decent “whitebox” version of the place. There are no final graphics, but since we’re satisfied with the size, it’s possible to start adding colliders as well as prototyping enemy encounters.

Since this zone is only four rooms, two outdoor areas and a boss fight, we certainly hope finishing this place will be faster than zone02. There will be a lot of epic things happening here though, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see how many super difficult animations Fred will have to make before we’re satisfied…. Stay tuned ;)

Finally, the second zone’s on Frontline! It only took about 4 months guys!! ;) However, if my (Vilya’s) playthrough of the area is any indication (1 hour 20 minutes), it’s a decent amount of playtime for that amount of work, at least compared to our previous areas.

I know it’s hard to believe, but our workspeed per playtime has actually increased with this dungeon, though it’s pretty huge and ends up taking a long time to finish anyway ;P

Anyway! We’d love to hear how long it takes you to play the area, if you got stuck anywhere, what you liked/disliked and, of course, any bugs you found! Please spam away, we’d love to hear everything (and feel free to link us any cool Let’s Plays of the area, as seeing how people think and try to interact is extra important in this area).

Here’s a bunch of the stuff we made for the second zone, before we released it this weekend:

First up, the final room of Puzzle World! Part of this area will be looking over the sea, with the Pillar Mountains (among other things) in the background. Because of how incredibly long it took to paint the backdrop, the video I recorded got super long, so I decided to divide it in parts:

This first part is all about the actual area your character will be able to move around in. It consists of the same type of environmental decorations as the Mount Bloom outskirts, with the addition of some rocks and details from Evergrind Fields and Tai Ming.

Second part of this scene is all about the backdrop! And what else would it contain, but your old home, the Pillar Mountains?

Painting this took a long while, much longer than I’d hoped, seeing as it’s mostly water and a few islands! But since I’m used to painting smaller props rather than distant backgrounds, it took some time to get used to the change :)

Once this was finished, we added a bunch of birds and some clouds floating in the background as well:


I mentioned before that I was gonna make standing versions of the old and worn statues. This is pretty much to make it easier on us, as we don’t want to worry about where to put which statue if two would fall on top of each other. Instead, they’ll remain upright:


One key part of the puzzle is to deal with the glass box somehow, and so I had to make a version of it that’s completely smashed as well! Some pretty fun stuff, lots of glass pieces :)


This grave has a bunch of flowers that stand out from the rest, and it’s for good reason, relating to a quest:


This room felt a little too clean, so I went back to it and added a bunch of planks and the remains of the poor old flowers. Likely nothing would remain of the plant this long since it died, but as long as it looks better this way, I’m all for it ;)


I also added a bunch of rocks surrounding a box in the water next to what we call “Granny’s house”. This is to signify that you cannot move this box (while you can move a bunch of others):


The current box also looked a bit too fresh and clean for the present version, so I made another version of the box(es) to suit the time jump better:


There’s a strange puzzle in the upper parts of this map (which isn’t completely shown in this picture), and one part to the puzzle is that you cannot move things around in the present. As such, I made a version of the puzzle block that wasn’t able to withstand the test of time, and has crumbled too much for you to be able to push it around (video game logic)!


Seeing as the alcoholic beverage hidden in this room was turned into an ale rather than a wine, the color was changed to better suit the drink in question!


While Bag has made do with the same faces for a long, long time, it was finally time to add another couple of expression! Well, in fact, we just needed the one, but due to some miscommunication I misunderstood the mood asked for, and we ended up with two instead! Maybe the other one will have some use in the future… :)


This lady isn’t too happy about her daughter being interested in the strange Flying Fortress people visiting town, so she had to get a more displeased expression as well:


We also realized we needed to block the way south in the Path Puzzle’s past state! This was done by adding a bunch of boxes:


Whatever happened to this guard’s hat?! I guess you’ll have to find out by playing through the zone! In either case, he needed a portrait without the hat, so I made one:


Due to a slight rewrite, we decided to open up the door to the Puzzle World WIP, and add a small sign letting you know that something is ahead:


Previously for the Monkey mini game we used a placeholder key, which was actually a much smaller one that was resized in Photoshop. Good thing we remembered to swap it out for this new sprite:


A line of rocks were added to show you where you cannot push certain blocks that can be found on the lower level of this zone. You can (and should) still run past the rocks yourself though:


Due to some grim times up ahead in Tai Ming, we decided it was time to increase the number of tombstones in the cemetery greatly, too… Whatever could be happening? The answer awaits you in the third zone!


Finally, two new zone titles: one for the second zone and one for the third (which I, as I write this post, have actually started working on already! Wohoo!)


…Actually, there was another portrait added, as well! :)

This is Nolea, a character that’s a homage to the main character of CrossCode:


While being based on Lea visually, this character is quite different from her CrossCode counterpart. In fact, she’s a cyborg built built by the Flying Fortress crew with multiple personality and vocabulary settings. How advanced!

She’ll be hanging out with the other Flying Fortress guys in zone02, demonstrating the newly invented Phase Shift techniques.


For Nolea, I had to make two different expressions, but as I was creating them I had a hard time picking between a couple of variations, so I ended up making 4 instead. I’m still not sure which 2 actually appears in the game, as I told Teddy decide as he implemented them, and I haven’t talked to in-game Nolea since then…


This week, we’ll likely take care of any bugs that appear through the frontline testing, as well as add another bunch of polish. I’ll also continue working on the third zone of Tai Ming, which will conclude your adventures in this mountain. How exciting!

Until next week! :)

We’re finally getting closer to getting the second zone up and running in Frontline! As such, we’ve all been very busy adding the final touches to the zone and bug testing the heck out of it all.

We have some exciting preview GIFs to show you, but first, some more expressions!

The third batch of expressions features a varied crew of characters. There’s the father of the guards, three collectors and a somewhat familiar face: that of Montbel, the famous chef and bartender of Tai Ming:


The fourth and final (for now) batch of expressions features an accessory saleswoman, Faita from zone one, who you could say has fallen on hard times – at least if you go by her expressions, a male priest, the greedy owner of Puzzle World, the visitors from Flying Fortress and the gardener from zone one, who is still tending to the gardens, only this time in zone two!


So, these last few days we got to do something awesome: we actually play tested Tai Ming’s second zone!! It’s true, after many months of working on this place, Teddy put enough together that it was possible for us to run through the entire thing!


For me (Vilya) the zone took 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete, but then I tried to talk with most people (gotta double check that dialogue) and had a slightly underleveled character. On the other hand, I knew exactly where to go and what to do, seeing as I’ve been part of designing everything. It’ll be interesting to hear how long it’ll take for you guys!


After running through the entire thing each of us took notes on things we liked and things we wanted to change, as well as any bugs we found. Luckily, we were mostly in agreement that very little needs to change – in truth we rather feel like Evergrind City needs to change, since this town is much more vibrant and alive compared to the capital… I guess we managed to overdo things as usual.


Among the things we’ve yet to add, there’s 2-3 flashback orbs, with cutscenes that haven’t been made yet. In these orbs more of Zhamlas story will be revealed. Who is this strange child/young man anyway, and how come he’s so important to the story?!


We also made a list of graphical assets for me and Fred to add. My list mainly consists of increasing the number of decorative sprites and more expressions. There’s also a ton of “minor” fixes, like making sure some of the portraits don’t go outside the dialogue box, like below:


This week will be all about last minute fixes, as we hope to be able to upload the second zone to Frontline next weekend! Not 100% sure we’ll actually make it, but that’s our aim at this moment. Here’s to hoping everything continues to go smoothly :)


See you next week – hopefully with a new patch uploaded!

Hey guys!! It’s been another week, and it’s me, Vilya, back to bring you another recap of what’s been going on in the Pixel Ferrets office!

Last week I made the past version of the final Puzzle World room – this week it’s time to transform it into its present version! Since this is the last room before you manage to get outside again, I got to add some vines again! Long time no see:


I also got to paint a lot of cracks on the huge glass thing, which also is something I love doing. Nothing is more soothing than listening to music (or an audiobook) and just painting crack after crack… Well, since we wanted what’s inside to be somewhat visible I decided not to go too crazy with it. Not sure how it’ll turn out in the end though, maybe I can add a few more before calling it a day… :)


Next up, I should start making the statues you’ll use for this room’s puzzle! First, a video showing the progress of making the past versions:


Since the progression from standing to fallen statues happen as you time travel, there’s no need for animations. As such, I was also able to make the present, crumbled ones:

To make it easier seeing where any given statue needs to go, we decided to keep their boxes on the floor (who also got slightly different dimensions since the last post) in the present, in various states of decay. The alternative would have been to have the statues fall with base and all, but we believe this makes it easier to read which statue is where on the puzzle floor.

There’s still two things I need to make for this room. First we need standing, decayed version of the statues for present times, as the statues won’t fall if they’re standing next to a statue that would block the direction it would have fallen in. This is mostly to make it easier for us – instead of having to figure out how to stack the statues on top of one another, they just won’t break as severely if it means they would have fallen on top of another statue.

I also need to make a broken version of the glass box in the lower left corner, so it’s possible to let out the statu– whatever’s in there. But, that’s for another day!


Next up, as Teddy has been working on the cutscenes in Tai Ming’s second zone I decided to go over the dialogue and start making a bunch of expressions so that can be properly finished!

First up is Tessen, the little girl from the first zone who has grown up to become a young priestess of Grindea:


She’s both happy to see you, and has some serious worries on her mind. Wonder what those are about..

Next up, Zhamla:


Since his adoptive father’s speech about being strong, Zhamlas life has taken quite a serious turn, and unfortunately there’s not a lot of room for positive emotions in his life nowadays.

Speaking of adoptive fathers, Zisou’s life has actually become a bit more lax these days, so he can afford a smile or two – but there’s still room for some quite serious expressions in there as well:


The second batch of expressions features four different characters:


First, the dam manager, who has quite a bunch of expressions, as you can see! He has both a serious(ly annoyed) and goofy side, and quite a peculiar quest to bring these expressions out!

The ancient Quest Master, Quinton’s ancestor(?), has a few more expressions than his present day counterpart. He has added both surprise and happiness to his range of emotions!

Mana, the lady with the dog in the first zone, has become older and grayer, but is still quite the happy person, while young mister Go, still is quite miserable in his adult form. He was the kid who lost the key in the first zone, remember? Poor Verment, he has had quite the tough life!

Finally, some Caveling animations from Fred! What are they up to in Tai Ming?!


Another week, and more Puzzle World!

Now, the battle room! As you might guess from the name, this is where a bunch of battles will take place, likely an encounter with several waves (though we haven’t decided on any specifics yet):


For this room, I kind of wanted to add a mascot of some sort. A lot of theme parks use mascots here and there for decoration, and I thought this place shouldn’t be no different. And what better shape than a puzzle piece? Perhaps I should add some more, maybe of different shapes and colors, to other rooms!

The floor is kind of bare in this room, as it’s a fighting room and we don’t want you to run into a bunch of colliders as you battle (cause that’s super annoying). I did add some boxes to the corners though, since I didn’t want the room to look completely empty. Since this place was never really finished, I think it makes sense that boxes with supplies for the continued development of the theme park still remain here and there.


Next room is the monkey challenge room, which has been previewed in a previous post. Here, the player will try to steal back a key from a gang of annoying monkeys, intent on keeping the key to themselves!


As with the fighting room, the key to this room is to keep the floor as clean (from colliders) as possible, since you’ll spend your time in here trying to beat up and chasing enemies back and forth. Since we had a prototype for this room already, I kept the same size as in the test. It worked well enough when we tried it, so no point changing a size that already works!

I did shorten the distance to the exit though: such a long corridor didn’t make a lot of sense, and would – in my opinion – only look visually worse than the shorter distance :)


And now, the final Puzzle World room!! This one is the Path Puzzle room, where you have to move a set of statues around in the past so that they are at the right place in present day…

While a lot of these graphics were already made and reused from previous rooms, I had to do some pretty cool new stuff for this one! For one, this room needed two levels, which meant I had to make a railing of sorts to make it easier to tell the levels apart:


I also had to make that big glass thingy, containing something you need to figure out how to get out of there! And it was a lot of fun: shiny things are the best to make!


Now, as the third zone of Tai Ming – and the final challenge(s) of the dungeon – draws near, we decided it was time to have a meeting to flesh out the final boss of the dungeon: an ancient Mimic!

Pretty much since we started developing Grindea, we’ve known we wanted a boss mimic somewhere in the world, and once we knew the third “temple” would be an ancient town where time travel is the focus, we couldn’t think of a better place for our Mimic!

The time travel aspect of this place helped us come up with one of the key features of this boss battle: it will be divided into three phases, where each phase ends with a time shift, during which the Mimic gains strenght. Basically, you start the battle in the past, and once you’re close to defeating the first, young, version of the mimic, you’ll get sent forward in time, where a bunch of years have passed. The mimic, unaffected by your time jumping, will have grown in size and power over the years, and poses a bigger challenge…


During the first phase, the mimic is little more than a jumpkin – but in the shape of a chest. It will have one or two special attacks, but this is definitely the easiest stage, and should be over pretty quickly.

In the second phase, the mimic has grown to the size of Giga Slime (roughly). The battle will remind you of that boss as well, as the mimic jumps around the battlefield, doing damage with its massive body. It also has a series of special attacks where it spits a ton of coins on the ground in different patterns – which may hurt you as they land – and goes to eat them up straight away, dealing damage to anyone in its path. Sometimes, it will spit out a powerup of some sort as well – and if you fail to destroy it before the Mimic eats it up again, it will gain a powerboost against you. Like Giga Slime, the Mimic will also have an attack resembling the hammer-attack of Giga Slime; basically a regular attack it can pull if you stand too close to it for too long. Only instead of producing a slime hammer, it will use any of the weapons inside of it (or its tongue)!

In the third phase, the boss has grown to a massive size, and is now static. It will attack you using any of its many hatches to send out weapons of various kinds against you. It also has a special attack where it blows you to the opposite end of the screen and sends out a ton of things from its inside! These things might be enemies (from anywhere in the game), barrels, crates, items, money – basically anything you can think of.

This is one ancient mimic, and it’s been stuffed with things over the years!


Since the boss is divided into three different phases, we haven’t given each phase too many attacks. As we start prototyping this battle, it’s possible we’ll add more, but I think this is one of those bosses where the battle might be challenging enough even without 500x different attack patterns! I guess we’ll see – either case I’m very excited to see this in the game.

No game set in a fantasy world is complete without a mimic, right? :)

Hello guys! It’s been another week, and now I (Vilya) am back with another recap of the big things we’ve been working on :D

This week, the work on Puzzle World continues! Next step is to transform the Statue Room into it’s sorry present state. Since this will be the first room to be turned into a present version, it’s extra important to get everything right since a bunch of the props, such as the planks, will be reused in upcoming rooms.

Here’s a GIF showing the process:


As usual with transforming rooms or environments from past (fresh & new) to present (old and worn), most of it is changing colors. But just turning a bright yellow into a dull brown won’t cut it in many cases, such as the door: as wood grows old, it will get worn down and cracks may appear. Therefore I added more lines in the wood, as well as holes here and there, where I imagine the wood has been broken over time:


Next room is a little different! It’s been sponsored by the Flying Fortress crew, and so it has been decorated to look like a room in Flying Fortress – only with wallpapers and a fake floor… :)

When creating this room, I had two options. Either I use the already-made texture of the Flying Fortress walls & floor, or I make a new one. It’s likely people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, since it was so long since you went through the Flying Fortress in the main story – but I still opted to make new graphics.

I did this for two reasons: one, it gave me the opportunity to make the texture look even more like a wallpaper texture – instead of looking exactly like it does in Flying Fortress (which is built of what’s at least supposed to be real rocks), I could make a softer texture which would be easier to pass off as wallpaper. Second, the Flying Fortress graphics are very old at this point, and I worried that adding such an old texture among all the new stuff would look jarring – I’ve developed a lot as an artist since that time, so the difference in quality and style is quite big.

The smaller screen to the right will hold a message about the room being sponsored by the Flying Fortress – the big one to the right will either have something cool animated by Fred, or a graphic representation of the flying Fortress made by me. Or maybe a graphic representation of the Flying Fortress made by Fred or something cool (non-animated) made by me – who knows! :)


Since this room is already quite gloomy to begin with, it was a bit of a challenge to darken and dull the colors down without everything becoming too dark for the present version. Instead of going too crazy with the darkening effects, I decided to ruin more of the wallpaper around the areas where you’ll run around, having the real wall show through:


After finishing the past version, I added a pair of boxes that block the exit to the right. In this version however, the boxes are moved (since you enter the room in this timeline) and instead block your path to the top part of the room. To get there, you’ll need to complete the phase shift puzzle!


And yes, for those who noticed the difference between the Past and Present version: we decided to change the design of the left platform a little, as the previous version was a little hard to read for some people. The previous version is to the left, the new version to the right:


Next, after Fred finished adding some NPCs to the inn (left), I took over and added some props that I thought would suit them:


The girl on the right is a bit underage, so instead of drinking she’s having a meal while studying hard to become a Collector like her sister (which will also be added to the table later on). Faita, the sword teacher from the first zone, is kind of drowning her disbelief at being second best at everything with a glass of unnamed alcohol (or is it soda?) ;)

Meanwhile, instead of cleaning up the bar, Montbel the owner (who isn’t present in the picture) has left all kinds of bottles and bowls on it for visual effect. ‘Aint he nice?

Speaking of NPCs, Fred has kept working on adding more of them to Tai Ming’s second zone, so here’s another bunch:


Finally, let’s end the week with a portrait! I actually forgot I still had two more to make for the second Tai Ming zone. Guess I got a little bit too excited about starting to make backgrounds for Puzzle World!


This guy is a hat salesman, having his shop set up outside the ancient Collector’s HQ. Like the hat salesman in Evergrind City, he has a kind of elegance to him! I guess it comes with the job, huh?