…..aaand as of yesterday, the frontline patch is finally up!! This includes the third and final part of Tai Ming (albeit without the proper sound effects and with some placeholder stuff). Patch notes can be found here!

Naturally this weekend has been spent crunching a bunch of stuff we wanted to include in this patch, so we’re all quite spent and now eagerly await your feedback. For me, a playthrough took about 40 minutes – how long did it take you? What did you think of the twists and turns? How was the balance? Please feel free to share anything and everything here in the comment section of on any of our forums!

For now, here’s a bunch of sneak peek GIFs of what you’ll be facing in the third and final part of this dungeon:

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Since you’ll be able to play through our progress this time, this blog post is kept rather short since I’m sure you all would much rather be playing! Please go ahead and do so, and let us know all of your feedback <3

Thanks! :D

Another week has passed, which has been another week filled with preparing for the final Tai Ming boss. Finally, we’ve completed the third and last stage of the Mimic boss room… Time to bring in some Mt. Bloom!

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So basically in this third stage you’re back to your own time, but we wanted this room to be more ruined than the rest in order for some health crystals to have grown in the room after this time jump! The boss battle is very long, after all, and being so close to Mount Bloom we thought this was a nice solution for including some health without forcing random health orbs.

The health crystals aren’t pictured in the finished version below, but they’ll be growing in the parts where the cave floor is peeking through:

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Another thing we’ve been focusing on lately is the cutscenes surrounding the Mimic fight. And with this one, we have a question for you guys!

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Above you can see one of the cutscenes we’ve been prototyping lately. Now the question is: when should the boss portrait appear? We have two suggestions:

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In this first alternative, the boss portrait (yes it’s a thorn-worm for now, since the real one hasn’t been made yet) appears as the Mimic sucks the crown into its chest.

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…And in this one it appears as its tongue is around the crown, pausing mid-animation.

What do you guys think? We’re currently torn, and while it might not seem like a huge decision, it’s always better to pick the version that the most people like better! When I asked this in my own work blog, the overwhelming result so far indicates the second one is better. Do you agree? Please comment with your preference! :D

Now, we can’t let the Mimic boss portrait remain a thorn-worm now, can we? Time to fix that!

We are actually not yet sure if this will be *the* boss portrait, or if we’ll have several, one for each state. So before making this one, I made some quick sketches to work out what size each of the iterations would have in their portrait versions, should we decide to add the other ones:

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For now though, we are gonna start with just the small one, and play around with adding the other two in a prototype, to get a sense of what it’d feel like to have them appear after you complete each iteration:

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What do you think? Would you like to have a new boss portrait appear every time you beat one version of the Mimic, or do you feel it would get too spammy, throwing you out of the mood of the battle? I guess it’s hard to imagine without actually trying out the fight, though.. Maybe we should include a way to try out the different versions in next frontline update, unless it would mean too much work for our poor overworked programmer!

And now, some mixed stuff!

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First up, fixing a graphical error shown above! Behind the door transparency the closed door peeked through, rather than the floor. It has now been fixed.

I also added a bunch of extra decorations for the second fighting room in zone 3. It just looked a bit empty, so I felt it needed a bit more polish:

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I also adjusted the garland you’ll unlock in the Seasonne batch of housing items, making sure it’s properly stackable. Previously, you had to put them next to each other like in the left version below, but by editing the size they will now stack seamlessly when you put two next to eachother:

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Finally, we’re swapping out the map painting in the Mimic boss room for a portrait of Grindea! Progress and finished versions below:

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Now, a lot of you have asked when frontline will be updated with the third Tai Ming area. Here’s our estimate: HOPEFULLY this weekend! We’ll do our very best to make that happen, at least :)

Remember the Mimic boss? Improvements have been made, and the prototyping goes on!

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Since the last prototype we decided to keep the waves he spits out, but with mixed enemies, so there will be enemies from all around the world rather than from one area at a time. We also removed a couple of waves, since this fight likely is long enough as it is – this is stage 3 after all!

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Occasionally while you battle the wave(s) he spits out, the Mimic will launch random disables or damage dealing stuff as well. These can be anything from bombs, slime, rockets, fire – you name it! These will be random, but certain disables/attacks don’t unlock until you’ve progressed far enough in the fight.

Yet another step closer to finishing the map! Now there’s mainly a ton of animations and polish, polish, polish remaining!! :D

…And of course… The actual background for the fight!

Right now the prototype version of the boss room looks like below (which can also be seen in the GIFs above):

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After doing some thinking & talking, I made a sketch preview of what the finish thing could look like, and had it approved by Teddy and Fred before I began work:

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The most complicated thing in the room is probably the painting – which we, oh irony, have decided to swap out for another one yet to be made. For now, here’s this one, which will likely appear somewhere else in Tai Ming instead:

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And here’s the finished room for the first stage:

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As the fight progresses, you will jump through time and the room will change. And so… On to stage two! For this one, some time has passed and it’s time to break and demolish the props inside:

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As I made this I did not yet know the painting would get swapped out, and so it too got a ruined version, though I do not yet know if that will be in the game or not. Maybe this will be the only time you’ll ever be able to see it, so take a good look!! ;)

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For the next stage, we jump back to our own time, and this particular room of Tai Ming has seen some serious ruin compared to the rest. But first…. some more housing miniatures!

With Tai Ming and Mount Bloom’s housing items finished, it’s time to create their miniatures and add them to the game, and this time I thought we’d mix it up with a video!

Only the basic items for each batch in this one – the video would be way to long otherwise! More to follow in another post. For now, here’s the result from this vid:

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And the large versions for comparison:

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That’s all for this week! Next week the work on the boss room continues, and we begin piecing together the cutscenes one by one. Stay tuned!

With Tai Ming nearing completion, and a revamp of Arcade Mode in general and Arcadia in particular, it’s no wonder a lot of our recent talks have been about exactly what new Arcadia will look like. This meeting we dove in and decided on some more things:

Buying Houses for Arcadia
Basically, Arcadia will start as an area of wilderness! The place where you start will be small, with most of the map being covered with wood and other obstacles. As time progresses you will be able to ask various people for help clearing the area, and in doing so revealing a bunch of signposts indicating what could be build at the spot.

Clicking the sign will trigger a preview of what the building or decoration will look like, and what it will bring to Arcadia. For instance, aside from shops and buildings with gameplay features of various kinds, there will be decorative things that may not give you a new feature per say, but will bring people with quests to town.

Essence & Gold
Essence will be used to buy perks, as well as transmute decorative hats and other gear that carry over to Story Mode. Essence might also become the currency used to buy housing items in the Arcade Mode version of the feature.

Gold, meanwhile, will be used to unlock new buildings and decorations, and pretty much everything else.

Candy & Muffin
Muffin’s house from Seasonne will be available from start, though there will be nobody at home in the beginning. Once you’ve either died a number of time or gotten to a certain highscore, Candy or Muffin will start inhabiting the house.

If you’ve died x times, Muffin will appear and allow you to make Arcade Mode easier by giving you a number of treats (3 maximum, much like perks). Treats might include things such as health orbs healing more or there being no elite enemies. The downside to this is that you will get a much reduced highscore for using these treats.

If you gain x highscore, Candy will appear and allow you to activate certain curses (again 3 maximum, much the same as perks). These curses serve to make the game harder in various ways, such as doubling the amount of elites or removing health orbs altogether. With curses activated you will gain a higher score than during regular runs.

While it might sound tempting to do so, you can’t combine treats and curses: you’ll have to use one or the other.

The Arena
There will be an arena where you can practice boss fights once you’ve reached them through one of your Arcade Mode runs. In the arena you’ll also be able to run the same PvP challenges that will eventually become available in Story Mode, as well. It’s likely you’ll have to pay some gold to practice boss fights, while PvP will be free.

The Aquarium
One of the decorative spots, a house where you’ll see a collection of all the fishes you’ve caught during your Arcade Mode runs (one of each). This place will also attract NPCs with quests!

The Inn
…Will work much like it does now, only with more NPCs and more quests!

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And by the time we reached this point of our discussion, the hamburger place we were at were closing so we had to go back home to do regular work. More planning next time, and instead, let’s have some more text previews:

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While making these it’s really easy to start coming up with things for previous areas as well, as you remember other bookcases or signs where you’d like to have some kind of text but haven’t added one yet. All in good time though, we want to avoid backtracking too much while we still have quite a long way to go before the main story is done.

All in all there will be 35 optional flavor texts available throughout Tai Ming! Can you find them all? I guess we’ll see… :)

Now it’s time for the final batch of themed housing items for a while now! Tai Ming, bring it on~
You know, you’d think that with Tai Ming being a town and all, there would be plenty of ready made housing objects there, right? Not so. I’m not kidding, I had to remake almost every single item in some way!

Next time we make a town, I’ll make sure to follow the housing guidelines to begin with. Not that I could follow the guidelines before since we didn’t have any… But you know ;)

Anyway! The basic items, not much to say. A very basic batch, with things you’ve likely seen before (although remade in size or with additional versions for Housing):

01TaiMingBase

The surfaces here will have a different height than items in the rest of the housing batches, since people in Tai Ming prefer sitting on the floor rather than chairs!

Compared to the basic batch, the special item one is.. a bit overwhelming: so many items!! There were so many wall decorations I couldn’t even fit them all on one wall, but had to put one on the floor just to show you. There are also a bunch of variations for some of these objects (such as different versions of decorations on top of the crates in the upper right corner) that there was no room to show as well:

01TaiMingSpecial

I think it’s likely that not all of these will be unlocked as you enter Tai Ming: some of the more generic looking objects will likely become part of the first basic batch, and others will be granted as quest or chest rewards.

And now…. More Mimic boss stuff! This time of his third and giant phase~

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We’ve already gone through two prototypes for this version. Here is the first one, where the Mimic pretty much spits out random things all the time. We felt this version was a little too messy in the end, so it was scrapped.

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Cue prototype #2:

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This version has a more clear pattern: he begins by spitting out a bunch of Pillar Mountains and Evergrind Fields themed enemies, then spits out slime at random intervals while you either beat the enemies or him up. After you’ve damaged him enough he then moves on to Flying Fortress enemies, while spitting out rockets. After dealing even more damage on him, he’ll move on to Temple of Seasons enemies – and so on.

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We liked this version a bit more, but we didn’t particularly enjoy how much it felt like you were replaying the game, so we’ll probably do one more prototype where we mix the encounters up a bit more between areas but keep the intervals he spits them out at!

It’s been another week, and on the menu for this week’s recap we have MORE housing (it never ends!), some previews of the optional examination texts you’ll be able to find around Tai Ming, a bunch of portrait expressions for the upcoming third zone, and… some animations! Let’s begin with housing~

While the housing items made up to this point has been saved and await implementation, we still have two areas to go! First up: Mount Bloom~

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This area transformed to housing is quite straight forward – ROCKS! Above are the basic items that every batch will have: Floor & Wall textures, bed, tables, chairs, etc. And below, lots of random items, many of which you can already find in the mountain:

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Mushrooms, crystals, some more rocks, a statue, a… a Fluffyfeathers? and some of the greenery seen around the caves of Mount Bloom! These items have all been resized and recolored to fit with the housing system and the rest of the item batches. Except Fluffyfeathers. Cause he’s perfect the way he is. Right?

Now, it’s been our ambition to add more of these optional texts for a while now, and we’ll begin with Tai Ming and work our way back!
Some of you might have noticed magnifying glasses appearing here and there. They most often signify that you’re able to examine something, and sometimes it’s even relevant to the story. From the beginning we’ve wanted to add more of these flavor texts here and there throughout the world of Grindea, but it’s also something we’ve been very good at forgetting. No more, though!

Here are a few example texts from the first zone of Tai Ming (do excuse any spelling or grammar errors, as this is from my draft document):

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Since adding these will make the few actually story-relevant (or otherwise more important) ones less apparent, we’re considering making another version of the magnifying glass that’s bigger and more epic looking to signify this piece of information might be useful to you somehow. It’s also very likely the story-relevant hints will have their magnifying glass appear from further away, while you have to step quite close to see the ones that are only for flavor.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy this update once it launches. With any luck, these texts will help you feel more immersed in the game world!

With most of the cutscenes in Tai Ming’s third zone prototyped and ready, it’s also time to bring some flavor to those faces! I don’t know if we’ve mentioned it before, but the third zone will be all about the priests quarters, so naturally that’s why this first preview is filled with almost nothing but priests:

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With grave things happening around the ancient world of Tai Ming, I’m afraid there aren’t a lot of happy faces here, and it will remain so in any coming previews we might show as well!

Finally, have a couple of Fred’s animations, featuring the final stage of the Mimic boss:

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See you next week! :D

You’d think after finishing a bunch of sprites for housing, you’re all set, right? Nope! Time for step two in housing: making drop appearances/menu miniatures for everything!

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Honestly, if there’s one thing I wish I knew how to streamline better it’s finding the right folder for stuff and saving a ton of items as PNG. Maybe there’s a way I haven’t found yet (I have not exactly done much looking).

Regardless, it takes a tooon of time saving items once you’ve finished making them. Not only do you have to check it for flaws (one of my great skills is accidentally leaving empty pixels in objects, trying to catch that before adding items to the folders now), and actually save it with all that entails, in the case of housing you also need to make menu versions since the big ones are much too large to show properly in the interface!

Above you can see a bunch of examples of miniatures, with the bigger versions below. After making this many, we had a talk about how to display Temple of Seasons stuff (since they will be three versions at once), and I had for some reason assumed that meant I should make three versions of everything. Because that would entail a whole lot of extra coding, we decided to either make one version that were all three at once, or simply stick with one of them and put a special icon next to it showing it gets transformed by the seasons.

After trying out the first idea (see above, upper right), we decided to simply stick with one version, in this case the summer!

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And the madness continues! This time a bunch of surfaces and beds~

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See that stray pixel between the red tablecloth and the left vines? Yeah, that’s exactly the kind of thing I’m trying to avoid. And clearly failed to do so before uploading this image! Oh well, at least it won’t be in the game :D

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And now…. Time for some Mimic updates!

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To make this guy’s eat-attack look a little more interesting we decided to swap out coins of various colors for a different set of items. The mimic will still eat huge coins (which won’t do anything), but the items that cause various effects will be as follow:

Emblem – Causes shockwaves (not pictured yet)
Chili Pepper – Fire
Hourglass – Slows player character(s)
Box of Bombs – The mimic spews out a bunch of bombs!

Since Fred has a very hectic schedule right now with a ton of animations needed for next update, I stepped in to make temporary objects for him to eat (wip above). These will be upgraded and animated by Fred once he has a few spare minutes:

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Here’s a GIF showing how the mimic boss has improved since last time. AGAIN all GIFs in this post run slower than in the actual game. I’m looking for a different program to record GIFs in since FRAPS isn’t working anymore and cutting things in GIFcam is a bother. If anyone has any  suggestions they are very welcome! Anyway!! Instead of simply leaving fire on the ground, he now shoots out balls of flame that cause a fire to burn where they land. We also made an effect for the hourglass slow-down, to make it more clear when you get affected by it:

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In the third phase, the mimic will grow even bigger and become static. In order to harm the player, he will spew out a ton of random items and enemies.

In this part of the battle we have two options, and we have not quite decided which one to go for yet – either he’ll send the player far back (the room would then be a bit larger vertically) with some kind of pushing attack, then fill up the room with obstacles and enemies the player needs to get past in order to hit the Mimic again. The second option is to have the Mimic invincible, until he gets exhausted (triggered by you clearing enough waves of enemies/items), at which point he’ll reveal his tongue which you can hit do deal damage.

We’ve also discussed a special attack where the Mimic starts sucking all the items he spewed out towards him, causing damage to the player if you get sucked too close (due to spikes or something similar poking out of the chest), but we haven’t finalized that part yet so I cannot say if it will actually appear in the game.

Finally, let’s end this week with a quick look at the skill you’ll unlock in the fourth dungeon~

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So this skill has the codename “the ghost skill” because we haven’t come up with anything better yet. What it does is basically it shows you the spirit world, where things look a bit different.

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There are a ton of possibilities for this skill, including having enemies that can damage you in the real world by using real weapons, but you cannot hurt them unless you go into the spirit world. There’s also obstacles you can only pass in the spirit world, or hidden treasures only seen while in it.

With this skill you’ll also be able to talk to ghosts, which might help you on your journey or give you quests?! Who knows, this is just a very early prototype after all.

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What do you think? Too dark and scary? We’ll do our best to make sure nothing becomes too creepy, just the right amount!

It’s our 260th recap and this week I’ll be focusing on more housing content, while Teddy and Fred continue prototyping the Mimic boss!

Last time when we looked at the Seasonne housing items, there were a bunch of the basic ones. This time, it’s time to add some random special items! A christmas tree, christmas stockings, garlands, presents, a christmas flower… Pretty much everything christmas inspired I could think of quickly:

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Do you feel like we missed another christmas themed item that would be cool to have in the house? Go ahead and comment! :)

For the Temple of Seasons housing items, most items will have 3 versions that change depending on the season. You’ll be able to place an orb to change the season in the room, which will change your items (and if you won’t want to keep the orb after swapping season, you can simply remove it again).

Some progress GIFs of the bed:

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For the Temple of Seasons summer window, I’d like there to be a cute little bird in the nest or something. I just keep coming up with ideas hoping Fred and Teddy will cooperate in implementing them! But since it’s a great idea, I’m sure they will… Right?! ;)

The wall decorations to the right and the fairy statues will remain the same regardless of season, the rest will change as you hit the orb:

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And now, time to change those seasons!

First up, the autumn batch! The vines have dried up and the leaves have fallen off the bushes. Also everything has orange hues rather than yellow and green. For the window I imagine dried up leaves blowing past:

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In the winter version, everything is blue and white, and the vegetation have become more colorless (aside from the magic bush in the corner which never dies). There’s hanging a bunch of icicles in the window:

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And now… finally…. A preview of the Mimic boss fight!! (These GIFs are for some reason a bit laggy/slower than what the actual game looks like, but you’ll get the idea anyway)

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This is the first version of this little guy, which we’ve (not surprisingly) focused on first. In total he’ll have three stages, where he grows in size and gets more complicated attacks in each step.

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The first version is very straight forward right now, and will probably remain so. He basically jumps after you Jumpkin-style, getting enraged after you deal enough damage. Once you’ve done enough, he’ll go into a super rage-mode, jumping around and causing shockwaves:

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The next version is a bigger and meaner version of the first. When he’s not jumping around, this time in a more Giga Slime-fashion, except for the slime, he spits out a ton of random items (in this version we’re using placeholder coins), after which he’ll start eating the items up again:

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Depending on what item he eats, various bad effects will happen. One will cause flames to appear on the ground, another will have him send out shockwaves, a third will slow down the player, and a fourth sends out a ton a bombs. Madness!

Another week has gone by, this one focused on finishing up the second to last Tai Ming map, more housing items, and a lot of prototyping action!

A lot of things will happen on the courtyard map we showed last week, so it needs a whole bunch of different states. First, I’ll add some dirt and burn effect to the ground where the fire is raging:

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Basically I paint dirt wherever the fire is, and repaint any bushes, trees, etc to darker, burned crisp versions. Some props, like the whack-able bushes, get completely destroyed and only leave a stump behind. While it would probably be more realistic to just remove everything except for maybe the trees, we felt like keeping the props with a burn effect on would make the map look more interesting than if everything was simply removed.

I also changed the color of the grass in the circle to a slightly more yellow-reddish hue, which would go along better with the flames:

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Of course, once the effect we showed last week is put on top of this, things will look slightly different. But there’s a basic preview, anyway!

Now, time for some polish!

Previously I had not yet added the door in the back of the courtyard, so I went ahead and made that. There’s both an opened and closed version:

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Since I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the way the cloth fall at the end of the ‘altar’, I decided to go back and edit the shape slightly:

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The courtyard still felt a bit empty, and not messy enough (some stuff is going down!), so I threw in a bunch of planks, some broken glass, and other stuff. In the burned version, I added a burn effect only on the parts of each object that’s within the fire:

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Finally, due to another time jump, there was need of a version of this place after the fire, where some time has passed. In order to illustrate that we added some newly grown grass, but not too much, since not that much time has passed at this point:

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And now, the final part of the courtyard project: the present version!

First up, a GIF of the demolishing progress of the entrance/exit:

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And then, a GIF of the transformation of the whole area! As usual, it’s all about breaking down items and adding more greenery. This map too will have two versions, one with a closed door and one with it open:

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Final thing (some objects will be replaced automatically by the game engine):

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In the housing department, it’s time to create the batch unlocked by entering Seasonne, and here are the basic items that will be available~

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While there aren’t a ton of christmas-y items here yet, rest assured there will be a whole bunch of them before I’m done with this batch! Christmas trees, piles of presents, greenery hanging on the wall, christmas stockings…! Just you wait and see.

Also, feel free to suggest other christmas-inspired items (or any kind, really) here or on the forums :3

And now, some of Fred’s animations, featuring the second stage of the Mimic fight:

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First of all, thanks a lot for your comments on last week’s blog post! Most people seem to agree that Easy Mode isn’t needed, so that’s how we’ll keep it until it seems that opinion have changed :)

This week we’ve once more, in the spirit of having shorter design meetings but scheduling them more often, had another set of discussion regarding upcoming Grindea stuff! This time we’ve mainly focused on the next dungeon (!) and the bow.

The Fourth Dungeon
So, we’ve talked a lot about this back and forth over the years. We do know we want it to be ghost/undead themed, but it’s been hard to decide on a setting, and we’ve gone from wanting it to be a ghost ship, to a ghost ship + an island, to a shrine on an island, and back to just a single ghost ship. After today’s meeting I’m fairly certain the 4th dungeon will indeed be a ghost ship, where your goal is to move from the bottom of the ship to the deck where the final artifact awaits you.

So far, in our very basic design, there will be a big floor at the bottom, which will be used as the ship’s storage area and where you’ll move through a set of rooms solving various obstacles until you get the skill used in this dungeon: an item that allows you to see into the spirit world. Some of the enemies and other.. things.. on this ship can only be seen & interacted with when using this skill. That means there might be flying swords coming after you that you can do nothing about until you have the skill that allows you to see the actual enemies!

The following two floors will consist a main corridor, which you’re supposed to get through. Only there’s obstacles in the way forcing you into other doors in hopes of finding a way around the obstacles, finding enemies and challenges on the way.

The ghost ship will probably be around the size of Temple of Seasons (that’s what we aim for, at least), and the main focus of the dungeon will be to use the dungeon skill to solve various puzzles and obstacles.

The Bow
We also talked a bit about the bow, since it’s something we haven’t touched upon a lot since it was implemented a hundred years ago! We agreed that we want to add more upgrades for the bow in general -even bigger quivers, more damage, etc, but we’re also looking into adding a bunch of talents for it (we want to add a ton of talents for basically everything, haha).

We’re also thinking of adding a NPC somewhere that can modify your bow into a fire or ice bow (there might be more options as we come up with them). With the fire bow, your arrows have a chance to burn on enemies, and the ice bow has a chance to make them cold. I’m guessing this NPC would be found in the later stages of the game, perhaps in the upcoming desert town. Either that or modifying your bow will be expensive enough for most people to save up for it for a while. But nothing about that is set in stone yet – gotta finish Tai Ming first :)

Speaking of Tai Ming, we’re of course continuing to work on the final part. This week I began working the second to last map for Tai Ming: The Courtyard!

After this there’s actually only the final Boss Room (which will have a couple of variations, so it’s still a bit of work left before I’m ready to completely leave Tai Ming behind)… What a journey!

For this background, let’s start with the basic sketch:

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The circle in the middle are my indications of where you need to be able to battle stuff, hence there shouldn’t be a lot of stuff in the way around there. Otherwise we have a huge altar of sorts, and some greenery…

Progress:

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And the final image below! You may notice the door from my sketch (on the altar) is missing. Actually you probably didn’t notice since it wasn’t very clear it was a door…. BUT in any case, there will, indeed be a door there in the future (I hadn’t made it at the point of taking the screencap below…):

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A somewhat related thing we’ve been working on recently is creating a suitable effect for an upcoming battle! In this recap, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at our iteration progress as we implement and improve upon an idea.

So, this battle takes place in that courtyard above, and in the beginning, we had a vague idea of the battle area being surrounded by a circle of flames. Once the background was ready, Teddy went ahead and made a quick prototype of what that circle could look like:

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While it certainly gives some kind of effect, it also felt a bit underwhelming. While discussing our options, we thought about making the trees and bushes burn, using another color flame and using different sizes for the flame particles, among other things, but nothing really felt spot on.

During our talk it also turned out some of us had imagined the flame circle differently. And so we went on to prototype another idea, where the fire would cover everything not inside the battle area.

Cue another screenshot:

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Now this felt a bit more epic, but it still felt like it missed something. So I decided to take the above screenshot into Photoshop and started painting on top of it, creating a mockup of what I thought would be a cool effect for the battle:

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After showing it to the others, Teddy used my mockup as a base and created a third prototype, this time featuring the illustrated effects:

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After seeing this in action, we all pretty much agree this is a much better direction than the first basic flame circle. And we’re still gonna add/edit a bunch of stuff! For one, the graphics are all prototype here, the sparks in the air and the flame particles will be different in the final version. We’ll also the add the burning trees and greenery we talked about after seeing the first prototype, and I’ll edit the ground to look more burnt around the flames.

Now, we could have chosen to look at the fire circle in the first screenshot and say “this is OK, let’s keep it”. Instead, we kept pushing to make the scene better and more epic. Would it have saved us a lot of time to just stick with the original idea? Yes. Would the fight be as epic in the end? No.

And this is why it’s so hard for us to estimate how long things will take! Sometimes our first try is good enough, but often we have to spend a lot of time prototyping different options and change stuff before we get something we’re truly satisfied with. Is it worth it in the end? Well, I certainly believe it is and I hope you guys agree! :)

….And now for something different.

After some further discussing of the Housing and it’s ‘batch’ system (where you unlock a batch of x items in the furniture shop every time you enter a new area), we made a list of base items that should be included in each batch!

There will be a bunch of additional, random items as well, but we thought it would be good to have a common base for each batch. The items available in each batch will be:

1x Floortile
1x Wallpaper
1x Bed
1x Nightstand
2x Tables (one square and one rectangular)
2x Seats (one 1×1 tiled and one 1×2-1×3)
1x Window

And so, I went ahead and added a bunch of basic items for the two batches I already started working on (more special items to come):

01

My dream for the Flying Fortress window above is that it’ll have tiny clouds floating by, but I haven’t confirmed 100% it’ll actually happen yet. If it ends up being too time consuming to implement we’ll come up with something else (or make a loopable animation of it perhaps).

02

The above set will unlock when you enter Pumpkin Woods. Some of you might wish for a more extreme Halloween theme with scary ghosts and creepy stuff, but don’t worry! Those needs should be satisfied with another upcoming batch for.. another area… :3

Finally, because tradition, have a sneak peek at what Fred’s working on right now – the second stage of the Mimic battle! Yes, it’s growing…

MimicStage2

Hey guys! In order to keep things clear about where we’re heading, plus better keeping track of our design ideas, we’ve decided to have shorter meetings but keep them more often. So this week it was time to get together and discuss the future of Grindea once more! There are some pretty big design decisions going on here… Let’s dive into ’em:

Making magic weapons semi-ranged
So, magic weapons don’t give as much attack, and it kind of sucks that magic users face a clear disadvantage when they’ve run out of mana. So we decided that we want to add a tiny magic orb (or something like that) that shoots out from the magic weapons as you hit with them, making the range of your weapon slightly longer. Of course, this won’t be long range by any means, but it should make it possible to do some damage while running around waiting for that energy to recharge.

Easy Mode or no Easy Mode?
We had a quite long discussion about whether or not to implement Easy Mode. On the surface it seems like such an easy decision: why not add Easy Mode? Well, our worry is that by adding Easy Mode, a lot of people who would succeeded in Normal Mode after trying a little longer, would just give up on harder challenges and swap to Easy Mode. And, in doing so, they would probably end up thinking ‘man that’s annoying’ rather than ‘OMG I FINALLY MADE IT’ upon victory.

We’ve had a lot of forum threads or feedback that begins with someone claiming something is impossible, only for them to come back a while later saying ‘okay I totally get it now, this is amazing’. Would those people persist and end up feeling amazing after beating that difficult challenge if there was an Easy Mode? Or would they end up thinking Normal Mode is too hard and the game is poorly balanced since they felt forced into swapping to an easier setting?

In the beginning of our time in Early Access there were quite a few of threads with people claiming the overall game was too hard, but as time has progressed, those threads don’t seem to appear any longer and those who do have problems end up farming for levels and better items before giving the challenge a go again.

So, perhaps Easy Mode is not as needed as we first thought? Because of this we probably won’t implement Easy Mode anytime soon, anyway (but we’ll definitely reconsider if there’s renewed complains about the game’s difficulty).

Making Fishing more challenging
Fishing is… well, fishing, so it’s very straight forward and there’s only so many steps in difficulty. Unfortunately that also makes fishing kind of repetitive after a while, so we’re considering adding another mechanic after a couple of maps. The mechanic we’re thinking about is that the fish can move up or down as well, which means that at some point the fish will dive/swim upwards and you’ll have to press up or down accordingly within the time limit. Of course, this isn’t a high priority addition, so it probably won’t happen for a while. But in the long run it might help make fishing a little bit more interesting.

Potion Rework / Bottle Addition

Potions are great, but we don’t like how they work right now, where you can stack endless numbers and basically get a permanent increase in whichever stat so long as you have enough potions. To counter this, we’re strongly considering an introduction of Bottles which are a very limited commodity of which you’ll only be able to find 3 in total. These bottles can then be filled with the potion of your choice.

You’d get your first bottle from Remedi after clearing the Collector’s Trials, and after you’ve decided what to put in it and use it for the first time, it will slowly refill itself over time and as you do damage on regular enemies (yes, it’s a magic bottle). If you have more than one bottle, you can choose whether to fill the bottles with the same potion or use different potions. You can use two different potions at once, but you won’t be able to drink another potion of the same kind until the first one’s effect has run out.

With this change, it’d also be possible to reintroduce health potions, for all of you guys constantly asking about various healing features ;) Of course, we’ll likely balance them so it’s more efficient to use the other potions, but maybe it’d still help ease the minds of those who really want to be able to heal their character.

There are more cards this week, as well, as we finish up the Tai Ming card album! First up: the Ancient Statue card :)

01

For this card, my notes said the statue got some bird poop on it. It quickly became a fine line between painting the statue big enough for the poop to show up in the final image, while also not only being about the statue. In the end I think I went slightly too small with the statue, but whatever!

02

For this card I kept the colors soft and didn’t go too crazy with the highlights. Some variation and all that.. :)

For the second card, let’s take a look at the Monkey Card! My notes for the monkey card said: the monkey holding a plate of fruits. Alright then:

01 (1)

After painting the base and resizing, I added a couple cherry blossom trees (used the game sprites for this), to give the pic a bit more Tai Ming feeling:

02 (1)

Now! Time for the final Tai Ming Card (unless I’ve forgotten something and lost the notes?!): Echo of Madness!!

I used a slightly different approach when making this card, because I knew I wanted to use the backgrounds from the game for this one. So, I began by making the Echo and a mirror against a transparent background, keeping the center of the mirror transparent as well (my notes were: the Echo is standing in front of a mirror, but he has no mirror image):

01 (2)

Next, I added the game background, and another part of it slightly tilted for the mirror, as well as a speech bubble. Cause why not:

02

…Aaand the finished card:

03

Alright! Before posting some fresh non-spoilery (well, kinda) animations made by Fred, let’s take a look at some more housing items!

The theme for this batch is Flying Fortress, (tho I added some other stuff to give you an idea of what it can look like combined with items from other areas). Most of the items are based on sprites found throughout the game, only resized (or completely remade) to fit the grid.

bed

Housing Interior_001

It is my hopes that both the sentry and the broom will be animated to at least move up and down in the air, though it would be pretty cool if the sentry could move around the house on its own. I guess that’s up to Teddy, though, who would have to implement those features :)

And finally!!! A sneak peek of what the final Tai Ming boss will look like:

Mimicc