It’s Monday again guys! Did you have a nice week? We sure did! You see, last Wednesday was Fred’s birthday. You didn’t forget to say congrats to him did you? …did you?! ;)
Anyway! When not celebrating Fred’s birthday we spent our time continuing working on Tai Ming. Vilya has now moved on to the second Tai Ming map (wohoo, finally), and also made a few new trees to decorate the areas:
Also, as we promised last time, here’s a sneak peek of the boss prototype Teddy has been working on:
First up (above), a move where she pulls you close to herself, then starts pulling circles of fans closer to herself until you’re forced to take damage unless you find your way out of the circle. Touch the fans and you take damage, so you better watch where you move!
Next up is a variation of the above, but instead of pulling fans closer to her, she keeps a smaller circle surrounding the two of you and moves back and forth. Move with her in order to avoid taking damage!
In this third move, she sends a bunch of homing fans after you in a pattern! You better keep moving or you’re gonna get hurt.
Here’s another version of the move where she pulls you next to her, surrounding the both of you with fans. In this version you have to run around her to avoid the damage (kind of similar to the Power Flower move earlier)!
And of course, what better addition to any Grindea boss than some kind of bullet hell move, right?! We’re still playing around with different patterns, so if you have any other ideas, go ahead and let us know what you’d like to see!
Now, to end this post is another couple of NPCs made by Fred:
What in the world is going on?! Stay tuned to find out :)
It’s a new week, and time for a new blog post! This week there was another patch, which also is up on the stable beta now. That means those of you who play on Stable can finally experience Mount Bloom and all it’s secrets!
In the newest patch we also added this little fellow to the game:
He’s a traveling merchant which will be in town selling a bunch of new weapons and gear during the festival. If you already played through the festival, you don’t have to worry though! His stock will be added to the other stores in town once he leaves :)
Other than that it’s business as usual: working on Tai Ming! Vilya has continued destroying the background, and soon there’s really not much left to ruin:
It’s time for the Weekly Recap! Wohoo! For those that didn’t know, a new Frontline patch went live last week, which obviously has kept us busy for a while. This one features a bunch of side quests!
If you want to know how many to look for: there are two new rooms with challenges which aren’t triggered by quests – you can do them by simply walking into them and uh… solving what appears before you.
There are also three quests triggered by characters in the cave. As always, we try to be pretty creative with our quests – I think you know by now that there aren’t exactly too many simple fetch quests (though one or two of these might have elements similar to that).
It’s also possible to get the proper achievement (and reward) for catching all Mount Bloom fishes (a proper Angler Fish hat):
And as always, a bunch of new expressions were made for our silly cast (but what is Belmont doing among them?!)
But we haven’t only been working on the patch (or on finding and fixing the bugs that you guys helped us discover after the patch went live), we’ve also worked on Tai Ming. Vilya continues to destroy the first map:
And Fred has spent some time on the annoying monkeys you’ll face up against in the present version of the town (they are still WIP, so beware of stray pixels and missing tails)!
Another week has gone by and we’re continuing work on the upcoming Time Travel temple! Teddy is back in town as well, so there should be a patch up and running before the end of the week, featuring the side quests of Mount Bloom!
Anyway, back in the office Vilya has continued working on the ruining the area around the Barracks, which have seen some neglect over the years as you time travel back and forth:
A while ago we also started working on the second Tai Ming Zone, which will be the actual village part of the area/temple-thingy! For this one, we really want the player to think a bit more. This place is more about exploration and figuring out how to solve the quests than going from point a to point b and doing something mechanically. Instead, the entire map becomes your puzzle, where you have to change certain things in the past to unlock a way forward in the present.
Of course, when in the present we’ve thrown in a bunch of encounters and places where you’ll have regular battles as well. After all, this is still supposed to be somewhat temple-y, and the enemies do drop cards..!
In the end, this is what our little layout ended up like! Below is the Past version, where everyone’s still in town, living their everyday life:
And here’s the present version, where things are in ruin, overgrown and forgotten (with roaming enemies!):
Now, this is just an early sketch so things may still change (such as distances, house sizes etc). And obviously the houses and stuff won’t look like they do here, they are all placeholder until the actual graphic for them has been made!
Oh, and speaking of enemies by the way, here’s a couple more animations for one of those you’ll encounter in this area, made by Fred this week:
This week we’ve moved on to working on the time travel temple until Teddy is home and ready to patch the Mount Bloom sidequests into the game!
First up though, something important we forgot in the mountain: fishing opportunities! Of course you’ll be able to fish in the mountain as well, so there had to be some fishes created:
So the top one is the Anglerfish, hidden deep beneath the waves where it eats unsuspecting smaller fishes, such as the Wimp! Like some of the rare fishes, it has two icons, which allows us to use a larger one when the character holds it above his/her head, and a smaller one that fits inside the inventory circle.
The blue one is actually not made for Mount Bloom. Instead, we’re swapping the Rock Fish from pillar mountains for this one (which is supposed to be a Salmon, btw). The Rock fishie will instead be moved into Mount Bloom, where we feel it fits a bit better.
The purple one is a little crystal fish, and the gold one… a gold fish!
Then we have the slimy Mossfish, and a message in a bottle! Which may or may not contain a side quest…. ;)
As Vilya moved back to the temple, she decided to upgrade the old Grindea statue and make another version of it, featuring a sword, for the ancient village:
These new statues will at some point be replacing the old Grindea statues scattered across the land, for now though we continue to focus on Tai Ming (the time travel village)!
Vilya actually started transforming the past version of the first village map (which she created long ago) into its present, ruined version! Here’s the first step:
There’s still a long way to go, but it’s a start! Here’s a list of some of the things still to be added/changed:
* Tone down the colors of the house a bit – paint tend to fade, after all
* Destroy one of more of the pillars
* Add more vines to the building
* Ruin the roof & create a hole from one of the windows
* Add moss to everything!
* Destroy & add moss to the statue
* Bigger bushes & plants here and there
* Add more rocks that have fallen from the walls/cave roof (if there’s one?!)
* Make the containers (barrels & crates) overgrown & broken
…..and the list goes on! As you can see, this will be quite a project, so there will be quite a few videos like this of the transformation. Hope you like it!
And to end this post, after being in Germany for a week, Fred is back in the office and ready to pump out a bunch of new animations! Two of them can be seen here:
A new week, in which we continue to work on the Mount Bloom side quests!
There are new doors, leading deeper into the caves, where two very different challenges appear…
The first one, as you know, is the Phase Puzzle challenge. Last week we decided to change the graphics of the Spark puzzle a bit, having the barrels move on rails instead of floating in the air (to make it less abstract and easier to spot when the rails are covered in electricity that will throw you out of the barrel):
The second challenge will involve this new crystal type:
(The crystals will be randomly generated by the game engine, so it only looks as if it’s the same one in this Photoshop screenshot. Also, the lower walls will appear above everything in the game, so ignore any overlaps you spot!)
In this challenge you have to get past a large number of these heavier crystals, which don’t easily break when you hit them. In fact, it takes a long long time to get them out of the way – and it’s time you don’t have. You see, the corridor where you’ll find these heavier crystals is filled with poisonous gas! How will you ever get through to the other side?!
This Caveling, called Chix, is a new character which has a very important quest for you:
You see, it seems he has lost his pet inside the cave system, and he really wants his dear old pal to find its way back to him. Can you help him find it?
Of course, you can’t have side quests and challenges without proper rewards. One of which (spoiler alert) will be a gas mask! Since Vilya has a tradition of uploading videos featuring 4 hats, she threw together 3 more which we don’t know exactly where they will appear yet:
(In the end, we decided to go for dark eyes for the gas mask, so after the video was finished we changed it into this:)
While we’re close to finishing up these side quests (we only have very minor things left), unfortunately Teddy is leaving for Stockholm in a few days, which means he’ll be unable to patch until he gets back home (his laptop messes up the game font when compiling). However, he’ll still work from there, so while we’re not hitting upload on this patch just yet, we’ll continue to work on the next temple until he’s back and ready to patch from a safe computer :)
Last week ended up being spent both on the final Mount Bloom things as well as the next temple. Teddy started off the week prototyping the optional phase puzzle challenge(s), and while we were sending them around for in-house testing, we simultaneously worked ahead with designing the next upcoming enemy visuals and improving our old temple backgrounds.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – first, let’s take a look at said prototypes….
First up is a new type of puzzle mechanic, where you have to avoid getting hit by sparks by shooting yourself back and forth between two of those “donkey barrels”. This gets increasingly harder, starting with you just having to avoid tiny stationary sparks, but after a while there will be long lines of spark moving in the opposite direction of your barrels.
When we’re adding the real artwork for this (keep in mind all you see here is strictly WIP and/or placeholder), we want the sparks exchanged for fields of electricity instead, that can be short or long depending on the difficulty of the part of the challenge.
There will, of course, be regular puzzles as well – only much harder than the ones you encountered in the main story portion of the game! Figuring out where to go, how to get there and – perhaps most important of all – knowing exactly when to shoot yourself out of the barrels will be crucial in these puzzles!
Once we were satisfied with the prototypes, Vilya went ahead and started working on getting the actual background art in place:
Okay, but what about the temple stuff?! Well, as you may remember, a while ago Vilya was working on the first zone of the temple (which in fact is a time travel village, so we should probably stop calling it a temple). This week she continued this work, adding a bunch of details to the upper part of the map:
As for the enemies, here’s what the current lineup looks like:
As always, these are subject to change or redesign as we work ahead! For now though, there’s a cute little worm, a mysterious patch of moss (?!), an annoying monkey, and a statue on a rampage!
These guys will appear in the present state of the time travel village, where everything is abandoned, ruined and overgrown (kind of continuing on the whole Mount Bloom theme, but using a different approach). Provoked by the presence of the artifact, even the statues come to life to haunt you! Oh no!
But first, we gotta finish those Mount Bloom side quests….. So, see you next week! :D
Last week we uploaded the main quest of Mount Bloom to the Frontline beta, but as you know, we still have a way to go before the mountain is complete! So, this week we’ve mainly been focusing on the side quests and secrets that will appear in the caves.
We’re planning on adding four side quests/secrets to the mountain. Two of those will be regular quests, and two of them will be challenges or puzzles you’ll have to find on your own, so to speak. Once the rest of the game is complete, we’ll probably return to Mount Bloom (as well as all the other areas) and add more side stuff, but for now I think we all want to move along as quickly as possible and get more main story completed, right? Therefore, we’ll settle for four things for now, which should be enough to make the mountain feel alive for people running through the stable beta.
So, Teddy has been on prototyping duty. Spoiler spoiler, but there will be more Phase Shift puzzles as part of one of the secrets – and they’re gonna be a lot harder than the main story ones! These puzzles need to be thought out, prototyped using the game engine and then tried by us and our closest friends before we decide which ones we actually want to use – and which ones need to be edited, scrapped or made harder…
Vilya, meanwhile, has been working on some additional backgrounds which will lead you to the hidden puzzle(s):
We also figured that the Power Flower boss needed a boss portrait – it just seemed a little bit lame the way it appeared without any sort of introduction. So we went ahead and added one of those too:
Fred has also been working on some NPC animations for the side quests, but because they would more or less spoil the outcome of our quests, we decided against showing them. Instead, here’s a few more boss animations he’s been doing as well:
As you may or may not see, these animations aren’t done yet: when we make enemy sprites we always make “sketch”-animations for them to begin with, where some pixels may be missing or certain lines aren’t properly cleaned up. This way, if we end up scrapping an attack or want to change the way it looks when we prototype the actual fight, we won’t have wasted as much time. Only after it’s possible to play the entire boss with all animation sketches added and everything feels good, we let Fred continue on to polish & clean up the sketches.
Speaking of sketches, Fred also started working on one of the enemies you’ll meet in the time travel temple…. A monkey! Here’s a bunch of sketches he made while trying to come up with what the monkey should look like, as well as the final versions we decided upon:
The colors may yet change once they’re added to the game and we see what they look like against the background. But, that’s for another post! For now, it’s time for us to head back to side quest making.