Another week has gone past! We updated the Stable Beta on Steam a few days ago, so if you’re a Stable user now’s a good time to play again: plenty of quests and a few new systems has been added for you to play around with~

Now, what have we been up to this week? Our main concern has been Steam Leaderboards for Arcade Mode, which has kept both Vilya and Teddy busy in GUI-making-land:

highscore BEJBI

Now, the highscores will be sorted in 2 different ways. First, how many players were present in the run, which means that single player, 2-player, 3-player and 4-player runs all will have their own highscore entries. You swap between these by pressing up or down (as indicated by the arrows next to the title).

Second, a filter option will let you browse through global scores, friends only, and your own highest score. You swap between these by pressing tab.

These leaderboards haven’t been implemented yet, but they should be in an upcoming patch! What was implemented, though, is the ability to hide your pet:

HidePet02

HidePet01

This function is something that has been on our to-do list for the longest while, and I’m sure a lot of you are happy to finally be able to hide pets that refuse to leave you alone! Go check it out by opening the Pet Menu from your Character tab.

Other than that, Vilya has been cleaning up and improving a few more things in different areas. Among the things she did was adding a bunch of decorations to the balcony in Startington:

Balcony

As well as transforming this pretty empty area:

Snowland01Before

…Into something a bit more exciting, featuring decorative snow caves (yay?)!

Snowland02After

Our goal with these snow caves was to have the yeti spawn from them, but we aren’t exactly sure if we’ll get around to that or if they’ll simply be decorative in the end.

Lastly, we’ll end the post with some cool animations by Fred, who keeps making gold charges! Here’s the Shadow Clone version:

ShadowCloneGold

As we’ve been developing this game, all of us have improved a lot. Today, both the graphical assets and the way we handle things programming wise are much different than they were when we first started out. Because of that, we thought it would be a good idea to have Vilya rework some of the early graphics so they’d fit in better with the later stuff! After all, we want any newcomers who purchase the game after it goes live on Steam Early Access to get the best first impression possible.

So, here are some things she’s been working on this week, in regards to that (most of these updates are actually already live and running in the Frontline beta, so go ahead and check them out):

01 - Before Balcony

First up – all houses in Startington have been updated as can be seen above! We’re gonna color correct them a bit in the next patch, making them slightly darker so they won’t pop as much against the background.

02 - Before Staket
Almost all fences in the game have been or will be updated as well. These new ones are, like the houses, basically cleaned up versions with slightly different colors than their old counterparts.

03 - Before Wood
Same goes for the wood! The old versions were kind of green and messy-looking, which has been corrected as of the latest patch.

04 - BeforeWell
The well also got a small correction: the wood is a bit cleaner and has been color corrected, and the bucket has been redesigned.

05 - Bridge
The suspension bridges have been updated as well: cleaner lines, fewer colors, less sickly green hues.

06 - Fishing
The bridge where the fisherman is had to be updated as well – it simply wasn’t safe for him to stand on such a moldy, worn down old thing with stray pixels everywhere! Now he can feel safe while awaiting his next catch.

As of the latest patch, there’s also a bunch of new items and two new character portraits to be found:

drops

Portraits A

Portraits B

Meanwhile, Fred has been working on finishing up those last Gold Charge Spells! Here’s another one, the earth spike now turned into a giant hand:

EarthSpike

The Seasonne patch hit the Frontline beta on Steam on Saturday, and received a patch of hotfixes today! As we’ve talked about in previous blog posts, the patch adds a bunch of content to the Winterland, making it feel more alive. If you haven’t played it yet, you should check it out and tell us what you think!

If you’ve forgotten how to change to the Frontline version, check out this thread.

santascreenSanta needs halp!

All the new content gave Vilya a ton of portrait work, so that’s where a good chunk of her efforts have been directed the past week! Here are some of the massive amount of portraits she made:

Expressions05

Expressions04

Expressions01

Expressions03

Expressions02

06 - Sprites 06 - sprites (1)

Meanwhile, Fred has jumped back into creating the animations we’re going to need for all the gold skill charges! Below are all the different casting effects of the Berserker Mode!

Berserk

 

Soon, the day will come when Teddy shall put all these new skill charges into the game… (but first, he must add Steam achievements and Arcade Mode online leaderboards!)

This week we’ve focused most of our attention on breathing some life into Seasonné, also known as the Winterland. Besides progressing the main quest, there hasn’t been much to do besides bashing Frostlings and Yetis. We’ve tried to change this by adding 4 new side quests, as well as opening up all cave areas for you guys to explore.

We’re aiming to update the Frontline beta during the weekend with the new quests, paired together with some balancing changes to Arcade mode. As always, we would love your feedback on everything and anything so keep your eyes open later during the week!

Beyond Seasonné, Vilya has worked diligently to finish up the last missing portraits for the final cut scenes of the Temple of Seasons. This should (which often means it’s not) be the last of them from this area. Hurray!

06 - sprite

05 - Sprite

portrait_elderwinter

portrait_naniva

She’s also kept up with the Achievement icons from last week:

Nya Achievements

slimeachievement

Fred has had a break from the skills this week and been mainly busy with animations for the new side quests. Below are a few of said animations, including one were Santa brutally dies from eating a Christmas cookie laced with nitroglycerin (or does he??).

SantaCookie

And wait… Who are these tiny guys?!

TinySanta

There’s only one way to find out… Finish the quest next weekend! :D

This week, Vilya has spent a lot of her time working on a piece of promotional artwork that we’ll use on Steam (among other places):

Capsule Mockup

Still a bit unsure whether the pillar will look like this in the end – we’ve been playing around with various enemies & player character combinations so that might still change. We also might add additional pillars in the distance of the background.. We’ll see!

We also started doing some work on Steam Achievements! All achievements in the game will be available as achievements on Steam as well, so we had to edit the icons to fit those dimensions:

Steam Achievements

Fred, in the meanwhile, has kept working on the skills. The Frosty Friend has gone from rowdy teenager to a fully grown snow… Thing.

FrostyIdle

Other than that, we’re working on finishing up the cutscenes before and after the Temple of Seasons boss, so that’s mostly what Teddy has kept himself busy with. Currently, the game ends rather abruptly after finishing the boss – we want the player to return to the collector’s HQ and get a proper message about not being able to continue the main story to avoid confusion.

Oh, and in the next patch, we’ll add proper screenshots to each of the skills that were missing one in their “more info” tab! Yay for no more “no picture (yet)” messages! :)

skillpics

In case you missed our tweet about it, and doesn’t frequent the forum, the Steam network update is now live on the Frontline beta!

invite med luft

You can either use the interfaces available in-game (as shown above), or use your friend list in the Steam overlay to invite or join friends playing a multiplayer game!

Now that the Steam stuff is all in place (and seems to be running surprisingly smoothly so far), Teddy is finally free to work on other things! The next patch is going to feature a more fleshed out Seasonne, as well as a proper ending for the Temple of Seasons.

Apart from some new interfaces for the new Steam functionality, Vilya has been continuing her work on future portions of the game! Below is the portrait of a young kid who’s going to play a rather important role in events to come (and has come to pass):

05 - Sprites

Here’s also one of the rooms she’s been working on for the area(s) where said boy will appear:

Barracks F1

She also started working on a new piece of promotional artwork, which will serve as our banner(s) on Steam, as well as replace the current character art on the from page of this website! Stay tuned for the finished version of that in next week’s recap :D

Last week we talked briefly about our decision to make our move towards Steam Early Access. This brings a lot of positive things with it, and one of the shiniest additions is the Steam Networking.

One of our main features for Secrets of Grindea has always been the online co-op possibilites. Sadly, evil routers all around the world have made this difficult to setup for a lot of players. With access to to Steam’s own network systems, the days of failed port forwarding and stubborn Hamachi clients will soon be over!

Teddy has spent the entire week working on said networking features and have got it up and running smoothly. Now you’ll be able to simply invite players from your Steam Friends and get a multiplayer game up and running in no time!

Steam

The Steam Networking features might do a pit stop in the Frontline beta for some good old bug hunting, before we shuffle it into the Stable beta. We’ll give a heads up before it happens!

Besides multiplayer, the skills have stayed in the spotlight for this week. Besides adding the Gold Charges, we are also reworking some of the skills that have been considered over powered/under powered/just lame overall by ourselves and our player base.

The summons of the game have been in need of buff to amp up their usability. Both the Summon Plant and Frosty Friend skills (Not the Cloud. We all love the Cloud <3) have been reworked to some extent, to hopefully juice them up a bit!

The Summon Plant skill still has the same base mechanics as before (Time based, invulnerable summon that dish out damage) but we’ve done some changes to the charge levels.

PlantLineup2

The Silver Charge (previously just a beefier version of the basic plant) now has a ranged attack. This small but still significant change hopefully will make the plants more useful later in the game.
The Gold Charge (as of now, things always change) works as a Commander, buffing the rest of the plants in an area around it while being able to dish out good damage on its own.

Unlike the Plant, the Frosty Friend has received some actual changes to its base mechanics. There was not much you could do to avoid losing it during bosses and crowded Arcade Mode rooms, which deterred most players from wanting to spend any skill points on it. In an attempt to help with this, we’ve introduced a Command Menu, giving players some more control over their summon!

snowman skills

Once the Frosty Friend have been summoned, pressing the same button again will no longer desummon it, but instead bring up the Command Menu. From the menu you can give your summon simple commands, with more unlocking as you reach new Charge Levels. Activating the commands will not cost any EP, instead we’ve chosen to go with a Cooldown system. Using a command will render it unusable for a short while.

In the mockup above, the commands visible are Defensive, Aggressive, and Desummon.

Desummon does exactly what you think it does. The Aggressive command puts the Frosty Friend in a aggressive stance, boosting attack damage but lowering defense. Usable for when you find an opening to attack during a boss encounter!

The Defensive command gives Frosty a huuuge defense boost and makes him immobile for a while. You could use this when your summon is in i tricky spot and needs to soak up a lot of damage (an annoying boss attack for example). We’ve talked briefly about giving it Perfect Guard mechanics (maybe it could reset cooldowns!?) but we’re still on the fence about it. What do you guys think?

ProtectSide2

 

This week we’ve got some news!

First of all, we’ll very soon (first thing when we wake up tomorrow, actually) update the game with the new floors for Arcade Mode, for you guys to test! With this update we’re also adding a slight change to how Arcade Mode works, where you’ll receive a health potion instead of a health orb should you reach a new floor with full health! The health orbs will also remain after leaving the first room, so you can go back and collect it later :)

Secondly, a lot of you have been asking when the game will be available on Steam Early Access, and the answer to that is (hopefully) soon-ish! We have decided that it’s time we start getting that ball rolling, so we’re gonna focus on polishing the current content for an update of the Stable beta and create some fancy art for the various banners that appear on Steam. As soon as we’re done with that, the game should finally(!) be ready for early access over on Steam as well!

Now, for the actual ‘recap’ part of this blog, here’s some skill animations that Fred has been working on:

CloudMax NovaMax

Vilya has kept working on the Time Travel Town in Mount Bloom, and this time around there’s a bunch of portraits of people you’ll meet there:

06 - Finished sprite

06 - sprites

05 - Sprites

Videos of her working on these, as well as other parts of the area, can be viewed over on her personal Secrets of Grindea-themed YouTube account!

Now, back to work! See you next week :)

The past couple of weeks, Teddy have been working on bringing the new areas into Arcade Mode, and is finally closing in on finishing up (our hopes are to patch in the four new floors before the end of the week)!

We’re doing our best to find that sweet spot of being infuriatingly difficult, yet fair, and also creating interesting traps and compositions for the different areas. Beta testing these new floors is a bit of a challenge, seeing as only a handful of our glorious beta testers have reached the end of the current content, but eventually we’ll nail it down!

Meanwhile, Fred has been hard at work in the skill factory, creating new charges for all the spells! Below are new animations for the Summon Plant and Blade Flurry spells.

Plant2

Flurry3

Vilya’s off doing her own thing, creating the environments for the next “temple”, a village with a twist on time! For those interested in her work (who isn’t?!), you should check out her blog, where she’s begun posting some sweet time lapses of her workflow!

Here’s her latest one for example, where she’s pimping out one of the early village maps:

A feature that has been missing since we first introduced charge levels to the skills have been the Gold Charge. Since most players wouldn’t reach high enough levels to unlock those we’ve been prioritizing pretty much everything else over them up until now.

However, we are reaching a point in the game where the Gold Charges are becoming relevant during the average playthrough. Introducing a new charge level will bring with it a lot of balancing and tweaking, so we decided the timing felt just right to start the rather massive task of finally implementing them properly into the game.

Because of the fast paced nature of the combat in Secrets of Grindea, we can’t go full “Knights of the Round” in terms of extravagant effects (even though we want to, deep down). We want to amp up the graphics of course, but still keep the fluidity of casting the skills. It will be an interesting balancing act going forward, but we’re confident we’ll be able to combine the best of both worlds!

Below are some “soon to appear in the game, coupled with some dope particle effects and other stuff to make them feel even cooler”-animations made by Fred during the past week. Namely for the Ice Spike, Heroic Slam and Insect Swarm.
IceSpikeMaxSlamMax

InsectSwarmMax

BTW, if you’ve always had this cool idea of what your favorite spell’s Gold Charge would look like, or how it’d work, feel free to leave any suggestions in this thread on the forums, and we’ll check it out! :)

Meanwhile, Vilya has started sketching what will eventually become the next temple – which isn’t much of a temple at all, but rather a hidden village! Here are some of her early sketches, featuring a set of houses:

02-House-sketches

The village will be hidden inside a mountain and will be somewhat inspired by ancient Asia visually. More artwork from this village will be available next week! :)