Are you ready for some super early Monkey previews? Good, cause here they are:


So, this is a very early prototype! One thing that definitely will be changed is the actual throw, which is a bit too high. The Monkeys also shouldn’t turn into brawler bots as they attack you… ;)

The monkey has two attacks: it can hit you or it can throw another enemy at you. Each enemy it throws will have have a different kind of impact as it lands: the statue sends shockwaves in 4 directions, the plant releases a ton of seeds, and the thorn-worms will simply do a ton of damage!


Oh yeah, right now the thorn worm don’t have the proper sprite for when they’re carried, so they kind of look like silly Digletts getting carried around, but in the future they will be rolled up!

You might wonder why we didn’t implement this enemy before releasing the first zone, but the answer is simple: it doesn’t appear until you’ve completed a (mandatory) quest in the second zone :)

Aside from the Monkey prototyping, we’ve also worked a lot on the backgrounds of Tai Ming’s second zone! One important mechanic there is that you’ll be able to raise and lower the water levels, and in doing so things will, of course, change on the map. First thing we need to add is two different states of the water levels: one where they are low, and one where they are high. When the levels are low, you should be able to see some of the ground through the water, and when they are high, you won’t be able to access the lower area of the map:



In the future, there will be decorative water effects animated along all the edges as well, making the water feel more alive!

We’ve also started turning the Past version of the outdoor map into its ruined, present state:





A lot of things are still subject to change here! Lots of small details missing like no cracks on the roof of the house in the first image, and too much darkness in the hollow house in the second. There’s also a chance we’ll edit things as more interiors get added – certain things on the inside might change the way the outside looks, etc :)

Finally, here’s some more Thorn-Worm boss animations from Fred:


We’re back for another recap! In case you missed it, we already added a tiny patch to the Frontline beta, featuring some bug fixes but also a solution to a problem a lot of people have been having with the first zone!

I’m of course talking about the fact that it takes a while before you realize you can push the statue out of the way in the past! To, hopefully, solve this, we’ve added a couple of things that hopefully nudges you in the right direction:


First up, we added the above NPC, pushing a statue back and forth in the top part of the map. He is based off the stonecutter in Evergrind City (an ancestor, perhaps?), and speaking to him will further explain that the statues are light and movable!


We also added the remnants of the statue trail to the ground in the present, hoping that it will make players think about possible ways to get around the rubble:


A lot of you have already made it past this puzzle, so it’s gonna be a bit difficult to tell whether these additions actually help or not. Hopefully, once the temple launches on the stable beta, we’ll get some idea based on how many people ask how to get past the statues :)

Some other things we’ve been working on includes a bunch of hats:


The statue hat is already in the game, while the rest will be Arcade Mode rewards or found in the next map, where the monkey enemy will be introduced!

And speaking of the second map, work on it is progressing smoothly so far. Here’s the present, ruined version of an interior we posted before:


Fred, meanwhile, has started working on the next boss battle, which will take place in the next map as well! This features a giant worm, and here’s a little sneak peek of what that will look like, surrounded by its spawn:


The first Tai Ming zone was released on Frontline this weekend! Wohoo!

If you don’t know what Frontline is, here’s a forum post explaining what the two beta versions are, and how to swap between them on Steam.

Last week was all about getting stuff ready for this patch, so here’s a quick recap of the most important things:

First up, we changed the Plantae Hostilis’ (or the cute little moss-enemy) attack a bit. In previous iterations the flowers it launched exploded on impact (with the ground), but since then we reworked it a little.

Basically we had two options that we tried out, one where the flowers took root and grew large, only to stay on the playfield for a while before exploding. Running into them would trigger the explosion as well, so you had to care where you stepped.

The second option was more or less a mix of the old version and the version mentioned above. The flowers would grow large before exploding after only a short while:


We thought this version was the better one, in the end, since it made sure you really saw where the explosion would take place clearly (it was a bit of an issue with the old version, where they just exploded upon landing), while not filling the area with more things to avoid.

There were a bunch of new characters to be made as well, so Vilya has been on portrait duty:






And let’s not forget, a new addition to some of Zhamla’s portraits:


We’ve already received a ton of great feedback, which has given us food for thought! Overall you guys seem to like the area, which we are incredibly happy about! There are some minor things we’d like to change for clarity’s sake though, and a few bugs that need to be straightened out. The usual stuff! That’s what we’ll be focusing on in the upcoming week, likely :)

Meanwhile, enjoy these animations made by Fred:




Hello guys! It’s another weekly recap, hopefully the last before we add the first Tai Ming map to frontline! Here’s what we’ve been focusing on this week (perhaps more than usual, remember that this blog is full of spoilers about what’s coming up next):


First up, expressions! Due to all the cutscenes in Tai Ming (it’s very character- and story heavy!), it’s only natural that a lot of expressions need to be made for the important characters. Above is the first boss, who ends up being the reason for your time travels in the first place. She’s a priestess from the old days, still guarding the old site of Tai Ming, the ancient town of the collectors after all these years…

Next is Zhamla Meer – a young, bright kid who just wants to have fun, but who may not get quite what he wants:


…because of his very stern adoptive father, Sizou! This old man has taken care of Zhamla since he was a baby, and has very high hopes for his ward:


Zhamla can take solace in the fact that he has a true friend in this girl though, who is Tessen, Sizou’s biological granddaughter! Zhamla and Tessen are growing up together and are the best of friends. So, there’s still some fun to be had even with a stern mentor/grandpa looking over your shoulder:


And then, we have the guards! No town is complete without guards, right? These guys look very similar to one another, and there’s a very good reason for it hidden inside the village!


And lastly, Zhamlas teacher in sword fighting, Faita:


There’s also a couple more character portraits, one which belongs to this shield, who also happens to be a sentient artifact (though not the one you’re looking for):



And of course, we can’t have an area with enemies and no drops! So, here’s a bunch of drop appearances as well:


We’ve also played around with adding memories/ghosts here and there and Tai Ming’s present version. These eerie figures will appear here and there across the maps and fade away if you get too close:


Aaaand, since there can never be too much polish, we added a few more rifts to the ground, so the big one blocking the path doesn’t feel to lonely:




Now then! We aim to have the new Frontline patch up and running sometime during the weekend (Friday if we’re lucky), so wish us luck on that! Hopefully there are no nasty bugs blocking the way :)

This week we’ve continued on work on the first Tai Ming zone!


Remember this old ruin? In our first iteration, we wanted this place to be blocked off and unable to enter. Well… We changed our minds. Instead, we want something ‘useful’ to the story to be in here, as we, well, found it to be the best place for it. So! Time to add another interior, although this one does not exactly come with a lot of decorations:


After implementing this version to the game build, we felt like it was a bit too empty compared to the pretty crowded past version…


SO we thought we’d try adding some of the furniture, but old and broken due to the long time that’s passed, of course:



On a similar note, we wanted to change some things around in this room as well:


Instead of having the four chests intact in the present, we thought it would be cooler if one of them had fallen apart, and another was opened. Just to mix things up a bit and create more of a disordered feeling:


Next up! The old collector’s guild will be very much up and running in Tai Ming, and as such, what better way of showing their prowess than having collectors do all kinds of quests in and around the town? Of course, there aren’t exactly many fun quests for a random collector to do here, so some just have to do the boring things. Like painting fences:


Of course, even these lower ranking collectors need portraits as well:


…and a bored expression for good measure:


Also, Teddy made another time warp effect:


While we liked the older one, it almost felt too ‘fluid’ and unepic. With this new one, you really get the sense of zoning between two different maps. We also like how the world kind of melts away, although it was pretty cool how the old one kind of merged the worlds together as well. For now, we’re gonna stick with this new one, but we’ll see what we end up with in the end!

Speaking of Teddy, he has also started implementing multiplayer for this zone, so that’s getting us one step closer to releasing the first map on Frontline (though we still have some work to do)!

Finally, have some yummy animations from Fred:




And that’s all for this week! See you next time :)

This week we’ve continued developing and implementing the enemy lineup! After some extensive testing where we played around with many different combinations of the enemies, we realized something was missing from our lineup: a big threat which you’d have to deal with asap, who could also tank enough damage to stay around for a while.

Basically, everytime we added a Yeti for fun, things got more interesting!


Pretty much all of the enemies here have either AOE attacks or movement/attack patterns that need you to mind your position, and they’re not exactly super easy to hit – the worms are untargetable when they’re burrowing, the statues can’t get hit when they’re mid-air, and the plant thingies deal damage from kind of far away. So, for fun (and science) we tried adding heavier enemy types that could soak up the damage, and found the encounters became a lot more fun – especially with a super tank like the Yeti involved!

Since we didn’t wanna add the Yeti for real, we thought we’d come up with another enemy to serve a similar role. This is what we came up with:


We call this guy Echo of Madness, and he serves as an echo of Tai Ming’s violent past, where some really hardcore stuff went down! So, not only does he make our enemy encounters way more fun, he also helps establish the theme and feel of the dungeon overall.


The above GIF shows a super early WIP of his attack pattern – right now he only has one attack, which is a kind of dash. Our goal is for him to do a ton of damage if he actually hits you, and that he’ll follow you around more than the other enemies so you’ll kind of have to deal with him.

Here are a couple of more encounters where we used him:



Look how he’s chasing me away from the other enemies, and distracting me so I get hit by the burrowing worm! These fights definitely work a lot better with this guy around :)

In other news, there’s a lot of small fixes going on across the board. We’re finishing up the first Tai Ming zone for a frontline release, so these coming weeks will be all about polishing the little things, adding portraits and expressions to the remaining NPCs, adjusting the writing and fixing small stuff. Here’s a mix of what we’ve been up to!

First up, a new character that will be selling swords:



The left version of this portrait will feature the character in his slightly younger days, and the right one is for when you’ve progressed the story a bit, meaning a bunch of years have gone by in the past:


This guy got a little nose job:


We also we wanted to make the chest a bit different in the past than they are in the present. And we thought, wouldn’t it be cool if the chests used to be painted, and they’re brown nowadays because the colors faded over time and now everyone believes chests should be brown cause that’s how they’re used seeing them? Kind of like the ancient statues of our time: today we’re used to seeing white ancient statues with cut-off limbs, when in fact they used to be intact and actually fully painted in the old days!

Anyways, I made a bunch of suggestions, with the corresponding Collector Emblem to go with them (the far left one is the original chest):



We’re probably gonna go for the purple one, since we liked that one the best! We really liked the black and red ones as well, but we think it’s best to stick with one :)

Next up, adding a gate to the garden area…:


…and giving the old lady a watering can for her flowers:



And that’s all for the recap this week!

If you wanna see more random detail work, you can always check out my personal workblog at where I post new Grindea stuff every Sunday-Thursday (cause regular weeks are not as cool). See you next time! :)

It’s officially a new week and time for a new recap! This one, I (Vilya) will do a bunch of portraits – there were a few that still needed to be made for the first Tai Ming zone, including a boss portrait which I recently finished:






Moving on from that, I’m getting back into finishing Tai Ming’s second zone!

Since the past version of the outdoors has been finished now, I thought it’s be fun to move on to creating interiors for a while! This one is for an old lady’s house, who happens to like flowers – which might have to do with how you’ll progress through this map in some way… :)

Granny House

Last week we also finally began testing things in Zone01 for real! To begin with, here’s our current time-swap effect:


We’re still not 100% happy with this, and will try a few other things out as well. But for now it gives you an idea of how the area will transform from past to present, and the other way around!

We’ve also started prototyping the enemies in proper fights! Below is a makeshift encounter featuring each of our enemies except the monkey:



Still early days, and a lot of polish needed, but it’s definitely a start! Hopefully we’ll be able to come up with some cool combinations of enemy in different encounters as we continue to try things out.. :)

At last it’s time to finish up the last outdoor part of Tai Ming’s zone02 – the gravesite! This place will be located in the top left corner of the map, and contains the entrance to a cave where you’ll have to complete a quest before you can exit through the proper gate:



As for Zone01, after adding all our props into the editor and starting to put them into their correct places, we can finally show you the completed look of Tai Ming’s first zone, in it’s past and present state:


One thing that’s annoying when trying to show the Present version to you guys though, is that some of the things that we add to the background will change when you travel back in time. For instance, the cherry blossom trees will wither and lose their leaves, but since that’s an effect that only happens in the game engine and not with the editor, we can’t really create the proper look of the present state areas through Photoshop.

For now, you’ll have to imagine that the cherry blossom trees will look more dead, and that the other plants have grown larger, as they will in the actual game:


Since the theme for this dungeon is time travel, it’s a given that you’ll be travelling back and forth in time. However, we also want there to be “flashbacks” here and there, which are segments of the storyline from the past that is shown to you in the present. For these “flashbacks”, you don’t travel back in time per se, but get to view something in the past as it unfolds.

So, we’ve been playing around with a couple different effects for these flashback windows, if you will. We’re currently focusing on the color setting – we want the flashback to feel kind of old-looking, so we’re looking into faded colors or sepia filters.

Here are some of our tests:






Okay, so these tests aren’t 100% accurate color-wise since they were turned into GIFs, but you get a pretty decent idea of what they would look like! As you can see, there’s a cool effect to the characters as well, which we’re pretty excited about (but as with everything, it’s subject to change). What do you guys think? Got any favorite? :)

Finally, the obligatory animation by Fred, which just so happens to take place in one of those flashback-thingies:


This week we’ve started getting back into the groove after being away for so long.

After checking things out again after such a long while, we noticed a few things that needed changing or improvement, so as I (Vilya) went back to work I dove straight into that.

First up, one of the NPCs that will play a kind-of important role in the dungeon. We felt she looked too young in the first version, and needed another, even older version for a later map where some time have passed:



For the first rework I just grayed out her hair and added a hint of wrinkle at her mouth, while the second, older version has lighter gray hair and wrinkles both near her mouth and around her eyes.

Next up, we wanted the ape house to look a bit stranger than the rest of the houses, so as a first step I added a bunch of different-looking chimneys, indicating this house is a little more advanced than the rest. We also have plans for Fred to add some cool stuff to the house, such as a water wheel or something similar (plus he might animate the chimneys as well), so I think it’ll look pretty cool in the end:


I also made another prop to decorate Tai Ming’s second zone, a stack of barrels:



Since me and Teddy went to Stockholm unexpectedly and left Fred to his own devices for a bit more than a week, it was high time to get together at our favorite fast food place and make a new plan for some upcoming Tai Ming things, including the next upcoming BOSS fight!


This boss is based on the enemy seen above, a cave worm of sorts. Only it’ll be a loooot bigger!

The worm will have 3 main attacks, which are detailed in Swedish (and masterfully illustrated) in the image below:


Attack #1: The worm dives underground, leaving part of his body visible while he digs his way ahead. He’ll then surface and dive again, kind of like a dolphin, only every time he surfaces more of his body will be visible. You’ll take damage both from the worm diving onto you, but also from his spiked body if you touch it. However, you can still hit him while he does this, so if you’re careful you can get some nice damage in during this attack!

Attack #2: The worm surfaces head first, and spits a bunch of the regular enemy worms at you. These will damage you on impact, and will bounce once on the floor before they resume the regular enemy worm-pattern and become an additional obstacle on the playfield.

Attack #3: The worm uses his tail to whip you, dealing damage if you get hit!

Special: We’re not 100% sure about this yet, but hopefully it’ll be cool! So, after you’ve dealt enough damage, the worm will summon another worm to the playfield, making the challenge twice as hard! Double the boss, double the fun, right…? :)

Some people have suggested instead of adding another worm to the mix, we should split the current worm into two. I definitely like the idea myself, but we haven’t discussed the suggestion as a team yet. Would be cool to make it happen, though! :)


Now, these recaps aren’t the same without ending with a bunch of Fred’s stuff, so here’s the guard(s) that will patrol Tai Ming, as well as an old man doing a fancy jump:



Hey guys! It’s me, Vilya, again! I’m the one who usually writes these blog posts, but as I’ve been gone for a little more than a week taking care of a critically sick cat, Fred took care of the last two recaps.

Since we all used to live together (me, Teddy, Fred and the two cats), and we still get together in the same apartment for work every day, the cats are very dear to all of us, meaning it’s been a tough couple of weeks. BUT, good news, Link the cat seems to have stabilized for now after a super serious and seemingly random bout of severe anemia, which had him hospitalized for over 5 days at one of Sweden’s biggest animal hospitals. He’s still eating a ton of medicine but he seems to get more and more energetic every day, so let’s hope he makes a full recovery!!

We’re officially back in the office and have been working as usual for a couple of days, so things should hopefully be back to normal unless something else happens! For this post, let’s take a look at some of the things we did before going away, which didn’t make it to a recap yet!

First up, continuing on Zone02 we have been adding the ancient version of the collector’s HQ:


Here you’ll get a quest or two that need to be finished before you can continue your adventured deeper into this mountain village! There will be a bunch of ancient collectors sparring here as well, which should help making the area feel alive :)

Oh yeah, and those shops below the HQ?


We decided to make them actual shops so you don’t have to travel all the way back to Evergrind in case you missed buying something there! Here’s their interface graphics:


I also went ahead and connected the road leading from the HQ and the building to the left with the exit to the third and final Tai Ming map, meaning the only major thing left to finish on this map is a gravesite in the northwest:



We also decided we wanted the bamboo decorations to be destructible, and in a pretty fun way at that! Instead of destroying the whole thing at once, you’ll have to whack ’em down, piece by piece. As such, they are now made of several parts:


And when you decide to destroy them, this is what it’ll look like:


Although we might add some additional effects, such as shaking of the sprite!

Finally, to mix things up, a portrait:


It was such a long time since I made portraits, but I have to get used to it quickly again! There will be a lot of NPCs in this village, after all :)

OK, that’s all for now, time to get back to work with full speed!!! Please stay healthy little cat, we have a game to finish! :D