Moving on with a new week and new spooky Startington stuff, it’s time to spookify some trees and bushes:

Also making the whole place fly (cause why not?):

For the third and final challenge of spooky Startington we’ll be using this puzzle, which of course in turn needs the appropriate puzzle background:

Another part of this new spooky Startington is a nice little picnic which all of your friends and family will take part in! It will be available both in a nice bright version and an abandoned, dark version after things have taken a turn for the worse:

Next up, another ghost portrait, featuring a long dead diva, who used to be a hell of a singer on the Ghost ship:

Meanwhile, the spooky Startington bit, or should I call it the Spookington bit, has been finished enough for us to try it out! Here are some screens from my playthrough:

Playing through this portion of the game takes approximately 20 minutes and while it’s mostly done there’s some minor thing we’ll need to add and fix before we’re fully satisfied. Shouldn’t take too long though! After that, just the Luke battle remaining. Exciting times!

Meanwhile in the animation department, some further additions to spooky Startington, which will further increase the creep factor of the place:

This week, we’ll start with making a new statue, featuring your mom Charlotte! This statue will be part of one of the spooky Startington challenges and will contain one of the objects needed to progress:

Some more fixes in preparation for the spooky Startington bit, starting with a mysterious hole in the floor of this room:

This hole is there for the perfect guard challenge, making it clear for the player that they are not able to wander off during the challenge.

Next, some minor adjustments to the statue from before, editing her outfit to match what we’ve previously shown Charlotte wearing:

There are also a couple more Ghost portraits to be made, with the first one being a spooky Tai Ming seamstress :

Next, an old man looking for his wife, lost somewhere on the ship:

Finally, as part of the new creepy Startington, Fred has been working on some old NPCs that will be returning:

Exciting times! Slowly but surely, this part of the dungeon comes together as well :)

Next up, we decided to give this cabin a bit of an upgrade decoration wise, to put some emphasis on the fact that there’s a weird circus troupe thing going on in this mini challenge where you need to light torches:

 

And as mentioned previously, good old Kailan from Flying Fortress needs a ghostified portrait:

Some minor fixes for this room to make it look slightly more interesting! This used to be designed as a boss room for when you were still supposed to battle the Captain twice, but since we replaced the second captain battle with a battle against the eye boss, this room could get some more decorations without it distracting your focus in a boss battle:

As part of a very strange thing happening towards the end of the ghost ship, a huge moon looking thing needed to be made as well! Whatever in the world could we need this for? Wait and see! :)

With work now progressing to the creepy Startington portion, we realized just making the houses fall apart without touching the surrounding areas would look a bit empty, so we decided to make the entire area surrounding each building covered in the darkness once you complete its challenge:

For those of you who have opted into Steam’s client beta, you’ll have noticed that there’s a new library style in the works, which calls for new and improved graphics to showcase each game. For starters, here’s what the header of each game looks like now, and more specifically what the default was and how we changed it around adding our own graphics:

Unfortunately for us, being a pixel game and all, the automatic resizing won’t do us many favours, but it could be worse!

You library has a more clean view featuring cover art as well, like so:

How do you guys find this new library update? Do you like it or not? I think the best bit is how more visually satisfying it is to browse your library, seeing all of the juicy cover art all lined up! And of course, it’ll only get better as more and more games add these new graphics :)

Next it’s time for a bunch of smaller graphic assets needed here and there throughout the game! Starting off with a super cute very scary chest:

And a skeleton key, because which ghost ship would be complete without them:

For this room, we added some spooky decorations on a wooden board to give the players a hint there might be something there if you swap over to the ghost world:

We also weren’t quite happy with how fresh and clean these shelves looked, so we wore them down a bit:

Finally, a couple expressions for the captain, to give the cutscenes a bit more oomph:

Speaking of expressions, here are some more, featuring the rest of the main story cast in the Ghost Ship:

And since we decided to put Pine in one of the cabins, we thought we’d put in a bunch of Flying Fortress decorations in there as well:

Finally, let’s take a look at some animations for the final boss of the dungeon… Our dear friend Luke!
First up a bunch of sketches for what he could look like in this boss version:

And the first batch of animations made for him combo’d together:

Another week has gone past and more plans have been made for the final dungeon! As homework over the week we decided that each of us had to come up with two ideas for things that could happen in the various floors of the dungeons. When we met up again it became clear that each of us was quite divided between two various ways of dealing with the dungeon: either as a pure gameplay mechanical experience, or one where old friends from the rest of the game return in various ways, allowing for more story focused floors.

One such thing we’d like to include is the ghost of Tessen, whom you met in Tai Ming, as well as Naniva helping you out with the Temple of Seasons floor. A couple weeks ago I mentioned a beast of some kind that will resummon bosses for you to fight – in one such idea we’d like a resummoned winter that wreacks havoc on the Seasonne floor, adding icy winds or spikes for you to deal with aside from fighting the regular enemies.

For Pillar Mountains, we have ideas of adding your mother in some way, and in the Ghost Ship floor reintroduce some other old ghosts from Tai Ming, namely those of Sizou and Mana. However, all of these are just in the idea stage at the moment – so we’ll see how many of them (if any) end up in the final design of the dungeon.

Gameplay wise we’re trying to spice up each of the floors a bit by adding elements or enemies from other areas of the game. One example of such an idea is to have a Phase Shift puzzle in the Flying Fortress floor, where you have to change the layout of the course by using season orbs that will change the various blocks; causing roots to overgrow some, while others are revealed.

We’ve also finally played through the Ghost Ship up to the very last portion of it (the creepy Startington and the last boss battle of the dungeon). This portion of the game takes us about 1 and a half hour to complete, and even though it’s taken us a very long time, we’re really happy with how the dungeon looks and feels at this point. It also has some of our top favourite boss fights, so we hope you’ll enjoy those as well!

Next up for us will be to complete the creepy Startington portion and boss fight, which are both now well under way before we can finally upload it all to Frontline. Hang in there guys! :)

Meanwhile, let’s take a look at the creation of one of the final rooms in the Ghost Ship – the Phase Puzzle room! Here’s where Kailan, the Flying Fortress engineer from ancient times, has set up a Phase Puzzle course for you that you need to pass to get to the eye boss!

We’re starting with the basics, following a sketched designed made by Teddy after he prototyped the puzzle:

Next we’re adding all of the Flying Fortress details, to give the room a more high tech feel to fit the Phase Puzzle course:

And after that, it’s time to make some Ghost Ship special phase shift blocks:

These blocks will only be visible in the ghost world, so better keep your wits about you when you try to phase through this challenge!

And, finally… Making the ghost world version of the room!

This Monday we’ve started discussing the last boss of this dungeon, which is one of the final things we need to add. As many of you have already guessed, and which might be quite obvious at this point, the opponent you’ll be facing is none other than your dear old friend Luke, and today we sat down to discuss what sort of feeling we want this battle to have.

For starters, we want the battle to take place on the ship, outside, and in the rain! This far we haven’t had any rain in Grindea, and it’s about time the weather changes. We also believe this will help set the tone for the fight. As for the actual fighting bit, we want Luke to use heavy attacks which will cause smoke and wood chips to spray from the surroundings.

Some of his attacks will be inspired by the two hand skill tree that is open to the player character, and he’ll combo others by mixing and matching them in different ways; meaning he might start with one attack which may have two different endings to keep you on your toes. He’ll also be starting some of this attacks by running towards the player, and we want the overall fight to be high paced with little rest; he won’t be idling around as much as Marino, for instance. Finally, towards the end, he’ll start using berserk mode to make things even harder for the player!

We’ve also discussed the last room we’ve yet to make for the Ghost Ship; a phase shift puzzle with ghastly features! Once this is made and implemented it’s only the boss and the final creepy Startington stuff remaining before the dungeon is completed – finally we can see the light at the end of the tunnel :)

The phase shift puzzle room will not only feature a phase shift puzzle featuring the ghost skill, but also another old friend from the past: Kailan, whom you last met in Tai Ming where he was showcasing the phase shift technology to the town’s inhabitants. Do you remember who he is? If not, you’ll get a reminder when I get around to making the ghost version of his portrait :)

Now it’s time for something slightly different; namely, creating a ghostlike thing that will block players paths here and there in the ghost ship! First up, a few different suggestions:

In the end, we decided to go for the ghastly substance, but were unsure about which color to use, so I made a couple different options (ending up with the original one after all):

And finally, making versions of the substance for the other door directions as well:

In its final form, this substance will be animated as well, giving it a bit more character and creepfactor!

The Startington interiors have long been outdated (they were, after all, among the first things I made), and what better opportunity is there to upgrade them than now that we’re looking into making a creepy version of Startington?

We’ll still keep the old versions of the graphics, but only use them for the ghost versions of these houses – we believe that their slightly shrunken, gnarly appearance will only help make the difference between the regular houses and the creepy houses more prominent.

Second house, same principle: touching everything up to the standard of graphics we use today:

And finally, the third and final revamped Startington interior:

In this week’s Monday Meeting we spent a great deal of time discussing the final challenge in the creepy version of Startington (among other things)! As you might remember from a previous meeting post ages ago, there will be three challenges in this surrealistic and spooky version of Startington: one where you fight a ton of slimes which gives you a card called Obsession, and one where you do some tough shield training and gain a wooden shield called Expectations.

In our latest iterations of the third challenge, we’ve been working around the theme of Deceit. In this latest iteration of the challenge, there will be a block puzzle in which you move blocks with each of the artifacts to designated squares (rather than a key block puzzle).

Mechanically we have a couple of ideas for how to make this more fitting the strange world; one is that instead of moving the blocks, the room will move, the other that as you attempt to move on block, another of the blocks will move instead. We’re not entirely sure which of these we’ll go for, or if we’ll do something else entirely, but we’ll start off with making prototypes of these two ideas first and see whichever one feels the most cool.

Next up, it’s time for us to “creepify” the interiors of the Startington houses! Our idea is that the player will enter each house in its original form and complete a challenge in there, after which the building will deteriorate and become dark and gloomy:

The second house creepified:

And same thing for the third house:

And we’ll end this week with a bunch of gifs from the second boss fight of the dungeon: the Evil Eye or the Twilight Beholder, that has finally been finished! This boss uses a lot of lasers and creepy eyes to try to eliminate you, so you better keep your wits about you :)

With the Ghost Ship drawer ever closer to completion, it’s finally time to start thinking about the future and the final dungeon! While we’ve had a bunch of loose ideas for it before, we felt it’s time to sit down and iron out exactly how we want it to be.

The number one thing we’ve always known we wanted is for it to be a tower of some sort. While we don’t feel the need for it to actually feel like a tower on the inside (we’d like it to have more rooms per floor than a typical tower would generally have), that’s the sort of general idea we’re going for: progression upwards (and the physical shape of a tower from the outside).

We also want each part of the rest of the game to be represented in this final dungeon, so it kind of feels like you progress through the game once more, with each floor being a distinct challenge inspired by the area it represents. As such, our goal is to have 9 different floors, one for each major area and dungeon, with the final boss residing on the 10th. These floors may still contain enemies and details from other areas than the one it represents, creating a sort of surrealistic feel to the whole thing.

We also want some sort of enemy that spawns bosses from previous places here and there throughout the dungeon, culminating in a boss rush containing several of the previously defeated bosses before you can finally reach the 10th floor and the last challenge of the game.

Our next mission will be to take some time and think about what sort of challenges would be nice to see on each of these floors, and puzzle them together into a great final dungeon. As always, if you have any ideas of what you’d like to see, feel free to share in a comment!

Next up, we’re taking a look at the lonely house in the top right corner, which you’ll eventually be able to reach through a bridge! Haven’t quite decided if we still want to keep the quest to build it or if we’ll just put it there one of these days and allow you to enter the house from the first time you enter town: we’ll see. Other than that, a fishing boat and some minor decorations to spice up the area :)

Next up in our Evergrind City improvements spree is the market area, where each of the market stands will get a little bit personality to make them stand out a bit more:

It’s been a while, but now it’s time for another boss portrait! This one featuring, unsurprisingly, the eye boss we’ve been working on for quite a while now!

Without further ado:

Meanwhile, Fred has started working on something slightly different; namely a set of new animations for a version of Dad you’ll run into in the creepy version of Startington you’ll find yourself very soon. What happened here?!

Next up in our improvement spree of the earlier areas is Evergrind City and the areas surrounding it!

We’ve previously talked about redesigning the city – and we might still get around to that at some point – but for now I’m confident any improvements I’ll make to it at this point will be able to be transferred over to any new design we might make, so I haven’t been too worried about that when thinking about what parts we can improve upon here.

Once more it’s mostly about adding more detail and making things look a bit more unique and detailed, with the exception of the entrance to the arena which I feel looks awfully outdated compared to a lot of the other graphics and will likely be remade completely:

So to kick off the Evergrind improvements, we’ll start off with the final (for now) piece of improvement in Evergrind East; the little fishing pond. We wanted to give this part a bit more detail, so we added a Grindea bust and some ruins to give it a bit of character, as well as some more of the greenery and a little path leading up to the pond:

Next up in our Evergrind Improvements spree comes the Arena, which is probably the one thing in Evergrind City that feels the most outdated in my opinion. In order to spice it up a bit we’ve done a complete new design, that stand out a bit more and is a bit more festive than the old one:

And now, some stuff around the entrance or library area of the town! New lampposts, a slightly fancier path leading up to the library, railing to protect people from falling into the stream, an improved library sign and some decorative mini-trees!

Meanwhile another update from the eye boss progress, featuring the WIPs of more attacks and animations slowly but steadily getting added:

Another week and more boss progress! There are so many things we could do with this boss that it’s difficult to choose which attacks and patterns we want to keep. One of the things we’ve done recently is working on tweaking one of the eye boss new attacks, featuring a barrage of eyes that will eventually explode! There are a bunch of sliders we can use to tweak this attack, and one of them is number of eyes:

..and also the shape of the explosion circles, below with a more circular shape:

The one above is probably closest to what we’re aiming for for now, but as with everything else this might be changed with more testing!

The latest iteration of the laser attack now also has proper lasers, and more eyes:

As you can see here, the trick is figuring out which eye colors are not present in the big eye, which will let you know which eyes won’t be firing the laser. To make this a little easier we’re also adding symbols to the eyes, making them easier to tell apart:

We haven’t decided exactly which of these symbols we’ll use yet, as we want to pick the ones that are the most clear from the side as well. Fred has already started playing around with what the eyes would look like from the side, but we’re not quite there just yet:

We know this boss (and the map in general) is taking ages to finish, but we’re determined to not let it go until each of us is fully satisfied with the fight, and we believe that once we’ve gotten to that point, it will all be worth it! Hopefully the third floor will be complete enough to run through and test very soon… :)

Meanwhile my work outside of the Ghost Ship continues with more improvements, and we’re slowly working out way down to Evergrind East; here’s a couple more of my sketches for more places we’ll improve upon:

And so we’ll start with the first two sketches, adding some more decorations first to the second Pillar Mountains map:

…and then we move to the area right before Evergrind City to spice up Evergrind East a little bit:

Next up, Evergrind City’s entrance itself, a slightly bigger job adding some decorations and making the wall more prominent: