Hello everyone! This post is a few days late due to me being away over the weekend – but a lot of stuff has been going on behind the scenes, so let’s take a look at what’s new!

New Patch: The Difficulty Update

First up, the new difficulties are now available on all platforms! That means the new “Chill Mode” (aka Easy Mode) is live, which we hope will suit players who want to go on an adventure but not necessarily be under a lot of pressure skill-wise! Go try that out if you haven’t already. The Hard Mode and Expert Modes are also live, and in general we’re very happy with this update so far. For more information about the new modes, check out the last blog post or the patch notes!

Aside from the new difficulty settings, there are also changes to the display options, as well as the possibility to adjust controller deadzone and assign the DPad to be a quickslot shortcut instead of being used for movement. We’ve also added proper translator credits, where authors of the fan-translations now have the option to appear at the start of the game, and during the credits, and the difficult Phase Shift Course no longer has to be fully completed in order to get the True Ending.

Improving Visibility

Besides the difficulty, one of the things we really feel we want to try to address in the game is the clarity/readability of the action. That is, to reduce the risk of the character “getting lost” in the playfield. This is especially common when playing in multiplayer, and playing with summons. The amount of moving things on the screen can reach quite ridiculous levels, and sometimes it’s hard to keep track of where you are, and where threats might be coming from.

Tackling this feels both important, as well as an interesting design and technical challenge! We have already done some promising tests, including reducing the opacity of certain effects so they don’t block everything behind them, and conversely, having a layer on top of the playfield where “important things” (like the player character and enemies about to strike) can be subtly rendered again to make them pop more, and even be slightly visible through other less important things.

Another thing we’re going to experiment with is making damage numbers semi-transparent when they obscure the player, since they can sometimes completely block a player standing above them.

All the adjustments will be applied a bit more strongly to effects and summons of allies, since they are likely of less importance to you.

The challenge here is of course to help the visibility without making things look weird, and to use these techniques only when they help more than they take away! We’re prototyping a system that is going to detect how cluttered things are getting based on the number of players, enemies, spells and environmental hazards that are active. The system gradually moves between different levels of “clarity assistance”. In the option menu, you’ll be able to select if you want the system active, and perhaps also adjust how sensitive it is before it starts to adjust things to be more clear.

The Production Booklet

After another month, the first draft of the production booklet – well, more like production book at this point – is now finished. It’s currently at 135 pages, but I will likely add a few more before it’s all done. I’m letting it rest a little now and will read through it all and add any bonus pages once I’m able to look at it with fresh eyes.

In the meantime, here’s a preview of some more pages from the book! Please note that I haven’t made the final edit of the text yet, so forgive any mistakes or clunky sentences. I’m also going to realign the clouds so they fit the spreads seamlessly once all pages are done!

Next Time…

…the blog post should appear as scheduled, on July 1! Stay tuned :D