After getting back from some days off, it’s only natural that you (or your team) have thought about a bunch of small improvements that could be made! So, after getting back last week, Vilya got straight back into fixing a bunch of things in Tai Ming’s second zone!

First, as we implemented more and more of the Tai Ming 2nd zone backgrounds, we came to realize we wanted to change some things around. One of those things were the placement of the cave entrance seen below:


Since this cave will be a puzzle cave, we thought it’d be a little bit funny if it was next to the graveyard, in order to illustrate how poor the owner’s business choices are. But we found it got a little bit too crowded, so we decided to move the entrance further to the right, and add a small fence to illustrate the end of the graveyard.

In the present, the puzzle cave has closed since many years, and instead the path to it has been filled with new tombstones:


Another thing we wanted to change was the windows of the monkey lab. Since this building is where a lot of scientific experiments take place, we want to highlight that this building is different from the rest, and in a way, more modern. We already have the more industrialized chimneys, but we also decided to add glass windows rather than the hollow ones from before:


And in the present, as time has passed and worn things down, the glass windows have broken and fallen apart:


Next up is of course finishing the remaining backgrounds needed for the area, including the ancient Collector’s HQ! When designing this place, we wanted it to resemble the Collector’s HQ in Evergrind City, only smaller since it doesn’t make sense for it to be as big as that one gameplay wise (you won’t really do anything in here except fetch a quest or two). So let’s take a look at what the Evergrind City HQ looks like:


And now, the ancient HQ:



We’re considering editing the doors a bit so they’ll fit in better with the Tai Ming theme. Also, there will be guards placed outside the doors like in Evergrind City, so you won’t be able to enter (though I guess it’s kind of rare to be able to walk through closed doors in this game anyway). The doors are only there to make the place seem bigger than it is, really!

As for characters in this area, there’s just a tiny amount of portraits left now! Of course, they will all need a bunch of expressions, but there won’t be too many all-new characters! This guy is the engineer that helped design the phase shift puzzle elements that are used in the course in Mt: Bloom:


We know gave a lot of people a headache (at least the more difficult, optional stage), so perhaps this is the guy you should blame? :)

Next, this fellow here is the key to a very old mystery: why do the guards in Tai Ming all look alike? The answer is simple – they’re all brothers! And their father is non other than this scientist, who currently works in the monkey lab:


When making this portrait we used the guard portrait as a base and recolored and repainted where needed, to make them look similar enough to be related.

Now, whether there’s a similar explanation to why the guards in Evergrind City look the same as well remains to be seen… :)

Finally, a little sneak peek of our next prototyping business: another ‘puzzle’ in the puzzle cave. Only it’s not a puzzle: instead you’re in the present, and the key you need keeps getting snatched away by monkeys:


How annoying, right?! Well, don’t worry! You’ll get the key eventually.¬†At least, once we’ve finished the puzzle cave and all it’s background, which will be what we’ll jump into once we’ve finished up the second zone properly. See you next week! :)