So, with the final dungeon drawing ever closer and closer, we’ve been sitting down and going through a whole bunch of the floor designs we made a couple months back. As you know from before, this has lead to a couple of very basic sketches for the first couple floors, which I’m about to define even more in the coming weeks.

But we’ve also been going through the dungeon as a whole, or at least the first half of it or so, and we’ve come to a design decision I think will make this dungeon better than our original idea. In our old plans, we had a lot of “filler” rooms with various smaller challenges that were only partly designed. Now, our focus will be on slimming down the floors and mainly keeping the main challenges, such as the boss fights. The reason for this is that we feel it’s likely that the final dungeon will feel strong enough without a lot of filler content, and that the ones that weren’t there for story or pacing reasons, or are simple not designed enough, could be added afterwards if we feel we need more rooms. This way we can focus on the strong parts, and easily add more stuff later on, instead of starting out with a lot of rooms that fill no real purpose and may end up getting cut anyway.

As such, the flying fortress floor for instance will go from having one dodging challenge, a phase shift challenge and a boss fight with two phase men and gun-d4m, to now only having the fight with two phasemen and gun-d4m. This might seem like a downgrade to some, but given the fact that each area is represented with its own floor, we do think that this dungeon will feel long enough anyway! And keep in mind that if we feel more rooms are needed, we can always add them back in when the rest is done.

After making these changes we already feel like the dungeon feels stronger as a whole design wise. Of course, we’re also making an effort to keep in the things that give the game personality, such as the cameos from characters you’ve met throughout the game.

With this in mind, we’re now more excited than ever to continue designing this final part of Story Mode, which will tie it all together :)

This week we continue doing some archery challenge backgrounds as well! Let’s have a look at three more floors:

And here we have the last bunch:

Next up we have backgrounds for the archery challenges as well! These backgrounds are a lot of fun and a bit weird to make since I need to mimic a child’s style of painting to the best of my ability..:

In Fred’s department, he’s been busy making a ton of archery targets! Have a look at these:

Whew! That’s a lot of archery related stuff!

Now, thanks to finally being vaccinated and not having had much proper time off this 1½ year or so that we’ve been dealing with the pandemic, I’m gonna go ahead and treat myself to two weeks off to enjoy life for a little bit! The blog will be back up and running on the 16th of August after I’ve been back at the office for a full week, so stay tuned for more stuff then :)

Until then, have a nice couple weeks, I will for sure!

Another interface that’s been around for ages without any updates is the good old quest tracker interface! Let’s see what we can do with that:

Next up we have the very basic sketch for the second floor of the final dungeon! This isn’t quite as exciting as the previous one, as it’s mostly pretty open rooms in which you’ll battle bosses – so there’s not much room to make them too complex.

Here’s the basic layout first of all:

So, you’ll start in the room called Z in the above sketch, which will be a basic one way Pumpkin Wood floor which you’ll just pass through:

Upon exiting the room above, there will be the Pumpkin Woods curse effect, and you’ll find yourself in the room below:

This room has four statues, each depicting one of the enemies found in pumpkin woods (except the Halloweed). Now, exiting the room in any direction (including the one you just came from) will lead you to a different room in which you’ll battle a special version of the enemies in the statues. So for example, exiting to the south now will bring you to a map that looks pretty much like this (but with actual graphics):

A battle will take place, say with a special version Jack o’ Lantern. Exiting the floor to the north now will bring you back the way you came, while exiting south won’t get you to a new room, but will have you back at the room with the statues, but from above.

Once you’ve went into the exits leading in each direction, with rooms that will look something like this:

..you’ll end up with each of the statues in the main lobby room lit. Once the final statue’s candles has been lit, battle with Terrorweed will commence in the lobby room, after which you’ll be able to proceed to the next floor by going north! :)

Now, time to make some archery challenge decoration stuff! Starting off with some props for each area, we’ll begin with Pillar Mountains:

The next two areas we’ll look into are Pumpkin Woods and Flying Fortress:

More Archery challenges? We got you covered!

In these two new types of challenges, you’ll need to hit an enemy with multiple shots (annoying halloweed!), or eliminate an enemy target before it hits an innocent bystander!

Next up, an interface idea for the Quiz challenge! At present, the placeholder version Teddy uses is this:

But I thought it’d be nice if we could incorporate the speech bubbles a bit more, so my suggestion is this:

And now, the final part (I think) of the menu redesigns, the Sound and Volume settings menu!

Nothing much to say here, except it’s a more visually pleasing version than the one currently in game :)

Moving on in the same vein as the menu upgrades, there are a couple more interfaces that need some touching up! One such thing is the next rewards interface in the arena:

And here we have the new version:

Another similar such interface is the one in Robin’s target practice! So let’s give that some touchups as well!

In Teddy’s department, we’re still looking at more arcade mode challenges! This time there’s a plentitude of archery challenges being designed, so let’s have a look at a couple:

As you can see, we’re including more mechanics into these archery challenges, and different types of enemies that will depend on which floor you’re on! Some of these enemies will need more than one arrow to kill, as illustrated by the HP bar, however hitting a bomb will automatically eliminate them from full HP!

Next up, let’s return to Arcade Mode for a bit, adding some background stuff to that quiz challenge we showed a few weeks back! Let’s have a look:

As for the final parts of the menu upgrades, we have the inventory and crafting menu. Let’s have a look at the inventory menu first:

Still not a 100% sure about this, as it feels a little bit cluttered! We’ll have to think further…

And so, let’s play around with some more basic background detail, more like it looks in the game currently but taking up less space and with some newer graphics! Let’s see what we can do:

This here is our current favourite, giving the interface an updated feel without feeling too messy! Plus we can squeeze in a lot more items than we can currently. What do you guys think?

Next it’s time for the last piece of the ingame menu update: the crafting menu! Let’s have a look:

Almost done with the menu updates now! Really looking forward to when these are all added to the game :)

Meanwhile, Teddy is using his time to make a bunch more Arcade challenges! Let’s have a look at some of these:


Moving on with the interface improvements, we’re not gonna take a look at the options menu! This one is the most basic one, but also the one in the most need of a slight upgrade in my opinion:

A bit more clear? We’ll continue working with this a little bit more… So in the same vein, the controls menu:

Next in our quest to make things a bit more clear and easily read, we decided to make a version of the options menu featuring screenshots (not that the ones provided below are samples to showcase the general design):

This way you’ll more readily see how your various settings affect the game without having to close the menu and trying them out for yourself!

With us deciding to go for the icons rather than the text versions, it’s time to make some slight adjustments to the designs of the journal section, where the icons will only be in a single row:

Note also the changes in the Trophies section, where we’ve decided to do away with the title part, making it fit the other designs a bit more!

Meanwhile in Fred’s department, we have some more sneak peeks of what to come: more grindea fighting and some desert fishes for the aquarium!

Next up, we’re playing around with some other types of icons for the Talent & Skill menu, with a magic orb as the magic indicator and a star for the utility icon. We’re also considering a third option for the magic icon, with an old diagonal wizard staff. What do you guys think?

Now, time to give some more of those icons a colour wash! Here they are in their before and after states:

And now, time for the next menu to be redesigned: the quest info pages! Let’s have a look:

With the text menu being replaced by icons, we wanted to make a more easily read headline available on the left side for each category, so it’ll be quicker to learn which one does what. Currently, we’ve only had a headline for the main category, such as ‘Journal’, with the character box beneath it and another info box below that – however we feel like it’s very rare for people to even pay attention to what’s beneath the character box, and so moving things around might make the menu a bit more easier to understand. Hence:

I wouldn’t say it looks quite as nice graphically, but I do agree that this way it’ll definitely be easier to see and understand what category you’re on. What do you guys think?

Meanwhile, in Fred & Teddy’s corner, Fred’s been continuing on with Grindea animations! Here’s another sneak peek of that, featuring a running animation:

Teddy has also been hard at work, and besides more Arcade Mode stuff, he’s been spending some time optimizing the loading times of the game! Take a look at this before and after:





With these optimizations, we hope a lot of loading times will be removed, giving you a much more smooth experience while playing the game :)

Taking a little break from the menu reworks and looking towards the future, it’s time to start playing around with sketches and designs for the final dungeon!

Here we have a very basic sketch of the first floor, where you’ll fish and solve a puzzle before battling a ton of Teddy & Fred’s on a really long bridge (it doesn’t look long here, but it’s just placeholder – the actual version will be a lot longer and porbably loopable!) and ending with an encounter in a rather arena looking place:

Very excited to finally take the first steps to getting this final dungeon up and running! :)

Next, let’s make some icons for the skills & talent menu categories I was playing around with last week! I started off pretty basic here, giving melee a sword, magic a wand and utility a shield – however, we’re not completely satisfied with these, so I’ll play around with them a bit more and make a couple more options!

First though, let’s have a look at the Journal icons! For this part of the menu, I decided to go with a single column version, as it’d look better to fit five icons on top of each other rather then going for a 2-2-1 layout in my opinion! If we decide to go for this, it means we get a bit more space in the journal entries as well, which will need to be adjusted later on:

And now, some icons for the options section! As with the journal part of the menu, these needed 5 icons as well. Let’s have a look:

Alright, so what next update will be all about is Arcade Mode, and one key part of that is adding some new challenges for you! If you remember, I made some background stuff for an archery challenge a while back – now it’s finally been implemented, so let’s have a look!

Teddy has also been playing around with a little quiz mini game, which you can see the prototypes of here (there are two types of questions currently):

Of course, I’ll make some background details for the teacher so she’s not just standing in the middle of nowhere, but it’s nice to see some more challenges be up and running, making the coming Arcade Mode runs more interesting!

Now, one thing we’ve decided to do for our translators is to provide each of the shop title backgrounds without the text, so any translator can make their own names for the shops. As such, I spend some time removing said texts and making a bunch of PSD files for them:

(Ignore the Egg Shop one in the middle, accidentally added the text version of that!)

I’ve seen some of you have already started playing around with these backgrounds and I gotta say it’s really fun to see! :) If any of you are working on translations, this feature should be up and running right now. If you decide to use it, please feel free to share your work on any of our communities (such as our Discord server) so we can see! :D

Now, time to get back to those interface upgrades! Next up, we have the card album, which we’ll streamline a bit and upgrade the graphics of as well:

Like the new maps, we’re also playing around with having the cards displayed as a popup rather than on a page of their own too:

One thing we’ve talked about a lot recently is whether or not to remove more of the menu text and replace it with icons. As you know, and can see again below, we’ve already started work on replacing the menu text with icons in regards to the inventory categories:

In many ways we do prefer this, as it’s a bit more visually pleasing and makes things easier when it comes to translating the game. But for some categories, it can be a bit tricky to come up with a satisfying layout and icons that represent their category well: with text you always know what category you’re on, while it might a bit less clear with icons. We still haven’t really decided what we’re gonna do, but I’m gonna play around with some alternatives for the remaining parts of the menu in the coming days.

What do you guys prefer generally? Icons or text?

Either case, it’s time to start experimenting! I’ll begin with playing around with the Skill & Talents part of the menu, and here we have two different alternatives for the layout, as well as the progress:

No icons yet, as you can see, but we’ll get there! To start with I just wanted to get a better grasp of how the icon categories could look. What do you guys think?

Over on the very small super early betas, the next update is already up and running now, featuring the new books! One thing we decided to add is proper book fronts, which look something like this:

Sample of the actual text in the game:

And here we have some of the text with some of the color variations:

We’ll be adding more book covers as well! By the time the game is finished, I would like to have more variations, but for now the main difference will be the color:

Next, we’ll be upgrading the look of the map interface, seeing as we’ve been adding a bunch of new maps recently! Let’s take a look:

This is a bit more streamlined, and allows you to see more maps on each page!

We’re also adding a different way of showing the maps, namely a pop out function which shows you the map on a piece of paper! This is what it’ll look like:

Give it more of a map-y feel, doesn’t it? :)

Now it’s time to upgrade another interface! Let’s take a look at the good old quest part of the journal and see how we can improve it:

With this new setup, active and completed quests only need one menu, and whether a quest is active or finished will depend on whether they’re gold or silver colored, just like in the Trophy section! I also upgraded each of the quest indicator images while I was at it. What do you guys think? :)

In Fred’s (and Teddy’s) department, we’re playing around with some light effects for that Grindea sprite! Below you can see some tests, as well as a palette swap – it won’t be used the way it looks there, but it shows how we pretty easily can swap her colours around if we need to during the fight, for effect purposes :)

First up this week, editing that enemy info page a bit, allowing for larger numbers in each of the categories:

Another seed is on the way, through which you can grow a very strange plant indeed… Let’s take a look:

After some consideration of the previous version, we decided to swap it around:

And now, for the seed:

And all of the usual interface bits needed for you to grow this thing:

And now, something that’s been a long time coming: new haircuts! Remember the locked ones? Well they won’t be locked much longer, as we intend to fill up the remaining haircut slots – or at least add a bunch more of them. Here’s the first batch:

Remember how started improving the inventory menu a while back, preparing for the categories to be icons rather than text? Well, it’s finally time to start making those icons!

In this first test, I went for a monochrome look, but we’re not sure whether it’s the best way to go – perhaps it’s better to bring in a bit more colour to the menu, giving each icon a colour of its own. What do you guys think?

And here we have another option, the icons in colour! Which one do you prefer?

I personally feel a bit torn, since the monochrome one looks a bit less messy and more stylish, but it’s also nice to bring in more colour to the menu! It’s possible we’ll keep on iterating these options, or go for a mix of some sort, perhaps having the category you’re currently on show in colour. We’ll see!

Meanwhile, Fred has been doing some more work on Grindea! Here’s some of his WIP sketches:

…And Teddy’s been adding my personal favourite feature in a long time! Lizards in your house!! How cute isn’t this?