Hello guys! The weeks rush by and we’re already at the end of January. This week Teddy finally got his screencap softare back up and running on his new setup, so here’s a fresh video featuring a very early prototype of Zhamla’s summoning phase:

None of these graphics are final, nor is the actual pattern. For one, we’re a bit underwhelmed with the cloud’s presence and are currently thinking of ways to spice it up a bit. One such idea is adding a special chain lightning attack to Zhamla’s cloud, an idea that was quickly illustrated by Fred here:

Nothing set in stone just yet though!

Otherwise, the animations continue on – Fred has finished up Zhamla’s base attack animations and done some more work on Frosty Foe:

This week has looked pretty much like the last!

For me, it’s all about the production book, for Teddy it’s all about the summoning phase of the Zhamla battle. When Teddys computer died, he lost the programs needed to screencap videos of his work (or rather, they wouldn’t work on his new setup), but we’re working on getting them back up and running so we can show you some progress videos as we keep at it.

Fred has also moved on from Zhamla’s battle poses to making animations for the summoning phase instead as well. Here’s a couple of Zhamlas Frosty Fiend/Foe’s animations:

First, Fred wanted to base its walk animation on the regular Frosty Friend, but then he felt a more gorilla-inspired walk pattern would feel more powerful and intense for this fearsome enemy. I think it looks pretty cool!

Not much to show in terms of the production book work, just a lot of writing and rewriting. However, for this week I aim to play around a bit with various layout and possible have some alternatives to show you next recap!

First of all, thank you everyone for your kind (and funny) comments on the last post! It really means a lot :)

With everything that’s happened, things are still a bit slow (last week we had repairmen over for two full days!), but we’re finally getting back into the home stretch of this whole project. Here’s a report on what we’ve been up to:

Fred reports that he has spent this week struggling to create the base frame for Zhamla where he’s facing upwards and has his sword ready. He believes part of the problem is because he just got back from vacation and isn’t quite back into all yet, but also that the frame itself has been a lot more difficult to make compared to anything else he’s made for the game this far. In fact, upwards facing frames has always been one of the most difficult things for him to make, and the bigger the frame, the harder it gets. Usually he would have moved on if he got stuck this long and done something else before returning to it with fresh eyes, but since this is a base frame that will be used as the starting point for all Zhamlas poses facing upwards, he knew leaving it unfinished would only lead to more work down the line when he’d have to adjust any subsequent animations accordingly.

Towards the end of the week, however, he did make some progress, so now the basic frame is done (we think) and he’s finally been able to start animating the final upwards attack animation:

“Didn’t you already make a version of this battle once? How come there isn’t already a frame for him facing upwards?”

Well, in the last fight we were a bit more strategic with our workload: Zhamla kept looing downwards, and if you paid attention, you realize he never looked up at all – hence, no upwards facing frames. Because this is the final battle, however, we didn’t want him to be as static as back then, and so we created some extra difficult work for poor Fred!

Teddy has been working on a “summoning phase” for Zhamla, where he uses only summons! The idea is to have a sequence where you fight against his Frosty Friend Fiend, a cloud and plants while Zhamla is floating above the playing field. Once you defeat Frosty, you’ll go back to fighting Zhamla, who now will have shorter versions of the summons among his other attacks.

Unfortunately Teddy’s work got cut short as his computer completely broke down and died right after completing the base for the fight! We keep having some issues with things malfunctioning it seems. Not to worry, though – he managed to ‘Frankenstein’ a new computer using spare parts from old ones we had in storage, so for now things are back on track (fingers crossed).

For me, work on the production book continues! Recently I’ve been looking at a ton of similar books – production recaps as well as artbooks – to gather inspiration and ideas for the visual design. It’s super interesting when you start paying attention to the layout and design elements of things – not as a consumer, but as someone with a goal of making a similar product.

Seeing how others have solved things like where to put the page numbers or how to use headlines in various ways has been super inspiring to say the least, and will hopefully help in creating a design that’s both visually appealing and easy to navigate. The current plan is for the book to pretty closely mirror the website, using similar colors and graphic details. This, we hope, will create a cohesive look and feel between the game and the book.

Otherwise, writing and rewriting continues. It’s a ton of text to edit and cut down still, so I expect the road to go on for a while yet!

Another week, and more boss madness! Right now our main focus is trying to develop Zhamla’s combat identity. The first version of his fight is very on rails, and even though it is pretty difficult for many players at that point in the game, it’s far from what would be a good final boss, especially after fighting bosses like Luke and Bishop. Therefore, we are moving away from his heavily pattern-based AI to something more intense! Our first goal with the fight is to create a strong sense of threat – it’s something that’s is a little trickier/more expensive to achieve when the boss consists of one large sprite and each animation is costly to produce (big sprites = longer to animate), so we are trying to find ways to give him a lot of oomph without having to add a lot of animations. After all, we too would very much like to release this game sooner rather than later by now :)

Here’s a little bit of gameplay from one of our recent iterations. You can see a bunch of Zhamla’s attacks and new patterns here, along with the inferno you saw the work in progress of a couple weeks ago:

Work on the production book continues as well. When I first started writing it, we used a vertical layout, but now that we’re starting to move into editing and thinking a little bit more about the layout of each page, we’ve swapped to horizontal to get a better feel for how things will look in the end. A horizontal layout allows us to include larger and more detailed screenshots and progress pictures, which is pretty important since a lot of the development is on the visual side. I’ve already made a few custom images that will be featured in the book as well!

Here’s a little sneak peek of one featuring hats:

Now, after today we’ll be taking some time off to celebrate christmas and new years with the family. The next recap will be available on the 9th of January, after we’ve been back at the office for a week. Please enjoy the holidays and make sure to spend as much time with your loved ones as possible!

Until next time :)

This week work on the production book has continued, now with the second draft! For the first draft I basically put in every single piece of information about our development without any overarching shape or structure, a lot of it directly copy-pasted from our old blog posts. Now it’s time to cut out stuff and rewrite it in a way that actually makes sense. It can be tempting to include every little detail about the development, but in the end, I believe it’s better to have a book that is shorter and more focused on the truly interesting parts, rather than one that is bloated with things that might be boring to read about.

This is also where I start to consider the layout of the book, making sure the length of the paragraphs match up to make each page look alright. Once all the text has been (re)written, edited once more and approved, I’ll go through the entire thing once more and make a proper graphic design for each section. In other words, there’s still quite a way to go, but progress remains steady!

As for Teddy and Fred, they’re still doing the whole final bosses and cutscenes thing, but this week has been so focused on spoiler-y stuff that there won’t be much of an update from that department! Stay tuned for more stuff next week instead :)

After having spent a lot of time on the battle against Dad, it’s time to start looking into the final final battle – that against Zhamla. You’ve already met Zhamla once, so you know a little bit about what to expect – it’s gonna be a tough battle ahead!

One of the things we’ve played around with for this encounter is how intense of an inferno will fill the room during the battle. Here’s some of our progress, ranging from almost none to maximum inferno:

In these versions we hadn’t yet adjusted the size or shape of the inferno fire, so we made a version with one better fitting the room as well:

In the end, this is probably pretty close to what we’ll go for. It might be a bit towards the busy side, but on the other hand it is the final battle!

Other than the usual cutscenes and boss programming and animating, Fred has made a bunch of animations for the artefacts you found throughout the game. Here’s one of them:

Stay tuned for more! :)

With the release of the game drawin ever closer, I’ve spent a lot of time this week preparing some PR documents. This means writing things to send out to people who might be interested in playing and/or reviewing the game once it’s released. It’s one of the less exciting parts of game development to be sure, but someone needs to do it and as we’re not working with any publisher, that falls on me!

Now, while we currently won’t work with any publisher for the PC version, we would consider getting some help with bringing the game to consoles and the foreign markets. We’d absolutely love to get Secrets of Grindea to as many platforms and regions as possible but realize we won’t be able to do all of that by ourselves. Anyway, decisions like that remain on the backburner while we finish up the last of the game, so we’ll have to wait to make any firm decisions!

Speaking of finishing the game, Teddy and Fred continues their work with the final bosses! Here’s a current prototype of the Dad Battle:

And here’s a bunch of related animations by Fred:

As for the Visual Novel, I just want to say thank you to everyone who voted in the polls! I’ve taken a look at the votes and a summary can be seen over here. Now I need to get some writing going! :)

This week I’ve mainly focused on the production book, which is coming along nicely! In fact, as of today I’ve finished what I’d like to call the ‘alpha version’ of the draft with a current wordcount is 55,654 – close to the typical wordcount of a shorter novel! This includes a lot of sections I’ll most likely cut short (or remove entirely) as well as some sections I’ll expand more upon, so it’s unclear how close that is to the actual finished version. Regardless it feels like a great milestone! Now I just need to go over the text a bunch of times to get things right. I’ll do my best to tidy it all up and make sure the book doesn’t get too long!

Other than that I was tasked with making a visual revamp of the forum:

Old Version

New Version

This wasn’t our choice – due to a PHP update we were forced to upgrade the forum software and unfortunately the theme we used was no longer supported. Hopefully the new look is alright, and at the very least it should run a bit better seeing as the tech behind it has been improved!

Fred and Teddy are continuing to work on the final cutscenes and bosses. From Fred’s department, there’s been a huge number of effect animations. Here’s a bunch of variations for one of Gaantlet’s attacks in the upcoming fight:

In the end, we basically put them all together to create an ultimate version:

A new week, and some more Secrets of Grindea art stuff! This week I finished up one of the most important “portraits” of the game – Dad’s boss portrait!

Let’s have a look:

In Fred and Teddy’s department, it’s still all about cutscenes (yes, they do take a long time to get just right), but there’s a few new things to show that won’t be too spoilery! Namely, a cool mirror shattering effect and… A very special attack charge by Marino! What in the world is he doing in our endgame?!

As for the Visual Novel, thank you guys for all your votes on the story ideas last week! We had a ton of votes coming in and it’s super interesting to see how you all feel about them. This week there’s another poll, featuring a bunch of style mockups for what art direction we could take the game in.

Make sure to make your voice heard and help us make the most visually pleasing visual novel for you guys! :D

This week for Secrets of Grindea I’ve focused on two things: the production book and a bunch of detail work. I’ve decided to try and use NaNoWriMo as an opportunity to challenge myself and finish most of the production book in one go. For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, I wrote a post about it a while back. But basically, the goal for participants is to write 50,000 words within the month of November. Now, I don’t want the production book to be an actual 50,000 words (I think), so whether I do reach that specific goal or not is unclear – my own goal will be to finish the first draft of the booklet, whether that is at 50,000 words or 25,000 words!

As far as those details are concerned, to start off with we have some shattered glass in that final battle room. Since the stained glass windows broke I feel it was a detail that was missing:

Second, a version of Marino’s room with two missing rapiers. When we got to that part of the game during our great playthrough, we felt it would be better if there was already one missing from the beginning (Marino has a rapier on him, after all), and once you get a hand on one of them, two should be missing instead. Right now all the rapiers are there until you get one from Marino, at which point only one is missing:

Third detail, which is more than just a detail to be honest, the coffin of Zhamla, floating in the final dungeon:

As for the Secrets of Grindea Visual Novel, I have presented a couple ideas as well as a poll to determine which one sounds the most interesting over on my blog. If you’re interested, please head over there and vote so I know which direction you’d prefer it to take! :)

Now, time to get back to that production book!