Due to an unexpected turn of events, we’ve done some redecorating in our schedule. We’ve got a golden opportunity of merging working on Grindea with schoolwork, and we felt we had to take it! The flip side was that, since it’s a project course, we needed a somewhat isolated element of the game that would take about five weeks to complete.

We’ve chosen to create a new field in the game, and as such, the stuff we had planned to do will be frozen until this course is done. It’s mostly good news, since we’ll get more done, and all of us sort of secretly wanted to work on new environments and enemies. The updates will probably be more interesting as well, for that matter! However, due to this arrangement, we’ll postpone the beta testing as well. :(

To get our minds of that dark lining of the silver cloud, here are three very anatomically correct ferrets on top of each other!

This is our logo! We’ll have to throw together some nice font that says “Pixel Ferrets” too, but this is the core! We felt it was about time to get one, being nine months into development and all.

Now back to our plans for the coming weeks:

The area we’re going to create is temporarily called the Halloween Forest, but we plan on changing the name to something a bit more fun later on! The zone is somewhat scary (as you probably figured out from the name) yet still cute. The enemies and decorations will include things such as pumpkins, lanterns, candle lights, scarecrows, ghosts, mist and spooky trees. This is the home of the odd Candy Witch, a couple of wicked twins and a mysterious hooded man. It’s also here you will have the chance of helping a lonely scarecrow in a quest!

This is one of our favourite areas (at least to talk about) so we’re looking forward to a few entertaining weeks for all of us. We hope you’ll will like it as much as we do!

In-between all the planning of our new schedules and preparation for the new course, Fred has kick started operation Halloween Forest with its very first inhabitant, a little jumpin’ pumpkin!

There’s plenty more enemies to come during the following weeks; we have a total of five planned for this area.

Next Week: Enemies! Trees! Stuff! Halloween!

Another week has rushed past, and the battle with the GUI continues! We’re pretty much wrapping up the main menu, and are moving on to in-game stuff. Due to our passionate and undying love for interface work, we also decided to redesign how keyboard vs. controller works in the game.

But let’s get the main menu out of the way, first!

Click image to enlarge!

This here is the multiplayer lobby! Players can gather there before starting a game, and adjust a couple of multiplayer settings. Of course, if you don’t like waiting for that dude who’s just gonna “grab a sandwich or something”, you can start the game and have your friends connect to you while you’re playing!

The first option you have is Item Share. It can be set to either Each Take, where all items go to whatever player that picks them up, or Round Robin, which distributes items fairly and randomly.

Secondly we have Mentorship, which if turned on will synchronize the combat efficiency of all characters to roughly the same level as the lowest leveled character. This is useful for players who want to play together, but haven’t gotten equally far into the game. Instead of having to start over from the beginning, they can play from where the lower leveled player is in the story without the higher leveled one wreaking havoc and potentially ruin the experience for his friend.

That sums up the lobby pretty well, so let’s head on to the HUD-changes by showing two screens of the different setups:

Gamepad HUD

Keyboard HUD

It’s been a long time coming, but we finally decided to completely separate the control schemes for keyboard and gamepads. Up until now, we’ve had emulator-like controls on the keyboard, which worked sort of well, but certainly not as well as it could. This meet-halway-there approach limited our options with the controller as well, so this was the right thing to do.

The new keyboard HUD looks and works similar to modern RPGs and MMOs, where you have a bar with abilities which you activate with hotkeys (which you can bind however you want — in the picture I’ve used keys close to those I use for the sword and shield). You can have up to ten quickslots set at a time, and a quickslot can contain either a skill, a consumable item or a weapon.

The gamepad HUD looks like it used to, and also has ten quickslots. The first two can be used by just pressing a button, and two sets of four more quickslots can be accessed by holding the left or the right trigger before pressing the button. We might do a video of this later to show it in action.

Luckily, it’s not all GUIs in ferretland. Fred has spent some time making a few cool, new weapons for players to use!

Next Week: Even moar GUI-work! Woohoo! Fred will be making the rest of the animations for our new weapons

Hello and happy valentines day to everyone (one day early, but hey)!
Sadly(?), today’s update does not have a lot to do with romance. Instead, we focus on character creation, since it has been our main focus this week!

The week started off with Vilya creating and later adjusting haircuts together with Fred. A few mishaps later they ended up spending almost three entire days (not even kidding) adjusting clothing colors. Imagine how tired they are of that by now!

In the end everything turned our quite well though! We currently have 30 different clothing colors (per item) to pick from and 8 different haircuts per gender. There will be more as we move on though, so fear not! Hopefully you will all have a favorite style before we’re done with the game ;3

Anyway, there really isn’t much more to say. Instead, have a look at this video with commentary by Fred, which shows everything you need to know about the character creation:

Other than that, a lot of you guys asked us about the beta last week and how to get into it. Because we wanna start off small, we’ll begin with inviting people we know and have worked with previously. After that, we’ll expand more and include people from outside our circles. When the time is near we’ll let you know of a way to sign up, don’t worry!

Next week: We remake the GUI for keyboard users and add more skills!

Used to Monday updates yet?! You better be, ’cause here’s another!

For Vilya, this week started off with the return to Pillar Mountains (one of the first areas of the game). We decided that we wanted the mountains to look a little different from the ground levels, so she made new trees (birches!) and huge rocks to fill out the open areas (just like the bushes from the previous post do on the ground level).

Here is a screen of the result:

After this it was time to return to one of our (least) favorite subjects: Menu systems! Because it’s almost time for the first people to try the game out, we thought cleaning up and actually creating a main menu would be a good idea.

This is what it looks like at the moment:

The clouds pass by in the background, and in the future (when Fred has some space in his schedule) we plan on adding birds flying by as well. As for now, only the main screen and character select sections are in place, so our work on this continues this week with character creation, multiplayer hosting and the like!

Freds major task this week has been working out sprites and animations for our multiplayer death/resurrect system. The main focus was on this little ghost fellow, which is what you turn into if you die during a co-op session.

Once you die you can move around freely and while you can’t engage in combat, you can use some sweet ghost exclusive emotes and flavour animations to cheer on your surviving pals! It’s up to them to resurrect you, which can be somewhat hectic if you’re in the middle of an epic boss fight. If all players die and turns into ghosts, it’s game over and you will have to restart from the latest check point!

On a closing note, we’ve submitted the game to the Swedish Game Awards, which is a nation wide student competition here in Sweden. Wish us luck!

Next Week: Menus, menus, skills and more menus!