Hello guys! Another week has passed, and work with Tai Ming’s second zone continues :)

Vilya finished up the present version of the outdoors, with the exception of a few details and the area surrounding the Collector’s HQ – we might need to tweak the size of that part, so it’s paused until we’ve done some testing.





Since the interior of these buildings haven’t been finished yet, it’s possible (or even likely) we’ll add or change things around once we know exactly how they look. We also plan on ruining the chimneys of the monkey lab in some way, but haven’t gotten around to that just yet!

Meanwhile, Teddy and Fred have been hard at work prototyping the next boss fight, featuring the giant Thorn-Worm:



We just added a super early prototype of one of its attacks today for inhouse testing, so I’ll go back to doing that as soon as I’ve finished writing this blog post!

There’s also a couple of new characters on the block:





..aaand, we’ve finally decided what to do with that locked cave in the top left corner (seen in the graveyard GIF)!

Basically, the cave has turned into a series of puzzle challenges of various types. Some involve time travelling, others don’t – but the idea is that “hidden” inside the cave is a WIP ‘Puzzle World’, a place where the people of Tai Ming were supposed to be able to go to challenge themselves with some puzzles (after paying a hefty entry fee).

(Putting this area next to the graveyard might not have been the best marketing decision, of course.. Not the best place for something resembling a puzzle-themed amusement park!)

There will be five different rooms, plus an entry room where you’ll be introduced to the theme park WIP and its owner!

Room #1: Ancient Statue (enemy) Puzzle
Here you’ll have to use the statue enemies in a creative way to solve a puzzle with several buttons!

Room #2: A Key + Monkeys
Here you need a key to get to the next room. Only problem is, there are a bunch of monkeys also wanting the key, and they won’t let you have it! You’ll have to kill the right monkey before he throws the key to one of his friends.

Room #3: Path Puzzle
In this puzzle there will be statues (or other things), which you can move around in the past, that will fall in different direction in the present. With this knowledge, you have to push the right statue to the right place in order to fill a series of holes in your path to the next room!

Room #4: Combat Room
The puzzle here has long since stopped working, and instead you’ll have to battle a series of enemies.

Room #5: Phase Shifting
A puzzle room originally sponsored by the crew at the Flying Fortress, now it’s an advanced phase shifting puzzle where you have to shift through time!

As always, typically of Pixel Ferrets, we’ve probably overdone this a bit – turning our vague encounter & 1-2 puzzle cave into a ancient half completed theme park-ish thing! However, there aren’t that many rooms, and the mechanics will hopefully be kind of straight forward (here’s to hoping)! :)

Are you ready for some super early Monkey previews? Good, cause here they are:


So, this is a very early prototype! One thing that definitely will be changed is the actual throw, which is a bit too high. The Monkeys also shouldn’t turn into brawler bots as they attack you… ;)

The monkey has two attacks: it can hit you or it can throw another enemy at you. Each enemy it throws will have have a different kind of impact as it lands: the statue sends shockwaves in 4 directions, the plant releases a ton of seeds, and the thorn-worms will simply do a ton of damage!


Oh yeah, right now the thorn worm don’t have the proper sprite for when they’re carried, so they kind of look like silly Digletts getting carried around, but in the future they will be rolled up!

You might wonder why we didn’t implement this enemy before releasing the first zone, but the answer is simple: it doesn’t appear until you’ve completed a (mandatory) quest in the second zone :)

Aside from the Monkey prototyping, we’ve also worked a lot on the backgrounds of Tai Ming’s second zone! One important mechanic there is that you’ll be able to raise and lower the water levels, and in doing so things will, of course, change on the map. First thing we need to add is two different states of the water levels: one where they are low, and one where they are high. When the levels are low, you should be able to see some of the ground through the water, and when they are high, you won’t be able to access the lower area of the map:



In the future, there will be decorative water effects animated along all the edges as well, making the water feel more alive!

We’ve also started turning the Past version of the outdoor map into its ruined, present state:





A lot of things are still subject to change here! Lots of small details missing like no cracks on the roof of the house in the first image, and too much darkness in the hollow house in the second. There’s also a chance we’ll edit things as more interiors get added – certain things on the inside might change the way the outside looks, etc :)

Finally, here’s some more Thorn-Worm boss animations from Fred:


We’re back for another recap! In case you missed it, we already added a tiny patch to the Frontline beta, featuring some bug fixes but also a solution to a problem a lot of people have been having with the first zone!

I’m of course talking about the fact that it takes a while before you realize you can push the statue out of the way in the past! To, hopefully, solve this, we’ve added a couple of things that hopefully nudges you in the right direction:


First up, we added the above NPC, pushing a statue back and forth in the top part of the map. He is based off the stonecutter in Evergrind City (an ancestor, perhaps?), and speaking to him will further explain that the statues are light and movable!


We also added the remnants of the statue trail to the ground in the present, hoping that it will make players think about possible ways to get around the rubble:


A lot of you have already made it past this puzzle, so it’s gonna be a bit difficult to tell whether these additions actually help or not. Hopefully, once the temple launches on the stable beta, we’ll get some idea based on how many people ask how to get past the statues :)

Some other things we’ve been working on includes a bunch of hats:


The statue hat is already in the game, while the rest will be Arcade Mode rewards or found in the next map, where the monkey enemy will be introduced!

And speaking of the second map, work on it is progressing smoothly so far. Here’s the present, ruined version of an interior we posted before:


Fred, meanwhile, has started working on the next boss battle, which will take place in the next map as well! This features a giant worm, and here’s a little sneak peek of what that will look like, surrounded by its spawn:


The first Tai Ming zone was released on Frontline this weekend! Wohoo!

If you don’t know what Frontline is, here’s a forum post explaining what the two beta versions are, and how to swap between them on Steam.

Last week was all about getting stuff ready for this patch, so here’s a quick recap of the most important things:

First up, we changed the Plantae Hostilis’ (or the cute little moss-enemy) attack a bit. In previous iterations the flowers it launched exploded on impact (with the ground), but since then we reworked it a little.

Basically we had two options that we tried out, one where the flowers took root and grew large, only to stay on the playfield for a while before exploding. Running into them would trigger the explosion as well, so you had to care where you stepped.

The second option was more or less a mix of the old version and the version mentioned above. The flowers would grow large before exploding after only a short while:


We thought this version was the better one, in the end, since it made sure you really saw where the explosion would take place clearly (it was a bit of an issue with the old version, where they just exploded upon landing), while not filling the area with more things to avoid.

There were a bunch of new characters to be made as well, so Vilya has been on portrait duty:






And let’s not forget, a new addition to some of Zhamla’s portraits:


We’ve already received a ton of great feedback, which has given us food for thought! Overall you guys seem to like the area, which we are incredibly happy about! There are some minor things we’d like to change for clarity’s sake though, and a few bugs that need to be straightened out. The usual stuff! That’s what we’ll be focusing on in the upcoming week, likely :)

Meanwhile, enjoy these animations made by Fred: