One thing that’s been missing from the stylist for a while now is a way to rotate your character preview so you’re able to see what you’d look like from more than one direction! Since we’re working on adding the final haircuts now, we decided it’s also time to add that missing feature, and as such, we’ve spent some time trying out various interfaces showing you how to rotate the preview:

Right now our current favourite is the last one. Which one do you prefer?

Next up, we have a bunch of haircut fixes! To start off with, this one seemed to lack a bit of the ‘swirly’ part of the bangs showing from behind, so I added that:

Since this haircut is super wide we needed a version of it which can be used when you wear a full coverage hat as well, made here below:

As for this one, we felt we wanted to show the bangs on the side a bit from behind as well:

Next up, it’s time to decide in what order to display the haircuts! For now we’ve decided to go from shortest to longest (well, kind of – we haven’t measured them all exactly, so some variations may occur), divided over two pages with 16 on each.

Page 1:

…and Page 2:

Finally on the haircut side, we realized the new haircuts looked a bit off when added to the game, due to some palette swapping mishaps. As such, I had to remake them slightly! Here’s a couple of them, with the original version first, the recolored version second, and the improved remake third:

In Teddy & Fred’s department, we’re mainly still focusing on the Grindea fight, but some other animations and cutscenes are made here and there. Here, let’s the a look at one of those, the activation of the portal that will take you to Grindea’s realm:

Now it’s time to start looking at the Mount Bloom / Festival floor of the final dungeon for real! Let’s start off with an introduction room, the first you’ll find yourself in within this floor of the dungeon:

Next up, the exit and northern cave room, featuring the strength challenge:

Next, there’s the fishing challenge, set in a cave setting:

And finally, the running challenge:

And here we have the complete thing, all rooms together:

Meanwhile, Fred continues work on Grindea and her attacks, including a mysterious space rift:

Exciting times! :3

This week I continue working on those final dungeon floors, continuing on with the Flying Fortress floor to start off with. Aside from just having a platform for battling the bosses, you also need an entry point and an exit, which is what we’re taking a look at today:

Next, a quick sketch to give you a basic overview of what the Mount Bloom floor will look like! I do this a bit ahead of time so we’re all on the same page of the layout before I start making the actual rooms.

As you can see from the sketch below, you start of in an introductory room. In the middle, in the very dark spot, will be a very simple phase shift course which will take you either to the room on the left, the room on the right or the room above depending on how you move through it. You need to reach and complete the challenge in each room to be able to continue on to the next floor through the north exit :)

But before heading to Mt Bloom, there’s the Seasonne floor to take care of! Without further ado:

In this next part of the floor, we add some more detail and stuff around the walls so that the colliders are all pretty much even, so you won’t get stuck against the trees if you find yourself pushed against the wall at some point during the battle:

Meanwhile, Fred continues his work on Grindea! Let’s take a look at this epic dash:

And this week, it’s time to start taking care of the second floor of that final dungeon! Let’s start with the first room, which will throw you into the cursed floor:

Next up, a couple of the horizontal floors:

And some vertical ones:

And finally, the lobby room that will lead you to each of those rooms:

This room will also have a bunch of statues and a portal, but we’ll take care of that in next week’s post!

Meanwhile in Fred’s department, it’s still all about Grindea! Check this out:

Time to start this week with another meeting! As you know, we’ve been going through each of our old floor designs for the final dungeon and deciding whether we want to keep them as is or improve them in any way. This week we talked about the Mount Bloom and Tai Ming focused floors!

On the Mount Bloom floor, you’ll find a Mount Bloom combined with the festival themed area where you’ll compete against Cavelings in each of the festival challenges, with a twist. We were still quite happy with this floor, but we had some notes on a cutscene towards the end that we fleshed out a bit, making it a lot better.

The Tai Ming floor, meanwhile, seemed incredibly long now that we decided to shorten a lot of the previous floors. Before, the idea was that you needed to help three different ghosts with a challenge each (either battles or puzzle related), before being able to collect the three Tai Ming emblems from them, which in turn would trigger an advanced version of the Priestess battle. Now we’ve decided to simply let the player talk to the ghosts and get the emblems that way, making the floor a lot shorter and more to the point. We now feel a lot happier with this floor as well!

Next week, we’ll take some time to discuss the final floor we need to decide: the Dragonbone Dunes floor. Yes, I know there’s still the Ghost Ship floor, but as it happens, we’ve always been sure of what’s gonna happen on that one, so no need to redesign that one. The desert floor however isn’t exactly the way we like it yet, so as “homework” for next week’s meeting we’ll each take some time to think about what different options we have for the floor :)

But for now, onwards with more art stuff! Starting with a quick return to Arcade Mode! There’s a couple transer screens needed for when your character runs towards the next area, showing your score as you go. First up, the transfer between Tai Ming and Dragonbone Dunes:

And next, the transfer between Dragonbone Dunes and the Ghost Ship:

In Teddy’s department, it’s all about the battle against Grindea, a battle we’re getting more and more excited about!

The idea is that she’ll have two forms: one “regular sized” form, where she’ll be pretty much player sized and have a bunch of different moves. Here’s a couple ideas we’ve thrown together – big warning that we’re using a LOT of placeholder graphics in these, just to get a feel for the mechanics:

 

And as a bonus, here’s our very first test, before any mechanics at all were added, just a very basic Grindea running around in a circle (square?). Pretty cool how iterations work, and how we’ll soon go from the placeholder graphic versions above to stuff with finalized art. This is probably one of my personal favourite parts of game design, seeing how things go from something basic and crude to more fleshed out and detailed designs!

 

The second form she’ll have is this giant, “proper” goddess form, where she’ll have a different set of attacks:

 

More to come! Super excited for this battle, which should be one of the most difficult and epic fights in the game :)

Aaaand I’m back! It’s been a couple of really nice weeks, as predicted, but it’s time to jump straight back into work, so let’s start off with one of our most recent design meetings, involving the next floor of the final dungeon – the Temple of Seasons!

This floor remains pretty similar to its original shape, but we’ve spent some time fleshing out the puzzle part of it. As a reminder, the idea with the temple of seasons floor was that you’d enter a lobby room of sort in which there are three doors, but only one is accessible from the start. Upon entering this door, you’ll enter a mixed season battle room, after which you’ll free Summer. With Summer along with you in the lobby, he can change the season so another of the doors open, behind which is a season change puzzle and a captured Autumn – upon releasing her she’ll change the lobby room to autumn and as such open up the door to the next floor of the final dungeon.

But what about the puzzle then? We decided to each make at least one design for it each, and then either use of our designs straight up, combine a few, och edit someone’s idea until it felt just right.

Some of Freds designs above!

My design is a pretty straight forward puzzle in which you have to reach a key on a platform by using an unstoppable (?) moving block in the water, some floating wood, a plant, and the power of the seasons! For now it seems we’ll use some variation of this idea. Let’s see if you can figure it out in the game! :)

Next up, we have some more of those archery backgrounds! Let’s have a look:

And coming right up, the last bunch as well:

As we’ve mentioned before, completing Arcade Mode will grant you a chest with some fancy stuff! But since this is technically the final reward of the game and pretty difficult to get, we wanted to make a proper, more epic type of chest for it!

Let’s have a go:

Meanwhile in Fred’s animation department, we have more grindea animations, a strange portal, and another fish! Enjoy :D



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!

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 :)

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 :)