It’s another Monday starting with another meeting, and in this one we discussed more stuff to add to the final update of Arcade Mode. Here’s a bunch of our new suggestions in terms of events and event rooms you may come across during a run:

* First up, an event room that’s a spa where you can pick up a couple health orbs, just a nice little treat that may show up once in a while

* A potion salesman that sells “bootleg” potions that last longer than the ones you have equipped normally. These potions are usable items you can use whenever you like but will last longer and possibly be a bit stronger.

* A version of the fortune teller room in which you can change the boss of the floor, but for the next event room! In this room Astrid the fortune teller will let you know what event room is the next to spawn, and you’ll be able to let her swap it out for another one, for a fee.

* A “Boss Assistance Fae”, a fae adventurer that may show up randomly in a room and help you clear it out, only to suggest you employ his assistance in battling the boss. Of course, having his assistance will cost you! This fae may also show up occasionally in Astrid’s Fortune telling room where she predicts which boss you’ll face off against next.

* We’re also discussing having floor wide bets, where Bishop will appear at the start of a floor and give you a bet across the whole floor, such as clearing the floor within a limited time!

* Maraccas, who will show up in later floors, letting you exchange silver points for talent orbs, just like in Story Mode

* Trick & Treat buff service which will give you quite a powerful buff – but will also include quite a massive debuff. For example, in an early floor you might get a skill leveled to max, but you’re not allowed to use any other skills or your shield.

* A Trade Up Guy who will take three of your items of the same kind and exchange them for a better version of them

* A Lood room, which is an event room with a lot of loods and one big master lood who is a NPC of sorts

* The Ice Cream parlor, where you can make your own ice cream that gives you different boosts depending on which flavours you pick

* A person who shows up at the beginning of the last floor you died, or possibly after you’ve died at the same floor a number of times, selling buffs that will last until the end of the floor

If you have any other ideas for event rooms or fun things to happen throughout a run, be sure to make a comment! :)

Finally when it comes to Arcade Mode event room entrances, we have the Ghost Ship, the Desert, Tai Ming and Mount Bloom:




Another couple upgrades we’ve been working on is a proper preview window for Shadier Merchant, which compared your items to the ones on display as you approach:

As well as a nice blue warning for the main menu when your save is incompatible (previously it was brown, as can be seen below):


Next, it’s time for another one of those Grindea battle updates! Here, let’s take a look at two more of her moves, still a bit WIP but it’s looking better and better for sure:

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 :)

New week, new improvements! We wanted to make the Bishop boss portrait look a bit more creepy, so I did a bit of an paintover to adjust just that:

We’ve also made some additions around the card room, adding frames for each card to the wall, as well a a proper entrance (bye bye dragon floor and puzzle stuff):

With us finally deciding the visuals for the floating isle that will be the final Arcade Mode room, it was high time to add that and Arcadia itself to the world map (proper layout of the isles yet to be decided):

And speaking of the floating isle in question, I’ve started working on that as well! Here’s as far as I’ve gotten as of yet, more work to come:

Finally, Fred makes some progress with cleaning up the Bishop’s animations (have a little sneak peek), as well as adding some light effects to the cards in the card cave, which will illustrate how many cards you’ve collected thus far:

A new week comes along with a new room in the HQ! This room is where the Silver Point to Talent Orb transmuter will hang out with his apprentice Bokus:

Next, it’s time to start working on Bishop’s boss portrait, here divided into two parts, starting off with the first Bishop:

After that, we swap him around and add a different weapon, after which we add the third Bishop, the scary guy with the scythe:

Back to the new HQ room, we had some talks about it and decided to make it smaller and a bit more messy, adding a pile of books for Bokus to sit on as well:

Fred, meanwhile, has continued work on Bishop, and so here we have him giving you a catalyst in a rather interesting new way:

For the sixth final dungeon floor, we’re doing a mashup of the festival and Mount Bloom, which means you’ll be going to a festival in the mountains! And who better to host such an event than a score of Cavelings…. :)

Our idea is that you’ll be in a rather open cave system where you’ll trick phase between various stations, each having a little mini game challenge of its own. We haven’t yet decided whether you’ll need to do them in a specific order or if you can trick phase your way around the area freely.

Either way, our current idea is that it’ll be the same mini games as you had in the Evergrind festival after you finished the Temple of Seasons, only with a caveling twist for each event. So for instance, you might not win the fishing contest based on the best or most fishes, and the cavelings might use some other cheating tactics to make sure they win themselves in the running challenge, and so on. I won’t go into too much detail here but you get the idea – basically you’ll most likely end up getting swindled one way or another – what else to expect from the cavelings, huh?

This week we’ll be discussing the Tai Ming floor, and after that there’s only two more floors to go! Drawing ever closer to the end :)

So, another thing we’ve been working on recently has been a bunch of new gauntlets for the arena! Now there’s a total of four of them, each a bit more difficult than the last.

First we have the good old classic one featuring Pillar Mountains, Evergrind City and Pumpkin Wood enemies. The second one has enemies from Flying Fortress and Seasonne, as well as a guest appearanec from Phase Man and a couple puzzle block enemies. The third has enemies from the Temple of Seasons and Mount Bloom, and also features the Summer and Autumn Elder Fae and Black Ferrets! Finally there’s the final Gauntlet, which has enemies from across the entire world, as well as some giant thorn worms, Vilya AND Marino! Quite intense.

After having made these, we’ve of course spent a bunch of time testing them. I also decided to remake the icon for the original gauntlet (which was a single slime against a yellow background) now that I had to make icons for the new challenges anyway:

Meanwhile, the Bishop battle is turning more and more from a prototype into an actual badass battle!

We’ve added a bunch of attacks and cleaned up the graphics on some. After some initial testing of this version of the battle, I’d like to be bold enough to say it’s one of my favourite boss battles in the game this far:

Hopefully you guys will like it as well! It’s pretty intense, let me tell you that much! :D

Next up we have a new NPC we’ve been talking about adding for a long time! This guy will be ‘unlocked’ by finishing a quest in the Collector’s HQ, and will grant you the ability to turn your silver skillpoints into talent orbs (and the other way around!)

Of course, as such he needed a portrait:

Meanwhile, Fred’s been continuing on with refining the Bishop animations, making sure the battle against him looks as good as possible! Here’s some more of his animations:

Another week starting with a portrait! This time it’s the mother of a whole lot of guards, chilling in her cottage north of Pumpkin Woods:

Next up, the final room of the mansion, and the room you’ve all been waiting for… Marino’s own! Here it is:

As we may have mentioned before, the tree guy in the tree stump in Seasonne will sell you furniture items for you house, and to be specific, he’ll be selling… Yeah, you guessed it. Trees! So, here’s a bunch of the trees from around the game, converted into housing items:

Now for something completely different, the portrait of a toaster! This was one of our backer items, which we decided to make into a talking toaster. Soon in a treasure chest near you ;)

Finally, Fred’s been finishing up the animations for the two boss battles you’ll be dealing with! You’ve seen a bit of the troll before, but here’s also a new face, that of a strange giant plant creature:

Next up, some more Evergrind Improvement plans! Another batch of these things, mainly wanting to upgrade the overall graphics for each of these areas but also add some stuff and spice things up:

Meanwhile, these two buildings will be fully replaced by their Arcadia versions, which were made much later on and feature much better art:

So, first up in this new batch of improvements we have the waiting room in the arena! To start with, this room felt a bit too big and empty, so we’re making it smaller and more compact, adding more benches for people to sit at and some things added to the walls for their reading pleasure as they eagerly await the next match. Other than that, the graphics have been touched up overall, so the room feels as fresh as the newer parts of the game:

Next, the hat shop! This place needs a bit more color, some updated graphics and just some more details. I might go back and change some of the colours of this house further on so it’s colour scheme isn’t as close to the cafes, but we’ll see!

And now, the garden and its surrounding area! Here I wanted to add some more flowers, update the fountain graphics and the fence behind the alchemist’s house, as well as some details. The benches have also been updated as well to fit the more clean style of the later parts of the game:

Fred, meanwhile, has been working on some new animations for Captain Bones, where he seems awfully… Distraught? Whatever could be happening to him?

We also started making a test for the weather effect we’d like for the battle with Luke, adding some rain to give the battle a more epic feel (plus we haven’t really had any weather effects before, so about time!):

Time to plan out some more of the improvements needed for the Evergrind part of the game! Of course, the houses that use the old version of the Startington furniture needs to get the upgraded versions of that:

The area around the Smithy looks rather dull and the laundry hanging to dry could definitely be drawn better:

The entire café looks pretty outdated, so gonna have to do some revamping there as well:

And same for the alchemist’s house, where I’d like to add even more clutter, some wild plants and other things to liven things up a bit and make it seem less drab and abandoned, and more like the colorful abode of a crazy alchemist:

So starting off with the first improvement batch, time to upgrade this little house, the first you see as you enter Evergrind City:

We’ve also had another meeting discussing the final dungeon! We have a bunch of ideas for specific challenges and rooms now. Some of the new ideas are as follows:

* A phase shift puzzle where you have to catch x number of items in a certain amount of time. Sort of inspired by the torch puzzle we’ll have in the ghost ship where you need to light a certain number of torches in a short amount of time; here you need to get a hold of x pieces of a key (or something like that) in order to unlock the next room.

* A slime encounter where you get to battle every type of slime in the game! When you’ve killed them all, the goo they left behind will merge together into 4 bigger slimes, which will provide more of a challenge. After defeating these slimes, they will merge together into a rainbow giga slime, which will be a much more difficult version of the giga slime fight!

* A room surrounded by a ghostly essence that comes to life when you enter the ghost world (which you must in order to kill a number of ghost guardians) – for ever second you’re in the ghost world, the ghostly essence will grow bigger and bigger and will hinder your movement and will end up damaging you

* An encounter with enemies from across the game and a master wizard that will turn them all into elites

* A room where you’ll be trapped within 4 guardians that are connected with their laser beams; their movements will determine the size and shape of the space where you can move. Meanwhile you have to dodge a bullet hell, possibly summoned by phaseman!

* A challenge room with either Gifts of Presents (or both), which will eat a key and it’s your goal to find and defeat the one who ate it.

* An overgrown room in which you’ll battle every plant enemy in the game, ending with a short guest appearance from the power flower

… and more! Needless to say, we’re getting more excited about this final dungeon by the minute. Hope you are too! :)

Now it’s time for another look at Luke’s boss battle! It’s coming together quickly now, with a bunch of his attacks being mixed and match to create an interesting pattern for the first stages of his fight that will be unique every time:

Some of the effect graphics have been improved since the last time as well, and I feel like it already looks pretty good (with the exception of the placeholder background, hehe – I’ll get to that eventually)!

 

What we want now is to amp up the second part of the fight. We already know he will enter berserk mode at a certain point, but aside from that we want to mix it up a bit so it’s not just the same (random) mix and match combo patterns for the entirety of the fight. We have a couple of ideas for ‘bigger’ attacks that we’ll try out in the near future though, so we’ll see how that ends up!

And here we have a closer look at a bunch of those fancy Luke animations:

Exciting times!

So, new week and new Monday, which brings with it another meeting! This time around we’ve talked a lot about the near future, basically where we’re heading from here and what’s the most important on our to-do lists.

For Teddy and Fred, this mainly means the Luke battle and the cutscenes directly after and a final one leading up to where Frontline will end this time.

For me, there’s a lot more improvements to the earlier stages of the game, particularly around Evergrind City and the like.

And for all of us, it’s still the quest for the perfect final dungeon. We’ve already had a bunch of meetings discussion a variety of ideas, but seeing as we want a lot of floors, there’s still some work to be done and more floor ideas to shape – and eventually, actual floors to design. This week our homework is the sit down for 20 minutes to an hour here and there and create those ideas, so that next week we have even more of them to discuss. This will continue on while we finish up the rest of the ship until we have enough ideas, and eventually, proper designs, that we can make a whitebox sketch version of the final dungeon which we can run through and try out without the mechanics being implemented yet.

The main thing we want to avoid is one of the pitfalls that made work on the Ghost Ship such a struggle; in every other previous case where we designed an area or a dungeon, we had a clear design in mind before we actually started making the proper graphics. With the Ghost Ship, we did a whole ton of just winging it and designing as we went on, and it’s fair to say that designing a dungeon like that didn’t work out as well for us as the other way at all. So – no more of that, and more pre-design like we did before! With some luck, we won’t struggle as much this time, and it won’t be as long before an update hits ever again (touch wood) :)

Now, while I’m quite done with Ghost Ship stuff for now, there’s one ghost I have a feeling we’ll get to see at some point so I thought I might as well ghostify her portrait now while I’m kind of in the zone with the ghost stuff!

Who? Tannie of course!

Of course, I have no proof we’ll actually ever use this portrait, I suppose it depends on where we decide to take certain quests or side quests, but we’ve been talking so much about it that the chance seems pretty darn high she will appear in some shape, at some time…

Now, with all of the other Startington houses having new and fresh graphics, it’s beyond time that the player’s own house get a bit of an upgrade as well! Without further ado:

Next up, another part of the player’s house in Startington we can’t forget about; your own room! Like the rest of Startington, it’s about time it gets the appropriate visual upgrade:

In Luke’s boss fight, we’re working on the level of destruction that will take place as he slams into the ship with his unparalleled strength! We’re currently choosing between three options – one where the cracks disappear quickly:

One where they remain a little while:

And one where they could potentially remain forever:

Right now we’re leaning towards the middle option. What do you guys think? :)

So, time for some Spookington fixes! First up, a couple new expressions for some of the characters you’ll meet there, namely Jonathan (cured of his cough!) and Luke’s mom (who is a little concerned):

The pathway up to Spookington felt a little claustrophobic so we’re turning it into utter darkness, as far as the eye can see:

And as part of the mechanics on this town, we’ll be using a couple globes, which in this version were what we’d like to call programmer art, now replaced with the real deal:

Finally, adding some more stuff to your childhood home in this Spookington version, making it a bit more messy:

Next up on my list of things is putting someone in that ghostlike shop to manage business there! It took a while for us to decide on a design for this guy; should he be human, a ghost, or something else entirely? In the end though we decided to go for something of a shadowlike demonic creature, just to mix things up a bit lore wise (plus it would be cool to design an actual creature based off of the darkness we’ve introduced this far in the ghost ship).

Without further ado:

Some minor adjustments to the Startington Spooky version, featuring more clutter, stacks of books, and a mysterious night sky:

Next up, what I now honestly believe will be my final contribution to the Ghost Ship for now (or at at least until we finalize the boss battle and I’ll have to make any changes to the boss area and such): Luke’s boss portrait!

And now it’s time to take a look at what’s cooking with the Luke battle! The prototyping stage is in full swing, and we’re currently experimenting with a set of attacks and combos for him to throw at you:

No Grindea battle is complete without a bit of dodging as well, so naturally what other skill would Luke master than Smash:

So far so good, we’re feeling quite excited about this battle and hope you guys will too… :)