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!

This has been a busy week! Progress is coming along on the final cutscenes and battles (not much to show there due to spoilers, though), and I’ve finished up some more of those final bits and pieces, this time some season decoration for one of those last puzzle rooms (to make it more clear which season you’re in):

I’ve also started working a bit on that Secrets of Grindea Visual Novel we mentioned a long time ago. ‘Why in the world are they making a visual novel?’, you might ask. A Visual Novel is, after all, quite a leap from an action RPG!

So, what’s a visual novel?

If you’re unfamiliar with the genre, a Visual Novel is a game genre where most of the story is told through text or dialogue and where the player’s main interaction is choosing what to say or do in certain situations. In doing so, the player transforms the story and the fate of those involved in it depending on their choices.

A lot of Visual Novels involve romance, but not all.

Aviary Attorney, a visual novel and one of the best games in existence, if you ask me.

While it’s true that our main focus within Pixel Ferrets has been (and probably still will be) top-down Pixel Art games, this as of yet untitled Visual Novel won’t exactly be a Pixel Ferret game. In fact, that’s the reason why I’m making this – I’ve more or less finished all there is for me to do on Secrets of Grindea save bug testing and updating already existent graphic assets. Fred and Teddy, on the other hand, still have a number of things they need to finish and this leaves me with with quite a bit of time before we can start discussing our next project together.

And so, we’ve decided that instead of twiddling my thumbs I’ll start making this visual novel and we’ll see how far along I can come before they’re done. If I manage to finish it before we start the next project, it’ll be released as a companion piece to the Secrets of Grindea world, and if not, I’ll continue working on it on my free time until it is completed.

I picked the Visual Novel genre because it’s very heavily reliant on graphics and writing, which happen to be what I enjoy the most. It also doesn’t need as much programming knowledge as the more technically complex action RPG genre, and as such, I should be able to make most of this game on my own while Teddy and Fred finish up SoG.

I’m actually super excited to get started on this for real. That feeling when you start a new project is exhilarating to say the least; all those opportunities of where to go and what to do within each new story!

Well, what would you guys like to see from a Secrets of Grindea Visual Novel?

If you’d like to read more about the Visual Novel progress or read up on my other work (as well as get art/writing/gamedev tips & inspiration and pictures of the office cats and chickens (yes, we have 4 chickens now)), I’ve reopened my blog again – in fact, the above text is a copy-paste of a post from there.

We’re not sure whether any more Visual Novel progress will be shared here – after all, it’s quite a different game. What would you guys prefer?

Until next time :)

This week it’s time to show one of the final backgrounds of the game: the ruined version of the final battle room. This is what will remain after you’ve battled through one of the two final battles and will set the stage for the true final battle – should you manage to get there.

The idea is that the darkness beyond the walls will be replaced by the starry sky background used in a couple other places in the game – but the game engine will handle that:

Most of the work this week has been done on the final bunch of cutscenes for the game – things we won’t show you too much from due to spoilers. However, here’s a little sneak peek of another character that will make an appearance – young Faita from Mount Bloom (grown-up version on the left, young on the right):

…What do you guys think she has got to do with this? :)

Another week and another background! This time we’re making the exterior of the area where the final battle(s) will take place, so let’s have a look at that:

After finishing the version above, we had a little discussion and decided to change things around a bit and edit the shape of the building, including making the windows taller. As such:

Other than background stuff work on the production book continues, and in Fred’s department it’s all about finishing up the final dungeon, which includes adding a couple of animations for the last bunch of puzzles, and an animation for the defeated mirror:

Stay tuned for next week as we wrap up more of these final bits and pieces of the game :D

This week I’ve been finishing up the puzzle room – which first of all meant adding a couple smaller details, such as this wooden part that is whole in the past and broken in the present:

Speaking of past and present, the room background needed a proper broken down present version, so here’s that as well:

We’ve also been playing around with making the map indoor rather than outdoor:

Would you guys prefer it to be in the skies or inside a proper room?

Another thing we’ve been working on in regards to the puzzle room is the effect of clearing the rooms. Here’s some of the progress, where we went from a season change-like effect to something closer to the shattering of a mirror! Note that the proper graphics for this haven’t been made yet, but you’ll get an idea of the concept:

We’ve also been discussing the Ending Theme song(s), as it’s high time to send out sound and music requests to our awesome sound and music designers, giving them some time to work on this before release. I’m very interested to hear what they come up with, as I’m sure you are too! As a reminder, the sound effects are made by Fark and the music by Lucky Lion Studios, both awesome people we’re so happy to have along for this adventure!

Another week, and more puzzle room stuff! Since the background was finished, it’s time to move on the the various puzzle components – and for this puzzle in particular that means making a whole bunch of statues! Each of these statues need both a past and a present version, meaning they change depending on what side of a time rift you’re on. Move the statues around in the past and new and strange things might happen in the present.

Here’s the statues and their various states in question:

Fred’s making stuff for the puzzles as well! Here’s a mirror with some flowers that bloom in summer and block the mirror in autumn:

There’s also a bunch of new effects and a bunch of animations for the Grindea battle! Let’s have a look at those:

Next week, we’ll take a look at the (hopefully) finished bits and pieces of these puzzle rooms! Stay tuned!

Finally, it’s time to take a look at the final puzzle room, which marks one of the last couple of backgrounds for me. This time it’s a mixture of Puzzle World-inspired graphics along with a healthy dose of season change! So let’s begin:

Of course, this background will appear in three different seasons as well – autumn, winter and summer – so time to add a bit more detail:

Teddy and Fred are working on more cutscenes and the final bits and pieces here and there, and the production booklet is coming along nicely as well! Since I’m working on the final bits on the game now, I’ll soon begin the little Grindea related side-project we mentioned a while back as well, but I’ll give you more info on that once things are a bit more planned out. Stay tuned!

The main focus this week continous to be endgame stuff, boss polish and cutscenes, but since the progress on those is a bit more abstract to show, let’s take a look at another one of the puzzle backgrounds instead:

This puzzle room features a whole lot of phase shifting mixed with twilight! You saw a prototype of this puzzle a few weeks ago, but now it finally has a proper background as well :)

Fred has also spent some time on the puzzles, creating a “mirror core” you need to crush in each of the puzzle rooms in order to progress further! Here’s the progress of that project, from early sketches to finished version:

 

Next week it’s time to reveal the background for the third and final puzzle! Stay tuned! :)

Another week and more ending related progress! This time, let’s have a look at one of the puzzle backgrounds, inspired by the early arena:

In this room you’ll deal with three classical block puzzles, one of which is the older, more difficult version of the one that appears in the arena! Those of you who have played the game way back may remember it – it was later replaced by an easier version that better fit those early parts of the game.

The main focus for Teddy and Fred is the cutscenes, so let’s have a little preview of one of the last cutscenes of Arcade Mode! First, an early prototype:

Then, adding some more details:

We weren’t entirely happy with how the hand looked, and felt the whole composition looked a little lame, so we played around with another setup:

Leading, finally, to this version:

This week we’ll continue working on the final backgrounds, the production booklet and the remaining cutscenes! Almost there :)

Another week and more stuff to do and talk about! This week I went back to some art stuff in between writing on the book, finishing up one of the final battle rooms! This here is where you get to battle Dad, and we’ll transform the room a bit for your fight against Zhamla – but that’s for later! :)

We’ve also started something that really makes it feel like we’re at the home strech – one final playthrought. For one hour every day we’re currently doing a multiplayer playthrough of the entire game together, from start to finish. This is to see if we’ve missed any inconsistencies or bugs before release – don’t worry, we’re not adding long lists of polish to add, this is solely for storyline consistency and bug purposes, and to iron out anything that feels off. In other words, the finishing touches, if you will. When we’re not doing the playthrough we’re focusing on the final parts of the game. For me and Teddy, that’s Story Mode – for Fred, it’s finishing up some last remaining graphics for the Arcade Mode ending. Here’s a little sneak peek:

Two different versions – one longer, one shorter. Which one do you prefer? :)