In this Monday’s Meeting, it’s been all about perks! We haven’t had a lot of those before, so we’ve spent some time thinking about what more interesting ones we could add. Here’s a list of our current ideas:

* A perk that gives a low chance of pins dropping from defeated enemies

* Arrows deal more damage

* Bigger chance of getting a specific type of event room (we want at least one of these for the fishing rooms, since it can be quite a challenge to catch all of the fishes, however, we haven’t decided 100% yet if this will be a perk or a quest or an item of some sort)

* Bigger chance of Loods appearing

* A perk that guaratees that you’ll get a pin as a reward after a challenge win

* A perk that gives you x gold at the start of every new floor

* Bigger chance of getting card drops from enemies

* A slightly wider selection of items in the shop

* A perk that lets you start with an HP potion

* A perk that gives you a good 1h weapon at floor 5

* Same as above but for 2H weapons and magical weapons respectively

Do you have any ideas for more perks? Let us know what you’d like to see! :)

Next up, I’ve made a test for a portrait of that fae that comes along to help you fight against bosses (for a fee). However, this is only the first try, and after some discussions we’ve decided we’re probably gonna give him a slightly different look, making him look a bit more badass. For now though, here’s the old version:

Next up, in preparation for another one of the rooms, I’ve made a bunch of Super Potions. These potions can be bought from a potion salesman that appears in questionmark rooms, and the potions themselves are stronger and last longer. To start of with, the potion salesman will present you with one random potion of the selection below, but if you pay up some essence you’ll be able to unlock a second slot in his shop which will also feature a random potion:

Now, time for a newbackground! This one features the Spa, where your character can regain some HP by standing in the enchanted pool:

In Teddy’s department, let’s take a look at a new interface of sorts, featuring Bishop as he provides you with a bet! Now he’ll appear in the lower right corner to remind you of the bet you’ve taken:

Once you finish the bet, he’ll disappear, as shown above, and appear in the middle of the map instead!

New week, new tasks! This time it’s all about making that first floor of the final dungeon. Let’s start with the left pillar, where you’ll do a fishing and puzzle challenge:

Next, the bridge connecting the two pillars. You’ll fight a bazillion Teddys and Freds on this bridge, and since we don’t know exactly how long it needs to be, I had to make it able to repeat itself indefinitely. In order for the player to be further reminded of their first encounter with Teddy and Fred, we decided to use the very bridge you pass over in Pillar Mountains / Evergrind Fields as a base:

Next, the right pillar, where you’ll do battle against Vilya (and possibly Giga Slime)! Here I used the Arena as a base, since this whole dungeon is all about reminding you of the old places you’ve visited throughout the game:

And finally, adding a bunch of details and props to make the area feel a bit more alive. Plus shredding the collector banners for “dramatic” effect, cause why not? :)

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!

Another interface that’s been around for ages without any updates is the good old quest tracker interface! Let’s see what we can do with that:

Next up we have the very basic sketch for the second floor of the final dungeon! This isn’t quite as exciting as the previous one, as it’s mostly pretty open rooms in which you’ll battle bosses – so there’s not much room to make them too complex.

Here’s the basic layout first of all:

So, you’ll start in the room called Z in the above sketch, which will be a basic one way Pumpkin Wood floor which you’ll just pass through:

Upon exiting the room above, there will be the Pumpkin Woods curse effect, and you’ll find yourself in the room below:

This room has four statues, each depicting one of the enemies found in pumpkin woods (except the Halloweed). Now, exiting the room in any direction (including the one you just came from) will lead you to a different room in which you’ll battle a special version of the enemies in the statues. So for example, exiting to the south now will bring you to a map that looks pretty much like this (but with actual graphics):

A battle will take place, say with a special version Jack o’ Lantern. Exiting the floor to the north now will bring you back the way you came, while exiting south won’t get you to a new room, but will have you back at the room with the statues, but from above.

Once you’ve went into the exits leading in each direction, with rooms that will look something like this:

..you’ll end up with each of the statues in the main lobby room lit. Once the final statue’s candles has been lit, battle with Terrorweed will commence in the lobby room, after which you’ll be able to proceed to the next floor by going north! :)

Now, time to make some archery challenge decoration stuff! Starting off with some props for each area, we’ll begin with Pillar Mountains:

The next two areas we’ll look into are Pumpkin Woods and Flying Fortress:

More Archery challenges? We got you covered!

In these two new types of challenges, you’ll need to hit an enemy with multiple shots (annoying halloweed!), or eliminate an enemy target before it hits an innocent bystander!

Next up, let’s return to Arcade Mode for a bit, adding some background stuff to that quiz challenge we showed a few weeks back! Let’s have a look:

As for the final parts of the menu upgrades, we have the inventory and crafting menu. Let’s have a look at the inventory menu first:

Still not a 100% sure about this, as it feels a little bit cluttered! We’ll have to think further…

And so, let’s play around with some more basic background detail, more like it looks in the game currently but taking up less space and with some newer graphics! Let’s see what we can do:

This here is our current favourite, giving the interface an updated feel without feeling too messy! Plus we can squeeze in a lot more items than we can currently. What do you guys think?

Next it’s time for the last piece of the ingame menu update: the crafting menu! Let’s have a look:

Almost done with the menu updates now! Really looking forward to when these are all added to the game :)

Meanwhile, Teddy is using his time to make a bunch more Arcade challenges! Let’s have a look at some of these:


First up this week, editing that enemy info page a bit, allowing for larger numbers in each of the categories:

Another seed is on the way, through which you can grow a very strange plant indeed… Let’s take a look:

After some consideration of the previous version, we decided to swap it around:

And now, for the seed:

And all of the usual interface bits needed for you to grow this thing:

And now, something that’s been a long time coming: new haircuts! Remember the locked ones? Well they won’t be locked much longer, as we intend to fill up the remaining haircut slots – or at least add a bunch more of them. Here’s the first batch:

Remember how started improving the inventory menu a while back, preparing for the categories to be icons rather than text? Well, it’s finally time to start making those icons!

In this first test, I went for a monochrome look, but we’re not sure whether it’s the best way to go – perhaps it’s better to bring in a bit more colour to the menu, giving each icon a colour of its own. What do you guys think?

And here we have another option, the icons in colour! Which one do you prefer?

I personally feel a bit torn, since the monochrome one looks a bit less messy and more stylish, but it’s also nice to bring in more colour to the menu! It’s possible we’ll keep on iterating these options, or go for a mix of some sort, perhaps having the category you’re currently on show in colour. We’ll see!

Meanwhile, Fred has been doing some more work on Grindea! Here’s some of his WIP sketches:

…And Teddy’s been adding my personal favourite feature in a long time! Lizards in your house!! How cute isn’t this?

Now, time to get back to work and what better way to start off a new work week after a week’s holiday than to make the first pieces of a whole new system? These seeds (appropriately enough, since it’s spring time over here and I just spent pretty much the entire vacation outside managing the garden) will drop from all the greenery inspired enemies in the game, letting you plant them in your own home! Let’s take a look:

I’ve also made all the preparations for the first such plant, namely the Power Flower, whose seed you can already get after defeating it in Story Mode:

Of course, we also needed some drop appearance, both for the potted and the ..unpotted versions:

Next up, time to make some more potted plants! Without further ado:

And here we have the full lineup, both with and without the actual plants:

We’ll also add some kind of sprout to these for when you’ve planted a seed and it’s starting to grow, at which point examining it will give you an estimate of how far off it is from turning into an actual plant!

And now, back to doing something I haven’t done in a little while, which is a new portrait! This is for one of the new older generation collectors you’ll find in the HQ at some point:

Meanwhile in Fred’s department, we see a sneak peek of a couple new things for the stable update: a couple shields, a sprout, and an idle animation for one of the veteran collectors:

Now that we’ve been back a while and gotten back into the groove of working, we thought it was high time to have a meeting about what we’re gonna do the next bunch of weeks! As you know, the frontline patch has been released and we’re currently working on stuff for the stable version of the same. As such we went over what things will be added, and had a few unexpected ones added to the list as well!

First up, as mentioned before, we’ll add a book series by Penn Wrythe, that you’ll find parts of throughout the game. The final part will only be written after you’ve answered a couple questions asked by the writer herself, meaning you’ll determine the ending. We haven’t yet started working on this, but it’ll be done in one of the coming weeks.

We’re also finally adding the final bunch of haircuts, giving you a bunch of new selections! We’ll also make it possible to choose from the opposite gender’s haircut pool.

A redesign of the enemy codex is gonna happen – to be honest, we’ll probably redesign most of the menu, parts of which you’ve already seen, but for now the enemy codex redesign is the only one we’re certain will make it into the stable update. Our aim here is making it look a bit more pleasing visually as well as adding a few more things, such as the plant enemy seeds! We haven’t yet decided if the seeds are gonna function like a normal drop in the codex, or if there will be a plant icon somewhere indicating that this is an enemy type that drops seeds. Both these options come with their own pros and cons, and as of yet we haven’t really made any final decision on how to handle it – but it’ll get ironed out in a meeting at a later date.

Other than these things we still have the other things mentioned previously such as the seed system and the basement beneath the church in Port Monnaie, most of which has already been finished!

Now, on to more work, got a lot left to do this week :D

Now that the month has drawn to a close, it’s time to do a quick recap of what’s left for this patch, especially what we want to add to frontline (which is out already, by the way!!) and what we’ll save for stable – so it was high time for another meeting!

One of the things we’ve been talking about has been the boss drops. Right now only a few early bosses have boss drops, which aren’t even dropped 100% of the time, which is a bit weird even now that we’ve added boss rebattles in the arena. We had two options for this – either remove the boss drops altogether or let the boss drops be at 100% and add some more to other bosses across the game. In this case, we decided to go with the later, adding a bunch of new boss drops, including a seed allowing you to grow a Power Flower inside your house, an evil eye mask dropped from the evil eye in the ghost ship, a thorn worm cap allowing you to wear thorns on your head, and a cog shield dropped from the toy machine in Seasonne!

The Power Flower Seed brings us to the next topic, which is a plant system where you can plant seeds and have them grow in your home! How this will work is that you’ll find a seed, dropped from various plant enemies, and if you take the seed to the tree in Seasonne he’ll put it in a pot for you, which you can then place in your house. After some time, the seed will turn into a full grown potted version of the enemy you got the seed from. While this completed system won’t make it into this frontline update, we’ll start it up at the very least.

For the stable update, we’ll be adding Penn Wrythe’s novels, which will appear throughout the game in parts. After meeting her in Port Monnaie you’ll get to influence the way the final part of the story turns out, so think about your answers carefully! We’ll also be adding the cellar beneath the church in Port Monnaie, as well as a bunch of old books here and there across the game.

We discussed whether to add the player scaling feature yet or not, but we’ve decided to save that for another update – possibly the one after this one, where we go back to focusing more on Arcade Mode again.

Now, time for some last minute additions, starting with the final arena award, the arena hat:

Adding some backgrounds for Bishop in the journal, as well as a background for your character when they’re in Bishop’s own little realm:

Here’s something that won’t appear in this next patch, but is important to start working on anyway, namely our continued rework of the menu! In this step you’ll see me making a new layout where we’re removing the text titles of each inventory category and replacing them with icons (although the actual icons haven’t been made yet):

And as an additional bonus, a sneak peek of what Maracus Skill-to-Talent transmute looks like, complete with the awesome song made by our amazing music creator Andrew Riley of Lucky Lion Studios! Look at the old man go :3

Since we decided to make a bunch of new boss drops as well, I better get to work making those! Here’s a Power Flower seed, an Evil Eye Mask, and a Thorn Worm cap:

I also went ahead and made the drop appearance of the power flower seed all grown up for its place in the housing system, although you won’t be able to use it just yet (next update, maybe!)

Finally I was a bit cheeky and made my own suggestion for what the Toy Factory’s shield drop could look like, although it’ll most likely be edited and adjusted a bit by Fred:

And finally, here’s a little early sneak peek of three new collectors that will appear in the collector’s HQ or around the world, featuring a few more veterans, since we felt like the collectors all seemed awfully young:

Now go forth dear friends and try out the new patch over on the frontline beta! Among the new stuff is:

* Three big but optional side “quests”/objectives has been added, you can find them in the lost ship, Pillar Mountains and Mt Bloom respectively

* You can now refight all bosses in the arena, which has been improved in terms of UI and has a few more challenges as well

* A new load screen and splash screen for everyone who has been working on the game; the game should also load more quickly

* More bosses have drops (if you’ve killed them already you have been awarded the drops retroactively as all boss drops are now at 100%)

* Talent orbs can now be transformed into silver skill points and the other way around in the HQ

You can read the full patch notes over at the forums! And as always, all feedback is appreciated, please continue to help us make this game the best it can be, we value each and every one of your comments <3

Now, with this patch out and about, we’ll be taking a little belated easter holiday, since we haven’t had any off time for a while! The blog will be back as usual on April 26th, after we’ve had a full week back at the office with new content to recap for you guys :)

Today we’ve had a meeting talking about various improvements for the game as a whole. One such thing we’ve been meaning to add for a while is a proper loading screen before the game starts up: on some computers the game can take a little bit to start (we’re working on making this quicker as well!) and so it’s really nice to be able to get confirmation that you actually pressed the button in the first place.

As such, we’ve decided to add a little splash screen followed by the customary Pixel Ferrets logo (as well as our sound design teams logos) before a (hopefully) short load screen will appear until the game has properly loaded. Adding the splash picture and the logos should give the game most of the time it needs to start up everything it needs, so adding those will likely come with the added benefit of the game feeling like it’s starting up a bit quicker than it actually does as well (haha..)

We’ve also made the decision to upgrade some more menus: you already saw our work on the Trophies menu redesign last week, and we’ll continue to work on giving most of the in-game menus an upgraded look that fits better with the game’s overall aesthetic as well as work better overall – some just haven’t been streamlined enough, or have issues with the game’s various translations. More on that later!

Another thing we’ve been discussing but won’t be added until later on, if at all, is lobby systems, where you can host your game in a public listing, allowing strangers to join you from the game menu itself. While this is a neat feature for players who don’t have friends playing the game and who do not want to join a community in finding players in a similar ping distance, we feel like people are managing just fine for now and that adding it would be better left to after release, if it’s even needed then. We’ll see!

Now, let’s start work on some of the smaller menu improvements. In this post, I’ll mainly be looking at adding some flavour to the box on the left, where you can read a description of the part of the menu you’re currently in. With this new addition, you’ll get a more proper headline than the one in use right now, which is just more of the same boring white text.

We’re also adding a reward box to the trophies menu on the info box to the right, where you can easily see what you’ll get for finishing up the achievement in question. While this wasn’t totally needed, we felt it’s nice for people to be able to know the reward, so they can decide if they wanna pursue a specific trophy over the rest.

In that same box, we’re also adding another proper headline – although we’re not entirely sure it’ll look in this exact way yet, since it takes up a lot of space and we might need all we can get in order to fit the lengthier descriptions.

As a bonus, while I’m in the world of interface, here’s a little GIF featuring a battle indicator used for Bishop’s boss battle:

Okay, so time for us to take a look at that loading screen I mentioned previously! First of all, here we have the splash art that will appear before anything else. This won’t have the ‘windowed’ look, but will simply appear for a short while before the actual game window pops up:

Once the game window starts, you’ll be greeted with the familiar Pixel Ferrets logo, as mentioned before:

Followed by the three teams that have helped us bring the world of Grindea together in terms of sound effects and music:

Once that is out of the way, you’ll be greeted with the actual load screen. It’ll start like this, completely covered in clouds, but once the game finishes loading, the clouds will part ways and the pre-game menu will be revealed. To the left in this load screen, we’ll also have a random backer’s names show up as thanks for helping us get this far:

A gif showing how it all plays out once the actual game window starts can be seen here (although my computer already properly loaded the game, so there’s not much of a load screen going on here haha):

Now, some of these things are a bit placeholder-y, one of them being the fonts and overall design of the texts used. For example, I’m not too fond of the readability in the sound design teams part of the load screen, with it being on two rows and a bit hard to read overall:

So I made a couple suggestions making it look a bit more streamlined and less in your face:

For the cloudy load screen part, there was a bit of a font issue as well. Here’s what it looked like before:

And here are some suggested improvements, with this first one being my personal favourite (although we haven’t made any final decisions regarding which one we’ll pick yet):

Finally, with this new load screen appearing, I felt like the old in-game load screen between areas look a bit lame (it was one of the very first things we added to the game, after all!) so I made a little mockup of what a new version could look like, tying back to the pre-game load screen we’re implementing right now:

The text on the left will be replaced by the usual gameplay tips, I just didn’t have them on hand so I picked a random rat fact for now! The idea is that the clouds will be floating slowly across the sky, with possibly the occasional bird flying across – although hopefully the game won’t load for so long between areas that you’ll have to spend any longer amounts of time looking at it haha!

Meanwhile, Fred is working on adding and animating some new NPCs, namely the priest and apprentice that will appear in the church in Port Monnaie, as well as giving Bokus the ability to read and turn the pages of his book:

Now, as I mentioned last week we’re doing a bit of an archery challenge in Arcade Mode, and as such I was tasked with making a mobile version of the archery challenge!

For now, this style will appear on each of the floors, but I have a crazy idea of making a special background and use different bush cutouts for each floor, if I manage to find the spare time for it!

Next up, some additions and changes to the transmutation GUI! For starters, the mechanic needed a proper ‘shop title’ splash, and a button for activating the transmutation service to begin with, as seen below:

We also decided to make a few changes to the UI itself, adding a couple of maracas, removing the title bar (it seemed unnecessary), and changing the colours of the gems in the interface to better represent the rest of the UI colours here.

And now, some mixed stuff, starting with some improvements on the readability of the shop title splash I just showed:

An open door in the HQ leading into said transmutation room:

And some of our progress on a different part of the game, namely the Bishop’s battle! Here you can see some more of our iteration process, ranging from climbing the pillar itself to how the encounter with Bishop himself evolved from the placeholder version to what’s currently in the game! If you look closely, you’ll see that the background has changed slightly from the previous finished version I showed some time back: we’ve moved the bushes slightly out of the way to make sure they don’t distract from the battle:

 

 

 

Next, back to story mode, as we’ve been working on a redesign for the trophies menu! As mentioned before, we’re gonna change the trophies themselves around a bit as well, and in doing so we’ll upgrade the whole look of this part of the menu to better match the other newer menus, basically by adding more and better graphics:

Finally we’re looking at a bunch of effects he’s been working on for the card cave, shown here as videos!

The first video shows our very first iteration of how the cavities in the wall light up depending on how many cards you’ve collected. The second video show what happens once you’ve collected all of the cards, revealing a secret catalyst, and in the third video we have adjusted the colour of the flames and added some bonus effects to when the cards merge together into the catalyst: