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:


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 :)

As you may have noticed in previous images of the seed system, the Jumpkin was missing from most of it! Therefore, let’s start off this week by making all of the Jumpkin stuff, including a new drop for the Jumpkin, replacing the pumpkin seeds it dropped previously (it’ll now drop a singular seed, which looks a bit different, which will let you plant it, but it’ll also drop a jumpkin stem)!

There’s also a menu button for the seed system store, which can be seen below as well:

Time for the final veteran portrait, this one featuring the lady with the giant hammer! Let’s have a look:

Now it’s time to make a little redesign of the enemy codex! As mentioned, we’re going to redesign most of the menu, but the enemy codex is the one we’re aiming to actually get into this patch as opposed to a future one, as it will show information on which enemies drop seeds!

Here’s what it used to look like:

And here’s the process of the redesign:

As you can see, we can now fit twice as many enemies on every single page, giving a better overview of each enemy and what it drops:

We’re not 100% this is the iteration that will make it into the game yet, but at the very least, it’s a start! What do you guys think? Better or no?

Continuing with a couple more iterations of the codex, these ones have fewer details for more readability, and some bigger spacing:

Which one is your favourite this far?

Meanwhile, Fred’s been working on some fun stuff, including a little cloud that will water those growing plats for you, and Grindeas idle animation! How cool is that?

On to the next mission, making drop appearances for each of the potted plants! First batch here:


And here’s the second batch:


And now it’s time to take a look at the new interface where you’ll be able to choose which of your seeds to plant! Going for a pretty minimalistic and streamlined design here, this interface will only show the seed, how much it costs to pot it, what sort of pot and plant it’ll result in and how much money you have!

I made two versions of this interface, one with static colours which you can see above, and one where the colours are different for each seed, seen here below:

And here’s the rest of the colours, in case we decide to go for the second version:

Which one do you prefer?

Next we have another portrait, of another of the veteran collectors we’re adding:



As for Fred, he’s been busy potting a lot of plants! Here you can see a whole bunch of them in their housing forms, including a jumpkin for which I haven’t made a proper pot yet:

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:

We’ve long been talking about revamping the challenges a bit, removing the long and slow paced ones and adding more quick and quirky challenges that you complete quickly, all with the intention of making them feel a bit more action packed. Now that we’re nearing completion of the upcoming story mode patch, it’s time to take a look at Arcade Mode, including these new challenge types!

To start off with, there will be two types of challenge rooms now – one where you’ll just solve strange challenges without risking any damage, and one for all the more dangerous challenges where you might accidentally take a hit – such as the kill in order challenge already implemented. Other ideas for these types of challenges include mini boss battles, kill quickly challenges, or take no damage challenges. Of course, due to the more dangerous nature of these challenges, it’ll be properly marked on the map so you know you’re risking your health if you enter – and also the reward will obviously be greater than in the ordinary challenge rooms!

For the regular challenge rooms meanwhile, we’re probably removing the bigger chicken challenges as well as fishing (but don’t quote me on that just yet). Some new ideas we have include:

An archery challenge, where you’ll spawn into a “fake”/prop version of Robin’s archery challenge from story mode, and you’ll have to hit enough targets or get a minimum amount of points.

A music challenge where you’ll have to mimic the order in which the musical faes from story mode play a song on a set of bells of your own.

And an animal taming challenge, where you’ll have to successfully tame a pet to get the reward!

…and we’re currently in the process of designing more! Do you have any cool challenge ideas you’d like to see in Arcade Mode? Let us know in the comments :)

Now, back to story mode for a little bit, as I make a bunch of adjustments to the Card Room in Mount Bloom, moving things around a bit and making more subtle frames for each of the cards:

In the end, we opted for an even more subtle frame (but don’t worry, it should look fancy enough once you’ve found some cards):

Now, back to Arcade Mode and its floating isle final room! In this next part I make a proper stand for the chest you’ll get for reaching this far:

And finally, the other floating isles in the distance:

Meanwhile, Fred’s been hard at work finishing up all of the animation sketches for Bishop and a couple new ones (including the one below where he brushes off some dust after you’ve successfully defeated him):

He’s also been working on a bunch of light effects for the Mount Bloom card room which we hope to show you within the upcoming couple weeks! Stay tuned for that… :)