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:

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 :)

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 :)

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?

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:

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: