Hello guys! The weeks rush by and we’re already at the end of January. This week Teddy finally got his screencap softare back up and running on his new setup, so here’s a fresh video featuring a very early prototype of Zhamla’s summoning phase:

None of these graphics are final, nor is the actual pattern. For one, we’re a bit underwhelmed with the cloud’s presence and are currently thinking of ways to spice it up a bit. One such idea is adding a special chain lightning attack to Zhamla’s cloud, an idea that was quickly illustrated by Fred here:

Nothing set in stone just yet though!

Otherwise, the animations continue on – Fred has finished up Zhamla’s base attack animations and done some more work on Frosty Foe:

This week has looked pretty much like the last!

For me, it’s all about the production book, for Teddy it’s all about the summoning phase of the Zhamla battle. When Teddys computer died, he lost the programs needed to screencap videos of his work (or rather, they wouldn’t work on his new setup), but we’re working on getting them back up and running so we can show you some progress videos as we keep at it.

Fred has also moved on from Zhamla’s battle poses to making animations for the summoning phase instead as well. Here’s a couple of Zhamlas Frosty Fiend/Foe’s animations:

First, Fred wanted to base its walk animation on the regular Frosty Friend, but then he felt a more gorilla-inspired walk pattern would feel more powerful and intense for this fearsome enemy. I think it looks pretty cool!

Not much to show in terms of the production book work, just a lot of writing and rewriting. However, for this week I aim to play around a bit with various layout and possible have some alternatives to show you next recap!

This week work on the production book has continued, now with the second draft! For the first draft I basically put in every single piece of information about our development without any overarching shape or structure, a lot of it directly copy-pasted from our old blog posts. Now it’s time to cut out stuff and rewrite it in a way that actually makes sense. It can be tempting to include every little detail about the development, but in the end, I believe it’s better to have a book that is shorter and more focused on the truly interesting parts, rather than one that is bloated with things that might be boring to read about.

This is also where I start to consider the layout of the book, making sure the length of the paragraphs match up to make each page look alright. Once all the text has been (re)written, edited once more and approved, I’ll go through the entire thing once more and make a proper graphic design for each section. In other words, there’s still quite a way to go, but progress remains steady!

As for Teddy and Fred, they’re still doing the whole final bosses and cutscenes thing, but this week has been so focused on spoiler-y stuff that there won’t be much of an update from that department! Stay tuned for more stuff next week instead :)

After having spent a lot of time on the battle against Dad, it’s time to start looking into the final final battle – that against Zhamla. You’ve already met Zhamla once, so you know a little bit about what to expect – it’s gonna be a tough battle ahead!

One of the things we’ve played around with for this encounter is how intense of an inferno will fill the room during the battle. Here’s some of our progress, ranging from almost none to maximum inferno:


In these versions we hadn’t yet adjusted the size or shape of the inferno fire, so we made a version with one better fitting the room as well:

In the end, this is probably pretty close to what we’ll go for. It might be a bit towards the busy side, but on the other hand it is the final battle!

Other than the usual cutscenes and boss programming and animating, Fred has made a bunch of animations for the artefacts you found throughout the game. Here’s one of them:

Stay tuned for more! :)

With the release of the game drawin ever closer, I’ve spent a lot of time this week preparing some PR documents. This means writing things to send out to people who might be interested in playing and/or reviewing the game once it’s released. It’s one of the less exciting parts of game development to be sure, but someone needs to do it and as we’re not working with any publisher, that falls on me!

Now, while we currently won’t work with any publisher for the PC version, we would consider getting some help with bringing the game to consoles and the foreign markets. We’d absolutely love to get Secrets of Grindea to as many platforms and regions as possible but realize we won’t be able to do all of that by ourselves. Anyway, decisions like that remain on the backburner while we finish up the last of the game, so we’ll have to wait to make any firm decisions!

Speaking of finishing the game, Teddy and Fred continues their work with the final bosses! Here’s a current prototype of the Dad Battle:

And here’s a bunch of related animations by Fred:

As for the Visual Novel, I just want to say thank you to everyone who voted in the polls! I’ve taken a look at the votes and a summary can be seen over here. Now I need to get some writing going! :)

This week I’ve mainly focused on the production book, which is coming along nicely! In fact, as of today I’ve finished what I’d like to call the ‘alpha version’ of the draft with a current wordcount is 55,654 – close to the typical wordcount of a shorter novel! This includes a lot of sections I’ll most likely cut short (or remove entirely) as well as some sections I’ll expand more upon, so it’s unclear how close that is to the actual finished version. Regardless it feels like a great milestone! Now I just need to go over the text a bunch of times to get things right. I’ll do my best to tidy it all up and make sure the book doesn’t get too long!

Other than that I was tasked with making a visual revamp of the forum:


Old Version


New Version

This wasn’t our choice – due to a PHP update we were forced to upgrade the forum software and unfortunately the theme we used was no longer supported. Hopefully the new look is alright, and at the very least it should run a bit better seeing as the tech behind it has been improved!

Fred and Teddy are continuing to work on the final cutscenes and bosses. From Fred’s department, there’s been a huge number of effect animations. Here’s a bunch of variations for one of Gaantlet’s attacks in the upcoming fight:

In the end, we basically put them all together to create an ultimate version:

A new week, and some more Secrets of Grindea art stuff! This week I finished up one of the most important “portraits” of the game – Dad’s boss portrait!

Let’s have a look:

In Fred and Teddy’s department, it’s still all about cutscenes (yes, they do take a long time to get just right), but there’s a few new things to show that won’t be too spoilery! Namely, a cool mirror shattering effect and… A very special attack charge by Marino! What in the world is he doing in our endgame?!

As for the Visual Novel, thank you guys for all your votes on the story ideas last week! We had a ton of votes coming in and it’s super interesting to see how you all feel about them. This week there’s another poll, featuring a bunch of style mockups for what art direction we could take the game in.

Make sure to make your voice heard and help us make the most visually pleasing visual novel for you guys! :D

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? :)