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 :)

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:

This week I’ve been going through all the blog posts we made throughout 2013 and 2014 to refresh my memory and save some of the stuff posted there. The word count for the production book is now 22,548 with 9 more years to account for! Quite the tome already – but as I said last week, we’ll make a lot of cuts before we have the finished product.

I must say it’s quite the journey to read about all the stuff we did, all of our early plans for the game and small tidbits about we were doing with our lives. Though a lot has changed throughout the years, our work on Secrets of Grindea has been the one thing that’s always been there. Looking back at certain graphics I made I can pinpoint exactly where I was in my life when I made it and how it felt sitting there right in that moment. And though I’m looking at things that are more than 10 years old it somehow feels just like yesterday.

Looking at the crazy amount of ideas we had for the game back then also makes me very inspired for the future. A lot of great ideas didn’t make it into Secrets of Grindea, but perhaps they can be used for the next project? Of course, we haven’t decided on what that next game might be yet, but we have a lot of suggestions and reading up on our old ideas really make me excited.

A bit unexpectedly, there’s a whole bunch of things we made that still haven’t made it into the game as well! Anyone remember these little guys?

They were supposed to appear in Seasonne as decorations and first appeared on the blog way back in 2013, right about the time when we also somehow forgot about them forever. Going through the old archives sure is full of unexpected treasures!

Teddy is mainly focused on prototyping the final puzzles, so here’s a sneak peek of part of one such puzzle (featuring some twilight shift action), as well as some graphic details for what happens when you’ve solved a puzzle and return to the elevator room:

Fred meanwhile continues to make animations for the battle against Dad! Here’s one of his attack animations:

Hey guys! Thank you all for your kind messages – I’m happy to say that the exercises I was given by the doctor worked wonders and I feel a lot better now! Good enough, in fact, that I’ve spent a lot of time writing that production booklet. In the end, it’s threatening to become more than a mere booklet – at this pace it’s gonna be a full lenght book by the end of it. We’ll probably try to narrow it down towards the end – I doubt anyone want to read a full novel-lenght’s worth of how we designed the game. For now though I’m trying to put in as much information as possible since it’s a lot easier to cut things out than squeeze them in afterwards. As such, the outline has grown a lot since the last time you saw it:

I’m still not sure how much of this we’ll keep or in how much detail we should go, but once it’s all in place we can start cutting things or moving them around. At present, I’ve gone through the first year of weekly blog posts to refresh my memory, and that has resultet in 13,624 words written. That means there’s still ten years worth of stuff to read. For reference, a full-length novel is usually around 80-100k words, so it’ll certainly be interesting to see how long this turns out in the end. Of course, most of the more complex systems and mechanics were designed right at the beginning so it’s likely the latter years will be more focused on art and lesser designs, things that won’t need as many words to describe them.

As for Teddy and Fred, they’re mainly focused on the battle against Dad and Zhamla. One of his new attacks involve a plant summon, much like your own but a lot bigger! Let’s have a look:

Okay, so as mentioned last week I’ve been spending a lot of time doing some writing on the production booklet that will be available for all Snowbacca Tier supporters for free (and also – at least very likely – available for a small price for everyone else).

This booklet will detail the whole process of how we made the game, from idea to finish, and the things we changed in between. It’s probably gonna be quite long – so a lot of my time is gonna be spent on this in the near future. Writing is one of my favourite past times, but finishing a whole book does take some time. Perhaps it’s good, then, that most of the art for Grindea has been finished (although there’s still a few backgrounds left).

Today, let’s start off with taking a look at the basic outline:

The biggest part here will be the Story Mode part, in which we’ll go into detail of how we made each of the areas. A lot of the material from this blog will be featured there, but in a compressed version. Arcade Mode will likely be something similar but divided into what made us create the mode and then two separate parts for Arcadia and the actual floors. Of course, this is all a work in progress still, and we may yet change or add sections.

After taking a look at this basic outline, is there anything you feel is missing? Or anything in particular you’d like to know more about? Let us know and we might just add it in :)

Now, as you can see we’re missing some stuff from Teddy & Fred’s department this week, and that’s because we’re struggling a bit with what’s very likely covid-19 at the moment (my test came out negative but another person from the same small gathering we went to tested positive the same day, so it might just have been a false negative).

Either way, I’ve only just gotten sick and it’s not showing any signs of getting better yet so most likely next week will be a devblog free week, as I’m anticipating I’ll spend the next bunch of days in bed. With any luck, we’ll be back again on August 15 with more new stuff! Until then, take care of yourselves out there :)