This week, Vilya is back in action and has continued working on some new backgrounds as well as playing through the game to catch things we’ve forgotten to add. So far she’s written a list of over 50 things, and she’s still only just finished the Temple of Seasons! Not to worry though – most of these things are super small things that will only take a couple of minutes to fix, or optional things we may or may not add. Some may even be added post-release! And some we probably won’t fix at all due to them not being as important as we first thought.

As for the backgrounds, here’s another iteration of one of the puzzle backgrounds:

I think we’re getting to a point where we’re all pretty satisfied with the way it looks now. What do you guys think?

As for Fred, he’s continued working on the summons! Remember the Frosty Fiend smash animation from last week? It’s now officially in the game and looks like this:

He’s also been working on a charge animation, and some projectiles for the Plant summon:

Teddy’s been sick for a while yet, but he’s finally getting better and ready to get back into action this week. Stay tuned for more updates next week!

Vilya is still out of commission, Teddy switched out his food poisoning to being sick so I’m once again in charge. In true Fred fashion, I totally forgot to post yesterday as well, keeping up with traditions. Anyway, lesss go!

I think I’m going to do a bit of a deep dive into one of the animations I’ve been working on this weekend; the smash animation for Zhamla’s Frosty Friend. First of all, here is the very first iteration I did of it a few months ago when we began working on all of Zhamla’s summons:

The animation is a bit stiff and lacks impact, but in terms of trying out gameplay this gets the job done and then some. Even if this is intended as a “quick and dirty”-animation, I still spend a decent amount of time at this point to get the keyframes as correct and rendered as possible. I do this because it actually speeds up the rest of the process, I can use does finished frames as a base that I can animate around instead of going fully blind into it. Just diving into it CAN also be useful, it depends on what you’re animating really. For characters doing big movements like this, I almost always end up doing the keyframes first. If it is more of a subtle movement, like an idle, or a more abstract effect or something, I tend to like animating in the order the frames appear instead of jumping to the keyframes.

Oh, keyframes are the frames that contain the most exaggerated poses. So in this case, the keyframes (or poses) would be these three:

So, after this it’s pretty much just, slapping on more frames where I see fit to give it the level of smoothness and bouncyness I prefer. Here you can see I’ve added a bunch of extra frames and smears when his up in the air, preparing to smash!

This looks much better already, but the lack of impact when he lands again is very noticeable and the next thing I’ll fix!

Look at that jiggly little boiiii~ This might even be on the verge of over-animation, but I’m a jiggle addict, what can I do? None the less I really like what this added to the animation. Still feel like there’s some impact missing from the smash, and his “return to idle”-animation is almost none existent. Let’s get that fixed as well!

Ta-daa! Some smoke for that juicy impact and a smooth transition back to idle. In the game, he will recieve some added effects to make him even juicer, but even without them I really like how this turned out. Hopefully, it will feel good in the game as well!

Finishing up with a little side by side comparison of the first and last iteration:

Aaaand, yeah, I think I’m gonna wrap up here. Time to head back to the dungeon to finish up the final animations for the chilly boi! Baaaiiiiii, love you all~

So, Vilya is down with the flu. Teddy was supposed to step in and take care of the blogging duties this time, but in a sick twist of fate, HE ended up getting food poisoned and is out of commisson as well. Which means… Fred’s baaaaack b*tches!

Since I’m super unprepared for this I’m just gonna go with the flow and see what this turns into. SO! Last post we showed a bunch of animations I made for Zhamlas Echo of Madness-attack so this week I figured it would be fitting to show how they look in the game:

I think it looks and plays well, the only thing that needs a bit more polish is the “disappear after attacking”-part. I’ve done a very basic flash that we’re going to try to combine with the current effect, along with some color adjustments:
I think it’s going to look pretty sweet!

Other stuff I’ve been tinkering with, Zhamlas little Cloud buddy has gotten a few new animations to give his bigger attack a bit more build-up and visual feedback. Here’s a video Teddy put together showcasing it all in action:

Fun fact that I’m not sure has been mentioned on the blog: The cloud Zhamla is using is actually the original Gold Charge-version of the player’s cloud. We ended up discarding it because it was way too big and got in the way all the time. It also looks hella menacing, which we decided we didn’t like since the other two versions of the cloud looks so happy and dumb. It fits Zhamla perfectly tho so we figured, why not use it? Ending this random trivia note with a little family photo of the two:

Soo, yeah, I think I’m gonna wrap it up here. Missed talking to you guys, but hopefully, Vilya will be back in full force next week. Let’s all send a bunch of love to both Vilya and Teddy and hope for a speedy recovery. STAY AWAY FROM THE SHRAMP TEDDY!

Another week, another recap! This week, Teddy has finished up the final cutscene of Arcade Mode, adding the new background Vilya made a couple weeks back. He’s also made a bunch of adjustments in the way final boss Zhamla’s plant launches its attacks, and started working on GOG support. Some years ago we decided we’ll be available on GOG as well, and with the release drawing ever closer with every week, it’s time to get that support up and running. Of course, that whole process involves some extra bits of programming such as porting the leaderboards and making sure multiplayer connections work properly.

Vilya has been busy playing through the game and making reports on bugs and other smaller things we need to fix, as well as making some further improvements to two of the puzzle backgrounds in the final dungeon:

We’re still not entirely happy with the second one, so another iteration is sure to follow soon.

As for Fred, he’s finished up the animations for Zhamla’s plant and cloud, and put in a lot of work on a special attack Zhamla makes, that’s a bit similar to how the echoes of madness work in Tai Ming. Here’s a little sneak peek of that:

Now, onwards to another week! :D

Happy new week everyone! Here’s our recap of what happened in Grindea development since last:

Teddy has been working on multiplayer across the final dungeon. There’s been a lot of bug fixes needed, but as of now everything including the final boss should work pretty well when playing with friends!

Vilya has continued working on the final bunch of backgrounds as well as playing through the game to catch all of those last minute fixes and bugs we may need to take a look at. Here’s some progress of one of the puzzle backgrounds, where we’ve added more and more details in several iterations:

She also made a version of the third puzzle background, which will probably be iterated with more details as well:

As for Fred, he’s made a bunch of different animations – the attack and spawn animations of Zhamla’s plant summon and a spawn animation of his version of the cloud, a walk animation for the guards walking downwards and an animation for bag flying out of the player.

Here’s a little sneak peek:

A new week has gone by and more backgrounds have been produced! :)

This time, let’s start off with the various variations of the final Arcade Mode background we showed a first version of last week:

Our favourites here are the bottom right one and bottom mid one – we haven’t quite decided which one to pick yet!

Work on the backgrounds for when you finish the puzzles continue as well. Though we showed a bunch of suggestions last week, we ended up picking a version we didn’t even feature in the post! Here it is:

I also started working on a background for the next puzzle. Here’s my first experiment, as well as a video showing it in action:

We’re going to add some more details to this as well, so it’s not quite final yet. This type of workflow, creating a basic version of something first and adding more details once the first concept has been approved is a very common strategy in game development, one we use a lot as well (as you can tell)! This way we don’t end up wasting too much time on something that will be scrapped anyway, and everyone gets to have a part in suggesting details and improvements.

Another background I’ve been working on is the backdrop for the final battle against Zhamla. For this, we currently have three suggestions:

Our favourite among these is the middle one, though we may end up with a merge between the middle and right ones!

Now, as for Teddy and Fred: Teddy continues working on adding multiplayer to the dungeon. Right now, it should work for the whole elevator trip / boss rush and the puzzle floor, and he’s currently working on making it work in the battle against Dad. There were some issues fitting all of the summons on the elevator in some of the cutscenes if you were a party of four with many summoners, but we’ve managed to find a solution that works alright (essentially hiding the summons during these cutscenes).

Fred’s focus has been making animations for Zhamla and his attacks. The bigger the subject, the more difficult the animations are to get right:

Something that’s just a little bit smaller are these lovely flying beasts that will serve as Zhamlas insect swarm! Here’s a bunch of design iterations, as well as an animation of the finished thing:

Enjoy your week, and let’s keep working! :D

Last week was really busy! Teddy is and will continue to focus full time on getting multiplayer working for the tower and Fred is pumping out new Zhamla animations to get that final battle finished. And as for me – I’ve finally gotten to do some new backgrounds :D

First up, a background for the final scene after you complete Arcade Mode:

We’re going to work out some additional details here though – more on that next week.

One of the final backgrounds for Story Mode has gotten some more details this week as well! This too is a work in progress with more iterations coming, but it’s already a lot better than it was before:

We’ve also been working on some backgrounds for after you complete the puzzles in the tower. Our idea was that once a puzzle is complete, the mirror magic that conjured it up shatters and you’ll be left in either a colorless version of the world, where pieces of it has literally fallen away or a smaller room in the style of the dungeon, suggesting you were in a small closet like space all along rather than the bigger puzzle room. As such, I made a bunch of different suggestions:

We’ll decide which of them to go for this week and let you know in next week’s update! :)

Finally, I’ve started working as Fred’s animation assistant, helping him clean up some unfinished animations he’s been working on. Here’s a little preview of what sort of work that entails:

In the before column, you see there’s a bunch of holes and pixels missing. My job is basically to clean that up and make sure everything looks as it should. With me helping in this way, Fred can focus on getting the key frames right and leave the boring cleanup to me. I’ll continue doing more of this cleanup work this week, which hopefully means we’ll be finished quicker now that we can be two people working on the animations instead of just one :)

After two weeks of recharging our batteries and some strange weeks before that where I had to very suddenly move across the country, it’s me – Vilya – back to bring you new updates! I’m sure you’ll all miss Fred’s amazing summaries, but unfortunately he’s been banished to animation duty for now… :)

This week, let’s discuss what we’ve got left to do and what we’ll be focusing on in the near future:

Though 90% of the final update is done by now, as always it’s the last 10% that take the most time. Polishing cutscene and animation timings, editing sprites and backgrounds, finishing up placeholder animations… We firmly believe that the difference between an average game and a great one is your attention to details, so obviously we wante everything to be perfect (or as perfect as we can possibly make it).

Fred has a very long list of animations to do, so to help avoid too much of a bottleneck situation I’ll be helping him clean up some animations. I’m also going to make a proper background for one of the final scenes in Arcade Mode, play around with some background alternatives for the final battles in Story Mode, and edit a background for one of the later scenes in that mode as well. After that, my main focus will be playing through the final dungeon and the game as a whole to catch any last minute edits we need to make. In particular, there’s one phase of the Zhamla battle we’re not entirely satisfied with yet, but I think we’re close to getting it right.

Fred will start off this week with recording a video of the scenes and animations we need sound effects for in the battle against Dad and send them to our wonderful sound designer Fark. After that he’ll be focusing on the last bunch of Zhamla animations – some that need to be made from scratch and others simply cleaned up. Once we’re 100% done with that we’ll prepare another sound request video for that battle, after which we would have most of the sound effects needed to realease the game.

Teddy will focus on getting the final dungeon multiplayer ready. While most of it is playable in single player, making sure the network side of things work out is a different matter. He’s also been working on some post-end dialogues for various NPCs you can talk to when you start the game after defeating the final boss.

When it comes to post-end content in general, at the moment we’ve decided to add one “easter egg” scene you can come across if you explore the world a bit after finishing the story, though we might end up adding more before all is said and done.

After taking some time to clear our heads, we’re definitely pumped to begin this very last stretch of development for real. Let’s go! :D

Waddap, party people!

Fred back at it with more blogging, this time I’m reporting live from the vacation chair tho! We’re taking two weeks off to spend some much-needed time hanging out with family and friends while enjoying the last stretch of the Swedish summer. I’m gonna be doing a whole lot of chilling and doing absolutely nothing, and I can’t freaking wait you guys! After that, we’ll be ready for what might very well be the final push of the game before release. So, frickin, exciting!

This leads me to a more somber note. This will probably be the final post of my illustrious career as an intern devlog writer ._. After the vacation, I will hand the keys to the city back to Vilya, so I can go back to fully focus on pushing pixels and finishing up the final animations for the game. I know, I know, you’re all like “No Fred, write even more posts! We don’t care if it takes another 10 years until release” and I agree, but that’s just the animator’s life sadly. No, but seriously, writing the blog has been a trip! Shout-out to the SoG-discord server for showing me some extra love, it definitely helped fuel my confidence (maybe a bit too much?)

We’ll be back with more updates in a few weeks. Until then, take care, love you guyysss <3 Fred signing out!

Slabbe showing you how to vacation

*kicks in door*

I’M HERE, I’m here! Totally didn’t forget I was in charge of the blog still, I would never! Since I’m so not late and so on time, let’s just dive into the juicy stuff straight away!

Last week I showed you guys that little elevator animation-thingie I was working on. Since then, Teddy has been busy hammering all that together into an actual ingame prototype! Here’s iteration nr. 1:

As always, Teddy has done a stellar job transferring my chaotic Photoshop document into something playable. I like this version a lot, it feels more or less one-to-one to my version. I dooo think the little pause/stop the platforms do before they actually connect feels a bit off tho. It felt really nice when I was working on it in a vacuum inside Photoshop, but seeing it ingame we all felt it would look better if the platforms just connected to each other instantly.

This looks much better to me, just the flow and impact of everything feel much smoother and juicier. I’m actually kinda stoked over how well this turned out, I was very prepared for having to re-iterate the whole idea or at the very least add a bunch more effects and polish to it. But I dunno, I think it looks really good! Throwing in one more video just because I can:

So, a problem this added coolness of the elevator has created iiis, some other aspects of the elevator sequence now feels a bit tame in comparison. Especially Mirrar himself feel a bit static and stiff which is completely unacceptable!

This has been kinda my main task this week, trying to add some extra layers of CHA-PLOW to our little reflective friend. Starting out, I wanted to revisit his “wake up”-animation. This is the sequence that plays when Mirrar wakes up for the first time after the elevator activation. Here is the original animation:

Simple. Boring. Not enough “oh shiiii- it’s time for the final part of the game”-energy exerted. So, this is the amped-up version:

I like this one much more. The added length and build-up to the wake up add a ton of anticipation for me, and the effect adds some much needed flair. One thing I do like from the original is the little “I just woke up”-blinks he does after the wake up, definitely stealing those for the upgraded version.
You could for sure push this even further, adding even more effects, but I want to see it in the actual game before I do anything else.

I’ve also tried to come up with some more abstract (yet mirror-y) effects that can be used to add even more oompf wherever we see fit:

I had a ton of fun tinkering with this, Photoshop on the other hand did not. Surprisingly, having 1000~ layers in a single document will make Photoshop have “performance issues”? Who knew!