-“Hey everyone!! Vilya caught a cold this weekend, so to cover for her the side-kick-team has assembled to present this week’s blog post!”

-“We’re very grateful to Pixel Ferrets for trusting us with this great and noble responsibility!”

– “…”

-“Anyway, let’s dive straight into it! First, let’s have a look at this amazing picture of… of…”

-“Oh my GODDESS!! It’s gonna be spring in Santa Fae?!!”

-“…how can you not know these things?”

-“Wow, it looks truly beautiful! Great news, indeed! I wonder if that poor, frozen fellow has thawed yet?”

-“Only one way to find out.”

-“I can’t believe Santa Fae got a makeover… and in my season, too! I’m so happy!”

-“Alright. Moving on:”

-“Wow. Amazing. Moving clouds.”

-“I must say that they really add some nice depth to the scene!”

-“…ah, it’s gonna be spring in my little cozy fairytale town…”

-“Er… well, let’s have a look at a whole new place now:”

-“The Collector HQ cafeteria has finally opened! I wonder who we’ll find in there?”

-“Spoiler alert: no-one new.”

-“There are other exciting things than new faces, you know! Having a few close friends can be better than having many shallow relationships.”

-“Yeah! And speaking of good friends, take a look at this power-couple!”

-“…are these guys even Collectors at this point? All I ever see them do is clean up.”

-“Taking care of our surroundings is a noble task!”

-“…is no-one going to compliment me on my great segway about friends?”

-“No. And it’s called a segue.”

-“…wait, really?!”

-“…really?!”

-“Really. And finally, here are some more stuff Fred has scribbled together:”

-“Okay, that’s enough for today. Let’s round off this madness by mentioning that tomorrow (Tuesday), or the day after, apparently the Ferrets are hoping to release the latest version on the Frontline beta branch. Will they make a deadline for once? Stay tuned to find out!”

-“Of course they will! Stop being a negative nancy!”

-“I agree with Naniva on this one! From what I can tell, it is looking remarkably likely to play out as they plan!”

-“Well folks, Team Wholesome has weighed in on the matter, and with that we bid you all farewell and wish you a decent week.”

-“No, we wish them an amazing week!”

-“A fantastically splendid week, in fact!”

-“A sparkling, magical miracle of a week!”

-“A week of such unimaginable fortune and bliss that conveying it in text is nigh impossible!”

-“…”

Hello everyone! Before jumping into this week’s update, I’m happy to say that Teddy is doing fine and is back at work as of this week! :)

Now, it’s time to summarize another week and show more progress as we near the release of Secrets of Grindea. Let’s begin with a little menu revamp – remember the ‘character cards’ that greet you as you decide which of your characters you wanna play as? Here’s a reminder for those of you that haven’t been in-game for a while:

With the game nearing release we’re trying to clean up as many places as possible that cause issues for game translations. In several languages the font size needs to be quite a lot bigger than what the graphics were initially designed for, which has already lead to quite a few redesigns throughout the game. The character cards is yet another example of something that’s been incompatible with translations, and so we felt it’s high time we correct that.

Without further ado, here’s the new version:

Not only is this new version compatible with the translation suite, it’s also – in our opinion – more visually pleasing, with more graphics and less text. The background indicates where your character has its current savepoint, rather than it being stated in text, and along with your completion percentage you get a little progression bar.

As some spawn points were missing background images, Vilya made a bunch for the missing ones as well:

Can you tell which one belongs to which area or part of the game?

Meanwhile, Fred’s been cleaning up a bunch of effect animations and made some sweet water animations (which are tile-able!):

Finally, remember those starry card pieces from last week’s update? Have a look at what those look in their proper setting:

Another week with lots of stuff happening, some good and some bad. To get the bad news out of the way, Teddy started feeling bad early last week and was rushed to the hospital after a fainting episode. There it was was confirmed that he’s got a pretty bad case of covid19, so he’s been on bed rest since then. At present we’re not sure when he will be fit enough to get back to work, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed and press on in the meantime.

So this week Vilya has been checking off a bunch of smaller things we felt needed fixing. Among these were adding missing expressions for some of the characters, editing the colouring for the math puzzle in the same area, and adding the graphics for a hat you’ll be able to get after finishing the game:

She also made some smaller adjustments to a bunch of portraits that were broken in various ways (such as messed up colours or them being too big for the dialogue box), and added some additional decorations to a couple of places. Below you can see what the small desert cottage will look like after completing a certain hidden quest, and some greenery added to the area to the right of the farm in Evergrind West, where we first thought we’d have some sort of farming minigame which we ended up scrapping – meaning it looked a bit too empty for something that isn’t going to be used in any way:

Meanwhile, Fred’s been working on animating the starry cards sky that will feature in one of the very last cutscenes of the game:

…For what is endgame in any epic jRPG-inspired game without a trip to the stars? :)

This week, Teddy has been implementing the new Zhamla mechanics for hard mode we showed last week – his stealing your barrier and smashing your health potion! Here’s a couple of short videos showcasing what this looks like in game right now:


Meanwhile, Fred has been doing a ton of animations for the bad/normal ending (most of which we don’t want to show on here for spoiler reasons), new projectiles for Zhamla’s (and everyone elses) bullet hell attacks as well as cleaning up the Frosty walk animation:

We’re also working through the list of all the things we’ve found to improve, change or add during our most recent and final playthrough of the game. We’re sorting these items into three categories:

Vital for release (mainly bugs and/or things that are broken in some way)

“Would-Be-Nice-For-Release” (things that could definitely run or look a bit better, which we’ll add as many as we have time for)

and, finally:

“Post Release”, in which we put all things we’d ideally like to add but are minor or involve a lot of development time for the improvement you get (a lot of purely visual improvements go here, many of which might never end getting added depending on how we feel after release).

Right now the ‘Vital for release’ list isn’t too long, and we intend to keep it that way. After all, we’re on the final stretch now and though some may not believe it, nobody wants to finally get to 1.0 more than us! :)

Another week, and lots of progress on the final battle(s)!

This week we’ve been working on two major things: Zhamla’s boss battle (hard mode version), and fine-tuning the ‘normal’ ending.

When it comes to Zhamla’s boss battle in hard mode, we’ve felt that health potions and some supportive spell (Barrier, I’m looking at you) pose a bit of a design challenge for us. Every opening and every cinematic attack will give your barrier and potion time to recharge, and since the battle is long the amount healed with that combination can become quite insane. This isn’t an issue on the Normal difficulty, as it’s not designed to be as much of a challenge and we expect they will each serve as vital means for many to be able to defeat him at all. However, on hard mode, you’re basically asking for a challenge.

So how have we decided to solve this? Here’s a clue:

Basically, if you try to drink a health potion in hard mode, Zhamla will snatch the potion from your hand and smash it to the floor!

As for Barrier….

It might not be clearly illustrated here, but Zhamla will actually steal your barrier, getting it as a shield for himself!

In other words, barrier and health pots are off limits if you wish to defeat Zhamla on hard mode :)

As for the Normal Ending cutscene, we’re adding some minor animations and changing up some timings (editing some of the “directing”, if you will), to give the end a bit more oomph than it currently has. Though our first intention was for it to be pretty clear it wasn’t the true ending, we also don’t want it to feel too rushed, which has turned out to be a fine line to walk.

That’s all for now! See you next week :D

Hey guys! How’s your week been? Ours has been filled with art creation, bug testing, release discussions and animation making. And a bunch of programming, of course!

To start off the showcase of this week, we have a ruined version of the final battle area, which you’ll see if you climb all the way back to the top after completing the game and starting it again:

We’ve also made a bunch of details for Grindea’s island, which will feature in one of the endings – we changed some colours around and created some constellations in the sky:

Fred has been doing some work on Grindea as well, giving her some new animations:

And of course, a bunch of new animations for the final boss, which is definitely turning out the be the most graphic heavy boss of the entire game:

He’s also started recording a bunch of videos for the release trailer, which is something he’ll have to start working on for real pretty soon. It also gives him the opportunity to play through the game and try to catch any of the bugs of fixes Vilya might have missed during her playthrough.

Finally, just like the last couple of weeks there’s a ton of stuff being made that we can’t show just yet. As always, while we’re pretty liberal with spoilers on this blog there’s just some things in the ending cutscenes and post-end game state we’d rather you experience for yourself. Hopefully you’ll be able to soon!

Vilya is unavailable, which means it’s time for one final(?) Fred guest appearance! Lesss go!

It’s become increasingly harder and harder for me to show content here on the blog since everything I’m working on now either falls in the camp of “Oh, this is way too spoiler-y” or “this is waaay too boring and uninteresting”. This is kind of sad since it makes for pretty bare-boned posts here, but overall it’s great because it means; the game is soon finished!

Anyway, been scraping the barrel and here’s some stuff from last week:

 

I can also report, after spending almost one week in our new office, that it kicks absolutley ass so far! It’s been slightly overwhelming getting used to being around other people again (fellow introverts rise up!), but I’m already starting to feel settled in, my production levels have been through the roof AND there’s unlimited free fruit! What’s not to love?

Tiny tour of my little spot:

And yeah, I dunno, I think Imma head back to the animation dungeon! Love you guys, Fred OUT!

Another week and lots of stuff happenings behind the scenes!

For starters, we’ve moved into a new office space, this time an open office style we share with a bunch of other developers and programmers of various kinds. It’s really nice to once more be around other creatives, something we missed since we went back to working from home during the pandemic. Here’s a little sneak peek of where we work now, note the Secrets of Grindea sign in the window:

In terms of work, there’s been a lot happening as well. The Zhamla battle is almost polished enough for some proper testing, so here’s another video showcasing that epic summon phase we hope will keep you on your toes:

Fred’s also been focusing on making a new laugh for the GUN-D4M version you meet in the final dungeon – before first and after below:

Meanwhile, Vilya has been playing through the game, adding 30+ more bugs and fixes to our “Ultimate Fix List”, as well as making new portraits for Sizou and six different iterations of a puzzle backround (we’ve finally settled for the one below):

So close now! Let’s keep going :D

Time for another weekly update on the grind on the final boss battle and the related cutscenes.

This week Fred has been making transitions between different Zhamla animations! Since we want the battle to feel quick and keep you on your toes, it’s important that Zhamla is able to change what he’s doing mid-animation as a response to what the player does. Normally, for any other mob, that just means we cut off the current animation and starting the next, but since Zhamla is one of the biggest sprites in the game that just ends up looking choppy in this case, unfortunately – and with this being the final battle, we definitely don’t want it to look choppy or weird in any way.

Here’s an example of what one such transition looked like before Fred added the bonus-animation:

And here’s what it looks like with his in-between animation added:

Another thing we’ve been working on is editing some of the attack effects to make sure it looks as good as possible. One such example is the spin, which originally looked like this:

Unfortunately we kind of realized it wasn’t nowhere as cool as any of the other spin-animations in the game, so we decided to remake it, using Luke’s spin as an inspiration:

We’ve also received one of the batches with sound effects needed for this final battle, but there’s still a bunch of things we need sounds for so we’re sending those requests over to our awesome sound effect master faRk as we speak.

Finally, we’re continuing to play through the game, adding those final bugs and wonky things to our list of things to fix before 1.0. While we’re finding a ton of stuff, most of them we’re OK with keeping in the game since they aren’t really all that bad, and the rest should be small and easy enough to fix. Onwards!

Another week gone and more boss work finished! This week we’ve been focusing on finishing up the summoning phase during Zhamla’s boss battle, which should (fingers crossed) be done now!

Fun fact, originally we didn’t plan on including Zhamla’s summons at all, but as usual we decided to spice things up by adding some extras to the battle. Also as usual, we’re really happy we did because it’s turned out pretty awesome and, in our opinion, made the battle a lot better.

For now, have a look at some of the recent animations for this phase:

Other than that, we’ve continued playing through the game, catching bugs and discussing what aspects we still want to improve upon. After all, once we hit 1.0 we want it to be the absolute best it can possibly be, a stance we’ve had since we began working on this game some ages past. We’re trying not to polish too much, though – don’t worry! But if there are quick and easy fixes that up the quality of the game significantly we’d be stupid not to consider them.

Okay, time to get back to that final playthrough! See you again soon :D