From one bunch of portraits to another! We've decided to make the receptionist of the arena play a similar role as the guards... That is, whenever there's a receptionist, they'll look similar to that one. Kind of like Nurse Joy from Pok√©mon, only we change it up a little with this ones appearance. 

So, I went ahead and made two more variations of her, since we know we need at least 2 more that will appear as 'regular' NPCs later on: 



Next week I'll be at a riding camp getting some exercise, so I won't be able to do any work for a while. However, I've prepared and scheduled 5 portrait posts that will be posted automatically while I'm gone, so there will be updates anyway! I just won't be as active online as usual :)

Until next time!

So, I told you there was something out of the ordinary with Charlotte's portrait, right? Well, here's the thing: she'll take on the appearance (color wise) of your main character!

While your dad remains static, your mom's skin- and haircolor will actually depend on how you designed your character. We thought this would make more sense than having two white people with black hair get a dark-skinned kid with pink hair, for instance.  

So, this is how it's done! Basically, I made three 'basic' versions of charlotte, one light, one medium and one dark-skinned. 


I then separated her hair, making a bunch of color edits until there was one "wig" representing each big color of our current palette (one red, one green, etc). After that it's easy for Teddy to add the new hair/wig/whatever on top of one of the three base sprites, changing Charlotte's hair color to fit your own character. 

Charlotte's haircolor mathematics..

And so, here's a bunch of random Charlotte's I made using this system. Which one will be your mom?!



As I mentioned yesterday, your beloved mother Charlotte will soon appear in a cutscene/flashback, so obviously she needs a portrait! 

Now, there is something interesting about this portrait that makes it a bit our of the ordinary. I'll spill that little secret tomorrow though, for now, enjoy this basic version:

Line Art

Color Blocking

Shading

Highlights

Details

Finished Sprite

Today we've been creating tags for each of the skills!

The tags we used & how we applied them to the Earth, Ice and Fire spells

The reason for this is that we've been planning to improve the current skill info box that appears on the left part of the menu. Currently it says something generic, and we had a bunch of ideas that we'd add a score system where we'd rank each skill based on how much DMG, EP-cost, and a bunch of other categories. 

We crapped that, however, and instead we'll be showing a bunch of tags in this way:

The texts used here are ofc super WIP, copy-pasted in Photoshop XD

So basically, for Frosty Friend it'll say Summon, Blocks Energy and Passive Effect, then whether it costs a silver or gold point to level. Our hope is that it'll be easy to get a quick overview of the skills without having to dig into "More info" on each and every one. 

Of course, each of the tags get their own background as well:


Other than that, I thought I'd mash in a bunch of other small things in this post.

For one, the "Waiting for other players"-box will be upgraded, since we basically thought the old one was too small and we needed to remake it anyway, so it'd be possible to translate the text within:


I've also been fixing a few of the portraits which went outside the dialogue box. If you see anymore like this, please let me know so I can find them and fix them too:


Lastly, I made a version of the Skills-icon in the main menu without the +, to make it more clear when you have a new level and when you don't:


I actually also went ahead and made a super tiny animation for the + since I figured such a small animation was possible to make even for someone like me who never animates! 
 
I guess it'll have to do for now ;D Time to get back to some portrait painting!
So basically, Mondays seem to have become our official meeting day. As in where we do a lot of planning, and make sure everything is progressing the right way. This Monday was a regular workday, but last Monday, we actually had another meeting where we talked about how the whole Early Access thing was going, as well as our upcoming schedules.

Next up in Story Mode, you're gonna go home to give another artifact to your beloved father. As those of you who have read the dialogues may have noticed, the main character's mother has been mentioned a bit lately, but you haven't really gotten to know her yet. Well, all of this is gonna change soon.

We're actually planning to make a cutscene where you father tells about your mom and an important encouter they had with... a dragon?! I'm not gonna spoil too much about this, but needless to say, this is something that will keep Fred busy for quite a while.

Mom, Dad and a Dragon?! Art by Fred!

I too, will have a bunch of stuff to do in regards to this - I need to create a portrait for Charlotte (the main character's mother), as well as a younger version of Dad. Once the cutscene has been properly whiteboxed and animated (so we know how big stuff needs to be), I'm also gonna do the background(s) necessary! I have quite a bit of ideas, so I'm looking forward to that :)

Some other things we talked about (and I'm keeping this short since nobody loves walls of text):

* Another sidetrack story thing (think Marino-steals-Amalet-sized), but involving a mini-boss version of everyone's favorite enemy: the bee.

* The Festival! Evergrind City by night! Getting to know Luke & Marino while completing some minigames!

* Adding background story elements to Temple of Seasons, possibly through images. Kind of like when you approach the signposts. Something for the future, though.

* The Story in the next temple. Time travel + lots of characters = complex storytelling deluxe! We have some ideas, here's to hoping we can keep things straight forward for non-englishspeakers who have enjoyed the somewhat easy-to-understand stuff so far.
So in the Time Travel area, there will be a bunch of guards, like in Evergrind City. To refresh your memory, here's the portrait of the Evergrind guards:


We wanted the ancient guards to be similar looking, as the guards are the most generic characters we have in the game (seeing as they all use the same portrait & sprite). Therefore, I'll just be editing this portrait, rather than making a completely new one! Here's the video:


And here's the finished sprite:

Today it's time to create the first floor of the Ambassador's House! This floor will only be available in the present, so I only had to do the ruined version of it. As usual, here's the progress video:


And here's the finished version: 


The painting is supposed to be of the Ambassador himself, so when I make the portrait I'm gonna make sure the painting and portrait resemble each other. That, however, is something I'll save for another blog post!
In case the patch already went live, you might have noticed there's a bunch of new hairstyles in the game! And if it didn't, well, now you know...!

A lot of people asked why you can't have a character with no hair, so we decided to implement that for both males and females. In the future we might add more unisex hairstyles, but for now all the other ones are separate:

Female hairstyles to the left, male to the right

We'll keep adding new hairstyles every once in a while, so stay tuned for more! At the very least, we want to fill up all the currently locked slots. 

Alright, the Fae all have portraits now! But wait - some things are still missing or needs to be fixed! To begin with, this guy here:

In the cutscene where he gets frozen, you might have noticed that he has bangs! But on his portrait, there are none?! So what do? Fix it, of course:


Also, we're replacing the random "this fae is too shocked to talk to you"-type of message without portraits that happens whenever you try to talk to any fae after the above mentioned cutscene. Instead of random fae and that random message, we'll use actual fae that you can talk to once you started or finished the Temple of Seasons! 

As such, some of the old portraits needed uncomfortable expressions, while the fae who were made specifically for the cutscene needed happier expressions for when things aren't crazy anymore:

Also, one of the fae we wanted to have spectating the cutscene was this musician fae:


However, Fred had to go home to attend the wedding of one of his closest friends, and didn't have time to finish the sprite in time. Soo, I jumped in and made a sprite based on his previous fae animations:

I also changed the haircut of a summer fae, to better suit the portrait (old one to the left, new one to the right, basically they went from a pony tail to bangs):


Oh yeah, one more fae portrait is needed! Then some additional expressions and stuff, but I'll deal with that later. 

For now, here's the portrait of another cute lil' Winter fae: 

Line Art

Colors & Shadows

Highlights, Line Art Coloring

Details & Wings

Finished Sprite

We'll end this week, or rather, begin the weekend with going live on the Humble Store!

Grindea on the Humble Store

The mail correspondence has calmed down a little now, thankfully, so other than the fact that you can buy the game through Steam and the Humble Store now, things should pretty much be back to normal.

It's been a lot of fun to see the hype for the game increase again, with lots of new streams and Let's Plays to watch. If half of the people who contacted us actually end up using their keys, there should be plenty more coming as well!

I definitely feel refreshed after all of this. I'm so happy that we at Pixel Ferrets managed to entertain and bring happiness to others, if only for a few moments.

Some art assets I made for our space on the humble store

And now the adventure continues! 

Okay, let's jump back to that Ambassador's house in this post. This floor already has a Past version, but you'll pass through here in the Present as well! So, time to ruin this little place... >:3



OK GUYS! Time to try to get back to some regular workflow! 

Here's the portrait of one of the fae guys we need for the proper cutscene in Santa Fae, where that rude old Winter grandpa freezes an innocent Autumn fae (no video this time, things are still kind of busy and I actually work a bit faster when I don't have to worry about the recording):
Line Art

Color Blocking

Shadows & Highlights

Details & Wings

Finished Sprite

Okay so this blog post is late and I'm gonna try to keep this short because I'm ready to crash after 30 crazy hours!

Finally we have a Store Page!
So as I said we did approx. 0 PR for the Early Access launch. Turns out, we still got a ton of attention (so far), so I've spent most of my time awake answering e-mails and checking the Steam communities and other places where people discuss the game, just to make sure everything runs smoothly.

And it has run smoothly! So far, we only have one negative review, which seems to not even be about the game itself, but rather that we don't update it fast enough for his/her taste (it was a Thai review, though, and I'm not sure how reliable Google Translate is). People seem generally happy, and I've been fortunate enough to watch a few really fun Twitch streams where people really seemed to enjoy themselves (and nothing makes me happier than that)!

Yesterday got pretty crazy though. I swear for every mail I answered 2 more popped in, it was neverending. And let me tell you, some people are clueless when it comes to making it easy for developers to check if they're actually who they are or simply scammers looking for free keys. Dealing with those kinds of things can take quite a while.

But I'm really happy to do it, at least every once in a while! I do look forward to when things calm down a bit and I can focus on getting more content into the game, though. I made a batch of new haircuts today that I'll post another day, and just squeezing those in between answering mails was taxing enough, haha!

Anyway! I'd like to thank all of you who read this blog or support us in making Secrets of Grindea in other ways. We couldn't do this without you, and I'm so happy to have you all.

And a special shout-out today goes to everyone who has helped answering people's questions about Grindea throughout the web! I couldn't wish for a better community, it's amazing to watch old players help new ones out and share their love for our game. Truly heartwarming. So thank you!

Here's to hoping I can spend a bit more time making actual content tomorrow! :D
Today we're launching Secrets of Grindea on Steam Early Access! By the time this post publishes, it's probably due any minute.

We've been working towards this launch for a few weeks, but because reasons, we had to launch it a bit earlier than we anticipated. Because of this change of plans, I've spent most of the day last minute bug testing to ensure that the new stable build is as stable as possible. Depending on how many new users we get from this launch I suspect Teddy will be quite busy dealing with bugs in the coming few days/weeks as well.. How much it'll affect me remains to be seen - graphic bugs/mistakes are known to happen!

Other than that I honestly have no idea what to expect from our Early Access launch. I believe most people who know about the game and are interested in playing it before it's officially done have already bought it through our site. Since we haven't done or plan on doing any additional PR stuff around this launch, I don't know how many additional people will hear about it. So I guess the player increase will mostly depend on how many haven't bought it yet due to the limited payment options of the Humble widget, as well as people who for other reasons didn't wanna buy it until it was properly available through the Steam store.

The thing is, you never know what's gonna happen, ever. When we first started making this game, we made a random devlog thing on TIGSource, which led to a post about our game over at Indiegames.com. At that time, we had no site or anything, all we had was an incredibly silly YouTube video on Fred's private YouTube account, where tons (thousands) of people viewed it before we even understood what happened.

That shit is scary.

Though of course, we're a bit more prepared today, and I honestly see no reason for anything crazy to happen because of this launch. But you never know in this business. You really don't have a clue. And at this point, I don't even know what I hope for.

I mean sure, if people start talking about the game more and it generates buzz on its own because of Early Access, that would be great! Actually, scratch that - it would be super awesome! But the game is still in Early Access and not finished, and a lot of people won't get the complete experience, the way it should be played and experienced. I can't help wondering how many people who buy the game now will play through Temple of Seasons, realize there's no more content right now, then forget about the game forever?

Oh well. This is turning into a long rambling, but I guess there's one way of seeing it: whatever happens today, whether the player base stays the same of increases like crazy, they're both positives in their own way.

I'd like to thank you all for being such awesome supporters of Grindea, you guys really are the best. (And for those of you who read this entire thing, wow you got some stamina! :D) Now, here's to hoping everything goes smoothly today!
Here's the first of the rooms we planned during the meeting I talked about this Monday! 

This is the top floor of an Ambassador's house, which will be available in both the past and the present, so I'll have another video up later where I turn this place into a mess... :)


The finished room!

And here's another Time Travel portrait, also made before the Monday meeting, but I thought I'd post it as well before posting the newer stuff! This one is a younger girl, whose role we haven't entirely decided upon yet.. :) 

Oh yeah, also, no video this time. I've been having some issues every once in a while with the recording software, and this time it crashed silently on startup and I didn't notice until I finished the entire thing... Sigh! Better luck next time (I hope) :D

Line Art

Color Blocking

Shading

Highlights & Details

Finished Sprite

Time for another interior! This is one I made before the meeting I talked about in Monday's post, and it features the top floor of the Barracks, which is only available in its present, ruined state:


Finished Room!

So, as I mentioned yesterday, we decided to replace the old Wind Slash for a new skill called Static Touch!

When casting the spell, a number of cubes will appear around you:



When you hit something with your sword, these cubes will trigger and deal additional damage to the targeted enemy based on your MATK!



After a few hits the cubes will charge up, changing color and deal even more damage, an effect that stacks up to 3 times:



This effect will cancel if you take damage or if too much time passes.

If you have active cubes, casting the spell again will add x new cubes of the same charge level as your current cubes, but you can't get more than the amount you got when you first cast the spell. In order to max your DMG output with this spell, the trick is to keep refilling your cubes without losing the stacked charges by being too slow or taking damage!

We're much happier with this skill, as it's more versatile and works better when used in combo with other stuff. Hope you like it as well!
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