Playing around with expressions for Charlotte in the upcoming cutscene... Can you guess what will happen based on her expressions? :D 

Just so you know, they are not in the "correct" order!

The last portrait & post of the week! In the time travel temple/area a set of priests and priestesses will play a somewhat important part in events to come. As such, I'm gonna make a bunch of 'em!

You'll be able to tell that they're priests/esses mainly due to the odd hat I'll add to the portraits at the end. We'll probably try to keep their outfits somewhat similar as well :)

Oh yeah - no video of this one, I actually forgot to start recording and didn't remember until I was already halfway done... Ooops!
Line Art

Color Blocking




Finished Sprite

We'll end this week with a couple of portraits. First up is a super quick portrait of an old man that will play a minor role in the upcoming time travel area!

Line Art

Color Blocking


Highlights & Details

Finished Sprite

As the title says, here's a bunch of the items that will be found in the time travel area as well as Mt: Bloom! Some are equips, some will be used to craft other things, and some are housing items!

Can you guess which item is supposed to be what?

Other than creating items, I'll be spending a lot of today adding bugs to and managing the bug list. I keep adding the bug reports to my bookmarks bar, but forget to actually add them to the list afterwards.

Good thing Teddy insta-solves a lot of the bugs as they are reported, rather than wait & look through the list, so the longer I wait, the fewer of the bookmarked bugs I actually have to add.. ;)

Speaking of bugs, there are two in particular that worry me right now, and that's the bug which corrupts character after game crashes, and the one where people are unable to start the game. Both are a bit too common of my liking, but hopefully we'll figure them out soon. I know that Teddy is gonna update the save feature in the next patch, so hopefully that will take care of the first one.

The other one, however... After doing some digging, it seems like it could be caused by a million different things, ranging from laptops choosing the wrong graphic card to a directX bug which can only be solved (for some) by deleting and re-adding certains .dll files. Both of those indicate that there's little to do on our end other than keep asking people to try a long list of possible solutions.

My wish is that we somehow figure out that the problem is on our end, and that it's fixable.
Today I've been making a bunch of hats, masks & other drop items for you guys to find! I mean, with a game called Secrets of Grindea, it would be a shame not to have enough items, right?

Above you see two new hats and three masks! When I made these, I didn't know what I was gonna do beforehand - I just thought about what would be cool to find (or craft) in and around Mt:Bloom and the Time Travel Temple/Town, since those places are what's coming up next.

The hats are pretty straight forward - if you've seen any of my previous work on Mt:Bloom, you'll know it's a cave filled with crystals and mushrooms. So why not be able to wear 'em on your head, right?

As for the masks, I took inspiration from a set of traditional Japanese masks. The Time Travel place is heavily inspired by different Asian countries, after all, so I suppose the items should reflect that as well!

The first one is inspired by a female Noh mask. These masks have become quite popular in a variety of Japanese stories, and one appears in a chapter of the manga Bride of Deimos, which happens to be a favorite of mine!

The second one is inspired by the Hannya mask, which also appears in Noh theatre. It has a more demonic appearance, and apparenly, the mask is traditionally supposed to represent a jealous, female demon figure.

I could have sworn that one of the male bosses in the first Fatal Frame/Project Zero (amazing game, btw), wore a similar mask though, but maybe there are other variants out there!

(I removed the hair for this one as it blended a bit too much with the mask)

Lastly, we have my take on the ever so popular Kitsune mask, which appears here and there in popular culture! Figured our game wouldn't be complete without one. :)

Next up in this blog will either be more items - some random equipment and housing items this time, or another portrait. We'll see!

In Arcadia, the Bishop is a guy who likes to give unsuspecting travelers difficult quests. He also has a strange interest in essence, which leads to him offering two features: Manage Perks and Mold Essence.

The Manage Perks feature has been implemented for quite a while now, but we haven't gotten around to implementing Mold Essence yet. Now, I can't promise an ETA for when it'll actually be added to the game - but a couple of days ago I went ahead and created the interface needed, anyway:

Basically, it works in the same way as Manage Perks, for now at least. You see the icon/drop appearance of your reward to the left, name in the middle and essence cost to the right. In the info box you'll get a bit more info on exactly what the reward is.

Rewards will probably be mostly visual upgrades: new style hats, weapons, and silly trinkets. There might also be housing items and the like! We haven't decided on exactly what items will be available when it's implemented, but we'll do our best to come up with some cool stuff! :)
Did I ever talk about the semi-new system we have for bug reports? Basically, I'm now adding every single bug reported on the forums to a huge spreadsheet shared with Teddy & Fred, where I give it a title, description, link to the thread and priority (High, Medium or Low) which indicates how severe the bug is. 

As it turns out, going on a week-long riding camp means there'll be a lot of bugs to add to the spreadsheet once you get back... Thankfully I saved new reports in a bookmarks folder every other evening before collapsing into bed, so at least I had them all in one place!

In the end, no less than 45 new bugs where reported and added to the list, whew! I gotta say though, if it takes this long adding them to a list & naming them, imagine actually solving them all - poor Teddy! :D 

Anyways, I finished up the day with some other small stuff. Here's the pet feeding menu's "mana" changed into "energy", as that's the term we use everywhere else:

I also went over the Steam Achievement icons which had black bars, removing them o make them look a bit better (just a few shown below): 

Finally, I went ahead and updated the website graphics. Now the new promo-art characters are there rather than the old crappy ones: 

Continuing the progress of getting the Accessory shop up and running, we now move into the building and set up some furniture!

Since this house is in Evergrind City, the interior should somewhat match what's in the other houses. However, I can definitely tell it was a long while since I made those props, and using them in this new house was a bit of a struggle. I had to stop myself from not remaking them completely!

Would feel a bit out of place if this shop, and none of the others, looked super updated though, so no can do. Maybe another time :)

Now that we have an exterior of the accessory shop, we need two more things: the interior of the store, and someone to manage it. 

Today we take a look at the portrait of the girl in charge of selling you accessories!

Line Art

Color Blocking


Hightlights & Details

Finished sprite

As I mentioned before, we're gonna transform the current accessory salesman into a "buyback" man, who allows you to buy back any items you've sold to other vendors. Accessories will get a building of their own, which better fits in with the rest of the shops - after all, every other shop has a building and shop sign of their own.

The location we chose for the store is the town house next to the Blacksmith - it hasn't been used so far anyway!

We chose yellow as the roof color, since we've tried to keep all important buildings separated by color, and nobody uses yellow yet. Might change that around though!

Of course, no shop building is complete without a sign of their own:

It was quite a while since I did those signs, so it felt pretty surreal adding a new one after such a long time!

In the end, here's a mockup of the accessory shop in town:

We continue our struggle to find a nice, good-looking and informative way of conveying what the gold points do!

Today I bring you Option #4, inspired by a suggestion made by War Fist on last week's post on the same subject:

It's basically a slightly less cluttered version of Option #3, where the grayed out portion of the bar will disappear, and the blue crystal will turn yellow once you start using gold points (as illustrated under the second skill above).

We're still not 100% sure which one to choose. Do you think this one is better, or do you prefer another version?

While you guys help us figure this out, I'm gonna go work on the next project: getting a proper Accessory Shop into town!
So, a lot of people get confused when they receive their first gold point, as they don't really understand what it's for. To solve this problem, we've come up with a few solutions, but for once, we can't seem to agree on which one we think is the best!

Can you help us decide?

Option #1:

Keeping it as it is. Yes, this is an option as well. You get a gold point, but there's no way of telling what it's for until you've leveled a spell enough times to unlock its use - in the meanwhile you just have to keep guessing, or forget about it.

Visually, it's probably the best looking option.

Option #2:

Added silver and gold points to the leveling bar for clarity. This should make it clear that you can use gold points to level skills, but it could still confuse players: they get a gold point, and see that it can be used to level their skills, yet somehow they can't use it yet?

We worry that with this option, players will believe that they can use silver and gold points to level skills simultaneously, and in the worst case scenario, believe it's a bug or get frustrated when they can't use them.

Option #3:

Graying out and putting a lock on the gold part of the skill bar. Our hope with this option would be that people will understand that they can use gold points to level skills, but that they're locked for now. Once you've put your 5 silver points in a skill, an animation + sound effect will play which unlocks the next 5 points (making the skill bar look like the one in Option #2).

Probably the most informative option - if people understand the visual cues - but also possibly the least visually pleasing.
Yesterday was a slightly.. different kind of day. Instead of spending most of it in the office, as we normally do, we actually spent almost the entire day travelling to Stockholm and back!

As some of you know, we live on an island, situated a bit more than 3 hours by ferry + 1 hour by bus from Stockholm. Yesterday, we went to the big city to meet up with a representative of Humble Bundle, who provide the Secrets of Grindea widgets on our website (we also sell Grindea through their store).

The Gotland Ferry

The meeting was a lot of fun, we talked a bit about some upcoming projects Humble are working on, and I got a fantastic opportunity to show off how terrible I am at using chopsticks (we had lunch at an Asian restaurant). Hopefully I didn't scar anyone for life!

On the ferry back home we managed to squeeze in some discussion of upcoming features in the game. Some of the subjects we touchup upon were:

  • The possibility of adding an Easy difficulty setting
  • Non-visual equips for Pets, boosting their stats or the exp they get from certain food
  • How to make gold points more clear (we have a few options for this now)
  • Whether Shady Merchant should take on a new job as a buyback man rather than accessory salesman

We actually prepared no less than 48 topics to discuss, but the early hours (we had to get up at 5:30) kind of took its toll and we only managed to get through 21 before we realized we were simply too tired to make any more important decisions.

Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted and actually managed to sleep for close to 10 hours(!) once we got back home. Travelling has never been my strong suit, I'm afraid.. :)
That's enough of a break from portraits, right?

The Ambassador's son will be another character you'll meet both as a kid and in his grown up version. Does he still lose his fathers keys? Who knows! I guess only time (travel) will tell...

Line Art

Color Blocking




Finished Sprite

As I write this, Teddy is sitting next to me working on a new, improved version of the translation tool! I believe we've mentioned this a few times before in various places, but haven't gone into detail..

So, the new translation tool will have full Steam Workshop support, which means it'll be easier to create and manage translations - no more zipping and uploading through the forums, wohoo! It'll also be a lot easier to find translations, as it'll be done directly through the game client (and thanks to Steam Workshop, any updates made to the translations will be downloaded automatically). 

Of course, browsing translations will need an interface of its own, and that's where I come in. Today me and Teddy sat down and discussed exactly what we need to show in said interface, creating this totally amazing sketch in the process:

I then jumped into Photoshop, creating the actual graphics needed. Here's a mockup, with almost all text missing (and the text that is there is super placeholder made in Photoshop rather than the actual game engine):

Basically, the red squares are placeholders for the icons used by the translation.

The white boxes to the right of the squares are where the translation's title will be displayed, and the "Subscribed" text will only appear on translations you've subscribed to (duh), which means they'll be added next to your English (Default) selection in the game's Options.

Beneath the icons are green and red arrows. These indicate how many upvotes vs downvotes each translation has gotten.

The speech bubble-icon will indicate what percentage of the dialogue has been translated, while the cogwheel next to it will tell you the completion percentage of system texts (interface/menu stuff mostly). We figured we'd separate these as many feel that the dialogues are more important than interface stuff, and having a single % would be misleading in cases where 100% of the dialogue has been translated but 0% of the interface, bringing the overall completion unfairly low.

Since we realize these icons may be a bit unclear on their own, we'll add a description beneath the content box, explaining what the icons mean.

Finally, you'll be able to use search box to filter the translations based on your language, and it'll suggest languages based on what you've written already!
I'm back home, safe and sound, and it's time to get back to work again! 

Since I made a ton of portraits last week, I'll start this week with a background (though there's at least one more portrait to come this week, rest assured... There's a lot of people living in this mountain) :)

Hopefully, if I didn't hurt myself falling off a horse, I'll be returning home today, yay! Anyways, since this is the last portrait of this week, here's a bit of a different one. Instead of a NPC portrait, here's the portrait of a mini-boss! 

(Yikes, getting all undead and stuff?!) 

Line Art

Color Blocking




Finished Sprite

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