Our work with the Festival continues! Here we have Candy, selling candies outside the hat store:

Another bunch of portraits was needed as well, featuring people enjoying (or not?) the festivities, or, in the case of the Dojo guys, arranging one of the mini games!

We also decided to add another one of Owns ideas for the Festival, namely the petting zoo thing. So we called in Oak to bring a couple of pets and let the kids gather to look at them! With all the NPCs roaming around, the festival is really starting to take shape! 

Now we just need Teddy to finish the mini games... :)
Time to finish up the treasure cave! Gonna add a few more props this time around, but mainly it's gonna be a whooole lot of copy pasting pre-existing gold piles :D Enjoy...

The finished right side, as seen above! Below is the complete thing, including the sleepy old dragon lurking about, made by Fred :3

Part two of creating the treasure cave! Time to start drawing a lot of gold and adding trinkets to make it look more interesting. In this part I'll focus on the left part of the screen, and leave the right part for the next blog post :)

Here's a progress video, which also includes my previous sketch: 

And here's what the left side of the cave looks like so far:

Most of the small trinkets are items that were made previously, mainly found in the Accessory shop (which hasn't been implemented yet). Reusing small sprites like this is a great way to save time, especially when they're only there for decorative purposes and unlikely to catch the viewers interest for long.

Some things are created specifically for this cave though, such as the pillars, candelabra and the rod+crystal, the creation of which can be seen in the video above :)

In the next part I'll create the right part of the cave and tie it all together with some shadows & stray gold coins here and there!
One of the major things we need for the flashback cutscene to be done is a huge cave filled with treasure, complete with the sleeping dragon Fred has been working on recently. 

As the prototype of the cutscene is finished and we know where everything will take place, it's time for me to start working on the background!

Above is a very crude sketch where you can see where every major event with the characters will take place. This is important to know so that they won't get covered by any props, plus it gives me a chance to design things strategically based on where stuff happens.

Once I know where the characters will be, it's time to make a super simple sketch where I add gold and trinkets of different kinds to the background. While I don't have to follow this to 100% once I start actually rendering stuff, it's a good way to feed my imagination and gives me an even better idea of where the props can and should be.

Third step is adding the actual walls and floor. This is the last step I do before I actually start rendering stuff, which I'll show in 2 more parts with videos included. Basically I spend some time copy pasting walls I've done before in ways that make them appear new, and redraw rocks here and there to make them blend better.

Some other things I've been doing recently is remaking a few drops, & creating new ones:

This is a bunch of tusks, honey and a royal jelly, which will all have a part to play in your upcoming festival quest :)

I also decided to polish good old Biggs a bit, as he was looking a bit weird and just a bit too girly (which still undoubtedly is the case, but whatever), and the balloon stand got some empty balloons in it (still waiting for actual balloon clusters from Fred):

Basically, things are slowly starting to come together, and now it's actually possible to walk around in a very basic version of the festival. Teddy keeps adding NPCs even as I write this, and we're confident it'll feel like a cozy little thing in the end!

A few more portraits for upcoming festival cutscenes! More to come as well, as a bunch of familiar faces come to hang out at the Festival :)

They don't look too happy yet, but that's cause at the time of this cutscene, the festival hasn't started yet! Don't worry, it'll be a nice and relaxing event (for the most part)..! ;)
When I asked for your suggestions on how to further decorate the Evergrind Festival, Own at the forums suggested cutouts which you can stand behind to make your character look different. So that's what we decided to do (thanks for the idea)!

We decided to make 2 different versions, one of a couple getting married and one of a monster (we picked the Snowbacca, cause why not)!

The process can be seen here:

Final version without characters:

Final version with  characters:

We're looking into a feature where the game will screenshot you 'automatically' (with the help of a photographer that Fred's currently working on). Not sure exactly how/if it'll work yet, but here's to hoping! :D

Here's a random WIP of the photographer, though we think we'll remove the cloth:

As the cutscene prototypes are more or less completed (with the exception of a background I need to make), it's time to spice 'em up by giving the characters more expressions! 

First up is Dad, who is getting a new expression with his eyes closed:

But wait! In the flashback cutscene, where he'll be appearing with his wife Charlotte, he's much younger. As such, we need a bunch of new portraits illustrating that:  

No scar, and though you can't see it on the portrait, he still has both his arms as well! And, speaking of Charlotte, we felt she needed an additional, happier expression as well:

In Part 2 we'll take a look at our present time collector friends, who also need a set of new expressions as they get ready for the Festival!
This is what we're gonna be busy with today:

Inhouse-testing the Queen bee mini boss fight! Not only does she have way more hp and damage than regular bees, she also summons bees that are also stronger than the ones you meet out in the fields. And as if that wasn't enough, she has an attack where she spews slowing honey all over the map, and shoots stingers at you from far away!

This fight is gonna be incredibly hard to balance, because the bees are such an odd kind of enemy. If you know how to use your shield, they really aren't that much of a hassle, but for those who aren't used to blocking... Well, let's just say there's no doubt about which enemy is on people's #1 hate list. Yep, it's the bees!

So, it's gonna be a fine line between making this fight too easy for people wielding their shields like a pro, and too hard for others. Hopefully we'll manage to get it right after some tweaking :)

Right now we're playing around with the mechanics of the fight. In the beginning, we wanted people to focus on killing the Queen Bee's servants, and she'd only dive the player after they were dead (at which point you can damage her). The rest of the time she'd be spewing honey or sending flying stingers your way.

Now we're thinking it might be more fun if she dives now and then, and works more like the Sentry. That is, she'll summon more bees the longer you fight, meaning you'll either have to kill off some of her bee servants from time to time or you'll end up with a lot of bees on your hands!

The tweaking continues - wish us luck :D
The quest for making the festival seem more cool continues! In this post I'll share the creation of two stands that have been put together by the folks of Evergrind City: a balloon stand and a popcorn stand!

The balloon stand will be further improved by Fred, who will add a cluster of balloons unlike the others - these ones having the shapes of different animals found around Grindea, such as the Slime balloon seen in the weekly recap over at the devblog this week!

Time for another time travel portrait! This time around I made a sketch on paper rather than digitally (as mentioned in Tuesday's post), in order to mix things up a bit.

Perhaps I'll do it this some more in the future for portraits as well - it's been really nice to sketch away from the screen for a while. :)

Line Art

Color Blocking




Finished Sprite

So, hats (& other types of headgear) are one of the most important things of every game Secrets of Grindea, right? I recently did a few posts where I showed new batches, but so far I've yet to make any video recordings of creating them..

Sooo, I thought it'd be a fun idea to start recording my process, doing maybe around 4 each video and make a series of it, to see how many posts we end up doing before the game is actually done. 

Since creating a hat is quite fast business, I'll not speed the video up as much as I usually do, hopefully making it easier to follow along. As usual, I'll post the finished result below the video in each post, zoomed in to 300% so they're nice and big (easy to view any details).

What do you think? Let's try this out :)

Something I'm trying to become better at is planning what to do next & preparing for it properly. At times, I simply wake up, look at my tasklist, pick something and start working with minimal preparations. Sometimes this works well, sometimes my work tends to get a bit uninspired. 

Recently I've found that taking a break from the computer screen and sketching in a notebook helps a lot with my workflow. For some reason it feels much easier sketching freely and try out random ideas when it's 'just' a notebook, rather than when you've created a Photoshop document for the specific task. Afterwards, I have a clear idea of what I want to create and often it ends up looking better because I took some time sketching multiple versions. 

So, what have I been sketching recently? Hats, Hats & Hats! Here's a small selection of hats that may (or may not) appear in the future: 

Super detailed, right? ;) Well what matters is that it gives me an idea of what to create next, digitally! To end this post, here's a quick sketch of a new portrait as well: 

A new week is coming, but the floods of e-mail we get from people requesting free keys for Secrets of Grindea show no signs of stopping anytime soon! It's super flattering, really - lots of people wanting to play our game! A year ago I'd never believe something like this would happen :)

Of course, a lot of the mails we get are quite obviously from scammers pretending to have YT-channels they don't even link to, as well as those who claim to be famous streamers they quite clearly aren't... But there are also people who only come across of one of the two, as they simply forget to link to their channel, or didn't see the use of having their e-mail mentioned in their channel description.

So, in comes this post. I don't know if anyone that needs to read it actually will, but hey - here's to hoping.

Let me begin this post by answering an important question:

Why don't you just give keys to everyone asking?

In the perfect world, where food & shelter is free and you don't need money to survive, I'd love to give keys to everyone who asked. It would be a true joy to bring happiness to those who may not have enough money to spend $15 on a game! Unfortunately, we don't live in such a world, and we also need money to survive - otherwise we wouldn't be able to work on this game at all!

And so, we prefer to give keys to people who would like to do something with the game - maybe a let's play, or an article or preview... That sort of thing, that gives us a bit of coverage and them something to write/make videos about.

Nowadays we're actually quite wary even of those kinds of people, as we've been scammed a few times by YouTubers who ended up selling the keys we gave them. Honestly, if you see anyone doing this - please call them out on it! They're really making it harder for legit people asking for press copies by causing devs to become increasingly suspicious of accounts that look right.

So, who DO you give keys to?

Basically, we give keys to people who want to cover our game in some way and fulfill three criteria:

1) You have an active account (and you actually link it!)
Whether it's a YouTube account, Twitch account, newspage, whatever. If there has been no content posted in the recent month(s), or you don't provide us with a link at all, we tend to be skeptical of whether you'll actually cover the game, or if you're just fishing for free keys for you and your friends.

2) People actually view your stuff
Let's face it - anyone can create a blog or YouTube account and refresh their videos a few times until it looks like they have 10 hardcore viewers who follow anything they post. While we totally appreciate how hard it can be to start out and build an audience, if we were to provide free keys to everyone with a YouTube account, we'd have to give 'em to everyone on the internet.

3) We can verify who you are
Please, please, please write your mail out in the description of your YouTube channel (they even have that cool "for business inquiries - view e-mail address" button nowadays), under some 'about' tab on your blog/website, or wherever. Even better if you, in your e-mail, point us towards the place where we can verify that this address belongs to who you say you are (of course, this doesn't apply to sites who use the mail belonging to their own domain).

Honestly, this is the #1 reason why we sometimes don't send out keys - too many people pretend to be someone they aren't. You'd be surprised how many e-mails we get from people claiming to be someone, only for us to find out, 2 clicks later, that the owner of the linked account has a completely different mail. So I'm sure you can understand why we don't send out keys to those we can't 100% confirm are who they say they are - we really don't want to encourage people stealing others identities just to get free game keys..

Back in the days we'd spend a lot of time investigating these things, googling & messaging back and forth. However, this ended up taking way too much time for a small studio of 3 people. We'd really prefer to actually be working on the game, and to be honest, we're quite happy with the crowd we have already - at least until the game is closer to finished.

So basically, we're less likely to spend additional time investigating & sending keys to anyone who doesn't provide us with enough information on their own. Therefore, if you're looking for a press copy - make sure you've read the above before sending your mail. It'll save us both a lot of time and hassle. :)
Aaand, we'll and the week with another portrait, of a kid! I was playing around with a slightly different style (particularly in the shading) here. 

Not sure yet if we'll keep it as it is, start using it on more portraits or if I'll end up going back to fix this one later on. Either way it was fun to try something new!

Line Art

Color Blocking




Finished sprite!

Time for another portrait, this time of a woman that should appear in the Embassy of the time travel town!

Line Art

Color Blocking




Finished Sprite

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