Finally, let's end the week with a portrait! I actually forgot I still had two more to make for the second Tai Ming zone. Guess I got a little bit too excited about starting to make backgrounds for Puzzle World!
Time to do one of these mixed bag posts again, where I show you some stuff I've gone back to fix from previous posts, or just new additions that aren't big enough to get a post of their own!

This room in Puzzle World is a little bit different - as you can see. It's been sponsored by the Flying Fortress crew, and so it has been decorated to look like a room in Flying Fortress - only with wallpapers and a fake floor... :)

And now, the work on Puzzle World continues! Today we're gonna transform the Statue Room into it's sorry present state. Since this will be the first room to be turned into a present version, it's extra important to get everything right since a bunch of the props, such as the planks, will be reused in upcoming rooms. 
Well, I already moved on to the Puzzle World stuff, but there was one final thing left to do for Tai Ming's second zone (aside from any fixes and/or additions we might add later on): the Giant Thorn-Worm boss portrait!
Time for one of those mixed bags, of sorts! Before moving on to making the first present version of the Puzzle World rooms, I wanted to fix a few things in the rooms that were made already. Just some tiny stuff, but some things that I feel will improve the area a bit.
And now: the first actual puzzle room of this brand-new theme park! This one is focused on statues, but solving it won't be as easy as you might have thought - you see, the guys building the puzzle haven't actually finished it yet, so you'll have to figure out another way to get out of here.. :)

After focusing so long on Tai Ming's second zone, it's finally nearing completion and we can look on to the third and final zone! As such, we had a meeting where we discussed exactly how it will look and what will take place here...
And now.... It's time to begin! Using the sketches from last week, I'm going to create the backgrounds for each of the Puzzle World rooms. It's gonna be a lot of fun, since this place will be totally different from everything else in Tai Ming graphics wise: bright colors and crazy color combinations everywhere! Wohoo!

Finally, after a lot of deliberation, I decided to change the layout of the blog! I've been working on this for a while (stealing an hour here and an hour there), but I never really found a layout that I liked enough, until now.

The old posts might look a bit off, but as new posts (formatted with the layout in mind) appear, hopefully things will start looking alright again soon!

Now, I probably forgot to test a bunch of stuff, so if something is broken somewhere, let me know!
It's time for the final part of the transformation between the second zone of Tai Ming's past and present versions: the exit! First up, a small reminder of what this place looked like before I began:
Today, let's take a look at something different! A rough sketch of each of the rooms of the upcoming Puzzle World amusement park, parts of which you'll have to make your way through on your way to find a mysterious treasure.

Be aware of spoilers if you look at the map below or it's explanation, if you prefer to explore the amusement park on your own:

I already mentioned the rooms in a previous post, but now we've actually designed the rooms! The sketches above are very messy and basic, but they show in which order the rooms will appear, as well as and approximation of how they'll look.

Room 1 is an introduction room where you'll meet the owner of the amusement park and his workers.

Room 2 is the Ancient Statue Puzzle, where you'll have to use statues get to Room 3, where regular battles will take place.

Room 4 is sponsored by Flying Fortress and features a Phase Shift puzzle (shown here), Room 5 is where the Monkey Madness takes place, and Room 6 is the "Path Puzzle" shown in the same post as the Phase Shift puzzle.

Room 7 is where you'll find your mysterious treasure, as well as a hopefully fancy view! I both look forward to and dread making this map. Good think I can make the other 6 first ;)
 And now, a portrait! This is the owner of the upcoming Puzzle World amusement park in Tai Ming:

He wants to get rich, but will his business plan hold? I guess we'll have to see, as we venture into Puzzle World itself... 

As I promised yesterday, it's time to start ruining this past version of the ancient HQ, and bring it to the present. As everything else, it's been completely abandoned and ruined by the hours gone past.

First, a reminder of what it used to look like:

And now, let the demolishing begin!!!

Finished version:

Actually, it's not 100% finished - I'm gonna break the wall up a bit so you can move through the left side (and I might break the right corner a bit for visual effect as well. But, that's for another post! :)
It's time to update that YouTube channel a bit! AND move back to making the present version of the outdoors. I quit making the outdoor transition from past to present, as we hadn't decided if the giant Thorn-Worm battle needed a bigger area - but since we decided to keep things as they are, it's time to get a move on and finish things up!

First up is the area around the dam, where you can adjust the water levels of Tai Ming's second zone. As with all other present versions, it's time to demolish everything:

And here's the finished thing:

Next, we'll move on to the area surrounding the ancient HQ!
Today it's time to bring the Monkey Lab past version into it's distant, abandoned present!

Last time I worked on this was to polish it up a bit, adding wall cracks and merging the two cages into one big:

Today it's all about ruining stuff! The walls & floor need to become more dull & dark, the glass windows have broken, papers have been shredded... and the poor monkeys who were stuck in the cage have died (unless... you decide to let them out) :( 

Here's the finished version:

(Please save the monkeys T_T)
As I draw closer to finishing my part of the work on Tai Ming's second zone, more tiny fixes are needed, and so there's another mixed bag post!

First up, updating the past HQ banners to reflect the fact that the chests in Tai Ming will, in fact, be purple: 

We've also decided to have one big cage rather than two small inside the monkey lab, with two monkeys in them instead of having one empty and one with just one monkey:

As you can see, we also added some cracks to illustrate where a hole will be in the present, as well!

Next, as I mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to Tai Ming-ify the doors inside the ancient Collector's HQ a bit, so I added some fancy door frame decorations to them: 

Also, just for fun and some flavor, an optional chest has appeared in Tai Ming's present state! But however will you be able to reach it with all the rocks blocking the way?

Finally, another flavor - a puddle of wine on the floor where the wine barrel is placed when you travel back and forth in time. Basically, leave the wine barrel in the top right corner in the past and there will be a wine puddle in the top right corner in the present, and so on. Just for fun! :)

Another character enters the fray, and this one too is based on a familiar face - Quinton the Quest Master, who takes care of you after you finish your trials in the arena!

This ancient version of Quinton (an ancestor, perhaps?) is the Quest Master of Tai Ming's Collector's HQ. He'll give you one or two quests you need to complete in the town before you can proceed into the next zone.

Okay, it's time to return to backgrounds for a while! And here's the monkey lab, finally, starting with a rough sketch:

Before designing this place, I had a talk with Fred and Teddy about what level of technology we wanted this place to have. We had plenty of options: we could either go full Flying Fortress style with lasers and very high technology, or we could go more primitive and ancient-oriented.

Since we wanted this area to feel quite modern for Tai Ming (making it stand out and all), we decided to keep it kind of high-tech, but not Flying Fortress laser-level. So we'll have steel bars, lots of documentation, some glass vials and strange potions, some which will be animated and added later on by Fred!

Here's the process of bringing the sketch version into it's final state:

And here's a detail GIF of creating the shelf:

...and another one featuring the cages (where they keep at least one monkey, hence the wip-name 'monkey lab'):

Final version:

Looking forward to seeing NPCs, monkey(s) and animated vials add some life to this place! :)

Those of you who paid attention to the text screens in the Phase Puzzle course in Mount Bloom should be familiar with Tonee, who wrote about the course in some detail!

Well, here she is, visiting Tai Ming with her engineer friend from yesterday:

What they're doing there? Showing off the latest Phase Shifting technology of course! These things don't fund themselves, you know ;)

There's just a tiny amount of portaits left to be made for this area now! Of course, I still have to create a ton of expressions, but not a lot of new characters. This guy is the engineer that helped design the phase shift puzzle elements that are used in the course in Mt: Bloom. 

I know gave a lot of people a headache (at least the more difficult, optional stage), so perhaps this is the guy you should blame? :)

Today is my birthday! Wohoo! To celebrate, here's the ancient HQ background, which I've been working on lately :)

When designing this place, I wanted it to resemble the Collector's HQ in Evergrind City, only smaller since it doesn't make sense for it to be as big gameplay wise (you won't really do anything in here except fetch a quest or two). So let's take a look at what the Evergrind City HQ looks like:

Okay! Next up, I made a sketch of what I'd like the layout to look like (as always, true AAA sketching here, very detailed etc (nope not really) ;))

And then I just started adding stuff! A GIF of the process can be seen here, but it's really mostly addinng previous props from various places and adjustim them as I go. I also changed the size of the room to be smaller, as it felt kind of huge when I added the game's camera to test the size:

Finally, here's the end result:

I'm considering editing the doors a bit so they'll fit in better with the Tai Ming theme. Also, there will be guards placed outside the doors like in Evergrind City, so you won't be able to enter (though I guess it's kind of rare to be able to walk through closed doors in the game anyway). The doors are only there to make the place seem bigger than it is, really!
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