Time for Fred's Friday, featuring a return to the desert and more of its inhabitants! Here's a whole bunch of the iterations for four of the characters you'll meet in the harbor town, with the final versions inside each green circle:


...And an animation for that poor winter fae, who has been lured into the desert by his friend! Poor thing is suffering from the less than ideal weather for a winter loving creature!



Next up, we'll continue the interface business by taking a look at the interface of one of the more important new features: Treats and Curses!


For this interface the important part is having enough room for a bunch of treats/curses, with a text box featuring a description of each treat/curse, a title bar (so you know which interface you're in), as well as some way of letting the player know when treats/curses don't work together - for example if you have on treat that disables all elite enemies along with a curse that makes them more likely to spawn.

In the above sketch I used the potion interface as a base. There will be a few key differences though: for one, it won't cost you money to change curses/treats, at least not the way it's currently designed. If you're currently hovering over a curse/treat that won't work with the ones you have selected currently, a speech bubble popup will appear with a stop sign, showing you which ones are incompatible. Next to the curse/treat title in the text box will be how much score will be added or subtracted to your score, in percent.

Once you select a curse, a new interface will pop up where you can select which slot you want to add the curse/treat to:


In this interface there will also be a total score counter showing how much your total score will be with your selected curses/treats. In the sketch above there's another stop sign next to the incompatible curse/treat, however this will likely not be added to the game: instead, if you try to select a curse or treat when you have others selected that wouldn't work with it, there will be a prompt asking if you'd like to remove the ones that are incompatible with the one you're trying to select. If you answer yes, the above interface will pop up with the incompatible curses/treats removed: if you answer no, you'll remain in the curse/treat selection screen. 

Now, time to freshen up the graphics a bit:


Here I've added some proper graphics to nearly everything: Muffin's Treats has a title sprite, the pop-up speech bubble indicating which curses/treats are incompatible has been added, and the background is properly made as well. The text I haven't touched though, as it will be added properly with the game engine.

Next, same thing but with Candy's title sprite:


And finally, the screen where you select which slot to add your selected curse/treat to! Again, the stop sign will probably not be used the way we ended up designing things, but we hadn't finalized that by the time I finished making the graphics:




Time to get those new interfaces going! First up, the main interface as you run around Arcadia. Here's the old version of the interface:


And here's a basic suggestion with a new gold indicator and slots for Treats/Curses:


Now, the treats and curses will affect your score multiplier by a certain percentage each: either they'll increase your score or they'll reduce your score. More score equals more rewards (and a higher place on the high score list!), so we felt it was important to include this in the interface somehow. Here's a quick sketch featuring the score multiplier increase both next to the score and next to the treats/curses:


While we liked the idea of having the percentage show next to the score counter (that way it can show all through your run as well), we weren't sold on having an exact copy of it next to the treats/curses. Instead, we thought maybe we should separate them and show how much each of your curses or treats actually subtract or add to your score:


As of now, we still haven't decided whether we want to include the above version or just keep the cleaned up score multiplier next to your score (as seen below). Do you think you'd prefer to see how much each score adds/subtracts, or is that unnecessary information that only clutters up the interface?


Since this day is likely filled with meetings where we need to finalize the things mentioned yesterday, have a WIP gif of yet another sailor moving into the harbor town!

Finished portrait, with and without hat:


Alright, back to business! As mentioned before, we're at the point where we need to design a lot of interface stuff and decide how things will work together and unlock in terms of the new Arcadia rework features.

These include new interface indicator for gold, treats and curses when you're running around inside Arcadia itself. Here we decided to combine Treats and Curses. Previously we said you could pick either Treats or Curses, and have three of each, but since then we have changed our minds: now, you'll be able to pick and choose between Treats and Curses, but you can only pick 3 in total. It's good to keep in mind that 3 isn't a 100% fixed number at this point, we'll have to try things out and see what feels good. The final number could be anywhere between 2-5 (is my guess, anyway).

We haven't actually decided on which specific Treats or Curses to include yet, so if you have any cool ideas, feel free to share them with us! As a reminder, Treats are features that will make an Arcade run easier, but lowers your score, while Curses make your runs harder and increases your score!

Selecting Treats/Curses at their respective NPC will need a menu of its own too, as will the Cinema's replay feature (where you'll be able to view past runs), the Bank exchange service (where you can convert Essence to Gold and the other way around), and Master Ji's challenge selection (where you pick which of his shield-focused challenges you want to try). We also need to come up with the challenges the latter will have.

The Arena will mainly use the interface from Story Mode, but we will also need a menu where you can select your last three characters that reached any boss in the game and have a go at the boss again. Here, we've decided to keep the Multiplayer mini-games, while the single player ones will be replaced by the boss-rebattle feature. Our reasoning here is that it might be fun to be able to challenge your friends to mini-games in the Arena without having to start Story Mode (since we have the arena anyway, you know), while the single player portion of the Arena doesn't make as much sense to keep and works better in Story Mode alone.

There's also another matter we need to discuss, and finalize: whether the build time of unlocked buildings will count IRL time, the time you play Arcade runs, or both. Last time we talked about this we could not decide, so now's possibly your last chance: what would you prefer? To wait a short while regardless of what you do, to have to play arcade runs for the buildings to finish, or to be able to shorten the waiting time by playing arcade mode?

Let us know what you think!
It's the first Fred's Friday written in our new office (!!!) (...more about the move later)! And it's time to introduce a new character of quite some importance: the Trunk! 


This little guys will be the equivalent of Bag, but for Arcade Mode. We didn't have a character like this in Arcade Mode previously, but the more we thought about it, the more we felt it was lacking somehow. It kind of felt strange to have bag say random things when he isn't even a character in this part of the game, and as we start to get to the point where we need to design how to unlock the new features, we felt a sidekick that can help you understand how to do that felt more interesting than random info boxes. 


Aside from being your sidekick in the Arcade Mode portion of the game, bag and trunk have very little in common, though! This little fellow is cheerful and happy, excited to be a part of your adventures. (Well, maybe Bag is too, but he doesn't show it half as well as this one!)

Stay tuned for more information about this new character and how you'll interact in Arcade Mode!
We're in our new office!! Yesterday we finally made the move, but we had already started preparing the day before. Here's the old office in our apartment's guest room, as it used to be, and fully packed:



The saddest thing we'll be leaving behind is the cats! It's been so nice to be able to spend all day long with our lovely two cats, who will have to wait alone at home for us to return from the office every day now ;_;

Yesterday, the moving company knocked on our door at 8 am, ready to move our stuff. The whole thing took about an hour, plus another 30 minutes of putting everything together at the new office, here pictured empty:



After we were done, we went to have lunch and went by a couple stores to buy a few things to make our office more cozy: a few plants (fake, so they won't die if we have to leave the office for a few days), a clothes hanger where we can put our coats, and a few decorations for the window (including a cute little christmas tree):



The whole place feels very cozy now, and we're very happy with the space. At first we thought it might be a little on the small side, but we're really satisfied with the amount of room we have and how comfy we could make it.

The only sad part, as mentioned, is leaving behind the cats - but the walks and ability to separate work and free time should be worth it! Already work feels much more focused and distraction-free, so that's great :)

And now, the final part of the Arcadia rework: the Dojo interior! This is another building that exists in Story Mode, and may have its old version replaced by this new Arcade version. It's designed to have a big enough fighting area for you to prove yourself in a set of challenges, as well as a shield block training session we may include in the earlier parts of story mode: we'll see!

Without further ado, the WIP video:


And the finished version! I thought it'd be cool to save some space at the bottom where Master Ji's apprenticed can stand and watch/cheer for you as you do your challenges! In the section above, the master himself will spectate your progress:



The second to last interior before all the interior designs of the new and improved Arcadia are completed, belongs to the Aquarium! This place will feature a set of fishes that you captured during your run, as well as the typical souvenirs:


In the sketch, I included a set of fish shaped balloons, but I think we'll let Fred make those from start to finish since they will need to be animated to really have that proper balloon feel! For now, here's what the Aquarium looks like, sans the proper fishes and mentioned balloons:



This week, let's jump straight into continuing the interior spree of the Arcadia Rework! It's time to take a look at the Cinema, another of those brand new buildings that don't exist in Story Mode. Here, you'll be able to watch replays of your previous Arcade runs, and even share them with your friends.


While most of this will take place in one of the ticket booths near the entrance, we couldn't resist adding a bit of a cinema feel with a big screen and some seats for flavour. Perhaps some NPCs will be here, watching a short movie on screen? Maybe some of them will even offer a quest of two!


Time to move on from fishes and do some desert work instead! Fred has been making a ton of NPCs lately, and here are some of the ones you'll meet during your adventure:




Can you figure out which NPC belongs to which portrait (hit the portrait label on the right bar to check all the portraits out)?


Okay, now that the new bunch of floors are properly completed, let's celebrate by taking a quick break from Arcade Mode and make another portrait featuring yet another sailor (can't have too many of those in a harbor town, right?):

And the finished portrait:


It's the final part of the Tai Ming floors!! And you guessed it, it's turning all those polished and clean Past props into their present, ruined versions!!

Actually, since we decided each room will only be available in one of the timelines, I decided to not do exact replicas of some things, such as the buildings. With these I felt it'd be more interesting to bring in more designs to create more variations. Here's a few of the buildings that might appear on your run:



The fences were more straight forward, just make a ruined, old-looking version of each part:



And finally, the new (very old looking!) bridges to connect islands or help you cross over streams:



Okay, time to finish up those Arcade floors! There's a couple of pretty important maps missing from both the Tai Ming and the Mount Bloom floors that need to be added before they are truly complete: the score counting screens!



Whenever you finish a floor in Arcade Mode, you'll run through a corridor of some sort while the game shows you your current score and how well you did in each room of the floor. These corridors are either connecting two floors of the same area, or serve to connect one type of floor with the next. The first corridor shown above is the corridor that will bridge the two Mount Bloom floors, while the second leads the way into the Tai Ming floors.

Below you have two types of the same corridor, one for past and one for present. Which one you'll pass through depends on what boss you fought against. Meanwhile, when you transfer from Tai Ming to the desert maps, you'll simply walk through a door from the Mimic room.



In order to have a proper exit from the above corridors, I had to extract and polish up the entrance/exit to the courtyard used in story mode and make a version of it in both timelines as well:



Finally, some minor changes to one of the boss rooms (the Arcade Mode version, that is):



Instead of having to limit ourselves to having this boss appear after going through a mountain wall, we decided to remove the lower mountain part and adjust how things were placed slightly, so we can put a regular fence there instead (and as such be able to place the boss map anywhere on the map rather than along a mountain). In order to do this we also had to repaint the lower parts of the vertical mountain wall, as can be seen in the second picture.

Now there's just one more thing to do before these floors are fully complete (unless I'm forgetting something)!! Stay tuned for tomorrow ;)
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