As we draw close to releasing the stable version of Tai Ming, there's - as usual - a bunch of tiny fixes needed. Time for a mixed bag!

When we talked about adding new items to the shops, we totally forgot about one pretty important store: the hat salesman! Time to make a few new hats for that guy :)

Time for a bigger batch of Tai Ming housing item miniatures!
The Tai Ming Arcade floors poses an interesting challenge that none of the other floors do. After all, Tai Ming is a town, and a town you can explore both in the past and present, so how do we properly convey that over a set of not-overly-decorated rooms where you battle a ton of monsters?

The first thing we decided was that there would have to be enemies in both past and present state rooms: we definitely want to include the time travel aspect in some way, and keeping the past rooms enemy-free (as they are in Story Mode) just isn't an option.

As for the layout of the floors, we have two options.

Option #1 is to have the Tai Ming floors be about half as long as a regular Arcade Mode floor. That means there will be half the amount of rooms, and your goal is to find a specific room which contains a time rift that allows you to travel forward in time, passing through the rooms once more in another time!

For example, say you begin in past. You battle your way through a set of different rooms, all decorated in Tai Ming's past style with cherry trees, statues and whatnot. Then you reach a big room, which is empty. This is the boss room, but you're not yet able to battle the boss because you're in the wrong time. You go back and find another room containing a time rift which you pass through. Now on your mimi map the empty room gets the boss icon, and you start making your way back there.

Now that you're in a different time, all of the rooms have transformed into Tai Ming's present state instead, with the statues broken and cherry trees bare. In each room you pass, the enemies you killed before have respawned in different setups: you essentially battle your way from the portal room back to the boss room you found before. Once you reach the boss room again, you can finally battle the boss and get to the next floor.

There will of course be cases where you find the time rift before you reach the boss room, and in those cases the floor will be shorter than normal, since you don't have to backtrack through as many rooms.

The upside to this version is that you'll get to see each room you already went through in its past and present state, and that it makes these floors a bit more unique compared to the other floors of Arcade Mode. The downside is the backtracking, which might not feel as interesting as going through a unique set of rooms, and the fact that you have to find a specific room (the rift room) before you can progress through the floor as usual, which might feel annoying to some people.

Option #2 is a bit more straight forward. This idea is simply that certain rooms have a time rift you pass through as you go between one room and another, so some rooms will be past and some will be present. This means the floor will be the same length as and work in the same way as the other Arcade floors (when you find the boss room, it will always be in the correct timeline and you can battle the boss at once). What rooms will appear and whether they are past or present rooms will be randomly generated by the map rather than you going through a set of past rooms first, which then transform into present rooms.

Perhaps not as interesting mechanically, but might be more so visually (more unique rooms rather than two versions of the same, shorter floor).


Since we can't really decide which one we prefer, we'd like to hear what you guys think. Would you prefer Option #1 or Option #2? This game is designed to be enjoyed by our players, so we're very interested to hear which one of these you'd like to see!

In order to collect your votes, I have made a topic with a poll on our forums! Please cast your vote in THIS THREAD to let us know what you prefer. Thank you :D

And here's the third and final additional character to be added to Tai Ming before the stable patch: a merchant!

We'll end this week with a second Tai Ming housing miniatures batch! A few left to go... :)

And here's the second sailor, helping the first unloading some crates filled with items to be sold in Tai Ming!

And now, time to complete this guy's portrait! He's been charged with helping a merchant deliver goods to Tai Ming, and as you might be able to tell from his expression he's not exactly thrilled to be forced from the sea!

We'll begin this week with another one of these text heavy posts! This time, we'll take a look at the desert enemies, mainly designed by our animator Fred~

As you might know by now, the next dungeon is going to be a ghost ship. What you might not know, though, is that the ghost ship will be populated with the possessed spirits of sailors from the Merchant Isles.

Time for some more housing miniatures! Since the Tai Ming-themed ones are sooo many, I'm going to divide them into groups depending on which item type they are. Some batches will be bigger, other smaller. This is one of the smaller batches, featuring the 'small items', or things you can stick on tables and other surfaces!
With the Arcade Mode rework drawing closer, we sat down to iron out more of the houses that will be available so I can begin work on the new Arcadia design. We also changed a few things around:

Candy and Muffin were said to have a house in the last Arcade Mode meeting. That has been changed into two vendor stands near the exit to the Arcade Mode run, in order to avoid having to load into a house every time you want to try out new treats or curses.

The Alchemist Remedi will also appear somewhere close to the exit, and like candy and Muffin he will be available without moving into a building, although the exact design of his spot hasn't been fully decided yet. Remedi will allow you to select one (or multiple, not decided yet) potion(s) to bring with you on your arcade run, and it will work much like the potions in story mode after the rework has been implemented: battling enemies will slowly refill your bottle.

The Bank is something that isn't available in story mode, so it's an all-new thing. At the bank you'll be able to trade in your essence for money, or money for essence!

Master Ji's Dojo will make an appearance as well, and at this place you'll be able to train your perfect guard by selecting enemies that will spawn in his training ground. We have plans on having perfect guard challenges here as well, where you have to complete a series of challenges using only your perfect guard and your reward will be headbands in different colors signifying which rank(s) you have passed. This feature might make an appearance in story mode as well!

The Cinema is another feature not available in story mode, and we're not 100% it will make it to the game yet, although it would be pretty cool. Teddy has been working on a feature that allows you to save replays of your arcade runs, and our idea is that you will be able to load and watch your own and others replay in this building!

The Carpenter will have a shop that sells housing items! Each batch will be unlocked by reaching the corresponding floor in an Arcade Mode run.

Farmer Oak will appear with a petting zoo! He'll have a set of quests and taming items that will bring animals to Arcadia. Our idea is that it'll be optional whether the animals are gathered at the petting zoo or if you allow them to roam free in town.

There will also be a Clock Tower where you can change the time of day: initially between day and night but we might add support for dawn and evening as well.

Other than that we have a bunch of decorative slots planned that will help bring in new inhabitants and quests. Some of those ideas include a garden and a fae tree (but plenty of smaller ones as well). We also came up with a couple of quests, but I think we'd rather have you explore those on your own once they're in the game, rather than have me tell you now what they will be all about!


During this meeting we also started finalizing the desert enemy designs, but since that deserves a post of its own, I'll save that for next week! Stay tuned ~

And now, the final Mount Bloom Arcade Mode rooms~

Let's head back to housing for a bit!

Since I'm waiting for Fred to complete the additional NPCs that will appear in Tai Ming's first zone, here's a preview of a couple more Mount Bloom room types for Arcade Mode!

Let's jump straight into the stable priority stuff! First up: shop upgrades for when you reach Tai Ming!
So this isn't exactly a Monday meeting as much as a continuation of Friday's meeting.. But anyway!

So, what happens next? Once we've polished up Tai Ming for a stable release, there are a ton of things we want to add before moving on to the next area, and many of these will probably get their own Frontline and Stable releases:

1. Housing
We've talked about it a lot, and it's finally on its way! Almost all basic batches are completed, although we'll keep adding items as we come up with them. All that remains is polishing up the interface and for Teddy to implement like a hundred items...

2. Support Skills
Seeing as there's only one area and two dungeons left of the game, it's high time these got implemented. We still haven't decided 100% which ones they'll be, but we have a lot of nice ideas that we hope will make things interesting for support players as well. More on this later~

3. The Potion Rework
I mentioned it before, and we definitely want to implement this ASAP as well! Makes potions more interesting.

4. Rebalance
A rebalance of pretty much everything, including giving magic users a tiny bit of range for their normal attacks.

5. Arcade Mode Rework + New Floors
As we've talked about before on the blogs! This will likely happen after the above things, since the support skills, rebalance and potion rework will affect things in Arcade Mode, and a complete rework will probably increase the amount of players trying it out (which means it's nice to already have those in the game at that point)

6. Quest Skipping After Multiplayer Completion
This has been on our feature list forever. Basically after you complete quests and stuff in a multiplayer session you're supposed to get an option for skipping them when you go back to playing single player.

7. Season Orbs and ..Plant Nutrition..?
A lot of you have noticed tiny wiggly plants and areas where it looks like you should be able to cross the water somehow. Since these things have trolled you long enough, we feel it's time to actually implement their 'solutions', namely Season Orbs for crossing water and ....some kind of plant nutrition to make the plants grow.

We've had various ideas about the nutrition either being available throughout the world or sold by Oak in the farm in Evergrind West. Still haven't finalized that part but it's likely we'll finally implement it before the desert!

8. A Special Side Quest & Treasure Maps
More treasure maps because a bunch of them are already prepared, and the special side quest because the reward we have planned for it is something that might be interesting to use for players while they await the next patch.


And then, it's on to the desert! This will probably take a while to complete, but once it's all implemented there isn't a lot to add aside from more side activities (quests, arena challenges, boss rebattling, etc) which we'll likely save for after the main story is done. How exciting to take another step closer to that point!
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