There's still some random fixes I want to get done before the stable patch hits, so here's a bunch of those again!

First up, closing up the tree so it doesn't look like you can walk into it (I know this is a common enough problem in the game already!): 



The optional Math Caves need its own entrance as well, which fits its aesthetics better than the current; hence the removal of the wood in favor of this more metal-y entrance:



Of course, in the final thing, there will be a few of those flaming goblets as well.

There's one of two more quests to add for the stable patch, one of them involving this drinking fellow at the Saloon. As such, it's fair to give him a bunch of new expressions:


And since you can't have a quest without a reward, here are two mysterious sprites involved in this quest:



Back in the Ghost Ship, it's time to clean up some stuff... And Make a cleaning room! Using the base from before, I make a bunch of cleaning sprites and water on the floor:


The idea is that the mops will be animated and that this room will be used as a battle room, the first of the 2nd floor!


Last week I made the entrance cave and the reward cave for the optional math puzzle sequence. This time around it's the actual math puzzle's turn to be made! In the GIF below you can see the basic process for the creation of each of these rooms: 



And now we can take the same graphics and apply them for each of the difficulty settings (yes, the last one gives me nightmares too - in fact, most of these give me nightmares):




On top of these, there will be a set of wall- and floor variations so it won't look like you go through the exact same room every time. For the endless math puzzle version there's also this counter on the wall as seen below, which allows you to keep track of how many puzzles you've completed so far (we've capped it at 999 since we don't think anyone has the stamina to do any more of those... but maybe one of you will prove us wrong?):

It was a while since we had a meeting, but now it's time to start getting serious about the Ghost Ship, and design the 2nd and 3rd floors! Today we sat down and discussed what kind of things we'd like to see, and brainstormed various design ideas for how the floors could look.

We already had some basics down: we wanted there to be a kitchen and dining area for the ship's crew on the 2nd floor, and a grand ballroom, a set of cabins as well as the captain's bedroom on the 3rd. With this information in mind we made a bunch of sketches, quickly discarding a few of them.

Here's one of our ideas for floor 2: 


A quick sketch for one of the "puzzle" rooms: 


The 3rd floor:


And one of the versions we scratched:


As before, we're not quite sure about how some of the puzzles will look in the end, so I'll probably stay away from making backgrounds for those rooms until we have some kind of prototype, focusing instead of the more static rooms such as the basic battle rooms!

ALL RIGHT. Let's get on with these math caves. In the second cave system, this special entrance is where you need to solve a sequence of six numbers in order to proceed to the actual math puzzles. Here's the prototype used by Teddy at the moment:  


And now it's my turn to transform this into something that looks more finished. This time around I made a video featuring how I made this entrance, as well as the reward cave that is unlocked after you've finished the math puzzles within:


Here's the finished backgrounds:



...why the reward room has another stairway leading below ground? Oh, that's so you can access another cave system which has a (literally) never ending supply of math puzzles!

...

...no, I'm not joking.
And now, some random additions, starting with the many variations of Charlotte's hair- and skin colors! Since she changes appearance based on what the player character looks like, I made a bunch of variations. The hair is a separate sprite put on top of her existing sprite in one of the three skin color variations:



We haven't forgotten fishing, of course! Brand new fishes will be available in the desert once it's ready for stable, and here's two of the new additions:



A sand shark and a Cactish (or some such)! We've also made a tiny model ship that will be available as a housing item, however this is a reward from a chest (or quest) rather than being fished up:



I might have spoiled this a bit in our Discord server, but there will indeed be more math puzzles! These ones are optional though, so you can relax - unless you're out to 100% the game this isn't something you'll have to worry about!


These puzzles are a bit different compared to the ones already in the game, as these will involve more actual math (including addition, subtraction and multiplication (OH GOD WHY)). Suffice to say testing these prototypes as someone who is a total disaster at math was... interesting.


In any case, you don't only need math skills to get through this, you also need some smarts, cause in order to actually reach the math puzzles, you need to solve a different kind of puzzle, involving numbers in a completely different way, and for this a set of statues with the numbers 1-6 had to be made:


Where will this all end?! I'm almost scared to think of it...!

More housing items incoming! Today I've been making the basic furniture that will unlock for purchase as you reach the desert areas, as well as a bunch that will be available for sale in the market area of Port Monnaie.

First up, the basic items, the usual set of tables, chairs, the bed, a window and some other random things: 


These carpets will be for sale in the market: 


And here we have some things available from the souvenir salesman, a desert poster, a card container with a fake card, and an essence replica:


Of course, all of these things need inventory sprites as well (which need to be a lot smaller, so I made a bunch of them and recorded the process): 


And here we have the final set: 


And here we have the last desert card, featuring the veggies! Here they're forming a rather nutritious salad, though who would have the heart to eat these cuties?




Time to start making items that will be sold in the market area of Port Monnaie, and we begin with the jar salesman! Early on we thought he'd sell regular jars from each area, but then we changed our mind into giving him special drops and having the regular jars being crafted from shards instead - you gotta do something with all the jar shards, right?

So, in this video I'll be making a set of jars he'll sell. They will be available as housing items after your purchase, so make sure to upgrade your house with these new decorations once they've been implemented!


At the end of the video and below, the upper row features the items as they will look in your house, while the lower ones are smaller version sprites used in the interface:


Speaking of the future polish stage, I thought it's time to take a look at what's ahead of us. We're actually very close to the end, believe it or not (though "very close" in this case likely means dev time for quite a while yet).

In terms of what we have left story wise, we're talking one more regular dungeon (the ghost ship, which you've already seen a bit of), and then a special dungeon to tie it all together: a dungeon that will be a combination of all the previous dungeons made into one.

Our ideas for the final dungeon are varied, but one of the key parts is that we will be reusing previous enemies, but add a twist: they will be improved versions, not only stronger but likely also having one or more new attacks. There will also be mixed enemies from various parts of the game.

Our goal with this final dungeon is to bring all the parts of the game together, so there will be a little bit of everything, both in terms of enemies and areas, but also characters you've met and interacted with throughout the game. Because we'll in part reuse enemies and area graphics, we hope it won't take as crazily long to make compared to the other dungeons - but on the other hand a final dungeon needs a certain level of epicness, so, well...

But what about after this final dungeon, what then? As you know if you've been following this blog, we've talked a lot about adding things to each part of the game before we actually call it a day and release it as 1.0. That of course entrails more sidequests and the added story scenes I've been talking about before, but our "wishlist" for what we'd love to add is huge and it will probably be impossible to add everything - but one can hope.

Here's a few things from our list (note that these are some things we wish to add; it doesn't necessarily mean we will add them - it kind of depends on how long we think it'll take and how we feel about these things at the end - and there are plenty more, as well):

We'd like to have more dialogues and other such things about the 'gaming' aspect of the world. In certain areas there's already parts where scientists have investigated things such as card drops and the science behind some things in the game, but we'd like to add even more. We're talking things such as people talking about them having leveled up or unlocked new skills, someone talking about a rare drop they found, people commenting on how OP some combos are, and so on.

Some random UI improvements:
* An indicator for when someone is typing in the chat (such as a speech bubble with a pen or something, simply to show people why you're standing still but aren't in the menu)
* Add an indicator on players with low health (such as a red circle beneath a character beneath a certain hp %)
* A progress bar for Trophies

We'd like to add Collector NPCs out in the fields as well - it can feel kind of empty right now, and it'd be cool to see Collectors out there doing what they do best: collecting things!

Lots of more arena challenges, including PVP.

More mini-games and other optional content, such as a quiz-like thing in the library (which also needs to get implemented, of course), a tower of block puzzles near Mount Bloom (you've probably already seen the exterior of the building).

Some kind of mechanic that gives you a Collector rank based on how many items you have, or something similar - basically give collecting some meaning! Right now the whole Collector thing isn't really used much mechanics wise (or even story wise), and we'd like to improve on that.

Are there any such things you'd like to see in the game before the 1.0 release? Let us know and who knows what might make it into the game! :)






Time for some combined bug testing with story developing and writing! Today I've taken some time to play through the entirety of the desert as well as Port Monnaie, finding areas to add flavor text through the magnifying glass-mechanic used here and there throughout the game. 

As I've mentioned before, we're keen on making the world of Grindea seem a vast and lively place, and one part of doing so is adding optional things to examine that might give you a tiny bit of flavor in terms of added information or simple commentary on what you see in the world. 


In order to do this, I've played through each of the areas as we've finished them, writing down snippets here and there for things you can examine. Because it's such a low priority thing, it hasn't really been added to the game yet, though - at first it was something we neglected, and then as things progressed we thought it would be weird to suddenly start adding a ton of 'inspectable' (is that a word? haha!) things in the middle of the game without having added the previous ones, but adding all of the previous ones would take so long it simply isn't a high enough priority at the moment (we want to finish the game, after all). 


For now, it seems unlikely we'll add these until the game is more or less done, when they will be one of the final things we add before the proper release (along with the bonus side quests and stuff we want to add in a true polish stage). Even so, it's a nice opportunity to play through an area after completion and look at the world in a different light, where you try to imagine yourself in the role of someone exploring the game for the first time, trying to see what items might be interesting enough for closer examination.
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