Work is continuing apace on the next release (version 4) of the game. The two new actbosses for the forest are in place, and we’ve done a bunch of heavy lifting on level (and monster) design for the new forest levels.
We’re working on integrating the new ability system into a much better HUD than we’ve had before – namely, one with an inventory screen (along the lines of, say, 2d zelda games) so you have some idea of which items you’ve acquired, and which will open up some new possibilities for interaction (for example, there was no way under our current setup to have consumable items).
The majority of our work from here on out is polish – we’re trying to re-connect a lot of our levels and allow lots of areas to be present which you can only reach by returning to a place later, with some ability acquired later in the game. There’s going to be a lot of work to this; the main thrust behind this is basically to transform us from a straight-through linear platformer, to what’s commonly called a “metroidvania” (a game with the non-linear player progression of something like Super Metroid, Castlevania: SotN, or Zelda: LttP). That’s not a simple job.
We’ve also been revising frogatto’s own animations, to make his motion much smoother and fluid; we’ve already done this to the walking, standing, and jumping, and we’re hoping to have a go at swimming, before too long. Our hope with the swimming is to keep the controls as they are now (which are fairly satisfactory), but to make the graphics much, much more fluid. This will also pave the way to allow us to add attack modes for the player’s alternate powers underwater.
We don’t have much heavy-lifting left for the graphics. The remaining items are: I have some stand-alone mushroom props I need to draw, I have a few forest-tree trunk segments I want to add to flesh out the flexibility of our tree props, and I need to redraw a few more seaside houses before the next release.
I estimate it’s going to be several months before the next release – we’re all doing this part-time, and most likely the level-design work is going to take quite a while. If you’d like to stay posted on things as they happen; follow our twitter @frogatto, or keep an eye on the recent commits to our github (we tend to make changes on a daily basis).