Dev Diary #1

The Evercold Snowball and Chilli Pepper in action.

Just a quick post documenting what I’ve been working on lately and what progress has been made on Ambience – as well as a new schedule for this blog!

Story:

  • Making slow but steady progress on the Ambience story. I’ve almost completed the story up to and including the next two dungeons after the end of the demo.
  • I’m still wrestling a little with the whole branching storyline thing, but it’s getting there. The main idea is for most of the branching to occur with respect to your interactions with the other characters, notably Vulcan and Zephyr; the amount you choose to talk to them and the responses you give will change the way they act and the way they view you. However, there’s more to it than that – I’m also hoping to incorporate those little decisions to influence some bigger decisions later down the track. For example, if you choose to be a total jerk to the Renegades (and you’ll know when you are), you’ll eventually be given the option to betray them completely and side with Foss towards the end of the game. (But in terms of implementation, that one’s a long way down the track for me.)

Gameplay and Mechanics:

  • Status conditions have been totally revamped from the simple system in the demo. There are four main status conditions, each relating to each of the four Ambiences: Chilled (Wind), Burned (Sun), Soaked (Rain), and Muddy (Dust). You can also probably see how these are related to the Hot/Cold and Wet/Dry relationships. Each condition is “negated” by items or Ambiences relating to the inverse quality; for example, the Chilled condition (cold) can be healed by eating a Chilli Pepper, or avoided altogether by wearing a Fireman’s Hat.
  • Speaking of items and status conditions… I’ve also added quite a few items that relate to these conditions. For example, the status healing items have been upgraded from generic “jelly” items to things like chilli peppers and watermelon slices. Also newly introduced are single-use items which boost some hidden stats, such as the accuracy and efficiency of attacks.
  • I’ve also added a couple more ranged weapons which have a 100% chance of inflicting a condition. For example, shown below is the Evercold Snowball, a ranged weapon which inflicts a guaranteed Chilled condition – which our good friend the Henchman counters immediately with a Chilli Pepper. (Of course, a few things here are still subject to change – for example, I’m definitely going to change that dark blue blend colour indicating the Chilled condition.)
The Evercold Snowball and Chilli Pepper in action.
The Evercold Snowball and Chilli Pepper in action, as well as the new HUD.
  • On the topic of weapons, I’ve also been working on balancing all the weapons in the game against each other. This hasn’t been a really easy task, and in particular I’ve found that the Sabre (one of the weapons featured in the Demo) is waaaay overpowered. I’ll maybe talk a little more about this whole “balancing act” in a later post.

Visuals and Music:

  • Introduced a new, more compact HUD to replace the big bar along the top. I always found that top bar ugly and not very professional, so it’s nice to be able to replace it with something a little cleaner.
  • I’m also giving the Guardians a complete makeover – and by “complete”, I really mean it. Anything to make them look better than that MS Paint-style, er, “thing” in the Demo.
  • I’m also working a little on the music, but not quite as much as the other stuff. In particular, at the moment I’m working towards finalizing the battle themes for the final bosses (yes, that’s plural “bosses”).

Blog and Social:

  • Since study’s about to start again for me, it’ll be a little hard to keep up full production on Ambience like I have been these past few weeks. However, I do intend to remain somewhat active, and in fact I’ve set myself an official weekly schedule: one post every Wednesday, and one screenshot/GIF for Twitter’s #screenshotsaturday. So be sure to stay tuned for more posts about Ambience, game development, and occasionally just stuff in general.

 

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