Dev Diary #5: Revival Items and Treasure Chests

Hello everyone!

Over the past week or so I’ve made a huge amount of progress on Ambience, and seeing that the past few posts have been pretty general in nature, I thought it’s high time for a proper update.

The Story

Most of my work has been in progressing the storyline as far as possible. At the moment I’m interstate doing vacation work, so graphical work like pixel art is a bit difficult – so I’ve made story progression my top priority for now. At the moment I’ve more or less reached the story’s halfway mark! It’s been very satisfying to take so many ideas that have been floating around in my head for ages and finally bring them to life.

I’ve also been working on implementing some storyline branching points as well. For example, most bosses need to be defeated in order for the story to progress. However, after one boss encounter, the story will progress regardless of whether you win or lose – but the outcomes in each case are slightly different. It’s been a little tricky to implement, but it’s definitely well in the works.


I’ve also been working on a handful of new items and mechanics, particularly the idea of player revival. Normally, once the player hits zero HP, they’re defeated and that’s the end of your adventure. However, now I’ve added a revival item which (for now at least) is called the Golden Incense. This item activates automatically upon reaching zero health (although it can also be used at any time as a “full heal” item), and automatically restores all your HP and SP.

Introducing the Golden Incense, a brand-new revival item.

I especially felt the need to add this item when I began developing later areas and bosses with very high attack power. This in turn brought with it the possibility of the player being OHKOed by a very powerful attack, or simply surrounded and swamped by enemies. I didn’t want the game to get too difficult under these circumstances, so I decided to add the item. Obviously further balancing is in order to make sure it doesn’t make the game too easy.

I also added special treasure chests (simply called “Chests” in-game) which contain rare items! All the player has to do to get the item is to beat away at it until it breaks open…

Until it, uh, breaks open??

… but as you can see here, there are still a couple of bugs to stamp out.

The reason why the Chest “used” the Golden Incense here (which was the stored item) was because under the hood, the game deals with the Chest as an enemy and not an ordinary “item”. I found this to be the easiest way to implement the Chests since the game engine already allows enemies to hold an item and then drop it upon being defeated. The fix for this is easy, by the way – just prevent Chests from using held items at all, unlike other enemies. (I could also have made the Chests another object type in itself, but that’s too much hassle I think.)

A New Demo?

I’m also thinking about releasing a new demo once the game’s closer to completion, just to give people a better taste of what the final game will be like. The only question that remains is how early to release it. I think in hindsight I released the Alpha Demo a little too early in its development, especially seeing how greatly things have changed since then (in only six months, too!)

At the very least, though, I want to make the graphics look nicer and sort out some of the writing first (i.e. character dialogue and development, text in cutscenes, and so on). Then we’ll talk. 🙂

Merry Christmas, everybody!

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