Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #101 (December Crunch!)


     Demo 6 is coming along. Hopefully done in just a couple weeks in time for Star Wars weekend. But likely sooner at my current pace. Being a little stricter with my time and using little techniques to keep me focused on one small task at a time is helping me get down the to-do list. Racing against the calendar and staying up til 4am every day to get this thing done!

It's crunch-time, baby!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Demo 8 for Steam Greenlight?


     With the game's delayed development in mind (from one hell of a Summer to a very distracting Fall) I'm currently thinking of ways to still keep my "Coming to Greenlight in January" promise. The one I made for myself as well as anyone who'd listen. I wanted January because I heard that the early Mondays of that month were the perfect time to get press attention.

     So the plan was to blitz a bunch of press sites and forums the Monday after Magfest and get as many people to check out the latest build of BGP as possible. By the looks of things though, that build may be Demo 8.0 (the Pinto Island demo) and not the beginning segment of the game with tons of polish like I had wanted.

     With that, I may still be Greenlit with the help of the brony community, and could even catch the eye of gaming sites looking for Pokemon fan game related scoops just as Sun/Moon hype is on the decline and Pokemon GO winter updates are either released or proven to be rumors.

     Should things go swimmingly, I'd still like to have that big story update come out piece-by-piece. I'd like to release 3 different segments (one month at a time) showing off how great the final game will be. From the beginning to the end of the first forest, then a batpony hunt in a cave further along in the story, then a level where you confront the game's villains in a way that leaves you wanting to see what the rest of the game could be like.


     I'm hoping this course of action succeeds in drawing attention to the project. A launch that gets tens of thousands of people onboard in that first month is ideal. That's why I want the Greenlight campaign to rally up as many folks as possible. When BGP comes out, I want everyone to know it! By giving people a good demo and showing the game's improvement over time, I'm hoping people recognize this as a project from a developer who really cares.

     I am promising to make a game that is worth the average Pokemon fan's time as well as anyone else patient enough to give this unknown game from an unknown developer a quick look.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #100


     Battle Gem Ponies! Two years and over a hundred weeks of development... All to will this Pokémon-inspired brony fan game into existence. A clear vision is finally in place and all that's left to do is chip away at building this thing piece-by-piece.

     I have never worked on a game for this long before (Unicorn Training only made it to 64 Status Reports) and I'm really feeling the effects of being overambitious. The hardest hump has yet to be crossed as the game's pre-alpha is still under construction. I'm coming out of Thanksgiving weekend on a tight schedule to make the January Steam Greenlight deadline!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Travel Moves Vs Ride Pokémon


     Since 10th grade I've wanted to make a Pokémon game where, instead of HMs, you simply needed to have a monster in your party with the physical capability to accomplish a task. Strong Pokémon can break and push boulders, winged ones can fly you around, and Water types can swim with you. Simple stuff that still compels you to diversify your team. The way things should be, right?

     But then Pokémon Sun & Moon does ya one better. Who says they need to be your Pokémon? Pokemon can be summoned and teleported right to you anyway, so why not just have ones like that appear at will and not affect your team composition at all? Much more fun and stress-free than worrying about party composition and sacrificing move slots. It's an elegant solution to a decades old problem that ended up being better than anything I've thought of or heard about before.

     Trouble is, I really should've thought of that sooner. Looking at my own game, the whole Travel Moves idea I've written pages about in my Game Design Document feels so needlessly complicated now. Like I should come up with some Key Items to handle overworld stuff instead. BGP can't just have players swap-in pony gems whenever they want, because that would break the balance of the game's adventure mode. So I'm currently considering the following:

Map of BGP's Pinto region (for reference).
     All ponies can do simple things like break/push boulders and cut trees. Only 10 of the 60 ponies are ridable and each will have different speeds and animations (useful for challenges I can design for Agility Road). A Sweet-Bot call service can act in place of Teleport/Fly/Dig and just be an overall simpler fast travel system to get to the nearest town or route checkpoint. And finally, a miniboat key item capsule someone gives you on Carmine Island can be used to explore the ocean at high speeds while the underwater segments can be limited to just the Sapphire Sanctum where Lumina alicorn's magic can be the excuse for undersea breathing.

     Going with these plans instead of the Travel Moves idea gives BGP the overworld convenience of the latest Pokémon games and will make for an overall more fun experience as player's won't have to worry so much about who's on their team just to progress through the game and find hidden items.

     How do you feel about this change of direction? What other aspects of Sun & Moon would you like to see BGP learn from? Let me know in the comments and I'll respond as soon as I read them.