Friday, May 29, 2015

Animating Battle Gem Ponies


     I have about a hundred ponies to put in the game and only a few months to do it. I also want each of those ponies to have at least 10 animations each. That's a lot to swallow for a beginner dev like me. To make drawing all these pixel horses possible, I needed to break it down to an efficient process. I need to establish a large "pony parts library" to avoid having to redraw poses I've done before, decide on common poses and frame counts, and limit each pony with 5 frames per animation (with few rare exceptions that have 6-7 frames).

     After taking my time building up a library of wings, bodies, tails, and idle bobbing, I can start using them to make the ponies move in-game. A good thing about limiting the designs to equines is having all the similar body shapes be so easy to animate. I'm still in the process of animating the last 3 ponies today (Orscina, Vinerva, and Sweet-Bot) and once they're done I can tidy up the battle system and draw attacks. Things are behind schedule, but they're still looking great.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #22 (Macbook is Here! Menus Are Up!)


     Progress is steady and the menus are functional (just for the demo). Now it's time to play with animations! A huge step toward making the battles feel alive. This week be be all about getting the moving ponies to look right. Then I'll be doing flashy move animations so the attacks are finally cool. That's when the game I see in my head can be seen by anyone else.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Pony Stats Menu


     This here is the Pony Stats menu. You can access it in the overworld and also in battle. It breaks down all the combat relevant info for whoever is in your party. You can see the moves, class weaknesses, abilities, augments, maladies, stats, classes, items, and nicknames of any of the 3 ponies you send into battle. You can also check how close you are to leveling up here.

     An additional feature coming later is the ability to customize your pony through a pop-up that let's you alter your stats, attacks, and equipment. Right now everything works on a basic level, but some details won't function until things like maladies are put in the game. 

     The background is temporary and it can't scroll until I figure out how that works in Unity. With some time and a lot of Googling I'll have it working well enough for early playtesting. This menu was a pain in the butt to make, but now I'm that much closer to releasing the Pre-Alpha V2 demo.

See the menu in action!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #21 (A Week Into Things...)

Got some tweaking to do before menus are ready.
     This is the good kind of tired. The game is all I focus on these days and the complex things are being implemented now so that they're over with when time comes to crunch for release. My biggest holdup this week was the Stats and Caps menus which took up multiple days when I expected to finish them within 12 hours. Aside from that, I'm making room for more Unicorn Training time as I get ready to port to iOS this upcoming weekend. Expect more details soon.

You can find out what happened and what's to come by checking just below the break.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Battle Scene Backgrounds (In BGP)


     Vibrant backgrounds are a pretty important part of the battle scenes in Battle Gem Ponies. It took a bit to get the feel just right, but this is how I pictured the Meadow Battles in my head. A Grassy plain with scattered flowers and weeds. I still have to add slow moving clouds to the sky in the back but I've been focusing on battle engine bugs lately.

     The backgrounds are made by simply making a 346x128 rectangle, splitting it in half, making the bottom a solid ground color, adding subtle gradients to the sky and ground, blurring the horizon line, tossing on foreground sprites (and other details), blurring out the sprites softly, then making the foreground and detail sprites halfway transparent. The result is a background that pops but is noticeably less attention grabbing than the sharp, solid-colored, animated sprites that are the ponies.

     I plan on using a similar design for all the backgrounds. A recolor of the ground and horizon mixed with new foreground elements and some subtle animated touch. I need backgrounds for the desert, different caves, indoors, in a forest, by a creek, atop a mountain, and many other places. Now that I have a system for it though, it's much less overwhelming than it sounds.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #20 (School's Out! GameDev Time!)


     Ready to shift into MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE!! I'm all settled in at home and cracking down on my development task list. With the BronyCon panel fueling me, I have all the motivation in the world to get down to business. Every cent I've saved so far is about to be put to use as I get more supplies that allow me to launch Battle Gem Ponies on more and more platforms.

For details on the past week and what's to come, look no further than below the break.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Last Day Of Junior Year


     There's not much game development to report on today since I'm focused on finishing my last few tests then going home to start the biggest crunch ever. Progress is going to rocket on by starting next week so I hope you're looking forward to it. I want a playable PC version of Battle Gem Ponies out to the public by the first week of June.

When it's ready, you'll find it over on the Games Tab.

I dressed up the Games tab a bit.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #19 (Finals Week & BronyCon Confirmation)


     This is the last week of my junior year at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. It's also the last week to hang out with my girlfriend before shifting over to full-time gamedev all summer. Progress is inching along this week but is set to go into overdrive starting next Monday.

     By far the biggest news this week is the email I got on Sunday that told me that I'll be presenting Battle Gem Ponies at BronyCon this year! Find more details on that amazingness and more below!

Friday, May 1, 2015

12 Hour PCT Game Jam Results (Phantom Dungeons)


     I made a game called Phantom Dungeons for the 12 Hour PCT Game Jam 2015 competition. It was supposed to be a game where you select a hero, kill things with a boomerang that gets more awesome and explosive as you level up, collect gems to buy loot, and find secret shards hidden in destructible blocks that combine to unlock a character of your choice.

     I got as far as a basic game loop before running out of time. 12 hours was a lot shorter than I expected. I know to shoot for an even smaller scope next time though. Winners of the contest get Amazon gift cards of varying amounts and I'm not sure if I won a prize at all. Probably won't find out until the middle of finals week.

     I want to finish this game at some point and release it for a buck on Mobile and PC. I want this to be an experiment with game feel to practice for an action RPG I want to do down the line. The final version of Phantom Dungeons will be a lot prettier, have a lot more content, and feature either well thought out or randomly generated dungeons.