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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #99 (Getting Somewhere)

New "Spotted!" letterbox, inspired by Sun & Moon
     Can't believe we're on DevLog #99... Last of the double digits. That means I've been at this for well over 100 weeks now counting pre-announcement dev time. Vacation week is coming to a close and I'll soon be putting a hard limit on my Pokemon playtime. Gotta get back to cracking down on that Greenlight build.

Catch up on this week's progress below!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Halted BGP: Vacation Weekend


     Can't talk. I'm busy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #98 (Mid-November)


     I know for a fact that I won't have Demo 6 out in time for Sun & Moon. And I'll likely spend a week playing Sun and feverishly taking notes and looking into what improvements fans are latching onto to make my own game better.

     In light of that, a midway build was released on Itch.io to at least give players a build with some bug fixes and a tiny bit on polish. Get the rundown on recent events below. (You can even take a peek at my new OC pony if you're curious.)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies: Bonus Demo Release! (Version 5.5)


     Due to recent life events and the upcoming Pokemon Sun & Moon, Battle Gem Ponies is surely going to be facing delays. In the meantime, enjoy the current build of the game. Now updated with bug/crash fixes, improved battle calculations, and more polished battle animations.

     This is no Demo 6 (which is still set to come by the end of the month) but it's something to keep everypony distracted until we can all get our hooves on the new Pokemon games, right?


     Version 6 will include Pony Capture mechanics, Move Customization via collectible Move Tutor items, and the ability to interact with your pony in the overworld!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #97 (This is Taking Forever)


Oh, GOD I'm still working on this thing? And it's not even past pre-alpha yet? 

     Feels like I've been working on this game my entire adult life. And I kinda have, considering this started as a Pokemon fan game when I was in 10th -11th grade.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Plans for Markets & Pony Health Centers


     When thinking about what I want Pony Health Centers (still not sure on the name, but the default is starting to stick) to look like, I think about the functions they serve as well as how they fit into a city's layout. You walk in, approach the giant glowing crystal or healing machine, a heart symbol fills up, and your pony is completely healed. While you're in there, you can walk over so some computer/machine that lets you customize your gems. Throw in some NPCs, gemstone motifs, and decorations to make each one feel a little different, and there ya go.

     Unlike Pokemon though, I feel like there's a benefit to keeping shops separate. Makes you want to move around the city more, gives you a different song to listen to, and allows for a mini mart to have a distinct feel. Like it's a real place in this town everyone goes to for groceries and trainer supplies. To make them a tad more special I want to have each town sell a different set of specialties. Like maybe one town sells a certain set of move tutors and another sells battle items that match the town's theme. Maybe one town's store has a little bakery built into it.

     All these things service the gameplay and world building needs of Battle Gem Ponies. I just felt like sharing what's on my mind for them with you this week.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #96 (Don't Let It Keep You Down)

New birthday fan art by FadedSketch I'm currently in love with.
BGP's first pixelated fan work!
     With spooky season behind us, it's time to move onto the Great Greenlight Crunch. I put myself about a month behind schedule doing all this Orlando networking stuff and I need BGP's Greenlight to be a success if I truly what life to get any better. So it's time to buckle down, and whittle away at that to-do list of mine.