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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #160 (Big Changes Worth the Wait)

     Improvements to Battle Gem Ponies workflow are showing some promising results and I'm looking forward to showing off a very impressive demo in March. For now I'm slowly getting used to the new tools I'm using and figuring out the most efficient ways to bring all these ponies (and everything they can do) to life.

     Each passing day I want to see the alpha build exist more and MORE but new things just keep slowing progress down. Game development really does take forever and the small things are always big things in disguise.

Take a look at the full devlog and see for yourself!

I drafted up this email to send to all future Patrons that go for the $50 tier.
It seems to be working since I've gotten a handful of people eager to see themselves
using their dream team in the final game!
Just playing around with animations and shaders. Found this new way to dynamically add tints to sprites instead of recoloring them manually in Gimp each frame. This means it'll be easier to make alternate colored ponies going forward.
I can also adjust the effects in Unity's Animation system all I want.

And look! I can make GIFs easy-peasy now with this GIPHY Capture tool!
Way less buggy and easier to use than the LiceCap program I was using before.

Don't think I ever shared this, but here's the programs I use most on my gamedev Macbook.
Anything here you haven't tried before? I find them all super useful on a regular basis.

  • Reanimated All Current Roster Sprites (now using Unity 2017 & Power Animator, not just 2D Toolkit)
  • Placeholder Animations for All Ponies (currently, everypony not added yet uses Ponatina sprites)
  • Experimented with Unity Animator Transition & Event Systems
  • Found More Tutorials for Tile Maps & Cameras, Animator States, & Other Little Bits
  • New Animation Prefabs for GameObjects
  • Basic Tile Map Test
  • New GIF Capture Tool (these blogs are about to get a lot more animated!)
     Lessons Learned:
  • These new tools sure can do more, but I'm probably overwhelming myself here. In the future I should introduce small improvements to my work pipeline over time. Or come to grips with them between games with self-imposed game jams.
  • I can mix & match old and new ways of doing things to get work done more quickly. Maybe save a more encompassing overhaul for the sequel where I'll have more time.

       Lots of time this week was spent copy/pasting placeholder animations, scratching my head, and being confused about how Unity's animation system worked. I'm still having a hard time getting Tint Layers to work right. And having a mix of custom scripts for math and conditions while using editor windows for everything else takes some getting used to.



Guess what hit Steam Early Access?
     Nothing to do with me but I'm glad to see Them's Fightin' Herds finally released. Got my Steam Key for backing it on IndieGoGo years ago, and as soon as I can get my hands on a Windows computer I'll be able to play it! Those guys at Mane6 are the ones that inspired me to pursue indie dev over AAA years and years ago in the first place, so I wish them nothing but mind-blowing success.

     They have the talent, they have the creative mind of Lauren Faust and the voice talent of Tara Strong to boot. All that alongside approval from the Fighting Game community as a competent title. I think they'll do well.

Wow. This game is finally out after it SHATTERED every stretch goal back in October of 2015.
     Just for the sake of gawking at numbers I can wish I'll be able to make, let's snoop around and look at exactly how well this game is doing. 🔍

     They had about 13K players by the end of launch weekend. Amounting to revenue of around $195K (ignoring any discounts/collab promotions with other 2D fighters). About 8K of their crowdfunding backers already pre-ordered & paid full price for the game years ago to get the game made in the first place. And back then they earned a total of $586,346 from 10,513 backers.

     So I’m estimating they made about $75K opening weekend. Split among the whole team, it may not be much yet, but it's off to a great start. That’s just from 3 measly days out! I'm kinda drooling over how much it'll grow a month from now. As of writing this blog post, it's sitting at 17K users and being played by famous YouTubers giving it nothing but praise. 

Them's Fightin' Herds opening weekend data. (by
(Sunday, around 2am EST)
     That there, at $75K, is exactly how much I’d love to see from BGP in the first month or even first 4 months. It would immediately prove itself to be able to surpass an entry game design salary, satisfying my parent’s worries, and becoming an actual job I could live off of.

     After tax, I’d still have enough to lease a used car to replace my 2001 rust-bucket, stow away cash for a year’s worth of rent/utilities on an apartment, get a nice Windows desktop setup, and FINALLY have that freedom I’ve been craving for so long. My own little indie dev haven where I can live life and chip away at BGP2… 

That's the dream. ~

     Gotta admit. I'm having some trouble getting some basic things working (namely getting consistent results with the animation system), but I'll keep trying for another day or two. If I can't catch this new animation system up to where I was with 2D toolkit, I'll try simply swapping out 2D Toolkit sprites with the fancy mesh ones only for specific animations to play out then swap the regular ones back in.

     The only reason I'm even doing all this reanimation and fancy effects stuff is to make the attack animations look cooler. But that shouldn't come at the cost of delaying the game by months. So we'll see about getting this ironed out real fast.

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