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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Status Report #46 (Redesign, NPCs, & Title Logos)

     I had no idea what to do when starting on the logo. So I really just typed it in a pixel looking font added some gradients, drew borders in MS Paint and put on even more gradients. At the end of the day I had a title image for Unicorn Training. Made one for Unicorn Quest too while I was at it. I also did a bunch of stuff this week! Check it all out below!

  • Title Image
  • Name Change and Game Design Overhaul
  • NPC Pony Sprites
  • Facebook Ads Went Live!
  • Sketched Some Explorable Areas For Unicorn Training
  • Wrote Even MORE Ideas For My Mobile Class Project
  • Figured Out Table of Contents linking for Word (GDDs are MUCH Easier to Edit)
  • Adjusted House Collision Boxes
  • Flower Field in Place of Pixie Fountain
  • More Sound Effects
  • More Gameplay Balancing Ideas For Mobile Class Project
  • Renamed Everything I Could As "Unicorn Training"
  • Development Video #16
     Lessons Learned:
  • I Have Fallen In Love With a Game World I Created.
  • I Now Understand Why Debug Lists Exist 
Made this just because. It'll be a good starting point for later.
    Making the Title Text was pretty difficult t first because I had no idea where to start. In the end I just copied what I did with my other games: type it in text and dress it up with Gimp & MS Paint. I originally tried drawing what I wanted on paper, scanning it, then tracing over that with pixels. That turned out to be a mess and I really just wanted to use a pixel font with colored outlines.

    A big discovery for me this week was finally sitting down to figure out how Word's Table of Contents linking works. I've seen  it used before but my first attempts were messy and I stopped caring.  Now that my design documents are exceeding 36 pages, I think having a way to easily navigate it would be a worthwhile investment. There have been too many times where I scroll along and keep passing the section I'm trying to get to. Now I can just click on a side tab and get right to a section of the doc that I'm looking for. I can even add more sections dynamically.

    My game design documents feel more beautiful and professional now.


    This week I reached 60 likes on Facebook and passed 560 Twitter followers! Steadily growing and building an audience for myself. I hope that Unicorn Training comes out and stands as a great reason to watch me continue to grow.

   AdMob merged with Google Analytics this week making it easy for me to keep track of who's playing what and for how long. It'll really be helpful for my next game where I'll need a bunch of statistics to monitor multiplayer behavior.

     Here's a peek at how my Facebook Campaign test is going. A lot of money and very few clicks. Looks like advertising my website isn't a good idea. Image 3, the before & after photo of Unicorn Training's mockup and pre-alpha, gets the most clicks for sure. It may be from the curiosity it brings, or the graphics drawing the eye.

     Too bad I don't have any sellable products worth promoting out yet. I'd rather see how boosting app downloads would be. That requires making a Facebook version though (it seems that way with the TriGrid app I made) and I'm not doing that just yet.

    Seeing this makes me glad I'm not using real money and it gives me an idea of how well this stuff would go over with my current tiny reputation and portfolio. Make more games, get more fame, earn tuition money, actually graduate, make parents proud, don't get cut-off. Good plan.

     This games completion is finally visible. I can see how much longer the road is and I know I can make it to the finish line! Once everything is finally sketched out and I fill in every single detail I can even start to put numbers on how long it'll take. Right now I have the vague estimation of Beta in early September, and release by October.

      If you saw this week's video you'll notice a lot of bugs too. It's why I'm making a debug list. I never understood exactly why developers never iron out bugs as they're discovered but I have just experienced why for myself and it all makes sense now. when you're pushing development to get the game to a demonstrable state you don't want to stop in your tracks and scratch your head over a small detail. There's a whole game to finish! If the glitch is not game-breaking it can wait until the next milestone, or even toward beta. I want the game as complete as possible before I spend weeks on end fixing all the little details.

      Working this way will keep me sane and make me feel better. Morale is everything in game development. The fun you have developing a game translates into the final product. I want Unicorn Training to remain a labor of love and not become a burden like DragCore.

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