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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #23 (Gamepads, Google Play, & iOS Setup)

Ran into a bunch of hiccups today, but Unicorn 
Training should be available on iOS very soon.
     As of yesterday I am an iOS Developer once more. Most of my early works won't make it over since I don't even have access to the original code. But you won't need them with the best version of Unicorn Training on the way!

     In addition to all that, tons of craziness happened on Google Play as they reorganized their app store and pushed me up in a completely new category. I also have controllers now so my future games can support gamepads! This week has been a busy one, so I'll leave the rest out of the header.

Get all the juicy gamedev details below the break!

I finally have PC Joypads and it feels so good...
Look what I finally got!
My first couple games are back on iOS!
 Now I just have to make them work properly.
  • Organized Facebook Albums (New Workstations Album)
  • Pony Overworld Sprites
  • 5 Pony Battle Animation Sets
  • Tested Out Gamepads (They Work Beautifully)
  • Ran Battle Gem Ponies on iPod
  • Playtested Unicorn Training on iOS (Broken As Heck/Must Fix)
  • Created a Google Play Developer Page
  • Re-Uploaded My First 2 Games: TriGrid & Fish Feaster (Scrapped All Others)
  • Made Fish Feaster (Full) Permanently Free
  • Delayed Release of Battle Gem Ponies (Details This Friday)
     Lessons Learned:
  • I missed the days when I'd check to see where my app ranking was. It's exciting to watch the climb.
  • Feels good to be featured on the Play Store among other apps that I know are doing well. I can almost see future me actually making money to live off of.
  • It could take 200 days just to animate everything I want in Battle Gem Ponies. A November release is just unrealistic.
  • Ran into SO many weird file errors while porting to iOS. It's not as easy as pushing a button to build an Xcode file. Publishing in the Apple ecosystem is still a headache.
       I spent the whole week animating sprites! It actually took a full day to put each one in the game! If I go through with the 50 pony (+ Ultra Forms) plan, it'll take about 100 days to get them all drawn. That's like 3.5 months to set aside just to get the minimum amount of ponies in. Assuming I start animating them all in August (when most of the core features should be running), I will have just finished in time for the planned release date of November 14th.

     Basically, the game is delayed bigtime. I won't make it for Christmas, so I better start aiming for Spring. As to when in Spring, I'll aim for graduation in May. That'll give me time to make the game, test it publicly (No major launch bugs this time!), add finer details to the adventure, balance each pony, and give it tons of polish. I may even redo some animations as I improve my pixel art skills just so they look that much better.

Getting the side view to look right was a pain.
In the end, even these side views were scrapped.


   That makes nearly 1000 downloads in 7 months for my first RPG ever! Fish Feaster earned around $30 throughout its lifetime so I'm definitely growing. Without so many launch bugs to stumble over Unicorn Training may have a real chance to thrive among the app store's top RPGs. We'll have to see next month...

Surprised at the words people type in to find me.
Completely out of context and unexpected.
This is a cleaner way to check on reviews
compared to how I've been doing it.
     Unicorn Training really is popular in Russia. Many of my reviews have come from there and when I checked on why I saw it was number 66 in the RPG category over there while I'm deep into the hundreds in America.

My very own Google Play page. Won't look just right until
I have Battle Gem Ponies all over this thing.
     Google Play has been rolling out it's new store features this week. Everybody's busy this summer! I might get a spike in sales if people can find me in the Family section. I'm currently ranked #85 in Action & Adventure on the Paid Family apps page (#82 last Friday) and the Unicorn Training Demo is ranked #112 in the Free section.  It's just nice to be the the top 100 of something again.

Here's where I am...
... And here's where I'd like to be.
Doubt I can make it with my first game though.
The free version has even more competition!
     I don't have much hope beating out Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network games with Unicorn Training, but I know I can make games that can eventually. I might even be able to put Battle Gem Ponies in there despite its online features since I see a lot of familiar freemium titles in the Family section.

     With Battle Gem Ponies being pushed so far back, more marketing focus will be given to Unicorn Training on iOS. I need to push sales for that so I can save up for everything BGP will need. The laptop problem is settled, but now I need $500 to register as a company and $75 to keep my accounting service going. It'll be a long, long time before I can start buying things for moving out.

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