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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #64 (Back to the Crunch)

     Spring break's over and I spent a lot more time relaxing than I thought I would. It's officially mid-March and demo 4 still isn't ready. Time to get serious. Take an hour off sleep, quicker showers, quicker meals, and less YouTube with friends. The next BGP demo needs to be ready to play in time for the My Little Pony season premiere weekend (March 26).

     Funny enough, that day also happens to be the next 12 hour game jam date. A nice reward for a fierce crunch on this years-long project.

Party Management Menu (WIP)
New idea about how moves should be handled.
More on that this Friday.
  • Party Management Menu
  • Another Future Game Idea (based on my girlfriend's wacky pets)
  • The Soundtrack is Coming Along Nicely (and crossed the threshold into AWESOME)
     Lessons Learned:
  • Watching my girlfriend play Lightning Returns I was thinking a lot about things AAA games can learn from simpler projects like Undertale in regards to telling a story.
  • The success story of Stardew Valley tells me that Undertale's success isn't an impossibly rare thing. There are millions of people out there constantly searching for the next awesome thing to hit Steam. Even in early March this dev managed to sell more copies in its first month than the latest Fire Emblem. (Oh, the things I could do with that $4.5 million dollars...)
  • If Stardew Valley does this well in March, maybe missing a Christmas 2016 deadline won't be the end of the world... I'll still try, but missing it doesn't feel like certain death anymore. Heck, it may help give people time to get over the newest Pokemon's launch hype and boost launch sales.
  • Seeing how this Pokemon-like game is on the front page of Google Play and has at least 100K downloads on that platform alone gives me confidence that BGP will do well in the long term. All I need is 25K people to prove I can survive doing this.
       The break was refreshing, I got a lot of creative juices flowing from all the new TV, movies, analysis videos, and games I've watched over the week. A lot more time was spent writing game ideas down than implementing what I have already for BGP. I have a lot more to work with now in my head for story directions and I want BGP's to matter. It has to be more than "beat the mustache twirling bad guys". I want each new pony encounter to be memorable on some level beyond a random monster encounter.

     I pushed back the demo release to March 24th, in time for the MLP season premiere when everyone is checking EQD for the first time in ages looking for MOAR PONY. This way, I can get a lot more people to see that this game is coming. With this much extra time I might even be able to make some promotional art (which I have to do eventually anyway).


   The fire under my butt has been lit. I need to get demo 4 out there. I need to generate hype for this game right now. Everything I want to do in the future hangs on the success of Battle Gem Ponies.


     I got a lot of retweets and likes from posting about #FeelTheBern but I don't think that counts.

Exactly one year from now, Battle Gem Ponies should be out.  
     My plate is pretty full with this development stuff but it'll be good for the soul to hit my next two demo milestones. I also have to manage my school's BYOC gamedev expo. It's time to hand out sign up sheets and print the feedback surveys for the game demo showcase. I really want this game to be out at least 6 months before the day I plan to move out and live with my girlfriend (August 2017). I need time to save up a year's worth of survival money and see if I should start job hunting or seriously planning a Yotes Games Company.

I should at least be on Steam Greenlight by Christmas.

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