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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Battle GemPonies DevLog #65 (Delayed. Again.)

     Don't hold me at gunpoint, but I think BGP is better off coming out Wed. March 1, 2017. I can take the extra time to polish it up and make the major story moments that much more memorable as well as balance the combat with extensive playtesting through Steam Greenlight.

     I'm sure to be drowned out by Pokemon and I need the biggest launch possible in order for this to work. Stardew Valley proved to me that a random indie game with a following can soar in early March if it's done right. It'll also give me time in January to reach out to the press and get people to download the demo.

    This should be the final delay since I know for sure that one year from now is more than enough time to make this game. That'll also put it at about 3 years in development. My longest, most ambitious project by far and at the far end of how long I'm willing to spend on a single game ever again. Battle Gem Ponies is the most important thing I've ever worked on and I'd hate to see that effort go to waste because of something as simple as bad timing.

The world of Battle Gem Ponies has been fleshed out quite a bit this week.
It's starting to look more like a real, quality game on paper. 
Looks like paid apps expire on older Operating Systems.
Never knew that.
  • Save Data Code
  • File Reset Code
  • Lots of Spreadsheet Editing (Ponies, Moves, Items, etc)
  • General Story Outline (Full Draft #3)
  • Designed Travel Move Mechanic (BGP's version of HMs)
  • Written Game Lore
  • Ideas for How Ponies Heal
  • Rare Item Placement in Overworld (GDD)
  • Rebalanced Moves Based on 4 Groups
  • Planned Final Demo's Features in Detail
  • Designed Mid-Battle Textbox Communications and Flavor Text
  • Updated Overworld Interface Sketch
  • Merged Key Items with Regular Items
  • Achievement Details
  • Plans for How New Moves Are Learned
  • Updated List of YouTubers to Contact
  • Joined Rainbow Dash Network and Friendship is Gaming
  • Even MORE Detailed Task List
  • Discovered Rewired
  • 7 Planned Localization Languages (for post-release if game is popular enough)
     Lessons Learned:
  • Delaying the game makes it feel like it'll never come out. But if it leads to a better product with more support, missing Christmas will be worth it. Plus, January is the dry season for gaming news. Perfect time to drop a Steam Greenlight campaign!
  • It would be best to localize to Japanese (Kana - hiragana/katakana), Russian, Chinese (Simplified), Korean, Spanish, French, German, and Italian.
  • With approximately 80,000 words (about as much as Undertale) at $0.15 per word, translating everything would cost about $12,000 per language. 
  • ^That's $84,000 total! A bit beyond my reach right now. I should probably do it one language at a time to see if it pays for itself. This will help me decide if I should bother translating my future games. 
This Unity plugin should make joypad support MUCH easier!
And thanks to PayPal donators like Craig and Rutger, I can actually afford it!
     After talking it out with friends I'm more confident about the 4 Move Groups idea. It really reinforces the main reason I'm developing this game (which is to make competitive Pokemon gameplay more accessible/fair). You'd never keep Ember around if you have Flamethrower pop-up as the next move to learn and you already have 3 other strong moves you wouldn't get rid of.

    My buddy Mike Miele helped me rehearse pitching my game to the more fickle masses ready to fling hate my way and being ready for questions and criticisms is always a good thing.


The Unicorn Training demo is wildly more popular than everything else combined.
Almost 30 downloads of Battle Gem Ponies on
   I was reading some of the reviews for Unicorn Training with friends the other day and the poorly translated text is still hilarious. I always look forward to new reviews because knowing I provided strangers with some amount of fun is a powerful kind of reinforcement. It makes what I'm doing feel that much more real. I'm making games people actually want to play!


     Just minutes ago I got this little email. Find me on Cartrdge.

Pony Party Menu (version 1)
    If Pokemon is coming out this fall/winter, I'm probably better off giving it time to die down. After playing Sun and Moon obsessively for about 4 months, people will be hungry for more, and that's where I'll be with BGP. Besides, if Pokemon's going to be celebrating it's anniversary all the time in the years ending with 6 there's no way my voice would be heard celebrating BGP's anniversary.

    It'd be more symbolic coming the year after anyway. Pokemon built a fantasy that inspired me for 20 years, so the year after I give something back. A complete version of that fan game I made back when I first discovered programming...

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