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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #74 (BronyCon on the Horizon)

     I know I announced it a month ago, but I'm still so hyped that BGP is confirmed for BronyCon and FillyCon! That certainty should light a nice hot fire under my butt to get things done in two month's time. In addition to that, the big Demo 5 release should be done next month. With no college slowing me down I have entire days to work with now.

    So, so, SO much work is getting done this week it's incredible. It feels like everything I do for the game matters more than it ever has. I don't have to worry about dropping ideas or holding off on designing something to focus on upcoming schoolwork. I can just hammer out ideas and concentrate on coding features uninterrupted! For an example of what can get done in just one week of summer, look below the break.

An updated Overworld screenshot.
An updated Stats screenshot. (Replaced the Customize button.)
  • Renewed Apple Dev License (it better pay for itself next year...)
  • Read Some Scary Stories About Indie Publishers
  • Learned That the Extra Credits Team is Full of MLP Fans
  • Extensive Notes Written for Pony Designs
  • Inspiration Pictures for Pony Designs Collected
  • Sketched Drafts for All Pony Designs
  • Added Widgets to the Games Page
  • Speed Stats Show Up on Double Hype Clash (if speeds are equal)
  • New Bugs Documented (along with possible solutions)
  • Submitted Both BronyCon Panel Forms
  • Added Let's Play Link to Unicorn Training's Page
  • Updated & Organized BGP's Bug Report Forum
  • Allowed Family Library Sharing on Unicorn Training (Google Play)
  • Changed "Customize" Menu button to "Move Details" (Because you can only customize your ponies in Pony Health Centers with a special-made interface.)
  • Fixed Menu & Gamepad Bugs
  • Uploaded BGP Pre-Alpha 4.5
  • Created YouTuber/Press Spreadsheets
  • Created Trailer Planning Spreadsheet
  • Planned Many Story Ideas and Cutscene Scripts
  • Lots of New OST Tracks & Revised Music Drafts
  • Plans for a Music Script That Allows Special Intros Before Looping Songs
  • The Great Code Clean-Up (more on that this Friday)
     Lessons Learned:
  • Watching this Game Tester Documentary gave me an idea for neatly organizing and classifying bugs based on priority.
  • Mainstream VR might be closer than I thought.
  • Android is the HUGE majority of mobile players, but the ones on iOS may still be the top spenders. How long before people trust premium apps on Google Play?
  • Good thing Battle Gem Ponies is both PC and Mobile friendly, because Chromebooks are a thing and Android games will soon be available on them. Much like Windows 10 Phone & PC, gotta keep it in mind. Cross-platform compatibility might score me a featured slot.
  • Also, Google's doing Early Access.
  • This Animation & Pose Study video got me thinking about how I can pose my ponies to get the best promotional sprites possible.
  • Good posing will add character behind the interesting visual design of the Gem Ponies.
The launch of Fish Feaster was 3 years ago. It was my first completed game.
     Facebook reminded me of a post I made back when Fish Feaster was launched on the iTunes App Store. Strangely, this date conflicts with the July 7, 2013 date I wrote down in the Games tab. This date can't be wrong since there's a link to the paid version of the app in the same post. That must mean July 7 was the launch date of the free version I made later with an Ad Banner and IAP included. I remember working on that before buckling down on TriGrid for when school started.

     I guess since both versions weren't finished until July, I can keep that date up. I think it just looks cooler. I added the original launch of the paid version to the description so I don't forget though.

No more Apple Ad banners, huh?
Good thing I'm not into Free-to-Play.

I'm allowing Unicorn Training to be shared just to see what comes of it.
       With the Google Play family sharing thing, I'm worried I'm losing the sales of people within the same household. You won't have to each buy a copy to play together anymore (assuming you live together or manage to share the plan somehow), which is one of the biggest avenues of word-of-mouth sales. I may not put BGP into it because it's such a multiplayer-heavy game.

All my future single player games might be a nice fit for this though. I could use any extra exposure I can get when it comes to the app store.

     Also, my listing on an app showcasing platform I completely forgot about is phasing me out so you won't see Feed The Plant listed there anymore. AppsZoom wants me to pay $2 a month to stay on their site which in retrospect doesn't really do much besides populate page 1000 of Google Search results for the title. I'll just let this one drop. There's no point in getting my game onto curation sites like these when no real people use them to make a purchasing decision.

    I'm much better off finding small-fry YouTubers and begging them to play my game because they at least make a difference in getting the word out there.

     Another place that makes a difference, as I found out this weekend, is the Reddit IndieDev page. The day I shared the latest BGP build there I got an extra 4,600 page views on this site before dinner time. I'll be keeping that in mind when new builds come out. My game sparks some curiosity and people are willing to take a look. I can only hope there's plenty of YouTubers out there who will be just as receptive.


Weekly sales just doubled! Thanks Reddit!
   Both nervous and confident in my ability to hit that 25K download total goal for BGP. I'd like to get there within the first two months of launch because game sales tend to die off after that. Whatever comes afterwards will be a nice financial cushion under my next couple projects.


     Now would you look at that. See that widget above? Click the "Buy Now" button and watch the cute little animation. It's pretty nice right? Sleek interface in a tiny space. I should look into coding one that links to all the different places you can buy my games. I'll just leave it for Itch right now. If I have time during Beta testing I'll see about tinkering with this to replace a lot of the clutter on my games page. Head over there now to see the widget  for Battle Gem Ponies too.

     Unicorn Training got an honorable mention on an online indie gaming showcase last year. They're having another one this week and you can find it by looking for #IRX16. It's a neat little idea that could grow into something along with its hosts who have a serious love for indie games and want nothing more than to help these smaller titles find success.

What could these messy, cryptic drawings mean?
   Being officially in the swing of things, I'm feeling pretty good about progress. The game should be right on time assuming only a handful of surprise bugs come along. Debugging is way easier when I don't have to be interrupted by class or homework deadlines. I can just grab some paper and bang out ideas until the problem is solved.

Give the latest build a try if you haven't already! I finally added gamepad support!

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