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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #87 (Contacts & Beginning 6.0)

     Another milestone down. New fans acquired. New bugs found. Long ways to go. The journey to make Battle Gem Ponies a thing continues.

Get more details below.

As you can see, it IS getting more popular over time.
Mental image of how types work.
  • Greatly Extended YouTuber Contact Spreadsheet
  • Roundstable Forums Thread
  • Renamed YouTube Playlists
  • Contacted Even More Let's Players
  • Studied Map Designs in Pokemon Games
  • Studied Writing / World Building in Undertale, Earthbound, & Halloween Hack
  • Studied Differences Between 16-Bit Overworld Tilesets
  • Studied Let's Players Reactions to Various Key Moments/NPC Dialogue in Games
  • Skimmed Playthroughs of Every Pokemon Fangame I Could Find
  • Added to my Cartrdge Portfolio
  • New Version Detector that Auto-Deletes Old Pre-Alpha Save Data (to minimize bugs)
  • Started Drawing Maps for BGP on Graph Paper
     Lessons Learned:
  • Demo 5 isn't gathering a crowd like I thought it would and this could spell trouble for later. The lineup at BronyCon proves to me that the idea is interesting enough to become popular, it's just a matter of advertising then proving quality to keep seats filled.
  • Demo 6 has to be 100% bug free and out by the end of October.
  • 1.5 Million people downloaded Pokemon Uranium before it was taken down. Legends of Equestria once had 400,000 unique players logged in. Playing the new build I can see the game feel coming together and it's beautiful. I know this could be successful. Finishing it is the hard part. 
       I got a pretty wicked stomachache last week and needed to pass some time laying down off the computer. One of the fun things I did was open up some old strategy guides for Fire Red, Emerald, and Platinum versions of Pokemon and flip through them while comparing & contrasting. I figured out a lot of interesting things with my new perspective compared to myself as a kid using these guides back in the day.

     It's amazing how the towns and caves in Pokemon felt so huge as a kid, fully immersing me in the world. But in actuality, the maps were all really small and the level designers just maximized use of the space that was available. Lots of little tricks used throughout the series to decorate places invoking specific emotions, spacing out 3-4 buildings to feel like a populated town, and make 3 simple rooms feel like the epic trial that is Victory Road.

     Not to mention how they make full use of simple puzzle mechanics. Me personally not being a fan of ice puzzles and the like, will probably rely more on mazes that demonstrate how the world is connected in order to keep the overworld interesting. Exploration just makes me happier than puzzle-solving so I feel like appealing to that kind of gamer in BGP.


     By the way, about that In-App Purchase warning from Google Play I got a month ago. Turns out it only affects me in that it's vulnerable to pirates who want to get the in-app purchases for free. Since my games don't exactly have competitive online communities I don't think it matters that much. If you really wanna unlock TriGird's shooter mode right away without paying, go right ahead. If you just really need a stockpile of Time Candy (x99) in Candy Shop Catch, be my guest.

     Looks like I don't have to take 'em down just yet after all. Good thing too since I like being able to see multiple apps to my name on the app stores. Makes me feel like a real gamedev that's growing from simple stuff to the big leagues.

Pushing hard to get recognized on YouTube
     Since I'm not made of money, I have to do a lot of advertising by hand. Emailing and messaging hundreds of people in the hopes that even a few respond or are actually interested in making a video featuring my game. And that's if they see the message at all. I'm fighting tooth and nail for every download I can get. It's the only way to break out. People need to know this game exists.

     Watching players like JAYLEW encounter bugs right out the gate (STILL, even after cleaning up and playtesting on my devices) really gets to me. I can't show my games like this anymore. Bugs are frustrating. I want people cheering when they play, not yelling at the screen or getting confused. Build 6 needs to run reliably at least 90% of the time. Until then, I just have to keep banging my head against the code until it all just magically works.

Watching Let's Players run into bugs I remember 'fixing'.

     Gotta keep on marching. Time to draw out tilemap plans for every single on of these areas. And every room of every interior too. This is going to take a while, but at least it's fun and straightforward. Hope it's done before next Tuesday so I can show some to you all!

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