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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #90 (Pony Sprites & Polish)

     This week centered around making the game look better. Both in my head and in tangible form. I fleshed out a lot of details around the story, drew some characters to put faces to descriptions, and added some little touches here and there to make the game build feel more solid/professional.

Take a look for yourself!

  • Particle Effects for EXP Bar and Saving
  • Minor Bug Fixes
  • Converted all Text to Localizable Spreadsheet
  • Increased Code Efficiency
  • Some Supporting Character Sprites
  • Polished Victory Text
  • Polished Level Up Screen
  • Lots of Story Notes
  • Lots of NPC Dialogue
  • Changed Character Descriptions
  • Gameplay Changes to Make Victory Island More Exciting
  • Defeating Mavens Lets You Apply a GP Up to a Move Slot of Your Choice
  • Fixed Tile Map Corruption (had to reassign values to all game objects in Pinto Town)
  • Experimented with Trainer Indicators
     Lessons Learned:
  • Never Drag 2 Tile Maps Into the Hierarchy of the Unity Editor. It corrupts them and wipes all your public script variables to their defaults... Making you waste a whole evening reassigning values to every single overworld object and NPC...
  • I really like it when the game doesn't glitch out and I get to see people really enjoying the game. Let's Play videos like this one are giving me a sneak peek into the future where this game is out and people across the world are falling in love with a world I created.
  • That's the creative dream right? To have countless people out there loving your work of art? To join the ranks of those who inspired you in the first place?

     Just last night I was experimenting with some kind of indicator to show who's a trainer itching to battle, but in execution it just didn't feel right. The idea was to have a BGP icon appearing above the heads of trainers you haven't fought yet or a grey icon over ones looking for a rematch.

     The logo would fade in and fade out after a second once the player got within a big collision box. If that turned out to not be enough time to notice it, I'd have it reappear every few seconds like the GUI "Press Me" arrows that appear every 7 idle seconds in a menu.

     In the end it just broke immersion more than it was helpful. Part of the excitement in the game is seeing someone standing next to their pony and wondering if they're up for a fight. In the demo there's a grandma at the dinner table and a young woman on the pier both relaxing next to their ponies and they never battle you.

     If those two were the only pony owners who didn't have icons appearing overhead, the player would walk up and talk to them to see if they would battle you anyway, so the icons are just a messy visual distraction. When it comes to HUD clutter, less is better. So I'm scrapping that idea after having spent an hour trying it out.


80,000 people have tried Unicorn Training and 80 new people have downloaded the BGP demo!
     It's going to feel really good seeing Unicorn Training cross the 100K user mark. Just knowing that those players are out there makes me want to deliver the game it was originally supposed to be. The giant epic action RPG I didn't know how to make back then.

     Still, people discovering the game and actually having a blast (despite all its shortcomings making me cringe) leaves me with a good feeling. Like reassurance that I actually am a game developer with an audience out there to entertain. A small-fry version of what I can become if I continue to improve.


You can turn on subtitles and see what she has to say about these brony-made games.
I feel honored having something I made standing next to the indie projects that inspired it.
     I searched for Unicorn Training on YouTube on a whim last Thursday and some really interesting things came up. Like this one Spanish Top 15 Video saying my game is second only to the great Fighting is Magic game that inspired me to gamedev in the first place. Along with that were a handful of Let's Plays from boys and girls of all ages. Recent ones too! All added to a playlist on my channel for easy access.

Even little kids make Let's Plays!
     This video by Trixie in particular was interesting because I got to see the player's face, inputs, and gameplay at the same time. All making for an interesting playtest study.

     The march continues. I'm knocking more things off my task list every day.

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