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Friday, December 30, 2016

Making 2017 My Year

     This is it. Go For Broke! 2017 has to be the year Yotes Games either becomes a respected name in the industry, or I find out Battle Gem Ponies was a miserable failure. Either I release a successful game and finally move into a home of my own, or sweep up the pieces of my shattered pride and find a job as an entry-level designer somewhere.

     I'm kicking the year off fanfare by releasing Battle Gem Ponies on Steam Greenlight at 10:00am January 1st. All hope lies on that getting some games media attention and giving me some indication that the 25K minimum customer count is possible.

     Life is hard. Indie development is risky. The unknown future is scary. But I gotta go for it to get the good ending, you know? The year 2016 curb-stomped a lot of people, and I certainly haven't healed yet. And I'm certainly not the only one taking new year's resolutions seriously this time around. Things really need to change, and at the very core of it all, the best way I could improve my life is by getting the finished version of this game out there.

     So here's to the final sprint! One last crunch-tastic year to finishing Battle Gem Ponies once and for all! To finally putting my dream RPG out there for others to find, play, and love! To finally obtaining financial independence and living with the freedom I dreamt of for at least a decade now!

Here's to making the greatest super-powered pony RPG anyone's ever seen!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #104 (Holiday Week)

     Christmas and Hanukkah passed over on the same weekend, Super Mario Run came out, and the app store exploded. So while some devs are rolling in dough at the moment, I'm still chipping away at my project for the next winter rush.

Take a look at this week in gamedev below!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Panel Submissions Open (BronyCon 2017)

Submit Panel Ideas!
     Alright. Here we go again. Another chance to make or break Battle Gem Ponies in the eyes of the public! I'm sure I'll get my panel through again going by other gamedev panels' BronyCon legacies. Just a matter of getting another golden time slot like last year so I can actually leave a STELLAR impression this time instead of just a good one.

     By the time BronyCon comes around, my game HAS to be done. I'll be showing off a finished build this time and how this presentation goes over will determine how other conventions will treat me. Either I become the next Fighting is Magic, or never achieve the coveted Horse Famous status.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #103 (Your Moves)

     Feels good having this functional. The moves are the juicy flavor centers in this metaphorical meal of a game. Scrolling through what your pony can learn and seeing what they can do delivers on that RPG feel really well. Now I just have to animate a bunch of them for the demo!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Vacation: Holiday Matsuri 2016

Holiday Season Con in Florida!
     Gonna be straight up with you. No kind of productivity is happening this weekend. I'm going to be at a convention here in Orlando for the next 3 days so I won't get back to business until Monday. If work goes smoothly, I might have Demo 6 out late Tuesday night and include it in the next DevLog post. You can finally try out pony surfing and capture gems!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #102 (Pony Surfing in the USA)

I can't get over how cool this is.
     The pony surfing mechanic is so fun and feels so good that I feel like doing even more with it. All I had in mind before was quickly traveling across water, diving into a secret dungeon, and navigating whirlpool puzzles. Now I feel like adding some simple minigames and speed challenges to make the Sapphire Sea segment of the game even more fun.

     It'd be so great to have it be the opposite of the Hoenn ocean segment and be one of this game's highlight moments instead of a boring grind like ocean exploration parts feel like in Wind Waker and Pokemon Emerald. Plus, this gives players a way to bond with their pony. Can't help but love your little buddy a bit after speeding around like this.

Get a few GameDev Updates below!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Pony-Surfing is Cool

     Remember a couple weeks ago when I wanted a cool reason for surfing with your pony to make sense? I think I came up with something pretty good here. You get on a little surfboard and your pony tugs you across the sea! This way your clothes don't get wet, your pony has an excuse for being in the water, your avatar only occupies 2 tiles of space, and you can move very quickly over water.

     You can either go at a nice, cruising pace, or dash like crazy to cover some serious distance. As simple as toggling the run button.

     It has a flaw in that it means you need an Aqua pony, or at least something that swims well, whenever you want to cross water. On one hand, this is people's natural inclination going by the Let's Plays of the BGP demo. On the other, I wonder if it'll annoy players like HMs did by having them need to go back to the nearest town to put an Aqua pony on their team in order to explore the Sapphire Sea or Spinel Ridge waterfalls.

     This way seems to be a bit neater than the miniboat idea (No idea how to make that look good. Both in overworld and as a battle background.) and brings some cool imagery to the game. I can already picture the pony surfing fan art in my head.

     Also, while I was at it, I added teleportation so you can get to Town Hall more quickly and customize your pony. These things together should make navigating Pinto much more fun. And you'll get to try them both in Demo 6!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #101 (December Crunch!)

     Demo 6 is coming along. Hopefully done in just a couple weeks in time for Star Wars weekend. But likely sooner at my current pace. Being a little stricter with my time and using little techniques to keep me focused on one small task at a time is helping me get down the to-do list. Racing against the calendar and staying up til 4am every day to get this thing done!

It's crunch-time, baby!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Demo 8 for Steam Greenlight?

     With the game's delayed development in mind (from one hell of a Summer to a very distracting Fall) I'm currently thinking of ways to still keep my "Coming to Greenlight in January" promise. The one I made for myself as well as anyone who'd listen. I wanted January because I heard that the early Mondays of that month were the perfect time to get press attention.

     So the plan was to blitz a bunch of press sites and forums the Monday after Magfest and get as many people to check out the latest build of BGP as possible. By the looks of things though, that build may be Demo 8.0 (the Pinto Island demo) and not the beginning segment of the game with tons of polish like I had wanted.

     With that, I may still be Greenlit with the help of the brony community, and could even catch the eye of gaming sites looking for Pokemon fan game related scoops just as Sun/Moon hype is on the decline and Pokemon GO winter updates are either released or proven to be rumors.

     Should things go swimmingly, I'd still like to have that big story update come out piece-by-piece. I'd like to release 3 different segments (one month at a time) showing off how great the final game will be. From the beginning to the end of the first forest, then a batpony hunt in a cave further along in the story, then a level where you confront the game's villains in a way that leaves you wanting to see what the rest of the game could be like.

     I'm hoping this course of action succeeds in drawing attention to the project. A launch that gets tens of thousands of people onboard in that first month is ideal. That's why I want the Greenlight campaign to rally up as many folks as possible. When BGP comes out, I want everyone to know it! By giving people a good demo and showing the game's improvement over time, I'm hoping people recognize this as a project from a developer who really cares.

     I am promising to make a game that is worth the average Pokemon fan's time as well as anyone else patient enough to give this unknown game from an unknown developer a quick look.