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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #151 (Gotta Catch 'em All!)

     And by "catch 'em all", I mean all the players who would definitely love this game! I really need to figure out a way to get more eyeballs onto this project. The only way I can think of is to finish the pre-alpha, iron out the kinks, hand that to Let's Players who've played BGP before, then construct the alpha build, polish the beginning areas, and hand that to as many Let's Players as possible.

Check this week's devlog for more details on how that effort is coming along.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Yotes Games Has a Patreon!

Support Battle Gem Ponies on Patreon!

     After tons of internal debating on whether I should do it or not, on a whim, I decided to create a Patreon today. To celebrate being over 150 weeks into development and on the verge of an Alpha build, I wanted to have some sort of morale boosting driving force to push me and the music team through the rest of development. I gotta imagine this is similar to how other devs feel when they launch a crowdfunding campaign. Only this one is entirely optional.

     It took all day to make and I think it turned out pretty nice. Colorful, detailed, yet concise, and with language conveying both lightheartedness and sincerity. Yes... I'm actually pretty proud of this. I just hope it's successful.

     If you could be so inclined, feel free to take a look around and consider becoming a patron to Yotes Games.

     Or just keep an eye out for one of these...

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #150 (Roster Complete)

     Finally finished everypony and their ultra forms! They're in need of cleanup, but sometimes you just gotta move onto the next step or the bigger picture will never be framed. Can't believe I've been on this for over 150 weeks now... Time to kick things into even higher gear to get this game out on time for a Spring 2018 release!

     This week is filled with tons of exciting news, updates on Yotes Games as a business, retrospection on previous games, plans for the future, and tons of inspiration for getting through the rest of the development of Battle Gem Ponies.

Get a MAJOR gamedev update to make up for the weeks of silence below, on this week's devlog!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #149 (Stuck on Alicorns)

(Art by Jowybean)
An example of epic looking MLP alicorns in action.
     Progress has been stalled this week as the final few pony designs are being turned into pixel art. The sprites just didn't seem to fit the idea of "The Epic Legendary Alicorns" in a way that made me picture players saying "I want that one!" so I keep drafting new ways to make these ponies look a little cooler than the other ones.

     For the love of me I just can't figure it out. Spent way too much time staring at the sprites and starting over.  Not to mention their alternate forms related to their special capture mechanics. Those have to look feeble in comparison, yet still cool and capable of combat.

     This is tricky, and it may take another couple days to get everything all cleaned up, but I want the placeholders and base sprites done in time to start programming after devlog #150. But for the time being, get DevLog #149 below...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #148 (Paper Maps)

     Been taking on the task of translating rough map sketches into detailed exact maps on graph paper.  It's a matter of putting every detail from the design document down and marking out exactly how many steps it takes to get anywhere, roughly how many screens a zone will be, where items will be hidden, which buildings and NPCs I'll have to draw, and all the minor visual details.

     All this fuss so I only have to lay down tiles in the editor like I'm following a blueprint. And these definitely help make the game feel more real. Actually seeing the game world has me super pumped to make it happen in full colorful pixelated glory!

     It's a tedious process though and will probably take another day or two, especially when I double check to make sure the cutscenes can play out how I want them to. Also, still working on the last few Ultra form sprites to show off next week.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #147 (What? The Project is Evolving!)

Ultra transformations are possible with the same meteorites that transform Ponatina.
     Things are picking up! With the game's design all settled and the sprites finally wrapping up, there's interesting pictures to go around and hype people up with. I'm also able to give a much more solid pitch now that the entire vision is clear.

     All that's left is to get to that Alpha state... Time to continue the #gamedev march! Look below for the interesting events of the past week.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #146 (Impressionable Ponies)

Some of the bigger battle sprites.
(the Ultra forms are a lot less pony-like)
     The Ponatina post last week made a lot of impressions and it's refreshing to see so many pony fans excited for this game. It's lit a fire under the Yotes Games balloon and now we're soaring straight to our destination!

     Every pony has a second draft design and is now in the final nebulous zone of "what color combination looks best" or "maybe this should be the Ultra form and the base form should be toned down a little". It annoys me as a developer because it's taking so long, but this is arguably the most important part.

     These ponies are what players will attach themselves to. If they look awesome enough, and have enough personality, it'll spawn fan art, discussion, attention, and thus sales. All very important if I want Yotes Games to be a viable career choice.

Get the rest of this week in gamedev below.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #145 (A Full & Colorful Roster)

Ponatina's Elemental Forms
     Here it is! This game's Eevee equivalent and starter pony Ponatina and all 18 of her various specialized forms. Which is your favorite? Which looks the worst? I'd love to read your thoughts on them in the comments.

Get the rest of this week in gamedev below!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #144 (Happy Halloween!)

     Another month comes and goes with Battle Gem Ponies still working towards an alpha build. Time to kick things into high gear! This Halloween, the spookiest thing I can think of is the prospect of BGP still not being in Alpha by Christmas. Now that'd be a nightmare!

Get a sugary sweet pile of details on this week's gamedev progress below the break.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #143 (Back From Sick Break)

     Sorry about skipping a post last week. I flew out to a convention for my birthday, then came home to deal with some con flu. But since then I've gotten better and jumped back onto the saddle!

Here's an update on the development of Battle Gem Ponies!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #142 (Details, Details)

A peek at a tiny chapter in the design doc.
     Lots of this week was spent editing the design document some more and fleshing out the tiny details that make up the most important bits of the game I want players to remember. Things like every boss' pony team/battle item/move selection, and what important characters say in major cutscenes (and how they say it).

     But I'm just about sick of all this writing and eager to get back into coding features into existence! So this week there will be sprites and there will be coding. Time to get my hands dirty again!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #141 (All Fleshed Out)

     Story is all fleshed out, game progression is set, pickups are placed, and the pony roster is spread out across the map like butter on toast. Today I'm doing one last check through for logical consistency to make sure any plot holes are covered and unnecessary info is pushed into the background. The master plan is finally laid out and construction can continue!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #140 (Revision of the Vision)

     Taking a close look at the design of Battle Gem Ponies this week to make the game flow better. Knowing why every items, ponies, and power ups are acquired the way they are and how they contribute to the player experience. Condensing big story ideas into as little text as possible. Scattering lore in optional bite-sized chunks instead of exposition dumps. Making sure each map has something memorable happen. And making sure I know exactly how to make what I have written down within the Unity engine and my current pipeline.

     I'm making a list and checking it twice. Gonna make sure this is a game worth people's time and money. Gonna make sure it's an experience people will want to share with others.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #139 (Make It Well Thought Out)

     Most of the week has been all about planning every small detail to come in the full game. Where each item is placed and why. A believable reason for every character's decision, interaction, and motive. Logical consistency throughout the game world. Something interesting to do in every room, an emotional roller coaster, a varied color palette, and a sense of discovery and fun that'll keep players invested even beyond the credits.

     This week is all about taking a microscope to the game design document and shaping Battle Gem Ponies up to be one of the greatest games the app store has ever seen. Get some details on how below the break.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #138 (Waiting Out Hurricane Irma)

     My hurricane setup. Just some light, some paper, some music, and a lot of ideas. Did a lot of map drawing, scenario planning, and running through the entire game vision in my head. At the end of it all, I'm more confident in this project than ever. There's no way people wouldn't want to share this with their friends! It'll sell just fine, all I need to do is make it exist now. I literally have the blueprints to an amazing product sitting in front of me. I... JUST. HAVE. TO. MAKE. IT!

(Get this week in gamedev below the page break)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #137 (Sprite Week)

     Once again, drawing these sprites takes forever. But the first frame is always the hardest because I want it to look just right before I take apart all its pieces and animate them. These battle sprites are what the players will be staring at for the longest time and it's through these battle animations and flavor texts that I get folks to fall in love with my characters.

     I have to get this right. I have to convey personality out of each of these ponies. I want players to say "Wow!" or "Ooo..." or "Aww!" or "Holy CRAP!!" when they see these things for the first time.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #136 (Road to Alpha)

     The race to the finish starts here. Gotta whip up a game in a matter of months, no time to waste!

Details below!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #135 (BronyCon Vacation)

Reunited with my very own BronyCon fam!
     I spent just about all of August recharging my creative batteries, experiencing new places, meeting new folks, bonding with long-time friends, learning more about myself, and evaluating my life goals. Also, I played Sonic Mania and it's got me hella juiced up to become a developer making things people could go nuts about.

     In short, the BronyCon panel went well, I've already got plans for how I'm going to celebrate it being complete next year, I'm brainstorming convention booth setups, and I'm more eager than ever to somehow get the project done in time for Christmas!

More on all that below the break.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #134 (Next Stop... BRONYCON)

     Battle Gem Ponies is off to BronyCon starting tomorrow, so come check back in on Saturday for a new build of BGP and a review of the panel in the weeks to come! You can take a look at where the BGP panel falls on the official schedule below.

     The panel will be on Saturday at 5:30pm in Hall of the Planets! 🌟
Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #133 (About That New Battle System)

     Still hard at work getting a stable, polished BronyCon build ready. I wanna put on a good show, and that's gonna require a couple more late nights of work and a lot of afternoons spent testing. But it'll all be worth it if we can get that crowd to cheer...

Take a look at this week in gamedev below!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #132 (Work Harder, and Faster Too)

     This is a week of programming madness! Gotta make sure the demo doesn't fall apart onstage like in previous years, so I'm combing through and fixing all the bugs I can before the big day.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #131 (Tiles, Tiles, Tiles)

     Spent just about the whole week making placeholder tiles and arranging them in the most efficient way for both memory and ease of use. Another single day task that turns out to be a week long event.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #130 (Ponatina & Presentation Pieces)

     Remember back when I showed that list of ponies and that other time I mentioned the starter from this game would be a lot like Eevee? This is that pony. Ponatina! The mysterious companion you'll meet at the start of your adventure!

Get some regular gamedev news below.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #129 (FREEDOM!! And... Pressure!?)

     I WAS planning on celebrating Independence Day with the sweet, freeing release of BGP Pre-Alpha 7.0, but then I checked my emails and something came up... Turns out I'll be hosting the Battle Gem Ponies panel at BronyCon 2017 after all! Now pressure's on because I have exactly one month to build an impressive Alpha to showcase in front of the biggest crowd yet.

     Dive on down below the page break for a time-capsule of this past week's gamedev events and plans for what's to come.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #128 (One More Delay)

This situation bites.
     Instead of continuing to keep folks in the dark another week while I bang my head against the wall between 10pm and 5am every night, I figure I should just admit that this demo is taking way longer than I planned for. Turns out animating the battle sequences in order is a lot harder than coding the logic behind it all. A weekend-long polishing task has turned into a multi-week task and I'm too deep into this programming mess to just release a build with just the numbers.

     So in short, the demo I wanted out last Friday probably isn't coming until this Friday. But I can't even promise that. I'm just going to try and get it out ASAP.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #127 (Serving Up a New Pre-Alpha)

     After all this time and all the delays, you'll have access to Demo 7.0 of Battle Gem Ponies this week. The battle calculator system is done, and now, it's even animated. The game feels better than ever, and I can't wait to share it with you.

     This past week I've been polishing the demo a bit, adding particles and placeholder animations to give visuals to the math going on behind the scenes making all the fights work. I want to spend just a few more days ironing out the new bugs and put this on this Friday for all to play!

Get a peek at what I'm cooking up for the Let's Players out there to show off below the break.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #126 (Finally DONE with the Basic Battle System!)

     This one's been a long time coming. At long last being finished with the part of development I've dreaded most! Getting all these wacky moves and status conditions to work properly! You can use almost any move now and it'll actually do what it's supposed to!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #125 (Functional, But Untested, Battle System)

Me too, Vinerva.
     This combat engine stuff is driving me up a wall! Why's it gotta be this hard? It's not even like it's a puzzle too big to wrap my head around, it's just really tedious. Things that seem like they should only take an hour eat up half a day. Then game breaking bugs pop up and I gotta stop and feel around in the dark til I find the solution. It's madness!

But I carry on and pray it's almost over. I just wanna get back to drawing new pony sprites, man.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #124 (Stuck on Specials)

     Still working on making moves work properly, mostly struggling with making the changes display correctly. I have all the variables reacting how I want, but when animating them during the attack turn, things go haywire. The game is officially behind schedule, and I'm feeling the heat.

On top of all that, I'm feeling sick as all heck with a wicked cough.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #123 (Step-By-Step)

     Development is crawling along. Coding each attack move by using special keywords seems so simple in theory, but in practice, so many tiny things go wrong and break the battle system in a variety of brain-melting ways.

Get a peek at what was done this week below!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #122 (Get on Google Play Early Access)

     The Battle Gem Ponies beta has a new destination in mind... I want it on Google Play's Early Access to take advantage of some publicity and get it noticed by the Google Play editorial team. I think it could boost sales of the game significantly. Just gotta get a demo out to them months before the Christmas lockdown.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #121 (2 Week Delay)

     It looks like this is going to take a bit longer than originally planned. Debugging attacks and figuring out how to code the trickier ones took well into Friday afternoon to do, and I still have so many other features to do before demo 7 is ready! There's the cutscene system I'm working on right now, a simple version of the Ponipedia I want in, overworld interactions that need to be programmed, animation tweaks to draw, and a whole lot of bugs to fix.

     So maybe the next update should come out on Tuesday with DevLog #122. Then I can start that week fresh by finally getting on with constructing the alpha version of Battle Gem Ponies!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #120 (Battling Works!)

     Playtesting this game is suddenly a lot more fun. Instead of rushing things out just to meet a self-imposed deadline, I'm going to finish what I promised and release a code-complete demo with a fully functional battle system. That'll probably take until at least this upcoming Friday, so look forward to that.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #119 (Functional, but Not Fully)

     At this rate looks like it'll take maybe a couple weeks longer than expected to reach code completion. But getting the major hurdles out of the way has been the primary goal of this month and I'm wrapping those things up as this blog is being written.

Take a look at the rest of this week's progress in the DevLog below!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #118 (Placing Placeholders)

     How's the game coming along? So far, so good. Grinding away at getting this game to work. I truly believe I'll feel incredible relief once I know the hard part is done and over with. Super eager to put the pieces together and get started on the fun stuff.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #117 (Rough March)

     Approaching the future step-by-step. Refusing to sleep until each day's task is done. Not letting a single day get by where I don't open Unity and change at least something. Slowly, but surely, this game will be complete by the end of the year. And while last month was a bunch of setbacks and headaches, this month is set to be where I get the most overwhelming part of development out of the way. Making all the things work. Once and for all.

There will be one last Pinto Island demo, then the real fun begins...

Friday, April 7, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies Demo Update! (Ver. 6.8)

Watch the BGP Trailer!
     The latest version of Battle Gem Ponies has arrived! This update features randomized wild encounters, 6 new ponies, and the ability to ride on some of them. Other features have been tinkered with but are incomplete for the most part. Update 7.0 will have to be the feature-complete tech-demo of the game, bug-checked and released by the end of April.

     Looks like Steam Greenlight will be shutting down permanently any day now, so this may be the last chance for the game to get through. So, if you'd like to see this game on Steam someday, be sure to give a thumbs up on the Greenlight page!

(And check back here for more monthly updates!)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #116 (April Release Part 1)

     Working hard to iron out the bugs in the current version of BGP by Friday. After that, I have a lot of behind the scenes restructuring to do in order to make the game ready for code-completeness. Goal is to just get everything in there and working, no matter how simple/ugly the sprites are, and finally get the hardest parts about developing this finished once and for all.

     That way I can spend the next few months doing the fun stuff. Making maps, drawing prettier sprites, and testing what's fun to play. The polish can come later, but right now, I really want this game to have a solid foundation. So here's part 1 of that. The Penultimate Pinto Island Demo!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

BGP Update Delay (on April Fools, no less!)

     On what was supposed to be a demo launch day, life and bugs got in the way. As of this moment, on April Fools Day of 2017, I just finished getting the ridable pony code to work. But it's untested. I could rush the update out just to have it done, but that benefits no one if the pony riding causes game-breaking bugs in various scenarios.

     Also, the new levitation effect I added for the flying ponies is messing up animations in some funky ways making the whole thing feel super buggy. So instead of forcing out an unstable build, I'm gonna take some time to polish it up and test things out. 

     April will have 2 game updates now. One on the first Friday, and one on the last. I want the game to leave a good taste in people's mouths with each update, not showcase a mountain of bugs on top of tiny bits of progress. So come back next week to get your hands on a shiny new build of BGP!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #115 (Miss One Mark, Make Another)

     The Battle Gem Ponies Steam Greenlight Campaign is still ongoing, but the service is rumored to be shutting down some time next month. I can still update the game and hope for a miracle before Greenlight closes it's doors for good, but at this point I'm not expecting to make it. BGP will be pushed as a mobile game,  but will still have PC/Mac/Linux versions available through

     It doesn't spell DOOM for the project or anything, it's just a demonstration that people need something more polished than what I launched with to make it at this point in Steam Greenlight's troubled lifespan. I'll try again via Steam Direct once the game is actually complete and see if I can get a different reaction on that platform. Just hoping that it doesn't end up costing an arm and a leg.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #114 (Plugging Away)

     Progress for this week has mostly just been behind the scenes stuff. Editing entires in spreadsheets, fixing bugs, altering animations, positioning sprites, making textbox options more dynamic, and stuff like that. This upcoming week is where I'll be putting in notable features like pony riding, new moves, and nicknaming.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #113 (Roster of 12)

     The new ponies have been implemented, the animations play, and I even dealt with sprite distortion bugs. Altogether, adding these new ponies to the game has pretty much eaten up this entire month and I need to find a new way to do all this. Efficiency is a must if this game is set to come out in time.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #112 (Animating Demo Ponies)

So, this is a thing that can happen now.
Ridable ponies coming soon!
     There's really not a lot going on this week besides pony pixel art. Just finished making sprites to animate 6 new ponies that will finally give the demo some much needed variety. Now I have to import them into the game and make sure they look right in action.

Friday, March 3, 2017

So, About BGP's New Look and Copyright...

     This is a post about clearing the air of any C&D worries. I wanted to break down just how legally safe this all is once and for all since the majority of comments I see for this game revolve around conversations of "this will be taken down because X looks like Y".

     Hopefully some explanation combined with the game's recent graphical update on Steam Greenlight will put those Cease & Desist concerns to rest.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #111 (Aiming for Code Complete)

     Another milestone down, another 5 months to go. Showing the game to new people irl and emailing folks left n' right to get this game out there! With the graphical update in place conversation seems to be shifting towards worries about the gameplay being too similar Pokémon. But I have confidence that the final version will make it very clear that the gameplay of Battle Gem Ponies, at it's core, is Pokémon with more challenge and less filler.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies Greenlight Demo Update!

Watch the New Trailer!
     Time for round two! Battle Gem Ponies is back and better than ever thanks to feedback from the Steam Greenlight community! The turn-based pony RPG now features much more original looking characters, various new environment sprites, and some renamed moves and characters. 

     If you want to check out the newest build for yourself, just click the link below. If you'd like to see this game on Steam someday, be sure to give a thumbs up on the Greenlight page!

(And check back here for more monthly updates!)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #110 (The Redesigns)

     The long-promised February update is coming this Friday and one last week of bug crunching is underway to make sure it plays perfectly. This way, future builds will be off to a fresh start and development can be focused on new features.

     Namely, getting at least 3 more playable ponies in the game! Check out how the game is coming along below the break.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies: New Look Implemented!

     Despite the cold I've had all week, I managed to make progress on the February BGP update! Finally finished importing all the new sprites and tiles for the overworld! All that's left now is some bug fixes and a way to toggle the touch interface. 

      I'm also still not sure about which color scheme to settle on for Poni-Bot and I still want to try to animate all the current Move Tutor attacks. For now though, things are coming together nicely and definitely call all the graphical changes improvements.

     We're on track for releasing the February Greenlight update by Friday, so hang tight! I wanna thoroughly playtest this time and make sure all the bugs really are fixed.