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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #105 (Thoughts on Greenlight Launch)

     This... has been one hectic week, and it's only Tuesday.

     Let's talk about what I've learned from releasing the BGP Pre-Alpha on Steam Greenlight.

Here I was at the start of my adventure.
Stepping nervously into Greenlight and awaiting judgement.
Felt kinda like standing backstage, ready to go on next during
a talent show in front of judges who will show you no mercy.
And here are the twilight minutes of being on the front page.
The one most people ever check. From here, it spreads through shares.

  • SO Many Bug Fixes
  • Pop-Up Notification System
  • Filling Up Your Party (Null Slots are now possible)
  • Separated File Ponies From Free Battle Ones
  • New Imgur Albums of Screenshots and Promo Assests
  • Greenlight Planning
  • Presskit(), Distribute(), and Promoter (now helping spread the word)
  • --- Steam Greenlight Release! ---
     Lessons Learned:
  • Gotta make the ponies look more unique. Especially Vinerva.
  • The Steam Community is NOT fond of mobile games crossing into the PC platform.
  • There's really no downside in releasing a game to Steam Concepts first. Next time, I'll be wise instead of rushing myself to meet a self-imposed deadline to possibly get press attention during a slow news month.
     Where do I begin? Greenlight has been quite the experience so far. Heart racing around the clock, complete and sudden nocturnal sleep schedule, that sinking depression from reading negative comments, and the haunting suspicion that I'm just doing this all wrong.

    Gotta just thicken my skin, swallow some pride, take a few lashings, and address the criticisms through action. There are alterations I need to make ASAP and I need to admit this isn't going as well as I had hoped for months. It's a loud and clear wakeup call though. BGP isn't going to survive if the majority of people think it's either doomed to be sued or an unoriginal ripoff of other things.

     Characters need to be redesigned because the sprites are looking too much like the things that inspired them. Nearly half the voters on Steam agree that it's the main problem and a trip through the comments section would make someone consider taking the whole thing down.

     But I'd say I'm too far along with the project now to give up, so no matter what, BGP is being made. Even if it's never coming to Steam. And even still, some art improvements need to be made.

I'll also need to do things like renaming moves.
So Flamethrower will become Fire Stream and so on.
     I recommend reading the FAQ I posted there to hear my response to common concerns, but most people won't read all that so I have to demonstrate things non-verbally. And that means uploading a new build addressing the copyright issues nearly every comment mentions.


     Steam Greenlight didn't really affect Unicorn Training sales, but I kinda don't expect it to. What surprised me here is how few of the 1,000 upvoters went to download the demo. Really? Only 20% of them? To make sure people see that there's a link to the playable version, I gave it a banner and a bolded link saying "Play the Greenlight Pre-Alpha Here!"


     Blog posts went up on both Equestria Daily and Equestria Gaming. I also messaged hundreds of brony YouTubers who might be interested in giving the game a shot.

Here's a look at how much it helped over the past few days.

In the beginning, mostly dislikes. I was on the front page of
recent submissions so every Steam user there Monday night
saw a pony game on the list and had no reason to hold back.
After EQD wrote about it, likes caught up to dislikes. And that's
despite the comments on their post resembling the ones on Steam.
Bronies saw potential in the game.
Here's what it looks like at the time of this posting.
Getting better. Maybe people are reading the FAQ.
Maybe it was the updated description. Might be more EQD readers.
Either way, likes are steadily coming in and outpacing the downvotes.

New Placeholder Title Screen Alicorn. 
So, to summarize...

     I'm praying for a sudden boost of likes once people discover this game over the weeks to come. Hoping the demo helps too since it gives YouTubers something to play. But in reality, if it doesn't get Greenlit, I'll carry on with the original plan to have it released everywhere but Steam.

     What really needs to be done right now though, is a graphical overhaul and a bunch of renaming. Every negative comment (and to remind you, that's about 50% of them) all say something regarding the sprites too closely resembling what inspired them.

     Until C&D worries are put to rest, this game isn't taking off. It's my responsibility as the developer to make sure Battle Gem Ponies is the best game it can be.

    I am giving myself until the end of February to come back with something that proves how much I care about this project.

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