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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.

Looking forward to making some human pixel folk.
  • Sprites for 10 New Ponies & Their Ultra Forms
  • Sketches for Remaining NPCs
  • Added to Bug Hunt List
  • Ideas Written for Polish Touch-Ups
  • Planning for Touring BGP at Brony Conventions in 2018 (Panels & Merch Tables)
  • Made Contact with a Major PokeTuber
     Lessons Learned:
  • Being able to see these characters with my eyes and not just my mind inspires this whole new level of energy. 
  • Though it may be the last thing on my to-do list, I can't wait to see all these sprites in motion.
  • It won't be the end of the world if I miss the December Deadline. Stardew Valley came out in Spring and did just fine. As long as I get a solid, non-buggy game out there, it'll sell itself. (But I'll still spend months after launch marketing it like a passionate door-to-door salesman anyway)
  • There's a whole community of livestreaming artists out there that need practice and take requests. Why not ask them to draw my characters, share those pics here and there, and get it to show up in Google Image searches just because?
  • These ponies need distinct silhouettes. Players need to be able to identify them easily or even be able to draw them from memory.
       I think I might make posts introducing each pony as a build up to the release. I'll write them all in advance just like with the Roster Posts from forever ago. But definitely a reboot of it since so many designs have changed. Just one little way to get folks excited to meet these ponies in-game.


     I'm surprised to see the Unicorn Training demo being downloaded at a faster rate on iOS nowadays. Android was ahead for the first couple years, but seems to be slowing down to a couple thousand a week while iOS is dancing around 8,000. I wonder if BGP not having an iOS demo has anything to do with the sudden rise in interest. Even Fish Feaster has a sudden rise in popularity. Maybe there's Yotes Games followers out there that only have iPhones and are just eager to play something I've made.

     Just so you can see, here's an example of the daily email I get from App Annie, showing me how my games are doing on the various app stores. It's a nice way to track stats all condensed into one place. I especially like the monthly reports. A neat bundle telling you about that particular month's ups and downs. Looking forward to the day I see thousands of dollars listed under revenue...


     Found some new BGP videos! Turns out a few people recorded gameplay of the last update. It's always fun to see how people are reacting to it. With the Pre-Alpha about to wrap up, now's the time where I iron out the bugs before I can dust off my hands from constructing the foundation that the rest of the game will be built on.

     Yesterday I tweeted popular Pokemon Let's Players RuffledRowlit & SacredFireNegro just to see if it'd work. A short sentence about working hard on the game, a screenshot/GIF, and a link to the trailer. Ideally, this would catch their attention and get curious enough to try it out (hopefully on cam) and likely fall in love with the project since it has the same kind of Poke-fan love baked into it that makes Pokemon Uranium so good. 

     Rowlit responded, said the game looked interesting, says he'll try it out, and followed me on Twitter. So as far as that goes, I successfully reached out to somebody who can really help me spread the alpha around in October. This guy gets tens and tens of thousands of views per video, so if he does end up recording something for BGP, pressure's on to impress a lot of critical eyes. Each demo from here on out needs to show incredible leaps in quality.

An artist was asking for pony characters to draw over a livestream, so I suggested Vinerva as a challenge.
I'm amazed that the design features translated perfectly.
People can look at her and see the individual pieces that make this pony special.
     So cool to think that just showing somebody a pony from the game, giving a short description of said pony, then leaving a link to the trailer sitting around is all it takes to make a new BGP fan. This game really could be successful once it exists and is just out there for people to share with each other.

     Battle Gem Ponies could catch on like wildfire! I just need to finish the dang thing...

     Finish sprites. Finish Placeholders. Finish features. Fix bugs. Release 8.0. Hope I can do it all before this month ends...

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