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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #180 (Coding, Cures, & Confidence)

Hope rises as pieces of the overworld are coming together.
      Weighed down by post-delay sad vibes all week and only just now getting back into the swing of things as I write this at 3:30am on a Wednesday. This week was code fever and I wore a programmer cap tight while sprucing up BGP's bones.

     Lots of things are working better than ever, and lots more are sure to come. The real issue right now is seeing how much can get up and running before BronyCon. The panel is going to be a slideshow about game development in general, some Q&A between slides, how I came up with and created BGP, and what features I have left to create and how I plan to implement them. 

     And all that will be sandwiched between a Trailer to show off the game and a gameplay demo of the battle system and overworld. Then I'd like to have some sort of teaser finale to send everyone off with and encourage them to download the demo to their phones on the way out so they can remember the game later.

     But how much I can show depends on how far I get in the next 6 days, so fingers crossed, I won't hit any more road blocks. Every precious minute counts right now, and I think I might just barely make it. So let's see what's been done in the past few days.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #179 (Summer Stalling)


     Pretty slow work week if I'm being honest. Life got in the way and the game's delayed yet another week. You know, going in you always assume you can handle the workload but only expect it to be a certain amount of time. Then you get so far into it you can't justify changing course because the end just has to be near by now...

     I really wonder exactly how long it'll take for this game to be completed and how long the people supporting me or waiting for me to finish will tolerate this crazy passion project of mine. You can imagine how many times I hear "get a real job" on a regular basis.

     Feeling all kinds of negative things right now, but I need to carry on anyway. This game needs to be made, and I need to do it. If I can just make this super polished Alpha go even just a little viral, I'll finally know if it's all worth it. 25 thousand players is all I'm asking the cosmos for.


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #178 (Refocus on the Hook)


     Starting to build out all the actual tile maps to be used in the beginning segment of the game, up to the first badge and a little beyond, just to get players hooked and hungry for more.

     Now, while the completed Alpha won't be a thing until the entire game is playable start to finish, I do believe I can get the first part of the game out within the month of July. While everyone is enjoying the new story, learning the mechanics, interacting with the world, and getting that first badge, I'll be working on getting the demo in as many Let's Player's hands as possible by day and implementing the rest of the design notes by night.

     Time to put everything I've got into a super-polished build that'll make people go nuts when they try it. Time to make sure every 30 seconds of the game gives players a Ben & Jerry's sized chunk of fun to chew on. Time to get Battle Gem Ponies on the map!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #177 (Sculpting a World)


     It's finally happening! Converting the maps from graph paper notes and doodles into working sandboxes that I can actually roam around in the Unity engine! Every single map in Battle Gem Ponies is coming to life AS. 👏 WE.👏 SPEAK.👏

     Getting all the different tiles, placeholders, and animations setup took days longer than I expected, but I finally have the process down and can get to work! I'll be using mostly borrowed and temporary tile sprites to have a basic but functional version of the entire game world up and running. This is one of the Top 5 remaining extremely tedious tasks of the game's development I'll be glad to have off my back. (Read to the end to see the other 4.) 

      So I hope to emerge next week with another monumental task behind me. To see what hills have already been climbed in the last 7 days, why don't cha take a look below?


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #176 (Summer Makeover)


     Notice a bit of a facelift? I worked on some of the Ultra Pony designs this week, just filling in those gaps in design I was drawing a blank on for the longest while. Now I can say I'm satisfied with how everypony looks and can clearly see them animated in my head.

     Actually animating the sprites is a step to come much later in development, but I can roll with these for now. 


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #175 (E3 2018)


     After such an amazing E3, I feel reinvigorated. Gotta admit to feeling pretty jaded/apathetic about AAA gaming lately, but leave it to the Sony & Nintendo press conferences to remind me of why I love gaming in the first place. The hype I felt over the past couple days is the same feeling I want people to have for the things I'm working on someday. Unprecedented levels of polish, earnest interviews and announcements by hardworking developers, shocking surprises, gameplay to analyze, and jaw-dropping tournament moments... 

     And at the heart of it all? Hours of fun promised by teams I know can deliver. I'm hype ya'll. Now I want to work hard to make sure starting next E3, I'll be there to show off something in person every year.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #174 (Where's The Game?)


     Getting REAL tired of this game not being close to finished. I admit to dying inside just a bit each passing week as I fall behind on the schedule I laid out just because the very first bullet point is the hardest pill to force down. 

     Maybe I'm crazy and doing this wrong. Time to take a different route to the end. As for what exactly what that route is? You'll need to read the ending thoughts to this week's devlog to find out. 


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #173 (Let's Go Ponatina!)


     Not much was done in terms of progress this week since I took about 5 days off to basically see all my friends one last time at the local convention MegaCon before swearing to lock myself away until BGP's completion. 

     In place of that there is tons of Pokemon news. A fan game was released and a bunch of new spinoffs were announced so there's lots of interesting things to reflect on and talk about below the break.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #172 (Map Mastery)

Turning every single one of those blocks into it's own button somehow took up a whole day.
     The Map System I've been subconsciously dreading has finally been implemented and the rest of the menus are coming together bit-by-bit as I program all the pieces separately and connect them together (instead of cramming everything I could into one giant, unreadable script like before). The results?

     Still not done, and being behind schedule is really bugging me. The game should really have been in alpha by now and I gotta admit that's depressing me. But every night I go to bed knowing my game has 24 more hours worth of love pumped into it, you know? It's coming along, but too slowly.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #171 (Cleaning Up & Keeping Up)


     Feels like every day now I'm discovering some new and better way of doing things. The project is crawling towards a point where all systems exist and are easy to tweak. So good news is I can both feel and see myself becoming a better game developer. Bad news: I'm already a week behind schedule. Again. That won't fly. Time to crunch up and catch up. 


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #170 (Re-Coding)



     Once again, starting from scratch. But this time it's in regard to how I code things. Going forward I'll be using new organization tricks to make sure I understand how the entire game works inside and out. No more endless bug hunts because I'll know exactly where they are and what that line of code interacts with, all to better help me deduce the cause of any problems. 

     Also took a stab at rearranging the development schedule to aim for a July 25th release. The path is laid out, but the main factor determining if I can make it is getting to that Alpha build I've been yapping about for years now.

     All this reorganization stuff should help with that, because things will be more efficient than ever. No more hardcoding, no more just copy/pasting from solution forums, and no more being stingy with line spacing, name lengths, or comments.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #169 (May 2018...)

Believe it or not, this organized chaos is way easier for me to understand & navigate than the version from a month ago.
     Can't believe I'm still working on recreating the menus. Haven't even touched core gameplay code yet! I feel horrible for taking so much longer than I keep thinking and promising out loud, but I can feel in my bones that this is the right thing to do. Taking the time to make sure my game is the high quality super-polished RPG I see in my head is sure to be rewarded. I don't want to just make a passable game, I want to blow people away!

     Taking steps to make a serious contender for mobile game of the year. Get this week's development news below. 


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #168 (HUD Crafting)

Ignore the garbled text. That is a bug for another day.
     Been taking my time making these menus and such, and glad to see that stage of development is finally coming to an end. Chewed hard to figure out some bugs and the most efficient way to make things flow, but I think I've got it now and just need to rinse and repeat to get the rest of the menus done.

     See my latest (mis)adventures in game development below.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #167 (Orlando Overdrive 2018)


     Showcasing the game to new folks, meeting other developers, learning from their experiences, making friends, and dancing my legs off. That's the TL;DR of my Orlando Overdrive experience this past weekend. 

     Battle Gem Ponies had a booth right in the middle of the indie game hallway leading to the bar & dance floor of The Geek Easy. Turns out the whole brony thing wasn't a passing fad, and lots of people still smile when they see marshmallow horses with super powers. 

     Check out this week's devlog to see how the indie showcase went. 👾


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #166 (Demo Ready?)

Just powering through and coding my heart out. Nothing to show yet, but things are progressing behind the scenes.
     Working towards that Minimum Viable Product with a few days to go til showtime! Pretty much every feature from the last demo needs to be remade and bug free using the new development tools I have. The next demo has to be ready by Saturday morning, or I'm going to have to introduce countless strangers and fellow devs to my buggy pre-alpha from December! 

     Can't let that happen. It's crunch time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #165 (Game Engine Bone Structure)


     A lot of time has been spent remaking the components needed to make the game run smoother and look nicer. Way more time than I originally intended, but I feel too deep into the mess to turn back now. The results are showing, but it seriously delayed the game's progress and the makeover still isn't complete. 

    I'm hoping that with these menus out of the way and all the fancy scripting stuff simplified into usable tools, the post-alpha development will come easy. Much like a house, the game's gotta have good bones. A foundation to build an entire series of games on top of, actually. Each one more polished than the last.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #164 (Still with the Menus? Come ON!!)


     Another week in and the game's revamped menu systems still aren't done! Feels like I'm running in place sometimes, but week after week new things are being added and I'm feeling more and more capable as a developer. I just want the alpha build done already!

     Take a look at what I managed to do this past week.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #163 (Interfaces In Your Faces)


     Menus, menus, menus... Looking fresh though. Still going through the process of making sure all the interfaces work and feel better than ever before. Cleaner sprites, dynamic sizing and positioning for every possible device, and helpful new tools like scrollviews and shaders to add some extra polish. Plus, it all runs 40 times smoother now since it gets compressed to one draw call at runtime, meaning no more horrendous lag just from opening a menu!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #162 (Getting It Together)


     Finally coming to grips with the new tools and having something to show for it! There's been a real headache and a half over this, but hopefully it pays off with a bunch of dropped jaws and people saying "Oh, that's cool." when they first open the game..

     I need to settle into a groove! Time to crank out some content!


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #161 (Wednesday Milestones)


     Release feels so close. It's like the pieces are all in my lap and I just have to follow the instructions to put them together. The final version of Battle Gem Ponies is so clear in my head now that I'm fanboying over it sometimes.

     In the last 7 days I charted out exactly how all 360 battle moves will look, I recreated every menu, rebalanced the battle system, came up with catchier names for things, sorted out details for a DLC & multiplatform launch plan, and closely studied just about everything that makes the games that inspired this one so great.

     To keep track of things I made a week-by-week breakdown of the rest of BGP's development. Counting down what's left to do to get the game to a launchable state. If you wanna find out what the Yotes Games Wednesday Milestones are, look at the list below!


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #160 (Big Changes Worth the Wait)


     Improvements to Battle Gem Ponies workflow are showing some promising results and I'm looking forward to showing off a very impressive demo in March. For now I'm slowly getting used to the new tools I'm using and figuring out the most efficient ways to bring all these ponies (and everything they can do) to life.

     Each passing day I want to see the alpha build exist more and MORE but new things just keep slowing progress down. Game development really does take forever and the small things are always big things in disguise.

Take a look at the full devlog and see for yourself!


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #159 (Prep-Work)


     Still setting up the new BGP workflow. Gotta convert the spritesheets to super-efficient packed-textures, recreate all the prefabs using the new Unity systems, and start painting all the tilemaps that will make up the region of Pinto... 

     Exciting things are coming, and if you're curious about the steps towards this glory, then check out this week's devlog!


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #158 (Major Restructuring)

New Texture Packer tool is making my sprite file sizes 75% smaller!
     Time to clean things up. Look, I made a big mess of files and code while figuring out how to put this game together. But now with years of experience and new tools at my disposal, I know I can do better. So I'm basically recreating Battle Gem Ponies using everything I have, but this time it'll be much more organized, run smoother on all devices, and have some neat features I couldn't pull off before.

     This change up won't affect the release date that much since I planned to do all this for the alpha build anyway (but to a lesser extent before Patreon boosted the budget). So basically, just expect a prettier Battle Gem Ponies to come out this Summer.

Get an idea of what I mean in the devblog below!


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #157 (Study the Competition)


     Another week flew by and somehow I spent most of it in planning/prepping mode instead of programming crunch. One link led to another and I ended up researching marketing techniques, storytelling tips, Lets Plays of competitor's games, game design breakdowns, and tons of RPG reviews. All while comparing what I saw with the notes, documents, and files I have open for Battle Gem Ponies. 

     Every part of me so badly wants this game to be perfect. Seems like I've become addicted to double checking my work before it's even finished. Time to fix that. This next week has to be ALL gamedev. One by one I have to knock out bugs and add in features.

     But thanks to this past week of knowledge binging, I can go in knowing exactly how high the bar is. Take a look at this week's blog to see how I intend to counter BGP's potential shortcomings and how I think it'll manage to stand next to some pretty established RPGs.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #156 (End of January...)




     Tiles, tiles, tiles galore! Wanna see some tiles? I'll show you some tiles anyway. Because that's what I spent most of this week staring at, touching up, reorganizing, and reconstructing. Right now this is the step I'm tackling to make sure I have all the pieces I need to build the BGP world that currently exists on 100 sheets of graph paper. The gamedev grind never seems to end, but my confidence in the project increases by the day!

Here is where we stand with Battle Gem Ponies at the end of the first month of 2018!


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #155 (Placeholders in Their Place)


   The pieces are all lined up. Just a week or two of coding and another week of polish, and I'll be set to start shaping the world of Battle Gem Ponies! A playable version of the story mode at long last! I'm super eager to share all the recent progress (and there was a lot) on this week's devlog, so check it out! 🎮💎🐴

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #154 (Story Beats & Maps Aplenty)


     A whole week of wicked coughing and drawing maps on graph paper. It's been a drag-myself-through-the-mud kinda week but I finally got there. The maps are done, detailed, and ready to be tiled in-game soon as I line up all the placeholders.

     Also handled some story details and progression design. The game's design document has been updated with new overworld interactions, cutscenes, object placement, and more to make for a more fun/smooth/professional experience. I want people playing this game to be blown away by it's quality and looking at the overall vision now, I think this'll be a pretty great attempt.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #153 (New Year, New Beginnings)


     Wow, 2018 is off to a great start already. Doing much better this January than the last with that whole Steam Greenlight fumble. Patreon keeps development afloat, I feel a million times wiser, the soundtrack is nearly complete, and the full game scope has never been clearer in my mind.

     The early part of this new year is just a matter of cranking it out already! Time to wrap up development on this 3-4 year project and launch it with a BANG!

Get this week in gamedev below the break.

Friday, January 5, 2018

BGP's Patreon Budget (Choosing a Bank & Shopping for Unity Assets)

First month on Patreon! Not too shabby.
Now I gotta buy gamedev stuff with it.
     Let's talk money. So Patreon charges patrons on the 1st of each month, then transfers the money to the creators on the 5th. That all went down this week, so now that it's in my hands, I can show how all this crowdfunding stuff works and explain exactly where the money's going.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #152 (BGP Awareness Month)


     Most of this week was spent arranging placeholders and detailing/editing maps on graph paper. I wanted all the planning and placeholder stuff done by New Year's Day, and it got done. I also wanted to dip my foot into every webpage that could be used to promote BGP in the coming new year, so that got done too. I've started being more active on Reddit and various forums, since I feel that'll play a great part in organically getting the word out about BGP in 2018.

     Next step is to get to work programming the last few features and have this game ready for an Alpha state by February! The crunch is on! Time is not on my side, and there's a pony RPG waiting to be born!