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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!

The  work in progress tile arrangements... Well, all I could fit in a screenshot or two anyway.
It's a mess, and there's a ton of placeholder sprites to sort through, but at least I found a readable way to organize them.
It'll be hell when it comes time to redraw each of these by hand later. Saving that chore for last!

  • Found New Filters and Sprite Effects on The Asset Store
  • Revamped Move Sketches to Incorporate Better Effects
  • Updated Tile Map to Account for Animated Tiles & Fancy Effects
  • Updated Pony Animations to Account for Effects (doing that in-game instead of in the sprite sheets themselves)
  • Reorganized Tiles Again (for easier workflow)
  • Wrote More Random Bits of NPC Dialogue
  • Found More Free Assets
  • Watched Lots of Sprite Making Tutorials Like This (learning little tricks to make my stuff look better)
  • Watched Many Reviews/Retrospectives of GB to DS era Pokemon Games to Ensure My Vision Can Stand Alongside, or Even Surpass Them
  • Unicorn Training Listed on!
Unicorn Training listed in a new place!

    Lessons Learned:
  • I sought help on deciding if I should use a few giant spritesheets or a bunch of tiny/specific ones to make my game run smoothly. Basically, the difference is so minor it'd be best if I just made them easy for me to navigate.
  • I should also try to keep each tileset under 2048 pixels tall for quick loading.
  • Sometimes you only need half a sprite, or just a single outer and inner curve along with a straight line to go over another tile. Basically, a lot of downsizing from 9 squares to a rotatable 3 freed up tons of space on many transition tiles.
  • Lots of generic buildings can be cut up into simple Lego-like pieces and it saves tons of space on the sprite sheet.

       Finding an optimal layout for the tiles took WAY longer than I thought. I just wanted to put similar objects together, order them from top to bottom by the layers I expect them to be on (floors on top, decorations on bottom), and cut them up into categories like "Meadow" or "Buildings" to save game memory by not loading more tiles than I have to for any given scene.

     Seems I got too caught up in doing it as efficiently as possible (no flipped repeats, no empty spaces, all recolors together) and just ended up confusing myself. So I ended up just putting them in a more human readable order. Maybe a little inefficient, but I'm sure if phones can handle Infinity Blade 2 and countless 3D MMOs, then BGP should load just fine.

     Now this thing is a real game changer. I can use a lot of these effects to make flashy special moves and overworld effects super quickly which is going to make the polishing process incredibly easy and also make this game more visually appealing than its competitors. Which is a leg up I'll probably need in order to justify the $5 price tag. 

       So I'm basically behind schedule and truly hoping I can get something out in time to show journalists in February before the March blockbusters and E3 hype nab all the headlines. Onwards! To the Alpha build!

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