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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.

Landscape to Portrait test using new resizing settings.
Works in a way that's easier for me to edit now. 
  • Using A New Even MORE Detailed Task List (cut down on "how exactly do I do that?" time by writing out multiple ways to get each small task done)
  • Studied Setups at PAX East & Wrote Notes for Planning my Own Expo Booths
  • Researched How Brands Like FNAF Get Everywhere and How Licensing Works
  • Added To Convention/Expo Shopping List (things needed to start touring BGP)
  • Fixed Menu Show/Hide Bug
  • Fixed Button Detection Layer Bug
  • Fixed Sprite Alignment Bug (saving sheets as Crop: keep position, then eventually No Trim now instead of Polygon Outline in Texture Packer)
  • Completely Updated Title Screen, Overworld HUDs
  • Updated All Scripts for Efficiency & Deleted Unnecessary Ones
  • Detailed Battle Flow Written in Design Document (preparing to convert messy code to Playmaker Finite State Machine flow charts)
  • New Global Script "Anim" for Handling AnimationClips
  • Separated Portrait & Landscape Versions of Menus in 2 GameObject "Folders"
  • Fixed Screen Layout Bugs Caused by Putting Them Into Those Folders
Screen Adjusts HUD for various resolutions
Here's a peek at my developer notes. I'm using this bulletpoint task system now so I always know what to be working on.

     Lessons Learned:
  • I seem to focus more using this new task list system where I write down every last tiny detail of what needs to be done and erasing as I go instead of only having major bullet points to tackle every day.
  • Looks like my texture packing efforts were in vain, because I had to skip all the trimming in order to have sprites of varying sizes animate properly, going from an average pony sheet of 14KBs to 56KBs on average. (basically exactly what it was before)
  • Tried some playtesting with older folks this week, and it didn't go too well. The game's pretty confusing for those unfamiliar with RPG basics, so if I want universal appeal, that's something I'll have to work on. 
  • If the original Pokemon games could be picked up and played by babies, there's a way to make BGP's instructions more clear and I need to figure that out.
     So after all the fuss, I can't pack the battle sprite sheets because the trimming is what's been causing all the weird visual glitches I'm finding lately. Oh well. Despite the texture packing being a bust, it's still a helpful tool, compresses static images really well, and organizes sheets nicely, so it's still worth having around.


This email is always such a morale boost.
A reminder that there's folks out there that seriously care and want to see me succeed.
Can't let them down.

     Big thanks to my Patrons! Yotes Games is fueled yet again by Matt DeVito, Matthew Brancato, Tiarra Hutter, Xander Kyle Puckett, King Eraser Rainbows, Bryant Ramirez, Tia Robyn, Sara Meador, Nenekiri, and ErrorStream. You guys are the best! 💛

     Thanks to the donations, I can start purchasing all the special effects I'll need after the Alpha is in the polish state. And I can finally get that Compile Time Optimizer I've had my eye on ever since the game project started taking 60+ seconds to load/playtest the game in-editor and at least 20 seconds to load each time I click into the Unity Window.

     Time is precious, and thanks to my Patreon budget, I can keep finding ways to cut wasted hours.


     Can't believe I missed an opportunity to hang out with all the gamedevs of Orlando last weekend. I had no idea this Indienomicon thing was going on! Or the crazy Spooky Empire party the day after! Could've had a blast and done some networking too.

     It's weird because I'm subscribed to all these things, but I never saw the events come up. Maybe its because I've been trying to avoid endlessly scrolling on Facebook and Twitter to focus more on work. To check, or not to check. Seems like a double-edged sword, huh? 

    Well, they meetup the first Thursday of every month, so I can catch them in May and get feedback on the BGP Alpha while I'm at it.

     Getting pretty nervous about having a new version of the game ready for the Orlando Overdrive event. I'm trying to at least recreate all the features that existed in the last public version, but without all the combat bugs and slow downs. With the menus pretty much complete and the new battle flow planned out, I'm hoping I'll be able to just barely make it with the sacrifice of some sleep just once or twice. 

     It'll all be worth it to feel confident having new players come by and give it a try. Last thing I want is to be the buggiest game on the show floor. I'm standing next to award-winning indie titles for goodness sake! I wanna make a good impression.

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