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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. 

Picked up some neat little things recommended to me over the week.

  • Got a Random MonoDevelop Compiler Bug that Ate An Entire Night
  • Studied EZ Data Manager & Easy Save 2
  • Revamped Global Variable System
  • New Load/Save System
  • Redesigned Events for Demo Version (better shows off what the game is all about)
  • Tweaked Some Story Events to Be More Engaging
  • Found More Unity Asset Store Channels & Browsed
  • Downloaded Some Free, Useful Tools
  • Bookmarked Some Asset Packs for Later
  • Fleshed Out More Rules and Descriptions for Oatmeal Mode
  • Created "Safe File" System for Game Over Resets (sends you back to the last used healing place or area entrance with data autosaved at that point)
  • New EZ_Save, EZ_Load, and EZ_Files Scripts to Control Save Data
     Lessons Learned:
  • This project feels so much more manageable now that every little variable is clear as day and I know what every method does and where to find their source.
  • The real test of clarity will come when I remake the combat system.
I didn't understand the benefits at first,
but it really is more helpful to see my variables displayed this way.
       The big event for me this past weekend was staying up overnight to get a new data system working (while normal, healthy people were out seeing Avengers 3). The old code was a mess and I was running into bugs I didn't know how to fix because my code was like a messy room. I couldn't deal with the organized chaos anymore. 

     The whole reason I'm spending extra months recreating everything was to get rid of game-breaking bugs in the first place! So I'm starting the code from scratch too now. Organizing things, commenting clearly, spacing things out, spelling entire words, organizing by category, eliminating redundancy, and using helpful/colorful/neat Unity plugins and tutorial scripts that make debugging a much smoother process than getting lost in the virtual haystack looking for yo-yos to untangle.

     Sure, it's pretty good, but I keep running into situations where I forget what something does because it's abbreviated or where I seem to have 2 variables doing the same thing. Also, the new version lets me see what a value currently is at runtime without me having to write a script to print that information. And they're so neatly tucked away in those category drop-downs!

      Just overall, this system saves me some head-scratches and frustrating/wasted time.

A new Unicorn Training Let's Play?
     Came across this video randomly as I was internally debating if calling the Unicorn series "Adventures in Equica" was a good idea or not since I saw a couple Let's Players stumble over the name. Like, the name of your game series should be easy and fun to pronounce. Then Paradomix here reads it perfectly right away and I think "Yeah, maybe if it's famous enough, people will just get it. Equica isn't that confusing of a word."

     Main takeaways from watching it? Combat is tedious, there needs to be a guiding force to let players learn the ropes, way too much text/exposition, build up to challenging enemies and surprise bonus rounds in combat instead of letting the random generator decide.

Oh, and also this happened.

     Checked the mail before work today just in time to have my heart crushed a little... But it's fine, the game will still be released by then (or else) and that outta speak for itself. 2019 is the year of extreme con touring and showing off the finished product both in vendor booth and hosted panel forms.

BGP 2018 Panel Description
     Gonna have a presentation prepared anyway, in case there's a last minute change or another panel flakes out. Still waiting on word if the group panel I signed up for got accepted though. I'll take anything I can get since this will be BGP launch season and I'll need word of mouth to spread at the con.

In more uplifting news, BGP has the most popular DevLog on and it's getting hundreds of views on too.
So people are still interested in the game, no doubt about that.

     The endless march continues... I just want the Alpha out you guys. According to the original 18 Week Schedule I'm supposed to have an entire functioning Alpha build right now. In reality, I'm half a month late. That means when I even finally do finish getting the game back to a playable Pinto Island state, there's still at least 18 weeks of development to go...

     But I can't slow down. Just need to tackle tasks one at a time. Every night I go to bed and the game is at least a little closer to completion.

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