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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. 

Screen freezes up like this for a long time while the tile pallettes are created.
Here's the tile pallette once it's loaded.
The sprites themselves are still placeholders though.

Wanted to redesign Ultra Vamparas ever since I rushed out that first draft.
Upped the creep factor and made the symbiote influence more obvious.
Drew these while my Unity window was occupied with tile creation.
Had an urge to make this pony a bit fluffier for the longest time.
I think I'm satisfied now. Maybe.
Once again, this expense snuck up on me. Really thought my game would long be out by now and this $100 would be renewed with hard earned revenue. Lucky for me, I have patrons to save my butt and cover this developer cost.
Basically, thanks to them, Battle Gem Ponies will be released on iOS this year.

  • Studied How Other Pokemon Clones Market Their Games
  • Studied More Animation Basics
  • Studied What Makes for Good Characters and Character Dynamics
  • Tweaked Some Pony Designs
  • Made Unity Tile Pallettes for All Tile Sheets (uploading each one took 20 minutes at a time somehow!)
  • Renewed My Apple Developer's License
  • Cleaned & Re-Coded More Menu Scripts
This here... Stuff like this keeps proving to me that BGP has a serious chance at financial success.
     Lessons Learned:
  • Another Pokemon inspired indie game was announced on Kickstarter and made over $45,000 on its first day. I think it's safe to say there's a demand. 
  • I drool at the thought of even making anything close to that much within the first few months of launch, let alone day one. 
  • With the new Switch Pokemon games being so decisive, maybe I can take advantage of the chaos when I get the alpha build out there and show people the hardcore RPG they're looking for is right here, playable on a device everyone already has, and at a micro-fraction of the cost.
Pokemon Gold & Silver early build monster designs.
Battle Gem Ponies early build pony designs.
       People attaching to the beta Pokemon designs is making me feel more confident in my pony concept sprites. Maybe people will like the pony designs way more than I do and make fan art that changes my mind about a few of them. As long as their function and personality shines through, even the designs I'm not crazy about stand a chance at being a hit.

Here's another neat thing that just happened.
     Heads up for anybody else out there using GoDaddy and Blogger to host their website. I got a suspicious phone call today urging me to fork over $120 to add SSL to my site before Google Chrome's big mandatory "https" update in July. Only $104 if I act now and use their 20% discount offer (that's actually only 13% off, okay, but who's counting). 

     Thankfully Blogger already lets you do that for free in "Settings" so if you get a random call urging you to make a hundred dollar payment right away or risk a bunch of scary sounding legal mumbo jumbo, just say "Naw brah. Thanks, I'm good."

     Gotta admit though, it was flattering to hear the guy on the phone being impressed with the 360K pageviews. Never really checked the total number myself, always focusing on week-to-week or monthly to see if I'm keeping up momentum and getting at least 200 views per devlog. Zooming out, I guess that is a pretty impressive number for a small fry with a few apps to his name. 


If you didn't know, Yotes Games is on Patreon!

     Can't thank my patrons enough for keeping my chaotic gamedev adventures afloat. Having a pool of money to draw from every time I hit a roadblock is just the most useful tool I've ever had. I can just look up some missing feature on the asset store and somebody somewhere has made something better than I could imagine and has it on sale for about $30. Every time. And it works! 

     Here I am recreating 3+ years of game development in a matter of months all thanks to experience, better organization, and reliable patrons. I can't wait to show off those Patreon trainer characters and hear what you guys think of the beta.


     Still heartwarming to see people discover my old stuff and have fun with it. Unicorn Training is out there impressing folks to this day even though every time I see it I can't help but think "I can do better..." Despite my weirdness, gamers like cinderwing here still feel compelled to upload videos of this cool brony RPG he discovered and it makes me feel special. Like I have the potential to be a huge fish in my own little pond of wicked awesome pony-themed RPGs.

     Oh, but heads up, I don't want to JUST make pony RPGs forever. Just these two series as my main thing for the foreseeable future followed by the tons of other game ideas I have written down. Everything from ninja cats, to space golems, to superhero girls, to rainbow warriors, to poop-eating dogs. I just gotta get Yotes Games established first by conquering a niche near and dear to my heart that nobody else can do (or seems to know exists).

Updating week after week and still not finished recreating all the scripts behind the game...
     As for the direction of development for the next lil bit, I'm gonna mix the first 3 bullet points together for morale's sake. I feel like I'll work faster and feel more motivated if I can step away from the computer and stretch every couple hours then sit back down with a new playable version of the game plus a few new features here and there each time. 

     I dunno. Just seems like that'd fire me up more than days and days with nothing to show for it but nicer looking code and a shorter To Do List (that actually also gets longer as I add in details when I bump into problems). I want to leave the small details and bugs for later because they keep stopping me in my tracks and throwing off all the development momentum. 

     Whether it's waiting 2 mins for Unity to compile every time I click into the window, or I hesitate to code something when the logic doesn't add up the way I expected it to, or I stare at a sprite wondering "why doesn't this look right?" they all lead to me zoning out or feeling drained. And endlessly scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube becomes real interesting when you're bored, tired, and waiting like that. (I'm trying to replace the habit with drawing sprite animations and cutscene sequences on paper to give myself something productive to do when my computer locks up or if I catch myself zoning out from boredom of plotting out alternate logic trees.

    I need the fire in my heart to stay lit. I'm the most productive when I can feel and SEE all the pieces coming together, so maybe I can maximize that by bringing my overall idea of get a basic foundation then fill it in as I go down into the smaller steps too. So when it comes to game assets, placeholders are fine. I just need a working build ASAP because I've been feeling kinda down in the dumps since starting over. Sucks to not have an island to explore or a playable battle system anymore.

     If next Wednesday comes around and I don't have a basic game loop going, well... Consider that rock bottom and this project in development hell. I really don't wanna be there, but here we are 5 days into June and at least 14 weeks of development to go unless I find some kind of speed boost. 

     I'm thinking a bones-first approach might just be that speed boost.

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