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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!

Feels like I'm super late to the party, but I finally figured out how useful sorting layers are.

I can keep better track of what sprites should be overlapping whatever else.
  • Adjusted Task List to get to Alpha Demo Release ASAP
  • Figured Out Sorting Layers
  • Got Used to How Prefab Tiles Worked
  • Reorganized & Setup Prefabs
  • Prepared Placeholder Scripts
  • Changed Some Story Scenarios
  • Created Map Template 
  • Edited Some Tile Sprites
  • Finished Converting 8/20 Demo Tile Maps 
  • Wrote All Demo Dialogue
  • Planned Demo Events in Greater Detail
  • Rewritten Schedule (ANOTHER huge delay, it never ends!)
     Lessons Learned:
  • Actually placing all the tiles takes about 4 times as long as just drawing the dang things.
  • I'm going to have to go back and trace over a bunch of things I want to have animated later. Might even need to extend my sprite sheets because it turns out the animated tiles can't rotate in the editor.
Equestrian Labs Interior (Graph Paper version)
Equestrian Labs Interior (Tilemap version)
     Been working towards getting the first 8 areas (20 pages) converted into playable maps. I want to finish those, make all the scripted events work, make all the overworld & battle mechanics they'll need functional, and go back through to redraw all the placeholder tiles then animate the battle scene ponies and moves.

     An incomplete alpha, sure, but with all the playable parts I want folks to see before release in there so it's clear what the game is going to be like. After that I can tinker away at the rest of the game while hopefully word spreads. The goal is to become one of those highly anticipated fan projects like the ones I follow all the time. 

     If I want to blow up like those I'll do what they do. Have an awesome demo, a story and characters people can get behind, a gimmick/mechanic nobody else is doing, familiar themes/references to popular IPs for mainstream press to pick up on, a developer people can root for, and a presence all over the web. 

     Pretty much almost there except for the awesome demo part. Pinto Island exists but it's an overwhelming, confusing, buggy mess with a ton of missing polish. Need to get something solid, pretty, understandable, and engaging out there so people take it seriously and see what I'm trying to do here.


     As far as feature spots this week go, check out my latest blunder...

The ONE night I don't check emails. OF COURSE this happens!

An attempt to salvage this... Hoping for another miracle.
Nothing for two days... Then...
God Bless America...
     This has been a little emotional roller coaster and I'm super hype for another chance to present BGP to some smiling faces! Gotta kinda put together some coherent presentation since a few months after the waitlisting, I stopped expecting this to happen and just focused on development. This time around I want to tell the story about all the struggles of making this thing then show off a bit of what it all amounts to, followed by a surprise reveal the Alpha Demo in person if I can get that done too. 

     This panel is the exact motivation boost I needed this month. I'm willing to cut out a bit more sleep and wolf down meals in order to squeeze more dev time out of each day. Plane takes off in 20 days. It's on.

Updated my To Do List and depressed myself a little... Not making that July goal by a longshot.
Turning 25 years old on October 28th and will still be living with my parents...
     My current aim is to get to that minimum viable product version of the game. The alpha build where everything up to the first badge is nice and polished to the point where I can go around sharing that with as many people as possible to build hype and get a strong fanbase going. If my game ends up getting delayed even further (which let's face it, is very likely) I'd like to at least find safety is surefire success by having tens of thousands of people clamoring for it before it's even out.

     After all these years, I need to be 100% sure I can live off this game's success long enough to make an even bigger one with more help in a much shorter amount of time. If I deliver the goods, the people will come. If the people like what I delivered, the money will come. If the money is plentiful, I can deliver greater goods, and the cycle continues. 

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