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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #182 (Gotta Gain Marketing Chops)

     A key problem with Battle Gem Ponies right now is that nobody knows it exists. How do I let people who'd probably like it know it exists? Well, sitting here and talking about it on my website nobody's heard of isn't getting the job done. And an occasional mention here and there on high traffic blogs isn't working either. 

     How about I take it to the hypest place on the information highway? The place people specifically go to look to see interesting things they'll probably like...

     YouTube. I'm talking about YouTube. I need to take my channel seriously and start pumping out videos that show what the game is all about, what I'm all about as a dev, and for the love of all things holy get my Patreon numbers up before my debts swallow me whole (this game is officially years too late and things I've been putting off won't stay at bay forever). 

     See all the different ways I plan to save my butt financially by pushing Battle Gem Ponies under a much bigger spotlight in this week's development log!

See that 300 subscribers right there?
I wanna add a zero to that before December.
Going back over this part of my panel, I can't believe I once thought my first draft Vinerva was a good, original idea.

  • Notes On How to Run Future Panels
  • Adjusted Task List for Preparing Alpha Demo 1
  • Studied Other Patreon-Supported Small Indie Games Closely
  • Dealt With Some Ramifications of My Game Delays Affecting Me & My Family's Finances
  • Learned About LLC Protection and Effective Ways to Keep Yotes Games Creations Legally Safe
  • Researched Freelance Unity Work, Decided on Boosting Patreon Efforts Instead
  • Post About New Plans For Patreon Campaign
  • Also New Plans for Being More Active on YouTube
  • Watched Several Video Editing Tutorials & Software Recommendations
  • Plans for 12 New YouTube Videos to Release Back-to-Back (probably weekly)
     Lessons Learned:
  • I finally found out why last year's BC Panel video never went up on YouTube. Turns out those wicked hurricanes damaged the footage and equipment, so anything not posted already was lost.
  • My debts and living expenses are catching up with me. My game was supposed to have been out for months by now, and I can't keep delaying this forever. 
  • It's really time to step things up and get some serious hype around BGP. A great start would be finishing up that Alpha demo and encouraging more folks to believe in the project enough to donate to the Patreon.
  • Making fancy videos is a lot easier now than it was last time I seriously checked. (the early YTP days)
Can't sit here pretending I don't get emotional knowing there's actual fans of BGP out there...
I want so badly to create a game that people love the way I love games...
Battle Gem Ponies has to happen. It feels so much like my destiny.
       Being dead honest, I'm literally another month behind schedule already so the November thing's not going to happen. Best I can hope for is an early access demo by then that could hopefully bring in some form of holiday revenue to start the new year off with. 2019 will be the year of the marketing blitz. Where I'll be traveling everywhere I can to promote BGP in person and toss merchandise around and whatever else it takes to make BGP look like a big deal until it actually becomes one.

     I'm willing to work on Battle Gem Ponies for however long it takes to do it right, but it's been almost 4 years now, and I have to start at least making some sort of money to support myself. And I'd prefer my part-time job be marketing this game to boost Patreon numbers than working full time at an IT firm and doing this on the side for the next few years.

I shudder at the thought...


Every day at least a few people download BGP.
     We passed 2,000 downloads of the BGP demo from the start of the year. Basically caught back up to the numbers of the demo before. Gotta do a lot better than that if I want any traction, but people also want more content. Actual levels and story, polished combat, fewer bugs. And life's been kicking my butt around lately keeping me away from the workstation, but not anymore! Time to kick it up a notch! 

(Boy I say stuff like that a lot, huh?)


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

     These are the folks currently keeping the project alive! Especially the top dogs Matthew Brancato, Matt DeVito, and King Eraser Rainbows. I seriously can't thank you folks enough and I really want to get this game out to you as soon as possible. To me it feels like you're as deep into this investment as I am, and that makes me want to deliver for our sakes and not just mine.

     I know for sure some friends have dropped off the active patrons list, and I can't blame 'em. Who's not having money problems these days (or ever throughout history really)? The game was supposed to be finished by now. At the fever-pitch of hype and celebration, but here we are... I really have to fix this. 

     And no sugar-coating, I'm at the point where just 3 of the patrons aren't my irl friends I know, love, and hangout with. And that's a problem. Of course best friends are always gonna support you, but this means I've only formed an social bubble or echo-chamber around Yotes Games when the goal is to reach thousands of people who've never heard of me before. 

There is intense demand for the exact kind of game I'm making. And the least shameless, spammy
way to share it with the, is to have them share it amongst themselves.
     Once again, I need to step it up and grab the attention of those missing people because they aren't just going to come to me. And those people aren't going to stick around if I don't have an actual, working game to show them.

     A polished demo must be up and running as soon as possible. And I need to document creating it so I can stitch together some interesting YouTube videos to get new eyeballs on this project and generate that hype needed to get this game out before the year 2045 for goodness sake. 


     My panel was all about game development. I'd post it here for all to see, but it's kinda just an assortment of random pictures without me talking over it for context. So my current plan is to make a handful of YouTube videos going deeper into each topic I went over at this gamedev panel.

     The event itself went great, I got about 1/3 of the room filled despite my panel overlapping a YouTuber group panel next door, a dance party downstairs, and a line forming for a stripshow down the hall at 10:45pm Friday night. Plenty of new faces and interesting reactions from familiar faces because I had no idea until recently just how much the non-dev section of my audience loves hearing all the nerdy-gritty details that makes things tick.

     That was sort of the whole basis for the rewritten panel. I wanted to go over everything and not just my portfolio, copyright explanations, and some programming examples. I had 60 minutes to briefly explain every trick I'm using to develop Battle Gem Ponies.

     I even stayed up all night the day I arrived in Baltimore, just off in the little office corner remaking the entire presentation because I thought it could be paced better and cover more topics than just my portfolio and programming tricks. 

     Pretty happy with the end result, presentation could've used a lot more flair, but I'm hoping to get better at showmanship over time. I got some laughs, I taught some folks things they never knew, and I learned a thing or two talking to some fellow coders afterwards. BronyCon was nice. Especially seeing all the friends I miss dearly on a daily basis all in the flesh in one party suite all to ourselves. A great reminder of what I'm doing all this for. 

     To make a game everybody thinks is cool so I can earn money to spend traveling all around this wide, wacky world and spread the game even more. Spending some much needed vacation time with my best friends in the galaxy along the way. It really was the most refreshing thing to see all my best friends in one place again, and I can only hope to do so more often starting next year.

    And speaking of next year... Looks like there's just one BronyCon left. One last chance to leave an impression on the Northeastern bronies (since every convention around there seems to fail). Here I am already making lofty goals, but I'd love to premiere some Battle Gem Ponies DLC at the next BronyCon. Make a big deal out of it and just be super extra.

The Battle Gem Ponies Post-Launch Par-Tay! Yeah... I'll think about it.

(I also always wanted to host a Magfest Versus kinda gameshow activity, I think I outta experiment with that next BC)

     A multitude of changes are coming to the Yotes Games Patreon page, so if you're a donor keep an eye out for an exclusive updates coming soon. I want feedback from you guys on what's enticing and what I should share next.

     And I'd like for everybody reading this all the way to the end to take a look at my post from yesterday about improving patron rewards and give some feedback before I go around announcing any promises.

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