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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #183 (Patron Palooza)

     I got an itchy twitch finger and put up the new Patreon ideas immediately. Still eager for feedback and willing to add any new ideas or mix things around, but I really felt like kicking off August with the new revamp and just having that ready to go as soon as my first couple YouTube videos go up.

    And new videos will be popping up twice a week at least for the next little while, just to build some momentum. It's all really exciting stuff and I can't wait to see how it grows. 

Now then... Onto to the devlog!

These are the kinds of notes I'm dealing with recording for my upcoming videos.
Talk about the things in a concise and humorous manner,
try to minimize the amount of editing tricks I have to pull off.
But still have visually interesting things going on to hook people with.
I record the lines in Audacity using my macbook's internal microphone,
and I do retake after retake until I don't sound too weird.
And here's me in pony pajamas talking to a laptop late at night.
First recording session! Let's see how this goes.
I forgot all about this sprite GIF making tool...


  • Updated Patreon Page (featuring new rewards, and goals!)
  • New Patreon Reward Tier Images (now featuring eye-catching spritework)
  • Rewrote Patreon Page Again (to be more concise)
  • Updated About Me Page on Blog
  • Made a List of Backup Jobs in Case of Patreon Failure
  • Drafted a Resume (that was erased when LibreOffice crashed just before I saved)
  • Made a BETTER Resume Using Open Office Instead (with portfolio screenshots)
  • Applied to Fun Sounding Unity Mobile Development Jobs (which can hopefully be done remotely too)
  • Closely Studied Successful GameDevs on YouTube & Patreon
  • Caught Up on Lots of Fan Game & Indie News
  • Outlined More YouTube Video Ideas
  • Planned Scripts for First Few Videos
  • Recorded Lines in My Closet at 4am With My Laptop's Built-In Microphone
  • Recorded Lots of Footage to Edit Into Videos Later
  • Wrote New Ideas Holding Onto for BGP Sequel
  • Wrote Lore for the Legendary Alicorns
  • Now Using Piskel to Make Sprite GIFs
  • Watched Hours of HitFilm Express Tutorials
  • Discovered FootageCrate (free video effects to liven things up)
  • Found Even More Public Domain Video Effects & Templates (check out Biteable, Videvo, RenderForest, Adobe Spark, & Animaker)
  • Discovered 4KDownloader Thanks to a TechRadar Recommendation (let's me download all those royalty free green screen video effects on YouTube)
  • Studied This Video On Text Crawl Voice Effects
Studied This Video On Phoenix Wright Style Voice Effects.
Seriously, read the description of that thing, it's fascinating!
Comes with source code and everything.
     Lessons Learned:
  • Recording my voice for the videos is a tedious, awkward, and time consuming task. Seriously, saying the same sentence over and over comes out so weird in most takes because I'm so used to just listening to the voice in my head.
  • It'll take some time for my mouth and mind voices to sync up.
  • My videos can get a lot more lively and interesting if I put some money towards a year's worth of video effects and memorize all the HitFilm Express tools. Doesn't just have to be a slideshow in video form.
  • Some of the video effects I've seen could improve the quality of my game trailers too. Anything to stand out and look like a pro.
  • By the looks of it, for the amount of time and energy I could be putting into contract work, the pay looks to be about the same as what I could be trying to boost patreon numbers too. With Patreon having the added benefit of also being the #1 game project I want to be working on.
  • I skimmed through this video about the new MLP mobile game Pocket Ponies the other day and it got me thinking about how much I outta play up the player's victories in my apps.
  • You really need to make it juicy, just go HAM on the audio/visual feedback when you're trying to hook someone on mobile. But the main thing about the game I'm trying to hook folks onto, is how it's designed to actually be fun. As in playing the game is the real reward. 
  • I'm hoping I can use a bunch of the common mobile tricks and tactics to draw in a wide audience but then show them what a video game designed for fun/challenge/adventure/story is supposed to be like.

       Like, I can be all for what you're trying to do with your mobile game, but then I see a page like this. And I just *hurk* 😷 Can't do it. Can't help but dive into cyinical mode and wish my dream from 5 years ago about indies shifting the landscape and starting a new era of GBA quality games being the norm on mobile had come true.

     I still wanna try. I really do. I want little girls obsessed with ponies to stumble across my game and have that same jaw-dropping experience I had when I first discovered Pokemon. In addition to making a game I know I'd like, I want to make something good for the generation of kids growing up only knowing what standard mobile games are like. I want to make that first awesome game that sticks in their hearts and minds, not just their wallets.

But that's the industry for ya. Gotta make those millions somehow...


If you didn't know, Yotes Games is on Patreon!
     But these days I'm not sure even patreon can save me. I'm about 2 years of delays past due on this Battle Gem Ponies project and a paying job seems to be the smartest way out of my predicament. I could really use an experienced software developer's income, at least for the next 6 months to a year. Which is also about how long I estimate it'd take to finish BGP (if everything went smoothly, which it never does).

     I'm here planning out marketing strategies to boost Patreon numbers, but I can't realistically expect to reach YandereDev numbers within the short time span I need to start covering various payments. It looks like my best bet is to get a day job to pay the bills, replace my terribly aging car, and get on track for becoming debt-free as quickly as possible.

     Once all these scary 5 digit numbers aren't hanging over my head I can start breathing easy and stashing my own cash away to go all in on Battle Gem Ponies and Yotes Games in 2019. So as it stands now, I can keep the Patreon up, following the current plan written there ($100 a month for BGP, then a stretch goal of $400 minimum for me to live on). But if a good paying gamedev job offer comes through, I can live and save off that, and put 100% of the Patreon income towards BGP's development like I originally planned. 

     Instead of using hundreds of patreon bucks to put off debt a little longer, I can get right to using that money for paid help and marketing. That'll help make up for lost time and also get the game's popularity to a point where it's more likely to be a financial success down the road. 

     I could balance my time and do an 8/4 hour split. Whichever job ends up being part time gets 4 productive hours out of me at night, and the other gets 8 straight hours during the day. Chances are the side hustle is going to be BGP unless I can find a really good hourly programming job where I can dish out quality contract work on a part time schedule.

     Alternatively, I could start putting out those YouTube videos and see immediate, magical, explosive growth that gets my Patreon into the thousands before a job interview even happens. That's the only scenario where I could see me changing course and doubling down on BGP one last time and try to get this thing out by January.

     But the current plan is moonlight this thing like the numerous indies that came before me. All in hopes that I'm in a much better position to devote all my time to the game when it's close to release or once it shows great promise after release. Whenever that may be.


     This Battle Gem Ponies summary was posted on Equestria Gaming. I'm happy to have my stuff shared, but I can't help but notice the strange bootleg style writing errors and my logo box being copy/patched over in the top right corner. I thought it was kinda funny, like when I found Unicorn Training on a while ago. 

     If Equestria Gaming isn't gaining the writing staff it needs (I mean, they even offered a small paid writing position I pitched to my game reviewer/journalist friends) then this strange, likely foreign freelance writer is going to just summarize a fandom game every couple weeks and that's just all the site will be going forward.  

     Man, is the brony gamedev community really that small? I swear there were fan projects all over the place just a couple years ago. Latest example of a long-running project that just wrapped up after 6 years is Ponyvania. And that one had a pretty strong influence on Unicorn Training.

     I dunno. I just feel so disconnected from other developers, even within my super specific niche. There's like, no place to all gather, share updates, and spur each other on. Or those places do exist, but nobody's using them.

For anyone curious about the resume...

     I wrote this based on the template I made a while ago that takes advice from a podcast I listen to called the Ken Coleman Show. It's all about getting into careers you actually care about and teaches you how to climb the ranks and get to your dream job quickly and produce your best possible work.

     If you want a quick summary version of what to include on your own resume, check out this manual and make sure to include the most important part which is the "Who I Know" section. Since most of the time, your resume will get a 10-60 second glance over before the next one gets picked up. According to the experts at Ramsay Solutions, having a good connection helping you out from the inside is a surefire way to get your foot in the door.

     I'm only leaving that part out because of the time crunch I'm under preventing me from going around town hanging out with IT professionals and building a network. (I knew I should've went to those Indienomicon meetups even though my current game's not done!)

     Oh man... On August 25th my 5th year Indieversary is coming up... I've been going all-in on Yotes Games as a "company" for 5 years now! I'd really like to use that day to start turning this ship around. Start uploading things to YouTube and make the Patreon more appealing. I'll be doing my best to get the first video out by this weekend.

     I'm excited to see how this helps Battle Gem Ponies grow!

     No matter what, I have to keep making baby steps of progress on BGP if I ever want it to come out. And believe me, there's nothing in the world I want more than for this game to be finished, beloved, and successful.

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