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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #200 (Fresh Start)

     At the end of 2018 I took some time to get my personal life sorted out so I can get back to focusing on making Battle Gem Ponies a reality. New year, new job, new home, fresh start! 

But maybe a little too fresh...

     You see, it seems like my Battle Gem Ponies project file in the Unity Engine got corrupted from an interrupted cloud backup process and by the looks of things I'm going to have to literally start from scratch on this project. The only things that survived were all the sprites and some old backup files from the 2017 pre-alpha project.

    It's been driving me crazy all month and trying to save it just wasted a month of energy. I'm ready to start completely over. Probably for the best, so I can look at the guts of the project one last time and use everything I learned to make this game as efficiently as possible.

    I'm here to bring you one last BGP devlog in the format I've done since 2013. From here on posts will be big development summaries once a month and any extras will go up when there's something important to talk about (usually on Wednesdays).

    So come get the latest BGP development news! It's been a while.

  • MAGFest Indie Video Game Showcase Attendance
  • Inspirational Video Sent to Kenya
  • Production Document Update
  • Written ideas for BGP
  • Helpful Unity Assets Discovered
  • Emergency Backup of Corrupted Macbook (couldn't save the Unity files though...)
  • New Development Desk Setup
     Lessons Learned:
  • Backup daily. Like, have that going as you prepare for bed every night at least.
  • A comfortable desk chair makes a difference.
  • It's really easy to fall into a life of hopelessness. Don't let that happen. Keep fighting until this battle for freedom is won!
       At this point, I think it's wise to only have a laser-focused plan for the upcoming month in terms of crossing things off the BGP Production list. That way I can adjust that laser every month instead of disappointing myself by always being behind schedule. 

    For instance, January's goal is to fix my corrupted laptop so I can use it for development again (instead of resorting to the older All-in-One I'm using to type this, running on 4GB of Ram). Other goals for the month include getting those YouTube videos edited & released, writing up the next couple blog posts about my experience at Magfest, and adding all my new BGP ideas to the design document and thinking through exactly what I want the final product to be once again. 

    Things to be accomplished in February revolve around a basic foundation for the game. Experiments with new tools, getting a basic menu/overworld/battle game loop working, and designing the framework to allow me to easily add mechanics and variety to those systems.

     My updated production document has it looking like development is going to take at least 50 weeks from this point onward, so we could be looking at a Christmas 2019 or early 2020 release if I had to spitball a guess. But I won't be looking at dev time that way for once. It's done when it's done, and it won't be done til everything's crossed off the list and put to the test. So I'm looking forward to crossing off those 53 dotted lines one at a time over the year.


A quick look at the numbers behind my apps over the years. (minus data)

     Just to peek at the numbers since I haven't in a while. It's crazy to think about how hundreds of thousands of peeps have seen my stuff and how more than 150K of them played something I made.

     My goal for this year is to get a hype train going and maintain a consistent following that can lead to a successful launch.

     Heads up to anyone looking to play Unicorn Training though, the full version was taken down from Google Play for linking to my store page in a way that violates ad policies apparently. I got rid of the feature entirely, but my build is still being automatically rejected somehow so I'm not sure what else can be done about it for a while. At least while my laptop is still fried. So for now you can download the game on my page.


If you didn't know, Yotes Games is on Patreon!
     Now these guys are BBC the real MVPs right here. Keepin' me alive and funding all the shiny new Unity tools that are gonna make development like a dream. 

These guys plus the awesome Mr. Craig who's been donating directly to my PayPal for years
deserve all the gratitude in the world and I definitely won't be forgetting this ongoing kindness after BGP's launch...

     In addition to implementing all my crazy ideas, I plan to reward these Patrons with In-Game Characters players can fight against.


     Since I've been gone, the biggest deal BGP has been a part of was the Magfest Indie Videogame Showcase. But I'll write up a whole big post on that one for next month.

     Next to that was a little video I sent in a clip to be a part of. A Kenyan development class is starting up and was requesting 30 seconds of advice from black developers to help inspire the kids. 

    And if this blog has proven anything over the years, its that I LOVE being the inspiring voice and helping hand to kickstart other indies get their ideas out of their heads and onto a screen.

Feels real nice seeing BGP be shown off by someone else.
Glad to have made such a splash at Magfest and I look forward to doing it again.

     Hoping by the time my Mac's all fixed I'll have all the new BGP Notes organized into the design document and I can get started on a fresh Unity project. Just having crossed fingers for the sake of my art assets at the very least. 

     I'm fine starting the Unity project from scratch if I have to (although I'd rather not loose 4 years worth of code forever) but it REALLY sucks that I have to animate all those pony sprites again, setup variables for a third time, and layout menus once more.

     But Ill do whatever has to be done to bring this to life. At it for 4 years straight and still going. Because I believe in this game that much. And I cant wait to show the finished version to the whole world...

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