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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog (January: Foundation Framework)

     Itching to kickoff the new year with great progress on Battle Gem Ponies! Gotta admit, I'm sorta stumbling out the gate in this race here, but I'm getting a rhythm down now.

See what I'm talking about below the break.

State of the Game

   In short, it's in the final planning stages. I still know exactly what the game is and considered every tiny detail in a series of 300+ page design documents. But given the current situation, I have to get my development tools and Unity Engine setup in order.


   You see, my computer derped-out on me bigtime. And my weak off-brand backup drive was a bad idea for a lifeline. The computer I developed Battle Gem Ponies on has been corrupted and wiped clean. The only useful backup files that survived were all the assets that went into BGP. 

    That means the character sprites, template sheets, tile sheets, music, spreadsheets, text files, sound effects, development tools, and marketing materials are all fine. The only things that didn't make it were the Unity project files. That's the code, the scenes, the data structures, the animations, the maps, the menus, and everything else that brought the game to life. That's all gone now and I have to start from scratch...

     And I will. And it will be better than the last time. It will be more secure than the last time. It will be more efficient than the last time. I will be remaking Battle Gem Ponies... for the last time.

    This entire fiasco only further proves that nothing short of death itself will keep me from making this game.

YouTube Plan

   This year is all about doing things right, and that includes marketing. People need to know this game exists, and the best way to do that with a small budget and no team is to try to conquer YouTube. That's where the people are, right? So I gotta get it in front of them that way. 

    The aim is to have a new video uploaded each week, talking about some aspect of development, explaining a feature of the game, describing characters, creating something live while talking over it, or showing off general progress so far. 

     I'll have to start over with the YouTube scripts though, since my Macbook couldn't backup those notes I had written on it. Since that mishap, I'm using Google's Keep Note now so that my scribbles and pages are all in the cloud, accessible on any device.


   Kicked off the year with Magfest and it truly was the greatest motivator I've had in a while. Seeing so many people enjoy my creation even though it's unfinished and messy by my own standards gives me hope that this could become something huge and beloved. All I have to do is fulfill my promise. Finish what I started and everything else can fall into place.

   I am planning to attend the final BronyCon this year in a big way. But first I'll need to gather a serious following and make significant progress on the game itself. I want to host a Magfest Versus style game show, as well as a game development group panel, and even a Let's Play panel. And also even a booth in the Vendor Hall to demo the game just like at Magfest. 

New Tools

   Most notable new tools for development include fancy Camera Systems, Unity's Shader Graph, Nested Prefabs, Custom Editor Tools, and my newfound appreciation for best practices involving collaborative development in case I ever get help programming this thing (or other titles) in the future.

2019 Plan

To quickly summarize my goals for the rest of the year...

February - Prototype Build with all basic features in place and no polish. Finish up the Design Document and quit adding new ideas.

March - Filling in a lot of placeholders with finalized graphics. Get the little details right.

April - A decent amount of polish to make up a demo for the earliest part of the game. The first vertical slice.

May - Grind out a bunch of the tedious stuff like making every tile map, animating all moves, writing all dialogue, and animating ponies.

June - Continue the grind until the bulk of the game is done.

July - Filling in those thousands of tile sprite placeholders.

August - Really focus on marketing the game for a bit. Try to get a demo in the hands of as many people as possible and spread word of mouth.

September - Play through a rough version of the game and figure out what needs to be tweaked.

October - Add tons and tons of polish and animate/finalize any remaining placeholders.

November - Resolving any and all bugs and balance issues.

December - Hopefully, putting on the finishing touches and going through rigorous playtesting.

Anybody who wants to see the full super-detailed production document (at least the checklist portion of it anyway) can find it on the public Yotes Games Google Drive.


     I am all too excited to finish this journey with you. I'm looking forward to sharing bigger & better builds of the game every month and seeing what you all think.

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