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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Battle Gem Ponies (September DevLog): Major Buildup

Wild leaps in progress and productivity as we're settling into the flow of being a team. All just in time for the biggest game dev session yet. Next month is going to feel like half a year's worth of work done in just a couple weeks compared to rate we've been going so far. 

There's been all kinds of improvements in terms of art, menus, and code architecture. It's really shaping up beautifully and we're excited about what we'll be able to deliver in just a couple months.

Get the details on this month's gamedev adventures below!

Here's a peek at the in-battle debug window. We're gonna use this to track every calculation going on in battles during playtests to identify problem areas and very wrong numbers even while playing outside the editor.

State of the Game 

Fixed Animation Bugs

Some frames were wrong or colors not quite right, so minor adjustments were made across the board to make them look good.

VS Match Menu

Sub Menus getting setup now. All the little pop-ups and things that'll let players setup their handpicked & customized teams for battle and even save those setups for reuse later. 

Battle System

Move effects including Multi-Attacks (hits you 2 or more times at once like Pokemon’s Bullet Seed), and HP Modifiers (deals damage based on a funky equation unique to the move instead of calculating standard variables) were added to the combat calculation system in such a way that makes it easier to make custom moves. We'll be looking into improving this quick move customization feature next month.

Switched to GitHub

We're finally getting rid of the super slow Unity Collab system that's been making half our weekly meetings a painful waste of time and getting with Git's software versioning system to backup the project and help us all manage project files together in the most efficient way possible. Worked like a charm lately, so other devs, I highly recommend looking into it.

Merch Store Update

Facebook & Instagram Compatible now! Now Facebook Followers can browse for Battle Gem Ponies merch without leaving the app or site itself. 

And if you haven't yet...
Check out the BGP Store for yourself!


Placeholder "artwork" for the battle scene backgrounds. One for every stage. 20 in total. Super quick doodles to work with that didn't take up more than 2 minutes each to make. Now we'll have something to work with for the alpha build of the game.

Had to take into account the 70+ different locations and how there's so many of these that they'd need their own sprite sheet away from the other backgrounds.

Tilemap Brushes

Brushes are for automatically generating tiles in patterns or shapes I preset be used when drawing the tilemaps. Things like randomized grass, cliff shapes, animated scenery, and whatnot. Learned all about em in this video a ways back. There's gonna be about 500+ maps in the final game and this will help them be drawn much faster.

Tile Sprites

I'm noticing that I broke a cardinal rule of gamedev (make things clear enough for future you to understand) and I can hardly tell what many of the tile sprites are supposed to be. So I'll be going through each and making a much more decent first pass image for all of them. 

Like, I can't for the life of me understand what these were supposed to be.
Must've been half asleep pulling an all-nighter getting this forest set done 
and conked out just after drawing the mushrooms & flowers.

There's about 7000 tiles though, and some are animated, so I'll need to make a decent time estimate before fully committing to doing the entire task at once in this stage if development.


This month we've come across a few design elements that were overlooked so we'll be addressing them with a few menu redesigns. Some are more drastic than others so it'll have to wait for the update coming after this first one. 

Here's an example of what we're considering for allowing players to customize their level up ratios. Gotta consider things like conciseness, accuracy/presentation of noteworthy variables, ease of use, controls for manipulating the interface with either a tap, click, or controller button press. 

It's a whole thing.

On the back of our minds this release are small things like a more convenient stage selector and pop ups for adjusting certain stats that are typically handled in the background in story mode. We're basically constructing the entire battle system game loop here and need to make sure we setup all the various parts we wanna play with.

A draft of what the stage select screen could look like.
Unity lets us whip up new menus like this pretty quickly.

Another oversight was the fact that I should've used Adobe Color for picking the color schemes of the chroma ponies instead of eyeballing it for a week. Probably would've sped up the process to be handed mathematically perfect palettes to start with.

Royal missed a few weeks in a row (his job demands relentless hours), but we're getting back on track in October as both the programmers will be temporarily available for full-time BGP!

And for one last bit of news...

Not related to us, but we say goodbye Brackeys this September. The super helpful tutorial channel on YouTube that's guided members of the Yotes Games team for years. It's just the best way to learn Unity and the high level technicalities of game programming, period. And it will be missed...

(2020 continues to be the year of losses on every level)

Experience the sadness here.

Next Steps 

October is gonna be a huge catchup month. Royal and Psy are both going to be using as much vacation time as possible to pull of a massive weeks long BGP jam.

There's still tons of sprites and placeholders to deal with, so nobody's hands are really tied in a way that pushes the final release date, but the November demo will be in danger if we don't get enough programming done next month. Pressure's on, but so is the hype. The whole team is jazzed about finally getting a public demo out there and seeing players react to everything we've built over the last year.

Believe me, all I want for my birthday is for this demo to be ready. Playable, pretty, and prepped for launch. Feels like the start of a new era is coming just around the corner.

Tons of daydreaming about the future of Yotes Games has been taking place and we're seeing a detailed vision of the kind of workplace we want to form. This next month will be a little preview of what that full-time indie team life could be like.

Can't wait to see what we can turn out!

You can see the mid-month Patreon Exclusive progress posts here!

And you can find Battle Gem Ponies Swag here.

Thank you, for following the development of Battle Gem Ponies.

Get Ready. We're about to jump into Hyperspace...

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