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Monday, November 30, 2020

Battle Gem Ponies (November DevLog): The New Order

You're looking at an all-new Yotes Games as of this month. A full-time indie team speeding ahead towards one milestone after the other! 

Get a peek at what we've been cooking up for our crazy crowdfunding plans for 2021 below!

This month's most tedious work has been importing all the sprites
I spent the first half of the month drawing for the overworld ponies.

Imagine doing this 7,600 times. That's been my past couple weeks.
Brainstormed with the programmers a better way to do this to no avail.

State of the Game 

The biggest thing to note this month is that we have gotten used to our new daily routines. Progress is super speedy compared to how it was before and every day we cross off multiple things on our big To-Do Lists.
  • 2 Full-Time Devs Workday Flow Established
  • Semi-Weekly Meetings Established
  • VS Welcome Screen
  • VS Match Setup Interface Improvements
  • Dynamic Screen Size Adjustment
  • Streamlined Pop-Ups in Many Interfaces
  • All Base Form & Chroma Pony Overworld Sprites & Animations Complete
  • All Development Tasks Restructured Into 2 Week "Sprints"
  • New Milestone Release Schedule Throughout 2021
  • Top Secret Internal Release Date Set
  • Crowdfunding Plans Laid Out
  • New Developer Collaboration Tools
  • Game Design Document Updated with Art Section
  • Marketing Document Updated to Include Social Media Plans, YouTube Video Ideas, new Merch Ideas, and Crowdfunding Text Drafts
One of our VS Mode setup menus. It'll be undergoing some changes soon as we turn Arena Select into its own page and rearrange the layout of some of the buttons here to look neater. 

Haven't given the battle scene enough attention yet, but it's good to see the improvements from last month in there. Especially the generated flavor text system. 

Still messing around getting these various setup and transition screens working.
There's tons of em, but we're knocking them out day-by-day.

All eyes are pointed ahead at the splash we intend to make next February with the launch of a public demo alongside tons of marketing material to generate a lively Battle Gem Ponies community.


Setback wise I'd say the only problem this month is that we're still polishing up menus. There's a lot of tiny bits that go into these things to make them usable. And of course, there's the holiday break where Psy got to rest up and enjoy family time. I kept the midnight oil burning in order to finish up some spritework I'm still way behind on. (It's those darn expression animations for all the overworld ponies. 7600 individual images that need to be drawn and imported by hand because our attempts to automate that process to speed up development failed.)

Other than that, we're knocking tasks off the list each and every day. Just gotta keep it up and this game will eventually be a complete and playable game.

Seeing games like Kindered Fates in action gets us fired up
to keep improving our passion project too!

We spend a little time each Friday in our weekly in-person meeting watching development related videos and catching up on indie game news. We look at inspirational stuff to get us fired up (Shoutout to Gym Leader Ed's Monster Tamer News) and sometimes even tragic cautionary tales of what not to do so we don't end up on the bad side of public opinion (like what happened with YIIK).

Next Steps 

A Battle Gem Ponies Kickstarter in Q2 2021

We're looking towards crowdfunding towards the end of next spring (around the same time I'll literally run out of money to keep this up on my own). Seeing and studying these types of things closely over the years, we're feeling more and more confident that BGP will be able to stand alongside the greats in the indie Monster Tamer game space once the big gameplay demo is out March 2021 featuring all the overworld & battle gameplay from the 2017 BGP Steam Greenlight Demo but vastly improved with our new code architecture, gameplay, animation, and interfaces.

To get an idea of what we're seeing, here's some notable recent Kickstarters for games similar to our Pokémon-inspired project here.

There's even a couple ongoing ones.

Not to mention countless other indie games of different genres we've been taking notes on. We really think we can make a splash if we execute the vision and demonstrate it well enough to the internet at large.

In reality we'd only need about $10K to cover almost all the credit card debt I'm personally taking out to keep development going into the next year. Rent, groceries, utilities, etc. can be secured for 6 months at a time for $10,000 so that plus a buffer for various fees would be our minimum goal. But ideally we could raise triple that and outsource all the artwork to pixel artists like we originally planned earlier this year but couldn't afford it once COVID smacked me right out of secure employment.

A document exists detailing all our plans for fundraising and even stretch goals in excruciating detail, so we definitely wouldn't be going into this wild, reckless, and starry-eyed.

The current BGP Patreon Tiers (ending December 31st, 2020)
Last chance to nab one for cheap:

During this transition we'll also be taking some of the higher Patreon tiers off the table to make the backer options more appealing. All Patrons that sign up before January 1st 2021 are eligible for the rewards listed there as promised. 

We were trying a stacked donations plan where if your total patronage reached a certain amount you'd get into the reward tier listed under the crazy high price over time. 

We'll soon be switching our Patreon into a more long-term multi-project compatible donation box that's more about following what Yotes Games is up to on a much closer level than the general public, and all donations will be going toward ongoing developer expenses (developer licenses, service subscriptions, game engine tools, etc.) and marketing efforts that will result in more artwork to see with our posts, more merch to collect, more videos produced for the YouTube channel, and more convention appearances (once those are a thing again).


Detailed marketing and development plans have been written out in a project management software package called ClickUp and we're using it to develop BGP by focusing on implementing major things 2 weeks at a time, ordered by priority. Having these clear mini-deadlines in mind has been helpful so far and we have a better flow going than ever before. Really feels like we can reach our projected 2021 release date this way.

We keep all our development tasks organized this way.

And these upcoming deadlines are especially important right now.

Next blog you see here will be about the Christmas Demo we're releasing for all Patrons. So if you want in on that action you can keep in touch with us on Patreon! Those donations have been a serious help with development so far and kept those constant business upkeep costs from becoming a problem. 

The Battle Gem Ponies Patreon first went live December 2017Since then, Yotes Games has grown from a one-man mission to a tiny team of experts dishing out professional quality results. We can't say thanks enough for all that support over the past 3 years while figuring out exactly how all this game development stuff works.

And thank all of you folks reading these posts each and every month, for following the development of Battle Gem Ponies.

The future's never looked brighter

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