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Friday, September 8, 2023

The Big Fat Kickstarter 2nd Anniversary Writeup! 🎊


Happy Anniversary (Again), guys!

This marks the end of Year TWO of development since it was funded by the 414 generous folks who backed the potential they saw behind Battle Gem Ponies. (Thanks for that, for real guys.)

The #1 thought on the YotesMark team's mind is making a game that lives up to the hype we've promised. To not be another Kickstarter disappearance story. So we've kept regular updates going every step of the way. A clear and detailed task list so we always know what feature is needed next, and what features need to be cut for time to ensure it's out by Early 2024.

These past couple years have been about rebuilding what was lost (3-4 years of solo work remade from scratch with a team in about 1 year's time) and building all the ideas that never came to be (another year of tool creation, story writing, scenario planning, map making, music, and artwork). Now we're on the verge of something incredible. The full game in early-but-playable form by this upcoming January!

First we'll finish up what we need for the practice grounds, "Battle Gem Ponies: Lite". A little bite-sized version of the vision to release on app stores to get our name out there. Then, we can finish up the world we've been crafting pieces of over the Summer. Basically filling out the maps we're making with stories, characters, and content. You know, THE GAME part of game development! At long last, the actual adventure is coming together!

Those who attended Everfree Northwest caught a glimpse of what we have in store. The new tutorials, cutscenes, maps, and even places you'll visit over and over again like The Crystal Stable (healing centers of the Pinto region).

The reactions of backers in-person (especially to the new map build on Sunday) reinforced our resolve to see this project through. It was thanks to attending this same brony convention in 2021 that we met our Kickstarter funding goal in the first place. That spike in the middle of the campaign really got us over the line. And now we're seeing the word of mouth take effect.

Various builds of BGP have been downloaded over 20,000 times! Our trailers have reached tens of thousands of screens. We've made personal connections with countless influencers and streamers eager to try out the final product and spread the word come release day. Even the demo from 6 months ago, released with little to no fanfare, reached 1,200 devices. And there's at least a whole daycare's worth of happy little kids out there running around with the BGP stickers we handed to them. That counts for something.

We know for a fact this game will connect with people and every stressful day of effort put into it will all be worth it.

As far as roadmapping goes, there's 6 major milestone releases left. The first coming in a week or two and the rest planned to come out on a near-monthly basis starting this November.

Pre-Alpha [est. September] 

Showcasing what we can build with our (nearly) feature-complete development tools. Cutscenes, tutorials, improved interfaces, revamped environments, smoother gameplay performance, and hundreds of cleared bugs since the last demo release.

Lite [est. November]

A nice standalone preview experience of how BGP will feel to play. A mini adventure showcasing different types of battle, a quarter of the cast of pony characters, and five unique routes surrounding a town to explore.

Act 1 [est. December]

A preview of the adventure mode. The story is playable from the very beginning up to the first two Maven boss fights and concludes with a showdown at Paragon Hideout, the funnel point of BGP's open/branching region map. A region where you can take on the Maven Arenas in either order.

Alpha [est. February]

Crafting the scenarios we have planned out across the region, section by section, until all the game's content is playable in some form.

Beta [est. March]

Polishing the game up for final release with rigorous playtesting, the last tweaks to game balance, improvements based on tester feedback, and cleaned up graphics.

Launch [est. April]

Finally, after 8 long years... See the full version of the Battle Gem Ponies adventure listed on the App Store. And telling every pony-loving soul on the planet to PLEASE go buy it!

Now keeping in mind how game development typically unfolds, we may end up missing our hopeful due dates, but you'll be informed every step of the way with our continued monthly updates and daily Discord reports. We even plan on reviving our YouTube channel after an almost year-long hiatus.

For now, backers can look forward to a special download link and code to play the Pre-Alpha demo coming in a couple weeks. An early playable peek at the new-and-improved Battle Gem Ponies: Lite game coming to app stores for everyone this November!

(Playable on iOS for the first time ever!)

Thanks for believing in this project, making it possible in the first place, and following its long and winding development journey. These past couple years will be forever remembered by the YotesMark team as the beginning of something grand...

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