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Monday, October 30, 2023

Almost November Already, Huh?

If you remember seeing me at TrotCon or Everfree Northwest, you'll remember me excitedly stating BGP Lite would be released on App Stores by Halloween! Well... That's not happening. [More details on exactly why below.]

So what's the holdup? Basically, we could've been done by now if we put a rush on things and just cut some corners already. We've got the core functionality needed for this type of RPG going, systems for telling the story, a third of the maps laid out, and over 30% of the characters fully animated.
I'm making this Birthday Post as a declaration that enough is enough and this decade long project is going to be released as soon as physically possible.
Some Critiques for Development
Art wise, being a perfectionist is too slow, and I need to go with the first drafts and move on. As long as the sprites/poses are readable, it's good enough. Not everything needs to be super detailed & fluid, and minor expression tweaks for specific situations aren't even worth the time to export them.
Story wise, we won't get the luxury of major rewrites and last minute overhauls. Just going to hope people connect with the characters, storybeats, and lore we've come up with so far. Code wise, we spend too long making dynamic tools for minor features and situations that the game would be fine without. We don't need to keep trying to go the extra mile on this first game. We have core functionality going, even if configuring things is a less than ideal pipeline. It's good enough to craft the adventure with at a decent pace, so we're going forward with what we've got and simplifying any ideas that need anything extra.
What are some changes going forward?
Recent tech job layoffs led to the two coders Royal Pizza & Psyaryu being distracted all October, but now things have settled with 6 months severance, their next jobs basically already lined up for Spring (interviews going well), and one of them moved in right next door to me so we can collab in person more often. So this is an opportunity for the whole core team to all go at it full-time for a few months!
Additionally, my own daily schedule will getting a lot more strict to squeeze out more than 80 productive hours a week. Cutting out the little routine time wasters, flow breakers, and distractions that add up if you let them.
Sorry for the development delays. Wrangling these Battle Gem Ponies is really a full-time job and the game's not in Alpha yet because we're trying too hard to make little details super polished and flexible instead of finishing the foundation then adding nice extras on top if there's time. To make up for this, the next five months will be BRUTAL hunker-downs to get this whole game done once and for all.
Current Roadmap 🛣️:
November - Overworld Sprites & Effects, Pony Animations, Remaining Menus December - Arranging Remaining Maps, Finish BGP Lite January - Attack Animations, Racing Minigames, Cutscenes, Dialogue, and Event Configurations February - Act 1 Demo, Alpha Testing, Balance, Debugging, Remaining Soundtrack March - Beta Testing, Marketing Materials, Mobile Launch Prep
Anything non-essential to the BGP experience will have to wait until either the big post-launch update (which will include Portrait Mode among other minor feedback-based improvements) or the DX Edition (coming to Steam & Switch late 2024).
Ace Tamer Backers & Patrons can expect to be poked before the Alpha drops about approving their custom OC designs, and everyone who signed up for early access can hopefully help us hunt Alpha & Beta bugs and broken exploits for 2 months straight.
The ClickUp tasks are set. We know exactly what's left to do. Just need to cross em off one at a time. This is possible, and it will be done before the last bit of funding runs out in Spring. And everyone will be able to play the full Battle Gem Ponies experience at long last... I couldn't live with myself if this game got stuck in development hell forever and disappointed the hundreds of people who trusted me with their money that could've gone to any number of things. So come hell or high water, BGP is wrapping up and coming out soon.
Thanks for keeping this project alive for so long and believing in Battle Gem Ponies.

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