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Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Progress Report: Final Crunchdown [Part 3/5]

Hey guys! Feels like it's been a long while and a short one at the same time. (Maybe sitting at a desk for 12+ hours a day is finally warping my mind 😵‍💫, but we'll deal with that after launch.)

This month's devlog is coming in so late because I intended on announcing a playable Alpha alongside it. But unfortunately, there's still at least 2 weeks worth of stuff to be done, so we're gonna miss the mark a little. Catch more details on that below.

The big headline: DELAYED ALPHA! ⚠️

To be more specific, the missing features still needed for the build to be considered in the "Alpha stage" are:

- Special Overworld Functions (Thin Walls, Waterfalls, Bridges)

- Connected Map Doors & Spawn Points

- Fast Travel System (Warp Map & Warp Points)

- Functional Event States

- Grouped & Named NPEs (Whose Path Tiles Are These!?)

- 1st Pass NPE Configurations (Wild Spawns, NPC Looks, Pickups, Music Selection, etc)

- Placeholder Cutscenes (Fade to Black, Describe What Happens)

- Special NPE Interactions (Haze Family, Desk Clerks, Shops, Nurses)

- Partner Pony Special Interaction Zones

- Credits

If we get those final things in, then the game will be "fully playable" in some state and everything else is the icing on top. Just more spritework, balancing, dialogue, debugging, and cutscenes until its complete. We really want to get there and get playtesting underway so we have at least a couple months to catch any major problems to iron out in the Beta.

Hopefully development doesn't stretch into May, but it looks like we're still blessed to have the biggest hurdles behind us.

Every day the game comes to life a little more and it's still really amazing to see all the exact places scenarios will play out. And although we're saving lots of the extravagant stuff for the DX port, this initial release is going to be something truly special and worth the wait.

So much in fact, we're even raising the retail price. You know, 7 years ago a $5 app sounded like a good idea. A little pricey for the market at the time but also low enough for folks to take a risk on a little no-name indie pony game. My life's work for the price of a cheeseburger sounds fair, right? I mean Stardew Valley was $8 back then and I couldn't possibly charge higher than that.

Well, now cheeseburgers cost twice as much and this game ended up being quite beefier in reality than it seemed to be on paper. (600+ maps, 60 expressively animated ponies with unique skills and story scenarios, hundreds of attacks in a complex battle system SHEESH)

So to get to the point: PRICE HIKE! 📈

We're planning on doubling the price of BGP to $9.99 a pop on mobile.

(Backers all got their prices locked in so no upcharge for anybody we owe a copy to.)

After doing some estimath, looks like we only need to sell just over 20,000 copies to break completely even on development costs for the 3ish years put into this since deciding to do a Kickstarter. Clearing all debts and giving us a fresh start to save up for our next project.

(That number takes taxes & platform fees into account btw.)

A very darn attainable goal I think for a game of this quality for a niche fandom audience this big. Especially knowing there's at least 35K people out there who engaged with our ads during the Kickstarter promotion and another 200K who've downloaded my old Unicorn Training Lite game from 2014. Plus, the Monster Taming genre has really been popping off this year and we have connections with rapidly growing channels eager to give our game a try on stream soon as it's finished. Very exciting stuff to see success is so feasible! 📊

Things are getting interesting. We're shaping the game world, implementing the story, and we even brought a new volunteer dev onboard to help with debugging and making cutscenes. We're looking forward to the next Progress Report which is likely to have the most exciting announcement of development so far. We hope some of you are looking forward to it too.

- Thanks for following the development of Battle Gem Ponies! 

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