Status Updates posted by Yotes
The pieces are all lined up. Just a week or two of coding and another week of polish, and I'll be set to start shaping the world of Battle Gem Ponies! A playable version of the story mode at long last! I'm super eager to share all the recent progress (and there was a lot) on this week's devlog, so check it out!
BGP DevLog #184 (A Mad Scramble)
It's been one hectic week. Job searches, contract work researching, phone interviews, resume remakes, documents galore, and listing a whole lot of things that'll cost a whole lot of money over the next year. Current mission status? I'm looking for a publisher to finance the upcoming breakout hit of Yotes Games, LLC. That's right, Yotes Games just became a real-deal company!
It's as official as it gets. And it'll make contracts and legal protection a lot less risky for me and a lot more straightforward for anyone I strike a deal with. I made a list of compatible publisher options and I'm pitching the game to them one-by-one. Someone says no, too bad, next in line. I figure out of the 20 of em I narrowed the list down to, one will agree I'm a perfect fit and give Battle Gem Ponies the budget needed to carry on to Launch Day!
Get yourself a whole buncha hoopla and gamedev news now!
Brainstorming New Patreon Plans, Rewards, n' Goals
I'm brainstorming some new plans for making the Yotes Games Patreon a much bigger deal. My general idea is that I need to put more effort into my YouTube channel due to the level of engagement that gets out of people.
But I'd like to hear some feedback from you! It'd be super great to hear someone else's take on where I should take this crazy train next. Or hear exactly why you personally wouldn't donate to my Patreon but would to another. What rewards would you like to see? Should the project be more polished? I wanna know how to get strangers completely HYPED about this game!
Trying to emulate the success of ALBDifferent, Exiled, & YandereDev here, and a solid YouTube effort is the key ingredient I'm neglecting. Even just read an article today about how Fighting is Magic might not've exploded if that demonstration trailer didn't get shared left and right earning 900,000 views. Nerds like me read development blogs, but everybody watches videos. I outta make some videos.
Check out the huge list of ideas about how I'ma to do just that on the official development blog!
Development is crawling along. Coding each attack move by using special keywords seems so simple in theory, but in practice, so many tiny things go wrong and break the battle system in a variety of brain-melting ways.
Get a peek at what was done this week! --> Battle Gem Ponies Development Blog
DevLog #109 (Valentines Day)
Been drawing lots of pretty pixel people. Bigger versions of the NPCs used before. Regarding the overworld's art direction, I think of it as a mix between Gen 3 Pokémon & Wind Waker styles while the battle scenes are a sort of Final Fantasy 6 & My Little Pony art style with a Pokémon interface.
Hoping to get some more tiles redone and fix all the bugs from the previous version by Friday so I can try to get a new update out before the 25th. I still have a bunch of moves that need to be animated and lord knows fixing the controller input bug is going to take a while.
Read On: http://www.yotesgames.com/2017/02/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-109-valentines.html
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #129 (FREEDOM!! And... Pressure!?)
I WAS planning on celebrating Independence Day with the sweet, freeing release of BGP Pre-Alpha 7.0, but then I checked my emails and something came up... Turns out I'll be hosting the Battle Gem Ponies panel at BronyCon 2017 after all! Now pressure's on because I have exactly one month to build an impressive Alpha to showcase in front of the biggest crowd yet.
Come get a big, juicy gamedev update on the official Battle Gem Ponies blog.
Battle Gem Ponies is a Pokemon-style game I'm making, coming to mobile and PC early next year!
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #148 (Paper Maps)
Been taking on the task of translating rough map sketches into detailed exact maps on graph paper. It's a matter of putting every detail from the design document down and marking out exactly how many steps it takes to get anywhere, roughly how many screens a zone will be, where items will be hidden, which buildings and NPCs I'll have to draw, and all the minor visual details.
All this fuss so I only have to lay down tiles in the editor like I'm following a blueprint. And these definitely help make the game feel more real. Actually seeing the game world has me super pumped to make it happen in full colorful pixelated glory!
It's a tedious process though and will probably take another day or two, especially when I double check to make sure the cutscenes can play out how I want them to. Also, still working on the last few Ultra form sprites to show off next week.
Read More: Battle Gem Ponies Blog
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #159 (Prep-Work)
Still setting up the new BGP workflow. Gotta convert the spritesheets to super-efficient packed-textures, recreate all the prefabs using the new Unity systems, and start painting all the tilemaps that will make up the region of Pinto...
Exciting things are coming, and if you're curious about the steps towards this glory, then check out this week's devlog!
BGP DevLog #169 (May 2018...)
Can't believe I'm still working on recreating these dang #BattleGemPonies menus! I feel horrible for taking so much longer than I keep promising out loud, but I can feel in my bones that delaying is the right thing to do...
See #GameDev Log #169: www.yotesgames.com
BGP DevLog #172 (Map Mastery)
The Map System I've been subconsciously dreading has finally been implemented and the rest of the menus are coming together bit-by-bit as I program all the pieces separately and connect them together (instead of cramming everything I could into one giant, unreadable script like before). The results?
See the latest gamedev update to find out.
BGP DevLog #178 (Refocus on the Hook)
Starting to build out all the actual tile maps to be used in the beginning segment of the game, up to the first badge and a little beyond, just to get players hooked and hungry for more.
Now, while the completed Alpha won't be a thing until the entire game is playable start to finish, I do believe I can get the first part of the game out within the month of July. While everyone is enjoying the new story, learning the mechanics, interacting with the world, and getting that first badge, I'll be working on getting the demo in as many Let's Player's hands as possible by day and implementing the rest of the design notes by night.
Time to put everything I've got into a super-polished build that'll make people go nuts when they try it. Time to make sure every 30 seconds of the game gives players a Ben & Jerry's sized chunk of fun to chew on. Time to get Battle Gem Ponies on the map!
Read More: yotesgames.com
Pony-Surfing is Cool
Remember a couple weeks ago when I wanted a cool reason for surfing with your pony to make sense? I think I came up with something pretty good here. You get on a little surfboard and your pony tugs you across the sea! This way your clothes don't get wet, your pony has an excuse for being in the water, your avatar only occupies 2 tiles of space, and you can move very quickly over water.
You can either go at a nice, cruising pace, or dash like crazy to cover some serious distance. As simple as toggling the run button.
It has a flaw in that it means you need an Aqua pony, or at least something that swims well, whenever you want to cross water. On one hand, this is people's natural inclination going by the Let's Plays of the BGP demo. On the other, I wonder if it'll annoy players like HMs did by having them need to go back to the nearest town to put an Aqua pony on their team in order to explore the Sapphire Sea or Spinel Ridge waterfalls.
This way seems to be a bit neater than the miniboat idea (No idea how to make that look good. Both in overworld and as a battle background.) and brings some cool imagery to the game. I can already picture the pony surfing fan art in my head.
Also, while I was at it, I added teleportation so you can get to Town Hall more quickly and customize your pony. These things together should make navigating Pinto much more fun. And you'll get to try them both in Demo 6!
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #103 (Your Moves)
Feels good having this functional. The moves are the juicy flavor centers in this metaphorical meal of a game. Scrolling through what your pony can learn and seeing what they can do delivers on that RPG feel really well. Now I just have to animate a bunch of them for the demo!
Read More: http://www.yotesgames.com/2016/12/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-103-your-moves.html
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #105 (Thoughts on Greenlight Launch)This... has been one hectic week, and it's only Tuesday.
Let's talk about what I've learned from releasing the BGP Pre-Alpha on Steam Greenlight.
Full Blog Post Here: http://www.yotesgames.com/2017/01/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-105-thoughts.html
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #133 (About That New Battle System)
Still hard at work getting a stable, polished BronyCon build ready. I wanna put on a good show, and that's gonna require a couple more late nights of work and a lot of afternoons spent testing. But it'll all be worth it if we can get that crowd to cheer...
Take a look at this week in gamedev below!
Official Yotes Blog
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #135 (BronyCon Vacation)Reunited with my very own BronyCon fam!
I spent just about all of August recharging my creative batteries, experiencing new places, meeting new folks, bonding with long-time friends, learning more about myself, and evaluating my life goals. Also, I played Sonic Mania and it's got me hella juiced up to become a developer making things people could go nuts about.
In short, the BronyCon panel went well, I've already got plans for how I'm going to celebrate it being complete next year, I'm brainstorming convention booth setups, and I'm more eager than ever to somehow get the project done in time for Christmas!
More on all that in the development blog: Yotes Games Blog
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #137 (Sprite Week)
Once again, drawing these sprites takes forever. But the first frame is always the hardest because I want it to look just right before I take apart all its pieces and animate them. These battle sprites are what the players will be staring at for the longest time and it's through these battle animations and flavor texts that I get folks to fall in love with my characters.
I have to get this right. I have to convey personality out of each of these ponies. I want players to say "Wow!" or "Ooo..." or "Aww!" or "Holy CRAP!!" when they see these things for the first time.
Blog Here: yotesgames.com
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #98 (Mid-November)
I know for a fact that I won't have Demo 6 out in time for Sun & Moon. And I'll likely spend a week playing Sun and feverishly taking notes and looking into what improvements fans are latching onto to make my own game better.
In light of that, a midway build was released on Itch.io to at least give players a build with some bug fixes and a tiny bit on polish. Get the rundown on recent events below. (You can even take a peek at my new OC pony if you're curious.)
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #99 (Getting Somewhere)
New "Spotted!" letterbox, inspired by Sun & Moon Can't believe we're on DevLog #99... Last of the double digits. That means I've been at this for well over 100 weeks now counting pre-announcement dev time. Vacation week is coming to a close and I'll soon be putting a hard limit on my Pokemon playtime. Gotta get back to cracking down on that Greenlight build.
Catch up on this week's progress on the BGP Blog!
Plans for Markets & Pony Health Centers
When thinking about what I want Pony Health Centers (still not sure on the name, but the default is starting to stick) to look like, I think about the functions they serve as well as how they fit into a city's layout. You walk in, approach the giant glowing crystal or healing machine, a heart symbol fills up, and your pony is completely healed. While you're in there, you can walk over so some computer/machine that lets you customize your gems. Throw in some NPCs, gemstone motifs, and decorations to make each one feel a little different, and there ya go.
Unlike Pokemon though, I feel like there's a benefit to keeping shops separate. Makes you want to move around the city more, gives you a different song to listen to, and allows for a mini mart to have a distinct feel. Like it's a real place in this town everyone goes to for groceries and trainer supplies. To make them a tad more special I want to have each town sell a different set of specialties. Like maybe one town sells a certain set of move tutors and another sells battle items that match the town's theme. Maybe one town's store has a little bakery built into it.
All these things service the gameplay and world building needs of Battle Gem Ponies. I just felt like sharing what's on my mind for them with you this week.
This is it. I fly away tomorrow, reunite with friends the next afternoon, and face the crowd the day after. After working my fingers to the bone (well, more like my legs and wrists from this intense sitting position) people will finally get to see my labor of love. Emphasis on labor because this is mentally exhausting.
The trailer is done and I'll be rounding up bugs to the very last day. I'll probably even work on the plane. Whatever it takes to ensure this game is impressive on Friday.
Battle Gem Ponies has a whole new look! Or at least some new tiles anyway. The game feels more real without the placeholders. I also might be attending FillyCon in Philadelphia this August. Might as well if I'm in the area that month. A lot of this week was spent doing marketing stuff. All the big prep before the big Demo 5 release.
Find out all the stuff you want to know about on the main blog!
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #74 (BronyCon on the Horizon)
I know I announced it a month ago, but I'm still so hyped that BGP is confirmed for BronyCon and FillyCon! That certainty should light a nice hot fire under my butt to get things done in two month's time. In addition to that, the big Demo 5 release should be done this month. With no college slowing me down I have entire days to work with now.
So, so, SO much work is getting done this week it's incredible. It feels like everything I do for the game matters more than it ever has. I don't have to worry about dropping ideas or holding off on designing something to focus on upcoming schoolwork. I can just hammer out ideas and concentrate on coding features uninterrupted! For an example of what can get done in just one week of summer, look on this week's official blog.
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #70 (PCT Game Jam Spring 2016)
I made a Game Jam title this weekend about a mermaid with a monster mouth that eats smaller fish. And yes, the text in the logo is a mashup of Hungry Howie's, The Little Mermaid, and Viral Hunger. The theme was Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
I woke up that morning with the vision of some kind of game involving mermaids and Fish Feaster with Shantae style graphics. I managed to make that random dream fit with the theme by adding elements of escalating difficulty and humor.
Get some more #GameJam goodness over here!