Status Updates posted by Yotes
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.
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
The latest version of Battle Gem Ponies has arrived! This update features randomized wild encounters, 6 new ponies, and the ability to ride on some of them. Other features have been tinkered with but are incomplete for the most part. Update 7.0 will have to be the feature-complete tech-demo of the game, bug-checked and released by the end of April.Looks like Steam Greenlight will be shutting down permanently any day now, so this may be the last chance for the game to get through. So, if you'd like to see this game on Steam someday, be sure to give a thumbs up on the Greenlight page!
Download Link on Steam Greenlight!
(And check back here for more monthly updates!)
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #115 (Miss one Mark, Make Another)
The Battle Gem Ponies Steam Greenlight Campaign is still ongoing, but the service is rumored to be shutting down some time next month. I can still update the game and hope for a miracle before Greenlight closes it's doors for good, but at this point I'm not expecting to make it. BGP will be pushed as a mobile game, but will still have PC/Mac/Linux versions available through Itch.io.
It doesn't spell DOOM for the project or anything, it's just a demonstration that people need something more polished than what I launched with to make it at this point in Steam Greenlight's troubled lifespan. I'll try again via Steam Direct once the game is actually complete and see if I can get a different reaction on that platform. Just hoping that it doesn't end up costing an arm and a leg.
Read More: http://www.yotesgames.com/2017/03/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-115-miss-one.html
So, About BGP's New Look and Copyright...
This is a post about clearing the air of any C&D worries. Written to break down just how legally safe this is once and for all since the majority of comments I see for this game revolve around conversations of "this will be taken down because X looks like Y".
Hopefully some explanation combined with the game's recent graphical update on Steam Greenlight will put those Cease & Desist concerns to rest.
Get the full blog post here: http://www.yotesgames.com/2017/03/so-about-bgps-new-look-and-copyright.html
DevLog #111 (Aiming for Code Complete)
Another milestone down, another 5 months to go. Showing the game to new people irl and emailing folks left n' right to get this game out there! With the graphical update in place conversation seems to be shifting towards worries about the gameplay being too similar Pokémon. But I have confidence that the final version will make it very clear that the gameplay of Battle Gem Ponies, at it's core, is Pokémon with more challenge and less filler.
Battle Gem Ponies Greenlight Update! (Demo 6.5)
Time for round two! Battle Gem Ponies is back and better than ever thanks to feedback from the Steam Greenlight community! The turn-based pony RPG now features much more original looking characters, various new environment sprites, and some renamed moves and characters.If you want to check out the newest build for yourself, just click the link below. If you'd like to see this game on Steam someday, be sure to give a thumbs up on the Greenlight page!(And check back for more monthly updates!)
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #110 (The Redesigns)
The long-promised February update is coming this Friday and one last week of bug crunching is underway to make sure it plays perfectly. This way, future builds will be off to a fresh start and development can be focused on new features.
Check out this week's progress on the dev blog: http://www.yotesgames.com/2017/02/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-110-redesigns.html
Battle Gem Ponies: New Look Implemented!
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 #107 (New Drawings, Bug Fixes)
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #106 (Back in Action)
Sorry for the silence! Been away from the computer for a while. Yotes Games is back after vanishing for a few weeks to take care of some personal business, study feedback from the Greenlight campaign, email a lot of people, and set sights on a more defined finish line. The next steps of development are clear, and now it's just a matter of getting it done in a timely manner. Aiming for a major update release mid-February.
Read More: http://www.yotesgames.com/2017/01/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-106-back-in.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 #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
The pony surfing mechanic is so fun and feels so good that I feel like doing even more with it. All I had in mind before was quickly traveling across water, diving into a secret dungeon, and navigating whirlpool puzzles. Now I feel like adding some simple minigames and speed challenges to make the Sapphire Sea segment of the game even more fun.
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 #101 (December Crunch!)
Demo 6 is coming along. Hopefully done in just a couple weeks in time for Star Wars weekend. But likely sooner at my current pace. Being a little stricter with my time and using little techniques to keep me focused on one small task at a time is helping me get down the to-do list. Racing against the calendar and staying up til 4am every day to get this thing done!
It's crunch-time, baby!
Read the Rest: http://www.yotesgames.com/2016/12/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-101-december.html
Demo 8 for Steam Greenlight?
With the game's delayed development in mind (from one hell of a Summer to a very distracting Fall) I'm currently thinking of ways to still keep my "Coming to Greenlight in January" promise. The one I made for myself as well as anyone who'd listen. I wanted January because I heard that the early Mondays of that month were the perfect time to get press attention.
I'm hoping this course of action succeeds in drawing attention to the project. A launch that gets tens of thousands of people onboard in that first month is ideal. That's why I want the Greenlight campaign to rally up as many folks as possible. When BGP comes out, I want everyone to know it! By giving people a good demo and showing the game's improvement over time, I'm hoping people recognize this as a project from a developer who really cares.
Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #100
Battle Gem Ponies! Two years and over a hundred weeks of development... All to will this Pokémon-inspired brony fan game into existence. A clear vision is finally in place and all that's left to do is chip away at building this thing piece-by-piece.
I have never worked on a game for this long before (Unicorn Training only made it to 64 Status Reports) and I'm really feeling the effects of being overambitious. The hardest hump has yet to be crossed as the game's pre-alpha is still under construction. I'm coming out of Thanksgiving weekend on a tight schedule to make the January Steam Greenlight deadline!
Read the rest here: http://www.yotesgames.com/2016/11/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-100.html
I wish you luck!
Travel Moves Vs Ride PokémonSince 10th grade I've wanted to make a Pokémon game where, instead of HMs, you simply needed to have a monster in your party with the physical capability to accomplish a task. Strong Pokémon can break and push boulders, winged ones can fly you around, and Water types can swim with you. Simple stuff that still compels you to diversify your team. The way things should be, right?But then Pokémon Sun & Moon does ya one better. Who says they need to be your Pokémon? Pokemon can be summoned and teleported right to you anyway, so why not just have ones like that appear at will and not affect your team composition at all? Much more fun and stress-free than worrying about party composition and sacrificing move slots. It's an elegant solution to a decades old problem that ended up being better than anything I've thought of or heard about before.Trouble is, I really should've thought of that sooner. Looking at my own game, the whole Travel Moves idea I've written pages about in my Game Design Document feels so needlessly complicated now. Like I should come up with some Key Items to handle overworld stuff instead. BGP can't just have players swap-in pony gems whenever they want, because that would break the balance of the game's adventure mode. So I'm currently considering the following:Map of BGP's Pinto region (for reference).All ponies can do simple things like break/push boulders and cut trees. Only 10 of the 60 ponies are ridable and each will have different speeds and animations (useful for challenges I can design for Agility Road). A Sweet-Bot call service can act in place of Teleport/Fly/Dig and just be an overall simpler fast travel system to get to the nearest town or route checkpoint. And finally, a miniboat key item capsule someone gives you on Carmine Island can be used to explore the ocean at high speeds while the underwater segments can be limited to just the Sapphire Sanctum where Lumina alicorn's magic can be the excuse for undersea breathing.Going with these plans instead of the Travel Moves idea gives BGP the overworld convenience of the latest Pokémon games and will make for an overall more fun experience as player's won't have to worry so much about who's on their team just to progress through the game and find hidden items.How do you feel about this change of direction? What other aspects of Sun & Moon would you like to see BGP learn from? Let me know in the comments and I'll respond as soon as I read them.
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!
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 #97 (This is Taking Forever)Oh, GOD I'm still working on this thing? And it's not even past pre-alpha yet?
Feels like I've been working on this game my entire adult life. And I kinda have, considering this started as a Pokemon fan game when I was in 10th -11th grade.
Get this week in gamedev: Yotes Games Blog
And to think Touhou Puppet Play came out so much faster being as epic as it is. ^ ^" This better be good...no pressure~
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.