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About this blog

Weekly updates on the development of this crazy pony RPG that I'm spending WAY too much free time on.

So what's Battle Gem Ponies about?

Command super-powered, shape-shifting ponies in this turn-based RPG Adventure! Embark on a journey to become the best pony trainer in the world and protect the magical creatures from those who want to use their power for evil. Master the elements and special move combos to gain the advantage in Rock/Paper/Scissors style shapeshifting combat!

Reblogged from: http://www.yotesgames.com/

Entries in this blog

 

BGP DevLog #198 (Thoughts in Order)

Nothing impressive to see here, kinda just another week of getting my ideas straight. Converting messy notes into legible text, then giving that text some context to make sense with the rest of the vision.

     I'm working on the design doc some more, basically. Combing through each and every detail of the game again to make sure nothing is boring, too derivative, tedious, or pointless. I want to charm the pants off of folks the whole way through. And I absolutely want to make sure to vaporize any accusations of this being an uninspired Pokemon clone.

More on yotesgames.com

Yotes Games

Yotes Games

 

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #196 (Showcase Dreams)

Can you picture it...? Yotes Games, out there among the other young hopefuls, trying to convince anybody walking by to give this little pony RPG a shot. By all means, it outta do as great as it did at Orlando Overdrive but with a much bigger crowd over the span of 3 days instead of 1.

    Serious planning has begun, so far it's only been preemptive measures and bookmarking things to come back to later. Now I'm getting down the fine details of everything I need to know, do, study, and purchase in order to make the most out of this Magfest trip.

More on yotesgames.com

Yotes Games

Yotes Games

 

BGP DevLog #195 (Inspiration Manifestation)

My entire past week revolved around a game that wasn't mine for once. I took the time to play the newly released followup to my favorite indie game of all-time (Undertale, in case you didn't know) and it was time well spent.

     I came out the other side of those credits re-energized, inspired to work harder, and pumped up on well-designed RPGs and quirky/interesting fantasy worlds. Overall, a nice reminder of why I love gaming so much.

See what notable new design elements are coming (without getting too specific) along with some Earth-Shaking indie dev news on the Yotes Blog.

Yotes Games

Yotes Games

 

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #194 (Speech Therapy)

Happy Halloween, Folks!        Only thing scarier than the monsters out tonight is the possibility of Battle Gem Ponies getting delayed again. Amirite? Harharrr!   But really.        You know how everybody hates the sound of their own voice in recordings? I've been tackling that uncomfortableness all week. The scripts may be written, but I swear saying all this stuff out loud is more difficult than I anticipated. So used to monologues with the voice in my head for decades, my poor mouth muscles can't keep up. 

     Tons of shoots and reshoots, capturing this narration while I adjust to pronouncing things clearly, using an audible voice, and not making any weird mouth noises. Ooohhh, it's a process alright. But at least they're coming along. Might be a week delay between each one until I get into the swing of things, but my YouTube channel is gonna be a lively place pretty soon. Keep an eye out.

It's been a while, so here's some gamedev goodness: yotesgames.com/blog!

Yotes Games

Yotes Games

 

DevLog #192 (Missed the Train, So Up the Standard)

Tiny bits of progress get done week-by-week and right now I'm one step closer to getting those YouTube videos ready to fill in the gaps. With scripts written, it's a matter of recording all of them and splicing a few videos together.nI can hope it takes a weekend, but I'll just take this one day at a time. You know how I am with deadlines.

Get this week's GameDev news and introspection on yotesgames.com

Yotes Games

Yotes Games

 

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #191 (Not a Single Thing Checked Off the List)

I am shocked at how quickly this Wednesday snuck up on me. Guess that's a good thing. Another week closer to my short term goals, but on the other hand there's still next to no progress being made on BGP. So caught up in the daily routine and so mentally drained after hours of office work, it's incredibly easy to understand how people fall into "the grind" trap you know? 

    Just wanna drag yourself home, flop down somewhere (preferably with pizza at hand) and just watch stuff, endlessly scroll social media, wish you were happier and doing awesome things, and fall asleep. But I gotta stay on track. Even if it's just 2-3 hours at a time. Even if these little tasks like"Just write 8 YouTube scripts already!" end up taking forever, just like every other small task self-assigned.

 Pretty sure I'm waist deep in burnout, but not in any particular situation to be able to aliviate that stress, so... Onward! Here's today's blog: https://www.yotesgames.com/2018/10/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-191-not-single.html

Yotes Games

Yotes Games

 

BGP DevLog #190 (Lackluster Progress)

Here's my attempt to associate with the moth meme. Just wanna make a public PSA, the Battle Gem Ponies project is NOT dead. It's just kinda on life support. It's hospitalized. Yeah. Progress is still going, but at a snail's pace. Which (believe it or not) is a lot worse than usual.

     Gotta throw that out there because dev time took a massive hit while I'm trying to get a work/life balance going while also living an hour away from the office and ALSO trying to get back in shape after months of little exercise and ALSO, also fussing over finances. It's a mess, and I'm trying to get back on track. Time really flies when there's two endless mountains of work to handle and spend a third of the day sleeping.

Come see what I managed to squeeze out of the last 7 days at yotesgames.com

Yotes Games

Yotes Games

 

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!

Yotes Games

Yotes Games

BGP DevLog #183 (Patron Palooza)

I got an itchy twitch finger and put up the new Patreon ideas immediately. Still eager for feedback and willing to add any new ideas or mix things around, but I really felt like kicking off August with the new revamp and just having that ready to go as soon as my first couple YouTube videos go up.

    And new videos will be popping up twice a week at least for the next little while, just to build some momentum. It's all really exciting stuff and I can't wait to see how it grows. 

Now then... Onto to the devlog!

Yotes Games

Yotes Games

 

BGP DevLog #182 (Gotta Gain Marketing Chops)

A key problem with Battle Gem Ponies right now is that nobody knows it exists. How do I let people who'd probably like it know it exists? Well, sitting here and talking about it on my website nobody's heard of isn't getting the job done. And an occasional mention here and there on high traffic blogs isn't working either. 

     How about I take it to the hypest place on the information highway? The place people specifically go to look to see interesting things they'll probably like...

     YouTube. I'm talking about YouTube. I need to take my channel seriously and start pumping out videos that show what the game is all about, what I'm all about as a dev, and for the love of all things holy get my Patreon numbers up before my debts swallow me whole (this game is officially years too late and things I've been putting off won't stay at bay forever). 

     See all the different ways I plan to save my butt financially by pushing Battle Gem Ponies under a much bigger spotlight in this week's development log!

Yotes Games

Yotes Games

 

Brainstorming New Patreon Plans, Rewards, & 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!

Yotes Games

Yotes Games

 

BGP DevLog #180 (Coding, Cures, and Confidence)

Hope rises as pieces of the overworld are coming together.
      Weighed down by post-delay sad vibes all week and only just now getting back into the swing of things as I write this at 3:30am on a Wednesday. This week was code fever and I wore a programmer cap tight while sprucing up BGP's bones.

     Lots of things are working better than ever, and lots more are sure to come. The real issue right now is seeing how much can get up and running before BronyCon. The panel is going to be a slideshow about game development in general, some Q&A between slides, how I came up with and created BGP, and what features I have left to create and how I plan to implement them. 

     And all that will be sandwiched between a Trailer to show off the game and a gameplay demo of the battle system and overworld. Then I'd like to have some sort of teaser finale to send everyone off with and encourage them to download the demo to their phones on the way out so they can remember the game later.

     But how much I can show depends on how far I get in the next 6 days, so fingers crossed, I won't hit any more road blocks. Every precious minute counts right now, and I think I might just barely make it. So let's see what's been done in the past few days.

Read More: yotesgames.com
 

BGP DevLog #179 (Summer Stalling)

Pretty slow work week if I'm being honest. Life got in the way and the game's delayed yet another week. You know, going in you always assume you can handle the workload but only expect it to be a certain amount of time. Then you get so far into it you can't justify changing course because the end just has to be near by now...

     I really wonder exactly how long it'll take for this game to be completed and how long the people supporting me or waiting for me to finish will tolerate this crazy passion project of mine. You can imagine how many times I hear "get a real job" on a regular basis.

     Feeling all kinds of negative things right now, but I need to carry on anyway. This game needs to be made, and I need to do it. If I can just make this super polished Alpha go even just a little viral, I'll finally know if it's all worth it. 25 thousand players is all I'm asking the cosmos for.

More of this week in gamedev here.
 

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
 

BGP DevLog #177 (Sculpting a World)

It's finally happening! Converting the maps from graph paper notes and doodles into working sandboxes that I can actually roam around in the Unity engine! Every single map in Battle Gem Ponies is coming to life AS. 👏 WE.👏 SPEAK.👏

     Getting all the different tiles, placeholders, and animations setup took days longer than I expected, but I finally have the process down and can get to work! I'll be using mostly borrowed and temporary tile sprites to have a basic but functional version of the entire game world up and running. This is one of the Top 5 remaining extremely tedious tasks of the game's development I'll be glad to have off my back. (Read to the end to see the other 4.) 

      So I hope to emerge next week with another monumental task behind me. To see what hills have already been climbed in the last 7 days, why don't cha take a look on the official blog?
 

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #176 (Summer Makeover)

Notice a bit of a facelift? I worked on some of the Ultra Pony designs this week, just filling in those gaps in design I was drawing a blank on for the longest while. Now I can say I'm satisfied with how everypony looks and can clearly see them animated in my head.

     Actually animating the sprites is a step to come much later in development, but I can roll with these for now. Come see the steps toward a new playable build featuring a new level editor and a few more motivating surprises in this week's gamedev update!
 

BGP DevLog #175 (E3 2018)

After such an amazing E3, I feel reinvigorated. Gotta admit to feeling pretty jaded/apathetic about AAA gaming lately, but leave it to the Sony & Nintendo press conferences to remind me of why I love gaming in the first place. The hype I felt over the past couple days is the same feeling I want people to have for the things I'm working on someday. Unprecedented levels of polish, earnest interviews and announcements by hardworking developers, shocking surprises, gameplay to analyze, and jaw-dropping tournament moments... 

     And at the heart of it all? Hours of fun promised by teams I know can deliver. I'm hype ya'll. Now I want to work hard to make sure starting next E3, I'll be there to show off something in person every year.

See more thoughts on this at yotesgames.com
 

BGP DevLog #174 (Where's The Game?)

Getting REAL tired of this game not being close to finished. I admit to dying inside just a bit each passing week as I fall behind on the schedule I laid out just because the very first bullet point is the hardest pill to force down. 

     Maybe I'm crazy and doing this wrong. Time to take a different route to the end. As for what exactly what that route is? You'll need to read the ending thoughts to this week's devlog to find out. 
 

BGP DevLog #173 (Let's Go Ponatina!)


Not much was done in terms of progress this week since I took about 5 days off to basically see all my friends one last time at the local convention MegaCon before swearing to lock myself away until BGP's completion. 

In place of that there is tons of Pokemon news. A fan game was released and a bunch of new spinoffs were announced so there's lots of interesting things to reflect on and talk about on this week's blog.

Read up on it here!
 

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 #171 (Cleaning Up & Keeping Up)

Feels like every day now I'm discovering some new and better way of doing things. The project is crawling towards a point where all systems exist and are easy to tweak. So good news is I can both feel and see myself becoming a better game developer. Bad news: I'm already a week behind schedule. Again. That won't fly. Time to crunch up and catch up.  Finally figured out this window, cleaned it up, and made my game project that much easier to understand. Found a nifty pathfinding tool. Too bad I don't think it'll mesh well with the grid framework I've got going on. I can totally use it to make attack animations though. Just draw lines instead of coming up with trajectory formulas.    Completed: MLGD Forums Restored! (I added a bunch of missed devlogs to the BGP thread) Icons for Travel Moves Cut, Rock, and Surf Written Tons of Ideas for Polish Revamped Energy Bar Code Finally Figured Out How UIElement Database Works Reorganized GameObjects in Unity Hierarchy Renamed Scripts to Be More Clear Deleted Redundant/Useless Scripts Separated Repeated Code Into Their Own Scripts More Overambitious Ideas Pushed to Sequel Notes Bookmarked Simple Waypoint System (using it to animate moves instead of hardcoding various projectile patterns)      Lessons Learned: Programming Tasks can really get out of control. Whenever I want to make a quick script for a menu or something, I end up spending hours coding little side scripts and tools to make the main script as streamlined as I want it to be. Sometimes thinking up the perfect algorithm to most efficiently do something once is way more time consuming than hardcoding it. I should just get it done the long way instead of stopping in my tracks.  But when hardcoding it still needs to be super neat/readable/organized/clear so I can make adjustments to it later if needed. I really gotta step up my game. This project's FAQ page and Twitter look amazing.        This fan game called Pokemon: Phoenix Rising is coming out with its first demo this month. It's one of the games that inspired Battle Gem Ponies years back. It's looking SUPER polished and chances are, it's gonna be the next Pokemon Uranium viral hit. I'm super excited to check it out myself (if the Mac version follows soon) and I know there's a lot I can learn from it in terms of design, polish, and pixel art. 
     I just hope it doesn't overshadow BGP later on. Like, this is a fan project, out for free, made by a competent team over many years, and BGP is made by one guy over 4 years, isn't even really about Pokemon, and is charging $5.
     If I do somehow get my project in front of millions of eyes it'd suck pretty hard to be considered some inferior ripoff right out the gate. That's why I need to keep polishing and adding that special Yotes sauce to the mix. Battle Gem Ponies needs to stand out because I made it. It needs to have graphics that can at least keep up with this fan game to get attention, then have genuine heart, clever writing, and attention to detail that only my mind could come up with. That's what'll make it stick.   Keeping my chin up. The bar rises, I rise with it. 💪🏾 __________________________________________________________ You can check out my short-lived existential crisis from tonight on Twitter.      Every time I look at this game I just see so much potential. I want this out there more than I ever wanted anything in my whole life. This could be a smash hit on the app store if I just finish it within a decent timeframe...
     I have to make the BronyCon deadline. This game needs to be out Summer 2018 or risk being drowned out by news of Pokemon coming to Nintendo Switch. Or fan games like Phoenix Rising catching on like Pokemon Uranium (that game's demo comes out this month). But maybe all 3 of these things converging is a good thing and BGP will get dragged into conversations about how indie efforts compare to big budget releases they're based on...
     All I know is, I want this game to exist and be able to speak for itself. I just know folks will love it and I might just end up passing on those feelings I got from playing Pokemon as a kid onto the next generation who's only known endless grindfests, mindless filler, heartless cash grabs, and other scam apps the mobile platform is notorious for.
     An actual game that cares more about fun than monetization.

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #170 (Re-Coding)

Once again, starting from scratch. But this time it's in regard to how I code things. Going forward I'll be using new organization tricks to make sure I understand how the entire game works inside and out. No more endless bug hunts because I'll know exactly where they are and what that line of code interacts with, all to better help me deduce the cause of any problems. 
     Also took a stab at rearranging the development schedule to aim for a July 25th release. The path is laid out, but the main factor determining if I can make it is getting to that Alpha build I've been yapping about for years now.
     All this reorganization stuff should help with that, because things will be more efficient than ever. No more hardcoding, no more just copy/pasting from solution forums, and no more being stingy with line spacing, name lengths, or comments.   Now I'm using all kinds of visual tricks to make sense of the thousands of lines of code I quickly scroll through. Big purple lines and comments everywhere draw my eye to quickly read what a particular piece of code does. Big green bookmarks help me keep track of different sections of similar functions. And little purple headers above each function helps my eyes hone in on each one too, whereas before I'd scrunch related ones as close together as possible.  The philosophy now is to not be afraid to space things out, name variables clearly, and comment EVERYTHING. No more getting lost. No more forgetting what something does.    Completed: Finished Making Global Variables as Clear as Possible Reorganized Variables Some More Changed Global Functions to Work More Efficiently Made Global Functions Easier to Read Deleted the Old Garbage Code Wrote Design Ideas for Sequel (this project is late as is, no time to implement even more features and experiment with new layouts) Tested New Save System The mobile gaming platform continues to be an embarrassment. This is why gamer's look disgusted when you tell them you're working on a mobile game.      Lessons Learned: The whole Harry Potter Mobile Game fiasco really depresses me as a dev. But it does make me that much more sure that a game like BGP has to exist to show people how it's done. A game that charges upfront then lets you have fun for as long as you want. I'm really tired of seeing games with great potential die right before my eyes because of corporate greed. Found this interesting article by the Web Master at Seribii talking about What Pokemon's Main Series Can Learn from GO. Designs I intend to implement in BGP look a lot like what that article talks about so I'm reconfirmed not to be the only one seeking a game like this.  I'd really like to implement a more fun capture mechanic like Pokemon GO's addictive ball toss, but I'll have to experiment with that stuff as well as online connectivity and timed special events in the sequel. There's a lot of Polish Touches for me to put on BGP, but I need to keep pushing them back. It's function over form at the moment and I need a game that works right now. Perfection comes later. I might not have time to make the Battle AI as advanced as I want to, but I can lay a foundation to expand on later with DLC difficulty settings.   Revised schedule of what must be done to get this game out in time for BronyCon.      Looking at the state of things right now I feel like the To Do schedule is feasible enough. Spend the next week continuing what I'm doing now with remaking all interfaces, basic combat, and making sure there's a stand-in for anything I'll be adding later.
     After that, I'll need to remake the overworld systems (cleaning up & copying over the working bits of that code I've already done) and convert my graph paper maps to Unity Tile Maps. After that it's just polishing up a presentable demo, then drawing sprites and testing the game for a couple months.
     The key to getting all those art assets done in time is ignoring perfection until the very last step. I need rough sprites for everything, then cleaned up versions and in-between frames. Once that's all done, I can go back and tweak things with however much time is left. Main objective here is: If you can tell what it is, that's good enough for now.
     Sprites have caused major delays for me in the past, and it's mostly because I spend half the time staring at the thing wondering what details are missing or debating between 2 or 3 options for 10 minutes at a time. Gotta speed this up.      Saw this email on Monday and submitted the Info Form ASAP with a revised version of the panel description. If I can reach the Alpha build by June, I'll definitely shoot them another email saying how close the game is to release. If it gets enough buzz just before BronyCon starts, and I let them know it comes out on the first day of the convention, I might find myself off the waitlist sooner rather than later. The new BGP breakdown. (Now I gotta live up to my word and have this out in 3 months.) __________________________________________________________    Patreon: If you didn't know, Yotes Games is on Patreon! Hats off to these guys as well as one Mr. Craig who's been donating 10 of his hard-earned dollars every month over PayPal since 2015.      Monthly reminder that these are the MVPs keeping the Yotes Games fire alive! Battle Gem Ponies is looking better than ever because of you patrons giving me a budget to dedicate towards tools and assets to make development a lot easier (and faster too).
     Can't wait to put your tribute characters into the game and see your reactions!     Downloads:      As a side note,  think I should stop sharing my download number estimates and just celebrate noteworthy milestones as they come. It seems like sales data is just a privacy issue and doesn't do much beside make people want to guess exactly how much money you have at any given time or make judgements on investing in you or not.
     I can accomplish my goals of letting you know if I ever achieve success or not my just showing the obvious rankings and major milestones. Keeping track of all the sales numbers is interesting and all, but the methods I use to track em are falling off one by one because companies all seem to be saying sharing exact sales figures is a bad idea. 
     I think my best bet for a personal checkup is just to go by App Annie for mobile sales tracking, then Itch.io and Steam for computer stuff. But in terms of sharing with the rest of the world, I'll stick to the big milestones and vague sales goals. (Plus I'm sure calculating things to the last cent and estimating profit after taxes and expenses is only interesting to nerds like me who willingly took a bunch of accounting and finance classes.)          But if you're curious about a vague estimation of how I'm doing so far, over 150,000 people have downloaded and played an app I've made. I've collected about $2,200 total since 2013 from my first game Unicorn Training (pretty much all went towards getting a Macbook to port to iOS where I failed to get the money back). Nowadays I dream about convincing those 150,000 people to pay $5 each for Battle Gem Ponies and just being set to start a life and make BGP2 with nothing holding me back. __________________________________________________________          Racing towards this game's alpha build feels like the longest marathon of my life. I just pray the uphill part is over soon. Morale would go through the roof if I could just get to the point where all the systems are in place, just ready to be molded into a fun adventure.  
 

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...  Also, finally got a response from BronyCon on if the panel is happening or not.

See more on GameDev Log #169: www.yotesgames.com (And with this, I'm officially caught up to present day blogs!)
 

BGP DevLog #168 (HUD Crafting)

(Ignore the garbled text in this GIF. That is a bug for another day.)
     Been taking my time making these menus and such, and glad to see that stage of development is finally coming to an end. Chewed hard to figure out some bugs and the most efficient way to make things flow, but I think I've got it now and just need to rinse and repeat to get the rest of the menus done.

     See my latest (mis)adventures in game development on the Yotes Games Blog.
 

Orlando Overdrive Expo 2018 (Full DevLog)

Showcasing the game to new folks, meeting other developers, learning from their experiences, making friends, and dancing my legs off. That's the TL;DR of my Orlando Overdrive experience this past weekend. 
     Battle Gem Ponies had a booth right in the middle of the indie game hallway leading to the bar & dance floor of The Geek Easy. Turns out the whole brony thing wasn't a passing fad, and lots of people still smile when they see marshmallow horses with super powers. 
     Check out this week's devlog to see how the indie showcase went. 👾     The promo poster for the indie event we had to submit title logos for and I make a mistake right out the gate. I tried so hard to be prepared but I still missed a couple spots. I never made a version of the logo over a colored,  blank background. Always assuming the app store promo banner sizes plus the transparent logo by itself would be enough for anything. I really should have just asked then drafted something up real quick.   So I corrected the mistake, too late to change the poster now, but in the future. I'll need this version of the logo and  a colorful background that pops compared to the images around it, and doesn't obscure the letters too much.     Had a lovely booth setup with my friend Lawrence who volunteered to watch over my stuff as I ran around to mingle and go back and fourth to nearby stores for extra supplies and food.      Completed: Made a GameDev.net Account  (reposted my forum and blog content) Found a Volunteer & Prepped My 1st Ever Demo Booth (TV, table, shelf, and couch provided by the venue) Presented Battle Gem Ponies at Orlando Overdrive Befriended Indie Devs from around Central Florida Noted Feedback, Adjusted Tutorial in Design Document Learned From Other Devs that I'm Doing Pretty Good and Should Keep it Up Spruced Up My LinkedIn a Bit (made the tone a bit more casual and fun) Made it a lot more like my Twitter and a lot less like a resume because I'm an indie developer and don't need to pretend I'm all stiff and formal. I'm here to connect with my peers, not beg to be a cog in some company. And here's the new BGP page on GameDev.net        Lessons Learned: When someone asks for a logo, ask back "what size?", "surrounding images allowed?", and "what do the others look like?" so you can submit the perfect first impression. Even without the new version ready, I can smooth talk past the bugs. Turn that into a relatable opportunity and explain the gamedev process in layman's terms. At expos, I'm not just showcasing my game, I'm showcasing my personality. Having people walk away liking me as a person might be even more valuable than them liking the game. Which would you be more likely to buy, a cool looking game, or an okay looking game a friend made and is really depending on? I'd think you'd put the former on a wishlist you may never get around to and the latter as a priority at launch. I've become incredibly frustrated with Facebook's business page management hurdles and wish I never converted the Yotes Games page when I experimented with Instragram. It's been nothing but a headache to do the simplest things since. I can't even simply add photos to an album without minutes of permissions, reuploads, re-typing/tagging, and general hoopla. And the most important thing to take away from this weekend is...         I'm onto something. And should really keep at it. Battle Gem Ponies could be huge, if I just market this correctly. If Saturday's event was practice for expos to come, I seriously think I could make a splash too big to ignore. __________________________________________________________      Downloads: Business Stuff!   This shows how my 3 remaining iOS apps are doing lately. Basically $5 a month. Steady growth as usual, big bump of attention on Itch.io with BGP being there and me sharing the link with everyone lately. Amazon also changed their developer reports so now I'm only able to track active users and not total downloads. They also want sales and royalties kept confidential now. So I won't be able to keep accurate tabs on that column anymore.
     Predictable numbers at this point. Slow and steady as time goes on, and the thousands of new apps released weekly drown Unicorn Training out of the search results. Didn't see a spike after the Overdrive event because I was more focused on getting people to like Battle Gem Ponies than trying to sell them on Unicorn Training. However, quite a few people did ask to see my website and other games, so at the very least I made a bunch more followers.
     You know, until a friend recently brought up how hard it is to gain traction on a written blog, I completely forgot about my AdSense account that was supposed to be funding my development (or at least covering web hosting costs).           Would you believe that I started this website, update it's content on a regular basis, spread its presence to other blog sharing sites as well as connected it to an App Store linked YouTube account, and 5 years later I STILL only just passed the halfway mark towards fulfilling the first payment threshold. 5 years, and $50 I can't even touch because Google thinks it's too small to be worth the trouble of sending to me.
     Which is extra weird because their app store payment threshold is just a dollar. Guess ads work as a package deal on the advertiser's side or something.           It's cool to get a few hundred visitors each week, but I feel like I'm just not on the radar of tons of folks who'd probably love to see this type of stuff. So maybe I need to put effort into being where they are. Bring my stuff to them instead of waving a flag on my tiny island and hoping they come to me.
     This led to me thinking I should take YouTube a lot more seriously next time around. I want to do video devlogs every month along side these written posts where I can share screenshots, breakdown graphs and do the whole Completed checklist thing. I'd like to do something like Yandere Dev or Exiled Game Team and just put on a show and build some hype with Battle Gem Ponies 2.   2 million subs, $4.4K on Patreon, and an army of cosplayers. Clearly this guy is onto something and it's connecting to fans on a deep level. Only growing more popular over the years and even scored him a publishing deal.      Who knows. It might even blow up like Yandere Dev's channel and I'll be able to fund web hosting and pay video editors to do the time-consuming video production for me. If I reach more people, I can cultivate a community, make a bigger name for myself, increase sales, and ultimately increase the chances of success for all my future projects because people will know who "Yotes" is and be interested in what he's working on.
Just a thought.       Featured:   First-ever Battle Gem Ponies indie expo booth! (outside of school)        My setup involved bringing along my precious work laptop (the Macbook purchased with Unicorn Training money) as well as a pretty cheap tablet I got for Christmas years ago, my Clover plushie, the Yotes flag, and a bunch of MLP & Pokemon figurines I collected over many birthdays. Just about every little thing I had to signal to folks what this game was all about and convince them to stop and stare long enough for me to swoop in and feed their curiosity.
     A friend volunteered to help me set things up in exchange for food and I was happy to have some backup. I ended up not needing my extra monitor, so after that was setup and we realized the mounted TV looked way better, that monitor was put back in my trunk. 
     As for controls & comfort, I went to a nearby Target (the only store nearby selling electronics) and bought a mouse to use with my laptop tray and new gaming mousepad to replace the Xbox 360 controller setup Mac's aren't compatible with anymore and make use of the couch given to us.   Told him to look excessively comfortable and happy to simulate the player experience.      With the mouse tray being moved around so much and usually so far from the laptop, it needed to be wireless. But foolish me first grabbed the $1 cheaper wired one thinking it'd be fine for just a demo and I wouldn't have to worry about batteries. I ended up running back to the store and exchanging that one for the wireless red mouse from the same brand that cost only $9 and already had a battery inside.         For cases where I could tell someone didn't want to sit or someone looked like they'd get frustrated with the laptop controls, I handed them the tablet first, because the touch interface is way more intuitive. My main goal was to eliminate as many barriers as possible and convince everyone who passed by to witness or play a quick match or three.    The bar section of the Geek Easy. Everybody had to walk past my booth to get here,  and pass again to get out. I had at least two chances to grab people's eyeballs.      This place gets pretty packed on a night like this. I wasn't keeping an accurate count, but I remember sitting with and witnessing about 25 people playing the game while others I weren't keeping tally on watched nearby. And I consider that a TON since there were way over a hundred people coming in and out. 
     The event went from 4pm to 1am, and the expo setup began at 2:00pm and packed up at 11:30pm. In that short time I feel like I made the most of every second and succeeded in getting just about everyone in the place to at least glance at the game and see what the hubbub's about. BGP was possibly the most eye-catching game of the show (that's what I heard from the host) and it was lucky enough to be placed exactly in the center of a slightly narrower part of the hallway, meaning you can't help but see the screen.
     I'm super honored and grateful for the whole opportunity and I'm really glad I went.    The future of indie devs in the growing gaming culture of central Florida seems pretty bright. Looking forward to having increasingly impressive games to show. __________________________________________________________ One last playtest as the doors were opening...    Now it's time to crunch on the big update. Needs to come quick so people can play a sleek-stable build from the comfort of any platform they choose! I'm more excited than ever to get the game out and now I feel like it's sure to be a success if I just get it in front of people and put the free version in their hands.
     It's time to make some hardcore BGP fans across the world. I mean, I've got the title theme stuck in my head now and it's not fair I'm the only one who knows it this well! Gotta do everything I can to make Battle Gem Ponies one of the great indie titles in history!  

Yotes Games

Yotes Games

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