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Battle Gem Ponies (DevLog)

A topic by Yotes Games created 279 days ago Views: 1,301 Replies: 40
Viewing posts 1 to 37

This here is a passion project I've been chipping away at for a couple years. Things are getting serious now as I aim for a full release and I'll be sharing updates on the game here on Itch.io!

Battle Gem Ponies

Command super-powered, shape-shifting ponies in strategic turn-based RPG combat. Embark on a journey to become the best pony trainer in the world and protect the world from those who want to use the powerful ponies for evil. Battle other players in a variety of multiplayer modes both online and offline using either a team developed in the single player mode or by selecting and customizing a team from a list of available ponies.

The latest build and homepage can be found here: http://www.yotesgames.com/2016/08/download-battle-...

Expect weekly updates every Tuesday as the project slowly comes together. The biggest milestone on the horizon is the Steam Greenlight campaign coming in January. BGP is made by the extremely small team of myself (Tony Yotes), and two musicians (Eric Eom & Justin Heng). If this seems like a fun project to follow, we'd love for you to come along on the journey!

Taking steps towards greatness. That's what it's all about. Feeling overwhelmed with just how huge this game is. Seeing smaller ideas being implemented makes me very envious. It's the "why can't I just poof this into existence" problem. If I could at least not have to deal with the debugging problems this would be insanely easy and fun.


Get the rest on the official Yotes Games Blog

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #87 (Contacts & Beginning 6.0)

Another milestone down. New fans acquired. New bugs found. Long ways to go. The journey to make Battle Gem Ponies a thing continues. It's time to start drawing out each map and writing elements of the story. Been studying game design and writing all week to see what makes a good RPG feel great.

Get more details and the weekly Yotes Games download numbers on the main blog!

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BGP Inspiration (Concept Art Gallery)

I'm still not done drawing maps just yet so I thought I'd share some concept pictures pulled from Google Images that I'm using as inspiration for the upcoming zones. These are the same images the BGP musicians will have as mental placeholders as actual in-game screenshots are under construction.

Check out the gallery over here:

http://www.yotesgames.com/2016/09/bgp-inspiration-concept-art-gallery.html

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Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #88 (Drawn Plans)

Drawing out each map in detail was taking too long and I want a demo out before the end of October, so I took a temporary shortcut and drew rough outlines of what I wanted in each level (outdoors only) just to have a basic idea of what I want for later. I'll do the maps in detail after I release build 7. I'll only need up to the Peridot Woods for build 8 anyway since that's what I'll be using for the Greenlight demo launch.

Get more development news on the Battle Gem Ponies Website!

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Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #89 (Drawing Ponies)

Been working on pony sprites all week. I gave myself until the 15th before having to start on coding features and fixing bugs again. Then it'll be a 40 day march towards the next release. As you can see above, drawing pony sprites involves looking at a bunch of references that match the image in my head and eyeballing parts of each one to get the pixel shapes/colors I'm looking for.

In the case of this Ghost class pony, Petrifus, I imagined a mummy/skeleton pony with purple fire over it's horn (now moved to just over the head because it looks better) inspired by the Delta form Charmander from the fan game Pokemon Insurgence.

Get more gamedev news and BGP stuff on the Dev Blog!

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Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #90 (Pony Sprites & Polish)


This week centered around making the game look better. Both in my head and in tangible form. I fleshed out a lot of details around the story, drew some characters to put faces to descriptions, and added some little touches here and there to make the game build feel more solid/professional.

Take a look for yourself!

http://www.yotesgames.com/2016/09/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-90-pony.html

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Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #91 (Pushing Past Setbacks)

This week was spent making menus. Multiple times in fact since Unity kept crashing after an update and I had to start over on these things at least 5 times.

What you're seeing in the picture above is the in-engine concept I have for the move learning screen. The white one at the top will always be the move currently assigned to the specified slot and the grey ones below it are a list you can scroll through to look for a new move to use.

If you want to see more, just look on down below!

http://www.yotesgames.com/2016/09/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-91-pushing.html

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Another week passed without much being crossed off the list. Making every menu screen work properly is turning out to be a week-long affair rather than the couple days I had in mind. It's like making a little game in itself with its own little systems. I'll remember that when planning for the future. That multiplayer setup menu is going to be a pain.

Check out this week in gamedev on the Yotes Games Blog.

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Challenges Ahead for Demo 6

Sorry I haven't been posting on Fridays for so long. Some of you may remember me saying I'd lay of these weekend posts when there's nothing to talk about, but the rest of you probably feel left in the dark. Thing is, BGP is currently at that boring stage of development where most of the weekly accomplishments are getting basic features to work, fixing bugs, improving organization, rewriting ideas, and trying to figure out how to toss numbers around to program new features at all.

I thought I'd take a minute tis week to talk about some of the upcoming obstacles I need to navigate in order to get BGP V6.0 out in time for Halloween weekend. Check out the full breakdown on the Battle Gem Ponies Blog.

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Delaying Demo 6 (THIS KEEPS HAPPENING)

Some quick news on how BGP is going. In short, it's not. This week has been full of setbacks and a string of bad luck going on outside of gamedev that's really been demotivating and distracting me. After some mental recoup, I'm ready to get back at it and get this game to Greenlight.

One thing has to be scrapped though, and that's the hope of finishing Build 6 in time for Halloween. I'll be lucky to have it out the following weekend in November at this rate. I gotta step up my productivity soon though, because the one date I can't afford to miss is the January Greenlight launch. Preferably Monday, January 2nd. The perfect time to send my game out to press sites. Even more likely to get picked up now that quality Pokemon fan games are all the rage.

In other scrapping news, Vinerva's Ultra form animations are not at all complete like I thought they were. I was mistaken and probably remembering my days working on this version of BGPwhere all the animations existed in my head. Drawing all the necessary sprites for that would delay the next demo even further, so they're being pushed off into Build 7.

In order to keep things on time, I'll have to limit finished & functional Ultra forms to only Vinerva until after the Greenlight Demo. Then I can take as much time as needed animating the rest of them.

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #94 (One Week. Can I Even?)

It's been a lackluster week as far as progress goes, but Yotes Games marches on... Hoping to make a lot more progress this week. Gonna get some extra sleep and crack down on gamedev starting tomorrow!

http://www.yotesgames.com/2016/10/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-94-one-week.html

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #95 (Birthday Week)

A new fire is lit under my butt as I realize the value of getting another demo out before Pokemon Sun & Moon launch. Let's Players will be eager for new Pokemon gameplay but have nothing to do in the couple weeks leading up to the 18th. Gotta put BGP in the hands of some bronies before then and maybe try to reach a few of the small-fry Pokemon channels to sort of get my foot in the door.

Check out this week's progress below.

http://www.yotesgames.com/2016/10/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-95-birthday.html

Yotes Games, Hopes, and Dreams (Birthday 2016)

This is actually the last time for another 7 years that my birthday falls on a Friday so I should try to make the most of it with what I've got. Unfortunately, one of the things I don't have ready is a new BGP demo... Distractions got the best of me.

By this time next year I'll be at Beach City Con with some of my very best friends relaxing on the beach at the peak of BGP's launch popularity. (Well actually, it'd be one week after that and I'll be mid post-con depression.)

If the launch is as successful as I wish it can be, I'll be house hunting and getting ready to establish a new base of operations for Yotes Games! Thoughts of my next birthday are really keeping me alive. Finishing BGP and getting it in front of every brony on Earth is my final challenge. The one last insanely difficult thing to do before I can take a well deserved break and plan out where I'd like my indie career to go.

Should I fail, things may take a serious turn. Either selling my soul and busting my back just as hard to make someone else rich, or risking it all on a Kickstarter push for BGP2 to fix whatever kept it from selling well. All I have to do is sell 25,000 copies to justify this career choice. But I know this game has more potential than that. Pokemon Uranium just proved that there's an audience for this stuff. Indie passion projects from real Pokemon fans that gets the little things right.

Today I turn 23, and I promised myself that I'd become the Tony Yotes I envisioned by age 24. The same age Toby Fox and John Boyega hit their prime accomplishments. In one year's time I'll have a notable game to my name. Hopefully one that brings excitement and smiles to tens of thousands of people across the globe.

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Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #96 (Don't Let It Keep You Down)

New birthday fan art by FadedSketch I'm currently in love with.

BGP's first pixelated fan work!

With spooky season behind us, it's time to move onto the Great Greenlight Crunch. I put myself about a month behind schedule doing all this Orlando networking stuff and I need BGP's Greenlight to be a success if I truly what life to get any better. So it's time to buckle down, and whittle away at that to-do list of mine.

Get the rest here: www.yotesgames.com/2016/11/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-96-dont-let-it.html

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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.

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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

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.)

Blog: www.yotesgames.com

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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!

Travel Moves Vs Ride Pokémon

Since 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.

Sounds Amazing! Keep up the good work!

I also thought, for cutting trees,maybe your character could get like a REALLY big Lawnmower.

I did consider having a bunch of key items, but ended up simplifying it because it should feel like your pony can help you overcome obstacles.

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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

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Hey, the game looks pretty cool, will you be needing more music for it? If so I would love to help out, you can check out my portfolio here www.sbeastmusic.com/portfolio

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This game already has 2 musicians handling the soundtrack, but I'm always happy to bookmark musicians for potential future projects.

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.


So the plan was to blitz a bunch of press sites and forums the Monday after Magfest and get as many people to check out the latest build of BGP as possible. By the looks of things though, that build may be Demo 8.0 (the Pinto Island demo) and not the beginning segment of the game with tons of polish like I had wanted.


With that, I may still be Greenlit with the help of the brony community, and could even catch the eye of gaming sites looking for Pokemon fan game related scoops just as Sun/Moon hype is on the decline and Pokemon GO winter updates are either released or proven to be rumors.


Should things go swimmingly, I'd still like to have that big story update come out piece-by-piece. I'd like to release 3 different segments (one month at a time) showing off how great the final game will be. From the beginning to the end of the first forest, then a batpony hunt in a cave further along in the story, then a level where you confront the game's villains in a way that leaves you wanting to see what the rest of the game could be like.

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.


I am promising to make a game that is worth the average Pokemon fan's time as well as anyone else patient enough to give this unknown game from an unknown developer a quick look.

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Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #102 (Pony Surfing in the USA)

I can't get over how cool this is.

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.


It'd be so great to have it be the opposite of the Hoenn ocean segment and be one of this game's highlight moments instead of a boring grind like ocean exploration parts feel like in Wind Waker and Pokemon Emerald. Plus, this gives players a way to bond with their pony. Can't help but love your little buddy a bit after speeding around like this.

Get a few GameDev Updates below!
http://www.yotesgames.com/2016/12/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-102-pony.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

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Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #107 (New Drawings, Bug Fixes)

Lots of spritework was done this week and it's not even close to over yet. It may end up delaying the next build by a week, but it should be worth it with all the improvements being made.

Read More: http://www.yotesgames.com/2017/01/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-107-new.html

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Nice! Those robo-ponies look very powerful! Looking forward to having them on my party!

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #108 (More Spriting)

Making a video game about ponies over here. Drawing lots of new sprites and it's taking a while to get 'em all looking just right from 4 angles and in motion alongside 16x16 pixel tiles. By Friday they should all be in-game and I'll be waist-deep in bug fixing.


Read the Full DevLog Here: http://www.yotesgames.com/2017/02/battle-gem-ponies-devlog-108-more.html

Plans for Demo 6.5 & Beyond

Instead of delaying the update I promised Steam Greenlight towards the end of February (with the risk of missing the month entirely), a midway update is coming.


One with the graphics changes I need to make this game distinct from Pokemon fan games and the ponies distinct from the MLP canon and fanon characters. Also, with much needed bug fixes and a few new fully animated moves.

This will allow me to keep my advertised monthly playable demo schedule and not stress so much about getting a build out that I skip a thorough playtesting session before release. Demo 7 will be a code complete version of the game released in March. All battle mechanics and overworld functions will be in working order, even if the graphics will be placeholders. The playable release will simply be one last Pinto Island demo but with complex battle moves, complete animations, proper leveling mechanics, and in-game cutscenes.

The April demo, will then be the first story release. A playable version of what I have planned for the beginning segment of the game, featuring the first 3 towns and the routes between them. The builds that follow will be separate pieces of the final game's adventure mode that show demonstrate my vision for the game while getting people hyped to see more.

Game development is a messy process that always, always, ALWAYS, takes more work than you were expecting, even for the simplest of things. Here's to hoping that by giving myself even more breathing room, I can get something solid out there people can enjoy.

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 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: New Look Implemented!

Despite the cold I've had all week, I managed to make progress on the February BGP update! Finally finished importing all the new sprites and tiles for the overworld! All that's left now is some bug fixes and a way to toggle the touch interface.

I'm also still not sure about which color scheme to settle on for Poni-Bot and I still want to try to animate all the current Move Tutor attacks. For now though, things are coming together nicely and definitely call all the graphical changes improvements.

We're on track for releasing the February Greenlight update by Friday, so hang tight! I wanna thoroughly playtest this time and make sure all the bugs really are fixed.

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

Watch the New Trailer!

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! You can download the demo itself right here on Itch.io!

Vote for Battle Gem Ponies on Steam Greenlight!

(And check back for more monthly updates!)

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

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

Battle Gem Ponies Demo Update! (Ver. 6.8)

Watch the BGP Trailer!
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!

Find the Battle Gem Ponies
Download Link on Steam Greenlight!

(And check back here for more monthly updates!)

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #119 (Functional, but Not Fully)

At this rate looks like it'll take maybe a couple weeks longer than expected to reach code completion. But getting the major hurdles out of the way has been the primary goal of this month and I'm wrapping those things up as this blog is being written.


Take a look at the rest of this week's progress in the Yotes Games DevLog!

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #123 (Step-By-Step)

     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