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Old 3rd October 2014, 11:05 PM   #1
DJTiKi
The Pokémon Idealist
 
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DJTiKi
Default DJTiKi's Mega-Huge Guide for Planning Your Awesome ROM Hack! The Pokémon Guide!

DJTiKi's Guide to Planning Your Rom Hack!

Hello, newbies(or experienced hackers). You have somehow tumbled to my thread. I am DJTiKi. And you my friend, need some advice. I know, I know, don't even need to tell me. I always had ideas for hacking but planning wise, always stumbled. But that was a year ago. And now I'm here to share, how you can fully plan your ideas, and put them to action. I'm not gonna waste my breathe, on telling you how to use rom hacking tools, or tools you'll need. No. Dark Sneasel had already explained that in a most admirable way so go to this link to see all the things you need in terms of tools:


Okay, are you done? Good. Now let us begin your guide to planning a rom hack! :)

Part 1: Beginning Stages
Well Sir(or Madame), you just sat down one day, and suddenly, you have an idea. But it isn't as fleshed out as you want it to be, so grab some pen and paper, and start jotting. This is the first thing you need to do, any ideas relating to the topic, must be written down, wheter it'd be on paper or on computer, even your mobile device will do! Just start jotting away. Now since that is done, try thinking about the mechanics, and what exactly it is. There are very common types of rom hacks, out there: Overhaul Hacks, Diffuculty Hacks, and Update Hacks! The spoiler contains my descriptions of said hacks.

Spoiler:

Overhaul Hacks- These rom hacks, are most common. They have completely revamped story arcs, as well as, new characters, more Pokémon, and sometimes, even a NEW region. These take the most time to complete, they are usually made by a whole team. Hacks like these can take ip to YEARS, to finish. These are also the more admirable, in terms, of the casual demographic.

Diffuculty Hacks- These rom hacks, are also common. They do not add much to the rom, but increases its difficulty, by a WHOLE lot. These range from, altered Pokemon, from base stats to changed typing, even their movepools could be changed. Things, such as trainers, have been made harder to defeat. There are a numerical amount of ways this could go about. These hacks are especially popular in the YouTube community of Pokétubers. Calls for a more competitive Pokémon players. These usually don't take TOO long to complete, maybe a few months to a year.

Revamping Hacks- These rom hacks, are not as common. These do not add ANYTHING to the game, but updates a few things, such as NPC dialogue, updated graphics, and more Pokémon. Nothing too big here, so I will not go in-depth on them(probably not at all).


There are alot of abadoned hacks, which breaks this norm. So if you do decide to make this hack. Try to break way from these :) That way, your rom hack brings a different experience that all could play by. Its encouraged to think of whatever crazy idea, you have, which I'm sure you can. A small list of non-common ones can be listed here:

Spoiler:

Demakes- These hacks put alot of content from newer titles, in Pokémon games, and simplifies them. Most of time, these hacks, are really nice, and sometimes surpasses the actual game.

"Specific" Hacks- These hacks range from ASM, music, graphics, whatever.

Updated Hacks- Similar to Demakes, except they bring classic titles, and update them to a newer refined engine, adding layers to the experience.


So now that you've seen what type of hacks, are usually out there, for people to play on, now you need a foundation. Ask yourself, what base rom would you like? Of course, I will not be linking ANY roms, but there are a variety of roms to choose from and each of them have their own tools corresponding to it. Look at the link I provided above, so that Dark Sneasel may enlighten you.

Okay, I don't feel I should state this, but its better that I do. Here on PC, we abbreviate the titles for Pokémon games. So if you are wondering, what they mean, they are provided in the Spoiler below. So when someone asks you "HEY DUDE, did you use R/S as your rom base, you want be staring at your computer, like "Wat?"

Abbreviation
Spoiler:

Gameboy(1st Generation)
R/B/Y- Pokémon Red or Pokémon Blue or Pokémon Yellow
Gameboy Color(2nd Generation)
G/S/C- Pokémon Gold or Pokémon Silver or Pokémon Crystal
Gameboy Advance(3rd Generation)
FR/LG- Pokémon Fire Red or Pokémon Leaf Green
R/S/E- Pokémon Ruby or Pokémon Sapphire or Pokémon Emerald
Nintendo DS/Lite/DSi(4th and 5th Generation)
D/P/P- Pokémon Diamond or Pokémon Pearl or Pokémon Platinum
HG/SS- Pokémon Heart Gold or Pokémon Soul Silver
B/W- Pokémon Black or Pokémon White
B2/W2(or BW2)- Pokémon Black 2 or Pokémon White 2
Nintendo 3DS(6th Generation)
X/Y- Pokémon X or Pokémon Y
OR/AS- Pokémon Omega Ruby or Pokémon Alpha Sapphire(To be released this November)


So since that's out of the way, its best to note that each game has its own capabilities. While Generation 3 is easy to understand, in my opinion, it's boring and kinda standard, but alot of tools support it. But DS games are harder to hack, but looks ALOT better than its 3rd generation counterpart. Now I know what you may ask, "But what about 6th gen?" There are no 6th gen hacking tools, or roms for that matter, and won't be for a VERY VERY VERY long time.

Well we didn't do much this part, but its the beginning, its expected :) So its time to develop some characters :)!

Part 2: Character Planning

This part is rather important, there is no game, that doesn't have characters, silent, talkative, ANYTHING, you just need to work out their personal bios. But this is alot of work, you must establish relationships, between the main character(the person you play as) and others. So because this is important, this will be split into multiple parts followed as so:
1. Main Character
2. Rivals
3. Antagonist
4. Character Development Tips By Yours Truly.

Main Character:

Well, believe it or not, unless you have multiple paths in your hack, or the character talks(which barely happens), there is absolutely NOTHING special about the main character. Yeah, I know, "Tiki, you play as him, how is the main character, not special?" Well....all you do is play as them, that person has no greater significance than just that. By all means, don't get mislead by what I say, if you want to get a speaking protagonist, then go ahead.

But if you are a speaking protagonist. Then by all means, go a million miles with its development. There are a couple things, you kind of wanna look out for. When making a main character, that speaks, it is IMPERATIVE that you have:

A relatable personality, one that would suit all players alike.

Well.....this will be very difficult. No one has a set personality, in which everyone will agree with. So trying to create that perfect character, will be tough work. As roleplay puts it, trying to create a "Mary Sue" or a "Gary Stu". So if you really, really, REALLY, want to make that awesome relatable character that everyone can agree. I'd ask roleplay, how one would make a "Mary Sue" or a "Gary Stu" since these are the templates for "perfect" characters. The thing is about this choice, if someone doesn't like it, they won't have a good time, spending 20+ hours with the this character.

How would you go about developing this character? Easy, develop this character, how you'd go about developing any character, which I will go more in-depth, later.

Rival:

Oh geez, this topic. Okay, every hack NEEDS a rival. One who is always pestering you, in the most inapporiate moments. One who is always your equal. "A sound rival rests within a sound region, and a sound plot, which makes for a sound game". Since your rival is practically your one-way stop to an annoying tag-along, its best that this character, in PARTICULAR, has good development. There are many ways to go about making a rival, but you can always expect to see a certain type of them. What am I getting at? What I'm getting at, is that there are different types of rivals, the ones most commonly found, and typically shares a similar personality. Here is my take on Rival types.

Common Rival Persona:
Spoiler:

The Snob- The most common one. This is the very competitive and downright mean one. They usually vow to surpass you, like Vegeta to Goku all like, and annoys everyone. As I'd like to call it, the Lovable Bastard. (Ex. Gary Oak and Silver)

The Hardheaded- These are the ones, who isn't practically mean to you, but carries traits from The Snob. They want to surpass you, and become stronger. But they also lose their way, in doing so. (Ex. Cheren and May)

The Free-Spirited- These guys don't know, when to say die. They are also the more humourous ones. They get around, but if they lose, it doesn't bother them too much. They shrug it off and try again. Of course, when push comes to shove, they are there for you.(Ex. Barry)

The Nice- These rivals, are always nice to you. They don't always have a goal to surpass you, but they are there as nice friends. They admire you, and sometimes even a bit jealous. (Ex. Bianca and Serena)

The Irrelevant- These are the rivals, you need to AVOID. I see it both rom hacks and the main game. They are just there, to have the title "Rival". They aren't anywhere as strong as you, they have NO development. And they are annnoying! If you have any creative writing skills, chances are, you'll make one that isn't as worse than these guys.(Ex.XY "Friends"excluding Serena)


When making a Rival, you gotta be sure that they are memorable and a challenge. This is important. The moment, someone or yourself forgets a Rival's name , thats a que, to go back to Square One. You never saw anyone forget who Gary Oak was(spoiler alert: he became the champion) These guys must be in your face, their apperance and identity MUST be known, in some ways, their development comes above the playable character's. So you don't have to follow the norm of everyday rivals, give these rivals, a personality that will be remembered by the player for a long time to come.

Antagonist:

If I had a dollar for everytime someone messes up the antagonist in a rom hack. I'd have a nice set of around 30-70 candy bars. Well, antagonist....for those who doesn't know what an antagonist is; The antagonist is the villain of the game, the one always in conflict, with the main character. These guys are just as important as everyone else. And if you screw them up, then that's half your game down the drain.

Antagonist Names? Well usually, villain names are Team [Insert here]. So making your team name will not first. I know, I know, names are important. But really, there names come from a variety of different factors. So for this section, I'll be using examples. Antagonist must have the following:
Spoiler:

Goal- What in the world, are these guys fighting for? What is important to them?
Colors- Yes, yes, they need colors. Just as badly, as street gangs need theirs. This way, they are easily identified.
Leader- Well. He's the leader, what he says go.
Agenda to Goal- What are the villains gonna do to achieve their goal? Maybe burn down a forest. Take control of a multi-billion company, you name it?
Admins- These guys are first-in-command. After the leader, they're in charge.
Pokémon- Each gang, i mean, Team, has a set of Pokémon they like to use. Do they use Poison mostly? Perhaps some flying types. Idk, it'll reveal itself to you, as you get the above five.


Let's start off with their goal. Now I want you to look at this spoiler; you look at it, and then, in your head, try to identify, what's wrong, and we can fix it together.
Spoiler:
Team Cyber wants to destroy buildings.

OKAY, there is a lot wrong with this. For one, this is a very basic goal. We want to flesh it out a bit. Why do they want to destroy buildings? Hmmm....maybe because they want to keep plants alive, and animals alive too. So its justifiable. So now since that's over with, lets insert it, shall we.
Spoiler:
Team Cyber wants to destroy buildings, because they believe buildings are killing off plants and animals.

Okay, great, but there is one tensy-little problem, the name makes absolutely no sensee. Team Cyber? You'd expect them to hack into the League database or something. So if they like plants, how about Team Earth, instead?
Spoiler:
Team Earth wants to destroy buildings, because they believe buildings are killing off plants and animals.

Now that looks much better, sounds like they have a clear goal. That's why I said names don't come first, their name will reveal itself, as you work on the other things. Okay let's keep the Team Earth theme, for the end of this section.

Now, its time to represent your Team with colors! This is a minor annoyance of mine, when a Team's color, does not reflect the actual villain team. So let's briefly touch on this. Colors MUST reflect either the team name, or what they are doing. For instance, are you going to expect Team Earth to be cladded in purple and pink. No. You'd expect them to be in some green, and some brown on the side. So when going over this topic, just try to find the best fitting colors, because it just makes sense, you know?

I told you, I'll only be briefly touching colors. So let's skip Leaders, for now, and go to the Agenda. Well, how are they going to achieve this goal of theirs? Well, most likely, your goal states this perfectly fine. I'll restate the goal for you:
Spoiler:
Team Earth wants to destroy buildings, because they believe buildings are killing off plants and animals.

Okay, so we know, they are targeting buildings. But saying that "They just want to destroy buildings" doesn't sound right. So let's do a little wordplay, shall we?

If you know anything about how a city is organized, let me give a classroom refresher. Cities are built upon infrastructure. The infrastructure of a city, contains roads, industrialization, and most importantly, buildings. So now that we have a good synonym for buildings, let's insert it.

Spoiler:
Team Earth, in order to achieve their goal, will destroy the region's infrastructure.

Perfect! It's pretty basic, but now you have a good foundation to work off from. Now you won't be lost when constructing the plot, more on that later.

Well, I am not going over Admins or Pokémon, as those are pretty obvious. So its time to explain the Leader. Okay, the leader runs it all, this person has the most passion, in what his or her team is doing, in order to achieve their goal. Think of it, as an evil Rival. The difference is that, they must have a justified reason to destroy buildings, for instance. They can't just wake up, and say "Hey, I feel like doing something bad!". They need a backstory. Something that tells you, why they are going about in their manner. Like Rivals, their appearance and identity MUST be known to the player, if not, then try harder, because a strong villain team, can't be ruled by some pushover.

Grunts too. These guys, while just dispatches of a large army. Must believe that they are fighting for a worthy cause. Let me give you an example from the main series of Pokémon games. Team Magma and Aqua. The grunts believed in the expansion of either land or sea, and fought against each other. Team Galactic. They believed that they had a strong leader, Cyrus, and followed him. Team Plasma, had fully believed that they were helping the cause, to release Pokémon, especially N.

Now let me give a bad example of Grunts, Team Flare. These guys, just seemed to be nobodies, who were nothing more than Lysandre's subjects. Even the Admins, had no names. Even though Lysandre had good character development, his subjects didn't. They didn't seem to care, and that's a REALLY bad thing. Don't make your Grunts like them

Well, that's all there is to Antagonist. Now let's go over some simple tips.

Character Development Tips:

Well I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but if I were to tell you anything on making a character, is to basically make character bios, one that you can understand. So start up a list of questions, like:
Who are they?
Where are they from?
Favorite food?
Pet-peeves?
Personality traits? Etc.


In this way, when you answer all these questions, making their dialogue appropriate, would be very simple. Major characters should also have a backstory to them, something, that made that character, who they are today. So always try to make character bios, for each and every character, you'll see that its not as intimidating as I may make it seem.

Well a lot was covered in this section, so I'll review what we went over:

1. A Main Character's Role
2. The Do's and Don't of Rivals
3. How To Make A Thought Out Antagonist
4. Simple Tips to Making Character Bios.


Part 3: Gameplay and Balance

You can't have a game, without some gameplay, amirite? No. Okay. Well, in a lot of ways, this is what makes or breaks your game. So this section will be VERY LONG, because I'm going to cover every aspect, of how to make your gameplay, better through planning. This is what I plan to go over:
1. The Region
a. Region Map
b. Cities
c. Towns
d. A Whole New World(or Region, whatever)
2. Pokémon
a. Wild Encounters
b. The Pokemon Themselves
c. Fakémon
d. Starters
e. Filling The Dex 101
f. Legendary and Event Pokémon
3. Trainers
a. Vanilla Trainers
b. Gym Leaders
c. Elite Four
d. Champion
4. Difficulty
a. The Basics of Making A Difficulty Hack
b. The Yeah's and Naw's of Difficulty
c. Difficulty Curves For The Soul
5. Personal Wants and Don'ts

The Region:
You can't have a Pokémon without a region to explore it in. And that is the truth. Unless your game has no region, then I guess you proved me wrong. Think of a region, like this:

The player will be seeing this, throughout the entire playthrough.

There are two things, that you are guaranteed to see at ALL times throughout the playthrough: The playable character and the region. So its best that the region is well constructed. I think everyone can agree on that. {:3} So let's talk about how you should go about making a region.

Well for starters, I'd find something to write with and a piece of paper. Now try to draw out a region, in your head, then draw it on paper. Simple. It'll come together, may take a while, but it will. Take your time, don't rush. It's not the end of the world.

Now, since you are done, its better that you begin putting your labels on each and every aspect of the map. Routes, towns, cities, mountains, everything needs a label. Okay, now you have your region map(give yourself a pat on the back), but we are not finished here. I need to go over towns and cities, first.(Btw, I'm not going over region names, I don't need to, its easy)

Cities:

A city has more than you think it does. Cities are actually an integral part of Pokémon. We all love cities. And you'll need to learn all the things which makes a city, a city. So that your city, is the best city, like no city ever was.(I counted 8 cities :p)

Cities are, as previously stated, big. They are definitely bigger than towns, and in the main series, held some pretty important events. Cities also have the pleasures of being the homes, of Pokémon Gyms. Constructing a city, isn't too hard, you don't even need to follow Pokémon tradition, and have them in the city. Typically though, cities are more interesting than towns. So I'm going to give a few pointers, on what a city, in my opinion, should be:
Spoiler:
Large In Size: They are usually 48x40 or larger.
Has A Pokémon Gym or something of greater significance
Lots of NPC's
Some sort of important event



When constructing your city, jot down, some traits of it. I'm again, going to give you a few pointers on city trait questions:
Spoiler:
What does it look like?
Does it have a particular set of weather patterns?
What important buildings does it have?
Is this a early-game, mid-game, late-game, or post-game city?
Are there any important characters, who reside here?



And with that, we are done covering cities. You see, it didn't take too long.

Towns:

Towns are relatively simple. So I'm only going over a few things. Towns are smaller than cities, obviously. Towns usually have a smaller amount of NPCs. They may have a few NPCs that can help you out in progression(perhaps a person who gives you an HM) or these towns may have entrances to caves or other dungeons. But towns are simple, and don't take too much time to make. So let's go over some pointers of how, in my opinion, you should construct your town:
Spoiler:
Small In Size: Between 24x20 and 48x40
Usually only has a few NPCs that are important for progression
Not many NPCs



As with towns, make sure to note traits of them:
Spoiler:
What does it look like?
Does it have a particular set of weather patterns?
What important buildings does it have?
Is this a early-game, mid-game, late-game, or post-game town?
Are there any important characters, who reside here? Etc.



So with that we are done covering Towns.

Another Region:

Hey, you know what's better than one region? Two regions? And you know what's better than two regions? Three. This is your chance to think over, if you want to have multiple regions, in your rom hack. The casual demographic loves it when a developer puts all their efforts into making another region, possible to the player. But it's best to note that multiple regions, dramatically changes, how you should go about the difficulty and level curve(more on this later)

So the first question is: What region shall it be? There are an expansive amount of regions, you could choose from. Be it, a region established by GF, or a region of your very own. So once you've decided. Well, how is this region, going to be accessible? Most likely, you may have it accessible after you beat the champion of the first region. But its always great to break out of the norm. So you can go about making a second region however you may want.

But that means, you must plan a lot more things. Such as the plot, the characters, Pokémon, and potentially, more rivals and antagonist. So when making your new region, you'll have put as much planning into it, as you do with the first one.

Another thing we should talk about, is if you plan to make the second region, one that was already established, how are you going to change it? What? "Change it?" Yes. Nobody wants to play a second region if you there isn't anything "new" about it. So let's take for instance Kanto:

Kanto is a pretty simple region. But let's look at two spoilers and tell me, which one is better, and which one you will be more inclined to play, in your opinion.

IDEA #1
Spoiler:
Playthrough Kanto, once again, with everything you knew, still there. When you arrive at Pallet Town, go to Oak's lab, and you can meet Blue there, and get your starter, and play through the exact same story, with no connotation to the first region of the game. {:3}


IDEA #2
Spoiler:
Playthrough Kanto, once again, as things aphage changed. Blue became Champion. And Red is now leader of (Insert Evil Team from the first region). Now it's up to you, to team up with the new Gym Leaders, such as Daisy, and Mr.Fuji, to take down Red and defeat Blue, as you explore the newly defined Kanto region


Now out of those two, I'd rather play the second one. It may not be the best idea out there, but its a change from the typical normality of the Kanto Region. So keep this in mind when making a second region, to change up a few things about it, and give a different experience.

After a long hiatus, here is more of the guide.

Pokémon:
Every likes Pokémon. Pokémon are small. Pokémon are tall. Pokémon are cute. Pokémon are just ugly. Wheter, you like them are not(your on Pokécommunity, I'm pretty sure you do), you have to have Pokémon, in a Pokémon ROM Hack; It only makes sense. So I'm back after trying to rewrite this, to bring you guys, more helpful planning tips.

Wild Encouters:

Hey look, your a kid and you got these little red balls, and you catch wild animals with it. Then you raise them like your children and battle them. Seems legit. Now, how in the hell are you going to make your wild encounters good? Because you can screw them up and its imperative that you, the creator, doesn't do this. So I'm gonna give my insight to this.

Okay, let me give you an example. Pokémon Fire Red. In my opinion, this game was horrible in its encounters. Nothing was really planned together, with this. Of course with Pokémon Red, it was excusable. There were only 151 Pokémon, and it was the first game(to an extension, it excuses their horrific glitches), so they didn't know. But 2nd and 3rd generation came by very fast and they had time to refine the formula, and they had alot more Pokémon this time. Yet in FireRed, they didn't allow for 3rd generation Pokémon until you beat the game, and yes its a remake, but as a BIASED opinion, I felt that it could've been done better; MIND you that FireRed didn't have that expansive of a post-game. And in my opinion, the game got stale post-Elite Four. So adding a bit of variety in your hack, can come a long way.

So what do you need to do, to make your game have better wild encounters? Well, its more simple than you may actually think. The thing is, the Pokémon that you have accessed to mid-route, kind of spells out what challenges you'll be facing in the future. So let's talk some bad examples, once again, look at the spoiler and tell me, what's wrong.

Spoiler:
Route 1: 40% encounter rate
Level 10 Rattata(20%)
● Level 10 Metapod(20%)
● Level 10 Beedrill(20%)
● Level 10 Skarmory(15%)
● Level 10 Oddish(15%)
● Level 15 Sunkern(5%)
● Level 15 Ditto(5%)

Gym Leader Blaine:
Level 16 Growlithe
● Level 16 Ponyta
● Level 16 Charmeleon
● Level 16 Larvesta


There is alot wrong with this. Okay, let's start of with the most obvious. The Pokémon levels for the first route are WAY too high, for a first route. Most likely, you have a starter that starts out at level 5. When you enter the grass.....then that 40% chance encounter rate, will bite you in the ass. Here's why. Route 1 for FireRed and LeafGreen are set at 7%(or 6, I always forget) For me, Route 1 is very annoying to get through. Now let's nearly multiply it 7 times! The player will be very annoyed by how many times, it runs into a Pokémon. And when they do, they will be 5 levels above it, so you can't run away, because they are most likely faster than your starter. For those who are not aware, the chances of you running away, is calculated by precise comparisons between both Pokémon, the lower your speed, the harder it is to run. And once you faint, you will be sent back to the last city, lose money, and repeat. You won't be getting anywhere, neither in experience nor progression. Fun.

Problem #2. The Pokémon Selection itself is very off. Some Pokémon aren't even NFE's. Take for instance that Beedrill. When making a route, take into consideration of which Route it is. Late game routes for evolved Pokémon. Early game routes for NFE's. Also some of these Pokémon, are not even related to other Pokémon, at all. That Skarmory and Ditto sticks out sore thumbs. Now what, is REALLY off, about this? I kinda hinted this with Blaine's description. Yes, most of the Pokémon are weak to Fire-types, and that's a big problem. You see, depending on the starter you chose, you maybe fine, or absolutely screwed. That's what the problem was with Brock, if you chose Charmander. You barely had any Pokémon to counter his, and dealing with his Rock-types were a pain.

Problem #3. Little gripe, but WHY, in the world of Pokémon, would anyone make the weakest Pokémon, in the series, rare encounters. It's like your parents saying "For Christmas, we are gonna give you something special", and you know in your mind, that if it were going to be "special" it'd be that new car, you always been asking for. Then when Christmas rolls around, you get a pair of socks. It doesn't feel good. So at least, have some rewards for the player, for getting a rare encounter.

So let's fix this, shall we?:

Well, first off, let's lower that encounter level a bit, like I said before, Route 1's encounter rate is 7%. So that's a reasonable amount.
Spoiler:
B]Route 1:[/B] 7% encounter rate
Level 10 Rattata(20%)
● Level 10 Metapod(20%)
● Level 10 Beedrill(20%)
● Level 10 Skarmory(15%)
● Level 10 Oddish(15%)
● Level 15 Sunkern(5%)
● Level 15 Ditto(5%)

Well...now let's lower the levels of these Pokémon a bit. Since the starter you get is usually Level 5. Making them Level 3, would be a perfectly reasonable level.
Spoiler:
B]Route 1:[/B] 7% encounter rate
Level 3 Rattata(20%)
● Level 3 Metapod(20%)
● Level 3 Beedrill(20%)
● Level 3 Skarmory(15%)
● Level 3 Oddish(15%)
● Level 3 Sunkern(5%)
● Level 3 Ditto(5%)


Good now, let's address two issues right now. The Pokémon Selection, and Rare encounters for this route. Alright, as we may know, almost the entirety of this list is weak to fire, and the first gym will be Fire. So let's add in a few Pokémon, that can counter it. So what is Fire weak to?
Spoiler:
Rock, Ground, and Water

Now let's think of a few Pokémon who fits this bill. While we can just put in any water NFE, it's best that it makes sense to be able to find it on land, rather near or on water. Marill can ge found in tall grass, and so can Psyduck. Now a common Pokémon for Rock and Ground, is Geodude. Now that we have our Pokémon, let's put them in. Make them harder to find, than the common encounters, for the route. So here's the result!
Spoiler:
B]Route 1:[/B] 7% encounter rate
Level 3 Rattata(20%)
● Level 3 Metapod(20%)
● Level 3 Beedrill(20%)
● Level 3 Marill(15%)
● Level 3 Geodude(15%)
● Level 3 Sunkern(5%)
● Level 3 Ditto(5%)

Let's do something about that Beedrill. It's simple, replace it with its pre-evolved form, we'll also do the same with Metapod.
Spoiler:
B]Route 1:[/B] 7% encounter rate
Level 3 Rattata(20%)
● Level 3 Caterpie(20%)
● Level 3 Weedle(20%)
● Level 3 Marill(15%)
● Level 3 Geodude(15%)
● Level 3 Sunkern(5%)
● Level 3 Ditto(5%)

Finally, let's change these rare encounters. Something that is both useful and apeealing accprding to your personal prefrence will fit the bill here. So let's take away the Sunkern and Ditto, and add some of my favorite NFE's, Ralts and Eevee.
Spoiler:
B]Route 1:[/B] 7% encounter rate
Level 3 Rattata(20%)
● Level 3 Caterpie(20%)
● Level 3 Weedle(20%)
● Level 4 Marill(15%)
● Level 4 Geodude(15%)
● Level 5 Ralts(5%)
● Level 5 Eevee (5%)

GREAT! You did it, now you have a planned out Route, that not only takes into account, challenges up the road, but added more variety and fixed a few issues it had, without causing new problems to appear.

So in order to make your encounters better, you have to realize what lies ahead for the player, and what challenges that player must overcome. Without this, comig up with aqeuate encounters will prove rather challenging.

The Pokémon Themselve:

You need Pokémon, in your Pokémon ROM Hack. Obviously. So Game Freak, had this uncanning idea, as to confuse our innocent minds, with misleading designs, and some weird typings. So that's why, Pokémon can make absolutely zero sense, sometimes. "Why is it that Sudowoodo is pure Rock, and not at all Grass?". So you get the point, Pokémon makes NO sense, sometimes, and you want to make some innocent changes that you hope everyone will love. Well, I got news for you, it ain't simple. When making changes to Pokémon, its better that it makes sense. No one is expecting, your changes to a Pokémon to ring in their heads, the moment they see it.

Let's give yet another example. But this time, let's paint a picture in your head. Let's say you are playing a Pokémon ROM Hack, and you run into a wild Dunsparce. In your mind, you think "It's a Normal-type" let's send out my Hitmonchan(or lee or top, whatever your presence may be). You decide to go for Mach Punch, thinking that it would OHKO it. You go for it, but here's the thing, it doesn't do super-effective damage, rather, it resists it. Dunsparce then goes for Dazzling Gleam, and completely knocks you out. How would you, the hypothetical player, feel at a time like that? Assuming that no aesthic changes were made to the Pokémon, and that you figured out that Dunsparce was now Fairy typed, without any notification that it was. Pretty upset huh? Or maybe not, but misleading the player, isn't something you want to constantly do. So, when making changes, you need to have it ring in the player's ears that it is now a thing.

Good Example:
Let me give you a good example, and a bad example. Let's start of with the good example. You see Drayano's hacks, always stuck out to me, not only because they were diffucult, but that the retypings, made so much sense. Let me point you in the direction of Electivire. He was retyped to be Electric/Fighting. Make sense? Okay, glad we are on the same page. You see, GF, already tipped us with Electivire's design. Big, burly fists, coupled with its intimidating stature, how wasn't this thing part-Fighting?! To casuals and veterans alike, you could already have an idea for Electivire's typing, based off appearances alone. So when you can make a retyping, that makes sense with the Pokémon's aesthic changes, it then makes sense to the player. So they won't feel cheated, if the Pokémon, had a typing that eventually swept them, becuase it was completely faulted by the player, if you change a type, that would only make sense.

Bad Example:
Now a bad example, and yet another reason, why I don't personally like Generation 1. Gengar. Yes, we were all wondering, why I didn't choose Gyarados or Charizard, for lacking in a Dragon-typing. But Gengar's the worse, out of them. You see, in Generation 1, Psychic type, had no equals. It had no resistances, and its only weakness, Bug, were the weakest links. Now Psychic types also had another weakness, Ghost. But Ghost only had one move, that one being Lick, which isn't even a strong move. Now in comes Gengar, the only Ghost-type, introduced in Generation 1. Buckle your seatbealts, because this is going to get a bit crazy:

Spoiler:
Ehem....Gengar typing as we all know is Ghost/Poison. As we may also know, that Psychic is neutral to Ghost. Alakazam has a faster base speed total than Gengar, that being 120 to Gengar's 110. Because of this, Alakazam usually outsped, and used Psychic, this would OHKO Gengar with super-effective damage, because of its Poison typing, NOT because of its Ghost typing. Because of the Gameboy's limitations, there was nothing to signify that it was part Poison, these clues, being that it had a purplish palette, in later entries. Gengar, like I said earlier was the only Ghost type in Generation 1, and being how most Poison types were either obviously designed(Muk), or paired with Grass types(Bulbasaur), so it was a safe bet to assume that Gengar was just Mono-Ghost. This misled alot of players to believe that Psychic were good against Ghost which was not the case.


This is misleading the player to its very worse. While it maybe one thing to have a misleading Pokémon, its worse when a type's strength and weaknesses are put into question. There is a few more things, I want to talk about with Pokémon. What moves it gets leveling up?

You see, a Pokémon's move, hints at what it is. As I know, that you guys aren't stupid, I'll breifly touch on this. A Pokémon's moveset is very important. It determines alot, in relation to its battling capabilities. These battling capabilities determines how strong a Pokemon can acually be. This is why we don't see Quagsire with Sap Sipper, becuase its asking to be abused. You know what I mean? So it's important that what moves you give them, if you you choose to change them, not only reflect the Pokemon, you gave the new moves too, but not overpowered to an extent, that it could get abused. Let's give an example. Let's say we wanted to make Altaria a Dragon/Fairy, from which it was orignally a Dragon/Flying(as most of you know). Simply changing the type, will not be enough to hold itself.

Altaria only learns one Fairy type move, which is Moonblast, at Level 60. Other than that, it only learns Dragon and Flying type moves(Obviously). So if we are changing its secondary type to Fairy, we don't want Altaria's moveset to be filled with Flying and only one Fairy move....so we want to change it around. In the spoiler is a link to Altaria's learnest



If you looked at the link, it'll tell you that Altaria learns more Normal moves than Dragon or Flying moves. So we have room to replacement. Some moves on here, can be replaced with better moves, but we don't want to remove ALL the Flying moves. It won't make much sense to do so. We just want to replace some Flying moves, as well as add Fairy moves to be used.

So by viewing its learnset, we can see that its safe to replace its starting moves, Pluck and Peck. Sky Attack can be replaced by Moonblast, since Moonblast is currently the strongest Fairy-type move. Pluck and Peck can sit on the opposite spectrum, so we can replace those with Fairy's weaker moves. These moves are Disarming Voice and Fairy Wind. So let's view its moveset with these changes:

Spoiler:
Start: Moonblast
Start: Disarming Voice
Start: Fairy Wind
Start: Growl
Start: Astonish
Start: Sing
4: Astonish
8: Sing
10: Fury Attack
13: Safeguard
15: Mist
18: Round
21: Natural Gift
25: Take Down
29: Refresh
34: Dragon Dance
35: Dragon Breath
42: Cotton Guard
48: Dragon Pulse
57: Perish Song
60: Moonblast
64: Sky Attack


Okay, with that out of the way, I'll leave it here. Mainly because I said, I wouldn't touch on this much, as its only finding moves you want to replace and finding a good alterantive to them(or expand the learnset using GH3S), I'll make only one more point. Since Swablu evolves into Altaria at Level 35, it means that to have access to moves it learns before Level 35, you need a move remember. If Move Remembers aren't in your game, I suggest having moves you want Altaria to learn before Level 35, to be in Swablu's learnset as well, of course, before Level 35(not sure if I came across clearly enough).

With that, I'm finished covering, the Pokemon themselves! Next update, I'll be covering Fakémon.
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Old 6th October 2014, 06:29 AM   #2
DJTiKi
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Fakemon

Raise your hands, if you had ideas for new Pokémon? You didn't raise your hand, which means you are most likely lying. So you decided to implement Fakémon in your ROM hack. Creating an entirely new Pokémon with your artistic abilities. Some can be very well-made, or made very poorly. It's important that you draw concept art for each of your Fakémon, and get a feel for how it's design. I'm pretty sure there will always be something, you are not happy with, in a drawing, and want to change. I'm no artist, so what I will be touching on, is essentially the data aspects of Fakémon.

When creating Fakémon, what you are essentially doing, is creating an entirely new Pokémon. I know, I know, some Fakémon can just be new designs for already estsblished Pokémon. But what I will explain is making Fakémon, that has everything entirely new for itself, not redesigns(doesn't mean you shouldn't do it at all).

Well Pokémon has ALOT of data, in the spoiler is a basic list of what a Pokémon needs:
Spoiler:
Name
Typing
Moveset
Ability
Catch-Rate
Leveling Rate
Egg Moves(if breedable)
Sprite(s)
Evolution(s)(if it evolves)
Catch Rate
Gender Ratio
Pokedex Entry(ies)
Base Stats
EV Yield
Body Style
Pokédex Color
Base Friendship
Egg Group
Height & Weight
Hatch Time


Like I said, that is the basis of what a Pokémon needs, there is alot more to it. But this is what you need on a surface level, just don't think this is everything. There is alot to cover, so I'll breifly talk about the list in the spoiler below, and go more in-depth with everything else.

WHAT I'M NOT COVERING MUCH:
Spoiler:
Name
●Leveling Rate
●Egg Moves
●Sprite(s)
●EV Yield
●Body Style
●Pokedéx Color
●Base Friendship
●Height & Weight
●Hatch Time
Evolution(s)
Gender Ratio



In the spoiler below, us everything you need to know(at least to me), about what I'm not extensively covering. As I meant it, when I said that I wouldn't talk much of the ones directly above, so the basic information is down below.

Spoiler:
Name- It's self explanatory, its just something to brand your Pokémon with.
Leveling Rate- Not every Pokémon grows at a relatively equal rate. This is the leveling rate, which determines how fast your Pokémon, gains experience.
Egg Moves- When Pokémon breed, the hatchling of that Pokémon gets new moves, not normally learned by its normal learnset. It's also pretty cool, if you're into competitve. Win-Win.
Sprite(s)- This is the design of the Pokémon, in pixel form. Most likely you knew this.
EV Yield- When a wild or enemy Pokémon faints, it yields EVs, which will help boost your own Pokémon's stats.
Body Style- It's self-explanatory. This is mainly used in the Pokédex, and has little to no inclusion in battles.
Pokédex Color- Again, self-explanatory. This color is used to identify a Pokémon in the Pokédex, makes it slightly easier to search for.
Base Friendship- Since all Pokémon aren't in love with you, the moment of capture. This is their happiness value. when you first obtain them.
Height & Weight- Self-explanatory. Mainly used in Pokédex searching.
Hatch Time- When you have an egg of the Pokémon; this determines the amount of steps it takes to hatch it. The lower the value, the fewer, the steps.
Evolution(s)- If the Pokémon evolves, what does it evolve into. Legendaries do not evolve, keep that in mind.
Gender Ratio- Depending on the Pokémon, you may want to give it a certain gender. Usually, this doesn't mattee, except in cases, like Nidoqueen and Nidoking, who are gender specific. Legendaries are genderless, along with some Steel types.


So with thosse out of the way, let's talk about the things you need to be very concerned about, when making a Fakémon. So let's go over what I want to extensively cover.

Spoiler:
Typing
Learnset
Ability
Catch-Rate
Base Stats


Before I begin, there may be alot of refrencing on previous sections of the guide, mainly, The Pokémon Themselves, so a lot of this knowledge should be in your head, and thus, I may not cover inportant points because they were refrenced already. Okay let's begin.

These are, in my opinion, the most important things to keep in mind, when making a Pokémon. But there are some things, people do not need for me to cover. So there will be multiple spoilers, and whichever you need some explaining in, then read it. I know there are some things people don't need help in.

Typing:
Spoiler:
A Pokémon's typing determines a lot. Its offensive presnece, its defensive presence, weaknesses, strengths, movepools, so many things. While it doesn't DIRECTLY affect the movepool, it has a large contribution. So first of all, you need to come up with a typing for your newly designed Fakémon. The basic rules of Pokémon state that each type has a weakness and a Pokémon can have up to two types at one time. For those who don't know the type chart, I'll briefly have each type's weaknesses in the spoiler:
Spoiler:
Grass- Flying, Bug, Poison, Fire, and Ice
Water- Grass and Electric
Fire- Water, Rock, and Ground
Normal- Fighting
Fighting- Flying, Psychic, and Fairy
Flying- Electric, Rock, and Ice
Electric- Ground
Ground- Grass, Water, and Ice
Rock- Steel, Fighting, Water, Grass, and Ground
Steel- Fire, Fighting and Ground
Ice- Fire, Fighting, Steel and Rock
Bug- Fire, Flying, and Rock
Poison- Ground and Psychic
Psychic- Ghost, Dark, and Bug
Ghost- Ghost and Dark
Dark- Fighting, Bug, and Fairy
Dragon- Dragon, Ice, and Fairy
Fairy- Poison and Steel

Okay, so a combination of types, can very much benefit a Pokémon, although, having a single-typed Pokémon is fine. While benefical, dual-types, can also make a Pokémon weak to types, it normally wasn't weak to. For instance, alot of dual-Flying types tend to have a 4x weakness(taking 4x the damage from a certain type). But there are OUTSTANDING dual-typings, which only has a few weaknesses(Steel/Fairy, Dark/Ghost, and Water/Ground to name a few). Remember when I said, that a Pokémon's aesthic appeal should hint at its typing? Well, same rule applies here. Your Pokémon's typing should corillate to its design. We don't want another Generation One Gengar, now do we? . Also be sure that it's typing paired with its ability, doesn't make it overpowered.

As I said, an example of this would be giving Quagsire Sap Sipper, or Swampert for that matter. But with Fairy type, it's now pratically impossible, to make an overpowered Pokémon, unless we give an Electric type Levitate or something(looks at Eelektross *cringes*)

Well that's all for Typing.


Abilities:
Spoiler:
Abilities are those little, tiny wild cards, that activates at a certain time, and can ultimatley change the tide of a battle. Abilites come in different shapes and sizes. Some abilites are activated when you enter the field(Intimidate); some are just stat boosters, and don't even need activation(Huge Power). Of course, whichever ability it gets, determines a wide range of things. It's important to make sure that the Pokémon's given ability, isn't overpowering it, anywhere. We don't give Machamp, Huge Power. It's for the sake of balance.

When thinking about giving a Fakémon, an ability, same rules apply to here, as it does to typing. It must have some sort of corrilation to its design. But it's ability can also come from its Pokédex entry. For example, Hypno gets the ability Insomnia, which prevents sleep. Not only does it design tip it off, but so does its Pokédex Entries:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulbapedia
Seeing its swinging pendulum can induce sleep in three seconds, even in someone who just woke up.
It's also a safe bet to say that depending on the type and ability it gets, determines, how overpowered it is. There are checks and balances to EVERY Pokémon. Even Eelektross has balances to it, despite not having any weaknesses. Eelektross has a base Speed of 50, meaning anything can pratically get an upper hand on it, and slower Pokémon, are usually physically bulky, where Eelektross's highest base stat is Attack.

So always remeber that a Fakémon's ability, paired with its typing should not only balance out the Pokémon, while giving some buffs, but not give it an ability to good, that it becomes unbalanced and broken.


Learnset:
Spoiler:
Learnset is important, as in, you can't have a Pokémon, that doesn't have any moves for battling. Learnset is a very broad concept, in my opinion. Of course, I already tackled what moves a Pokémon can get Leveling Up, and how to appropiately mend that with a new typing, you may have given that Pokémon.

To recalrify, I said that if you are going to change the Pokémon's typing, then it is in the best decision, to also change the Pokémon's learnset, so that it would learn some moves from its new type. In that example. I used Altaria, and told you to we were making it Dragon/Fairy. I also said that since we were replacing its Flying type, we also replaced SOME of its Flying moves. Well, its time to go over what moves it gets via TM and HM's, and not too specifically Egg Moves, as I said that I wouldn't.

So let's start with HM's. HM's are kind of weird. They are moves that are NOT forgetable via normal methods, and are usually weak(with the exception of Surf, Waterfall, and Fly). But in turn allows you to traverse the Region, in new ways. Of course, these are all dependent on the Pokémon themselves, as it wouldn't make sense, to give Honedge, Surf. Or you could be a Bibarel, and learn almost every single one, besides Fly. Or be a Golurk, who can Fly, not even joking. So it's obvious, where I'm going with this. It'll only make sense to give your Fakémon HM's that makes sense with the Fakémon.

Now for TM's. TM's are also moves that also teaches a Pokémon, a new move. Instead, these moves give Pokémon, new moves, that they may otherwise, not learn. But of course, you knew this. But of course, following the theme with this section, and considering I said it a millipn times, I'll just say this. A few coverage moves will be nice. For those who don't know, Coverage moves are moves that are there, to combat other types, they may not have an upper hand with. For instance, almost ALL Water-types, get Ice Beam and Blizzard(don't tell I'm wrong). These moves were to combat Grass-types. On the other side of the spectrum, Hitmonchan gets all the "Punch" moves(Fire Punch, Ice Punch, Thunder Punch, etc.), not because he needed it, mainly because his design called for it(I am not going over why this is important, you should know by now).

So with that said, this seems like a safe spot to end this off.


Catch-Rate:
Spoiler:
What makes Catch-Rate so flippin' important in Pokémon? Easy, do you want waste all of your Pokéballs on a Rattata? You see, that's why. Catch-Rate is essentially, what it is; the rate at which the Pokémon can be caught. Simple. So with this came with some undefined rules. My weird rules on the matter follows as so:

Spoiler:
1. The catch-rate should resemble the Pokémon's rarity.
2. A Pokémon's base stat total, should also contribute to how hard the Pokémon is to catch.
3. A catch-rate can be determined by its numerical value, the higher it is, the easier it is to catch.

Now since that's covered, I'm going to go through each rule and check it off, one by one, on my digital clipboard(but not really). Are we cool? Okay, let's do it.

Spoiler:
1. The catch-rate should resemble the Pokémon's rarity.

This more or less, doesn't apply that much here. Yeah, kinda contradicted myself there. As Feebas is extremely rare, yet it is has a high catch-rate. But of course, there is legendary Pokémon, who has extremely lower catch rates(excluding Zekrom and Reshiram, who actually have surprising higher catch-rates for Mascot legendaries of all things, even though its still 45, which is relatively low). So in this rule, it more or less applies. Applies with legendaries, but not really Wild Pokémon.

Spoiler:
2. A Pokemon's Base Stat total, should also contribute to how hard the Pokémon is to catch.

Again, this more or less applies to Legendary Pokémon. Reason being, that legendary Pokémon, has base stat totals, exceeding 600 points. Of course, Pseudo Legendaries, has exactly 600 points in their Base Stat Total, and some other stuff, that I'm too lazy to write out, and its not relevant to the situation.

Basic logic goes as such: Do you really want a super-powerful Pokémon to be extremely accessible? (I guess by logic, ALL Pokémon are extremely powerful)

Spoiler:
3. A catch-rate can be determined by its numerical value, the higher it is, the easier it is to catch.

Do I really, need to explain this? Better that I do. Like I said, the higher a value, the easier it is to catch. Legendaries usually clock in under a 50 catch-rate value, while "first route" Pokémon clock in about a 255 catch-rate value, which is high. 255 is 33.3% to catch at full health, so the number rises with battle conditions, such as damage and status effects.

So depending on your Fakémon, whether it's a legendary or not, will also depend it's catch-rate at the same time. That is all for Catch-Rate.


Base Stats and Physical/Special Split:
Spoiler:
So this is probably the most important thing, when you check to see if something, is too overpowered. The Base Stats, is just a number. But this number tells the Pokémon, how well, it performs in each stat. Of course, the lower, the number, the worse that stat performs. Until Generation 2, there was no Special Attack and Defensive Split, just one single Special stat. Also the type determined, if a move was Special or Physical, until Generation 4. But in these examples, I'll be talking about Generation 3 Physical/Special and Generation 4 Physical/Special. Depending on the one, you'll be adding to your game, please consult the spoilers below.

Generation 3
Spoiler:
So you've decided to stick with the Generation 3 Split. Of course, approaching how you would handle the Physical/Special Split, in your game, is a little different. You see, Generation 3, splits Physical and Special attacks depending on the move's type, not exacly the move itself. So what types are Physical and what types are Special, you ask?

The Special Types follows as so:
Spoiler:
Grass, Water, Fire, Ice, Dark, Psychic, Electric, and Dragon


The Physical Types follows as so:
Spoiler:
Normal, Ghost, Poison, Steel, Rock, Fighting, Flying, Ground, and Bug


An easy way to remember this, is that there is an eeveelution for each Special type, except Dragon.
How would you use this, in preparation for your game? Easy. You need to be aware, of a Pokémon's movepool, and how that corresponds to a certain type. For example, Gemeration 3, Alakazam, has access to the elemental punches, which are all Special. Since Alakazam has a high Special Attack, now it has very good coverage, which will benefit from his high Special Attack stat. So when preparing your Fakémon, in the game, where Physical/Special, will use its Gen 3 counterpart, look more into your Fakémon's movepool.


Generation 4
Spoiler:
You are the majority who wants to use the Physical/Special Split, introduced in Generation 4. This Physical/Special Split, corresponds to the move itself, and not its type. Most of you, are aware of that. Most contacting moves are Physical, and most non-contacting are Special. So how do you prepare for this? Easy

If your Fakémon is mostly Physical, then you would have more Physical moves, in its learnset. If your Fakémon is mostly Special, then you would have more Special moves, in its learnset. This is actually very simple, to make your Fakémon have a nice movepool, with this Split.


I also forgot to talk about which Stat, does what. So I'll briefly cover this:

Spoiler:
HP- The Pokémon's Hit Points.
Attack- This is the Pokémon's Physical offensive value. How well can it use Physical moves.
Defense- This is the Pokémon's Physical defensive value. How well can it take Physical hits.
Special Attack- This is the Pokémon's Special offensive value. How well can it use Special moves.
Special Defense- This is the Pokémon's Special defensive value. How well can it take Special hits.
Speed- This is the Pokémon's speed value. The higher it is, the more likely, it can go first in battle.

Also as a rule of thumb, for you, try to not give your Fakémon, an ability that raises a certain stat, if that corresponding stat, exceeds 100 points. For instance, Azumarill can get Huge Power. It doesn't have the best attack stat, only being 65 points. But because of Huge Power, now its 130. It's not too far off from powerful Physical attackers, like Machamp, meaning it isn't too overpowered. On the flip side, if you gave Huge Power to Machamp, a Physical attacker, with a base Attack of 130. Now its 260, which is too powerful.

Let's talk Base Stat Totals. The Base Stat Total, is the calculation of all the Base Stat points. This Base Stat Total, can tell alot about your Fakémon. Pseudo-legendaries have a base stat total of exaclt 600. Legendaries have a base-stat total that exceeds 600 points. Of course, anything lower than 600, is where most Pokémon fall. So make sure, that if your Fakémon isn't a legendary, of a sort, that its Base Stat total, does not exceed 600 points. It's a sign, that it has been given too many points. Use this to balance some of your Fakémon


That is all for Fakęmon and the basic data you need, in order to create any Pokémon.

Starters:

The starters, to put it blunt, is almost unavoidable. These are the Pokémon, that you can get at the very beginning. They are your first partners in the game. By now, I have been going on, about balance and how you shouldn't make it overpowered. Well...this also applies here(you should know by now). The amount of Pokémon, given to you, is not predetermined. In fact, you don't have to follow the three starter Pokémon tradition.

Starters tend to be the following: Water, Grass, and Fire(not exactly in that order, Pokédex wise). So usually, when making a hack, hackers tend to gravitate towards already established starters, according to the Main Series games. That means, you either get the starters from the First three generations or have a mix of more than one, assuming that no other Pokémon from 4th-6th Generation were added.

Planning, your starter Pokémon, isn't all that hard. All you need to know, is that, the set of starters have to make some sort of sense. You see, having starters like Sneasel and Gligar(Pokémon Flourite's starters), seem random, but in fact, they have the same Base Stat Total, and evolves via Razor item. Now it makes perfect sense to have the two, as your starters.

Of course, if you have a plot-centric game, it would make more sense, to have the Pokémon, somewhat relate to the story. If your story is about, let's say Flying Pokémon, then having Flying starters, seem only fair.

Making your starters, the traditional Fire, Grass, and Water Pokémon, is alright also. It's kind of hard to stray away from it, if your hack uses the 8 badge journey system. So I went on about how to plan your Starters, yet I have not said anything on balance. Well let's go over that. Go over the spoiler, yet again, and try to see what is wrong:

Spoiler:
Starters of My ROM Hack:
●Magby
●Aron
●Mudkip


This is actually pretty simple, the Mudkip, paired with the other two, are horribly unbalanced. Both Aron and Magby are weak to water, and eventually will be weak to Swampert's Ground typing. There is no check for Mudkip. Assuming, your ROM Hack, will have a predetermined Rival, who has the stronger starter; how unfair would it be, if you have to continually fight Mudkip, knowing you are at a disadvantage? With this starter set, you pretty much determined which Starter, should be chosen, because no one will intentionally make the game harder for themselves, on a casual playthrough. Of course, you could always make the game harder for people, who choose Mudkip, but all there is to check Mudkip is Grass(since Dragon and Flying are weak to Ice Punch and Beam, which it learns).

I will not give you a correct set set of starters, since there are a numerical amount of ways, to fix this. So with all that said, it's best to state that the point of Starters, is not only to give your first partner, one that you will have a special relationship with, but to also teach the funadamentals of the Type Chart. Since I'm a realtively nice guy, I'll save you the trouble, and give you a bunch of sets of three types, each with "Rock, Paper, Scissors" relationships, that could replace the Fire, Water, amd Grass trio.

Spoiler:
Fire, Water, Grass(duh)
Fire, Rock, Steel
Fire, Ground, Ice
Electric, Ground, Water
Fighting, Flying, Rock
Psychic, Dark, Fighting
Ghost, Ghost, Ghost
Dragon, Dragon, Dragon
Ghost, Dark, Bug(Ghost resists Bug)
Rock, Bug, Grass
Grass, Flying, Rock
Poison, Ground, Grass



These are just a few ideas, since they are SO many ways to go about this. With that said, this is the end of starters.

Filling The Dex:

It may not seem so important, but there is guidelines to follow, when adding Pokémon. There are a numerical amount of ways, you can fill your Pokédex in the Main Series games. This range from leveling evolution, event encounters, stone evolutions, more-diversity in encounters post-game, and trade. But the thing is....we are on an emulator. So there are alot of thimgs, you can't do. Just know, that throughout, I'm referring to Regional Pokédex, which could very well be your National Dex.

Ever wondered how some hacks can cram so much Pokémon, as in they have all 649 Pokémon, i the game. Seems a bit FarFetch'd (jokes, I have them). Well it isn't as impossible as it seems. The only boundaries is free space and how well you can sneak in the Pokémon, in your game. These range from alot of factors, like NPC's, who give you a Pokémon, alot of in-game trades, and very diverse encounters, will little to no, repeating Pokémon.

So let's talk about what you should do, if you want to give the player, alot of choices, for partners.

1. NPC's and In-Game Trades

This seems like the easiet one. Why? Because it is. With a simple script command, now you have a Pokémon. You can easily have a couple NPC's in each town, give you some new Pokémon. It'll be a very simple solution to help, check off, what Pokémon you may need. In-game trades, are a bit more tricky, this is mainly due to the fact, you must give a Pokémon, to get one. The format to what the NPC want, usually is just to have a rare Pokémon, at a nearby area. Or at least, that is how they should be designed, in my opinion.

By this, I mean, if an NPC asks you to trade a Ralts for a Meditite, then Meditite should be somewhere nearby, as a rare encounter. That way, the player doesn't have to sit there "Uhhh, Meditite is like in the other side of the region, I don't feel like it, it's not worth it", but rather "You want a Meditite, well I can go do that right now, Meditite is just a few steps away, might as well". I know that you could argue my point, by stating that emulators, have a speed up button, but either way you spin it, the time to go 3 maps, and the time to go across a region, walking or flying, is much less. Humans are very lazy, and if something doesn't seem as convienent, at the time, it is called for, and it is optional, more likely than not, they'll put it off, constantly.

Why fly to Victory Road for Hyper Potions, when you can go to the Department Mall, and have access to all of them? A player will more appreciative, if you don't make something that is suposed to be fun, boring. Why do you think, people hate backtracking?

2. Trade Evolutions

This is a rather beneficial, for you to know. Running on emulators, haves its limits. Meaning that, in order, to get Pokémon that evolves by trading, instead, have them evolve by other means. This is very easily done, by having them evolve by leveling, or by an item. Fairly simple.

3. Some Organization Tips

How, in the WORLD, do you keep check of all the Pokémon, you included? There a ton of ways to keep track of who you add in the game. I, myself, use a mobile app to keep track. Everytime I add a Pokémon, in the wild, or make one accessible via a script, I cross it off. I'm going to go over some techniques, on how to keep track.
  • Make a Document
  • Keep Track on Paper
  • Use apps to keep track(like me)
  • Have amazing brain power

That is all you need to know about Filling The Dex.

Legendary and Event Encounters:

So finally, we reach the end of the Pokémon section, and what better way to talk about it, than the Legendaries, themselve. More likely, you'll have a Legendary as your hack's mascot. So let's talk about your mascot.

Mascots are generally the face of your hack, they usually symbolize something in your hack, or have a large point, in the game's plot. Mascots can say alot, of what hack is about, generally. That's why we hear the term, Mascot Legendaries. So the general rule of thumb, is that Mascot Legendaries, have some corrilation to the plot or to the general focus to the game.

Legendary Pokémon, is in short, the strongest Pokémon, out there, with a base stat total of over 600. They come equip, with signature moves and intimidating designs. They also have very low catch rates, which at this point, you should know well about. So far the Pokémon series have seen around 18 Legendary Pokémon, who fits my defintion, but really, there are alot more. You could basically say that Legendary Pokémon, are just noteworthy Pokémon, which is fine too.

With that said, people love a game, with alot of Legendaries. The more, the merrier. So it is safe to assume, that people are expecting Legendary Pokémon, in your hack. But you can't just give it to them, you have to hide them. By this I mean, people find it fun, to look for Legendary Pokémon. If you just spoon feed it to them, then what's the point of looking for them?

Legendary Pokémon, often are hidden, in some cave, that is only accessible post-game. Cleverly hiding them, in a large event, is common also. Find what works best for you, and use thar method for hiding your Legendary Pokémon.

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

So what's the big whoop, about Event Pokémon. These Pokémon, are promotional Pokémon, only distributed in special events. How do you take advantage of this method, to have more people look at your hack?

There are ways, to promote your game, here on PC. We have Support Banners and Userbars. But what if that isn't enough for you, and you really want to get your game, out there? Well, then we have event Pokémon, exclusive to your game, for a limited time.

Event Pokémon, are mostly hust given to you, via the Delivery Man, in the main series. Sometimes, you get a special item, that allows you to go to a special area, where you can catch them. While some may not be the largest fan, of this method of promotion, as those, who miss out, will be out of luck, using this right, can be a fun experience, and get you more traffic, on your hack.

So what do you give? That's up to you. Most event Pokémon, come in the form of Mew, who is the rarest Pokémon, in existence. But what you do give, shouldn't be in the game, to begin with, since it would be better, to just catch the Pokémon, in game.

When do you use this? You should probably use this, when you have moderate traffic, on your hack, and yhe next Beta release, isn't for a long time. That way, the players, can have a fresh experience, to tie them over, until the next Beta release.

Is there any other things, I could give? Of course! You can give a couple sidequests, or perhaps, a new game mode, in a battle facility. These events do not have to be restricted to just Pokémon.

How do I make sure, everyone gets to enjoy the Events? Perhaps, having that Pokémon, accessible, on a later Beta release. That way, people who missed it, can still have it, and people who did make it, in time, don't feel cheated, since they got it first.

And that is the end of Pokémon, hopefully, this will make Pokémon aspects, of your hack, more easily understandable.

Vanilla Trainers:

These are simply put it, your average enemies. There isn't much to say about these guys. Or, that is what I WOULD say, had there not been so many classes and aspects, carried over, in the main series games. Well, like I stated eariler, trainers are just there to be enemy obstacles, nothing else. But add in Trainer Classes, and now we start having intresting concepts and ideas, that can carried to your very own ROM hack.

Before we dive into Trainer Classes, let's talk about, what makes a regular trainer. Regular trainers have a poor to mediocre team, which mostly comprises of Pokémon, found in the Regional Pokédex. This excludes, Legendary Pokémon, Event Pokémon, and then some. Depending on your hack (but we will assume, your hack follows the main series), the trainers, will follow a diffuculty curve, associated with the player's current progress, in the game. So more higher leveled trainers, should NEVER be in the first route.

Standard Trainers, are also one-dimensional, meaning that they don't have any character development, whatsoever. They simply have one-thing to say, before battle and dialouge, after the battle. So with those few things, out the way, let's go into Trainer Classes.

Trainer Classes are just different types of trainers. Or should I say, different varieties. The only thing is, that these Trainer Classes, have certain rules to them. What do I mean?

You see, there are certain things, that you would expect from a certain trainer. Usually, you'd expect a scientist to have Electric or Steel types, if not, related to technology, in some way. So in the spoiler below is a list for ALL the trainer classes.



If you looked at the link, it is pretty obvious, that there are a bunch of trainer classes and going through each and everyone, would be fruitless. You see, trainer classes may diversitise the regiment of trainers, but on a surface level, are generally the exact same.

●They have a sight range, which tells them when to activate their script.
●They have something to say during and after battle.
●They have a pretty mediocre team.

They aren't as different, as trainer classes percieve them as. But of course, what sets them apart, is the styling of their teams, and/or if they do so something afterwards that may or may not, be as significant.

Since we are on the topic of a sight range; Little do people know, that the sight range for trainers, can be taken advantage of, in the overworld and mapping, in general. "What? How is that?", you ask. You see, the trianers must always walk up to the trainer, before a battle, correct? Well, let's look at Pokémon Glazed's Icebound Chasm, for instance.



You see, here we have the playable character, the skier, and this slope. This slope is passable. The thing about this slope is that depending on your position, you fully determine, if you are able to get an item at the top of the slope. If I walk to the right, then the trainer script would activate and I would be blocked because the skier won't move out the way. But if I were to walk down and then walk right, well, I did it. Now I can get the secret item for being a smarty pants. And if you didn't catch it, you can exit and re-enter the maps and rematch the skiers. You see, this is how you can intergrate trainers in your map.

There is this general giddiness from solving it. It may seem all silly and miniscule, but the satisfaction is very real. It doesn't feel like you placed them is some weird spots, it now feels like it was planned. Now you just made your hack better by it. Well, it took me forever to post this, but updates, should come sooner. That is all you need to know about it.

Gym Leaders

Gym Leaders. A major roadblock in how you may progress the game. They seem to be everywhere. Games, Anime, Trading Card Games(oh wait...). What exactly are Gym Leaders, and how can you use them, to better your game?

Essentially, a Gym Leader is a boss trainer, and they are scattered around the region, for trainers to challenge them and must they lose agianst the trainer, they must give away a badge. And since we are talking Nintendo owned games here, of course, there are usually eight Gym Leaders, to one region.

The main part of what makes Gym Leaders, Gym Leaders, are that they specialize in a certain type or attribute, which can be reflected, in their team. Perhaps, you may want to expound upon their personalities, in the story. But they are more likely just stronger trainers.

So what are the things you need to look after when making a Gym Leader. Well it's actually very simple, while they may just seem paper-thin, they must have a sense of authority. They shouldn't be some regular, easily brushed away trainer. There is a reasoning why they have their own OW sprites. Here is a list of things, that you should look after for the Gym Leaders.

Spoiler:
Who are they?
What do they look like?
What certain attribute, do they specialize in?
What is their Gym like?
Personality?
If so, what profound effects, will he or she have on the main plot?


Of so, when making a team for a Gym Leader, it's very obvious that they should reflect what attribute, they specialize in. Of course, you aren't going to find Blaine having a Marill or Koga with a Zangoose. It wouldn't fit the theme, of their Gym.

You also have to take in account, what Pokémon, the player has access before getting to the Gym. I covered this is Wild Encounters, so I'll only restate my postition, rather than just re-explain myself. If you have a team of Pokémon that are weak to a certain attribute, chances are, they aren't going to win, when faced with it. So it is important that you place the Pokémon, according to any future challenges up ahead.

Speaking of which, theming is important to a Gym. Their Gym should reflect some sort of puzzle, or some sort of shtick that coincides with the attribute, that is being specialized. Let's take another look at Pokémon Glazed because using a popular example from a well-made game, will get my point across. Take a gander at the Gym that specializes in Fire-types:



As you can see, this Gym is all about, taking out Fires, to progress. Not only does it fit the "Fire" theme of the Gym, but it also reflects the Gym Leader. The Gym Leader is a firefighrer. Now, doesn't that make a whole lot of sense?! Achieving these connections, in your Gym will definetly be a one people will take a shine to. So look at other Gyms like Clair's and ALL the Gym's from 4th Generation, 5th Generation and 6th Generation for inspirstion.

In all, Gym Leaders, are really, a different Trainer Class, which acts as a means for progression. They are stronger, than the average trainer, has a better AI, and all in all can be something better or someting bland.

Elite Four

This part is going to be very short. Why? Simple.

For something that seems so GRAND and FINAL, the Elite Four, are by far, the easiest trainers to make, and are the most bland. How could that be? Think of it this way:

We have Gym Leaders, right? They specialize in a certain attribute of Pokémon. They also reside in Pokémon Gyms, creative maps, which hosts some sort of gimmick to progress. Now what are the Elite Four?

Simply put it, they are glorified Gym Leaders! They specialize in a certain attribute in Pokémon, that wasn't yet covered by the Gym Leaders. You barely see them outside the league. When you do encounter them, it isn't in some grand Gym, but a simple room, with no other trainers, and no other gimmick. Just battle.

I guess you can argue the point that it's there to heighten the game's epic feel, and since you battle them, one-after-another, that having multiple trainers, would be degrading the experience and make something that isn't complicated, to a complex mess. In that regard, sure. You are right. But it doesn't change the fact that the Elite Four is paper-thin and boring, if they aren't outside the league.

So how do you change that familarity?

Well, there isn't alot you can do to fix it, other than include them, in some sort of way, in the plot. I mean, everyone can spit facts about the Gym Leaders, but chances are, there isn't enough evidence to give Elite Four, the spotlight(not including Manga and Anime).Of course, more screen time, out the league, will do them some justices.

So there you have it. If you treat the Elite Four, similar to Gym Leaders, you'll defiently will be better off.

Champion

Well here we are, the final of the final, the best of the best, this is the final battle, the Champion Battle. Needless to say, that this fight is actually very important. The Champion is supposed to tie up loose ends and give the player, a run for thier money, literally. So what is about the Champion, that makes them so intriging?

Naturally, they are one of the Elite Four members. They just soar above the rest in strength. I feel partially because often times, they are introduced in the story, in some format. Be it, they appear to the player, to help in game progression or an integral part of the story, itself. They are also one of, if not, the only boss trainer, to not follow in the monotity of specializing in a certain area of strength, rather their team is comprised of any Pokémon.

So what trends have players seen of the Champion?

Well for one, it is now a common thing to surprise the player, in some sort of plot-twist. This is partially because they are "the last person, you would expect". A perfect example of this would be Gary Oak, who actually took the Champion's title, before you. In that sense, it surprised many players because who would've thought about that. But now, it is something to be expected in Pokémon games, alike. It is almost second-nature to anticipate who the Champion, may be. So we are looking at all signs of who could be the Champion, such as:

Helping you, in tight situations.
● Being involved in the plot
● Showing up for a minimal time, in the game.
● Little text-hints and clues from the Champion like "We should battle one day" or something of the like.


So people now have signs on who is the Champion. How in the world are you supposed to surprise the player, when the formula becomes too predictable, at this point? Easy, you mislead the player. I know that at times, misleading the player is bad, but in this case, you should definetly do it. Not only will the player be dumbfounded at their suspicions being wrong, they will also be impressed, how well you kept it under wraps.

So try to mislead the player, by building up a character to be the Champion, only to flip the tables, at the last minute. Or take someone, who's personality does not even come close to Champion status and turn the tables. It would definetly pay off, in the end.

Another common trend, which is as equally good as predictable and boring at times, is outright telling the player, who the Champion is. But throughout keypoints, in the plot, build them up, make them look better than the player. Have them feel some sort of grudge or eminity towards them. Another way is not have the Champion appear at all, in the story, but talk them up by NPC's in literal terms, like:

"I heard the Champion is so strong, you'll never beat them!"
● "The Champion has a pretty strong team"
● "The Champion is such a hero"
● "You'll never amount to the Champion, you are a weakling"


If you heard those lines in the game, repeatedly, doesn't that make you wanna kick their ass? You see, if the player starts to feel eminity towards someone, they more, the desire to beat them grows. And when high time comes to beat them, the feeling becomes climatic and when it is over, the satisfaction levels are through the roof. SAY THE CHAMPION IS STRONG NOW, I DARE YOU. Why do you think Gary and Red did so well? You felt eminity towards them. Gary was a douche nugget and Red was talked up in literal terms, as the kid, you saved everyone in Kanto.

A common but awesome design aspect, you can add to your hack and make the Champion better. That's why they are so good and so satisfying,

Their buildup is outstanding.
● They aren't guarnteed to have a specific team.
● The satisfaction from a climatic and final battle is very, very great.


Diffuculty

Difficulty. It's about time, I decided to talk about this, but here we go. You will always hear the word difficulty being thrown around like some parade float. A word that anyone can relate to in a video game, a deciding factor of a really good game from a completely terrible and broken one. So what makes a difficult game? Before I start, I advise, you take a look at this video, regarding how hard a game can be and how it can get ruined. I didn't make it, but it will definitely give you a good idea, on it should work for a game designer.



The difficulty is really just a combination of the trials and tribulations, which is thrown at you, during the course of the game. EVERYTHING (and I mean EVERYTHING) can be tied back to the difficulty. Trainer AI? Difficulty. Available encounters in a route? Difficulty. You have to consider all the ends and outs of Gameplay and how you balance it out, in order for the audience to perceive your game as "fair".

When we talk about making a Difficulty Hack, we more often than not, forget about everything you need to overcome and things you need to consider, to balance the gameplay. A lot of people's ideas of "difficult" are just unfleshed out ideas, in order to create Fake Difficulty (more on this later).

The most common type of ROM Hack, so happens to be the easiest one to mess up. So are you aspiring to make a hack that amps up the difficulty of your favorite games? Or will you make your hack's difficulty fleshed out? Well, let's start off the end of Gameplay and Balance by creating the most common type of hack on Pokécommunity, the Difficulty Hack.

The Basics of Making A Difficulty Hack

So making a Diffuculty Hack. It seems to be a running theme in the Sideshow Showcase section of the forums. People go about how a certain hack is extremely hard or they added this or that from newer generations and changed a few things. But that is essentially what they are, a reimaging, a newer version of the game you are playing. It has become way easier to make Diffculty hacks with all the resources we have now. So what do you to plan these?

Unlike creating your own fresh ideas and expounding upon those, you simply are revamping a game to have newer features and an increased diffuculty. So the foundation of your work is already there, for you to manipulate and mold into something harder.

Following the trends of what is seen in the Sideshow Showcase, this is what pratically makes a diffculty hack:

Expanded region Pokédex. Allowing you to catch more Pokemon before the Elite Four.
● An increased AI Intelligence. Harder Trainers
● New additions to the metagame, like new moves and types.
● Added Bonuses, like rematches or small improvements that faultered in the orignal version.
● Changes to old Pokemon
● Changes to old moves.


If we follow according to those trends of a diffuculty hack, realistically, I have already taught you everything you need to know to make this. So far in Gameplay and Balance, I havs been doing nothing but relaying tips on improving a hack's Gameplay. But what would you know, the only thing difficult hacks accomplish is improve on the Gameplay aspects.

So instead of retreading old ground, I'll just give my opinions on improving on the traditions of Diffuculty hacks. All difficulty hacks are mostly the same. Following the same trend and tropes of making a hack and giving it a different name. Also, they do not take too long to make. All you need to do is be weary of not to do anything overly hard for the player.

What you could focus on, however, is making your difficult hack stand out. Like I said, a million times, they are all but the same. Sure, some things are changing here and there, but they all result in a single end goal, to increase the difficulty levels of the game and to provide a challenge. Adding something extra and going an extra mile for the little things is an easy way to have your hack easily identifiable in the sea of others.

You could add:
New Battle Facilites
● Changed NPC sprites and interaction text
● Improved Graphics
● Changed Music
● Fakemon


Anything can make your difficult hack special and not tiresome. Think of it this way, you could make your hack like everyone else, but in the end, the more well-made game will come out on top above those who barely did anything to renovate. That is basically the logistics of it. If you not only follow the advice I have been given in previous sections of the guide, while adding some of your own flare to it, there is no doubt that your difficulty hack will come out amongst the crowd of similar ones.
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Old 6th October 2014, 06:31 AM   #3
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The Yeah's And Naw's of Diffuculty
When we talk about or experience how someone can make a game hard, they tend to deviate to easier options, sometimes even ignoring what makes a game harder. So how does one deviate from the norm of creating difficult hacks while at the same time, making something infamous, in its structure.

"But DJTiKi, I already know how to make my game extremely hard!"

Let me give a quote form DoesntKnowHowToPlay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoesntKnowHowToPlay View Post
I see a lot of talk about how to make hacks "difficult". The typical solutions are to:

-Give trainers teams full of legendaries
-Make the level curve absurdly steep
-Inflate the base stats of everything
-Give the AI illegal moves and custom attacks with absurd BP
-Make every dungeon a flash maze where you can't use flash
This pretty much sums up the mass consensus of making a Pokémon hack hard. Not saying everyone follows this sort of format, but it is a mass majority. And that is pretty sad.

There is a level of fairness the game must include to not make the player feel cheated in all the wrong ways (not like there was a right way to make the player feel cheated in the first place). So how do you fix this? Well, let's break down bad examples and give good examples. Again, you will find the problems and I'll tell you how to fix them. More or less, this is just an assessment of common knowledge and what I've been telling you, thus far.

Spoiler:
Changing Diglett's Cave
● Positioned right after you the first badge.
● Made larger with about 10 more rooms.
● Added more trainers
● The encounters are still Digletts
● Given a 100% Encouter Rate
● Some rooms will require Flash.
● You have to battle Groudon by the end


SOUNDS AWESOME RIGHT?! Well, if it's like I'm making these too easy now....

So let's break down what is wrong with it. For one, traversing through this cave will be a literal pain in the ass. If you remember from "Wild Encounters", I talked about how even 40% is a pretty big number, as most routes only have about 7-10% rates, yet they can still be annoying. To be blunt, 100% chance for wild encounters means that EVERY LAST STEP YOU TAKE RESULTS IN A WILD BATTLE! Not taking into account Repels of course n_n. So let's tone down the encounter rate a bit, does 8% sound okay?

Spoiler:
Changing Diglett's Cave
● Positioned right after you the first badge.
● Made larger with about 10 more rooms.
● Added more trainers
● The encounters are still Digletts
Given a 8% Encouter Rate
● Some rooms will require Flash.
● You have to battle Groudon by the end


Another thing that is stressful is the inclusion of Flash rooms. The thing is after the first badge, the player will not have access to Flash, if you plan to not change HM limits. Is it really necessary to have Flash rooms, unless you come back later? No. So let's remove that.

Spoiler:
Changing Diglett's Cave
● Positioned right after you the first badge.
● Made larger with about 10 more rooms.
● Added more trainers
● The encounters are still Digletts
● Given a 8% Encouter Rate
● You have to battle Groudon by the end


Speaking of fairness, you never want to overload the player with a bombardment of trainers and maps after the first gym. These types of things need to ease itself in the game, rather than it being abrupt. Trainers is not bad, but make sure to not add so much. But, toning down the excess maps will be a welcomed change and saves ROM space too. 10 to 4 rooms?

Spoiler:
Changing Diglett's Cave
● Positioned right after you the first badge.
● Made larger with about 4 more rooms.
● Added more trainers
● The encounters are still Digletts
● Given a 8% Encouter Rate
● You have to battle Groudon by the end


Groudon was almost too easy. I could've made it bold, italized with big flashing lights and it still wouldn't have been as obvious as "Remove me". Yeah, if this is after the first badge, we don't want a legendary confrontation, it could very well spell disaster in game design.

Spoiler:
Changing Diglett's Cave
● Positioned right after you the first badge.
● Made larger with about 4 more rooms.
● Added more trainers
● The encounters are still Digletts
● Given a 8% Encouter Rate


Well, that looks a lot better, now does it :)?

Let's move on the subject of what you could do to make it better.

It will not kill anyone if you made actual tweaks to the engine to improve trainer AI and not sugar coat it with things such as Legendary teams and absurd levels. Right now, with all the resources and finding on Pokemon ROM's, it is almost inexcusable to just take the easy way out.

For instance, we can talk about a difficulty hack that I am sure you know of. Drayano's hacks. Bringing up popular hacks again, it is almost undeniable that these hack's AI is second to none. It calls for competitive knowledge and advanced know how on the Pokemon series.

It's not like these hacks had unrealistic teams, it is just that it was well made. You can't throw random crap on a game and call it "difficult" because "Punishing games don't sell".

Now you may be wondering, "What about level curves?". Well, there is a bit more to level curves than you think.

Difficulty Curves For The Soul

So we finally reached Difficulty Curves and its about time. When we play games, more often than not that term is tossed around like some grand parade. "Difficulty Curve" this and "Level Curve" that. What exactly is it?

Is it when the game works on their hips and body? Well that's stupid, so no. Difficulty Curve is, what do you know, the progression of difficulty over time. No duh, right? So everything that hinders progress in the game, be it a few too many trainers on a route, the AI, the design of maps, can all be grouped into one single mass of difficulty.

It's like a Napoleon flavored ice cream sandwich, you didn't know that it's the same thing as Strawberry, Vanilla, and Chocolate ice cream combined with some chocolate on top. But the end result, it is. You may think that Trainer AI, Pokemon Data and Map Design were all separate entities, but in all, it all results in the same thing: A delicious ice cream sandwich of difficulty because that is what it all amounts to in the first place. Did that make sense?

So let's look at a very basic chart made by me and it pretty much represents difficulty in most video game scenarios at its simplistic.



See how the line is consistent and always shifting upwards? Put this in a gaming situation. This represents the idea that most games get progressively and equally harder at a consistent rate, always spiraling upwards. Still not clear to you? Okay, let's look at another graph constructed by Gamasutra, which is much better and has a clearer viewpoint on Diffuculty Curves.



Well, now it is much simpler following now. So the chart follows as so:
● Frustrating
● Hardcore Fun
● Challenging Fun
● Balanced Fun
● Casual Fun
● Mindless Fun
● Boring

Easy to define and easy to understand, so let's break down those terms.

Frustrating and Boring are the two key points we do not want to see in the hack. Frustrating is infuriating as the level curve becomes too steep to overcome and makes the player feel cheated. While as Boring serves no challenge to the player and is a cakewalk. While not bad, it makes the player feel dissatisfied with their efforts. So we want to stay away from those. I've already discussed fixing a Frustrating game in its simplest state in the previous section, so I will not repeat myself.

What we want to achieve is the middle grounds between Balanced Fun and Frustrating, not technically the lower half as we are making a Pokemon game and no one likes easy Pokemon games anymore (just look at XY's Exp. All). To achieve this is simply improving on making the game difficult (again, it's in the previous sections).

Look at the better graph again. If we were to let's say, draw a line through it, particularly a consistent diagonal line, where does it fall. For the sake of you not wasting any brain power, I'll draw it for you.



See how it starts off balanced, but as the game goes on, it scales into higher difficulty scales? But the thing is, it never ascends into "Frustrating" nor "Boring". That is a sign, that you made a pretty good game. Realistically, your line may start off at Challenging Fun and ascend from there, if it doesn't reach Frustrating levels, give yourself a thumbs up :).

A frustrating game of Pokemon is having the game prepare you for Level 50 trainers in the Elite Four, but when you get there, everyone is 90's and above. That is painful to say the least. Masking a game's difficulty with artificial things like Illegal things and steep level curves will never catch the eye of anyone.

Lastly, in the spoiler, I have defined each and every pinpoint of the graph

Spoiler:
Frustrating- The game throws challenges towards your way, that is too steep to overcome. These are the moments were the player will quit in rage, stay away from these.
Hardcore Fun- The game calls for an audience who knows the mechanics like the back of their hand, you must be very experienced to take these challenges.
Challenging Fun- You know the mehanics well enough to overcome some tricker puzzles, like Boss Battles. It calls for a more advanced skill base.
Balanced Fun- Self-explantory. Not too hard, not too easy.
Casual Fun- You can just play these in quick sessions and get quick fulfillment from them.
Mindless Fun- The mechanics are stupudly easier to remember and going through the game is fun. There are alot of challenges but not at all are they hard. You just enjoy it because you feel like a God.
Boring- The game is slow, pacing is slow, and all in all, not very satisfying to overcome. Avoid these.


So that is basically it for Difficulty.

Updates to come :)
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I have some plans. I'm going to put them into action. Sooooon. I lazely wrote this signature....... Are you eating the rest of that?
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