Sunday, May 17, 2009

End of Scheduled Posting

You probably noticed  I didn't post on time this week. I stuck to a schedule for as long as I could, but now all I have is filler. It's become so difficult to write non-pertinent articles in relation to the game, it's been cutting into development. As of this post, there will no longer be a standard schedule, posts will only come out when there is more information to post.

We hope to have the exploration part of the game completed by June 13th, and ready to launch alongside the 3.0 firmware.

There may be a new Mobile Pokédex website launching soon, so that once the game launches, it will serve as a way to access account information.

So, spread the word, sign up for the RSS feed, do whatever. You'll hopefully see a complete portion of the game in about a month!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gone Fishin'

In previous Pokémon games, many Pokémon were only found if you fished or surfed. In the handheld games it's been easy to determine if you could do either of these. There was a simple check to see if your sprite was bordering and facing water tiles. When your surroundings are determined by geological data it's a little more difficult to determine if you're near a body of water.

To solve this problem, we're using the Google static maps API. By downloading a map tile of your current location and determining surrounding pixel color, we can figure out if you're near water. Instead of checking game tiles whenever the fishing rod is activated, a Google map tile is checked. If you're within a certain distance (10 meters?) of water, then fishing will be activated.

Previously, your sprite would animate and cast into the body of water. Since the sprites in this game are representative, animating your character to approach a body of water would not only be astoundingly difficult and needlessly time consuming, but unnecessarily complex. The current idea for The Mobile Pokédex is to make fishing more than selecting 'Fish' from a menu until you get a bite. We want to make fishing a game of its own.

When your rod is selected, a 'mini game' opens. The reel is positioned at the bottom of the screen. You can shake your phone to cast out, and as Pokémon nibble at the bait, the iPhone will vibrate. At the right time, you shake your iPhone to engage in a battle. Hopefully this modification will make fishing a more unique experience, and more interesting than just pressing a button until a fish is caught.

Of course, this is all concept right now. Since this won't be coded until much further into the future, it's subject to change. I'm looking for some agreement on whether or not this is a good implementation of fishing!

Friday, May 1, 2009

First View of The Mobile Pokédex

video

Friday, April 24, 2009

PokéSpawn

About a month ago I talked about how Pokémon were caught; all of the information in that post dealt with what happened client side when a Pokémon was encountered. So now, what happens server side?

When you send the server your location, it pulls information from around the web to find out what it's like where you are. The main factors that contribute to Pokémon spawning are weather, temperature, time, date, altitude, and of course location. Once all of these attributes have been discovered by the server, it searches through the database of Pokémon to find which ones are suitible for your location.

Once the server determines which Pokémon can spawn, it needs to decide which ones will spawn. Pokémon have a couple of characteristics to determine if they'll spawn, rarity and urban tendency. Rarity is self explanatory, Ratatta is more common than Charmander is more common than Charizard. Urban tendency is a new attribute that describes the tendency of a Pokémon to spawn near urban areas. What does this mean for the players? As you walk around, the world is populated with Pokémarts and Pokécenters. As more people join more houses appear. City centers will develop, and Pokémon will slowly retreat to areas with less raucus. To catch rare and unique Pokémon you'll have to explore the natural world around you -- not neighborhoods and city centers.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Another Posting Schedule

As much as I love to post twice a week on this blog, I'm running out of material. I've already discussed much of the planned material, and I don't want to get ahead of myself. The pace of development is quickening, so the more time I spend on the project the faster it gets to you.

Also, a new website is being developed for the game which will be more suited to host forums, images, videos and news. This site will most likely debut with our first alpha, which we want to be completed in about 3 weeks.

With that said, I will begin to post once a week, on Fridays.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Will it Work?

I've received a lot of questions about this games compatibility with devices besides the iPhone, especially the iPod Touch. I don't want to promise anything too quickly. There are plans to make the game compatible with the iPod Touch, albeit in a bastardized form. Since the game will rely heavily on GPS location, devices without that function can't explore places without WiFi signals. Places with an abundance of WiFi hot spots will allow the iPod Touch to mimic the GPS functionality and play the exploration portion of the game.

In a more general sense, if you own a GPS-less device you'll be able to participate in other aspects of the game, playing the "stock market", until you have enough money to purchase a choice baby Pokémon from a breeder, or open up a breeding center on your own. While this clearly isn't the full game, it's not a crippling disadvantage. Since the Pokémon in every area will be unique, most people will encounter the same Pokémon repetitively -- you have to travel to catch unique and interesting creatures. Having the inability to explore simply means you'll have to complete the "goal" of becoming a Pokémaster or Gym Leader through controlling money and owning businesses until you can trade for a lineup of Pokémon you find desirable. With all of the above in mind, it's important to remember that the competitive aspect of game play will remain wholly intact for GPS-less phones. As long as you're able to connect to the Internet you can battle anyone else online in friendly or competitive (for cash and experience) match.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Now Hiring!

Alpha 1:

  • Pokémon Display
  • Pokémart Display
  • Pokémon Class

Alpha2:

  • Proliferation of Pokémon (Original 150)
  • True Spawning (Based on Locational Factors)
  • Searching Algorithm (for Pokémon)
  • Introduction of Pack

Alpha3:

  • Pokémon Capturing
  • Pokémon Battling

Alpha4:

  • Functional Pokémart code

Additional things to consider:

  • Using moves outside of battle
  • “Special” events
  • Farming
  • Gyms
  • Home Location Implementation
Above is a basic road map for the planned Alpha releases. We're officially open for business here at Mobile Pokedex, now able to accept coders from around the Internet to help with the code. If you would like to help with the game, you must have knowledge of either C or Java. If you want an idea of the difficulty level of coding, I would direct you to Bulbapedia to search through their articles about how Pokémon leveling, capturing and battling has functioned in the Generation IV games.

The work done in Objective-C is entirely client side code. The work you'll need to do will be mostly networking and GUI construction. The work done in Java will be all server side code. The server side code is a lot heavier than the client code, and will require coding a lot of algorithms, working with mySQL storage and doing a lot of networking.

If you want to help with the project, you can find my email address in the About Me section. Shoot me an email with a little bit about what you know (a miniature resume, if you will) and I'll be sure to respond!