Monday, March 30, 2009

Adapted Posting Schedule

On April 6th and April 10th I will not be in town to make posts. I'll try and write a few ahead of time, but no guarantees. Keep an eye out for Friday's post, though!

Friday, March 27, 2009


In a previous post I mentioned two end game professions, breeding and gym leading. There have to be ways to make money when you're a low level character, though. The answer to this need is berry farming. Since berry farming is available to all players of all levels, it's not techinically a profession, and as such functions differently. The key difference between berry farming and other professions is that you don't have to open up a store to retail your goods.

In previous games, berries needed to be planted in "loamy soil". As we all know, the real world is not nearly as restrictive as the Pokémon World -- so you're allowed to plant berry trees wherever you like. From a player's view, you plant a berry, return to water it, and over a given amount of time a tree will grow. Once a tree is grown you have two options, harvesting the berries, or letting the tree die. If the berries are harvested, the tree withers away and another one will need to be planted. If the tree is left to wither away on it's own, it will drop it's berries to the ground. If the conditions are right, new trees will spring up in the vicinity bearing the berries of the recently deceased tree.

The speed of growth, seed spread and prime conditions are all predetermined berry traits. When a berry is planted, the server is queried and the areas conditions are pulled from around the web. Once a tree dies, a few GPS points from around the tree will be chosen and checked for growth conditions. What this means is that in areas with great growing climates, wild crops of berries can be found. Don't worry though -- berry trees won't grow near areas of urban development.

So how do you make money from all of this? It's possible to grow berries right outside your own home that aren't native to your area. All it takes is a little watering and close care. Once you've harvested your crop, you're able to sell your wares through the Pokémon world equivalent of eBay.

Monday, March 23, 2009

iPhone 3.0

iPhone 3.0 was announced yesterday, and it adds a bunch of new features that will aid in development of this game. Originally the game was going to be developed for Android as it's main platform and then ported to iPhone, in light of these new announcements the game has been switched to the iPhone as it's main platform. While developing for the Android is simpler and cheaper it has some major setbacks. Since Android is an operating system that can run on many devices, you don't know what you're developing for. Devices have different screen sizes, system specifications and features. Also, with Android, the carrier has control over the operating system and can lock down certain features.

With the MapKit API the iPhone now officially supports maps in third party applications. This means that the GPS functionality of the game will work just as quickly as, or faster than, the official map application. The addition of Peer-to-Peer through bluetooth means that players will be able to battle each other in person, even if a WiFi connection isn't present. Using push notification, Pokédex will be able to push in game messages to your phone. It's important to note, however, that the GPS function will remain off when the phone is locked, so you will not get location specific notifications. Using voice communication you can work out trades through the phone and talk to players that you're battling. Of course, you'll be able to turn voice communication off to prevent spammers. If you don't want to listen to the Pokémon music, you can turn it off, or choose music from your library.

On top of all these great features, the iPhone has an established user base with an extremely competent application store. Once coding has been completed for the iPhone, look forward to seeing this on many other devices!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Home Sweet Home

When you create your character on Pokédex, you get to choose a few things. First thing you choose is name -- not very exciting. Then you get to choose class, which provides minor benefits to finding certain Pokémon, and gives you a sprite a little different than the standard Pokémon Trainer sprite. Last thing you create is your home location -- more exciting than both latter and former! Your home will serve as a command center for you, allowing you to revive your Pokémon by shipping them out to a Pokécenter, get access to the Global Market (for both items and Pokémon), manage your PC and store your money.

The decision to make your home your Pokémon center is intended to make what would've been an otherwise frustrating game mechanic, into an easier to manage system. Pokémon centers will still exist, but will be the equivalent of a health oriented store with the ability to revive your Pokémon instantly. Currently, the idea is to peg the Pokécenters to Post Office locations, however, that may change.

The other neat function of the house is to serve as your bank. However, you have more options than just storing your money now. Since the newly named Pokéconomy is pinned to the real world economy, you can invest in items and resell them through your PC. So if you're unable to get out of your house for some reason, you can still get PokéDollars (unit of currency?) from your office chair or kitchen table.

Trading Pokémon through the Global Trading System will also be done through your PC. It will be completed similar to the way that trades are done in the Generation IV games, however, there will be a waiting period of a day or two to receive the Pokémon. It's expected, however, that trading will be a more infrequent thing in this game, due to the fact that Pokémon rarity is increased and as such, the value of Pokémon. If you want a Pokémon without wait time, you can visit a breeder. Breeders can be permanantly traded Pokémon as a form of payment, and these transactions will be completed instantly.

Lastly, you can release Pokémon from your PC into the wild. There's an added twist, though. If the location the Pokémon is released from is similar enough to it's native environment, and enough of that Pokémon are released in a similar time window in the same area, there's a slim chance of speciation. With any luck, this means that the Pokémon world will start out very divided (species wise) and slowly meld together to create a more interesting and diverse population!

Monday, March 16, 2009

You've Got (Legal) Issues

Since this game is being based off Game Freak's games, I run into problems. Legal problems. I don't think this will be an issue, since Pokémon World Online exists without running into legal issues. If it does become an issue, I plan to reach out to fans to create their own Pokémon sprites, sounds, etc. Hopefully none of this will have to happen.

Otherwise, the game is being developed slowly, but I need more help -- if you know Java, Objective-C or HTML please contact me!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Rich and Famous

Gyms are a huge part of the handheld Pokémon games. Since the United States is quite large, placing a unique gym in every county would take years of work. The same stands for breeders. Without breeders it would be near impossible to obtain many Pokémon. Creating breeding centers in every town would be just as difficult, especially since you don't want an overflow of breeders, you want just the right amount.

To solve these problems I'm opening up these institutions to player control. Once your character reaches a certain level (yes, your character not your Pokémon), he (or she) will be able to start up a gym or a breeding center. You'll be able to purchase any plot of land you wish that a PokéCenter or PokéMart doesn't stand on. For breeders, once the breeding center has been created, it's mostly computer automated. You can be anywhere you want, and the breeding center will remain open to players. However, good breeders will want to invest some time into the business. If you wish, you can determine which Pokémon are placed with others, to selectively breed. As a breeder you'll also gain insight into stats that other players cannot see, making it easier to determine which Pokémon should be bred. This makes breeding a lucrative profession for advanced players.

Gyms are handled a little differently. Once you purchase land and apply to become a gym leader, you must design a badge, decide what kind of gym you want to be (fighting, fire, etc) and then the size of your gym (different size gyms cost different amounts of money). The next step is to choose the lineup you'll use to battle players, and the lineup for your minions (the little guys people fight before they fight you). You'll also get to choose your payout (how much you pay winning players), and how much you take from losing players is determined based on that. Once all of the groundwork has been laid, an official announcement will be made regarding the opening date of the gym, some basic information, and where the gym location. When your gym is up and running, you have the option of battling players yourself (if you're logged in), or letting AI take control (which is what will happen when you're logged out and someone wishes to battle).

The secret to being a successful gym leader or breeder is location, location, location. This means choosing a spot with a lot of players and a place that's easily accessible (since players will need to approach the location in person). Breeders can choose any location that has no other breeders within 5 miles, and gym leaders can choose any location that doesn't have another gym within 25 miles.

On top of making money, gym leaders will also serve to shape the story line of the game. Posts will revolve around new gyms, the latest gym leader battles and the best leaders. Gym leaders will become the celebrities of the game, and the end game "goal" (besides catching all of the Pokémon).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Posting Schedule

I've decided to make posts twice a week. There will be one post each Monday containing information about the site, game progress, or anything else not about game mechanics. The post on Friday will contain information about game play, features and mockup screenshots (how the last few posts have been).

Look for the next big post this Friday!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ohmigawd Shoes!

In every Pokemon game, Pokemarts have played a large role. No Pokemart means no potions or pokeballs. So where do Pokemarts fit into this game?

In this game, Pokemarts are based on real world stores. All of this information is gathered from sites like UrbanSpoon and Yelp. This means that as new areas are encountered by players stores will show up in the same place they are in real life. Pokemarts will also specialize in goods based on the type of restaurant their real world counterpart is. Fast food resteraunts may carry basic merchandise, whereas Coffeehouses have a wide selection of berries for sale.

Not only does this peg the Pokemon economy (Pokéconomy?) to the real world economy, but it creates in game cities. These urban areas will serve as gathering places for players and real time markets. Players will also be able to purchse land around the large metropolitan areas that form and create their own businesses. More on that in another post.

However, there is a downside to these large urbansprawls. Certain pokemon don't like these large areas and will tend to retreat to less urbanized areas. However, you'll still be able to find small flocks of pidgeys and the occasional rattata behind the deli.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Capturing Pokemon

It's almost as if I photoshopped a DS screenshot onto a picture of the iPhone from their always trendy commercials.

So, as you're walking around with your "Pokedex" (it's actually your iPhone or HTC) you'll see your sprite updating on the screen, and you might see Pokemon, depending on where you are. Pokemon will spawn based on many factors. Some of these are your location in the United States, current temperature at your location, date, proximity to urban areas and time of day. What this means for you is that to catch certain Pokemon you may have to travel beyond your bedroom and front yard. Though, this doesn't mean that you have to venture out by yourself to the middle of nowhere just for the sake of capturing rare Pokemon. I hope to encourage people to take their phones with them when they go on hikes, and when they sit down to take a break, see what rare Pokemon are around.

Once a Pokemon has been spawned, its sprite will appear on the screen. Each Pokemon has a different movement speed and movement pattern. Your job as an aspiring Pokemon Master is to get within range of the Pokemon you wish to capture, and then engage it in battle.

From that point out, the game continues the same way that the handheld games functioned. One of the key parts of this game is keeping the core game play (battling and leveling Pokemon) unchanged. Once a Pokemon has been captured, leveling it will be exactly the same as it has been in other games. It's capturing it is the tricky part.

And don't worry, there will be breeders. You won't necessarily have to sit in the woods during the middle of the night to catch that rare Pokemon!