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  #1    
Old September 8th, 2013, 01:56 PM
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Everyone knows what the formula is. Choose 1 starter from a Grass/Fire/Water trio, one or two childhood friends are your rivals, challenge 8 Gyms for their badges, defeat the local evil group wanting to take over/destroy the world, beat the Elite Four, and so on. It's been done, and it continues to be done to this day.

Then we have some fangames which change some, many or fewer of these features. Perhaps there's only one starter, or the starters don't form the Grass/Fire/Water triangle. Maybe there are more Gyms, or Gyms don't specialise by type. Maybe the Elite Four are called the Master Conference instead and there's ten of them. Or maybe you can't choose to play as a boy or a girl.

This thread is about two main things:
  • What formula changes have you noticed in fangames? How much are these changes promoted, and how much are they applauded just for being different (regardless of whether they're actually good ideas)?
  • Do you think that these changes are good, bad or just different? Is there a better alternative to some examples of formula-changing? Are there some bits of the traditional formula that you'd rather stay the way they are?
Some extra questions, if you want to have a go at them: Why do you think the traditional formulae are still used nowadays in the official games? Are there features which you've not seen any fangame try to change (and why do you suppose that is)? Do you think there's too much (or not enough, or the right amount of) emphasis placed on being different for the sake of different, and why do you suppose that is?

That's a lot of questions, because this is a broad topic. You can be as broad or as specific as you like, and respond to whichever parts you like.
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Old September 8th, 2013, 02:42 PM
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I think people stick to the formula, simply because it's proven to work, and it's what all main series Pokémon games have done to date.
Why change something that is good?

That's probably the reason the Zelda games still use dungeons and bosses or the Mario games still involve 8-something worlds with 8-something levels on each.

It's a proven concept.

I applaude someone not sticking with the formula and doing it right, but I see no real reason to branch away from it, just for the sake of it.
Most of the people making Pokémon games are people who fell in love with the Pokémon series and still do. This formula is what we want, and that is why so few deviate from it.

Personally, I don't think sticking to the formula is what makes each fangame flat or seem the same as every other fangame. It's how you excute it, story and gameplay-wise.

Sure, not sticking to the formula may give the player some shortlived excitement, but if not done right, it won't feel like a Pokémon game, and they won't really enjoy it.

A game sticking to the formula is less prone to that problem, but instead may suffer from the fact that we've all played the game before, just in a different form. That is probably the challenge for us gamemakers. Making our game unique and interesting, while still sticking to the formula that our audience enjoys.
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Old September 8th, 2013, 02:53 PM
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tImE's post really sums up about what I think about the formulas as well. People will always buy Pokémon games, but they often tend to have knee jerk dislike to new things, like the Mega Evolutions in X/Y. It's just safer with the time tested formula.

But, and I don't know about other people, I tend to be more likely to pick fangames based on the amount of deviation from the formula that occurs. A little mix up is exciting, especially when it's unexpected. I particularly like when the plot revolves around something besides gym challenges, but I also still like that option being available. But, there are some fangames I've played that are just so far out there that I don't actually even know what's going on. There comes a certain point where it crosses the line between fangame and completely different game that uses Pokémon.
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Old September 8th, 2013, 02:54 PM
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Personally I'd like to see more fangames change the "gym badge" macguffin. The whole "get keys to enter the final castle" thing has been done to death in RPGs. The meaning of gym badges is so incredibly arbitrary too (e.g. somehow letting you use an HM or magically moving an impassible NPC out of the way). I still like the idea of battling themed trainers ending in a boss battle, but I challenge the fan community to find better motivations for completing these sections.

Beginning a game by choosing one of three starters is almost never changed, but I think there's a good reason for this. Choosing between a grass, fire, or water type pokemon is an example of game design perfection. Making this impactful decision is the first thing the player does in the game, showing that pokemon is a very open-ended game full of customization. The rival battles that follow imply that grass beats water, water beats fire, and fire beats grass, which shows the player that picking which types of attacks to use is very important. Not having starters appear anywhere else in the game makes your starter special, which strengthens the bond between the player and their first pokemon. And all of this is done without the game saying a word. It's a perfect system that won't be changing anytime soon, and it shouldn't.
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Old September 9th, 2013, 03:40 AM
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I strongly disagree with the notion that an audience will not enjoy a game just because it doesn't stick to a tried-and-tested formula.

Developers on this website have the opportunity to create something truly original, without the constraints of, say, a publishing company, so why would you go about sticking to the same basic formula of a game we've played countless times? While it is important to learn from the mainstream Pokémon games - what worked, what didn't work, what people want to see - they should act as the foundation for your ideas, something to be built upon rather than emulated.

That's why I can't abide the hundreds of remakes of classic Pokémon games littering the Game Development board - it's lazy, and people shouldn't be afraid to try something new and crazy just because they expect it won't be popular.

Game Freak continues to use the same formula in every Pokémon game they make because they know it works, they know it will appease fans of the series, and they know it will sell. Do fan games have this excuse? No. We should be promoting progress in game development, and using a formula is not the way to accomplish this.
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Old September 9th, 2013, 07:39 AM
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Well creating your own formula needs time and testing. It is more practical if you have an already working formula that has proven itself. And there is the point that a Pokemon game should be recognized as one. The only exception to this is, if you are using an official region. By an official region you most likely already have background information and it would be boring to play the same thing again. So it is best to make changes to the story and maybe add more maps (like FRLG and HGSS did). But if your region is entirely new and you have Fakemon in your game you should stick to the official formula.
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Old September 9th, 2013, 08:43 AM
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I have been playing since red & blue, I have played through this formula so many times that it feels stale. I stopped playing my white 2 after beating the elite 4 because playing it felt monotonous, & I could easily tell that i was playing it to beat it and wasn't having much fun playing it( the fact that it was the same region as the previous game didn't help). That's why I enjoy playing fan games that deviate even a little from the formula of the main games However I do agree that their is a point where it doesn't feel like a Pokemon game any more, although this isn't necessarily a bad thing.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 05:42 AM
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Using the classic formula doesn't have to be a bad thing. GameFreak essentially did the same thing for 6 generations now, and they've managed to keep everyone interested in the franchise. I think the thing people look forward to is the exploration of a new world, engaging storyline, and enjoyable battles.

Sometimes people look for that classic formula for familiarity - to be able to play the game without having to worry about the different mechanics. It varies from person to person I guess. Some people like innovations in a fan game, changes to the general mechanics (I do). Other prefer the fangames to stay true to the original franchise. It is hard to know which of your new ideas/features will be welcomed by the community, and which will be rejected. So we tend to compromise, have a handful of this, and a handful of that.

In the end, a Pokemon game is a Pokemon game, it has to resemble one. If you want to change it up, you can just create an entirely new game. The same way all Zelda games are essentially the same, all Metroid games are essentially the same and all Super Smash/Mario Kart/etc games are the same. Bread should always remain bread. Changing the general structure, texture, taste of the bread will not make it bread anymore. Same applies to a Pokemon game.
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Old September 16th, 2013, 03:30 AM
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I even make a full game (Pokémon Island) than don't follow this formula, and some players get more than 150 hours of playtime, proving that the formula isn't 100% necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maruno View Post
Everyone knows what the formula is. New region with new pokémon and few differences from previous one, Choose 1 starter from a Grass/Fire/Water trio, one or two childhood friends are your rivals (excluding GSC and RSE), challenge 8 Gyms for their badges, defeat the local evil group a team something that everyone use the same costumes wanting to take over/destroy the world using the legendary ancient pokémon (after RSE), beat the Elite Four, and so on. It's been done, and it continues to be done to this day.
Fixed

For me it's VITAL to every game, nintendo or fangame, to make at least, a small change in this formula, like having less/more than 8 GYMs and/or based in other thing than types (something like weather/generation/real animals) something different than E4 plus champion and maybe other quest to do after becoming the Champion.

My favorite games (and the most of pokémon fans) are GSC because of the very good idea of 16 GYMs after beating the E4 and the epic battle versus Red. I also liked the change at the E4 in the Bw. On the other hand, the game that I less like was DPP, because this game plot was almost exactly like RSE, even the final Team battle (and the apocalypse) occurs between the seventh and eighth GYMs.

I really wants that BW2 been Gen VI main games, because playing in a previous region (plus que sequel of BW storyline) had some innovation, but probably Pokémon XY will be another game to follow the formula.

Personally, I wish that the GYM formulas have been restructured after GSC (after the neat use of 16 GYMs). C'mon! There several ways to do a game story when the objective is to be "the best player". Just look some other games like Inazuma Eleven, Medabots, Yu-Gi-Oh! and even other RPGs like Final Fantasy. Imagine if in EVERY Final Fantasy you need to defeat 8 GYM Leaders and in the end need to battle versus an E4?

About the starter: Before the DPP was released, there's a rumor about the trio being Dark/Psychic/Fighting, a good idea to bring innovation. Anyway, the starter is too overrated, its just three pokémon. Some times than I played he official games I just deposit the starter and catch other pokémon XD

The main thing that I liked about the fangames was that you don't have to follow the main games dogmas. You can make a game where the main character is evil, in the space or even making two dimensions! But the people generally prefer to reproduce the main games, including the defects

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maruno View Post
What formula changes have you noticed in fangames? How much are these changes promoted?
Generally I see about several regions, travel to old places (cof cof GSC cof cof), but in few ones the main goal is to save the world, generally involving a legendary pokémon. These isn't big/original changes, but are changes that make the game more unique. Something I see some interesting ideas like time-travel, universe travel and playing as a old character.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maruno View Post
How much are they applauded just for being different (regardless of whether they're actually good ideas)?
The last ones that I cited are very applauded, some are the heart of the games. Unfortunately players generally seek better/custom graphics and online features.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maruno View Post
Do you think that these changes are good, bad or just different?
Almost all changes are good because they, at least are just different, that is good =D.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maruno View Post
Is there a better alternative to some examples of formula-changing?
Yes, like I said before, using a different number/theme of GYMs/E4 or even using other system like the games that I cited.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maruno View Post
Are there some bits of the traditional formula that you'd rather stay the way they are?
The few changes that I don't like are (mechanics examples): The really bad ones, like when you have to pay for get healed in the PokeCenters, stupid evolution methods similar to trade evolution and similar things. The ones than confuses me, like changing the evolution level of some pokémon or the pokémon types (without telling) or the existing types in Type Chart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maruno View Post
Why do you think the traditional formulae are still used nowadays in the official games?
I see two main factors. Pokémon prints money! If it's not broke,don't fix it! Even if the developers remove several features in the game mechanics and side quests (only keeping the main ones), the series still have high sales. Second factory: The target audience are kids, they generally don't played more than two games, so the lack of innovation aren't too noticed, just like the Pokémon Anime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maruno View Post
Are there features which you've not seen any fangame try to change (and why do you suppose that is)?
Almost all fangames you try to become a regional/worldwire Champion, in a few ones you try to save the world, but, there is more! How about a game that you try to take over/destroy the world? And a game that you try to catch a black-list trainer (mixed with stealth and detective game mechanics)? Or a game with even more focus on catching pokémon? Or even to catch a certain pokémon? Or even you search for the 7 Rayquaza Balls that when you collect all they bring a Rayquaza that fulfill a wish? There several possibilities.

People try the standard with few changes only to fulfill the with of making your own version of pokémon, but this bring games with less innovation and games with less inovation saturates the market. There isn't wrong to make a game to yourself and release it to public, but if you want to have success, and more important (for some people), to your game being still downloaded and played for a better bigger time, your game must be unique rather than a weaker (at least graphics and similar resources) version of official games. This isn't clear in the pokécommunty where almost none projects were completed, but in a more competitive place, this will make the difference (in both ways). More examples: Look at the games that were launched every year (or less time), specially the ones with the game year in the name. How many people will play these games of five years ago or more (like Yu_gi_oh! 2007 or Madden 2008) these days and in the future? And how many will play games like ANY Zelda these days and in the future?

We cannot compete with the official games in technical resources, so let's compesate with good ideas/innovations! This is my view. Several portable games are better than consoles one, specially in the past when these difference are even bigger, the Pokémon RBY is a excelent example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maruno View Post
Do you think there's too much (or not enough, or the right amount of) emphasis placed on being different for the sake of different, and why do you suppose that is?
Being different for the sake of different in Game Development, is a good thing. Differences between the games is that make the fangames library (acervo) more rich

Anyway, like I said before, the pokémon games needs more innovation.

I sense that we have not enough emphasis placed on being different for the sake of different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luka S.J. View Post
In the end, a Pokemon game is a Pokemon game, it has to resemble one. If you want to change it up, you can just create an entirely new game. The same way all Zelda games are essentially the same, all Metroid games are essentially the same and all Super Smash/Mario Kart/etc games are the same. Bread should always remain bread. Changing the general structure, texture, taste of the bread will not make it bread anymore. Same applies to a Pokemon game.
Totally disagree this comparison. I'm not talking about changing to a non-turn based, pokémon capturing humans (lol) or other radical change. Almost all titles cited have more innovation that the pokémon. Every one (except New Super Mario Bros, but for me this series lacks innovation generally have a different number of dungeons/bosses/cups or even themes.

Some games like Zelda 2, Zelda Majora Mark, Metroid 2, Metroid Prime 2 Echoes, Metroid Prime Hunter, Mario Sunshine, Marion Galaxy, Mario Kart Double Dash, among others have its own differences that make these games unique, and I am ignoring graphic factor.

Super Mario World have a different way to separate the worlds

Super Mario 64 has 15 worlds

Super Smash Bros Brawl has a very different story mode.
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