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Research & Development Got a well-founded knack with ROM hacking? Love reverse-engineering the Pokémon games? Or perhaps you love your assembly language. This is the spot for polling and gathering your ideas, and then implementing them! Share your hypothesis, get ideas from others, and collaborate to create!
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  #1    
Old December 30th, 2008, 03:05 PM
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Basics of Creative Development

Part of Hacking Library

Welcome to this document.
As a second title of the Hacking Library series, this document will give you some advice on creative development. Such ideas may become handy when you are stuck in the middle of script coding and have no idea what's next, for example.

The very first topic here is quite important indeed. When you are starting a hack you have great opportunity to think of a codebase you will be using. There are three generally preferred ROMs: Ruby, Emerald and FireRed. Each has its pros and cons.

Ruby - This is the game that started Pokémon Advance generation. It is full of new features and has presumably largest tool base. The con of Ruby is its graphics engine. Animations in particular are harder to alter in comparison to FireRed and to improve quality of graphics, a lot of effort is needed.

Emerald - It has improved graphics engine in comparison to Ruby and quite good tool support. Introducing new features aside from keeping ones which were in Ruby, there is a plenty of material to work with. It also contains some FireRed data. This makes Emerald the ROM with least free space.

FireRed
- This game has improved graphis engine along with well-made default tileset which usually needs only minor edits. It is stable and has good tool-base. Con is the lack of real-time clock, contest and many RSE features. Yet, it is widely popular among hackers.

My recommendation would be FireRed, as I am used to work with this ROM and know what to expect from it, and how to overcome some limitations.

Along with unique opportunity of choosing the codebase (not counting development restarts), you have the major opportunity to make your hack really appealing. What such hack needs is a good storyline. You don't need to think off all the details such as names of municipalities, you can get more specific after you have basic concept of story. You should always be creative when thinking about a plot. Nintendo-styled games are fine, rijonAdventures by Haruki Hanai is a perfect example of professionally-made hack, but if you want your hack to be different, you must pay attention to this part. Create imaginary documents with fragments of story to use in the presentation, write your storyline like a fanfiction, so it can be used in this way. Don't get limited by game's boundaries. The story can be there, and where it exceeds the limits it can be modified to satisfy both limits and the originality.

When thinking of a name for your hack, there are two important factors: simplicity and understandability. There is an option of using one of traditional colour/metal/gem variants, or another option of giving a hint about the story. The hint should be subtle, and it would be better not to put in signature Pokémon's name.

Now we get to the region the game will take place in. You may already have the name. You may also have an idea of the design. Now it's time to put your ideas on a piece of paper. It is up to you how will you draw the region map. You may want to use a grid so you don't exceed the limitations of the game's engine. Basically it would be possible to draw zig-zag routes or any other complicated symbols, but for convenience, it's preffered to stay in the limits.

As a beginner, you might not know much about scripting. This document won't explain scripting, but if you read through a few guides over here, you may get good knowledge of scripting. Yet, it may still lead you to a state of confusion. A piece of paper will be handy again. You can draw a scheme. Join areas and speech bubbles depending on player's interaction, or take it from a different point of view and express yourself with a small comic encomapssing your event. Scripting works in a way similar to schemes you will draw, but more complicated one, so a complicated scheme may end up in even more complicated script. You will see by yourself, but don't let that scare you. It's a challenge, but it's a fun challenge and the result will be worth of your work. When you are stuck, try to split a complicated script to a set of simple scripts, if possible. That may help, too.

You may also want to create new graphics for people or Pokémon in-game, or create so-called Fakemon. Conceptual art is always helpful when you want to design them. You can work on the design as long as you want, and the finished product may look really good. While creating a sprite, you will have to sacrifice many details, but you will have the design to help you decide what is important and needs to be preserved, and what can be skipped.

When you get to a stage where you will have a good amount of work done and beta just to be completed, present your hack to the public. This is the point where your art helps your fans get an idea how will the people or Pokémon/Fakemon look. You should use proper language in your presentation and a well-made design and layout can only help. Do not forget to include enough screenshots from a wide variety of areas. Show subtle hints of the plot, release fragments of your story, that will help, too.

To conclude this document, I hope you enjoyed these tips on how to develop a hack creatively, and I wish you all making appealing hacks which will thrill the community ;)

---
Document and layout ©2008 Quacker. To be used only with permission.

Note to moderators: If you have any questions about similarity of this guide to its PHO counterpart, please PM me instead of disapproving this thread. Thanks.
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Last edited by Quacker; January 1st, 2009 at 04:14 AM.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 10:29 AM
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Quite a nice document there! A fair amount of ROM hackers tend to focus on the technical things they could achieve when they make a hack, rather than the simple things that are necessary to make a great gaming experience.

But you might want to mention a few things about the Gameboy Pokemon games too, for some reason a few people seem to be ignoring they ever existed, at least as far as hacking them goes. I'd also mention that you probably shouldn't be developing a hack just because it would get you alot of popularity and also if you're not enjoying yourself. It's not like being a pop singer.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Imposter Oak View Post
Quite a nice document there! A fair amount of ROM hackers tend to focus on the technical things they could achieve when they make a hack, rather than the simple things that are necessary to make a great gaming experience.

But you might want to mention a few things about the Gameboy Pokemon games too, for some reason a few people seem to be ignoring they ever existed, at least as far as hacking them goes. I'd also mention that you probably shouldn't be developing a hack just because it would get you alot of popularity and also if you're not enjoying yourself. It's not like being a pop singer.
I was hoping that people are mature enough now to know that they shouldn't hack for popularity. And you know, I like GB/C games. Prism is lovely, so was Brown, but people would ignore it anyway, so why to write it?

Thanks for the comment!
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 12:36 PM
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Wow these guides a great! Realy!
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 12:53 PM
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This is quite impressive. Because Gabe_c actually made a compliment about it, I decided to read it myself. I must say, you really went completely in depth about nearly every aspect involved in hacking. I would recommend you tell us a small bit about the metal and color games. People still hack those, but I believe with more knowledge, there will be more hackers of that time. One last thing, I am actually surprised to not find anything about hex in here. I hope that gets implemented in your front post. Nice job and well done!
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  #6    
Old January 2nd, 2009, 01:51 PM
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Im not new but this however, made me understand more about a hack. Now, this taught me to Improve ideas, and Keep some things away from public.

Please add more, This is really helpful.

~N3xtone
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  #7    
Old January 2nd, 2009, 02:19 PM
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Huh. I didn't read this fully at first, but now that I've read this, it's great, really. Oh, but Haruki Hanai has changed his name again
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Gabe_c View Post
Wow these guides a great! Realy!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disturbed View Post
This is quite impressive. Because Gabe_c actually made a compliment about it, I decided to read it myself. I must say, you really went completely in depth about nearly every aspect involved in hacking. I would recommend you tell us a small bit about the metal and color games. People still hack those, but I believe with more knowledge, there will be more hackers of that time. One last thing, I am actually surprised to not find anything about hex in here. I hope that gets implemented in your front post. Nice job and well done!
Well, the thing is, that I have no idea how to make hex editing more effective. Of course, there are things like important pointers to some data you may need etc. ...I might try and put in some bits about hex, too.

With the exception of chooisng ROM and in case of color generation also scripting (or am I wrong when I think that we didn't discover basics of scripting system in GB generation?), many of those tips could be used in GB/C generation too. Well, something about this topic may pop out in the post too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by пзо View Post
Im not new but this however, made me understand more about a hack. Now, this taught me to Improve ideas, and Keep some things away from public.

Please add more, This is really helpful.

~N3xtone
Thanks ^^ I am planning to add more ;)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninja Caterpie View Post
Huh. I didn't read this fully at first, but now that I've read this, it's great, really. Oh, but Haruki Hanai has changed his name again
Thanks ^^

Oh, I don't bother changing it, everyone knows him, so :P
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  #9    
Old January 3rd, 2009, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Quacker View Post
I was hoping that people are mature enough now to know that they shouldn't hack for popularity.
Unfortunately it seems most people do hack for popularity. Everyday you see people bragging about what they can do in their hack and then there's the people who post a thread about some idea they have, then you never hear of them again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quacker View Post
And you know, I like GB/C games. Prism is lovely, so was Brown, but people would ignore it anyway, so why to write it?
People who are new to hacking might think that hacking the GBA generation is their only choice, as stupid as that may sound. Whether that puts them off hacking altogether is another matter. I like Prism and Brown aswell, but they're not the only GB/C hacks around. Alot of people probably only play them because there's a GBA remake-type thing going on by Haruki Hanai (whatever that guys name is now) or because Coolboyman made the first hack that was widely regarded as half-decent.
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  #10    
Old January 3rd, 2009, 08:15 AM
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I think that this was quite good. ^_^

How many of these are you planning to make? I think, if you make several and all of them helpful, we should provide a sub-forum for them. That'd be pretty cool.
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  #11    
Old January 3rd, 2009, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Imposter Oak View Post
Unfortunately it seems most people do hack for popularity. Everyday you see people bragging about what they can do in their hack and then there's the people who post a thread about some idea they have, then you never hear of them again.

People who are new to hacking might think that hacking the GBA generation is their only choice, as stupid as that may sound. Whether that puts them off hacking altogether is another matter. I like Prism and Brown aswell, but they're not the only GB/C hacks around. Alot of people probably only play them because there's a GBA remake-type thing going on by Haruki Hanai (whatever that guys name is now) or because Coolboyman made the first hack that was widely regarded as half-decent.
Indeed. You know that, I know that. People can always ask. Well, and as GBA is the most widespread generation, I will pay attention mostly to it because rest of my series will concentrate on this generation. I will try to provide guides that are easy to understand yet effective enough. I am preparing for another piece right at this moment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vrai View Post
I think that this was quite good.

How many of these are you planning to make? I think, if you make several and all of them helpful, we should provide a sub-forum for them. That'd be pretty cool.
I am going to make more of the guides, as I consider this section of the hacking community a bit disorganised, and I look at the titles such as "OMGMEGAHUGE TUTORIAL" with disgust. I am trying to give my guides a clean, streamlined approach with attention paid to beginners along with more advanced hakcers.
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