View Full Version : How do you plan your hacks?

December 12th, 2009, 12:04 AM
I've never make my own complete hack (each one less than 10%).
Now I just started a new real project with many thoughts with my firends.
But when really sarted,I found myself hard to plan the hack.
I mean,I enlarged the rom,but don't know which part should or better to do what.
Which part should be maps?
Which part should be scripts?
And which part should be new OW or even new uncompressed pic?(In JPAN's engine)

How do you plan your hacks?Give me some advice...

Matteron (96)
December 12th, 2009, 11:36 AM
simple, story first.
then I begin to map the first couple of towns
once that is done I script the towns.
then I move onto inserting some graphics
after that I continue to map, then script, then insert anything that needs to be inserted to make the hack look nice.

December 12th, 2009, 11:51 AM
I start off planning my story, then I separate it into chapters. Then, I complete everything in a chapter, starting with maps, sprites, then scripts. Rinse, wash, repeat till I get what I want for my first beta.

Lord Varion
December 12th, 2009, 1:08 PM
my way is ... to ...
think it make it

December 12th, 2009, 2:02 PM
This time I'm basing it on a short story I wrote. It's easier for me that way. Then I plan any geographical changes, and usually difficulty of gameplay comes last.

December 12th, 2009, 7:44 PM
I plan my hacks based on inspiration from writing or artwork. I'm surfing the webernet and I find a fan-fiction or some tiles that inspire me based on the atmosphere and aura that it givees off. It's very hard to resist it really xD. While preparing the ROM for my plans, I'm planning more parts of the story. It's like a flurry of imagination.

December 13th, 2009, 6:44 AM
-v-Looks most hackers start with storys,I think I should try...

December 13th, 2009, 7:09 AM
I have a notebook I carry in my schoolbag. I spend most of my day in school, so anytime I've a free class or something I brainstorm. I've written the story (yeah, novel-style xD) and it's how I plan out my new trainers, towns, etc. It's pretty efficient.

December 13th, 2009, 7:36 AM
I have a notebook I carry in my schoolbag. I spend most of my day in school, so anytime I've a free class or something I brainstorm. I've written the story (yeah, novel-style xD) and it's how I plan out my new trainers, towns, etc. It's pretty efficient.

I do that too!!Haha,sometimes,my teacher was totally fascinated about my novel~

Ray Maverick
December 15th, 2009, 1:25 AM
It's not simple, really. First of all, you must think of a general idea of the storyline. The legendary, what the legendary has to do with the hack, some of the basic characters. Then, to make it easier think of the basic plot, you could make the region.
And then the Plot, the Maps, the Scripts, misc. etc.

December 15th, 2009, 4:31 AM
My way is:

Plot out the basic storyline
Configure the characters - without the clothing, etc
Think of the places that are about to be visited
Pokemon and items involved
the features
tiles and insertion
beta test
a version release

That's about it. It's the way I like to plan things. My hack is currently at the 7th stage, thanks to everyone that helps me (and people who help in hacks in general. They play a big role as to how each hack develops).

December 30th, 2009, 12:56 AM
1. Think of a Story
2. Map the towns for the first release
3. Script the towns for the first release
4. Release a alpha/beta!

Conan Edogawa
December 30th, 2009, 6:59 AM
When I tried to make a hack I started with a very detailed story telling exactly what would happen in the hack. After that I broke it up into sections that would be released as betas upon completion. For each section I then wrote out what needed to be done first and then followed that. To put it simply I made a story then an outline.

December 30th, 2009, 10:29 AM
Hmm, easy question answered for me. Well I've only ever started one hack, but its pretty far.

First I think of a great unique story thats never been thought up before.

Next I ask myself "Would I buy this game if nintendo released it?" (yes I would :P)

Next I make a few test maps using imagination and script as I go along.

All the maps after that are drawn on paper using simple things such as v's for trees and squares for building.

December 30th, 2009, 12:21 PM
Start off with EVERY aspect down on paper, the characters (really important in story telling), the environment (Towns/cities and ect) goals and everything. Even with all that preparation, it never goes as planned 100%

December 31st, 2009, 5:27 AM
I haven't posted ny hack, but I just make whatever occurs to me whaile on a project. That way I also get the fun of being suprised by the storyline.lol

January 1st, 2010, 6:46 PM
I start of by writing a complete game script of my hack.
Yes, this means that I end up writing a short novel, lol.

Next, I'll end up taking my ROM, and inserting any and all graphics, that means that I wont be inserting anything else throughout the game, unless it is something that I didn't think of during the creation of the game script.

Now at this point I end up mapping... I'd end up mapping half of the game, I don't like small betas...

From there I move onto scripting, keeping a list of any flags or variables I use in the game. So I don't ever overwrite anything, or use a flag more than once (Unless needed)
Finally, I beta test myself, and release beta 1.

(Though I can't do any of this except writing the script, since the good computer of the house has been sent off to be repaired... (My sister + computers = mobo problems that can't be fixed due to her ruining the diagnostics...))

January 3rd, 2010, 9:55 AM
Mine just sort of came to me
i have no idea how i will go about it
i have the start of the story sorted out
but have no idea for town, city, character names
or anything else like that - but i will get there :)

January 4th, 2010, 3:41 AM
when i start thinking of a hack i usually write it down on paper
and then the next day i forget about it xD and so i never finish one xD

January 9th, 2010, 10:26 AM
For Hacks:
1. Story
2. Basic Logistics (Map, Pokemon, Items, Attacks fixable by tools)
3. Changed/Added Features (usually involves scripting or ASM)
4. Spriting (I reverse the order because I have no ability in art.)

For game remakes, the same applies, but steps 1 and 4 are optional.

January 9th, 2010, 10:36 AM
I open a map editor and start making some maps. I put some people on those maps and think about what they could say. Then I create some scripts for those people. After this, I start all over again.. XD

January 14th, 2010, 12:43 PM
I have a different way of planning.

Main characters—what happens to them that makes them the main characters?
Other characters/NPCs—what are the roles of each character?
Region geography—what does the vast region where you adventure look like, and where is it located?
Graphics; tiles, sprites, etc.—just so I'll have nothing to worry about. XD
Maps and scripts—now I've got everything that I need, so all I have to do is do what I've planned.

January 17th, 2010, 11:37 AM
I usually just wing it, and it comes out fine, and i do tile insertion followed by, mapping/scripting.

January 17th, 2010, 12:56 PM
I start with characters and plot, then divide into chapters.
For each chapter, I do things in this order:

1. Writing Dialogue (Story events, NPCs, and Trainers)
2. Mapping
3. Adding Scripts/Events
4. Implement Items
5. Implement Trainers
6. Implement Wild Pokemon
7. Script Side-quests
8. Repeat for next chapter

January 17th, 2010, 1:05 PM
Well, I don't think the story is as important as most people claim it to be. Honestly, all of them really have the same basic concept in the end. Either way, it's a matter of preference. Personally, I plan it like this;

1.Features - What do I want my hack to do? And how do I do it?
1.2. - Working on implementing those features. If it's new tiles, or sprites, inserting them. Or if it's something else (like someone else mentioned changing attacks).
1.3 - Test.

2. Basic storyline - Where does the hack take place? What happens in the first events?
2.1 - Mapping out the first few towns and routes, and then added scripts for each event.
2.2 - Testing.

3. - Beta release. Play through it yourself, and get some feedback by other people.
3.1 - Make the changes accordingly if they need be.

January 18th, 2010, 1:52 PM
Well... all hacks I have worked on have followed a go with the flow attitude. That does not work if you want to get farther than two towns haha. I'm taking a different approach for MoP V2...

0. Write out a plan for the hack (what cities, story, people, etc.)
1. Palletes and new tiles (Makes working with everything alot prettier xP)
2. New Pokemon/Edits to Pkmn movesets
3. Spriting (ugh..)

And then I go down my list of towns and script/map, saving the world map for last :p

It seems to have worked so far this way

Full Metal
January 18th, 2010, 6:51 PM
I plan my hacks based on inspiration from writing or artwork. I'm surfing the webernet and I find a fan-fiction or some tiles that inspire me based on the atmosphere and aura that it givees off. It's very hard to resist it really xD. While preparing the ROM for my plans, I'm planning more parts of the story. It's like a flurry of imagination.
I kinda do that too...only it rarely gets me anywhere, which is why i spend the majority of my time doing rom bases (but i'm slowly and surely working on my hack)

January 29th, 2010, 7:32 PM
i get in an awkward situation and i end up writing a story

February 5th, 2010, 7:33 AM
warning: tl;dr

Story comes first. Always story.

I mean, think about it. What's the most important thing in a hack? Aside from scripting (which, if you really look at it, is simply a way to put the story into the game), a story is what's going to keep people playing your game. Maps can be poor, and sprites can be ugly, but people will still play it if they enjoy the story. The story is the most important part.

Next, after a basic outline of the story, comes the graphical stuff. I usually like to insert tiles and new graphics and the like to get them out of the way, mostly because I don't like doing them. Besides, it's best to get new tiles in before you do the maps, because you might have different tiles that make mismatches in your maps.

It's around this point that I design a world map. Use your basic storyline as a guide: you don't have to have a name for everything yet. The important part here is that you know what each area is generally like. Like, the general layout; the entrances/exits are most important.

Now you can start mapping. Try to stay somewhat close to your original world map. It definitely won't be the same as you originally intended, but they shouldn't be radically different. I usually map out the first two or three towns and the routes in-between before I move on to the next step.

Scripting. This is, obviously, incredibly important. If you don't have the scripting, you don't have a game. Utilize your basic storyline! Follow it! Be good to your pets! Include humor!

People underestimate how much humor is important, especially in a darker storyline. Of course, sticking to your storyline is your main goal, but keeping the players interested is a very close second. And nothing helps to keep them playing than making them laugh now and then. One particular example I can think of (and not because I've been avidly playing it lately) is Earthbound/Mother 3; you can mix dark storylines with sprinkles of funny. Other games to use for inspiration are the Mario & Luigi Superstar series. Good stuff.

After scripting, you simply rinse and repeat. Go back and map a few places, and then script. If you're feeling tired of mapping, go script. If you're feeling tired of scripting, go map. If you're tired of both, go brainstorm some more ideas for your hack. There's never enough, so write down all of your thoughts. Some of them will be impossible, some of them will seem incredibly stupid, but all of them are important to keep track of. Ideas = important.

After scripting and mapping to the point where you want to stop (say, a beta-ending point), I'd start thinking small. Like, mini. Like, mini-games! [/bad pun]
Anyway, mini-games and side-quests. Think original, think new, think rewards. Doing something original and new is definitely good, so long as it makes sense. And why would anyone do anything if there wasn't a good reason why? Rewarding the player is important. Also, keep these sparse, but common enough that the player will find some. Maybe they'll even try to look for them. ;)

Beta-testing is next. Find reliable people to beta test, not just the random people who ask to do it on your thread. If you are going to allow that, I'd devise a sort of test to see how well they actually beta-test. Create a ROM with intentional errors, as many kinds as you can (tile errors, script malfunctions, grammar errors, anything.) Then, write down all of the problems you've caused in the ROM (at least twenty, to be sure they'll find some). Then you can judge how good their error report was and pick out your beta testers. At least, that's how I'd do it. (Also, make sure it's only a small area that the testers have to go through. Like, maybe a town.)

After the testers go through it, go through it yourself. Don't cheat and give yourself 400 Rare Candies, but play it as everyone else would. Make the really hard parts slightly less hard, and make the easy parts a little harder. A lot of this is guess and check; you'll be playing your hack more than anyone else will. Also, use the wild Pokemon levels. Nothing is more aggravating than a really high-leveled boss trainer (say, level 35 average) but really wimpy wild Pokemon nearby to train on (say, level 14 average).

Once you've made sure everything is perfect (because everything has to be: let no error go free!), release to the public. And as soon as you do that, start working on your next beta. They'll be begging for it soon.

Now, excuse me while I find a thesaurus and look up the word "important". *headdesk*

February 5th, 2010, 4:10 PM
Usually... when I think of a good idea, I just go with it. Eventually, I have tons of random ROM copies with small progress for each, and am bombarded with seperate hacks. O_o. In short, I need to start actually finishing the hacks I start.

February 18th, 2010, 7:44 PM
Me? You had to ask.

This is where I start. Anywheres I can think, (Shower, bed, trips downtown, while I'm playing Wii, something I see...) that's my time to make a storyline. As soon as I have a rough idea of what I'm doing, I get to work.

For me, mapping always works. Even though I stick to the "square" aspect of mapping, I can make a good map.

My scripting sucks. Put it that way. I'm learning the ropes, though. If I have a hard script that needs to be done, I'll ask for help.

This... I have issues. I can transfer music from game to game, but that's it. Graphics, no can do.

February 18th, 2010, 9:10 PM
1.draw a map on paper give every town a name
2.continue improving the map and town names
3.map the starter town
4.now think of where to put the bad guys on the map
5.spread the bad guys out; like hiding places and headquarters
6.all this time you will be thinking and slowly a st0ry has already formed in your head.
7.expand the story.