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Personal Projects / Pokemon Crystal Ultimate Demo (v0.8)
« on: March 19, 2021, 11:23:07 pm »

OVERVIEW:

You might've heard by now of my upcoming ROM hack: Pokemon Crystal Ultimate! The current playable version is v0.8, which is complete up to and including the E4. The goal of this hack is to be the ultimate Pokemon Crystal experience for fans, a remaster of sorts: same story, same Pokemon, same world, but the game is more playable, balanced and challenging. There’s a bit of extra content added too as well as many QoL improvements from music to sprite work to brand new features and battle system improvements!

Just about everything is viable now due to a thorough revision of moves, typing, learnsets, base stats, and Pokemon availability. The game’s challenge has been increased by revamping the level curve and adding to trainer parties custom moves, DVs and stat experience, as well as providing a greater variety and number of Pokemon to their teams. However, the game is designed to be Nuzlocke-able, so you will find that the challenge, while high at times, is fair.

More or less empty locations in the original game such as Ilex Forest, Ice Path and Victory Road (to say nothing of Kanto) now have extra trainers and items. I have also taken some liberties to spice up and rebalance gameplay, such as type changes to a dozen Pokemon, a few regular-shiny palette swaps to reflect this, and type matchup changes to balance out Poison and Steel.

Understandably, some players may find that some of these changes stray too far from what they want from this type of hack, so I made a Classic version of the game, which removes most base stat changes, Pokemon typing and type matchup changes, most palette swaps, and will lower the shiny rate a bit in the final release. The specific differences for that version are noted in the documentation (see Discord link at the bottom of this post) using the 'Classic' tag.

As well, all 251 Pokemon can be obtained through normal play and all Johto Pokemon can be obtained before reaching the Pokemon League, except for legendaries and the starter/odd egg Pokemon that you didn’t get. On top of all of this, there are many quality of life upgrades as well as brand new features that improve playability without compromising the feel of the original game! Below are some screenshots and below those is a list of features.

SCREENSHOTS:







FEATURES:

As seen in the screenshots:

    • Map changes that bring previously unimpressive areas to life and add convenience, such as the Goldenrod shortcuts
    • Reworked in-battle and overworld sprites for notable characters and Surfing, as well as for Pokemon in the party menu and overworld
    • Added evening as a time of day with a golden hue
    • Convenient features such as being prompted to reuse Repels, resuable TMs, new gen 1 (GENWUNNERS) move tutors, a move reminder, and a Pocket PC
    • More item variety and accessibility, such as a Lucky Egg early on, rare items found as milestone gifts in your room, all decorations can be obtained outside of Mystery Gift, and fossil Pokemon are found in the Ruins of Alph

    Here are some other features not shown in the screenshots:

      • New music and softer night versions for all outdoor themes
      • Hold B to run
      • Trainer card badges are in colour and a third page has been added for Kanto
      • Sprites have a softer and darker hue at night to match the darkness
      • 1/256 shiny encounter rate (1/3 for the Odd Egg) and shinies always have high DVs
      • Fixed many bugs (such as Kirt's balls) and restored things like the Celebi event
      • Significant AI improvements
      • Improved rematch system: rematch trainers offer their number automatically after you first defeat them and have much better scaling
      • Every ball has a unique colour palette and catching Pokemon yields exp
      • In-battle weather indicator
      • Elite Four rematch with new dialogue

      I could go on about a ton more features in Ultimate, let alone the battle- and difficulty-related changes, but I believe that this will suffice to pique your interest! For all of the details and a polished demo that goes all the way up to and including the Elite Four, I invite you to join my discord: https://discord.gg/XMYBvDA



      CREDITS:

      I would like to credit the following people who helped me in the process of creating this hack and learning about asm and Crystal disassembly hacking (which wouldn't exist without iiMarckus and co's work on the project). First of all, the fine pret folks that form the backbone of the pokecrystal github community, including Rangi (made countless great tutorials and Polished Crystal), others who made tutorials (such as growlie777), Seasick, Electro, ax6, Idain, i0brendan0, potato, TriAttackDev, TriteHexagon (created the night themes and helped me integrate them), Stan40 (title screen), Mmmmmm and Pigu (many music themes), and Aquacode (helped with the Elite Four rematch code). I’d also like to especially thank Seasick and Idain, who helped quite a bit with some coding issues for some of the QoL changes and have been good friends and collaborators. As well, these fine folks made the unique menu/overworld sprites for every Pokemon in the game: Chamber, Lake, Ryta, Solo0993, NESlug, Blue Emerald, and Pikachu25.

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      Personal Projects / NEW ROM Hack Demo: Pokemon Crystal Ultimate
      « on: November 11, 2020, 10:55:11 pm »
      Hello again, folks! Today I have for you a playable demo (up 'til the Pokemon League!) of my upcoming ROM hack: Pokemon Crystal Ultimate!


      Credit for the title screen goes to Stan40/Stamba

      The goal of this hack is to be the ultimate Pokemon Crystal experience for fans: same story, same Pokemon, same locations, but the game is more playable, balanced and challenging. Just about everything is viable now due to a thorough revision of moves, learnsets, base stats, and Pokemon availability. The game’s challenge has been increased by revamping the level curve and adding to trainer parties custom moves, DVs and stat experience, as well as providing a greater variety and number of Pokemon to their teams.

      More or less empty locations in the original game such as Ilex Forest, Ice Path and Victory Road now have extra trainers and items. I have also taken some liberties to spice up and rebalance gameplay, such as type changes to a few Pokemon, a couple of regular-shiny palette swaps to reflect this, and Steel now normally resisting Poison moves.

      As well, all 251 Pokemon can be obtained in-game (in the full-release) and all Johto Pokemon can be obtained before reaching the Pokemon League (except for legendaries and the starters that you didn’t choose). On top of all of this, there are many quality of life upgrades as well as brand new features that improve playability without compromising the feel of the original game! These include new music and softer night versions for all outdoor themes, Hold B to run, an improved move tutor (and a new gen 1 tutor that will be accessible in the final release) that also teaches Rock Slide, a move deleter in Goldenrod, a brand new move reminder in Blackthorn, and darkened sprites to better match the night graphics.

      Additionally, I removed the badge boost and 25% AI chance to fail status moves, TMs are reusable, elemental stones can be purchased and used to evolve former trade evolution Pokemon, the economy has been revised to provide more challenge and variety while still being fair, the shiny odds have been increased and shinies always have high DVs, in-game trades have been revised, many bugs have been fixed, etc.

      RESOURCES:

      - To learn more about the hack, check out the fancy google doc readme: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VnC8wWP8CjpresyAZV_YlFcY8oWutHZeUr-RQj8lyCI/edit#

      - For the game file, questions, discussion and updates, please check out my Discord server: https://discord.gg/XMYBvDA

      - Check out my YouTube channel as well; although there isn't much pertaining to the hack at the moment, subscribe so that you'll be notified of my upcoming demo trailer in the near future: https://www.youtube.com/user/NicktheLP/videos

      I hope that you guys will enjoy my demo and make sure to keep the documentation handy! There are a lot of changes and the doc will help you track them as you play to get the most out of the experience. I would be ecstatic to receive feedback from people, whether via PM on here or in my Discord. Cheers, good luck, and enjoy!

      3
      Personal Projects / Pokemon Crystal Ultimate Demo
      « on: August 17, 2020, 03:10:57 pm »
      Hello, folks! Today I have for you a working demo of my upcoming ROM hack: Pokemon Crystal Ultimate!


      Credit for this title screen goes to Stan40, although it will be slightly different in the full release

      This is an improvement/difficulty hack that is currently playable up until Olivine City (including the Lighthouse, but not the gym) and wild encounters up until that point have been mostly scaled to the new level curve (main exceptions are Routes 37, 38, and 39, aka just before and after Ecruteak). I am looking both for feedback on the game thus far and to generate some hype for this project that I've already put a few hundred hours into! The goal of this hack is to be the Ultimate version of the traditional Pokemon Crystal experience, with some liberties taken to give the hack my own personal flavour. Think of it as something in between Perfect/Polished Crystal.

      So let's begin with the details regarding what's changed, but note that some of these, while in the game, will not be available in the playable section of the demo, for obvious reasons (e.g. legendary encounters, post-game stuff, etc.):

      POKEMON:

      - Base stats have been revised so as to make every Pokemon worth using when they are obtained and the vast majority (discounting pre-evolved) are viable even for endgame/meta (e.g. Sneasel no longer has great attack and terrible sp atk, Farfetch'd has stats closer to Sirfetch'd's); see the README at the end for details

      - A few type changes: Sudowoodo is now Grass/Rock, Magcargo is pure Fire, Smeargle is Ghost/Normal, and Azumarill is Water/Normal

      - Wild encounters: greater variety (e.g. Mareep and Kabuto before Falkner, Diglett in Union Cave, Pikachu in Ilex Forest, Heracross during the bug contest) and higher level, gen 2 Pokemon are all found in Johto, and you don't need the Super Rod to catch Qwilfish/Remoraid

      - All 251 Pokemon are obtainable (well, not in the demo lol) and the diploma now requires all of them, not just 249. Trade evolutions have now been replaced with evolutionary stone evolutions (see README for details), now available at both department stores for $10000

      - The fossil Pokemon can now be obtained from their respective item chambers in the Ruins of Alph, which means that Kabuto (level 10) can be obtained before Falkner, as mentioned. However, the Aerodactyl chamber is now only accessible with Whirlpool

      - Starters are available from the Celadon Game Corner on different days of the week and come with a Normal Box/Silver trophy

      MOVES:

      - All moves have been reviewed and the majority have seen some changes. Although many are simply slight adjustments to PP, power and accuracy, or have been updated to later gen versions (such as Dig having 80 Pow) quite a few have been revamped. For example, Egg Bomb and Barrage (140 Pow with False Swipe effect) are now Fire type, so as to take advantage of their users' high Sp Atk, and trapping moves have been reworked to be more viable (Fire Spin has a 100% burn chance instead of a trap effect, Bind is now Rock type, 65 Pow and lowers evasion). There are a LOT of changes here, so please see the README

      - Hidden power now ignores DVs for the power calculation and always has a power of 70

      - HM moves are much better, with Cut being Bug type, 70 Pow and 20% flinch chance; Fly and Strength have more Pow; Flash has 95 Acc; Waterfall flinches like in later gens; Whirlpool is now like Aqua Jet, but with 60 Pow (no more trapping effect)

      - Additions to move tutoring and deleting (see QOL section below)

      - Learnsets have almost all been revised, taking into consideration the level at which Pokemon are caught, some event moves are now learned, moves are learned at more reasonable levels, and many Pokemon learn new moves (e.g. Togetic learns Aeroblast); see README for all changes

      - Pokemon can be taught new moves to make them more competitive and match their versatility in later gens (Poli- line can be taught Dream Eater, more Fire types can learn Solarbeam and Earthquake, Gligar can learn Fly and Earthquake, quite a few Pokemon learn the new move tutor Rock Slide, etc.); see README for all changes

      TRAINERS:

      - AI: all trainers now have the best AI: they will change Pokemon more frequently, make better decisions, and strong trainers have more and better healing items

      - Boss trainers will have often have held items, especially later in the game; these items are usually quite good, so be sure to keep Thief handy once you acquire it

      - Trainer parties now have stat exp, custom DVs for Hidden Power and shiny top-tier Pokemon, more Pokemon and more variety, although not to the point of randomizers; I want to keep Pokemon close to trainers' themes with only a few wildcards

      - Rematches are being revamped so that Pokemon are at a more appropriate level when you're called; currently, only Todd and Gina are changed so that they load a party only based on how far you are in the game, ignoring the number of times you rematched them

      - Level curve is quite different, with Falkner having Pokemon ranging from level 12-15 and Morty having Pokemon in the mid-high 30s, for example. However,the player will not be forced to do much grinding, if at all, if they play it smart and explore

      - The Elite Four will have a second set of parties and dialogue when rematching them after obtaining all 16 badges (I plan on doing the same for gym leaders)

      - Sprout Tower is no longer a joke, with the top Sage having quite the party!

      - Here are some more specific trainer changes: your rival's starter has perfect DVs (making it shiny) and I plan on giving his Sneasel (not in demo) Thief; some trainers, such as Sage Li (now Jason) at the top of Sprout Tower have had name changes to reference some irl friends, see README for details; the Kimono girls now have two of their signature Pokemon and will use Baton Pass/Growth

      - I have also added trainers to the game; here are the ones available in this demo: two Bug Catchers and a Picnicker were added to Ilex Forest, which previously had only a single trainer, and Firebreathers Dick and Ned were added back to the Burned Tower from G/S

      QUALITY OF LIFE: I have made quite a few changes in order to smooth out the old-school experience, but it is still very much a second generation game:

      - Removed the intro (the scenes between the GameFreak logo and the title screen) so that you don'thave to waste time skipping it every time you play

      - Hold B to run

      - Night themes for every outdoor location and Routes 26/27 (East of New Bark Town) now play the HG/SS Route 47 theme (Route 26 theme is now used on Routes 14-15). Credit for these goes to TriteHexagon

      - Remixed music: In addition to the above changes, some music has been remixed within the game and there are a few other additions: Rocket executives and scientists now play the Rocket battle theme; Lugia's song from the movie, demixed by Mmmmmm, now plays in Lugia's chamber; Mt Silver and Route 28 no longer continue playing the Johto league theme and instead play the RBY/Gen 1 Indigo Plateau theme; Red now plays the RBY champion theme instead of the Johto one and is now named "PKMN MASTER RED" instead of "PKMN TRAINER RED"; in the Trainer House, Gold (formerly Cal) and Crystal (new trainer) now play the Johto champion theme when you fight them. They both have teams comparable to Red's in vanilla Crystal and their roster is inspired from the Pokemon Adventures manga

      - Legendaries: all legendary overworld encounters now play the three beasts' theme; Celebi has been restored, Mew has been added as an overworld encounter, and Mewtwo (with a Gorgeous Box/Gold trophy) is gifted upon catching all other Pokemon; legendary birds TBD

      - Removed badge boost, AI's 25% chance to miss status moves, and other bugs that generally make the game's combat uneven/easier

      - Changes to the options' default settings: Fast text, Battle style Set, Menu account Off, Stereo sound

      - The economy has been revised with price increases (especially for TMs, since they're now reusable) across the board to encourage resource management

      - TMs are now reusable, although duplicates can still be sold; some of them have different availabilities (e.g. Hidden Power and Psych Up can be purchased in Goldenrod)

      - A Move Deleter has been added to Goldenrod City, so that the player is not stuck with an HM move. She is located in the PP house beside the gym (now has a sign outside) until Blackthorn City (HM moves are much better this time around though)

      - The Goldenrod City Move Tutor now appears after you defeat Clair, only charges 400 coins and now teaches Rock Slide, does not disappear after teaching a move, and is available Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday

      - A Move Tutor has been added in Celadon. The old man behind the Grimer pond, named the GENWUNNER, now teaches some gen 1-exclusive moves to gen 1 Pokemon

      - Type-boost items now boost moves by 20% instead of 10% (like in newer gens) and Dragon Fang now works as intended

      - The shiny rate has been increased to 1/256, based on a popular demand from a poll I conducted on this sub; shiny Pokemon have DVs of 12 or higher in every stat except HP (not factored in), so you know they'll be good

      - Odd egg: chance of getting a shiny is now 33% and the odds of getting any given Pokemon are more even (same Pokemon though)

      - You can now carry 25 instead of 20 items in the pack's "Item" pouch

      - Environments now animate while textboxes are open, like in G/S

      - BRN/PAR/PSN now increase catch rate as intended and FRZ/SLP doubly so

      - Kurt balls are no longer glitched and function as intended

      - Fixed grammar mistakes for plural trainers (e.g. "Twins wants to battle")

      - Bug contest has been revamped with higher levels, additional Pokemon (Ledyba, Ledian, Yanma, and Heracross), and a related optional trainer in Union Cave who is quite tough (Cooltrainer Nick)

      - Route 39 Miltank only requires 4 Berries instead of 7

      - Whiteout: instead of losing half of your money, you lose money proportional to your highest level and badges, similar to later gens

      - In-game trades have been revised slightly

      - Battle Tower level 90/100 teams have been revised to be especially challenging

      - Small map changes to aid traversal, such as the northern Cut tree on Route 31 having been removed, the sign for the new Move Deleter's house, and some item changes so that you're not getting Super Potions/Berries when they're no longer useful

      - Many bug fixes that polish combat, see README for details

      - There are quite a few more changes that I will be adding, such as HP bars that drain at a constant rate, regardless of HP, a couple more Fly points in Kanto, and adding a lot of trainers to Kanto (inspired by gen 1 trainers) so that it's less empty, to name a few. So stay tuned for a future release!

      RESOURCES:

      - For the game files, README, and future updates, please check out my Discord server: https://discord.gg/XMYBvDA
      (check the "ultimate-files" channel for the files and stay tuned to "ultimate-updates" for updates!)

      - Although there is currently a only a couple of short teasers of my hack up (which is no longer accurate to the available version; Smeargle has Swords Dance instead of Belly Drum and levels have been lowered), feel free to check out my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/NicktheLP/videos

      I hope that you guys will enjoy my demo and make sure to keep the README handy! There are a lot of changes and checking the document whenever you get a new move or Pokemon may make things easier and more enjoyable for you. I would be ecstatic to receive feedback from people, whether on here or in my Discord. Cheers, good luck, and enjoy!

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