I’m writing this today to more or less get some of my thoughts out on paper. It may seem like a mess, but maybe some people would be interested in reading. If you look at my social media and website it would seem that for the most part I’ve stopped ROM hacking.
In some ways this is true. I am now 31 years old and do not have the liberty to work on things as I once did in high school. I have a career to focus on and unfortunately not much time at the end of the day. I also have spent more time than I want to admit playing ARK Survival Evolved the past couple of years, for anyone that knows this game you will know how time consuming it can be. In spirit I have not stopped ROM hacking but I honestly have been to distracted and have not progressed much for other reasons I will mention here.
What have I been working on?
Well, honestly there are 3 ROM hacks I’ve been working on. Not completely solo, as there are a couple of other people involved but they also have IRL responsibilities as well. I will not reveal any information about these games. This is partially due to the takedown requests that can always come out when a game is announced too early. My intention is to always just release them when ready so that once they are out there, they are out there. The other reason is that I don’t want to overhype or overpromise anything. In fact one of the reasons I think things haven’t been released is I have overambitious ideas I would want to do that obviously are too much for one person to do. I’m starting to think it may be best to abandon some of these ideas so I will talk about them today.
Imagine a Pokebank like website to link your games!
This is one of my grand ideas. Imagine there being a website for your ROM hacks. You can upload your save file and use it as Pokemon Storage. You could perform mystery gifts, wonder trades, and even possibly battle with other people on the site. It would give life to the games after you are done playing them. The games would be in such a way that you would have to play them all to get different Pokemon. I 100% feel like a website like this is possible, but would need a lot of time involved into it. As great as an idea I think this is, I think it’s time to abandon it or nothing will every get released.
What about anticheat?
With there being a way to compete with others, there would need to be some way to prevent cheating. I’ve given this some thought but haven’t actually done any work on it. What I have observed from several rom hacking Facebook groups is that people like their Rare Candies and Master Balls. Ideally there would be some way to detect that gameshark or action replay codes have been applied. Another thing would even be detecting if someone has messed with the clock similar to how Diamond and Pearl handled it. In these games time based events would be important. Imagine only catching Mewtwo on it’s birthday or only catching an Articuno in the winter. If the encouragement is to play with others, then there has to be some sort of way to prevent cheating. With less emphasis on multiplayer this may not be needed.
Everyone plays on emulators?
One of my things has always also been to encourage playing the games on hardware. I’ve even thought about making some sort of device to link a GBA to another other the internet. Imagine doing mystery gifts over the internet via the link cable, or even connecting to the back website from the Gameboy. Another benefit could be ereader cards for the games, with even possibly having IRL events for some event Pokemon. Unfortunately not everyone would own the hardware to do these things, and even less people may even want to play these games. I think it’s time to admit that most people will play on an emulator of some kind and not all emulators would support the features needed for some of these things. This perhaps makes it not worth tackling these things.
Why all this?
It has always been my ambition to create the ultimate ROM hack series with an emphasis on online connectivity and online trading. This is something I’ve wanted to do for years but like I mentioned this is overly ambitious. While I think this all achievable and that even public knowledge has advanced enough to be able to pull this off, the one resource that will always elude is time. If I keep having the mindset to do these things the games will never be done.
Why not make a team?
I started a team called “ROM Busters” a few years back. In fact the team still exists and we work on stuff for the games in secret. The main issue is that. at the time, most of the applicants were more interested in what secret advancements had been made and/or improving their own hacks. Most applicants that were added to the team didn’t have much interest in working on the games themselves cause it wasn’t their vision. I may consider opening applications for the team again but am not sure if it would even be worth it. Of course there are great advantages to working on a team but that only works if people are motivated to work on stuff.
What work has been done?
For the most part I will keep the games a secret for reasons already mentioned. A lot of work has been done like several maps, scripts, and even custom code. I even commissioned an artist to create a lot of the artwork for the games which turned out to be expensive. To be honest I scrap the projects every time I come back to work on things after a few months cause there are so many updates to the Pokemon Expansion repo that it’s hard to keep up. (I need to stop doing that.) Generally I use a base project where a lot of the engine stuff is applied that will be for all the games. The games themselves are built from that and get their updates from that base project.
I’m at the point where I want these games to be done. I think they will be good even if I can’t implement everything I originally envisioned. I see other people releasing stuff all the time so maybe it’s just time that I lower my own standards that are only in my head. Only time will tell I guess.