Hey Dorks, Sunny here with my new segment Freshly Squeezed. I do my best to give you the newest, freshest, most tastiest game news and info out there. For my first episode of Freshly Squeezed I interview the creator of a Pokemon Fan-made game, Pokemon Melanite. Rayd12smitty was nice enough to provide tons of behind the scenes info and even a few teasers of what’s to come. If you’ve got time, there is a lot of info here.
Sunny: What was the first Pokemon game you played?
Ray: Pokemon Sapphire, quickly followed by Leaf Green. 3rd Gen remains my favorite generations since it got me started on Pokemon.
Sunny: What made you decide to make a Pokemon Fan game and is this your first one?
Ray: I’ve loved the Pokemon Games and played every one since Ruby/Sapphire and I’ve always been interested in programming and designing things of my own. I looked into ROM Hacking but I just really didn’t like it. The idea of just changing an existing ROM didn’t appeal to me, and it seemed like I couldn’t be as creative with it. I discovered Pokemon Essentials (I believe it was Version 6 or 7) and read up on it. It seemed like it was perfect for me. I saw other fan games like Blue Chrome by Luka-SJ and Pokemon Garnet by Hydrargirium and was amazed by how cool the games looked. I knew I had to make my own. I never expected it to get this much attention. Melanite is technically not my first game, but the first one I will release. When I first got started using RPG Maker XP I wasn’t familiar with the program and started a few other games, but I grew bored with them and they were discontinued very early on.
Sunny: What gave you the idea for Pokemon Melanite?
Ray: The story for Melanite was highly inspired by Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of Darkness/Time. Darkrai is such a cool Pokemon but the main series made him out to be a kindhearted misunderstood Pokemon. I preferred Mystery Dungeon’s view of him as pure evil, and wanting to destroy everything. Then, when Black and White came out Reshiram and Zekrom made me think of Yin/Yang. The idea of Peace and Darkrai trying to destroy and bring the world into darkness gave me a story to make a game about.
Sunny: You had said you lost the first version of Pokemon Melanite in a computer crash. How much work did you lose and how did it feel to start over? How much different is 2.0 compared to the crashed version?
Ray: Honestly I am glad it happened. I did lose a lot of work, but in redoing it I made everything so much better. I had learned a lot while making the game the first time and was able to fix things and add new things I originally wanted but didn’t know how to do the first time around. I probably did lose about 4 months of work, but was able to redo it, and redo it better within about 2. During this time I kind of disappeared from the internet. Version 2.0 as you call it is the same story wise. The maps are better made, and the graphics and smoothness of everything is 100 times better all around.
Sunny: You’ve done a lot as far as working on this game, diligently answering peoples questions, managing an entire sub-reddit. How has this whole process been for you? Stressful? Difficult? Or fun and easy?
Ray: Sometimes it’s stressful, but for the most part I really enjoy this. I make this game as a hobby and for fun. I don’t want to make any money off of it. (I probably couldn’t legally anyway) Managing different threads and accounts isn’t too bad. I check Deviantart and PokeCommunity daily and am on Reddit a lot. Managing a subreddit isn’t too hard. I just check my mail whenever I get a new one and respond to as many questions as I can. It’s only really frustrating when I get asked the same questions over and over. There’s an FAQ for a reason.
Sunny: Your project seems to be much anticipated, how do you feel when people offer suggestions and criticism? Have there been any instances of people asking too many questions or the expectations too high? And, do you feel a lot of pressure to deliver a good product the more Pokemon Melanite grows in popularity?
Ray: I love suggestions. I can’t catch everything, and the ideas can be amazing. Some things are very hard for me to put into the game, and not everyone understands this. For the most part I like criticism, as long as they aren’t just saying “I don’t like this” or “I hate that idea”. You can have your opinion, but don’t just say you don’t like it or it’s bad. Offer a suggestion as to how it could improve. I do get worried often that the expectations are too high. I hope I can deliver.
Sunny: How many people have asked you if they could be a beta tester?
Ray: Far too many to count. XD
Sunny: Are you going to let people beta test the game? Can I be a beta tester?
Ray: Yes. I am definitely going to have MANY Beta Testers. I plan on having around 25-30. Anyone can be a beta tester, but I will look for people who have more to offer. The main things I want to fix through beta testing are grammar/spelling issues and game breaking bugs. People who sign up who have studied English a lot and know what they are talking about will be more likely to get in than just some random fan. I have promised beta testing to a few select people as well.
Now on to the game itself
Sunny: Can you give a little back story about Pokemon Melanite and Zela, the region in which it takes place?
Ray: Definitely. The Zela Region is located to the North-West of Sinnoh, just west of where Iron, Fullmoon, and Newmoon Islands are. The story goes that when Arceus created the world around Mt. Coronet, the other regions slowly started to appear, but Zela came first. The region holds a secret power that not many people know about. Balance between Order and Chaos is kept in a hidden location somewhere in Zela. Reshiram and Zekrom are the embodiments or Order and Chaos and keep peace in the region, and the world.
During Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, Lucas goes to Canalave City and finds an abandoned hotel. For some reason the door isn’t locked and he goes inside. After falling asleep in the bed, Lucas finds himself on Newmoon Island, where he battles and captures Darkrai. However, Darkrai planned to be caught all along. After getting back to Sinnoh’s mainland, Darkrai escapes from Lucas and makes his way to Zela, where he begins his plan. The dark Pokemon searches to find the Orbs of Order and Chaos and destroy one, so the world will fall out of balance, and into darkness. Prof. Oak visits Sinnoh and Lucas tells him what happened. They travel to Zela along with Lucas’s friend Paul (yes the Paul from the anime) and they meet a young trainer named Alice. Together, the four of them are able to stop Darkrai before it’s too late. With the help of Celebi, they trap Darkrai in Time. Lucas and Paul become known as Yin and Yang and they act as the guardians of Peace. Alice becomes a great trainer, and the regions champion, and Prof. Oak goes on to continue traveling the world and teaching new trainers. This was about 30 years ago. Now, something is wrong. A mysterious group of criminals has started performing crimes all over the region, a young girl has gone missing, Prof. Oak has disappeared. It’s up to you to discover the mystery of Zela, and stop the evil Team Masquerade before it’s too late.
Sunny: What makes an adventure in Zela stand out from Johto or Sinnoh or any other region?
Ray: The region itself offers many diverse environments. You will travel through hills and plains, oceans, forests, deserts, tundra, a glacier, mountains and much more. Dive makes a return as it did in Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, allowing for exploration even under water. The story takes a darker path, making it different from the main games, and following pokemon makes a return from Heartgold/Soulsilver.
Sunny: As an avid Pokemaster myself I always wondered why the adventurer always starts out with only a grass, water, or fire type. I know you are doing the starter types a little differently. Can you explain what you have done differently for the starter pokemon this time around and why you choose to do so?
Ray: This is one of the main things that stands out in Pokemon Melanite. I wanted to make the starters different but still keep a type triangle sort of thing. Dark/Psychic/Fighting is really the only other option that wasn’t completely broken. With the starters Croagunk, Sneasel, and Natu, the type balance goes farther. Natu’s psychic type is 4x effective against Croagunk. Croagunk’s fighting type is 4x effective against Sneasel. Sneasel’s dark type is only 2x super effective against Natu, but so is it’s Ice type, and Natu’s psychic type doesn’t effect Sneasel. It works out pretty balanced in the end. I have also adjusted all of their stats and evolution methods/levels to be even. As for why I chose these specific Pokemon, it’s pretty simple. These are 3 of my favorite Pokemon, and I don’t feel they get much use in the games. (Other than Weavile) By forcing players to pick one as their starter, I hope they learn to like these Pokemon more and maybe give them a chance on their next play-through of a Pokemon game.
Sunny: I watched a play-through and noticed Professor Oak didn’t have a bratty grandson come in and take a Pokemon that has type advantage over yours and challenge you immediately. Will you have a rival in this game?
Ray: Haha yes there will be a rival, two actually. Although one of them is going to remain a secret until the demo’s release. The main rival, Parker plays a role much like Barry in Diamond/Pearl/Platinum or Hugh in Black/White 2. He is not a complete Douchebag. In fact he helps the player out a LOT and plays a big role in the story. He does pick the starter that is strong against yours but he doesn’t get his Pokemon for a bit. You’ll have to play and see.
Sunny: What are some of the mechanics or ideas that you implemented in Pokemon Melanite that gets you or others excited about the game?
Ray: I know some of the features that people are most looking forward to are:
1) Following Pokemon – The Pokemon that is first in your party will follow behind you like in HGSS 2) Pokemon in the Overworld – This can be anything from birds flying over a town, or other trainers having their Pokemon out in the wild. 3) A Pokemon World Tournament – This will work much like in Black/White 2. It was my first successful bit of scripting that was done almost completely by myself.
Sunny: Anything secret you can tell me that I can tease on our site about the game that you haven’t previously mentioned?
Ray: I already mentioned that there will be a second rival. I will say that the story goes a bit deeper than most people will expect, and has a couple big twists you might now expect. You won’t know who you’re fighting against until the end.
Sunny: When can people expect to play the game? And how will they be able to play /get a hold of it?
Ray: I really don’t like answering this question because it gives people and expectation. I honestly can’t say. My goal is to get a demo out this summer with 3 gyms in it. This will be the actual game, just the first 3rd of it. I will post the download on my Deviantart Account (rayd12smitty), on Reddit, on PokeCommunity, and an email will go out to everyone who is subscribed the the game’s website. (pokemonmv.webs.com)