Pokémon Uranium

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I suppose I shouldn’t get much further into this blog without talking about my own game, the one where practically all my fakemon designs go: Pokemon Uranium.

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Here are some at-a-glance facts about Pokemon Uranium: it is not a ROM hack. It is a Pokemon styled game made using RPGMaker XP and Pokemon Essentials, a template that allows anyone, given enough time and dedication, to make their own Pokemon game with limited programming expertise required. It is designed to be played on PC, though you can get it to work on Macintosh too, apparently. You can download and play it right now, if you want to: the latest release is v3.1, which came out in May… of 2013. We haven’t had a new beta release in a long while, mostly because we planned to release the completed game… only it’s just kept on growing, and growing, with no end in sight.

Rest assured, the latest release has plenty of content: I estimate the total gameplay to be about 10~12 hours long. It contains 5 gyms, 3 optional sidequests, and 90 different species of Pokemon, a handful of them canon species (including Dunsparce, Corsola, and Mareep) but the vast majority are all-new. I’m quite proud of the version of Uranium that’s currently playable, but frankly it pales in comparison to the state the game is in now. I eagerly anticipate the day we are able to release our completed game, but unfortunately it’s just not quite ready yet, and won’t be any time soon.

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Venisi city, one of my favorite areas in the game.

Uranium is made primarily by two people: myself, and JV who is responsible for coding the actual game, making the maps, scripting the cutscenes, putting together our original musical score, troubleshooting and fixing bugs, and basically everything else that’s important and essential for this game to work. Without JV, there would be no playable game at all. I could never have made it this far into realizing my forever dream of making my own Pokemon game without his eternal patience and support. You rule, JV.

As for my part, I do the designs & sprites for the fakemon (most of them — there’s a handful that were designed by other people). I also write the plot, and all of the in-game dialogue. I plan the movesets, although this is often a collaborative endeavor. But none of this would have any meaning if I didn’t have JV to put it all together into a playable, fun, and (mostly) bug-free package.

The fully-evolved starters: Metalynx, Archilles, and Electruxo

The fully-evolved starters: Metalynx, Archilles, and Electruxo.

I feel like I’ve summarized Uranium a million and one times, considering I built & maintain the official website, WikiTumblr page, Twitch channel and numerous other sub-sites and social media thingamajigs that I have trouble keeping track of them all. But here are some things that make Uranium special, in case you’re too lazy to read the Info page I spent so much time setting up for this exact purpose:

  • New region, Tandor
  • New fakemon, at least 100
  • New evolutions of canon Pokemon, including Corsola and Dunsparce
  • New Pokemon type, Nuclear

There are also new features that we have added since the last beta and will be in the next game release, which include:

  • GTS
  • Wonder Trade
  • Mystery Gift
  • Mega Evolutions
  • Nuzlocke Mode
  • Virtual Trainer Battle (upload your team and battle against CPU-controlled teams of other players. Compete for global ranking!)
  • Custom Pokemon Showdown server (not actually in game, but I consider it a feature)

In case you think this is complete bull crap, here are some screenshots to prove it’s real:

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Nuzlocke mode settings

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Virtual trainer card

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Showdown server graciously provided to us by the kind folks at Fuji Labs — though I should note it’s not 100% working quite yet.

Most of this is, again, all JV’s doing whilst I sat around twiddling my thumbs and rearranging pixels on a screen. I have little doubt that when this project is done, it’s going to be a big freakin’ deal — well, I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. We’ve made it this far by working a little bit at a time. I’ve seen too many fangame projects get too big, too fast, and collapse under the weight of all their failed ideas. We have a solid base already, so it’s just a matter of making adjustments until it’s perfect. At this point, we will hardly settle for anything less.

My reasons for making this game are simple. It’s not for money (because Pokemon is copyright so, like, we can’t profit from it), or for glory (and honestly, I kind of dread the backlash that games like this inevitably receive). It’s simply about following the dream I’ve had ever since I was a little Twitch.

Some people want to become doctors, or astronauts. But, me? I just wanted to make my own Pokemon game. I wanted to make the kind of game I’d like to play. If other people can enjoy it too, then I consider that to be a success.

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Moki town, where your journey begins.

I want to say more here that I haven’t said before, so let’s talk about how far we’ve come. JV and I have been working on Pokemon Uranium since 2008. For some real-life context, I was just starting high school at the time. Uranium wasn’t my first game project — I’d already gotten a lot of practice spriting and developing pretentious ideas about what it takes to make a Pokemon game from a previous project that never went anywhere, called Pokemon Amber, but that’s a story for another blog post. I knew what I had to do: I wanted to find someone who knew how to map and code, but were looking for someone who could sprite. It just so happened that JV was that exact person. We met on PokeCommunity and started talking (on MSN… those were the good ol’ days). Pretty soon we were able to put out a beta, which was a pretty big deal back then.

Only thing was… it looked like this:

3rd gen graphics with egregious cloud overlays everywhere because WHY NOT

The battle screens weren’t much better.

And my personal favorite…

dear god what IS that thing????

Part of the reason it’s taken 6 years to come this far is because Uranium underwent a total graphical overhaul, not just once but twice: in between betas 1 and 2 and then again between betas 2 and 3. If you can envision that, just picture the degree of improvement between betas 3 and 4, with “Beta” 4 intended to be the completed release of the game. We mean to keep most of the content from Beta 3 intact, though knowing me, I’ll still want to make some occasional tweaks along the way.

So, yeah, consider this a primer on the one thing I have dedicated more time to in my life than anything else, aside from maybe education. And being that I have worked on this game for a good quarter of my life, I have an infinite number of things to say about it, so expect me to return to this topic many, many times. Also, you are welcome to ask me questions. Lots and lots of questions! I love talking about this game.

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If this has piqued your interest, and you’d like to learn more, you can click any of those links towards the top of the article, or this one, to go to our website which functions as a landing page with more info about the game and a link to download it as well as links to all our various sub-sites. I’d also like to note that we have a forum for discussion about the game, and if you would like to know what we are working on right now or to be a part of the creative process in any way you are welcome to join.

That’s all for today. Next time, I’ll most likely do some meta-analysis of Pokemon designs, or another fakemon feature. Until then, have a great day!

~ Oripoke

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