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Hidden Machines


Professional Hot Pepper
We all knew it was coming, it's time to talk about HMs. Love them or hate them, they're a very important part of the pokemon world and we as fan game designers really like to mess with them. Be it removing them entirely, or just replacing how they are used in the games, we have a lot of agency as designers and in turn can give a player a lot of agency in play.
  • Discuss what HMs provide to the player experience and what they can be used for in level design
  • Brainstorm new HMs, or new ways to use old ones, as well as other potential alternate methods to include them
  • Share any clever HM puzzles you've seen in canon or fan games!

Pixel Profligate

Lazy Artist
Personally, I love HMs, and how they add a sense of progression beyond just having a roadblock not be there after completing X task, but one thing I think HMs need are more battle usefulness, that way the feel less like a burden to have at times, like Cut and Flash. Maybe make Cut super effective against grass types, or making Strength raise attack by one stage, things like that.


Someone who does something.
I with the Llama on this one. One of the things that I absolutely disliked about HM's were how kinda useless they were in battle. I mean, cool, I can clear away fog in battle. 10/10 best game evar. Especially considering I can only recall two places in that whole overworld region where I would ever use it. So that would be one of the first things I would look into improving - making sure each HM move would be something you'd want to have on your team, and something you'd actually need to use all throughout the game.

On another note, I think HM moves should've been forgettable, or even better, have their own move slot but can't be used in battle. Nothing was more frustrating than having a new move you wanted to teach, but you couldn't because you already had three good moves and Defog. Another thing I've seen that I like was how Insurgence handled it, where other moves could double as HM moves - Psychic for Strength, Brick Break for Rock Smash, etc. That way, you still get the feeling of using your Pokemon to progress, yet you don't have to worry about taking up a move slot with a not so good move.

And there's always the good old HM items. I think this is usually the most common approach to HM's in fan-games (or at least most commonly proposed). I've heard people say that when it's done that way, you kinda lose that feeling of using your Pokemon as a means to actually progress farther into the game, but I don't really think that's a big deal. But I'm still waiting for a game where my Surf Item is a giant rubber ducky.
I quite like Insurgence's system of HM moves-it's not a specific move you have to find, but a Pokemon's move that can function for it. It feels more like a skill that learned rather than "here have this 40 BP move for half the game lol".

But honestly, I don't feel connected to my Pokemon when using HMs at all. Outside of cases like those special surf sprites and flying on Lati@s in ORAS, it doesn't seem like an adventure together-it's just a nondescript sprite I'm stepping on for a bit until I get to my destination. Battling together makes me feel much closer than that. (which is not to say that the solution is to make custom sprites for every Pokemon that can Surf or Fly-just to say that there are better ways of getting such a goal)

I think one thing that makes HM moves a hassle is that they're often outclassed by other moves. Moves like Surf, Fly, and Waterfall can be useful (though they're in far fewer movepools due to their typing), but moves like Cut and Strength are just horrendous. (In Gens 5 and 6, Tackle was actually better than Cut in every possible way) Also not helping is the fact that the more battle-useful ones are usually obtained after you can get to the move deleter, while you get stuck with the sucky ones for a while.

I think one way to make HM moves a little better in battle would be to try to give them a unique effect. Instead of shoving a poor move down the player's throat, give them a tool both outside and inside battle. Something that they actually want to try to include in a moveset and see how it works, rather than try to work around.

With this in mind, I personally think that Charge could be a pretty excellent HM. (save for the fact that it could require the player to have an Electric type on their team-and if you have Surf and Fly, that could be half the team already picked out for you) It raises a stat and will power up a certain type of move for one turn-an effect that I don't think is shared with any other move. And the idea of powering up an old machine to discover something new seems quite appealing to me.


Elite Trainer
My project doesn't exactly have HMs, but it has an equivalent feature, so I think it's still relevant here!

I'm messing around with a variation on Poké Ride - to put it most simply, it still depends on your own Pokémon like HMs did, but it's intrinsic by species rather than depending on moves. The goal here is to make it so that your team is still encouraged to be shaped around utility and traversing the region, but once you have those species, you can play them how you want, not bog them down with moves you don't want to use - it seems more fitting to base this on species because that makes it a lot more unique than individual moves (and in general, Pokémon will rarely have combinations of skills that are exactly the same as one another due to the diversity, so every playthrough will give you different options... I hope, at least!).

As far as when HMs (in my case, Ride Skills) should be used, I'm actually making an effort to avoid making any Ride Skills mandatory for the main story - I'm hoping that you won't need to use a single Ride Skill to beat the game (which will require a lot of Unova's famous story-based roadblocks as opposed to HM roadblocks), but I'm also making the best of the optional content require increasingly specialized teams to reach. I'm trying to strike the balance between making Ride Skills extremely rewarding to encouraging diverse, pragmatic and travel-based teams but making it possible to solo the game or beat the game with any team, without ever having to devote a team slot except for luxuries like rare items and TMs.

I feel like Pokémon should be incorporated a little more into the world, which is part of why I'm more averse to HM items even though I definitely agree that a majority of the current uses just don't feel personal (as TechSkylander1518 said, the Pokémon are shapeless and only pop out for a moment to do a chore!). Since I have a more expansive riding system, I'm hoping to be able to use Pokémon for different tasks - even ones that you don't think about right away, like, in my case, catching fish by riding a Pokémon that naturally hunts fish instead of receiving a Fishing Rod, as well as using perceptive ride Pokémon in lieu of a Dowsing Machine, and Water- and Grass-types to tend to plants instead of a Spray Bottle. All of these can be done at any point in the game (unlike Mallow's Stoutland, you're riding your own team and can use these as soon as you unlock the function), so I'm hoping it'll be a neat experience for people to discover themselves!

In general, as far as more unique applications of HMs, one thing I really loved in PMD Gates to Infinity: in places like Stompstump Peak, the solutions were a lot more inventive than "cross water with Surf." Taking a page from that book, I'd really like to have an item or extra area that looks at a glance like it requires Surf to reach, but if you approach it from a different part of the map - up a nearby cliff - you find that you can actually push a boulder over to fill the gap, or that there's something loosely suspended that you can cut to let it fall down. (Even better if you actually can't use Surf here at all and have to find the less obvious route, like if the water level is too low to reach.)

Also, in the official games, you can have Surf on one Pokémon and Whirlpool or Waterfall on another - it didn't matter if the Pokémon actually crossing the water was the one using the move. But since you're just riding one Pokémon in my game, Pokémon that are viable for more specialized tasks become interesting to have on a playthrough. For example:

> Why can Cut only be used on land and on one specific kind of tree? There can easily be tangling seaweed that can only cross with a Dive Pokémon that excels at cutting!

> If you see a boulder that you want to push, but it's on an area of intensely hot rocks, you need one Pokémon that can cross intensely hot rocks and push boulders - it's not enough to ride a Pokémon over hot rocks and have something in reserve that can push boulders, because then who's doing the pushing? You'll have to use a Pokémon like Ponyta, Fraxure or Rhydon that can do both itself.

I have a few changes to make, but I've actually finished with classifying Pokémon for the majority of this! I haven't gotten much progress on implementing it yet, but I'm pretty sure I have an idea of how to get it done once I'm satisfied with the list and all.

> Most Pokémon are sorted into Land, Surf, Dive and Soar Rides before anything else. They can overlap - for example, a Seismitoad can be ridden on land or surfed upon, and of course anything that can dive is also able to surf! Nearly every species can be ridden in some way, but Pokémon that would be outright dangerous like Magcargo or that are too ethereal like Haunter, as well as all baby Pokémon and a select few others that are extremely small, are impossible to ride.

> With total independence from their categories above, it's decided whether a Pokémon can succeed in basic categories such as cutting, crushing, pushing and climbing - standard Pokémon HMs (Cut, Rock Smash, Strength and Rock Climb/Waterfall). Pokémon that are soared or flown upon will obviously not need any of these in the sky, but I'm at least going to try to keep Surf and Dive just as diverse on this front as land rides. I'm actually considering a level-based system here like Pokémon Ranger's field moves, with something like a Gallade or a Kartana being able to cut an obstacle that is insurmountable by a Sneasel, but I haven't gone anywhere with that yet because it's a more recent development than the majority of my work on Poké Ride so far.

> Some Pokémon also have more individualized skills, like using telekinesis to bring a boulder to the top of a cliff and Pokémon that can use fire and electricity in the field. I'm not sure how varied these are going to get, but I'm thinking these will likely be the focus of minor puzzles and have one-off uses - particularly to get some of the better TMs - rather than being a recurring thing. They also won't have levels like the above.

> Pokémon may also be given basic skills such as watering and tending berries, fishing for aquatic Pokémon and looking for hidden items.

> Finally, there are basic walking terrains like intensely hot rocks, deep sand, spikes, bog and thick snowdrifts that can only be crossed by certain species. These are meant to add another layer of specialization to a given Pokémon - a Mamoswine can cross spikes and thick snowdrifts, but you won't find any help from it in crossing a bog, and none of these can be crossed by foot. And with things like underwater vents and hidden items on the seafloor's sand, I have plenty of applications for these when surfing and diving, so they also won't be land-only. The primary reason for this addition is that they are more individual than skills like cutting (Pokémon of every type can learn the canon Cut HM!), so it becomes more important to have a diverse team if you want to get every little secret and item - the hope is that every playthrough will be different, basically! But these won't have levels like basic cut/crush/push/climb skills.

So yeah, basically... I'm mechanically altering HMs in such a way that they will be less intrusive but also open up a lot more secret areas, especially when used in conjunction with another, to reward team diversity with more exploration but not force things on the player like HMs did!

This is a ramble like everything else I post, but if anyone took the time to read it, what are your thoughts? Would a system like this be less intrusive than forcing a specific move on players? Would it encourage team diversity to cross obstacles, or would it just be frustrating to have to change your team to get a hidden item? And do you agree with making all Ride Skills(/HMs) optional but rewarding, or do you prefer having optional areas accessible and think HMs should be used more as roadblocks for the main story than to gate off optional content (which I would also totally get)?


Have they found the One Piece yet
I've been very vocal about this in the past but I love HMs.

Discuss what HMs provide to the player experience and what they can be used for in level design

Simply put, they're an extra out-of-battle mechanic that the games get to make use of. They provide (relatively) organic roadblocks and force the player to choose between a party with better type coverage and a party which can remove the annoying Rock Smash boulders that are in your way.

And when done properly, you get areas like Mt. Coronet in Sinnoh, places where you loop back to multiple times over the course of the adventure and can explore more and more of each time.

When you sub out actual hidden moves for items like Pickaxe and Scythe you can still make use of the metroidvania bits (which I guess is the fun part) but you lose the extra dimension of trying to build a balanced team that also maybe lets you explore the game world properly.

Brainstorm new HMs, or new ways to use old ones, as well as other potential alternate methods to include them

One that seems to come up a lot is a move that lets you scale one-way ledges (probably Bounce). Other ones that I had planned in my HM-centric game include (but aren't limited to):

- a counterpart to Flash that makes the room go all dark (Dark Pulse) - I never actually thought of a use for this
- a move to ignite targets (Ember), a move to extinguish targets (Water Gun), a move to jolt targets into action (Spark) and a move that can delete vulnerable targets from existence (Shadow Ball) - basically typed Zelda-like switch activators
- a move that creates bridges out of vines (Seed Bomb)(this only really works in 3D) - you fling a seed into a flower pot on the other side of a gap and cross the bridge that grows out of it
- a revamped Teleport that actually teleports you between map waypoints, as opposed to fast travelling to your last Pokémon Center
- a revamped Dig that lets you uncover things buried in the ground, as opposed to fast travelling you to the last cave entrance
- a move that lets you see through walls (this also only really works in 3D) - another one I never actually thought of a use for

Share any clever HM puzzles you've seen in canon or fan games!

The Strength puzzle towards the end of Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald always comes to mind; I can't remember exactly where it is, though. Oh, also the one in the ice cave in HeartGold/SoulSilver/maybe GSC where you have to push boulders down holes, too. And also also the entirety of Mt. Coronet.

I'm not 100% sure why HMs aren't forgettable without the help of some nerd in some mid-game town, though. It's not like you won't be able to re-teach the move again later.
HMs were needed in Gen one, and probably Gen 2, to artificially gate progress. But as hardware improved and is able to create environmental factors to gate progress, I believe that we could have moved away from HMs a while ago.

If, and I'm once again referencing this, BOTW has taught me anything, it is that content can be gated without the use of arbitrary checkpoints and be even more rewarding to the player. Two years ago I started playing Monster Hunter and found that I really enjoyed the fact that the progression system is entirely open from the very beginning, but gated behind incrementally tougher challenges. I feel like this is more rewarding than "you hit the next level/unlocked the next area because you fought enough/completed enough challenges" because it makes the growth feel very organic.

All that being said, there's still some questionable design choices for gating progress in lieu of HMs...



Starry eyed
HMs provide new ways to interact with the world! Getting to use new abilities to move around is the best thing. I think some of my favorite level designs are the ones that use HMs to make revisited areas feeling fresh or at least make backtracking better. For example if I have to backtrack through a tough forest, some ledges would really shorten a journey that used to be a challenge. Adding in some Cut Trees that I've just gotten the ability to interact with though, that could provide both the easier backtracking that I want, while also keeping the journey interesting.

My gripe with HMs is how often they're useful. Cut is almost never seen again after its' initial use. Maybe there's an occasional Cut Tree with an item directly behind it, but otherwise I never need to use it again and it feels like a waste to even include in the first place.Look at this:
> Why can Cut only be used on land and on one specific kind of tree? There can easily be tangling seaweed that can only cross with a Dive Pokémon that excels at cutting!
Yes. I love this; we need more ways to use the HMs we've got available, and I love that Sun and Moon also introduced some combo moves by allowing Rock Smash to be used while Surfing.

On another note, my thoughts alternatives for HMs:
+Don't require anything from the player's party
+Easy to use, could even be registered to the quick use key
-The lamest thing ever. Why would I want to use a flashlight when I exist in a world where trained dragons are a thing, and I have one in my pocket

[tab=Multiple Moves]
Instead of having to teach Cut to a party member, a number of moves could serve as Cut! Just look at all these moves that have the words claws, slash or cut in them:
Shadow Claw, Metal Claw, Crush Claw, Dragon Claw, Hone Claws, Slash, Night Slash, Air Slash, Cut, Fury Cutter, Psycho Cut, Air Cutter

+Waay more room for the player to have a move that works with their party
-No one wants to reference a super long list of moves, so the freedom to choose might actually backfire and frustrate players
-The logic of which moves are included could be debatable. Sky Uppercut has the word cut in it, but isn't that move a punch?
[tab=Can learn equals knowing]
Pokemon Police Force ( Noodles please repost I love it) did something like this, where if a pokemon was capable of learning the HM move, they could use the ability outside of battle without having to actually learn the move

+No hassle involved in even collecting HMs
+Everything still feels really familiar, so it's not hard for the player to quickly understand and get used to this system
+Pokemon that were previously used as "HM slaves" are still just as useful to have in the party, but suddenly have the freedom to also be battlers.
-All those odd occasions of Pokemon that should be able to use a move but can't, or weird exceptions like Rhydon using surf make even less sense since there's no clear indicator of what pokemon can use each ability (without trial or looking it up)
[tab=Based on types instead]
A personal favorite of mine to theorize about is replacing the specific HM move with an inherent type ability. for example instead of teaching flash, the player could light up caves anytime they have a a Fire type in the party; the type could also be Electric, Dark, or Ghost since they also light up or can see well in the dark. Since that's still putting restrictions on what kind of pokemon the player needs to have in the party, this could also be expanded to having a Fire type pokemon or having a pokemon with a Fire type move.

+Pretty versatile approach
-Probably overly complex and not completely intuitive when trying to plan a team.
-There are so many water moves that probably every pokemon would be able to Surf
[tab=Based on species]
Now this is purely for fun. Here's some Pokemon that can glow or light up on their own:
  • Volbeat’s tail
  • Golduck’s gem
  • Tentcruel’s orbs
  • Stayu’s core
  • Noctowl’s eyes
  • Chinchou’s antennae
  • Togetic’s Joy Dust
  • Mareep’s tail
  • Umbreon’s rings
  • Espeon’s jewel
  • Solrock is a sun
  • Castform’s Sunny form is a sun
  • Shinx’s fur
  • Watchog’s stripes
  • Beheeyem’s fingers
  • Golett’s energy
  • Inkay’s spots
  • Pumpkaboo’s glow
  • Huntail’s tail

So logically they'd be able to use an ability like Flash without learning the actual move.

-Who actually reads the pokedex, not all of these are immediately obvious just by looking at sprites.
-Somewhat random really, the logic of the dev versus the player on what can glow might not line up.

I think HMs are indeedy very good. They are great for encouraging exploration and rewarding players that do go back to look for places where they can use their new HM. I dislike when people replace them with Key Items because it takes away from the feeling that you're able to get past obstacles and reach new heights due to your Pokémon becoming stronger. I do agree however that HMs should be more useful. Buffing their power in battle would make the player not so annoyed about having to keep them in their movesets. Also, devs: please do your players a favour and make HMs overwritable. (But also, don't lock players out of the game, like with the Magikarp/Finneon fiasco in DP.)


I'm sort of mixed emotions about HMs. They have really cool concepts and make the game more enjoyable to play through by including mini puzzles in the gameplay. However, one thing that really annoys me is the fact that you can't delete HMs. Why can't you? There's no real reason for keeping it like this! Sun and Moon did a great job with HMs, turning them into something cool, but still keeping the same concept. I guess I would be fine with HMs, but only if they were overwriteable.

A few HMs that I would like to see in future games are:
  • Vine swinging thing (based on Ramos' Gym)
  • Bouncing HM (for going up ledges that can only lead down)
HM's are... There, I suppose. Frankly the concept makes sense. It provides potential for puzzles and environmental blockades that can be used once you progress to a certain point in the game. People like giving backtracking flak, but when used correctly it can give you plenty of reason to explore previously cleared areas. I remember there being multiple routes in main games that had hidden areas otherwise only accessible after getting certain HMs.
For example, Route 1 in Unova had a whole other area to it only accessible after you acquire Surf. But you didn't even have to go to it.

There are a few issues people tend to have with HMs: The lack of usefulness, the fact that could not be forgotten, and the fact that you are forced to use a Pokemon.

The lack of usefulness:
There are multiple ways this can be corrected, frankly. Not only could you simply buff them, in the case of moves such as Cut or Strength, but you could also provide other creative ways they can be put to use.
Moves like Defog and Whirlpool, while, sure, they were neat ideas for puzzles, they were pretty impractical. They were only used in a couple of places during the game and even then the moves were pretty weak in battle. Once they were used to clear the puzzles there wasn't really a point to them, and the fact that they could only be forgotten by a Move Deleter just made them even more of a hassle. Which leads to the second point...

The fact they could not be forgotten:
The obvious solution is to make them forgettable. If you have an amazing move you want to learn, but your other moves are useful as well, you should be able to replace an HM, especially since the items are infinite and can easily be retaught. This was a relic of when HMs could be stored in the PC, and the fact it carried over to games that removed it just proves that they kept it for consistency's sake.

The fact you are forced to use a Pokemon:
Honestly, I don't necessarily mind this too much, but there have been plenty of alternatives to it. The whole "other moves function as replacements" works pretty well and lessens the issue quite a lot, but it doesn't remove the chance that you may still have to discard one of your party members just to cross an obstacle. This can either lead to you appreciating a Pokemon you would not have otherwise used, or you're just going to waste a party slot using a weak, underleveled Pokemon just for one move. Typically it's the latter.

Ride Pokemon were a good alternative, but in my opinion they worked far better in a 3D environment. It's a bit hard to explain why, but I suppose the limitations of Essentials can practically limit any rides to feeling mostly like different Bike skins. That being said they can still set the point across, even if they do remove the personal-nature of HMs.

HM Items seem to be a bit split amongst people. Personally, I'm all for them in moderation, but it's understandable that they may seem like a bit of a cheap way out. I personally think that they should be given away after you've had time with the HMs, perhaps as an expensive reward, so that after you've gone through an area you can simply use the items to get back across. But they still help people that are, say, doing monotypes, especially given how some types can't even learn valuable HM moves.

More moves being used as HMs is one of the better choices. Like Brick Break or Bulldoze breaking rocks, Slash cutting down trees, or even moves like Muddy Water allowing the same thing. You could even extend it to abilities, allowing Pokemon with Swift Swim to Surf, or Pokemon with Hyper Cutter being able to use Cut.

Alternatively you could not just have any environmental obstacles to begin with, and just have the environment change with progress. Like, when you get your fourth badge a tree falls and allows access to a new area. But... This may not be the best kind of backtracking to do, as rather than rely on memory you may end up aimlessly traveling down previously visited routes in hopes of finding changes.

Also, I too liked the Strength puzzle in Gen 3. I remember Pokemon Reborn making a few clever uses of HMs, such as breaking rock walls with Rock Smash, as well as using Strength to move Crustles. These help to give HMs a bit more usage, and frankly it's a nice to see in fangames.


Not a Russian Troll
I think that the Ride Pager was a great alternative to HMs. You felt way more connected to the Pokémon that way rather than them just being a tool. Plus you got to be baby-cradled by a Machamp!

But, when you remove HMs, What do you do with the moves that used to be HMs? Sun and Moon had an interesting way of keeping the moves in circulation. The good moves, like Fly, Surf, and Waterfall, became TMs, while the bad ones, like Rock Smash or Cut, went to a few level up movesets. Ironically, Defog lost its TM/HM status the same gen it actually became useful.
HMs... I think if you had asked me to talk about HMs a year ago, I'd have a fairly different response. I think I actually wrote out a reply to a thread talking about with how I didn't really see an issue with them at the time on the old forums. I couldn't seem to find it, oh well.

One of the biggest selling points for me with HMs was the aspect of using your Pokémon on the field with you. I really liked that, it was a cool way to show "hey, I don't just battle with my team!". They're also a good way to provide some natural obstacles/gate content.

I think the game with the best execution for HMs was definitely Black & White, only requiring Cut once and everything else was optional. It was nice being able to take on the story with my actual party instead of having an HM slave with you because you had to smash some rocks before you got there.

When I played Sun and Moon, I really realized how inconvenient it was to use up a handful of move slots just to get past obstacles in the field. Having HM slaves was also cumbersome, wasn't really a fan of that either. But honestly, Sun and Moon's Pokéride system was pretty cool, but using other people's Pokémon took away the fondness I had for HMs. I feel like the idea was pretty good on paper, but the execution felt...off.

So where does this leave fan games? In a bit of an awkward place, I guess. More recent projects that don't alter HMs in any way or provide an alternative are probably going to frustrate players coming from Sun and Moon a bit. Of course, if it's your project, do what you like. Don't cave to peer pressure if you really like HMs or don't see an issue with them.

In terms of tweaks and alternatives, I always thought item replacements were the laziest thing. I still do to an extent, but in the past I would have also brought up that it removes the aspect of using your Pokémon in the field, but that doesn't feel as relevant anymore. I'd probably be more thankful to see them in a game versus a bunch of HMs.

There's a few cool suggestions in this thread, I like the idea of "if a Pokémon can learn an HM, it can use it". Forgettable HMs is also decent, you'll probably get someone going "but what about if they're already surfing!!!" but I imagine you could just disable forgetting specific HMs when in use. That or just keep them surfing. Really doesn't matter.

I've always wanted to try the idea of 'linked' HMs, where if you know one of a similar kind you can use the others. So Surf could double as Waterfall and Dive, while Strength could double as Rock Climb and Rock Smash. Would probably feel weird in game, though.

It should also go without saying that fan game devs should probably tweak the weaker HM moves somewhat if they're going to include them. HMs should at least be useful in battle if you're going to make the player use them.

Gotta say though, HMs can be one heck of a polarizing topic. After writing this post and really thinking about them again, I don't really like or dislike them. They feel inconvenient and archaic, but that depends on different factors like implementation, how often they're used, battle effectiveness, and more. I look forward to seeing the different takes on them when playing a fan game, though.
I'm also not really sure about what I feel on the subject of HMs. On one hand, I do like the idea that your Pokemon come and help you out in the overworld, but like others have said it doesn't really feel all too special since you just see a shapeless shadow and not the actual Pokemon who's supposed to be helping. I do still like the idea behind it though, and for that reason I do prefer standard HMs over things like HM items. It's important to me when thinking of alternatives to keep in mind the idea that your Pokemon are meant to be working with you and helping you to progress.

I do quite like the method Aki mentioned Police Force used. I feel like it lets you have all the moves you'd want, as well as all the Pokemon you'd want since you defiantly wouldn't need a Pokemon that is purely an HM slave on your team. It also lines up with the idea that your Pokemon are helping you out and you're working together. That's actually a reason I didn't really like gen 7's Poke Ride system, unlike a lot of other people. It was cool that Pokemon still helped you out and HMs didn't take up a move slot, but I didn't like it that someone else's Pokemon just appeared from thin air to help you out, when you had you're own team right there that theoretically could help you instead. I understand why it was done this way, though.


Actual Relic
HMs are great because they give your Pokemon some interaction with the wider world around them outside of battle, but they're awful in that they can make them less viable in battle in the process because of how slipshod the system is. In the first two Generations when Pokemon were a much more simple arrangement of bits, bytes, and probable magic it made sense to center this interaction around battle moves since it let the devs piggyback on top of a system that was already in place. Now that the games are more complex and can support more varied systems it simply made less and less sense to make players devote ANY of their extremely limited move slots to HM moves which had limited battle utility. I think Pokemon Ranger and Sun/Moon both have the right idea in that it definitely should be Pokemon performing these exploration-related feats, but it definitely feels more impersonal when they aren't your Pokemon performing them*, which is where I feel that both fan games and future mainline games can improve on this formula.

*unless it's a muscular Machamp carefully cradling you in his strong arms, then it's the only option.


in another life, Starrcasm
Ah I totally missed this one! Just to get my thoughts in on HMs real quick--

I think they are totally helpful to show using your pokemon on the field and having them help you out, but were annoying for reasons that pretty much all of the community could tell you. I think Poke Ride was a FANTASTIC leap forward for this, keeping most of what was good while taking out what was bad.

However, I'd love to see HMs and HM like things used for more creative aspects than just what they were meant for--thats why in PEG I had Rock Smash also smash wooden crates in the lighthouse in Auklet Town.