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Hematite

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Hi, @kelsey!

Those are a lot of evolutions! I honestly love that - I think it'll be a cool way to reinvigorate older lines, and I always find myself frustrated that Game Freak has taken the Eviolite as a reason to stop adding new evolutions to old lines for the sake of consistency. (Still hoping they'll start it up again themselves! That was one of the coolest parts of Gen IV for me, and I think the break has gone on long enough!)

It's always so neat to see other fans' takes on what evolution lines could be like - you're filling a very noticeable void that I know a lot of people would like to see filled!

Okay, so my advice on this:

> As you mentioned, a lot of people might be turned off of your game by the inclusion of Fakemon - I've seen people criticize games purely by virtue of attempting Fakemon, without even considering how well or how poorly they're done and only the fact that they're there at all. That said, I personally am very strongly in favor of this kind of creativity and I think games with Fakemon are some of the most interesting and appealing - it all depends on the audience, and just be aware that while there's always a risk of alienating some players, you also have the potential to attract just as many, especially if you manage to do them well, so don't focus on that as much as what you'd want to see yourself! I would personally say to go for it! In general, I'm wholly in favor of adding Fakemon to official lines like this - I don't think it would throw people off too much!

> The issue of spriting is definitely worth discussing. I've found that juxtaposing a fanmade sprite with a canon one almost always feels just slightly off compared to spriting both the Fakemon and the canon Pokémon yourself, but obviously that's not realistic in most cases; what I would recommend is that you consider respriting the canon Pokémon whose lines you're expanding so they fit together as a line even if not with the whole 'dex, but of course it doesn't matter too much and it's just a personal preference! Unless graphics are a main draw of your project, you can definitely get by with the bare minimum of spriting new things and leaving canon sprites for old things.

> The only things that jump out as potentially jarring/that I personally don't recommend at all are the four-stage lines and the canon Pokémon being combined with other canon Pokémon. On your list, I notice the Weedle and Combee lines, the Yamask, Sigilyph and Spiritomb lines, the Fletchling and Farfetch'd lines, Tauros evolving into Bouffalant and Luvdisc evolving into Alomomola - I don't have any issue with something like Miltank/Tauros and Volbeat/Illumise being combined by a common pre-evolution, because a) they're both already intended as duos (Volbeat and Illumise can even breed to produce each other's Eggs anyway) and b) you're making a new Pokémon evolve into them, not making an existing Pokémon evolve into another existing Pokémon, but I do think it's a little distracting/weird/confusing to take one Pokémon that exists in canon and make it evolve into another Pokémon that also exists in canon. I would recommend drawing a line there, but it's still up to you!

> Some of these concepts are really neat! I'm super interested to see whatever you come up with for them! I'm actually especially curious about Shaymin and Florahog - given that we have the Cosmog and Type: Null lines breaking the rule of Legendary Pokémon not evolving, I think it's safe to say that it's no longer off-limits for a Mythical Pokémon to evolve! (In fact, a lot of people seem to think Meltan might have an evolution, though it's hard to be sure!) I would maybe lean towards a baby stage for a bigger-looking Mythical rather than an additional evolution for a small one, because Mythical Pokémon in general have such high stats already, but as long as you keep stats in mind and maybe consider nerfing Shaymin a little to compensate, it should work out just fine and has the potential to be a really unique and novel design! I definitely look forward to seeing where you take it.

> In general, it might be a good idea to look into what Pokémon might benefit the most from an evolution gameplay-wise and use that to figure out whether to expand by an evolution or a baby, but I think it's fine to disregard that (especially if, again, you might be willing to toy with the other stages' stats to make room) and you should just go with what you're most interested in doing!

I hope that's of some help! Again, all of that is just personal opinions and recommendations, not anything you're obligated to follow; if you disagree with anything, feel free to ignore it! I just figured it might be useful if I weighed in as best I could. C:

also, I have to recommend calling the Dunsparce evolution Abundunce
 

kelsey

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First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed response. I really appreciate the feedback! You've given me a lot to consider, but I especially appreciate the point re: the 4 stage evo lines that combine multiple pre-existing lines. I'm definitely going to ponder that a little further before deciding to go down that route.

I do know that I'm definitely going to be playing with/adjusting stats as I go. My game as a whole is pretty customized and I'm not afraid of tampering with the base game conditions if its going to make a better player experience.

I also appreciate the feedback on the inclusion of fakemon generally. I know that I'm the kind of person that tends to prefer games without them, but it does seem like a lot of older gen pokemon- especially the ones without great states or novelty value, tend to be overlooked, and I'd really like to make a game that makes the whole entire playing experience feel really fresh for the user. (setting a low bar here for myself -ha). Overall, the inclusion of fakemon is probably going to depend more on my spriting skills than anything else... but we shall see what happens.
 

Hematite

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103
Oh, wow, I really love that!! I think you did a really good job of emulating the official style - that specifically looks a lot like a Gen IV sprite (more detailed shading and a more active pose than most of the static sprites from Gen V, and more vibrant colors and mostly "cleaner" shading than Gen III), so if that's what you were going for (it probably was, since that's what Essentials uses), it fits in really well!! It really looks like you know what you're doing with the spriting - there's not much I can think of for improvement! The only thing that I notice is that Gen IV tends to use a little less dithering than you have, especially for front sprites (back sprites are an exception for some reason), so you might want to consider smoothing it out a tiny bit.

In terms of design, I also think it's super cute!! But I do think it might help to vary it a little more than you have from Lapras - if you don't mind, here's an example of how I would personally approach designing an evolutionary stage:

In general, I always try to follow three rules for evolutions, whether they're new evolutions for canon Pokémon or just regular evolutions for Fakemon.

The first one: always change the Pokémon's proportions or general shape. A lot of Pokémon just use head proportions, which is totally fine - your Laplet/Laplad has a much smaller body compared to its head than Lapras, so it's immediately obvious that it's a baby (my example is also like that) - and pretty much every evolution will have a greater body to head ratio than its previous stage. But if you want to get wilder, you can always expand different amounts in length, width and height, like how Linoone is obviously longer than Zigzagoon but isn't much taller or wider. Or you can change the Pokémon's stance, like going from quadrupedal to bipedal or vice versa, or even gaining limbs like Charizard or losing them like Serperior. But again, changing the body to head ratio is all you really need! These are just extra ways to emphasize the difference if you think they look good with the design. (For reference, my personal norm for Pokémon that are basic and can evolve further - not single-stage - is to try to make the full design fit within a box 2.5 times the size of head in each direction, and then just to make every evolution a minimum of one head bigger in any direction.)

The second one: always change the Pokémon's color scheme. It doesn't always have to be drastic! A good example of doing this subtly and without completely redoing the color scheme is the Lillipup line, where Lillipup and Herdier use all of the same colors, but Herdier just puts more focus on blue and Lillipup on brown; then Stoutland comes along and adds just another shade of each of those colors. Usually, if you want to avoid changing colors too dramatically, the first two stages of a line can get away with just redistributing the same colors, and then the third will add another color if needed; of course, you can also cheat by doing different shades of the same color, like Charmeleon is a different red compared to Charmander but still has almost the same colors in the same places. (Or if you're willing to totally change the colors, like Mienfoo to Mienshao, that's good too! I just felt I should clarify that that doesn't usually have to happen and you can be subtler if you want to be.) As a rule of thumb, the more different the Pokémon is in every other way, the less different its colors should be so that they're more easily connected - Wimpod and Golisopod, for example, are almost the same colors exactly - but that's not a hard law (see the Trapinch line for different designs and different colors and the Charmander line for similar designs and similar colors) and you can break it if you want.

And then the third one: always change the Pokémon's design by replacing, not adding (not subtracting, in the case of babies). For example, Mienshao's whips are a new design that replaces Mienfoo's arms, and Stoutland's mustache has a completely different design from Herdier's even though the idea behind them is the same. It's especially important to replace the head - even Pokémon that barely change at all always have different head designs! And then a point that's not necessary, but can really help: try to think of a distinct (but still related) concept for the Pokémon to guide what kinds of replacements you should make - a drastic example is the Litwick line, with each stage designed based on a different light source, or the Chingling line, with Chingling being a bell and Chimecho being a wind chime, but smaller changes like Zigzagoon going from zigzags to straight lines can also work just as well. In many cases, changing the concept basically does the work for proportions and colors for you - the "average Bug" line like Scatterbug tends to go from a long caterpillar to a squat, rounded cocoon to a taller and wider but mostly flat butterfly, and cocoons are usually colored by their silk while butterflies have more vibrant wings, so just considering a different concept immediately presents options for the color and proportion changes. But that's not to say that always has to happen - Nuzleaf and Shiftry are based on the same thing, but Game Freak still did just as good a job of distinguishing their appearances as they did with any other line.

Here's an example of these applied to Lapras!

This is Chorice, a Fakemon from my own project! (It's been planned for a while, but I'm actually glad this came up because its old design is from so long ago that I didn't even follow these rules; I just redesigned it now to use as an example. XP)



Proportionally, it's pretty much just "smaller body relative to head" like I mentioned - it doesn't actually get any major proportional changes. As mentioned, I personally often make the basic stage fit within a 2.5 head by 2.5 head box, and this does provide an example of that - but that's not necessary at all!

In terms of color, Chorice is a bit greener and warmer than Lapras, and it loses a color by getting rid of the shell - I'm sure only one of the two was actually necessary (either losing a color or changing one should be just fine, and especially since Lapras only has one stage, you could even just rearrange the colors like switching the dark blue spots with the light blue body!).

And then the main driving change of the design was a different concept - Chorice doesn't have a developed shell yet and its body is still soft and young, so instead of being the "Transport Pokémon" or carrying anyone on its back, it guides swimmers and sailors to safety with the sound of its voice, like an inverse/benevolent version of a siren. That's why its horn is hollow (so it can blow sound from it) and what the rippling mark on its back is (it's meant to look like a sound wave, kind of like Noibat's and Noivern's ears). Of course, I also just made some arbitrary changes for the sake of being different - its head looks more like a slug (a bit like Goomy) because I thought it would be cute if it was a little bit derpy-looking - but hopefully you can see how altering the concept a little led to a number of simple changes that made it easy to figure out where to take the design, and hopefully this is an okay example of how to do that by replacing and editing instead of adding and subtracting! (Even the shell, which is totally gone, is replaced by the sound wave pattern so it doesn't just become bare and obvious where something was lost.)

Does that help at all? Obviously Chorice is far from perfect - I don't mean to imply that at all - but hopefully as an example, it might be of some use in showing what I mean by the guidelines I just explained. I think following those often helps lead to evolutions that feel naturally like part of the line without being too like their relatives!

In any case, I really think your Laplet/Laplad is adorable even aside from all of that! And you definitely did a fantastic job with the sprite! (I'd never have guessed you're new to pixel art like you said - you picked that up quickly! XP) I'm sure all of your sprites will mesh with the canon ones just fine - I'm looking forward to seeing where you go with this! C:
 
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Breadjamin

Pixel Artist
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Here's a sample so far of my first attempt at spriting, if anyone wants to give feedback. This is a lapras pre-evo. Probably going to call it Laplet or Laplad. Any and all constructive criticism is welcome!

also I'm still listening for any suggestions of Pokemon that other people think need additional evolutions
I think this is a really good attempt at your first sprite. You have good shadowing and highlighting, the outlines look to be darker where they should be, and it is cute, which I think is super important for preevolutions! There are a couple spots in the outline I would tweak personally, but other than that it looks awesome to me. Good job!
 

Breadjamin

Pixel Artist
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Hi! I'd like feedback on this kangaroo fakemon I made today. I feel he looks slightly mouse like, but I am unsure on what to change. Suggestions? :)
 
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kelsey

Trainer
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Update on my new game's map progress. I still don't have a name for this project- but it's an open world pokemon game. See the post a couple pages earlier for more details :)

Each square on the grid is a 20x20 map size in rpgmaker. They are stitched together to create one comprehensive map made up of approx 600 small maps to make event-heavy game playing smoother.
any and all feedback is appreciated!

(Oh and the volcano/island is going to be majorly changed. I'm not at all happy with how that part looks)
 

kelsey

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Also just realized that i never replied to Hematite.
That post was phenomenally helpful and I've read through it several times. Those were exactly the kind of tips I was looking for to help with spriting and I really really appreciate you taking the time to write it out. I've saved a copy to my desktop as reference material as I keep practicing spriting :) I think I just got too distracted coming up with ideas to ever write back! oops! But I do want to be sure to let you know how much I appreciate it as it really was great info
 

Dragonite

The cake is a lie, so give it to me
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Are you even going to be able to make a game that big? XP has a 999 map limit and if you have 600 overworld maps you're probably going to be squeezed for space to put dungeons and building and stuff. Although I suppose you could break the game up into multiple executables. Or hex edit the engine to remove that limit.
 

kelsey

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I think I'm going to have *just* enough. Even with 600 overworld maps, I don't foresee having 399 interior maps all said. My towns are all fairly small and so the majority will be caves/underwater/tunnels, and in terms of playing, when you get into the hundreds of those it gets wayyyy too repetitive. I'm also tweaking some game dynamics (see my reference to "event heavy maps") which makes this many necessary but also means that having less interior maps (for caves and such) in proportion also makes sense in terms of the game play itself
 

Dragonite

The cake is a lie, so give it to me
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Curious. Well, do keep us posted!
 

Hematite

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Whoa, that region map is super impressive!!

It's a little hard for me to make it out clearly enough to give too much serious feedback, but it's so cool as a whole and I love how your region fits together! I can't see too clearly, but it also looks like you're making great use of elevation, and your areas are super diverse - just seeing how many different colors there are when you zoom out so much makes it obvious that there are visually distinct biomes all over and every area will feel unique to explore!

The only thing I would say to watch out for is just making sure maps have flow and aren't too open - not just in the sense of having no obstacles at all/being a literal wide open space, but having too many branches at any one time and never being made to turn around. Dead ends and narrow paths can actually be kind of a blessing sometimes because they make it easier to keep track of where you've been and what you've already seen - especially if paths reconnect later on, it might be overwhelming for a player if they can't tell whether they've skipped a side path or whether they're retreading the same ground from different sides. It also looks like there might be a few areas where a single path exceeds the size of the screen - especially in the desert and in the plains-like Route area in the center towards the left (between the yellow town and the darker grey city) - so it might help to narrow down what the player has to be able to look at at a single time so it's within the range of the screen? But I may be entirely misjudging it at this scale!

Also, of course this might be entirely irrelevant to your project - my own advice is coming from someone who only has experience with linear games. Especially in open-world, a lot of people like that kind of ambiguity - not 100%ing an area/missing things, not realizing and having something to discover later - don't they? (And if not, then again, it's a bit hard to interpret certain areas of your map when it's so zoomed out - especially the forests and the desert, since the obstacles in forests are similar in color to tall grass and the obstacles in deserts are similar in color to plain walkable tiles - so for all I know you might've already been keeping this in mind! If so, I apologize for this relatively pointless advice whether it's not applicable to this genre or already what you've been doing, haha.)

I'm really glad to hear that my post on evolutions was of so much help!! Thanks for letting me know - it means a lot! : D
 

kelsey

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By the way, I don't see any gates in this picture. Is this entire thing actually a single overworld? I was told that RPG Maker would start complaining after a couple dozen map connections lmao
No gates. To be honest I'm not sure if it'll work at all, but I've done some gametesting for the concept and the maps have loaded fine. I compensated for linking a million maps together by making each of them quite small individually, that way rpg maker is only trying to populate a few small maps at a time, rather than several large ones. So far in my testing its worked quite well but we shall see. If it totally fails then I'll just reconfigure
 

kmb

dabbling in game design
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Wow. These designs and concepts look awesome. My game is still at the beginning stages, if I can even call it a game at all. I wanted to make something that plays a lot more like a traditional RPG (more emphasis on exploration to get to the next challenge / part of the game) that just happens to be set in Pokemon world.

Here's the basic story line:
The player is kidnapped and rescued by a member of Team Rocket. S/he ends up joining because s/he's afraid to say no.

Gameplay: (beginning stages)
The player goes through various basic training stages that are supposed to test the player's willingness to explore areas, talk to NPC's, and find items, you know, like a regular RPG. Most of the game at this point takes place inside of buildings, and there are no Pokemon to be seen or caught. Instead, the player collects information, answers quiz questions, and uses those answers and items to progress to the next rooms.
(I'm having a little trouble with the concepts for this one--I know I want the player to collect three key items--I.D. badge, key card, and Pokedex decoder, but my NPC dialogue and scenes need to be re-worked for humor and greater challenge. Right now, they're pretty dry and simple.)

Gameplay: (first chapter)
The player cannot continue the game without getting a Pokemon to battle certain NPC's, but the game does not provide the player with a starter. Instead, the player has to do more exploring and find a hidden Safari Zone to catch their own starter.
(I was a bit confused on how to do this at first, but what I did was create an event that secretly adds a placeholder Pokemon to the player's party right before they enter the Safari Zone and removes it and the player once they've caught a Pokemon, and that works pretty well.)

I'm still not sure which Pokemon I want to offer in the hidden Safari Zone, and I've considered maybe including a hidden Safari Zone inside of the hidden Safari Zone--one would offer medium grade mostly poison type Pokemon, while the other, if the player can find it, would offer much better Pokemon.

Gameplay: (overall)
I don't want this to be like a Nuzlocke or anything, but I want the player to really have to explore and think to get through the game and catch Pokemon. I don't plan to give the player any traditional items at Pokemarts (I think in my story, they're going to be banned from the marts, as they don't like to serve Team Rocket members, same thing with the Pokemon centers). Instead, they'll have to collect berries and other items to trade for the things they need. This will force the player to explore the maps and worlds, talk to the NPC's, and really immerse themselves in the story line. (I wanted to put a maximum limit of Pokemon in the players party that gradually increases as the player completes more challenges--the player starts off only being allowed to carry two Pokemon, then later the player is allowed to have three, four, and so forth, until we finally reach six. The player also has limited access to PCs at the beginning of the game but can unlock access later. )

That's further than I've actually gotten in building the game. Plus, I have a few considerations.

Maps:
My maps don't look that good. I'm not sure if it's just the Gen III graphics or what, but they look really basic. I would like to find some custom tilesets that I can use in the game instead.

Story:
Since it's going to be a game of exploration, it needs to be heavily story driven, but even though I have a concept and have an idea where I want the story to go, I'm having trouble coming up with dialogue and scenes that serve to move the story along. If anyone knows where I can find outlines / walkthroughs of other monster collecting RPGs to draw inspiration from, that would be helpful.
I wanted this storyline to be somewhat humorous and kind of poke fun at the Pokemon franchise and the evil teams, but I'm having trouble writing jokes for every NPC and scenario. Plus, my animations and cut scenes don't look polished.

Sprites:
Right now, my character uses the regular Rocket grunt sprite for overworld and the regular trainer sprite for battles. I would like to find / make something that will allow my character to stand out a bit to help the story line. Right now, s/he just looks like a regular Rocket grunt.

Pokemon:
I want this game to be challenging enough to force the player to explore, but I want to reward exploration well. I'm not really sure what kinds of Pokemon to offer, though. I thought I would pick around 200 species and maybe put five (possibly grouped by type) in each map. I wanted the powerful Pokemon that could help the player to be well hidden, though, and offer medium range average Pokemon to the player if he / she is not willing to explore.

Just for fun, I also thought I might include a dream Safari Zone where the player can catch all of the really rare Pokemon, like Mew and Celebi, but it's just a dream, so they're stored on a separate PC that can only be accessed in the dream room. (I think this might confuse the player, but I also thought it might be nice to add as a just for fun. I might include a part of the game where the dream Pokemon can be used, like a mission that takes place in someone's dreams--you can get really creative with the Pokemon world, after all.)
 
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kelsey

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I really need a name for my game and keep coming up blank. It's open world (see maps posted in the few posts above) and a very large game.

I really liked the reborn/rejuvination/etc titles because I'm altering quite a bit of standard Pokemon game play for my own satisfaction, but alas those names are taken.

Plot line is overthrowing an evil ruler, but you have choices that matter so you don't have to do that if you decide you don't want to. Main characters are a deviation from the normal ally/nemesis standard

main features: lots of pokemon (all but gen 7), lots of free exploration/side quests/missions, significantly altered and more challenging economics, item crafting, stupid puns, snide humor, scattered but few game references, wanton disregard for canon, character development/interactions that are variable based on prior choices, 95% of pokemon encounters are overworld - so you can see them when you walk into maps (no more hidden wild pokemon, with the exception of those that have obvious transforming capacity- i.e. trubbish in trash cans, voltorb in poke balls etc) (also in case anyone is wondering, this was done because I like the look of layered/developed maps with grass all over and I didn't want people to blow their brains out trying to walk through miles of grass full of encounters- same goes for caves. Hopefully this will make the game more fun but we'll see),

I'm seriously considering calling it Pokemon Procrastination because I'm here on relic castle thinking about my game when I have serious adult work life things I should be doing. oh well.

Any and all suggestions are welcome

Updated map for attention: (it still is going to receive some editing)
 
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Dragonite

The cake is a lie, so give it to me
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Cautiously optimistic, as before.

Plot line is overthrowing an evil ruler, but you have choices that matter so you don't have to do that if you decide you don't want to. Main characters are a deviation from the normal ally/nemesis standard
How to put this . . . this is a fairly common trope/selling point in games. Which isn't a bad thing, as long as you play it right. My impression so far based on the map is that this game is going to really be about worldbuilding ("lore") and the plot and characters are just there to drive it along?

main features: lots of pokemon (all but gen 7), lots of free exploration/side quests/missions, significantly altered and more challenging economics, item crafting, stupid puns, snide humor, scattered but few game references, wanton disregard for canon, character development/interactions that are variable based on prior choices, 95% of pokemon encounters are overworld - so you can see them when you walk into maps (no more hidden wild pokemon, with the exception of those that have obvious transforming capacity- i.e. trubbish in trash cans, voltorb in poke balls etc) (also in case anyone is wondering, this was done because I like the look of layered/developed maps with grass all over and I didn't want people to blow their brains out trying to walk through miles of grass full of encounters- same goes for caves. Hopefully this will make the game more fun but we'll see)
Again, these are . . . sort of common claims.

You probably actually have a better chance of fitting 95% of all Pokémon into yours in a way that isn't awful because of the sheer size of it. (It depends on how you count them but there are currently 350...360 evolutionary families in Pokémon, not counting legendaries. If a run-of-the-mill fan game has 50 unique areas and the first member of each family appeared once and only once per area, you'd have about-ish 7 different encounters on each area, and everything will have about a 14% chance of appearing. Realistically Rattata is going to be a 30% encounter on every single land map and Magikarp is going to be a 50% encounter in every single water map, making everything else even harder to find.) Anyway, given how many areas you have, if you arrange things right you could probably design a way for the player to play the game start-to-finish two or three times and have almost completely different sets of encounters each time, which is probably the ultimate goal of trying to include every Pokémon.

Be especially careful with the puns, smart remarks and references. There are some things that are funny when you're 15 but you want to distance yourself as far as possible from by the time you're 25.

Most importantly, don't burn yourself out. The amount of work involved goes up quadratically with every character you add who interacts with you differently based on how you behave (Roughneck Fred wants you to steal a crate of Full Restores from Businessman Billy's warehouse, and Businessman Billy wants you to deliver the crate of Full Restores to the gas station three towns over. You have to write and implement outcomes for both objectives on their own, both objectives if you accept them both and resolve them one way or the other, and how they respond to you in the aftermath of each outcome, and a couple other cases, and that's just two interactions), and that's all enough work in game engines with dedicated support for "factions," which Pokémon Essentials does not have.
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You know what? I really want to play this game now. Please make it. <3
 
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