fuzzy notepad

Tagged: pokemon

[blog] Storing Pokémon without SQL

I run veekun, a little niche Pok√©dex website that mostly focuses on (a) very accurate data for every version, derived directly from the games and (b) a bunch of nerdy nerd tools.

It’s been languishing for a few years. (Sorry.) Part of it is that the team has never been very big, and all of us have either drifted away or gotten tied up in other things.

And part of it is that the schema absolutely sucks to work with. I’ve been planning to fix it for a year or two now, and with Sun/Moon on the horizon, it’s time I actually got around to doing that.

Alas! I’m still unsure on some of the details. I’m hoping if I talk them out, a clear best answer will present itself. It’s like advanced rubber duck debugging, with the added bonus that maybe a bunch of strangers will validate my thinking.

(Spoilers: I think I figured some stuff out by the end, so you don’t actually need to read any of this.)

[blog] I wish I enjoyed Pokémon Go

I’ve been trying really hard not to be a sourpuss about this, because everyone seems to enjoy it a lot and I don’t want to be the jerk pissing in their cornflakes.

And yet!

Despite all the potential of the game, despite all the fervor all across the world, it doesn’t tickle my fancy.

It seems like the sort of thing I ought to enjoy. Pok√©mon is kind of my jam, if you hadn’t noticed. When I don’t enjoy a Pok√©mon thing, something is wrong with at least one of us.

[art] Pokédex doodles, part 1

Inktober” is a thing where you do an ink drawing every day throughout October. I tried it, mostly got frustrated at producing scribbly crap with errant lines everywhere, and gave up after a few days.

I know drawing without relying on an eraser is good practice, and it’s definitely something I want to get better at. So here’s an attempt at combining it with speedpainting, where poor results are more palatable, because hey I didn’t have much time anyway.

The rules:

  • Draw Pok√©mon, in order
  • Pose must be different from the stock/reference artwork
  • I have to publish the results, no matter how terrible
  • 5 minute hard time limit
  • No erasing
  • No undo
  • No layers
  • No layer modes
  • No starting over
  • No cheating

Mel pointed out that the rules are likely to get old after a while, so I might shake them up every couple dozen or so, or change how I’m drawing, or whatever.

Here’s the first batch. I’m underwhelmed, but not ready to throw my tablet out the window, so that’s an improvement. Let’s see how this goes.

[blog] XY UI nitpicks

Game Freak, you are kinda bad at interfaces. Don’t get me wrong; Pok√©mon X and Y are absolutely the best in the series and even just showing the party Pok√©mon from within the bag is nothing short of genius.

But goddamn how does nobody working there notice these other things, some of which have been around since Red and Blue.

(Pretty light spoilers since this is just standard Pok√©mon gameplay stuff.)

  • When learning a new move and choosing which one to delete (in battle, anyway), there is no way to see the Pok√©mon’s stats. So if I’m choosing between a 60 power physical move and a 70 power special move, which is not uncommon… I can’t see if the Pok√©mon has better Attack or Special Attack. I often end up having to consult veekun to guess at the stats of the Pok√©mon that’s already out!

  • Getting from a move to its description (and damage class, ahem) in battle is ridiculously tedious. You can, of course, hold L and choose a move to see its properties. But this is never mentioned anywhere in the game, I’ve had this actually use the move once or twice, and anyway it doesn’t work if you have L=A turned on (and why wouldn’t you? one-handed mode wooo). Meanwhile, the X and Y buttons do absolutely nothing.

  • The bag has five pockets. Four of them are nicely organized.

    • Key items, of which there are probably a few dozen at most.
    • Berries, which can’t hold more than… 65, I think?
    • TMs, of which there are 108.
    • Medicine, which probably doesn’t exceed 50.

    That leaves the “other crap” pocket, which gets filled with the following:

    • 20 types of Pok√©ball
    • 18 Arceus plates
    • 18 type-boosting held items (Charcoal and the like)
    • 18 type-boosting gems
    • A dozen evolution items
    • At least 17 species-specific held items (Stick, etc.)
    • At least two dozen general-purpose held items
    • Some untold number of (ahem) the new item type introduced in XY
    • Fossils, shards, loot, Heart Scales, Honey, mail, and god knows what else.

    That’s over 200 items in one pocket, twice the size of the next-biggest.

  • The miscellaneous pocket of the bag no longer shows item grouping icons (like a Pok√©ball), which at least helped separate sections in BW.

  • Neither the bag nor the in-battle item menu show item icons any more. The held item on a party or boxed Pok√©mon doesn’t, either.

  • The “item” submenu on a party Pok√©mon offers to let me take or swap an item even from a Pok√©mon that doesn’t have one. It also doesn’t tell me what the item is before I take it, which is annoying when I’m trying to find where I left something like Amulet Coin or Lucky Egg.

  • Deposit” and “withdraw” on the Pok√©mon box system are useless. Using one or the other is slightly faster than going through “organize”, I guess, but anyone who runs with a full party of 6 (i.e. almost everyone) is going to want to do both together. It wouldn’t matter except that this is the one thing stopping me from merely mashing A to get to my boxes.

  • For some reason trading has two ways to show a Pok√©mon: press A, or tap a weird icon or something at the bottom I forget. The next step from either of these to actually offering a trade is a little different, and I can’t figure out why.

  • When viewing a party Pok√©mon, I can’t switch directly to my Pok√©dex and read a description of it. I have to remember its dex number and look it up manually.

  • There is no list of all moves or abilities I’ve seen. :( Shouldn’t the Pok√©dex track what abilities Pok√©mon can have?

  • The zoomed-out box grid view on the PC should really color each box icon according to its wallpaper. With 24 boxes this view is not very useful.

  • There are two (and a half…?) completely separate and distinct interfaces for deleting a move. There are at least two completely separate and distinct interfaces for seeing a Pok√©mon’s summary. This is a little silly, but it’s been the case for a while.

  • The summary view when perusing boxed Pok√©mon neither mentions its nature nor indicates which stats are raised/lowered.

  • Learning a new move and forgetting an old one involves some three separate prompts. If you change your mind about learning the new move, the button to abort is helpfully labeled “QUIT” and just restarts the sequence of prompts over‚ÄĒmore than once have I just mashed A and accidentally agreed to learn it again. Why not just say “here’s a fifth move, pick which one to lose”?

    (That’s an annoyance in a lot of games, particularly RPGs: the button I mash to advance through dialogue is the same button I use to agree to choices offered in dialog. My 3DS has like a thousand buttons I’m pretty sure you can spare a second one.)

  • There are several places in the game where a list of items is intended to be scrolled by sliding on the touch screen, a la most phone interfaces (e.g. the bag, puffs in Amie), but either I’m a clumsy buffoon or something is not calibrated well because I very frequently end up tapping an item instead.

  • I miss the Habitat List. Please stop adding neat UI features in doomed branch games and not bothering to port them to trunk of the next generation. :(

So hey all those people with uncles and cousins that work at Game Freak who’ve come out of the woodwork since XY was announced: if you could pass this along that would be fantastic.

[blog] Catchin‚Äô ‚Äėem¬†all

Look at this sweet guy Mel got custom-made for my birthday. There’s context here, but it’s big and complicated, so let’s just say it’s a life-size stained-glass Chandelure and is totally fuckin rad. (That’s an official life-size Eevee, for scale.)

Having a bit of trouble finding a place to keep a three-foot-tall plush, though. He’s got a hook near the top of his flame, but hanging him from the ceiling doesn’t really help since he hangs down to chest level.

Caldera is so cool.

While I’m at it, my collection expanded considerably after our two-week vacation in Japan, and I finally got around to adding a new shelf to hold them all. So, here’s what my room looks like now…

Pinkie Pie is not mine.  No, really. Left side of a big ol' shelf we stuck over my desk. Right side of the big ol' shelf over my desk.  There are a few guys in the background you can't see very well from below. All legendaries.  This is technically a closet, but it has no doors or track, so my desk sits partly inside it. In case the Celebi doesn't make me enough of a nerd, this clock can also show hex, binary, octal, and Roman numerals. The two biggest Eevees are different life-size releases.  Far right Eevee talks!  And something here is out of place... This is where the magic happens.  If by magic you mean sufficiently-advanced technology.

I’m not too proud to admit that I might have a problem: where can I possibly fit more shelves?