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"What is the Create-A-Pokemon Project?" Workshop

Discussion in 'Create-A-Pokémon Project' started by DougJustDoug, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. DougJustDoug

    DougJustDoug Knows the great enthusiasms
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    Up to now, we have been "playing it by ear" with regards to the CAP project. We've taken the seed of an idea planted by Cooper, and we have expanded it into a multi-faceted community project. However, there are currently many different ideas as to what this project is about. To be honest, we are all over the map when it comes to defining our purpose and direction. Many people are acting on those assumptions, sometimes to the detriment of the project itself.

    The purpose of this thread is to broadly answer the question -- "What is the Create-A-Pokemon Project?" We now have two Pokemon under our belt, thousands of discussion posts, a dedicated custom battle server, and a large population of talented project contributors. It's high time we put a stake in the ground and set some boundaries and goals for the project. Once we have established our mission, we can organize the project accordingly.

    Like everything else in this community, the project explanation should be the product of community discussion. That doesn't mean we will have a poll on each sentence, nor is every project member's vision going to be included. But, I would like to have an open forum for discussing this, to gauge the community position as a whole. I have drafted a high-level explanation that encompasses various elements that I have privately discussed with CAP project members and members of the Smogon staff. I would like to use this as a starting point for discussion. Feel free to comment, offer suggestions, wording changes, propose additions or deletions, etc. But, keep in mind -- this is not a set of itemized rules, or otherwise detailed project planning document. It is a high-level explanation of the project's purpose. Please frame all of your comments and suggestions within the intended scope.

    As this discussion progresses, I will make edits to this document. I plan to discuss this for a few days, but the timeframe is not set in stone. Once the discussion wanes or ceases to be productive, the project explanation will posted as a sticky in this forum.

    Thanks
    Doug
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    What is the Create-A-Pokemon Project?

    "The Create-A-Pokemon project is a community dedicated to exploring and understanding the competitive Pokemon metagame by designing, creating, and playtesting new Pokemon concepts."

    Based on the project name, many people jump to conclusions about the Create-A-Pokemon project. Often these initial impressions are incorrect. So, just to dispel any false notions, perhaps it is best to list some common misperceptions about the Create-A-Pokemon project.

    - This is NOT a forum to submit pre-built custom Pokemon from a pokedex you created
    - This is NOT a forum to discuss every cool new Pokemon concept that pops into your head
    - This is NOT a forum to change existing Pokemon in the current game
    - This is NOT an effort to create an entire new pokedex or new generation of Pokemon
    - This is NOT an effort to create a new Pokemon game
    - We are NOT interested in adding anything to the ingame Pokemon world. This includes new regions, trainers, villains, gyms, contests, Elite Four members, etc.
    - We are NOT interested in changing the basic mechanics of Pokemon battling. This includes Pokemon typing, existing moves, stats, damage calculations, move priority, etc.
    - It is NOT a Shoddy Battle server that allows you to make your own Pokemon and use them in battle.

    That's a pretty long list of exclusions. Many of those exclusions could be very fun and interesting to pursue. Some of those goals have been done before by other communities. Many of those goals are "fan projects". Meaning, as fans of Pokemon, those pursuits can be very interesting and fun. The CAP project has many avid pokemon fans amongst it's contributors, but it isn't a fan project. It is a project dedicated to detailed exploration and experimentation with competitive Pokemon play.

    To pose an analogy: "Who knows more about cars -- a driver or a mechanic?" Actually, they both know a lot, and they both know different things because of their perspective. A driver knows how to drive cars, and a mechanic knows how to build and fix cars. This project is focused on the knowledge set analogous to the mechanic.

    If you really want to learn about cars, then build one.
    If you really want to learn about competitive Pokemon -- then build one.

    The construction of a proper competitive Pokemon is a complex process and requires a detailed understanding of the game of Pokemon and the competitive metagame in which it will be played. Through the construction process, every facet of competitive Pokemon play is investigated and discussed in exacting detail. Pokemon typing, stat distribution, damage calculation, movesets, abilities, breeding characteristics, battling strategies, current threats and counters -- all of this must be taken into account in order to create a viable competitive Pokemon. In some ways, this is the purest form of learning the competitive metagame. It is like a lab class on the various factors that underly the Pokemon metagame.

    Despite the project's name, the goal is not to create Pokemon. The Pokemon that come out of the project are simply a by-product of the community construction process. The process is the goal -- with all the discussions and discoveries that go along with it. Like they say, "Life is about the journey, not the destination." The same wisdom applies here. This is the key difference between the CAP project and every other fakedex/fakemon effort that has been done before. As such, it is perfectly suited to be sponsored by the knowledgeable Smogon community, aka Smogon University. People that participate in the project are expected to present reasoned ideas and to engage in intelligent debate of those ideas. That is why we are here.

    The construction process is broken down into a series of steps, with each step representing a facet of a Pokemon. Each facet is discussed through an exhaustive peer review process and decisions are made by community vote. When the base construction process is complete, the Pokemon is implemented in the community battle simulator and is thoroughly play-tested. The playtesting enables the community to collect tangible evidence of the effectiveness of a given Pokemon concept. Playtesting evidence can be used to spur further revision of the Pokemon concept, or it may provide additional information that helps shape future construction projects.

    The polls generally fall to two categories -- Competitive Facets and Non-Competitive Facets. Competitive facets of Pokemon are aspects that directly affect the the Pokemon's use in competitive battle. Those polls are of primary importance to the CAP project and are given the most time and attention during the construction process. However, non-competitive aspects of Pokemon are not ignored. Almost everyone involved in the CAP project is a fan of the Pokemon game. As such, the CAP project strives to create holistic Pokemon concepts that makes sense within the spirit and example of the actual Pokemon game.

    One note about artwork: Some might consider artwork to be a non-competitive aspect of a Pokemon. However, Pokemon art is deeply interwoven with various competitive facets of a Pokemon design. As such, the CAP project spends significant poll time and discussion on Pokemon artwork and sprites, and the implications of that artwork on Pokemon typing, moves, abilities, etc.

    The Create-A-Pokemon project strives to create an interesting environment for intelligent students of the competitive Pokemon metagame to exercise both creative and analytical talents for the betterment of the competitive Pokemon community.

    - The CAP project is community-based, and very democratic
    - The CAP project involves people with various talents and interests - metagame battlers, ingamers, artists, spriters, writers, etc.
    - The CAP project inspires various interesting discussions about Pokemon, the spirit and mechanics of the game, and most importantly, in-depth analysis of the current competitive metagame
    - The CAP project is an ever-evolving project
    - The CAP project is open to anyone interested in learning more about the underlying fundamentals of competitive Pokemon
  2. DougJustDoug

    DougJustDoug Knows the great enthusiasms
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    I'd like to point out a few things that I know are controversial -- one is the statement:

    "We are NOT interested in changing the basic mechanics of Pokemon battling. This includes pokemon typing, existing moves, stats, damage calculations, move priority, etc."

    There have been many, many suggestions by people that we alter some things that I consider "fundamental" to the game. I personally don't like going there. But, this is a gray area to define. By creating pokemon, moves, and or abilities, we are obviously altering a fundamental part of the game. However, if we distort the game too much, then the knowledge we gain is really not applicable to the current metagame. Once again, let me reiterate, I know we are altering the metagame by creating pokemon. But, I don't want the project to evolve into a completely new metagame with only thematic ties to the "real" pokemon game. I don't know how to control this, or where to draw the line. But I'd like to get the question out there and solicit feedback.

    When we draw up official rules and guidelines, we can detail this stuff out. But, right now, I'm putting it on the table that I don't want to go too far with altering basic mechanics of the game. New pokemon are obviously fine. New moves, abilities, and items are OK, but need to be CAREFULLY controlled. My yardstick is to compare new things to existing constructs and go from there. I haven't advocated any new moves, only because there are plenty of existing moves out there and no new move suggestions have really added anything viable to the two pokes we have made so far. But, I don't rule out the possibility of new moves. Ditto for items. Basically, I think all the new stuff we make here should be encapsulated within the new pokemon we make. If we add a new moves, it is only because we are giving it to a new pokemon. I don't want to give new moves to existing pokes. Same thing goes for abilities, items, etc.

    New types are out of the question for me, but I suspect others may disagree.

    I'd also like to point out that I mentioned we should not change existing pokemon. But that does not mean we can't create new evolutions.
  3. tennisace

    tennisace brock you like a hurricane
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    looks good doug, i think that somewhere in there should be the fact that the server is an english only server. also, that first list part should be on the main page of the server.
  4. Super T

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    :P

    well said *applauds*
  5. Deck Knight

    Deck Knight Well-shuffled and flush
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    Great Post Doug.

    I have a question though:

    My concern is that thus far we've only seriously done single stage pokemon. Syclant for instance does have a pre-evo in Sylar, but we've never shelled out any of its details beyond a basic outline.

    I also want to talk about our process. So far we've kind of winged it as far as concepts and had some miscommunication along the way.

    I was wondering if we could develop a more concrete way of going about topics. Thus far we've had both poll votes and bolded votes, and the order of our decisions has varied slightly.

    I was wondering specifically about themes, and whether it would be verbotten to say, start with a move-based concept (e.g. do we want to create a pokemon centered around Rapid Spin, Psuedohazing, Hazing) instead of generic physical/special sweeper/tank/wall.

    Or even if we could, with enough time, do something as audacious as a "legendary trio" as it were.

    In other words, what constraints on creativity or process should we have to ensure everyone gets a fair shake?
  6. Hyra

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    Only thing I would disagree is that we are not creating a new Generation/Pokedex. I think it plays into the learning experience to try to balance a metagame. Currently, we rely on Blissey, Skarmory, and Cresselia to wall our threats (those are just examples). Syclant was designed purposely to metagame what existed at that time.

    However, a major shift happened when we started on Revenankh. Style and theme took importance over competitive value. We still made it competitve, but we didn't try to make it one of the top ten like we did with Syclant. We also subconsciously created a pretty good Syclant counter.

    Which leads to my point. By the time we get to like 40 or so Pokemon. I would like to see them be a viable metagame all on their own. No major threats that can walk through the game like in DP, but no major walls that stop everything like in GSC. I'd like to find a midpoint that would allow use of all strategies currently available to be at least somewhat viable. Of course, there would be Pokemon used more than others, but I would like to try to avoid the exponential distribution the current OU has. Blissey, Gengar, and Garchomp are used so much more than TTar they are almost in different tiers of usage.

    I'll post more on this later.
  7. DougJustDoug

    DougJustDoug Knows the great enthusiasms
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    We will be laying out guidelines for how the construction process will proceed. That's not part of this first "mission statement", but will be a big part of the project planning discussion.

    I am building a "CAP Project Planning" thread that will contain an agenda of all the planning guidelines that we need to develop. I'd like to get some structure around things like:

    - The role of the "mini-mod". How they are selected and what they do.
    - The voting process
    - The order of the construction process
    - Design boundaries
    - Etc.

    I don't want to overload the project with rules and restrictions. That's why I'd like to call them guidelines. I don't want it to be a rigid process. I consider this to be a creative project. As such, people need to have room to express their creativity. In fact, I view the mini-mod like the director of a movie. They have control to guide and shape their vision, but are completely reliant on the vision and talent of the actors and crew. We need to draw guidelines, just to set some boundaries. Within those boundaries, I'd like their to be lots of room for each pokemon project to evolve. Each one should be a discovery process rather than a community regimen.

    I think that with the past two projects as a test bed -- we can probably draw up a decent set of guidelines. But this basic project explanation is somewhat of a precursor to that.
  8. eric the espeon

    eric the espeon maybe I just misunderstood
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    i would disagree with this, a new generation of pokemon is what we are doing.

    i think we should finish syclar (note the c in syclar) we still need a sprite (KOA how are you doing?) weight, movepool, but we have stats and name.

    YES trio! i think a full generation of pokemon (with ubers, starters, trios, a new weak fish pokemon, some crappy bugs, and a cute base 100 all pokemon) should be our goal.

    also i agree with everything Hyra said.
  9. Gothic Togekiss

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    Deck Knight brought this out via indirect means but I wonder how would one approach something like the legendary trios and/or starters with this project? Would it be a 3 for 1 bundle project where we do all the starters and/or trios at one time or one at a time for each subject?
  10. eric the espeon

    eric the espeon maybe I just misunderstood
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    I think we may be able to do each starter on its own, but the trios are too strongly related to each other (the types always fit together somehow, the stats have stong links (look at the reigis), the movepools are somewhat similer), maybe "trio" should be in part b of the first poll (evo or new poke) if new poke wins.
  11. Gothic Togekiss

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    That could work since you could group Main Legendary(ies), Hidden Legendary(ies), and Starters into that poll too, if new pokemon wins out of course.
  12. Magmortified

    Magmortified <b>CAP 8 Playtesting Expert</b>
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    I don't personally believe in that. While we are creating Pokemon, there's really no reason to go out and restrict our options by saying our goal making the next Caterpie. We can always make one, but it shouldn't be the goal.
  13. DougJustDoug

    DougJustDoug Knows the great enthusiasms
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    I don't think we should make a full pokedex as a project goal. By full pokedex, I mean pre-evos, starters, the whole nine yards. If I read right, this is exactly what eric is advocating.

    If we set it as a project goal, I don't think we'll actually do it. Just look at Sylar. The minute we finished the competitive aspects of Syclant, people focused almost exclusively on playtesting and the next pokemon. Interest tailed off dramatically on the pre-evo and every other non-competitive facet of the species. Yes there are a few folks that want to "finish it" (eric is one of them). But on the whole, the community really seems to have little interest in actually working to complete that stuff.

    It makes sense. Smogon is a competitive pokemon community. Anything not directly related to competitive play is going to receive minimal attention in Smogon. Yes, there are pockets of pure fan interest, but that pales in comparison to the competitive bulk of the community.

    I felt I was just being realistic about what this community is genuinely interested in doing. I don't think we really will put forth the effort required to make a full, ingame-style pokedex. If we aren't going to follow through with it, then let's be clear about it up front. I don't want to have a few dedicated fans dragging out pokemon projects, trying to get the rest of the community to work on non-competitive stuff where there is little interest.

    If there is genuine community interest in this, then I won't stand in the way. But, from what I have seen so far, most people really don't care about it.


    I think Hyra is making a slightly different point, that I somewhat agree with. Yes, we will end up with a bunch of new pokes. That might loosely be referred to as a "generation". In the project explanation, I used the term "generation" in the ingame sense.

    I don't disagree with Hyra's notion that our new pokedex could yield a new metagame, possibly a more balanced one than the one we are playing now. I think that is very difficult to place as a goal. It's hard enough to make one pokemon that is consistent with the game of pokemon. If we add to that, the responsibility to create an entire balanced metagame -- I think it will just lead to a bunch of unresolvable arguments. It will make things harder than they already are.

    That's why I am advocating that each pokemon construction project should be self-contained. The cumulative effect of all the new pokemon will be interesting to observe and discuss. But, I don't think we should attempt to manage the cumulative effect (ie. the "generation") as an explicit project goal.


    I do think "sets" of pokemon could be interesting. Starters, legendary trios, etc. I don't know how to structure the projects exactly, but we don't need to decide the specifics here. I think thematic sets of competitive pokemon are well within the mission of this project. If others disagree, please speak up.
  14. X-Trader

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    Why is everybody calling the pre-evo Sylar, we can't do that for they would sue us! The name we all agreed on was Syclar!
  15. Gothic Togekiss

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    I agree with you on this point in terms of "sets" of pokemon. Personally I think some competitive good Starter/Legendary trio/whatever floats your boat would be good for this project in one way or another.
  16. eric the espeon

    eric the espeon maybe I just misunderstood
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    ok, i was jokeing about the weak bug and fish pokemon, but i do think the other things could work.

    he is right you know, everyone is useing the wrong name. Syclar was agreed.

    DJD i do understand that you dont want to waste comunity time on non-competive/useless pokemon, or have one (or a very small group of) person make it on their own, but i think a there is probably enough interest in finishing Syclar to make it worthwhile.
    I was thinking of haveing a single thread (rarther than a long set of polls) for all the choices about it, with bold text voteing for a few contenshus issues. Also with the developments in the NFE's in UU topic Syclar will be alowed in UU so we could make it competive there.

    My opinion is its not that hard to finish we have it mostly done (sprite KOA) so we might as well finish it. However if this veiw is not shared by other people then we may as well abandon it, CAP is not about one person doing the pokemon it MUST be a group effort.
  17. Time Mage

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    I agree with the guidelines posted by Doug, except for the following:


    The goal is creating Pokémon. But not "fanboy" pokémon, rather well-thought competitive pokémon that add something to the current metagame that it didn't have before AND are balanced, competitive-wise. And by balanced, I mean that the pokémon we create should be aimed to be used in the OU metagame. After all, the rest of metagames are all a subproduct of OU: Either consisting of pokémon too powerful and overcentralizing (Ubers), or so little used they are rarely seen in competitive play (UU and NU).

    Other than that, I agree with all, specially in focusing on the competitive approach, ignoring pre-evos, useless pokémon, and anything not battle-related. Sprites, "flavor" moves in the moveset, and maybe pokédex entries are fine, but only to make the actual competitive object look like a pokémon.
  18. Luck

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    My thoughts

    -The first purpose of the cap project is to create competitive(aka OU) pokes from the types that Nintendo did include the game.

    - No Luvdisc,No Pulse.Nintendo makes pokes for different reasons to make stuff dolls and look cute,to fill a spot in the game,to sell a movie.The main thing on smogon is competitive battling,why in world would we create a poke that is not going to be used.If we create a poke it should be used,but since this not a perfect process if it is too powerful we move to uber ranks,we creative a poke it under performs we move it the rank.Ou is the main goal i think but the game will determine where poke ends up.

    -After that the cap project can be used to add well deserve evos to pokes that need them.Reason i say after the unused types is because if you noticed that in process of making Rev,people wanted a banette evo so badly that they where willing to make any of ghost types that won the poll be the banette evo.By eliminating unused types when we get around to making the banette evo,Farfecth'd evo or dugtrio evo you will used the best type(and logical stats) for it,not the type that is not in the game yet that people want to see

    -This a new generation of pokes,whether it is call that or not.Calling it the new gen of pokes gives us the option making pokes starters,legendary trio,Legends. The short story is this ,can the poke community make better more balance metagame than Nintendo.Which I believe we can do .

    -

    Only problem would come from the starters,which are made to balance each other out somewhat.The process would look something like this

    1.Pick what the next starting trio should be
    2.How do we plan to balance them discussion
    3.Then we do the Caps one by one,like normal

    I am sure they be hiccups in process but i see you added revision part which would be a strong part in the process making something like starters or legendary trios.
  19. latinoheat

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    why does everyone seem to want a dugtrio evo, isn't it good enough already.
  20. eric the espeon

    eric the espeon maybe I just misunderstood
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    i was thinking of something like
    1. a poll to pick the types (with suff like water, fire, grass dark, fighing, psychic and dragon/fire, dragon/electric, dragon/ice as options)
    2. a poll to pick the general relitive stats (it would chose which would be phy. attack based, how defencive they should be, how fast)
    3. exact stats (in groups of 3, all would be doneby the same person so the spreads would be as similer as possible)
    4. abilitys (hopefuly not pressure, but its got to be a poll option)
    5. Sprites (give this one some time, 3 sprites may take a while)
    6. movepool (make each pokemon have similer movepools)
    7 other stuff
  21. X-Act

    X-Act np: Biffy Clyro - Shock Shock
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    I've been thinking on this, and finally I'm posting what I have already sent to Doug via PM.

    I think there's nothing wrong with trying to make the Pokemon types a bit more balanced. There are various ways that this can be achieved, and so I won't commit on one way of doing it.

    In ADV, Dragon was considered very weak as an attacking type, because it was Special, and its most powerful move had 80 BP. In DP, Dragon is now one of the most powerful attacking types because of two things: changing most Dragon attacks to physical (which runs in favour of the Dragon-typed Pokemon's best stat, usually), and the invention of Draco Meteor, which, even though it's Special, has 140 BP, and move base power is more important than stats. In addition, Dragon is very difficult to resist, because the only type that resists it, Steel, is weak to Ground and/or Fire moves, which Dragons usually carry. Statistically, Overheat and Leaf Storm (and even Psycho Boost) do more damage than Draco Meteor on average, but they are all more easily resisted, and that's what counts when countering a predicted move. If the Dragon type had another resistance and another weakness, it would be much fairer.

    The Poison type is at the other end of the fairness scale. Hitting for only one type for double damage, and having 4 types resisting it and 1 type that is immune to it is horrible. Not only that, but even in sheer Base Power, there's only Sludge Bomb from the special side with 90 BP, and Poison Jab with 80 BP from the physical side (and Gunk Shot with 120 BP but only 70 accuracy). That is bollocks. If there existed a hypothetical physical Poison move with 140 BP and no other effects, it would statistically deal less damage than Close Combat, and Poison is much more easily resisted.

    There are other things that my analysis shows:

    Stone Edge is a bit broken in the sense that it's one of the best statistical moves in the game and is learned by many Pokemon.

    Brave Bird is an excellent move... but is made fair by the fact that it's not learned by too many Pokemon.

    Overheat and Fire Blast are awesome. Maybe they're a bit unfair when used by certain non-Fire typed Pokemon (especially Fire Blast).

    I think trying to fix these problems will not be a bad idea, and the number of fixes that need to be done are very few. But that's just my opinion. I don't know what the other people think, which is why I'm posting this.
  22. eric the espeon

    eric the espeon maybe I just misunderstood
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    I dont think removeing or changeing exesting pokemon's movepools is a good idea, nor is changeing existing moves. However the 140 BP poison move could work so long as it was only given to CAP pokemon.
  23. Hyra

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    Agreed. The only change we would make is adding in certain new moves onto older Pokemon that desperately need them, such as a reliable 50% recovery move for some certain individuals. However, I'm not sure if this fits into our goal, since we are different from most other modded servers in that we do not change existing Pokemon (so far) and only add new ones.

    X-Act hinted at it, but the type chart is seriously flawed from a balance standpoint. I'm not sure if we should ever change this, because that would make our metagame entirely irreconcilable with the Smogon metagame. The testing of Deoxys-S and Wobbuffet proved that single Pokemon usually do not have that much of an effect on a metagame. Changing the type chart will, so this will be a much bolder and complicated step than anything we have taken so far. I'm not sure if we want to go there or not.
  24. Ouro

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    A single Pokemon does not affect the metagame? Think about that carefully.

    I am sure right now you guys have a lot to do in terms of organization but a mission statement would not hurt. Establishing what you want to do first should help the community a ton.

    For the time being the CAP project should establish its goals. Do you guys want to make Pokemon and incorporate them into the metagame to balance it out? Or do you guys want to create a server with completely custom Pokemon?

    This program will be made by how well you can organize your ideas.
  25. DougJustDoug

    DougJustDoug Knows the great enthusiasms
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    This is EXACTLY why I am having a workshop on this topic. It is essential that we establish the fundamental purpose of the project. The two goals I&T mention are completely different. We can't do both.

    I think we should build new pokemon that can be used in the current metagame. But, if the community really wants to pursue a different path... I'll try to make it work.

    But, we need to be clear about our basic mission statement. That is what I am trying to establish with the "What is the CAP Project?" article.

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