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Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar Weekly Update - 1st of May 2011 Sun 1st May 2011 11:08am

Category: Weekly Updates

I don't think I've got anything much to say this week other than the same as last week. I've been ill again - though improving, I hope - and I've been working on my Pokemon-like game thing.

I'm trying to decide on a name for it now, actually. I was thinking 'Miasmon'... since the game involves monsters which are 'miasmal apparitions', born from the same 'miasma' mentioned in MARDEK, 'Miasmon' is the same format as 'Pokémon' and 'Digimon' as a word, and I that the 'miasma' bit flows well into the 'mon' bit due to the shared 'm' and vowel sound...
However, I mentioned this as an idea to people before, and they reacted as if it sounded goofy or something, so I'm unsure whether to use it or not.

I've got to the point now though where I'm making plot-related events; the engine's basically done, except for a few relatively minor things which shouldn't take long and I'll do along the way.
I've been trying to decide, now that I'm doing plot conversations and stuff, whether to make the main character a Silent Protagonist, or whether to make him fairly chatty, commenting on events and conversations that he's a part of. Talking to himself fairly often.
Silent Protagonists have some appeal because they're supposed to improve immersion and make you feel like you *are* the character... However, you play as an old professor, which isn't exactly a generic insert of most of the probably young players who'll play as him.
I suppose I should give him a voice, but I'd hope I didn't make him too annoying or anything.

Another thing I've been trying to decide on is the Starter monster thing. Originally I designed three starters like those of Pokemon, called Sparkpup, Merrowet and Wingecko. They each had three evolution stages, like Pokemon starters, and they were Beast/Flame, Human/Aqua, and Saur/Avian types. Unlike Pokemon, though, those types didn't really have a paper-scissors-stone relationship; Aqua was good against Flame, Flame was good against Avian, but Avian wasn't good against Aqua. This is due to the four, rather than three natural elements. (Saur could also learn fire and earth moves, while Human and Beast were effectively non-elemental.)
I could have made *four* starters, but that seemed like too many.

The game would start with you, as this old scientist, spending his retirement in solitude as a hermit of sorts, then some plot NPCs show up and ask you to help them with something, giving you one of the monsters to help you on your way. This is a bit silly though, since the scientist that you play as is famous in the game world for basically inventing the monster catching-and-training thing by adapting technology of a long-dead race of Ancients, so it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense for him to have no monsters with him until some people come along to give him one.

Instead, I've been thinking about doing something rather different... The scientist might have been spending the last few years working with monsters, trying to come up with a *synthetic* monster that wasn't caught in the wild. His experiments could be going well but with limited success at the start of the game, and you start with one of these synthetic monsters, always the same one, which is its own 'Synthetic' type which would have no strengths or weaknesses. The NPCs would still come, but instead of offering you a monster, they offer you one of three (or four? Or even six? Or eight?!?) 'ancient relics', which would effectively work like evolution stones from Pokemon; when you use one on your Synthetic starter, it'd evolve into something new, like a Synthetic/Flame type or Synthetic/Avian.
Basically, it'd be like starting with Eevee and getting an elemental stone instead of choosing an elemental starter.

If I did that though - and at this point, I probably will - would it be better to have three possible evolutions, but each one can evolve again - that is, you can evolve it into a Flame, Aqua or Avian type, but that evolved form would evolve AGAIN via levelling up later - or instead should I have six, maybe even eight possible forms*, for each of the elements, but they can't evolve after you've used the stone on them?
I'd probably prefer to just have the three forms which evolve again later, but it's never easy for me to decide on these things...

Hopefully by this time next week, I'll have a big chunk of the plot done, and I'll have started on things like the music and sound effects!

* Hmm, the eight forms would be Synthetic/Flame, Synthetic/Aqua, Synthetic/Avian, Synthetic/Plant, Synthetic/Angel, Synthetic/Undead, Synthetic/Spectral, and Synthetic/Psionic... A few of those seem rather silly, so maybe I'll just stick with the first three since I've already designed those.


29 Commentson 23 roots

Drostie`s Avatar
Rating Orb Drostie 26 Netherlands SanguineMelancholic 78C 65F
7 years ago | (2)
I like the idea of the synthetic type. If you were going to do it any other way, I think it would have to be that the professor has amnesia, and everybody remembers him as this amazing scientist, but he doesn't remember any of it. (Maybe his first attempt was Synthetic/Psionic and the whole plot revolves around figuring out what the heck happened.)

The reason Miasmon sounds weird is that, despite the faux-accent in Pokémon, people always stress the first syllable: POH-kaymun, not PuhKAYmun. It is the same thing with DIHgimon, not diGEEmon. But for Miasmon this is partially reversed: the root is meeASma and the resulting word is MEEasmon. That is why Figimon worked better at first -- the stress is more clearly on the first syllable. In Miasmon the stress is not clear if you know the root word.

I might recommend a conjunction with Animals instead: Miasmals or Miasimals. (Figimals doesn't quite sound right.) I also for some reason like the word "Miasmalites," though it sounds more like a set of rocks than a set of creatures. I don't see a way to use the word -morph like in the rabbit name 'lagomorph' or so, but I like the idea that it represents -- a changed form.

Also whenever I hear the word 'miasmal' I immediately get this vision of a professor droning on and on about their new theory of 'metamiasm', and how 'metamiasmal currents' govern the workings of miasmal things.
The Crimson Sun`s Avatar
Rating Orb The Crimson Sun 20 Australia MelancholicPhlegmatic 89C 9F
7 years ago | (2)
Well, let's see...

First, Miasmon is a fine name. It sounds interesting, it flows well, and it follows a well-established theme. Three for three, top marks.

As for the character, I agree that an old professor wouldn't really benefit from the whole Silent Protagonist deal, considering your audience. Your games usually have interesting/humorous dialogue, so not giving him a voice sounds like a missed opportunity to me. Obviously try not to turn him into a 'chatterbox', but I'd prefer chatterbox over Silent Protagonist, in any case.

Concerning the starter thing:

In the Pokemon games, one of the starters is typically disadvantaged in the first few Gym battles, so it wouldn't be a huge problem if some were more suited to the early parts of the game than others. It could be like choosing a difficulty level, in a way. Furthermore, unless this old hermit has (a) rival(s), which may or may not be the case, then the rock-paper-scissors dynamic wouldn't particularly matter. I mean, it'd be there more or less for reasons of nostalgia/conformity rather than actual gameplay mechanics.

As for the game's beginning, if the character is an old hermit, then there is no real reason he'd have to have any Miasmon with him. Obviously you know more about the story than any of us, but if he became a hermit in order to retreat from the world and his previous work, then he might have retreated from Miasmon as well. Of course, if he was working on some sort of Miasmon-based experiment, then I guess it wouldn't make as much sense.

The synthetic idea is interesting, though I'm not quite sure I understand it (or rather, I'd like to understand it better). I don't know how much of the concept is already decided in your head, so I apologise if any of the following suggestions are way off the mark. I'm only trying to help.

The way I understand it, this 'synthetic' Miasmon would be different from other Miasmon because instead of forming spontaneously from the Miasma, it would have been formed intentionally, through artificial means. Hopefully that much is correct.

If so, would it essentially be a 'blank slate', a very bland looking creature with no strong defining features? If this was the case, then exposing it to some sort of Ancient energy source could conceivably alter it significantly. Like a stem cell being inserted into a specific type of tissue, it would conform to this new energy source. Anyway, if this were all true, and you were given this energy source (or a choice of such sources) at the very beginning of the game, then this synthetic Miasmon would effectively become a typical Starter Miasmon right there at the game's beginning. From there, I see no problem with it being able to evolve twice more, as all Starters from Pokemon can. Perhaps the three (or however many) typical Starter Miasmon are entirely new to the world of the game, their creation only possible due to the creation of the initial synthetic Miasmon. And maybe you can obtain more of these synthetic Miasmon as the game continues, so as to obtain the other two (or however many) Starters. And maybe once they have appeared artificially, they can begin to show up spontaneously as well? (You understand the Miasma better than anyone, that last one was just to help explain why other people might have these new, unique Starters, which only you are supposed to have access to.) Oh, and I'd suggest only three Starters, but four would also be fine. Six/eight sounds like overkill to me.

An alternative (or perhaps additional idea) would be that the old hermit *does* have a Miasmon with him. He's old now, but presumably he was once quite the Miasmon 'Trainer' or whatever. Maybe he has a really powerful, unique Miasmon with him, but when he goes haring off adventuring and whatnot, maybe he leaves it behind to look after his secret hermit lab, or something. And then if you complete all three chapters, you can come back and retrieve this Miasmon, for use in whatever battles that remain open at that point. So it'd be a reward right at the end, a Legendary, if you will. (And the reason it doesn't come with you from the start is because it's old, like the hermit, and also the hermit doesn't really trust others to look after all his research.)

Anyway, these are all just ideas. I'd be honoured if you used any, (and I wouldn't mind at all), but even if it simply influenced your final decision, I'd be happy. If not, well, it entertains me to entertain these notions anyway, so no harm done. Unless I annoyed you. In which case, sorry.

Well, thanks for reading, and keep up the good work. And feel better.
Brock`s Avatar
Rating Orb Brock 17 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic 218C 78F
7 years ago | (1)
I think the synthetic monster idea is a good one, but it would have to be explained fairly well, because from the best of my knowledge monsters form from miasma randomly and it would be strange how you could make 'synthetic' ones that were of course composed of that miasma. How would the hermit obtain the miasma in the first place? Would it be done like you sort of did in deliverance where a monster's soul is captured from a soul stone, or would he have made an invention that creates artificial miasma? And not only that, but if the monster were to be synthetic, then would it really be possible that the 'ancient relics' would work on it? I mean the monster is synthetic, thus artificial and therefore not likely to react perfectly with the ancient relic. Despite all of this, I still think you'll come up with something good in the end, because I do agree that the hermit not having any monsters of his own would be rather unusual.
Now on a different note, I think miasmon is a fine name. Still... it seems that all games related to pokemon have -mon after it, and it would be sort of unoriginal (though I don't think you plan on making it NOT at all similar to pokemon) and kind of unimpressive. The name wouldn't detract viewers from the game though, I think, because I've heard of plenty of games with 'bad' names for games that have come out just fine. You can't judge a book by its cover, everyone knows that.
I agree that you should give the protagonist a voice, but he doesn't have to be super-talkative, otherwise he might get somewhat annoying. Try to make the amount he speaks at a certain 'medium' so to speak, not too annoying but at the same time not too quiet.
If you did the synthetic monsters, I think the game would be interesting as it would be cool to see some of the people scoff at the 'fake' monsters only to be pummeled into oblivion. At least for me, that would be enjoyable. You probably won't do that, but it would be interesting. My vote definitely goes for the synthetic monsters.
If you really want help picking a name for your new monster game you should make a poll of the names you like or are possible choices. Voting might not be the best idea though, considering you could get a name you wouldn't really want for the game, so make sure you be extra careful what options you put up there.
Enzan`s Avatar
Rating Orb Enzan 21 Canada CholericPhlegmatic 7C 1F
7 years ago | (3)
"Miasmon" is no more or less silly than "Pokemon" or "Digimon". Pocket monsters, digital monsters, miasmal monsters. Bone bone bone.
Assana73`s Avatar
Rating Orb Assana73 0 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic 6C 0F
7 years ago | (2)
I believe that the second idea is more interesting than the traditional Pokemon starter set. The only additional comment is that if, as hinted by your screenshots, cloning is available, the starting synthetic creature should be clonable. That would make the other possible evolutions attainable as long as the evolution items were attainable. Aside from this the ideas that others have suggested are good. I will be happy with whatever you name the game.
Sameth`s Avatar
Rating Orb Sameth 18 United Kingdom Melancholic 79C 28F
7 years ago | (3)
Just to throw my two pence in, I love how this game seems to be shaping up. I adore some of your monster designs (Sparkpup is so incredibly cute). In terms of the points you raised in this blog, Miasmon is a cool title that rolls off the tongue nicely. As mentioned previously depending on whether you're trying to distance yourself from Pokemon/Digimon or revel in your similarity to them you may wish to reconsider the "-mon", however personally, I like it, and I'm fairly sure the only people who will care are the same ones that said MARDEK was a pokemon rip-off.

On to the protagonist's speaking role: I think it again comes down to how much you want to appear like pokemon; having a silent protagonist will instantly make this title seem like a pokemon rip-off, while giving them a speaking role (along with a significant story) draws you further from the pokemon experience. Another point to consider is how you want to present the story. Presumably your character wont have any companions during the main course of the game so having the protagonist be silent may introduce some difficulties in presenting a clear story. I'm sure you would handle it brilliant however it may be another thing worth considering.

Finally, while I would rather see the "rock-paper-scissors" set up for starting monsters, not actually having that relationship doesn't really matter as long as there's no sort of "rival" to battle against with the type you're weak to, and so long as other types are fairly readily available (I.E. being able to get all four primary elemental types in the first few areas). The idea of a synthetic starter is actually a really nice way of handling the unique problem you've presented yourself with and evolving it using stones is a really cool way of getting a variety of types for players to choose from. One concern I would have is whether it would be possible to get 100% if the "starter" monsters are only available once. Would there be some mechanism to get the other "starters" later in the game for those completionists out there?
PhoenixNights`s Avatar
Rating Orb PhoenixNights 13 United Kingdom 29C 1F
7 years ago | (4)
The name Miasmon is quite a tongue-twister to say, but I think it'll do good in its production. And also, from the screenshots, I'm looking forward to the completion.
MyNameisNobody`s Avatar
Rating Orb MyNameisNobody 18 United States CholericMelancholic 79C 116F
7 years ago | (2)
Really quick on the name, does 'Monsters of Miasma' sound like a good name to anyone other than me? It seems a bit more original and less 'silly' than 'Miasmon' (not that I dislike that name, but if others don't like it, I'm offering an alternative).

Now, about the beginning/starters: If you decide to go with the first idea, I don' think having four starters would be a bad idea. It would separate you slightly from Pokemon and allow more 'balance' in the starters (especially if you decide to have 'rivals' like in Pokemon that have the other starters). Also, since you plan on releasing this game episodically, you could potentially give out different 'starters' at the beginning of each episode.

If you go with the second idea, you could have the 'Synthetic' monster to only evolve through the use of 'ancient relics', but allow it to evolve twice through this method, giving a large variety in what your 'starter' can become. Now, this would require a LOT of extra work to be done on the monsters, but it would allow you to make more choices in later episodes as to the form of your 'starter'.
Also, as to the type combinations being silly, I suppose you could either ignore this or slightly rename the types so as to make them sound more appropriate, I don't really know about that...
amelt`s Avatar
Rating Orb amelt 15 United States SanguineMelancholic 69C 0F
7 years ago | (0)
I agree about renaming the types. For instance, if you rename "Undead" (which I'm assuming is the Dark element) to something like "Demon", then you no longer have an undead synthetic monster, which is rather silly, but a demon robot or something. Still silly, but less so.
Hubay`s Avatar
Rating Orb Hubay 21 United States MelancholicSanguine 48C 23F
7 years ago | (0)
Would you have the option to let the professor keep his synthetic beast unevolved? I think that might be interesting. I would like the chance to have all four elements, myself, but I get that the three 'starter' mons makes a lot of sense. Could you have the NPC say something like oh, shoot, I forgot the earth stone, that was silly of me, and let there be an option to pick it up later if you wanted to? I don't know, really – that could get messy. I'm just trying to think of a way you could have access to all four but keep the beginning simple.

What if you had the mon evolve after the quest? You could have the NPC say 'hey, my little sister got kidnapped by a mon, but I'm not sure where it took her. Where should we look first?' Options being, say, the top of the mountain for air, the caves for earth, nearby river for water, hot springs for fire? I'm sure you could write it a lot more interesting than the story I just laid out, but you could have it evolve after the first sort of boss battle, by using the stone the boss dropped from that element.

I think miasmon sounds good, by the way.
coreyj`s Avatar
Rating Orb coreyj 18 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic 105C 152F
7 years ago | (0)
Why don't you keep the synthetic/fire and the synthetic/aqua, but instead of synthetic/avian, have a 'type' that is both Earth and Air, and make the third one synthetic/(air/earth). This way, the circle still holds: fire against air/earth, air/earth against aqua, and aqua against fire. You could even make it so that the synthetic/(air/earth) could only learn earth elemental moves, and not air. This way, it has little advantage against other creatures.

Miasmon is a good name, but it may be too obvious. I mean, you aren't trying to hide the fact that the game is a pokemon knockoff, but you don't want it to scream "Pokemon Copy" like the name Miasmon kinda does.

Question: If the starter is synthetic, would it be listed in the bestiary? Same with its evolutions. Because, if a creature is unavailable anywhere else, and has never been seen before, why would it be listed in the bestiary? And, even if the professor listed it in the bestiary himself, what about its evolutions? He would have no idea about those. So, maybe you could make the synthetic creature #0 in the bestiary or something.

And, woulod everyone have a bestiery? Or would it be something that only the professor has?

What type of evolution tree will there be? Will it be like pokemon, or Beast Signer? Following last week's screenshots, it's propably going to work best like pokemon, but Beast Signer's evolution tree made continuous play worthwile. After all, just trying to fill the bestiary means many hours of game-time.

A way you could make money is by having 'exclusives.' Creatures that could not be received or captured any other way. Maybe someone would need a fighunter account, or (one of the ideas you had for a new website) a premium account. These could be stranger, or just cooler. And maybe you could update the game, or release new creatures, every so often.

How would creatures be captured? And what would be the science behined it? In pokemon, they use 'pocket-dimensions;' in Beast Signer, the code is changed. You could make an entirely new way for capturing, or you could use a similar way to pokemon.

Will the player be able to name the protagonist? And will there be a recurring antagonist (rival) that the player battles to check their strength every so often?

What type of evolution tree will there be? Will it be like pokemon, or Beast Signer? Following last week's screenshots, it's propably going to work best like pokemon, but Beast Signer's evolution tree made continuous play worthwile. After all, just trying to fill the bestiary means many hours of game-time.

Finally, will there be an underlying mission (a mission that does not stop with the end of the game)? For example, in pokemon there is the pokedex. But the main goal is to defeat the elite four. Two -- or more -- missions (at least one underlying) would help keep people playing it.

P.S. Can you add an item that works like the V.S. Seeker in pokemon? Training in Beast Signer is a pain when signers cannot be rebattled.
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