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Article - 'Pokemon: Call of Latios' by Marcus

An item about Miscellanious posted on Dec 10, 2004

Blurb

A really interesting fan game.

Body

Interview by Marcus, moderator and staff for Gaming World (this is the fixed version... I hope)

Pokemon: Call of Latios
Main Developer: Booda Sack
Platform: Sphere
Website: (Booda's Forums)
Gamingw topic: (Booda's Gamingw Topic)

Fan games, especially pokemon and *shudder* Dragonball Z, are a popular topic in amateur game making. Perhaps it's the availability of the resources involved. Or maybe it's the joy of making a game that you like better? Or perhaps the developers are just lazy or out of ideas. Whatever the reason someone uses to make a fangame, they're everywhere and the sad fact is that most of them suck. Being the moderator of the game and demo forums, I see a lot of crap especially fangames. Now, this is a learning experience and I should be fair, but one fangame did catch my eye like a topless swimsuit model. That game, already in production for over a year, is Pokemon: Call of Latios.

The first thing I believe sets CoL apart from the other fangames is probably it's platform. Most people go with rpg maker for ease but Booda Sack decided to tap into the power of javascript and make his game at least a little more unique. I already knew some cool stuff could be produced and I wasn't wrong when I looked at some of the effects used in his screenshots. For one, the battles don't take place in full screen. They're now in a mini-box screen with the area you're currently in surrounding you. It's nothing spectacular, but it is a nice break from the norm we see in the gameboy games.

If finished, there's no doubt that this game will be large. Not only are the original regions like Jhoto included (not to mention remade), but a new region (an archipelago) is being created called Tilko (which seems to be Irish), complete with an assload of new areas including forests, 16 routes and 6 sea routes (Booda stated that, although that seems like a small number, the routes themselves are large), caves, forests, and about a dozen cities and towns, and several other areas he wishes to keep secret.

The graphics in this game are fantastic. Although the graphics are mostly rips from fire red and leaf green, there are some original and edited resources as well as atmospheric effects like snow and rain storms (storms are especially cool because not only does it get dark but leaves kick up and blow in the wind). Booda even made sure to add in the reflective surfaces found in the GBA pokemon games.

There are several other features unique to this game that I simply can't list off the top of my head. There's a companion mode where someone follows you around and helps you or something. You have a reputation that you must keep in check otherwise trainers won't respect you and I wouldn't be surprised if gym leaders turned you down. Booda is even planning on adding an entire calendar (probably based on the 120 day year calendar from Harvest moon) in the game that effects things from weekly league competitions, to shop openings or possible weekend sales, and even the appearance of rare pokemon.

This is a huge game and a huge project. Booda seems determined enough so don't be surprised if you see this one finished (or atleast close to being finished). There's a lot of things Nintendo could learn (or steal, hehe) from this project and I really do hope that Booda gets it done and delivers. Sphere needs some good games to defend itself with.

Screenshots:
Current Title screen (looks better than the old one)


Examples of bad rep/good rep








A quick look at the companion system (sort of)










An example of a rain storm (looks very cool)


Interview with the Sack himself (lol):

Question: Out of all the ideas you might have had, why did you choose to make a pokemon fangame instead of something original?

Answer:A couple of things made a pick a fangame.First I started doing my harvest moon game in rpg maker and then when I downloaded sphere I wanted to do something different and so c.o.l came about and I guess the reason why I didn't do an original was because I like working with a very small team or by myself if I can and I knew to make a good original game I would need a decent size team.

Question: Do you have any other extra-curricular activities/hobbies/school/work that you have to juggle while working on your game?

Answer:Yeah,my main hobbie is guitar I practise about 3 times a week with my band,and at weekends I like to go out to a favourite pub of mine with a few friends to watch some local bands.Also I am going to university doing a computer systems course.

Question: How long have you been using sphere or making games?

Answer: I've been using sphere for nearly two years now but only fully for one year.I've been making games four about five years total,using rpg maker for four of those and I used to hack gbc roms before I stared with rpg maker.

Question: How was making this game a learning experience both in sphere and amateur game designing?

Answer: This has been a huge learning experience for me.Learning JavaScript before going into uni has given me a huge boost for the course I am doing because I am learning c++ as part of the course and knowing JavaScript has helped lot in understanding c++.

Question: What's unique or new in your game that isn't in the countless other fan games or the commercial games by nintendo?

Answer:Heh,heres where I get to plug my game.
There are a few new things.There will be a reputation system where unlike the other games if you beat some good trainers like gym leaders all the other trainers you meet on routes still say the same things to you but now depending on your reputation they will react differently.Also if it takes you a couple of times to beat a gym leader you reputation won't go up as much as it would if you beat them in one go.
There is going to be four regions,3 from previous games.Kanto,Hoenn and Johto re-done with new fire red/leaf green graphics.You can choose which region to start with.
There will be two storylines.
There is a companion mode,where your buddy follows you and you can battle and trade with them as well opt to include them in 2v2 battles.
There is a new feature called b-tv which will be an on-going feature after the game has been made and will only be implemented after the game has been released. I don't want to go into too much detail because it's quite a big thing to explain but basically it's like a tv where you can download new episodes of shows which are acted out by the game characters and new episodes will continually be made after the game has finnished.

Question: Are you using original/edited resources or have you created any new pokemon or areas?

Answer:I am using mostly ripped resources from fire red/leaf green.
But there are some new resources as well as quite alot of edited resources which were needed to make Johto.
There are no new pokemon for a few reasons,there are too many already,the game would take longer to make,nobody is willing to make all those new pokemon,etc.There is a new region called the Tilko region which is going to one of the biggest and most diverse regions so far.

Question: What region in the pokemon world does your game take place in?

Answer: It takes place in four regions. Three from previous games and a new one although you choose which to start on and once you go to a new region the trainers pokemon levels will be calculated based on you pokemon's levels so the won't all be walk overs.

Question: This is a silly question, but are you afraid that Nintendo might shut you down like they did Daniel Barras and a few other developers that were making Zelda fan games?

Answer:No way! I'm just gonna say what I think,it seems to me that if the work load get's to much for theese people or they just don't want to make their games anymore they just use the classic Nintendo excuse because I think nintendo have better things to do with their time. If I don't want to make my game anymore I am just gonna say it.

Question: What's your story like? Is it still "GOTTA CATCH THEM ALL" with a few interactions and scripted events like previous pokemon games or will there be an actual on going plot?

Answer:There will be that "GOTTA CATCH THEM ALL" thing but that is only one of the storylines and yes there will be an ongoing storyline,which goes through out the game because the two stories are intertwined.

Question: When or if you finish this game, do you have any plans on making future fan games and what are you plans if you ever do finish this?

Answer: When I finnish this game,if I feel like it i'm going to continue my harvest moon game but other that I don't have any plans to do a game and I probably won't.

Question: If you could say one thing to someone starting in sphere or making a game, what would it be?

Answer:Don't be afraid and don't dive straight into it.(I know that's two things but they kinda go togther).I say don't be afraid to people who are coming from rpg maker and have no programming experiance or to people just coming straight to sphere because even though it may seem daunting if you stick with it the results are worth it.I say don't dive straight into it,to those who wan't start making huge complex games straight away because if you are new to js/programming one of the only ways to make a good game in sphere is to do it piece by piece and things won't seem to hard.The classic example being people asking how to do a battle system.One way to go about it is a bit a time,like come up with an attack forumula and test out by something like printing the results to the screen using just some random stats you come up with.Then build on that by coming up with other forumulae and how to link those together to make the full system.

Anyways, I thought I picked a good game to preview. See you guys next time in about 2 weeks when I find another great game to expose to the gamingw crowd.