I'll showcase here my first PMD Hack: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Alpha! This hack is named after the Alpha Pokemon Arceus, and you got it: the crux of this hack is the implementation of Arceus in the game as the final battle. Already present in the game, but unused and lacking both sprites and portraits, I first wanted to add Arceus to the game. But that's not the main goal of this hack.
I've spent a lot of time in my childhood playing Explorers of Sky, grinding mons up to stats cap by hand, figuring out the game mechanics etc... But I felt like the game could be optimized and made harder, with more QoL features and Pokemon reworks like you could see in Drayano hacks. 6/18/2021:
It's been around 3 months I've been forced to take a pause of Alpha's development for several reasons, from lack of motivation to exhaustion about IRL problems, I had to take a pause.
Now that I found a better pace in my life, I can slowly but gently get back into business with Alpha, and following that, here are the news!
What's planned in 1.3 down below:
Most of these features are finished, if you want to know what is still on the to do list to have an idea:
Before explaining the situation, huge shotouts to Irdkwia, End45 and techticks for their awesome work and for being that knowledgeable. Without them, the project I'm working on for 1.3 wouldn't have made this far!
I'm currently working on adding new moves to the game. I also updated some moves to reflect main series changes, and plan on modifying the way some moves work (like Roost, Morning Sun, Flare Blitz, etc...)
Thus no 1.2.1 version will be released, instead there will be a 1.3 with bugfixes, new TMs compatibility, new Exclusive Items, a way to obtain Corrupted Shield, Corrupted Sword, and Harbinger's Robe, new items like HP Max or Atk Max, eventually even more TMs, new NPCs like a Gliscor selling drugs vitamins like HP Max or Atk Max against $99,999...
I plan a lot for 1.3, and I hope you guys will enjoy it! Peace! 1.2 Patch Notes:
1.1 Patch Notes:
1.0.1 and 1.0.2 Patch Notes:
Here are the features this game has so far
Global dungeon related features:
- you can now change leader after graduation in a large majority of dungeons
- an increased spawn rate: in base games, an enemy spawns every 36 turns and a Kecleon spawns every 3 turns. Now an enemy spawns every 5 turns and a Kecleon spawns every turn.
- as a result you will have to face more enemies and use more moves: moves PP and move Accuracy have been increased for a large majority of them, some other deserved nerfs like Imprison or Teleport being great all around moves.
- along with Accuracy and PP fixes come what I'd call "AI Fixes" of Blizzard, Powder Snow and Ice Shard, not being handled correctly by the AI
- moves are updated so they behave like in Rescue Team DX or Super Mystery Dungeon in terms of range (Light Screen benefits to the whole team, Air Slash is a line of sight move)
- Gen 6+ Steel-Type
- recruitment rate is higher in dungeons
- post-credits Kecleon shops now feature all evolutionary items, including Sun Ribbon and Sun Stone
- Shiny System: now some gender-exclusive pokemon have a shiny form, working in a similar way as Strong Foes in RTDX during early main dungeons. Way stronger than normal, they have a low spawn rate and a very low recruitment rate, which as a result gives you 1/4000 chance to recruit a shiny without any recruitment boost applied Pokemon related features:
- Pokemon having an hidden ability already present in Gen 4 now have this ability in some way. This include Drought Ninetales for instance, but doesn't include Unburden Sceptile for Balancing reasons
- gender dependant abilities
- Pokemon having a mega now have their mega typing (Normal/Fighting Lopunny or Grass/Dragon Sceptile). Other pokemons deserving a better typing are changed aswell, following some of Drayano hacks changes (Electric/Dark Luxray for instance)
- a large majority of Pokemons now have a moveset according to their Gen 8 movesets. It includes (but isn't limited to) Close Combat Lopunny, Brave Bird Ho-oh or Earth Power Venusaur. Other Pokemon having their types changed now learn stab moves more frequently (like Dragon Pulse Charizard as Level-up) or even learn new moves (like Bug Buzz Flygon)
- new TMs: Icy Wind, Fire Punch, ThunderPunch, Ice Punch, AncientPower, Aqua Tail, Earth Power, Gunk Shot, Heat Wave, Iron Head (1.2.1), Outrage, Seed Bomb (1.2.1), Signal Beam (1.2.1), Superpower (1.2.1), Zen Headbutt (1.2.1), Super Fang, Helping Hand, Hyper Voice, Low Kick, Megahorn, Close Combat, Aura Sphere, and Power Whip. Note that only a few are available in 1.2.0, but all will be available in 1.2.1 with a new NPC
- egg moves are now part of level up moves
- pokemon have a better stats curve/better base stats, so they are easier to grind for endgame dungeons (still need to implement stats curve for a large majority of final evolutions tho). That means as the game goes, pokemon are better all-around.
- experience buffs to some final evolved mons, to stick with the global level curve of the hack
- legendary Pokemon now have a shiny form with other abilities and better stats QoL features:
- you start the game with a 48-Sized bag and 1000 slots in Storage
- your starting bag has a plethora of useful items
- GtI experience share, giving Standby Pokemon 50% the exp gain you get in dungeon (credits go to Irdkwia)
- Move Shortcuts, Disable Tips and Same Type Partner patches are included in this hack
- Beach Cave now allows the player to farm useful supplies quickly and easily, in order to prepare yourself for Scenario dungeons
- IQ gains are increased: Wonder Gummi gives +50 IQ, same type Gummies give +25, favored type Gummies give +16, neutral type Gummies give +9, unfavored type gummies give +4, Nectar gives +25
- Dojo Dungeons have a high replay ability, permiting an easier gummi farm for Type-Exclusive Mazes, and an easier vitamins farm for Final Maze
- though Mazes are restricted to one visit per day before you beat the game. The purpose of this change is mainly because of Gummies being present in here, virtually allowing a quick and infinite Stat boosts farm
- Juice Bar animation has been cut
- an Experience farming dungeon is unlocked after beating the full game (not Dialga mind you). You can grind your team here, as well as farming gummies and Reviver Seeds in the second floor
- you have an higher chance to have a Big Win in Spinda Café
- Sentry Duty rewards are more generous
- Kangaskhan Rocks are replaced by Porygon2 in dungeons, having more options for the player
- IQ Groups have been reworked: Lava Evader and Course Checker are replaced by Multitalent and Gap Prober for every IQ group. IQ Groups already having these skills now have other skills, PP Saver or Erratic Player for example
- a new IQ Group: Group S. This group has an unique combination of IQ Skills and is exclusive to shiny legendaries and some other specific species
- Mission ranking now follows the real difficulty of the game. Mission rewards are now more relevant for harder missions.
- Kecleon Supply shop now offers better items at the end of the game
- Surrounded Sea have 2 Blue Gummies in first visit (yes, it's a QoL feature lol)
- you can now recruit Shiny Celebi and Purple Kecleon Gameplay related features:
In order to offer a better experience to the player, this game proposes hard-but-fair challenges:
- Complete Team Control Patch from Cipnit, you can now control the whole team, permiting new strategies and combinations. You can toggle on and off full team control by pressing Start at the beginning of a turn
- allies can now trigger traps
- dungeon have new gimmicks (weather oriented dungeons, debuffing enemies, PP consuming dungeons, etc...)
- in these dungeons, some floors have Reviver Seeds guaranteed to spawn (Quicksand Pit B10F for instance)
- dungeon partners are more reliable (Cresselia is no longer a burden lol)
- some dungeons now have a completely revamped spawn table according to a specific "property" of the species in it (typing, IQ Group, abilities, starter exclusive dungeon, sudo exclusive dungeon, etc...)
- dungeons now have increased IQ enemies (expect 330 IQ enemies after Chasm Cave)
- Burn damage now occurs every 10 turns
- Intimidator IQ Skill now activates 24% of the time instead of 32% of the time
- you can no longer stall bosses: you have a low number of turns required to beat a boss (50 Turns for Spiritomb, 30 for Dialga)
- bosses are made harder and also have new gimmicks
- Aegis Cave puzzle has been removed
- new quests and endgame challenges
- speed related effects last earlier, it does include Slow Start
- level curve adapted to the fact you gain more exp. Expect yourself to be level 100 by the end of the story!
- an anti-cheat was added: you can no longer use Type-Exclusive gems in story dungeons. If you try to bring them to a dungeon, they'll be removed from your inventory before post-Dialga, and removed from your bag during story missions
- along with that, you can no longer enter Wonder Mail S from the main menu. If you try to generate basic missions for first floors in order to have free Exploration Points, it'll not work anymore. You can't generate missions targeting the first floor of a dungeon too.
- some dungeons have more floors, it includes Seven Treasures dungeons, Surrounded/Miracle Sea, and Spacial Rift Depths
- Zero Isle has been made harder (North doesn't allow rescues and items when entering it, South scales up to level 45, Center expects you to beat it in one blow with IQ Skills disabled)
- Destiny Tower is now SPMD one, allows recruiting and has unique species in it Screenshots:
Title screens were changed so they use HGSS' Mystri Stage cutscene images
UI has been revamped: it's now constant dark mode
This hack features Item Icons like in SPMD (patch made by me)
Here's a screen showing other QoL features
More diverse recruitment tables, along with recruitment enabled in a large majority of dungeons, and even new species recruitable!
New dungeons, and even more boss battles/gimmicks
Speaking of bosses, here are screenshots of harder boss fights
In order to make the game harder, some bosses were changed
New events showcase, including new boss fights
Bosses are now indefinitely repeatable, and now give better rewards
New exclusive items for new Pokemon, along with Arceus exclusive items
New TMs, with flavor text. Here are 4 examples
Shiny System and more!
As of 1.2.0, here are the main "issues" you can expect:
- Arceus still has the dummy sprite
- Rotom-Forms have Rotom sprite, though portraits, stats, movesets and typings are implemented
- You can't enter Spacial Rift from Crossroads with more than 24 items
- Some TMs may have incorrect compatibilities/some compatibilities missing, don't hesitate to DM me on Discord so I can correct these moveset errors on further releases
- 1.0 and 1.1 Saves may have some pokemon reverted to Shiny in 1.2
- I haven't uploaded any documentation yet
Here's the to do list:
- adding Arceus and Rotom forms sprites (since I'm not a spriter, it doesn't depend of me)
- for 1.3: finish new TMs compatibility, add the reward intended for Special Episode 5 completion, improve the Dojo anti-abuse check, custom move effects, custom moves such as Shell Smash, and move fixes like Gen 5+ Tail Glow
- documentation Special thanks:
The most important part of this post for me! Because this project wouldn't have made this far without them!
- Parakoopa: he's SkyTemple developer and always here to help when it's necessary for me. The community around SkyTemple is so kind and so cheerful that I couldn't thank him enough for that. Here's the link of SkyTemple Discord.
- PsyCommando: one of the very first to research and investigate PMD Sky in this post. His tool gfxcrunch helped me with sprite editing in the early days.
- UsernameFodder: the author of this Google Doc where you can find a useful list of IDs by index for quite everything, from Item IDs to Dungeon IDs. A great help when scripting!
- Audino: he programmed SpriteBot featuring a more than never easy way to import sprites in a PMD Sky Rom
- gromcrunch for Tilesets
- Fable_Amare for Arceus portrait and Rotom Forms portrait. Make sure to check their work!
- Lumi for Grovyle's asset
Lasts but no least:
- Cipnit/Jirt: The one who made this Complete Team Control Hack
- techticks: worked on an ASM Editor which works similar to softs like algobox. It still lacks a lot of structures, but for now the UI itself is huge to build at least 80% of Gen V+ move effects along with eos-move-effects project examples
- Irdkwia: he helped the community a real lot recently with his research. Fixed Room, Mission Ranking, Treasure Town Shops and a plethora of sprite assets are editable thanks to him. GtI experience system and future custom move effects ASM hack are by him.
- End45: this man is cracked. Without him, half of this hack features wouldn't be possible. I'll list all the help he provided to me: IQ Gain table editing, Type Table editing, IQ Groups editing, Doom Desire move effect, exclusive items editing, control patches, and even more! Always knowledgeable, and always reseaching a ton of stuff, helping others to succeed in their own research, I think we can't thank him enough for all the stuff he's doing for the community
The xdelta patch is found here: PMD Explorers of Alpha 12.xdelta. You need to patch an US Explorers of Sky Rom in order to make it work.
This hack is expected to be played on an emulator so I'm clueless about playing it on real hardware (it seems to work on real hardware from what I've heard).
Don't hesitate to join SkyTemple Discord if you want to ask me for help or report any bug (Discord Tag: Solace?#7229 or Mond#3823), however even with my Discord tag, I highly recommand you to join SkyTemple Discord since I'm mostly active here