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Pokemon Challenge/Modernization Hack (Emerald)

Mar 12, 2018
I feel like the original Pokemon games (given their audience of most;y children and the marketing tactics of Nintendo) have created games that are both too easy and imbalanced. Call me nostalgic but I also feel like some of the designs of Gen V+ mon look horrible. I'd like to make my own mod based on a game/generation that is both somewhat modern mechanically while less power creep-y than current. The plan is to make the game both harder than the base game and introduce (with community discussion with me having the final say) new mechanics piecemeal to make a better version of the existing Pokemon games. The goal is to creating a challenging game that can also function as a competitive patch. My design philsophy:

-Parsimony+Usefulness (We will try to make each move, ability, Pokemon unique in some way and relevant to battle. Nothing redundant or useless should exist. An example of this would be every single Pokemon starting out with Frustration with higher PP and lower damage variance instead of Pound/Scratch/Tackle so I can use those slots to port more Gen IV+ moves.)
-Overall balance (We want all the Fully Evolved Pokemon and Stage Before Fully Evolved + Eviolite to roughly belong to Uber/OU/UU. I'm not sure if we should delete the Pokemon that ended up in NU in Gen III and replace them with better Gen IV+ mons though.)
-Nuzlocke+NoGrind (this should be enforced by ASM hacks. This means a white out should restart the game and corrupt the save file. This means if a pokemon faints, it is automatically released after battle. This means there should be a flag for each route/area which is set when the first non-event Pokemon is met there. Once that Pokemon is met, no more wild Pokemon appear. This also has the benefit of preventing EV training outside of trainer battles.)
-Ability to encounter all 386 (or possibly more) without trading. We are not Nintendo trying to promote the sale of more cartridges. All the Pokemon should be obtainable in one playthrough without trading. However, since Nuzlocke is in play, no one will get all 386 in one playthrough, which adds replay value.
-Increased Difficulty via finite resources (Not sure what this entails, ideas so far:
1. Before any trainer battle starts, you must select the Pokemon. You may not use select more Pokemon than your opponent. Maybe this will be restricted to Gyms/E4/Rival only.
2. On top of NoGrind clause, there is a OncePokemonCenter clause, which states that each Pokemon center location may only be used once per game.
3. On top of the NoGrind clause, there is effectively a no-buy clause, which states that the marts only sell Burn Heal, Antidote, Escape Rope, Repel, and X-STAT items. If I implement 2 and 3, it is very possible I may have to increase the total number of ethers in the game or make ether buyable. I'll adjust other potion availability after we have a patch out and testers give input.
4. On top of the NoGrind clause, there is a no-item clause, which states that only non-held items usable during battle are X-STAT items.
5. Removal of free items like berries being able to grow in loamy soil, getting free berries per day (at the very least, you will no longer be able to get daily healing berries), and pickup giving you potions, rare candies, or extra copies of TMs. Trainer rematches are now fixed to occur after certain events and cap out, meaning no trainer can be rebattled infinitely. The day care no longer levels up your Pokemon, only giving eggs for compatible Pokemon.
6. Player has an IV disadvantage. Something like wild and encounter Pokemon are guaranteed to have 0-1 IVs while enemy trainers will have Pokemon with IVs 30-31. Also, all enemy trainers should be allowed to have EV allocations, just like the Battle Tower trainers. To compensate, Hidden Power always has 70 BP and IVs only determine type.
7. All trainer battles will be like link battles where the player is not prompted about incoming enemy switch-ins.
BONUS. As a reward for beating my hard mode patch, the added difficulty features + nuzlocke features should end after becoming Champion or fighting Steven or capturing a certain post-game legendary.)

Things I'm not decided on. I have some strong but controversial views on certain Gen IV+ mechanics. I'd like the community's input before I proceed:

1. Should we go physical/special split all the way? I feel like it was responsible for actually a lot of otherwise strong Pokemon falling out of the meta. I personally would favor a compromise where:

The defensive stat used to block damage is always based on the typing of the move, using the rules of Gen III.
The offensive stat used to calculate damage should be based on the move itself. Some moves have consistently been special in all generations and the animation gives no ambiguity (like Flamethrower or Solarbeam). Some moves have clearly been physical in all generations and the animation gives no ambiguity (like Cross Chop or Rock Slide). Other moves were special/physical in Gen III and changed in Gen IV+ (like Hyper Beam or Shadow Ball) and many older Pokemon had stats assigned based on the older type=physical/special definitions (and I don't wish to retcon stats except to buff the competitive viability of a Pokemon with unique mechanics like Castform or Ditto), or their animation suggests a special and physical component (like Fire Fang, Aqua Tail, Aqua Jet). IN the cases for these moves, I think the best way is to take the maximum of the Pokemon's ATK and SATK, after calculating stat modifier stages, as the attack stat.

2. Should we implement stealth rock?

I feel stealth rock is unhealthy for the game. Because of stealth rock, certain types become more competitively useless (bug, fire, flying, ice) with a few marked exceptions (usually Pokemon who also had resistances to rock or were super OP already). It actually exacerbated the power creep already because by Gen V and VI, the designs for many pokemon of these types (who didn't take neutral damage to stealth rock) had to have extremely OP stats or attacks just to compensate while older Pokemon were not similarly retconned. This is just a recipe for imbalance and power creep, IMO.

3. Should these exist a non-damaging move that instantly destroys substitutes on top of other effects? I feel like foresight/miracle eye can take this role if evasion is also part of this patch's meta.

4. Should we fully implement Fairy type?

It just feels like this type was created to address the imbalance created by the cumulative effects started in Gen IV (stealth rock, garchomp's troll speed + palkia's defensive typing in Gen IV, very powerful fighting moves on a whole variety of pokemon hitting for physical or special damage, etc.) However, since this patch's goals is to rebalance these errors, maybe Fairy type doesn't need to be fully introduced. I'm open to making normal types "psuedo-fairy" by negating dragon type attacks or removing their weakness to fighting (though the thought of Blissey or Snorlax being stronger than they are now gives me pause on the latter idea), but I'm not sure yet.

5. Should we implement all mega-evolved?

The purist in me feels like Pokemon should remain "recognizable". In this sense, I feel like all Pokemon should evolve no more than 2 times, and some megaevolved were just fanservice for making already popular Pokemon really OP so kids would want to buy the game. At the same time, I don't doubt many Pokemon mega-evolves (for Pidgeot, Beedrill, Sableye, Mawile) were necessary just to make them not useless. In the case of some of the latter (since they already are a twice evolved Pokemon), I might just make their base stats or typings the default for the non-mega evolved Pokemon.

EDIT: Oh right, I probably should describe myself. I know how to ASM hack, but I have zero artistic skills. The last time I touched my assembly was a few years ago, though. I don't know how scripting works, nor am I aware of the latest achievements of Pokemon hacking in the last 5-7 years. If someone can appraise me on which things are currently doable and which things require my original research and what tools are available, I'll be very happy.
Last edited:
Mar 5, 2018
1. I find this idea too complicated for the player. I personally like the phys. special split from gen 4 onwards more.

2. Stealth rocks is so good in competetive play because people switch a lot in competetive play. For Stealth rocks to be powerful ingame, you would have to change the A.I. into making intelligent switches. In general, i do prefer to play without stealth rocks aswell though.
You could also "counter" SR by giving lots of Pokemon access to Rapid spin and Defog while limiting the distribution of Sr or maybe half the damage Sr causes.