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  • Pokemon Reborn Development Blog

    Hello! My name is Ame and I sometimes get ahead of myself. ^~^
    The others and I may occasionally post updates about how progress on the game is going here!


    By andracass, in Records,

    wow it has been nearly 6 months from my last post.
    well, if you're new here: hi, i'm cass. i get mad at the scripts. sometimes i even post about it!
    lately, though, i have not. grad school kinda showed up and kicked my ass, and the two primary things i've been working on are suuuuuper big and not ready for prime-time. those two things are a rewrite of the AI and a more organized method of handling field effects. the AI isn't ready because the AI has like 40000 lines of code and if i think about that for too long i lose my will to work, and the field effects aren't ready because the field effect system is complicated and i hardly know what i'm doing. the code is still spaghetti, my hashes are backwards, and i'm basically learning how to do what i'm doing on the spot.
    so it'll be a bit.
    for now, though, i would like to tell you about something that does not matter in the slightest.
    and that is the move razor wind.
    you have never used this move except, perhaps, on accident.
    it has actually been removed from canon games as of gen 8.
    since you have never heard of this move before, i will explain how it works.
    imagine using strength, except you have to wait a turn before attacking.
    that's razor wind.
    there is, however, one incredible trait about razor wind.
    a trait that elevates it above all other moves.
    and that is its japanese name.

    a lot of moves have japanese names that, when spoken, sound like typo'd english. razor wind is notable for not being such a move. the name refers to a spirit in japanese folklore that rides on dust devils and inflict small cuts on those caught in one. (links included if you just want to hear about this from the source!)
    as a pokemon move, one could think of it as something akin to "acting like a kamaitachi". english does this shit all the time. computers compute. displays display. i am looking at my desk desperately grabbing examples.
    but a poorer translation might not understand this.
    a poorer translation could be mean.
    a poorer translation might be "slash like weasel".
    and thus, weaselslash was born.
    now, of course, the comedy implications of this were readily apparent to myself.
    but ame was horrified.
    a thing that happens between her and i is that one of us will be like "huh, this is such a strange name for what this thing does." and then ame will be like "well, i wonder what it is in japanese." 
    i'll say something like "well, it's probably, like, strangeo nameo or something"
    and then she'll look it up and it'll be strangeo nameo.
    i think this is hilarious. ame makes a "hurts just a little bit" face.
    but then we looked up razor wind. and razor wind wasn't a typo! 
    it had origins that were actually interesting and grounded in folklore!
    so, naturally, i turned to ame and said
    "so what you're saying is that, in japanese, razor wind is weasel slash."
    and ame died that day.
    the implications are hilarious.
    imagine you're playing, say, rejuv.
    you're at the scene where madame x is about to obliterate you with an yveltal.
    and then that yveltal summons up a giant swarm of weasels.
    a swarm of weasels that takes one turn to charge up.
    a swarm of weasels that then returns both you and your team to the dirt from which it came.
    this yveltal thing is not a joke. this is real. you can take your friendly neighborhood yveltal to the move relearner who will, for the price of one heart scale, teach your yveltal to summon slashy weasels.

    (credit to crim for this incredible pic)
    *note: i suspect that, somewhere out there on the internet, there is a mole person just waiting to comment with "well aktually I used razor wind back in generation 3 and i know all of its mechanics so you're wrong"
    this person is a clown and i would like to politely request that the rest of the comment section refer to them as such

    hello my children, i have come to feed you
    since coming back to the project a month and a half ago, a fair bit has happened. i did take some time to warm up back up to thing, we moved over to a new file management system, also cass and i just moved into a new place like, last week so that's been taking up a fair chunk of time....
    critically, we also have two new additions to the team: @crimsoncrim and @Azzie !  those of you who frequent the discord server probably already know them, and might've already noticed them popping up in the Developers group, those of you who don't already know them are missing out because they're both wonderful. crim has been helping a lot with various sprites, and will be joining me on mapping, and Azzie is around to put her writing skills to work and spin gold out of dialogue for us in the postgame! 
    but how about that postgame?
    my focus since returning has been on the nightclub. There were a lot of things in it that were like, half-done. Those of you who fondly remember the progress bars can probably think of some of them. By now, most of those things are a lot more than half-done-- in fact, everything there is properly functional already! Some events are missing dialogue, but that can always be filled in later. Let's take a quick tour of the facilities, shall we? Starting with the one that ties them all together--
    The BP Store
    A classic postgame staple-- you're gonna fite, you're gonna earn points, and here you can spend them. We're not adding gen 8 to E19 for now at least, but that doesn't mean we can't take some of their QoL features

    We got mints, we got Large EXP Candies sold by as much as 20 at a time, Ability Capsules, a selection of competitive-grade items. Whatever you might want to help you get new team members up to speed for postgame antics and more. 
    But let's get to the real business. All of the following facilities are level-locked to 100 and provide BP should you prevail in them.
    The Battle Pavilion
    Bread and butter battle tower, brought straight to your local nightclub's dance floor! Get down or get knocked down. There are a couple changes from the usual battle tower format:
    Firstly, there's no heat-up period. Canon battle towers drip feed you a selection of low BST sandbag mons for the first couple rounds before putting on their big boy pants, but this is Reborn, and you're in the post-game; there's no need to waste your time with that. We'll be hitting you hard right off the bat, so get ready The Battle Pavilion is equipped for both 3v3 Singles or 4v4 Doubles In Singles, each set of 7 trainers will be capped off by a miniboss that you might recognize from the game! Examples include your local gang leader, corin-rouge, and madame meganium.  Fields enabled! Each match will take place with a random field effect, so be ready to adapt fast! You can challenge with or without field effects on, but the BP reward is higher with them  

    The Battle Factory
    Say whaaaaaaaaaaaat
    Pokemon Essentials has a built in implementation of the fan-favorite Battle Factory straight outta Sinnoh. But! It's broken. As a result, we had no intention of including it, but then our boy @Toothpastefairy shows up outta nowhere like "hey i fixed battle factory" so guess what y'all are getting. 
    Rent a team from a random selection of nearly 1600 Pokemon sets! You'll fight through opponents with the rented Pokemon in a variety of challenges! After each battle, you can choose to swap one of your Pokemon with an opponent's! 3v3 Singles and 4v4 Doubles are enabled! Three modes exist for Battle Factory Classic mode-- No field effects here. Like canon, you'll be given a hint about what kind of team your next opponent has so you can plan accordingly! Set Field mode-- One random field effect will be chosen and used for the entire 7 battle set. Optimize your team for the field as you go! Random Field mode-- Each battle will have a different random field effect! You'll find out what your next fight is beforehand so be ready to swap and adapt according to what's next!  

    The Rush Challenge
    After a certain point in postgame, you'll be able to take on our Boss Rush! Face all of the surviving leaders in succession in a battle of attrition and skill.
    You'll be healed in between, but can one team make it through all the way?  They're packing heat! Expect to see some legendaries in their teams this time around. Everyone gets one now! The fun doesn't stop there-- Beat the challenge once and you'll unlock the X-League-esque hard mode! Instead of being limited to one legendary, they can have as many as they want. Watch out!  

    Theme Teams
    This is where all of our failed Boss Rush teams have gone to die-- and by "die" I mean "live forever in notoriety"! We (and @andracass in particular) made a ton of teams for you to fight on various fields-- every character should have at least two. Wanna see mono-bug on Glitch? A Rock team for Murkwater? Any other silly idea we've come up with in last two years?? They'll be here. You name the team-- they name the field. This one's mostly just for fun and creativity, but they're still eligible for BP and a hard battle!
    Choose your fighter!

    (Like the last time Cass showed this off, the characters in the above image are explicitly randomly selected, so don't assume it means anything about the story ^~^ )
    Mix 'n Match
    We've got a lot of characters, don't we? We also made a lot of theme teams... Many of them are just sitting around. 
    But why should we be the ones to tell you what to do with them all the time? Here to put the power in your hands, Mix 'n Match is a customizable doubles multibattle feature!
    You pick your opponents, you pick their teams (from the theme teams available), you pick their fields. You can also pick a partner! A selection of trainers will register as available to use as a partner for this mode during postgame (depending on their relationship points with you at the end of the main story). Everyone who has relationship points and is alive can technically be a partner, though even I have no idea how many it's possible to pick up during a playthrough.  Lonely, or just brave? Go in solo and fight a 6v12 death match for extra BP!  

    Shout out to crim for the Arc backsprite-- and many many others! She and @smeargletail have really done a world of wonder on the sprites in the last few weeks.
    And that's the show! There will be other events (such as the entire quest hub) in the nightclub as well, but these are the main battle facilities. With all of them just about set and done, I've already started to return to working on quests. I'll come back with more again someday, I promise. Until next time~


    hi again

    By Amethyst, in Records,

    i don't suppose you remember me, do you?
    i think it's been like, five hundred pandemic years or something since i've posted here. as many of you know from cass's previous posts, since around september of last year i've been focusing on a different project.
    gosh, that took a while, didn't it?
    once again, i want to thank everyone for their patience as always... but uh, we finally got a demo for that out, so maybe, possibly, go try it out, if you haven't already?
    we'll begin actively developing starlight for real once reborn is finished but i felt like it was important to finish the demo before reborn was done so that the community didn't feel like it had no choice but to just die once the game was finally out for real. i think there's been an expectation for some number of years that once 19 is done, the community will be. and uh-- nawh. but to make sure that didn't happen, and to make sure people could see what they might have to stick around for, i felt it was necessary to get that going sooner rather than later, and then come back to finish postgame.
    this was, in retrospect, a mistake.
    not for any """real""" reason, to be clear-- but the mental burden of putting reborn and everyone on hold or trying to split focus between two projects was a lot heavier than i expected. aside from keeping the devblog warm while i've been away, please appreciate cass for generally keeping me sane through the last year or so, because some of the stress had really been starting to get to me. i'm still working on shaking that off, tbh, but it'll be fine. on the other hand, i know i was getting pretty tired towards the end of making the main story, and i feel like taking a break for starlight has helped me come back to the project with a clearer head, more ready to finish it out properly.
    that is to say, if it wasn't clear enough already: reborn will now be actively developed again.
    another advantage to having taken time off from the project is that i've learned a few things, mainly about myself. and how to actually play nice with a team, since i haven't been very good at doing that in the past.
    but the main thing i've realized is that i hate to-do lists. they are soul-sucking. i feel a lot better about things when i am looking at problems in the game and fixing them on the spot rather than looking at a list of problems about the game several hundred lines long and just kind of getting overwhelmed.
    this is unfortunate for me as a person who has mainly organized her work in the past almost exclusively through to-do lists.
    now y'all don't care that much about my personal organization, that's stuff i have to figure out, but the point of this is that uh those task bars? that used to be on the right there?
    they're not coming back.
    because all that is is just one giant public to-do list. 
    a constant reminder of all of the things i still have not done and still have to do breathing down my neck.
    i know they're cool, i know they're useful for communicating to everyone how far along we are.
    and maybe we can figure out something similar
    but for my own sanity
    they're cancelled, and they're staying cancelled.
    in return i'll try to like, actually post or something once in a while. 
    but, like, no promises. i still prefer to spend time doing the thing rather than talking about doing the thing. 
    okay, so, the million dollar question: when will e19 be released?
    and i still don't have that answer. no one has that answer. the only answer to that that exists is 'sometime in the eventual future'
    but we'll like, keep you in the loop one way or another. there will have to be testing before it releases, starting with internal testing. so that might be a good indicator of it's coming up.
    just hang tight until then y'all

    serious post.
    it's been a bit over a year since i wrote the post announcing postgame. it's been about two years since e18 came out. people have been wondering things like "is the game dead?" and "where's e19?". while these sorts of questions tend to be a little annoying when asked reasonably near an episode's release date, we've reached a time when they become appropriate, legitimate questions. so let's talk about what's going on.
    the biggest thing is starlight. 
    for those of you who do not know, ame is currently also working on Starlight Divide, a tRPG that will be her next game after reborn is done. she is developing it entirely from scratch. development for it began basically right after the story for e19 was finished/functional and it has been continuing pretty much since then.
    developing from scratch is hard.
    fangame development has a few advantages in that the mechanics have been laid out by gamefreak (for better or for worse) and essentials offers a base set of tools to build games from (for better or for worse). in no way does this imply that developing quality content is easy, but it is still fairly simple to pick up some tools and get going.
    starlight does not have that. after being worked on for a year, it has almost approached the point of being playable. and then there's an entire game that needs to be made on top of it.
    the reason starlight is an issue for e19 is because of timing.
    the original plan for development was something like: e19m -> starlight -> starlight demo release -> e19p -> e19 release.
    (i use e19m as shorthand for the main story and e19p as shorthand for postgame.)
    this order was decided for a lot of reasons. there's general reborn burnout, ame wanted to start a new project, hiding from the big N (hi reggy thx 4 ur mercy), it provides some amount of project continuity, among other things.
    this order was decided a year ago. i'll just straight-up say that, in hindsight, this was a mistake. i don't think we were expecting the demo to take so long, nor did we account for the development pressure of working on two games concurrently. not releasing new content for two years is a bit anxiety-provoking.
    at this point, the starlight demo is probably going to be finished first, so realizing that the development plan was a mistake isn't going to result in it changing. this is basically just an explanation for why things have taken so long.
    i also want to talk about progress bars.
    i've noticed that a lot of discussions about development (and this would also apply to rejuv and deso a bit as well) will occasionally include a mention of "the game is at X% and that means [something]!" in reborn's case, the thing that it "means" is that the game has hovered around 52% completion for a while and thus there has been no development on the game.
    that is not even remotely true.
    to be fair, i suspect that the people who assume there has been no development are also not reading anything i say here (including this! fuck.), but it also says something about what people think when they see the numbers on the little sidebar over there. --->
    the progress bar numbers are made up. 
    (by me, i should add.)
    the point of the progress bars is to offer a condensed look at what we've done and what we plan to do. the X% of the bottom is there to give some kind of impression of what the overall progress looks like.
    I sure don't fuckin know what the overall progress looks like.
    the progress bars are basically calculated by me looking at various aspects of the game and going "eh, sure, this can be 3% of the total!" and then adding up all those shitty guesses i'm making.
    the problem then is that the bars are structured around what we expect to be working on- which usually involves game content.
    none of those guesses involved MKXP, or the massive, ridiculous amounts of code cleanup we've been doing. that number probably isn't even going to move until the starlight demo come out since ame tends to work on the game content. there's more stuff that we're planning to do in the future that i also already know won't be represented in the progress bars. the X% at the bottom is practically lying to you. 
    because of this, it's tempting to pull the bars down until reborn development picks up. in their current state, they're kind of a pain in the ass for everyone: i have to keep them up to date, they put pressure on the development team to overwork since there's a lot of stuff to do, and it makes everyone watching them impatient for the next release. (in fact, i think i just convinced myself that taking them down is a good idea and should probably be done.)
    we know that there's a lot of people hyped up for e19, and so I really want to make it clear that we will be playing everything regarding its development completely straight. when development picks up again I will tell you. when we're going to start testing soon I will tell you. when we're planning to do a community release I will tell you.
    (or, well, someone will. i've taken point on a lot of this lately but it won't necessarily be me.)
    so, in the interests of transparency...
    gen 8
    i hope i don't regret this
    marcello wants to do it and i don't. that's the short version. the real version is a lot more complicated.
    will it be in e19? it is highly likely no. it'd involved redoing a lot of work that's been done on the game since e18 (much of which was done by me, hence my bias) and i think it'd be really putting way too much pressure on development/testing to implement it across the whole game. it'd also add on a lot of extra dev time to a release that is already massive. i say it's "highly likely no" because there are circumstances under which this may change, such as the current development slowdown stretching into next year and, thus, allowing some time for us to get everything implemented. the DLC may also influence this.
    will it come out after e19? maybe! it's still way too soon to talk about what happens after e19 since a lot can change between now and then, but I don't think there'd be any reason to avoid a DLC-esque update after the game is done. there's some other stuff we may want to do then, too (hard mode, maybe).
    i feel like there's more that I need to say... but i'm basically out of things to say.
    in short, don't panic. we're working on it.



    By andracass, in Records,

    hi there.
    i've posted nothing but the heaviest fuckin code posts for, like, 10,000 dev blogs now.
    have some cat.

    now i know what you're thinking.
    "is this cat actually that fuckin pretty"
    and yes. she is.

    this is important.
    oh also we made a thing for when you choose theme teams.

    that confetti thing is supposed to be an arrow, but ame's really funny so she changed it to confetti. 
    and i know what you're thinking- "hey wait isn't [character] missing?" 
    this is a spoiler free post. terra is definitely just there because it's funny.
    radomus's hat also changes.

    that's important.
    kayo imma get back to my napnap now bye
    also thanks for the support y'all its real nice

    remember me
    i haven't posted in, like, a month- probably the longest period of time that i've gone without posting since the start of this whole optimization fuckfest.

    this post is a little difficult for me to write because i really don't feel like i'm done. over the course of this summer, i've probably spent more time coding than i've spent sleeping ("definitely. not even a contest." ame says to me as i write this) and i still do not remotely feel like i'm done. there is just so much work left and so much more that could be done on all of this that stopping now feels wrong.
    but i also, like, can't anymore.
    ame and i have kind of taken to calling this little bouts of mine, my Apeshit of the Month ™️. it's basically just rips on the fact that when i usually work on the game i just go nonstop for a long period of time before i burn out and do nothing for a little bit before just going off on another Apeshit of the Month. i think i'm now reaching the end of my energy for that.
    originally, this month was just supposed to be a mini-continuation of last month- little bit more optimization in the AI to speed up how long a turn takes to process. it then kinda blew up. some other section of the code would end up catching my attention and i'd end up getting distracted, or i'd see something and it'd annoy me so i'd start working on it- not to mention that 90% of my coding experience has come in the past few months, so i'd occasionally see something i did a few weeks ago and think "wow, this is shit" and then i'd end up redoing it.... and i think i've just reached the point where i've coded my heart out and need to do something else now.
    this post is a mix of a catalog of what i've done for the sake of actually making a record of it and also a deep-ish dive into what the code does and how it does it for those of you who are interested in coding things yourselves.
    (and likely some angy for those who enjoy that too.)
    gonna be a loooooooooong fuckin post.
    How many levels in a meech?'
    for my opening act, we have something that i actually forgot about until right before i started writing this post. this fix comes courtesy of our dear mr. perrence, who did this way back in june, which i then immediately forgot about because there's just been so much happening. this came up when i was running a profiler to see what functions were being called during the AI phase of a four-person double battle. four-person doubles are great for these. since you have 3 AI trainers in the fight, as well as multiple targets that each of them need to choose from, it creates a situation where the scripts are basically being stressed-tested to the greatest extent possible during normal gameplay.
    so i ran this profile, and saw that there were 244265 calls to the pbGetExpInternal function. 
    that's a lot of calls!
    so let's take a peek at what's going on here.
    (pictures with a white background are from essentials v17.2, and pictures with a black background are reborn code, for reference.)

    what you are seeing is the calculation for EXP. most of this isn't actually relevant here, since levels under 100 just need to check an exp table. it's also fairly inoccuous- if this function is being called a fuckload of times, the true culprit is the function that is calling it:

    HAHA, i've got you NOW, essentials!!!!! just wait until i tell everyone about how BAD you a- wait, no, actually, this function seems fine. the for loop explains why it's getting called so much too, i mean, look at meech:

    meech so stronk it's gotta run 100 times for her.
    ...but then why is it running 244265 time?
    and that brings me to the TRUE culprit:

    the problem here is not about what the code is doing, but rather, what it is not. and the thing that it is not doing is saving your level.
    this means that your level is manually calculated up based on exp (like it says right there) every time it's needed.
    this can be fixed by making a class variable:

    and just like that: poof. the game has obtained new knowledge. never again will unsuspecting pokmans be level checked more than once.
    The Compil - nope, nope, not yet, too scary
    uhhhh let me see what else i've got in here...
    *blows dust off the code
    Set HW_XYZ
    so all the way back in june again, we noticed that a bulky sprite refresh function would be called every time a sprite's attributes were changed.
    here it is now, the privrefresh function:

    there it is!
    it's 350 lines long, quite big, does a lot of math (you know how much i hate math).
    now, i'm not going to sit here and tell you to remove this function and replace it with sharktale.

    (pictured here: me, working on the code)
    that would be silly.
    but there are certainly times when the function doesn't need to be called, like when you're setting a bunch of variables before the sprite is even displayed on-screen. those calls aren't necessary.
    which brings me to the setHW_XYZ function.

    (pay no mind to the variable names. hopefully no one will throw rocks at me for this.)
    this neat little function only runs privrefresh once for five whole variables wow crazy.
    this is boring. like, this is definitely an optimization, but...god i just hate graphics. i think we ended up just putting it in the initialization functions and left it at that.
    let's get to the good stuff.
    grab your hazmat suit, remember the buddy system, and send some prayers to The Exalted Lord Arceus (praise be) and get ready to dive into
    The Compiler
    (ok. i can do this.)
    the compiler is-

    the compiler is just...

    don't forget about move memory. we'll come back to that. also shout out again to the Fairy of Toothpaste for patching up the battle factory. lad's killin it.
    the compiler is just....... terrifying.
    i mean, look at this!

    those aren't even words!

    how does anyone manage to look at this and not immediately have a brain aneurysm?? 

    the compiler is the one place
    that no one should go
    it is such a terrible place
    or, at least,
    it was
    now? i am beeg cass. i have fought the AI. i have fought the battle system. 
    and now?
    i fite the compiler.
    let's go.
    last time, on Dragon Blog Z:

    we had THIS.
    hooooooo i was mad. i was all out here like 😠 thats how mad i was.
    also it turns out this wasn't the real culprit either.
    like, it was a culprit, but arresting this guy would be like giving someone a parking ticket when there's a murderer on the loose.
    the true real final ACTUAL culprit times infinity
    was this.

    this rat bastard. 
    this piece of shit was behind it all.
    lemme tell you about what this function does.
    it opens a file.
    wow. i'm so smart.
    it reads the file.
    incredible. how do i do it
    while this is, of course, a perfectly acceptable way to save and load move memory, it wasn't good enough for me.
    there are lots of ways to load and process data. this function here uses a bitstring.
    imagine a very, very, very long line of numbers, stretching off into space.
    that's what moves.dat looks like.
    the actual data that you want from moves.dat is located somewhere in that string. to find it, this function shifts to a certain section of the string (determined based on the move ID), reads the data out piece by piece, and then ends the read.
    this isn't an inherently bad way to process memory. it does work, after all. but it's definitely not efficient. the series of function calls, coupled with the frequency at which this function itself is called, means that string processing becomes a lot of what the battle system does in the background.
    so i changed it.

    feast your eyes.
    now this is how to read memory.
    moves.rxdata is basically identical to moves.dat, but instead of having data in a bitstring, it has it in an array. not only is this a lot faster to process, but it's also really easy to read.
    want the function code? it's in [id][0]. there ya go. ez.
    if, for some reason, you just randomly want the effect of move 482 in some oddball script, you can just grab it with $pkmn_move[482][6]. simple, speedy, clean.
    abilities wasn't off the hook, though.

    ok compiler. let's go and have a ch-

    nope nope nope im out byeeeeeee
    so the compiler as a whole is a little bit too large to post here; while this is a blog post about coding and script changes, i don't really want to blind you with more blind text than my lawyers recommend.
    but i also think i spent a few hours staring at this trying to understand what it did, and i don't want anyone to have to go through that.
    so i'll take pieces and explain them and we'll go from there.
    let's start with this.

    this is from essentials 17, so it won't be what our code looks like. i just don't want to get hurt this time.
    this section defines how the PBS data gets processed (pokemon.txt in particular for this). it defines: 1.) what section this pertains to, 2.) what byte the data gets written to, and 3.) what type of data gets written.
    take, for example, "Color". whatever is entered in the "Color" field in the PBS will be written to byte 6 and processed as type "e". (it also requires PBColors in order to function.)
    the problem i have with this process is pretty much the same problem that i had with moves.dat- it's a lot of data processing for very little (if any) gain. the difference here is that patching move compilation was easy.
    for moves, you just take this:

    and tell it to stop.

    "why is it moves.rxdata?" you might be wondering. and, well, idk. i'm not sure that the file extension matters a whole lot for this and it seemed like a simple way to differentiate between the two.
    dexdata compilation, on the other hand, is like what if the move compilation was tied into a knot. and written in dothraki. and you had to read it with your chin.
    instead of rewriting it, i managed to get away with just repurposing the current code to throw everything into an array rather than a bit string:

    pg-13 warningL there is a swear word here. if you find such language offensive, then how did you make it on a fangame for pokemon reborn
    (as you can see i was getting rather frustrated with the code.)
    this array is all of your pokemon data. you'll notice that there are a handful of nested arrays inside of it- they're placed where they are to match up with the old order that dexdata was stored in. it's super arbitrary.
    the order that data gets stored in is determined by the same parameter that determined what byte data was stored in.

    color would be the first item, type 1 would be the third item, base stats would be the fifth (and is, itself, an array) and so on. it's not really in a very intuitive order, but that's mostly because i'm not really sure an intuitive order exists for this.
    the section that allocates data to specific bytes is a little spread out, so i'm going to skip the explanation there (i didn't really do a whole lot to it and also holy shit this post is massive already)  and jump to implementing this.
    because it's a fuckin pain.
    i'll walk you through it.

    this is an example of a call to dexdata. the calls are all structurally similar: dexdata is opened, the bitstring is offset to the data you want, the data is pulled, and dexdata is closed.
    pbDexDataOffset is what's really running the show here. the number at the end of the function corresponds to the specific data it needs- in this case, the 8 refers to Type1, which you can confirm by checking the original code.
    fgetb and fgetw read a specific number of bytes of data. it reads 1 byte for the type and 2 bytes for height/weight. 
    with the new system, that code becomes this:

    $pkmn_dex is preloaded at game start, so there isn't a check to see if it exists or not. if you somehow manage to get in-game without it preloaded, then, well, i'm impressed! also please don't do that.
    you can see that it works pretty much the same as move initialization did earlier. you put in the pokemon, you put in the index of data you want, and boom. you have it.
    we are moving off some antiquated data structures one step at a time.
    now, for me, patching dexdata was about me looking at how this worked and going "hhhhhhhhhhhh i hate this", thus sparking a strong desire to fix
    but this code is also, like, actually bad.
    infinite fusion had to weigh adding more pokemon (its main feature) against the game grinding to a halt whenever dipping into dexdata
    rejuv can't add gen 8 without compiler edits because the compiler effectively limits the total number of abilities to 256. gen 8 has more than that.
    it's kinda bad.
    that's enough on the compiler- i've been writing this post for five hours and we're still not even on the ai.
    spoiler alert
    The AI
    so i spent, like, three days on the compiler?
    the rest of the apeshit of the month went in to this fuckin thing.
    there is just... so much to cover here.
    over the course of the last month, we trimmed the ai from 42,000 lines to just a bit under 25,000.
    some of this was just code cleanup
    some of this involved offloading work off into individual functions
    some of this was to fix some bugs.
    the rest..... i don't even remember. it was so long ago.
    first let's cover some background stuff.
    Importing Hidden Classes aka "i hope you liked talking about the compiler earlier"
    during compilation, hidden classes are made that hold the IDs of everything that you've compiled. they're hiding off to the side, in that constants.dat (or rxdata. one of them.) since they're off to the side, though, they aren't always accessible to the main script classes, which occasionally means that direct calls to them will fail. i manually imported them by modifying the compiler to yeet them out entirely instead of adding them to the constants file and then copying them into the main scripts myself.
    is this a good way to do it? no. i already know that there's a better way, but i just have really burned out hard on this and don't plan to get to it immediately. but it involves having the scripts import themselves. 's fun.
    this one was me. i did this.
    i made PBStuff to store large arrays of constants that frequently get called/checked together. this was mostly for the sake of the AI, which tended to have these very long lists of moves that stretched out well beyond the incredibly small rmxp script window, but it also came in handy for making sure that ability-changed moves like role play and entrainment would, like, actually fuckin work correctly. 

    wow! comments! that explain things!
    so this was pretty important for code cleanup for two reasons.
    the first is that it makes the code much more readable if you're just calling an array of things rather than just rattling off a massive list of moves/abilities. 
    the second is that it ended up fixing a lot of issues with role play/etc, which had some abilities missing because those moves are really picky.
    in the end, it allows for stuff to go from this: 

    to this:

    i do not know for sure if it correctly gets called as an array with this syntax.
    which is just so much clearer.
    okay. let's get started with the real stuff.
    isConst? and hasWorkingAbility
    this'll get me some hate mail.
    i opened this post by talking about how exp/leveling functions work, and that they were called 60 billion times.
    well, these two functions were the next two worst offenders.

    (this is from one AI phase.)
    so what do these functions do?
    this one you've already seen from the Role Play screencap. isConst? takes 3 parameters: an object, the class you want to check, and the value you're checking for. isConst? puts them together like so:

    if you're still with me, this far into my gigantic post, then you might see my issue here.
    isConst? checks to see if a value exists before it gets that value.
    it has a rescue statement if the value does not exist.
    so why not just directly get the value?
    the rescue statement would catch it the same way.
    but then, later on, I realized something.
    why does this function exist?
    you can see in PBStuff that i have arrays of values that are all called like this: [CLASS]::[VALUE], which is functionally identical to what isConst? does.
    and the reason it doesn't work is because it can't directly access the hidden classes.
    fixing this is what originally prompted me to import the hidden classes into the scripts; that's what enables the use of the class/value call. nearly every single instance of isConst?(val,mod,constant) can just be replaced with
    [val] == [mod]::[constant]
    and skip out on several lookups and function calls.
    hasWorkingAbility? faces a similar situation:

    it's effectively a glorified isConst? call. 
    the checks that are made here are necessary, but they are also being run a lot. 
    these calls can be replaced by running a single check at the start of a large function, and then replacing the remainder of the calls with (abilityworks && object.ability == PBAbilities::Ability), which can then be condensed further with some organizing. (i'm also considering just making a class variable, but i only thought of it this morning. work is never done.)
    AI Move Memory Utilities
    remember this from earlier? the AI move memory system is part of what helps the AI just kick your ass. 
    it also takes up a lot of space in the AI. i mentioned that there were about 17k lines of code that are gone now. 10k of that was through ai memory functions.
    every AI move memory check has two basic components: it first pulls the memory, and then it pulls certain information from it. there's a lot of things that are done with the memory, but the majority of it falls into four categories.
    the memory puller is here:

    and all of the utility functions are here:

    astute readers will notice that there are five functions here. however, we all know that in ruby, the 5th element in an array is index 4. so thus i'm still correct and not just too exhausted to change that number.
    this, in combination with the PBStuff arrays allows these massive chunks of code to be condensed into single lines.


    imagine that happening hundreds of times and you know what's happened to the AI code.
    *checks watch
    i'm almost 8 hours into this post.
    last big thing and y'all can go home.
    AI restructure
    so i'm sitting here talking up a big game about the ai. but did you know, that our perfect ai, that even it has flaws? it's true! i was also surprised.
    when making decisions, the AI first decides if it should switch, then it decides if it should use an item, and finally it picks a move.
    every single step, the AI checks the scores of all of its moves.

    pictured above: death.
    to fix this, i cut pbChooseMoves in half and put the actual movescore grabbing bit in front.

    this is a much simpler change than the others, but it slices a large chuck of the AI processing time off.
    ok. we did it. actual dev content over. y'all can go home.
    imma end this out on a more personal note.
    frequent readers of my posts (thank you! and also: why?) will recall that last time i posted, it consisted of direct screencaps of the dev server where i was Very Angry about code inefficiency.
    frequent readers of the comments (why? and also: no seriously why would you do that) will also recall that a Big Fan of essentials showed up to call bullshit on the work i've done over the past few months (despite not really understanding what i do), before calling me a memer rather than a programmer.
    this hurt me.
    likewise, this post was kind of a chore to write.
    that's never happened before.
    these posts have always been written in a certain style that i hope conveys a feeling that i am speaking to you, rather than simply putting words on a page that you then read and process. it's a stylistic choice on my part that i understand some people appreciate and some people don't.
    writing in an informal, open way, only to have someone- a rival community admin- show up on your devblog to tell you that the work you've put into your game is shit kinda fucks you up. 
    i've spent a lot of time checking over my shoulder for everything i've written. "oh hey, is this code absolutely perfect?" "if i say this, is someone from relic castle going to tell me that i'm stupid and should just upgrade my version of essentials?" (the latter here is why i've been very careful to only include code that is in essentials 17)
    but what is most troubling about this is the fact that i was bashed by someone who claimed to represent essentials for offering optimizations for other devs to use in their own games.
    i was mocked for using essentials 15. but insurgence uses 15. deso uses 15. rejuv uses 16. games that have been built on older versions often can't just upgrade to newer ones because it would require reimplementing everything they've already done. meanwhile, the changes between versions are often opaque, with little information to help developers who are stuck on older versions to get any of the benefits of upgrading.
    to blame someone who is trying to improve an older version of the engine for being stuck on an older version is not only callous, but it also shows that there is a massive disconnect between the people making tools to make games and the people who actually make the games.
    and i should be clear here- i'm not upset with the actual developer of essentials at all. when we talked he seemed pretty open to some of the things that i mentioned we had implemented.
    the problem that i see is two-fold.
    the first part of it is that there is a community that seems to be entitled to essentials to the point where they will bash people who speak out negatively regarding it. i have spent the better part of three months grinding away at the scripts. i spent more time coding than i've spent sleeping. and i want nothing to do with that place. this is a unique circumstance for me because i'm generally really happy to offer my work to people. i like making these posts where i talk about what we've been doing. i like handing out my work to people because it means that everyone can make higher quality stuff without also needing the technical knowledge to tinker with the engine. it's practically a form of elitism- we have the new version, and that makes us better than you with your old one. i suspect this matters less to newer devs, as they can just pick up the latest version and start working with it, but i feel like the fact that this situation has happened at all should still be concerning.
    the second part of it is just that...this is so much work. i have been going non-stop for months and i still don't feel like i'm anywhere close to having the code be in a state where i can consider it to be "done". and this has only included work on parts of the engine; there are still entire sections that i haven't even begun to think about, let alone look at.
    my point is that this is all just too much work for any one person to do, and it doesn't make sense for multiple people to end up doing the same work over and over again. it doesn't make sense for me to fix the bugs in my version that are still present in the current version, meanwhile there's another version that's being developed and i sure dunno if it's being fixed in there or not. and then, even if it is being fixed, there's no telling if anyone else would be able to use it in their games since there's not a lot of guidance on what the actual changes are.
    it also means that, as a result of everyone doing the same things independently of everyone else, that there's a lot of wasted scripting talent being spent on re-doing things that have already been done. for example: how many gen 8 mods are there in development right now? you've seen my scripts. gen 8 is already there. we helped out with rejuv on developing it. i've assisted deso with optimizations, and am helping rejuv implement some of this as well. when marcello heard that infinite fusion was having slowdowns due to the sheer number of pokemon in their game, i sent the compiler changes to see if that would help solve things. even aside from the major fangames, time and time again there have been fans and community members who will show up out of nowhere with their own fixes for things. i've been getting some additional mkxp support from aeodyn, who just messaged me one day saying "hey you know you could be using this better tilemap, right?" and then fuckin waynolt is out here making the entire modding system for reborn/rejuv, and then fuckin toothpastefairy fixed the goddamn battle factory before he was even on the team!
    my point here, is this:
    essentials needs to be open source.
    thanks for coming to my ted talk i'm going to go do anything else now because i have been typing for nine hours and i can't anymore

    Cass suggested coming out of the shadows and be social with a dev blog post so here I be.
    Please enjoy these animations that were forged from the cursed animation editor (would not recommend using that editor) so with that here are 3 moves that haven't been seen yet

    Power Whip the canon animation of this move did not look good until gen 6 so that was a bit of a struggle to translate that 3d look into 2d but thankfully Ame made amazing vines for this thing so along with that and trying to throw a ton of graphics onto every frame we got this.

    Thousand waves went through a few changes originally I was gonna try to make the wave go directly across to the target but there were 2 issues there. The first is if you used this in doubles there was the issue of trying to make the graphics not go over your partner which required me to set every cell to back and then back to front when it got to the target. The second issue is that it's an AOE move so I had to make it look like it hit both targets in doubles.

    Water shuriken's biggest hurdle was making the shuriken stars but it seemed vital to making it look good so I just grinned and bared through that.
    Thanks for your time and hope you liked what you saw

    Well good news for you! Because today we
    dealing with line breaks. A sort of intermezzo if you will. Line breaks are a pain in the butt cheeks, because there seems to be no rhyme or reason to their existence. You can change the words before the line break and it will disappear. Okay, seems logical enough. You can add words after the line break and it will disappear. Okay, what? And until one of Ame's patreons looked into things, you could do nothing and they would randomly appear and disappear. RMXP are you drunk? When doing our optimization run (ha! still talking about optimization) I noticed something which I would've bet was the cause.
    Dear reader, always bet against me, for I was wrong.
    And then I found a line break while playing. And another. And yet one more. Time to actually look into things. After putting print statements down like no tomorrow, the following conversation between me and essentials happened:
    See, the function in question is getFormattedText. And this function is over-engineered like no tomorrow. Want to left-align stuff? seems logical. Want to right or center align, this function got your back. Want to use the weirdest font you can find? No problem for this badboy. Want to add Icons? Make only one line right align? Okay please slow down. Color certain words? Add your own line breaks? A second way to add Icons?
    Want to try splitting the text? No, stop!
    And that one is the problem. getFormattedText decides to rerun itself when a condition is met. What that condition exactly entails, I still don't know. But to spice things up, getFormattedText quickly adds a \n in the middle of the string. Which in ruby is syntax for: start a new line. And when it is rerun, it starts another new line right before the word after which the \n is placed.
    That part of the function has officially been yeeted. We now are free
    all this time of suffering.


    optimization overtime

    By andracass, in Records,

    today's devblog comes straight off of discord, where i was very angry at some things earlier.
    i had noticed while playing a certain pokemon desolation 
    that in four-person double battles (you and a partner vs two opponents)
    the AI phase of the turn would occasionally lag just a bit.
    deso uses the reborn ai (because they're not, y'know, animals), and so earlier today i took a peek at its inner functionality. 
    it is, uh, something.
    firstly, it makes the "movescore" calculations (the ai's entire claim to fame) three times per round instead of, y'know, one.
    this was kind of an oversight on our part. silly, really. with some restructuring, it was patched out and now runs a lot smoother.
    however, upon further investigation, it became clear that fixing this issue did not yield the expected improvements. i identified a culprit: the hasWorkingAbility function.
    this function does two things:
    it checks to see if you have an ability
    and it checks to see if it functions (not moldbroken, etc)
    it's not very good at those things.
    and that frustrated me.
    in a fit of righteous fury at this function that had wronged us all, i prepared to re-code all 1002 calls inside the move scoring system.
    but then.
    things changed.
    what follows is a direct transcript of my angy in its purest form.

    (for reference that 15.8s -> 14s thing is just how long it took to profile- so by the end of this the profiler ran about 20% faster)

    what i'm trying to say here
    is fuck essentials.




    proper update soon, ok? ~a


    (updated 2/28)

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