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Featured Staff Interview: Developing LV's Pokémon Catcher

Discussion in 'Valor Archive' started by Achromatic, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. Achromatic

    Achromatic #TeamMagikarp

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    Staff Interview: Developing LV's Pokémon Catcher

    @Ryan and I got together to discuss the development of LV's core feature - our Pokémon Catcher. How did it start and what's next? Read on to find out!

    Achromatic:
    Okay so I'd say we started thinking about the Catcher feature around June of 2017, we were looking for a big new feature / niche for LV since we had that big gap there for quite a while, after dropping visual arts as our niche. Do you remember how this idea first came about?

    Ryan:
    I think we were just calling or memeing and I jokingly suggested something like it but I don't really remember. Then we kinda just rolled with it?

    Achromatic:
    Right, and we probably discussed it a bit with the other staff too, but nothing was very solid in terms of how this was going to work or what kind of purpose it would have on LV. We first had to find someone to build this feature, and we happened to stumble upon a developer who had made his own Pokémon GO styled add-on that convinced us he could be right for the job. Unfortunately we ran into some problems there.

    Ryan:
    Yeah, I sent him a list of features and he quoted us like $50, which should have been a warning sign. When he started coding it, it didn't work, and he reacted to that by flaming me. I've got pretty strict policies on who I'll work with and that kind of attitude just doesn't work.

    We found another developer who handled himself pretty well. He was from Russia, and did a pretty good job on the development for this add-on. While we did get our money back from that first developer, he added all the features into his own add-on, then released that and sold it as his own idea. But ours was made with love.

    Achromatic:
    Yeah, I remember after that first experience we were feeling quite annoyed, but in a way it motivated us to make an even better feature. When approaching the next developer, we had to be very specific about what we wanted and how it was going to look so he had a good idea of our expectations and so that we wouldn't go through the first experience again. I was tasked with designing the Catcher, and this was the first ever mockup I did of it:

    [​IMG]

    It was pretty basic yeah? You can see what we were going for here though. At this time, LV was still using Adoptables made by Deltheor, we didn't really think it through when it came to needing art for ALL of the Pokémon, did we?

    Note: We only had art for about ~50 Adoptables at the time, so not even close to all of the Pokémon.

    Ryan:
    It was pretty basic, but it was a solid foundation for the future. I remember our primary concern back then was functionality more than anything - if it worked, it was like magic. We definitely didn't think the artwork through at all. I'm glad we settled on Dream Art, but I remember we played with the idea of "series" where Pokémon using different art styles or forms would appear. For example, we could have done a Dream Art series and an Official Art series.

    It was better that we went with a consistent look for sure though, and I'm happy with how it's turned out.

    Achromatic:
    At this point, the foundation for the Catcher was solid, and we were finally having it coded by someone we could trust. I do remember we ran into a few bugs here and there, but overall the actual development process was going pretty smoothly (aside from something I'll go into a bit later).

    During late July, LV was going through our very first Summer Scramble, so we couldn't turn the site off for maintenance to finish this up. We used a test site our developer had set up and I remember watching the Catcher slowly coming together, it was a strange (but nice) feeling seeing something we had designed and thought up come to life. Do you remember what that felt like for you?

    Ryan:
    It was satisfying but pretty stressful too. I think I had just started packing for my world trip when we began the project, so keeping in touch with the developer was challenging. I know satisfying is a kind of generic way of describing it, but... It suits how I felt well. Just the satisfaction of getting things done.

    [​IMG]
    Screenshot during later stages of development.

    Achromatic:
    I remember after development was done, we put the site into maintenance for a bit. I don't know how long it took exactly, we were too busy adding all of the original Pokémon so it seemed to drag on. Once that was done and the site was live again, and you posted the announcement, how do you think the reaction was for the Catcher?

    Ryan:
    Well, it was interesting. I couldn't put out enough fires. In my preparation for the Catcher, I forgot about the ongoing war and my people suffered for it. It's my greatest mistake. Really though, the community seemed to love it for the most part. We had a lot of tweaks and fixes to make but they stuck with us through that and didn't even start a riot.

    Achromatic:
    Yeah I'm pretty proud of the community for not starting a riot and I can honestly say I didn't expect people to go as crazy for it as they did. Did you know that in August of 2017 when we released the Catcher, that was when the most PokéPoints had EVER been spent in our 5 year history? I only learnt this recently. Every month since, we've seen the positive effects the Catcher has had on LV. There's still more we want to do with it though, yeah?

    Ryan:
    I didn't know that either. It is a harbinger of the things to come. Our days are numbered. My people are desperate for PokéPoints. My grasp on reality is slipp...

    There's tons we want to do to the Catcher still. Releasing Pokémon is our biggest priority once we find a reliable and affordable xenForo developer. After that, it's trading and alternate evolution methods. While our search continues, we'll be working on minor tweaks.

    [​IMG]

    Achromatic:
    Only we know this (aside from brief mentions) but you actually had to basically redo the whole aesthetic code/css for the Catcher when creating our new design Valcadia. Can you talk a little about why this was without pulling too many hairs out?

    Ryan:
    The CSS was all done in the HTML templates, inline. Only villains do that. On top of that, the code was a mess. If it had been done properly, the fix would have been simply moving the CSS into its own template. Instead, I had to rewrite all the CSS! It took a lot of resources from our war effort.

    And that's all for now folks! We hope you enjoyed this mini feature and our insights into creating the Pokémon Catcher that is beloved by the community.
     
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  2. Canpake

    nice
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    Oh wow-
    Thank you for this little snippet of how the Catcher came to be. When I was a lot younger I've always thought about making my own Pokémon adoptable website, but you know, lacked the uh... intelligence to get a site like that up and running.
    This was super interesting to read, and as for someone who's new (like me) it's really cool to see what Lake Valor used to look like.
     
  3. Apawn

    Apawn Modern Gen 2 Artist

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    Interesting article- I'm most surprised you though people weren't going to like it as it gave this community another unique edge to make it stand out compared to other PokeCommunities
     
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  4. Gwoomy

    Gwoomy french goo

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    Super interesting! Now I’m curious to find the Catcher announcement thread.
     
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  5. luxuryluxray

    luxuryluxray make a wish!

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    It's nice to have a sneak peak into what you guys were going through at that time, it makes an interesting read. The catcher is honestly such a great addition to LV, and I'm really glad you guys are still working on improving it further.
     
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  6. Shadria

    Shadria Impish Illusionary Kitsune

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    While I wasn't staff, reading up on the inside thoughts plus seeing the reveal of the Catcher was amazing and I'm glad to have been there for it! Even though it got bugged and broken for maybe a year for me..
     
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  7. colours

    colours » seedFLARE

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    man seeing early screenshots of the catcher is so interesting. =O
     
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  8. Geroniny

    Geroniny The Spacecraft Of Miracle

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    Wow~
    That's Interesting To Heard About The Behind The Scene/The Origin Of The Catcher!

    At Least The Work Has Paid Off By Letting Many People Join Us As Member Because Of The Catcher Which Is One Of The Feature That Caught My Attention As Well.
     
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  9. Blair_Chandra

    Blair_Chandra Torchic Queen

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    This was actually super fun to read, hoping to see more like it.
     
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