You know what comes next, right?

So!  We have a winning concept for our Water/Fire Pokémon: the one proposed by Chewiana Jones, which I shall repeat here:

“What if we had an enormous squid/oil lamp hybrid that lived deep in arctic oceans, getting most of its nutrients from volcanic vents and small deep-sea Pokemon prey and burning oil (for warmth) in small amounts inside its body, which could look somewhat steampunk furnace-ish structure with more organic parts like the eyes and mouth mixed in and a body made of translucent, durable membrane with golden light shining through, supported by a skeletal framework. However, when it starts to run low on oil, it flares up its flames and rises like a hot air balloon to closer to the surface. There, it hunts pokemon like Walrein and Dewgong by expelling oil like squid ink and then lighting it on fire, then eats them and uses the oil for more power.”

Next step: art!  I need people to draw this thing!  Let your imagination go wild!  I’ve just created a new e’mail address for the blog – pokemaniac.chris@gmail.com – which you can use to send me pictures.  Alternatively, you can just use an image hosting site or something.  Just make sure you give me the name you want me to use to credit you!

Once we have a few submissions, we can vote on those and pick the best one.  Don’t feel you have to stick to the letter of the original concept – just as long as you keep to the spirit of it.  If anyone wants to suggest adjustments to the concept in the comments or whatever, please do so.  There’s already been one problem suggested with this idea – that this creature surfaces to hunt when it runs low on oil, and then… uses more oil to hunt.  Who can think of a way to fix that?

Just a reminder

I want the latest poll in this group Pokémon-designing effort of mine to stay open a couple more days – so vote, if you haven’t already!  The current poll is to decide which of several design concepts we want to use; the winning concept will be turned over to any artists who want to take a crack at drawing the thing.

http://pokemaniacal.tumblr.com/post/40509072465/lets-vote

I’ve set the poll to close at 9:00 on Saturday night (New Zealand time, so for a lot of you that’s probably Saturday morning or very late on Friday night).  At the moment it’s a very close contest between some sort of giant tube worm creature and a fusion between a squid and an oil lamp, either of which I think could be really interesting, but don’t count the others out yet!

Let’s Vote

Okay.  We have a selection of design outlines for a Water/Fire dual-type Pokémon.  The next step is to take it to the artists and have them figure out what this thing will look like, but first we have to pick one!  The design submissions are all collected in the last post here – http://pokemaniacal.tumblr.com/post/40241228717/lets-recap-this-whole-making-a-pokemon-business – so I’m not going to describe them all again. Read before you vote!

P.S. There should be a poll visible in this post.  PLEASE LET ME KNOW if you cannot see it!

Let’s recap this whole ‘making a Pokémon’ business

So, I don’t know if I was making myself clear enough in this process of creating a Pokémon, so people have been getting a bit confused over what I was wanting, and on top of that I think I chose a really awful time to do it, since people were busy with Christmas and the New Year and such (including me), so I want to take a moment to recap where we are at the moment.

Here’s what’s happened so far:

1. I decide that my readers are going to create a Pokémon, as a team effort, for my amusement.

2. I take submissions on the Pokémon’s type, and hold couple of polls to narrow down the choices.  Eventually we decide on Water/Fire.  I have a feeling people started voting for that one in large numbers because I expressed a preference for it, which may have been a mistake in retrospect, but it’s what we’ve got so let’s stick with it for now.

3. I ask for suggestions and discussion on how to interpret Water/Fire as a type combination.  At this stage I was trying to avoid actually designing a Pokémon, and instead just think of interesting ways of using the elements together in a way that could work with any of several designs (I think maybe I wasn’t clear enough about what I didn’t want at this stage).  I decide not to hold a poll on this, and just retain all the ideas for posterity.  Think of it as a brainstorming session.  The results are here: http://pokemaniacal.tumblr.com/post/38613760900/yay-discussion.  Please do have a read of these before doing anything else!  The final design does not have to use all or even any of these concepts, but I think they’ll provide helpful inspiration!

4. I ask for people to start coming up with actual, concrete design ideas – no artwork yet, but written descriptions of a Pokémon’s appearance and powers, and anything else particularly important to what you have in mind.  This seems to be where we got stuck, so I’ll include here the ideas I’ve received so far that matched what I was asking for.  What I’m hoping for now is that people will continue to submit paragraphs like this in the comments, and that other people will discuss those ideas and suggest ways to improve them.  Once that’s been going on for a while, I’ll create another poll so we can choose a single design to work with, and the next step will be to open the floor to any artists who want to take a crack at drawing this thing.  Anyway, here’s what I’ve got so far:

From Finger1stuse a base model of a fish crab lobster or whatnot and have it live in a tropical area near islands with volcanoes. It’ll eat lava and stay close to surface of water to absorb sunlight to feed off of. Then have it use physical fire attacks like flare blitz which would make more sense than a flamethrower under water. Kind of like its excreting the excess lava. Also since it would feed on lava water gun wouldn’t make sense either so aqua tail or jet would also work. It could possibly be a hermit crab and use spinning attacks like fire spin, whirl pool, rapid spin,etc with an occasional apperence on land kind of amphibious.

From Adam DreifusI was thinking perhaps of something based off of the giant tube worm. Maybe the first form lives deep on the sea floor, where the intense water pressure crushes it into a tiny shape (represented by it being a small creature with an incredibly disproportionately high weight. The second form could be some sort of massive Cloverfeld-esque kaiju thing, it’s back covered in firey wormlike growths. There are a lot of potential ways of taking it. Perhaps it is normally trapped underwater by the terrible pressure, but the burst of heat it releases from its back can occasionally bust it loose, where it rises to reek untold havok on the neighboring shoreline. Or maybe play up the siren angle more. It uses the wormlike growths as lures to draw in sailors and seagoing pokemon in order to feed. Maybe it is some kind of Pokemon equivalent of Charybdis, where the alternating currents of hot and cool water that it releases results in a terrifyingly large whirlpool, and resultingly it is the cause of all sorts of superstition and ghost stories among seagoing folk.

In a similar vein, from Random AccessTo elaborate on the tube worm design. I was thinking we should give it a fiery mane, which would look kind of like the red plumes that comes out of its mouth, except it would be around its head. Its bottom a slimy blob-like appendage which looks a lot like lava, that way if there’s a group of them it would look like they were all sticking out of a lake of lava. Unlike the tube worm, though, I think we should give it expressive eyes, ones that always look agitated because they always only want to be left alone on the sea floor.

As for characteristics, I was thinking it feeds on the energy of underwater volcanoes. I also have a really cool idea that it has a symbiotic relationship with other deep-sea pokemon. You see, the more these tube worm pokemon (lets just call them ventorms for now) feed on the volcano’s heat, the less likely the volcano is to erupt due to decreased pressure. Because of this, the other pokemon continually bring it food from the ocean’s surface in order to promote their continual growth, sort of relating it to the way real tube worms rely on bacteria from the surface to provide them with necessary compounds. However, pokemon should never come near it without a food offering as a ventorm will take this as a challenge and immediately attack the unfortunate loiterer. Ventorms also always expel extreme heat from their mouths in their attempt to relieve themselves of excess heat.

From Chewiana JonesWhat if we had an enormous squid/oil lamp hybrid that lived deep in arctic oceans, getting most of its nutrients from volcanic vents and small deep-sea Pokemon prey and burning oil (for warmth) in small amounts inside its body, which could look somewhat steampunk furnace-ish structure with more organic parts like the eyes and mouth mixed in and a body made of translucent, durable membrane with golden light shining through, supported by a skeletal framework. However, when it starts to run low on oil, it flares up its flames and rises like a hot air balloon to closer to the surface. There, it hunts pokemon like Walrein and Dewgong by expelling oil like squid ink and then lighting it on fire, then eats them and uses the oil for more power.

From 4DragonsSo my idea was a two headed lizard, one head for swallowing lava, one for water. It has two seperate digestive systems and two tails. With one tail it can blast a hyperpressure blast of water, with it’s other it radiates extreme heat. When it blasts it water through it’s heat it makes steam jets. It can use it’s tails seperatly too, when it has no lava it has to use water and the same for when it has no water, it has to use lava. It lives wherever it has relativly easy acess to both, basicly on small volcanic islands.

From Andrewq: 1. Charybdis the sea monster. She kind of looks like a Kraken, all mouth and pointy teeth with tons of tentacles or flippers (if she doesn’t live in the water, which is a possibility). In Greek mythology, Charybdis swallowing and spitting out tons of water results in whirlpools in a narrow strait, but we could have instead a boiler-like belly that heats the water before it is Scald-ed out. That way, alternating currents of hot and cold water create the maritime disasters. Charybdis-mon lives in a remote cave accessible by the sea and wreaks havoc on passing ships because she’s always hungry. After she appeared, the port town she terrorized was abandoned and became a haunt of Ghost-types, who also enjoy the shrouding factor of the steam that rises continually from her whirlpools. You know how in Harry Potter, the Revulsion Jinx (“Relashio”) sends out fiery sparks if you’re on land, but a jet of boiling water if you’re underwater? I can imagine a signature move that operates like Scald if you’re battling in a wet environment but like Flamethrower if you’re high and dry.

2. Flaming alcohol-mon was created by accident in a laboratory explosion. He looks like a glowing glass beaker (not radioactive, though) and probably floats, a bit eerily. This little guy can manipulate a special kind of clear liquid that can douse fires or itself be lit on fire. You could call it flammable water… or vodka… Yet it tries in vain to put out any fire it ever sees, conscious of fire’s devastating potential. Poor guy. The hope is that if he gets stronger, he will be able to put out more fires. Flash Fire is probably a must, maybe Water Absorb or even Guts, as well.

From Crazedgamer111My idea was the lava and water Pokemon that is either split down the middle or at the waist. I prefer at the waist because I like the “belt” idea I had. The upper and lower half of its body mix together to solidy into an earthy belt-like portion on its waist. Im thinking the name, Girdlearth, is fitting. Pronounced Gurd-learth.

Girdlearths are capable of varying extremes of emotion and strength because of their varying elements are work. Trained properly, Girdlearths can balance the opposing forces (through the use of it’s ‘belt’) and be a Pokemon of great love, companionship, and strength.

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There’s actually a fair few of these, but they were sort of scattered through the comment sections to several different posts, which made them difficult to work with and kept people from discussing them (again, I think because I wasn’t clear enough about what I didn’t want in the previous stage).  Continue to create new ideas if you haven’t suggested one already, and if you can think of a way to improve an existing one, speak up!  Also, if I’m still not explaining this adequately, someone, please ask me!  Bear in mind that I have no idea what I’m doing here!

Next episode of the White 2 playthrough journal will be up tomorrow; this whole business of the announcement of X and Y has disrupted my plans a little by giving us all so much to think about.  See you then!

Going to put that aside for one moment

So, I think because it’s just that time of year, I’m not seeing much participation or discussion on that last post of my create-a-Pokémon project thing.  In particular, a lot of the concepts we had earlier just haven’t coalesced into actual Pokémon yet.  The thought occurs that I just picked a really terrible time to try something that requires a lot of reader participation.  I want everyone to bookmark that post, and keep thinking about your ideas and everyone else’s.  Comment whenever you have something to say, and please do talk about other people’s ideas if you have anything to add to them!  I want to leave that project where it is for another couple of weeks, though; hopefully people will come up with more stuff in that time.

While that’s going on, I have something else to work on.

It really is past time I started ranting about Black and White 2…

Down to brass tacks

Okay; good.  I’m liking what I see so far.  I’ve decided not to create another poll at this point after all – I have a quiet suspicion the result would be a foregone conclusion.  Instead I’m just going to say that we now have some pretty extensive discussion of how the ideas of Fire and Water can work together, and that this should hopefully be a solid place to start from.  Now it’s time to come up with some more specific design ideas – start actually describing Pokémon in detail and talking about their powers, behaviour and appearance.

Here’s the deal.  I’m going away for work after Christmas and probably won’t have internet access.  I’ll still be in the comments tomorrow and on Boxing Day, but this is probably the last think I’ll post until after I get back, which won’t be until the 2nd of January.  That’s, like, a week of discussion time.  Here’s what I’m hoping people can do:

1. Read the comments on the previous two entries, and everything that’s been said there.  There’s some good stuff.  Use it. (Incidentally, my last entry, the summation of all the concepts I’d seen so far, has been updated with an 8th concept and a little extra on the 6th).

2. If you want to describe a Pokémon based on any of those concepts, or on something completely different that hasn’t been discussed yet, write up a short paragraph about it.  I would prefer that you keep any artwork to yourself at this point.  I don’t want people judging these ideas by the quality (or absence) of art attached to them.

3. Comment on other people’s ideas.  Suggest ways to improve on them, if you can!

Just to make that absolutely clear: after Boxing Day (New Zealand time, so that’ll still be Christmas Day for a lot of my readers in America) I am gone.  You’re on your own.  You’re all a clever bunch, though – right?  I’m sure you can figure something out.  I suppose I’ll put together another poll of some sort when I get home.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and all the rest of that stuff!

Yay Discussion!

Okay, I’m seeing about seven different concepts for Water/Fire dual-types coalescing here (there may be more floating around in those comments but some of them blur together a little bit at the edges).  I was going to throw in my two cents in the comments thread, but then again, that would get messy, and also it’s nice to have something still happening on the front page, and give the ideas themselves a bit of visibility, no?  Here are my thoughts on each idea that I can distinguish, then (labelled with the names of people who suggested them or developed them in some way).

1. Oil fires (- Graygriffin and Andrewq).  Basically, a Pokémon that is either based on an oil slick or something, or somehow uses flaming oil as a power source.  It has powers over liquid and water, but also produces fire that won’t be put out by water.  Might be interesting for something like this to have an ability like Water Absorb or Storm Drain, to result in a Fire-type with immunity to Water?  I quite like this; it’s a fun way of mixing the elements that’s quite different to my initial take on the combination.

2. Fire extinguisher (- Andrewq).  A Pokémon dedicated to fighting fire.  I’m not sure about using an actual fire extinguisher as a base, because that sounds like it’s pushing into Steel-type territory, but it would be interesting to look at a Pokémon that developed powers over Fire in order to protect itself (and others) since Fire Pokémon are normally all about aggression and destruction.

3. Furnace or boiler (- Jack and Thatswhatbradsaid).  A Pokémon that is in some way modeled after a boiler or some such, but indirectly, the way Heatmor is based on a blast furnace – most of its body is actually organic, but it has little resemblances in shape, temperament, and so on.  Personally, I always thought it was odd that Heatmor isn’t Fire/Steel, but if this thing comes out with both Water and Fire powers, that’ll be much more innocuous.  This concept would focus on steam, and the technological influences could potentially allow us to reference the massive importance of steam power to… well… everything since the industrial revolution.

4. Polar Pokemon (- DBurningham).  A Pokémon from a tundra or glacial environment that gets water for its attacks by melting ice.  I wasn’t sure about this at first because my initial thought was that it should be an Ice-type, but actually, this could be interesting.  I don’t think I agree with D’s suggestion of Snow Warning as an ability since something like this wouldn’t necessarily have cold powers (which brings up another interesting point, actually – whatever we wind up creating might well be the first ever Water-type without Ice attacks!).

5. Paradox (LeonardoRegulus).  A Pokémon that just plain flouts reality by taking in water, turning it into fire, and blowing it out again.  I’m honestly not sure what I would do with this, though I think it might work best with a more abstract or overtly magical design.  It could well be combined with a number of the other concepts.  More thoughts on this from other readers would be much appreciated.

6. Deep sea creature (- CultHouse, MaltbysFalcon, Chewiana Jones, Jack, Wearat and Adam Dreifus).  I’m seeing a lot of support and some quite varied discussion for some manner of deep ocean Pokémon.  I’m not wild on the idea of bioluminescence, because then there’s a danger of getting into “Chinchou and Lanturn, only with fire instead of electricity,” although I suppose there’s a lot of room there for aesthetically very different ideas.  This could be something that uses fire to keep itself warm in the deep ocean and is forced to release it explosively on the surface to keep itself from overheating, or something that lives in or around deep ocean vents or undersea volcanoes; Adam suggested, for instance, giant tube worms, a Cloverfield-style behemoth, or a whirlpool Pokémon that influences ocean currents by controlling water temperature.  I always like deep ocean Pokémon, we could certainly do with more of them, and I’m seeing a lot of interesting ideas in this vein.  I don’t think there’s much I need to add to this.

7. Hydrogen/Oxygen fusion (- Wearat).  This is… outside the box, to say the least.  Two Fire/Ghost Pokémon, one representing oxygen, the other representing hydrogen, which, when traded with each other (a la Shelmet and Karrablast) both evolve into the same Water/Fire Pokémon (referencing the creation of water by the combustion of hydrogen).  I’m not sure about Fire/Ghost for the two juvenile forms, since Ghost has a lot of weird connotations that don’t necessarily fit here (I’d almost prefer Fire/Flying or even Fire/Psychic, actually), and I really don’t know what to think of the idea of a… what would I even call that?  A conjoint evolution?  If nothing else, it’s certainly unique, and unique is always fun…

8. Lava and water (- Crazedgamer111).  A Pokémon that’s literally half-and-half – split at the waist (or even down the middle?) between a fiery, lava-influenced appearance and a watery, aquatic appearance, maybe with a ‘belt’ of stone where the two meet and the water causes the lava to solidify.  This works with the whole ‘mingling of opposites’ idea, though in a very different way to what I had in mind, and potentially suggests some interesting flavour.

So, yes.  Carry on.  I’m not sure whether to decide this with another poll or what.  If I do, I’ll certainly be sure to make clear in the post that there is supposed to be a poll, and that if you can’t see it something’s wrong.  Any suggestions on how to run this are welcome, while you’re thinking.

Okay, now let’s actually do something

So, there was a… shall we say… minor hiccup… where my second poll was inexplicably invisible to 90% of readers for the first two days, but I did eventually get a reasonable number of votes, and the consensus now seems to be for Water/Fire as the type combination we’re going to work on.  So, what’s next?

What I want to do now is come up with something that will make this Pokémon conceptually unique.  I’m not talking about a full design, or a piece of art, or an animal to base it on, or anything like that – just an idea for something that will make our Pokémon different.  Something specific enough to be able to say “yes; this is a good reason to make a Water/Fire Pokémon,” but general enough that it doesn’t tie us down to a specific physical design or battle style – that’s the next part.  For example, the reason I liked the idea of a Water/Fire Pokémon was because combining the two elements potentially allows a designer to reverse their normal relationship – in Pokémon we always think about Water defeating Fire, but Fire can also strengthen Water in a way by creating steam.  Something that focuses on that reversal somehow might be fun.  Feel free to tinker with that idea or look at it from different angles – or just come up with a completely different interpretation of Water/Fire.

If you have an idea you want to talk about, bring it up in the comments to this post – or, if you don’t have a Disqus account, stick it in my ask box and I’ll collect them all together in a post at the end of each day.  Once we have a few ideas and some discussion on each of them, I’ll put together another poll.  Er… hopefully this one will work.

Am I detecting a lack of interest, or…?

So, that second poll I put up two days ago has so far failed to gather as many total votes as any of the four top options did in the first poll.  I’ve also had no comments on it, and no questions about anything.  Er… am I to take from this that no-one’s interested in trying this thing anymore?  I can just, like, give it up and go back to writing articles.  Most of the stuff I want to work on would be maddeningly incomplete if I tried to write it before playing White 2, which I still haven’t done, but I could probably make up a couple of short things to fill the gap.

I mean, if the world ends tomorrow then this is all moot anyway, but on the off chance it doesn’t, some feedback would be nice.  Anyone?