Tuesday, 31 March 2020
The Phoenixdex turns 10 years old today! 'Scuse me a minute while I have a quick sit down and reflect on my life choices.
...okay, whew. Now that that's over, let's see what's going on here, shall we?
It does feel pretty weird that I've been sharing these things for a third of my life now, and technically creating them for even longer. A lot has changed over those 10+ years: new regions and projects, new generations thoughtlessly trampling all over my hard work, several increasingly unnecessarily elaborate websites... and, of course, the fakemon designs themselves. A few years ago, someone suggested that they'd like to see the "history" of the revamped designs, maybe with some explanation of what changed and why I changed it. I've always enjoyed learning about "beta" content for other projects I like, so eventually I decided I might as well try something like that here. Why not keep a record for those who might be interested?
As such, any fakemon (and potentially other things in the future, such as characters) that have had their art, concepts, etc., updated will show a "design history" section at the bottom, near the shiny/form images and fanart, with whatever old images I still have and a brief description of why the changes happened. I hope you guys find it interesting; that those of you who are also into creating fakemon/similar creatures find my (brief) design notes helpful; and that those of you who aren't confident about your own art right now can look at my old stuff and see that some of it is actually kind of embarrassing! After you're done laughing at it (you have my full permission) you can take away that, hey, we all have to start somewhere, and with practice over time it's possible to improve. I still have a lot of improving to do myself! (And a lot more old art still on the site that I want to revamp...)
Not everything that has undergone a revamp has its history section ready yet; there's a fair bit to go through, find old images and approximate dates for those images, remember why I made the original decisions or specific changes, etc.. Right now you can check out the design history for Kuduzela, Sheleras, Petrocka, Josuche, Mega Ninetales, Mega Arcanine, Lizeroon, Dracoroon, Mandragoon, Kindelf, Pyrobin and Solberon! I'll try to add a few more alongside the next few updates I make, and, of course, as new revamps happen they'll automatically get design notes as well.
Speaking of new revamps, some of those up there are in fact new! On such a big birthday I figured that a few more old friends could use a fresh coat of paint, so I've revamped Petrocka, Lizeroon, Dracoroon and Mandragoon. (I even remembered to update the Faelani starter trio image on the front page this time!)
I should also mention that I've gone ahead and made a bunch of updates re: Gen 8 and USUM. All fakemon have updated National Dex IDs, for one thing. It used to be that I added literally every single new move and ability in a given generation to the Phoenixdex's database, whether or not anything here actually used it; I've stopped that, since it's a lot of work for no real benefit, so now if I add something later that needs a missing move/ability/whatever I'll just add specifically what I need at the same time. I'm not going to go over all the changes here, mostly because they're uninteresting minutiae, but for example Steel Beam is a tutor now, and Navarrel has Propeller Tail as a hidden ability.
I haven't updated most of the canon Pokémon yet, though. I've been doing some thinking about a bit of reorganization (which I'll touch on in a bit), so I'll worry about updating those when I have a better idea of what's likely to happen. What I have done, for both canon Pokémon and fakemon, is given all of those with alternate forms (both functional, like Meowstic or Mega Ramfere, and cosmetic, like Cherrim) separate Pokédex entries, to align with USUM and onward. Careful not to cut yourselves on the super edgy Mega Evolutions...
(And yes, I am aware that the SwSh expansions are just on the horizon and will be adding at least four new Pokémon and several new moves and abilities. I thought about waiting for those changes first, but this had been out of date for long enough and I wanted to get it over with.)
Meanwhile, the Fakemon Generator has been updated with all—yes, all this time—of the Gen 8, USUM and LGPE stuff. I think in the future I'm going to add a toggle that will include the abilities and moves I've created for the Phoenixdex if people so desire; I'd wanted to have that done for today, but the idea came too late for me to actually implement it in time.
I've also added some more fanart to some of the fakemon, some of which was long overdue (sorry!) Darkwire put together some fake Pokémon TCG cards for Cinnamoll, Tinimer, Emperobe, Altavault, Belmarine and Vaquerado, and Angus has made some adorable sprites for Accolanto's starters Adargana, Cindigre and Swimmole.
So, what's next for this old dog? Truth is, I'm... well, I'm not really sure. I've said before and will say again that the Phoenixdex isn't going anywhere and I have no plans to completely cease updating it, but the fact of the matter is that I have a lot of other projects and various life-related things occupying my time and my creative energy. I still want to work on those, too, but I'd really like to be able to get back to at least slightly more regular work on this guy. I'm currently rooting around for my old project notes, reminding myself of what I was previously planning to do, and thinking about how I might want to adjust those things so they match my current interests and design sensibilities. Hopefully after all that I'll feel more inspired to work on this stuff! I don't have much to show for the Great Rethinkening just yet, but when I do, I'll be sure to let you folks know!
Lastly, for the previous big milestone anniversary, the fifth, I added a new legendary (mythical, whatever) fakemon to the site. Then I added two more legendaries last year, which I would've held onto for this year if I'd had any sense of spectacle or timing at all. But apparently I don't! So this year's equivalent legendary (mythical, whatever) gift is this guy:
Seramanea is still a mysterious one; it doesn't even have Pokédex entries at the moment. Seramanea was actually created for a different project unrelated to the Phoenixdex, and part of the reason I'm still being coy about the details is that I need to figure out what's going on with that. That said, though, it's still a fakemon, and I think it's pretty neat, so I thought I might as well introduce it to you all (along with its new ability, Spirit Call, and its two signature moves, Heart Snare and Heart Storm). It's maybe not... quite as playful...? as Manaphy and Phione are, but I'm sure it's happy to meet you all. It really likes friends... and who knows? Depending on what I decide during the aforementioned Great Rethinkening, it may yet end up in a proper Phoenixdex project and have a chance to make lots and lots of new friends! Friends are good. ;)
(Oh! I also left a little something new—well, old, I unearthed it while digging for old designs—on the Previews page. This one is very much subject to change re: the Great Rethinkening, so in addition to any potential new art looking very, very different it may not even be used at all. But you're welcome to imagine what it might've been intended for!)
Well! That's a decent amount of new stuff, and hopefully-pending stuff as well. All that's left is a huge thank you to those of you who visit the site, whether you've only recently found this place or you've been around all ten years. At the end of the day I make these weird fakemon because I enjoy it (even if lately I've been a little busy to do it as often as I used to), but it still gives me the warm-fuzzies to see that other people get enjoyment and inspiration out of them, too. Things may be a little slow for now, and I can't promise that that will change right away or tell you for certain what that change will look like, but the Phoenixdex will be around for as long as I can keep it around. Maybe another ten years or more! (That's terrifying.)
P.S.: The world is in a weird and frankly scary place right now, so I hope you and yours are all as safe and healthy as you can be. Just remember that if you need a pick-me-up, you're always welcome to stop by the site and have a nice laugh at Solberon's old designs. If me admitting to having created those monstrosities can bring someone a smile in these stressful times, that's a pretty darn good birthday present, I think.