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Underwhelming Birthday Party Number Eight

Been a while, hasn't it? Exactly one year, in fact. I can only apologize for the quiet around here—I didn't even do a resolution post in January (although to be fair, I actually didn't make any fandom-related resolutions anyway). A lot of my website-related time this past year, especially in the first few months, went toward a massive revamp of the Phoenixdex, and I just haven't been able to get any new stories or anything finished that could go up here instead. As always, I'm hoping I'll be able to change that around in the coming year. I cannot and will not promise that the site will update daily, weekly or even monthly—by now I should know better than to say that sort of thing, and anyway it's not like this is an up-to-the-minute news site like Serebii so what would I even do every day—but I can definitely say that I've got some plans in store for this old dog yet.

That brings me to the first of the birthday presents: I've finally gone and updated the To-Do List, getting rid of outdated projects (the last time I touched that page was before Gen VI was even announced, oh god) and adding new ones so the page is once again useful as a way to learn what's up next for AO. Most of what's on there at the moment consists of updates to existing pages and projects, but there are a few new tantalizing secret shinies waiting in the wings as well. (And yes, this time they are actually intended to be content for Altered Origin itself, not side things like the Turquoise RP forums.) You'll also notice that I'm going to be making some changes around here and moving the site to a new platform. For the most part that change shouldn't affect the way you use the site, apart from possibly making it slightly faster to browse—the majority of the changes are more for my/my server's benefit than anything else. Still, it'll probably come with some slightly changed layouts (including a Skiddo layout to complete my set of favorite Pokémon) that will hopefully be even better for reading than the current two are. There may also be some URL and structural changes, and a few older pieces of content may be shuffled around or removed, though I will try not to remove anything I think people might be using—I don't do much with ASB anymore, for example, but I know there are people who reference some of those pages and I don't want to take that content away if it's still useful. We'll just have to see what happens when I read through and move everything over, eh?

Another thing that's on the to-do list: an LP! A few months ago the demo of the highly anticipated fangame Pokémon Ethereal Gates was released, showcasing fifty brand-new Pokémon and the game's first two gyms. I did a blind Let's Play run of the demo over on my Tumblr, and now I'm cleaning it up a bit and moving it over here. It even has screenshots, unlike my last two muddled attempts at LPs! I've mentioned before that I'd like to do more Let's Plays for the site, and in fact I already know what the next one will be. The new Pokémon Uranium LP will likely begin sometime early next year; I had actually wanted to start it today, but one of the things I did resolve to do this year was make some meaningful progress on my towering video game backlog and I want to finish up a few more things before the month is out. We'll see what other games get LP'd in the future, and in the meantime I hope you enjoy my awkward little romp through Ethereal Gates —the new introduction and the first part are up today, just below this birthday update post, and I'll try to get the rest ready to go and queued up for the rest of the month. You'll be able to read the whole series by checking the Ethereal Gates blog tag. (EDIT: Let's Plays have been moved to their own section of the site. The Ethereal Gates LP now starts here.)

I've got a few new 721 mini drabbles to post as well, one that I wrote today and two that I actually wrote earlier in the year but apparently forgot about. Whoops! Well, they're here now, so enjoy Poochyena, Skorupi and Conkeldurr.

Finally, I've also updated the fanart gallery with a few new images, mostly from last year. All but the Fletchling were also previously posted on Tumblr, so you may have seen those four before, but if not, enjoy!

Also, a friendly reminder that the aforementioned Tumblr, while hardly packed with daily content and mostly packed with fakemon art, is definitely updated more frequently than Altered Origin. In addition to said fakemon I do occasionally talk about other things I'm working on, and so for smaller updates and tidbits that aren't finished stories or what have you it's a much better place to keep up with my miscellaneous fandom nonsense in between the bigger things that show up here. Hm, maybe I should even set up an RSS feed on the new AO site so people can check it for new updates as well...

Happy eighth birthday, Altered Origin, and thanks again to those of you who still come around to check out the nonsense I like to toss up here. I hope you enjoy the stuff added today, and that you will enjoy what's coming in the future.

Apologies for the delay…

...but the good news is that, although it may have taken nearly two months (;-; bad paaaaarent), I have finally decided on a game to play through and and what is hopefully an entertaining spin to put on it. Thanks for the suggestions! As for what the game and the spin are, well, you'll just have to wait and see, won't you?

It'll still be a little while before I get started properly, but I do have a few quick additions to make up for it and so the site doesn't go even longer with no new content whatsoever. For the most part this means two new pieces of general Pokémon artwork, both of which were intended as experiments with my tablet and a new art program but which turned out looking pretty snazzy for practice stuff, if I do say so myself. It's not quite as interesting as new art, but I will also mention that I added another fifth-gen sparkly to the sparklies page, and that I've also finally found a way to "clone" in fifth-gen games (no, not via the GTS or anything, I just have a way to make backup copies of my save files). So if you've had your eye on that shiny Tepig, or if you're interested in my new shiny Rayquaza, I now have a way to get 'em to you.

I have one more day of class, one more final project and a few other things to get out of the way, and there is still the Big Project, but I'm hoping to have the last few plans for the new gameplay blog fleshed out in the next week or so, and started soon afterward. Keep an eye out for it!

quick Phoenix come up with a stupid idea for something to update with

OH I KNOW LET'S DO ANOTHER GAMEPLAY JOURNAL that will fix everything

Gaaaah guys I'm really sorry that I haven't been able to keep up the updates around here; it's the usual laundry list of school, school and more school (though srsly this quarter shouldn't be too awful! I hope!) keepin' me down, and also moving a bunch of furniture and hardcore cleaning, and also after cleaning oops I kind of finally set up my PS2 and found some old computer games and wow it's really easy to lose track of time when you're playing Dark Cloud and Pharaoh. I'm kinda failing hard at most of my resolutions and falling behind on some other things on top of all that, too. The good news is that the Phoenixdex-related big secret project is really starting to move along, but as far as the regular Phoenixdex and all other things Altered Origin go I am a bad bad parent and I am very sorry. My poor, neglected babies :(

So! I want to update the site with something, and preferably something that involves writing at that. While I refuse to give up on Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen (though that has taken a few steps backward while I sort out some logistical stuff that kind of changed... everything) and three or so other Poké-plotbunnies I've been pondering, and 649/fixing the Oshawott story is still a thing I swear, I think maybe a simpler writing project that isn't quite as traditionally fanficcish in nature might be a better way to ease me into writing more until I work those out and pick one to officially start.

Which brings me back to the allcaps in the first line of the post up there. Another blog/journal/let's play–type thing might not be a terrible idea; I know I never officially finished the last two, but at least I made a hell of a lot more progress with them than I did any of my fic stuff. :| At this point there are no new main series games to give you all delicious spoilery I-can't-read-Japanese previews of, but I could do a monotype, a Nuzlocke (which I've never actually attempted before), or a few other interesting ideas for challenging/weird runs I've had. I could even try a modified hack of some sort, which would have the added bonus of screencaps for those interested in seeing that. I'm not sure exactly which I'd like to try, so I'll just leave this quick list here (and in a few other places) so you guys can offer your suggestions in the comments.

These are the games I physically own; I tend to prefer playing on actual consoles rather than computers, with the added bonus that I can get stuff done away from the computer, but I can also play ROMs if you're dying for screens, the game is a hack or I don't own a physical copy of whatever it is.

  • Red, Blue, Yellow
  • Gold, Silver, Crystal (Silver and possibly Gold no longer hold save files, though)
  • Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Colosseum, XD, FireRed (English and Japanese), LeafGreen
  • Diamond, Pearl, Platinum (English and Japanese), HeartGold (Japanese), SoulSilver (would prefer playing HGSS on the computer so I don't lose my save files; I can back up DPPt files, though)
  • Black (Japanese), White (would prefer playing these on the computer so I don't lose my current save files)

And these were the ideas I had for runs/challenges/etc.:

  • Normal playthrough (...yeah)
  • Monotype (pick a type for me! Just not water, I did that relatively recently.)
  • Nuzlocke
  • "N Challenge" (a thing I thought of that I haven't really fleshed out but basically involves playing for a bit, ditching your entire team and then getting a new one from whatever's in the next few areas, rinse and repeat throughout the game.)
  • Wildly-Out-of-Order Badge Run (RBYFRLG only; not as much of a "challenge" but basically taking advantage of the fact that, except for fighting Brock first and Giovanni last, the story doesn't railroad you into visiting the gyms in any specific order and I could fight Koga second and Lt. Surge seventh if I damn well wanted to. Added bonus for doing this in RBY instead of FRLG: there's a glitch that lets you sneak past the kid blocking Route 3, so I could also skip Brock and save him for later, too. The only thing I'd need to check before trying that is whether or not I'd still be allowed to fight Brock later or if the game would assume I have the Boulder Badge even though I don't, thus keeping me from finishing the game.)
  • Randomized Emerald (not so much a "hack" or challenge as a program-generated patch you can apply to Emerald that lets you choose whichever Pokémon (Gen III and earlier) you like as the starters, and also lets you completely randomize all the wild Pokémon that appear in all locations)
  • Pokémon ShinyGold (FireRed 386 hack, surely you've all heard of this one)
  • Pokémon Alt Evo (may need to be logged in to see the thread, sorry) (FireRed advanced difficulty hack in which Pokémon evolve into other Pokémon they usually don't; not to spoil too much, but Venonat evolves into Butterfree, for example; no I'm not out-of-ordering this, I've seen how strong the gyms get, no thanks)
  • Gen IV advanced difficulty/493 hack, e.g. Perfect Platinum, Perfect Heart/Perfect Soul, Hard Gold
  • Gen V advanced difficulty/649 hack, e.g. Blaze Black/Volt White, Pitch Black/Pure White, Black/White Deluxe, etc. (I've actually already got the beginnings of a screencapped Pure White LP... but in playing it I'm coming to realize that BW can actually be really really awful for advanced difficulty games thanks to the scaling exp and no easy rematching, which means I might have to do a metric ton of grinding to keep up with the difficulty. I know other people who've played hacks like this so I'll ask them what they thought, but while I don't mind a challenge I don't want to have to ~Grind Forever~ to have half a chance at meeting it. More inclined to do an advanced difficulty game with the old exp system and trainer rematching, honestly, but we'll see.)
  • Some heinous and twisted combination of the above! Just not Nuzlocking an advanced difficulty hack, please don't make me do that on my first runthrough of a hard game ;-;
  • Wait until June for BW2‘s release and do that shameless tool I-can't-read-Japanese playthrough I usually do (not actually likely because a) want to do something now, not wait two months and b) may not have the money for it anyway)

So! Comment and pick one of those, or suggest some other challenge, hack or even fangame for me to try if you like! (Just make sure that any hacks/fangames you suggest are complete, or very close to complete; I'm sure all those fakemon fangames and whatnot being made are lovely, but if I can only play up to the first badge then it's not going to be a very interesting LP!)

Yes, I know there's a whole to-do list full of useful things I could be adding/updating up in the menu instead of making up something else new to do, but my head tends to buzz slightly whenever I think about actually checking it. I'll make myself look and get something on there done one of these days, though!

Housewarming party

IMPORTANT EDIT: I forgot to mention that the server change also means a slight change in the email servers I'm using. The address is the same phoenixsong at alteredorigin dot net, but I may not be able to receive any emails you send me for a few hours/days while everything changes over. If your email bounces back to you, wait a day or two and try again; if you need to contact me and it's really important, try to reach me at one of the sites/forums on the contact page. Sorry for the inconvenience.

If you're seeing this, that means the move to the new server was successfully completed at last. Welcome to the new place! Take a look around and see what's new:

  • The biggest one: Insubstantiality (my fandom/fanwork blog) is now accessible on Altered Origin and can be found here. The old WordPress.com blog is still here if you need it (although you shouldn't, because all posts and comments have been moved here), but it will no longer be updated and it has a post with huge angry shouty letters telling you to come over here for new stuff anyway.
  • Likewise, 649's stories and information have been moved over here as well. You can now keep up with all that, or at least what little there is to keep up with, over here in the fanfic section.
  • The Phoenixdex has also been moved to the new server, though it's obviously still a separate site. I haven't yet figured out how I want to crosspost its updates over here, or otherwise stick an RSS feed somewhere, for those of you who want reminders to check in on it, so for now if you want to know what's new in the world of my fakemans then you'll have to *gasp* actually navigate over to the home page and see for yourself. Oh how grievously I have inconvenienced you.
  • The domains/subdomains dementedchicken.net, phoenixdex.dementedchicken.net and 649.dementedchicken.net are all now officially dead and will point to boring landing pages (if anything at all) instead of redirecting you here. Seriously, stop using that domain. This one is prettier.
  • New layout, obviously. It's pretty different from the previous layouts, but I wanted something a little simpler and cleaner for a change. Note that it's still a work in progress, and I'll be tweaking it for a little while to come. The other layout (which will be light-text-on-dark-background for those of you who prefer that, like me) will also be relatively clean and simple, but somewhere down the line I can make another of those "artwork" layouts or whatever you want to call them for those who miss their Morty or Sceptile.
  • New affiliate, too! We All Live in a Pokémon World is one of the oldest fansites still up and kicking today, and it's full of a lot of interesting reads about Pokémon, its continued appeal and why it's a lot more awesome than people often give it credit for being. (Not like any of you nice people need to be told that twice, right?)
  • Update comments are back; the new site does a better job keeping spam out without needing a silly captcha, and it's also a bit more prominent so people actually remember that the capability for commenting is there. Not that I expect people to have much to say about these updates aside from whatever goes on on the blog, but it's there if you wish to avail yourself of it!
  • A few urls have changed here and there, namely the links to the individual zodiac pages (though the url for the zodiac landing page, the one all the little images actually link to, is the same), though aside from that I don't think there were a ton of people bookmarking or pointing to any of them. If you did, well... shouldn't be that hard to find again, right?
  • Content-wise, I finally got around to moving my (unfinished) HeartGold blog over here, visible right behind this link. Stupid foreign-language shenanigans go?
  • I also gave the sparklies page a bit of a revamp so it was a little better-organized and not so much a giant list of tables you had to scroll all around to see. Notably, I've decided I'm no longer being all that stingy with some of my sparklies, so just about everything is up for trade.

I do believe that's everything, then! Thanks for your patience while everything was shuffled around and whatnot. There may be a few hiccups here and there while I tweak or update a few things; if you spot any broken links or if anything else seems off, let me know about it (or use the comments, aherpderp). Enjoy the new site, and enjoy your holidays and the rest of the year if I don't drop in before then!

O-M-effing-G

what

what is this

i don't even–

...oh, wait. I do know what it is. After over a year of promises and difficulties, I have finally finished and posted the EV training guide in the Misc. Writings section! I'm currently having another of my ugly internet droughts (though we should be changing ISPs soon, so hopefully it will never happen again!), but last night I decided that I need to just get my crap together and muscle through the rest of the guide. Please give it a look, give it a try, and hopefully it will prove to you that EV training is not the terrifying ordeal or lesson in rocket science most people seem to think it is–if you can count to 42 then you can EV train a Pokémon, so why not give it a shot? And please, after you finish it, contact me and let me know if you have any comments or questions. It's rare that I actually have such a vested interest in being genuinely helpful to other people, so I want to make sure that I've been as clear as possible! Your input can only help me make it even better.

In particular, let me know if you want to see more quick examples of how to EV train specific Pokémon. I was planning to include some but cut them out in the interest of getting this done, but if, for example, you want me to briefly walk you through one way to train, say, a Gengar or a Bastiodon, then I can throw something together if it will really help.

As an extra bonus for waiting so patiently for the guide, I've also dug out more old lineart and added Floatzel and Rampardos pics to the free renders page. Floatzel looks especially cool, if I do say so myself.

Oh, and I've finally updated the HeartGold blog! Twice in under a week, even! It should move along a lot faster now, so keep checking in. You know, if you don't find it painfully boring.

More new stuff and some improvements to old stuff should be coming in the future, which should be easier now that I'm looking at more reliable internet and a break from school. I'll be spending a bit more time trying to get DexGenesis off the ground, for one thing–it seems to have stagnated a bit and my lack of internet has prevented me from really being able to do anything about it, but it isn't dead! Give it a look-see, fakemon fans!

I need to rush to class now, but the next update and some interesting stuff should hopefully come pretty soon! Hooray, better internet!

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