Making Fake Pokémon

So you want to create a fake Pokémon?

A Quick Overview

The basic process of creating a fake Pokémon, as laid out in this guide, goes approximately like this. The amount of detail put into it varies depending on where and how it is to be used, so the last one, two or even three steps can often be omitted in part or in full.

  1. Concept: a basic idea for a fake Pokémon. This can come in pretty much any form, but I don't recommend trying to create a fake Pokémon until one of these comes to you naturally; forcing yourself to create just for the sake of creating something usually leads to bland, uninspired work.
  2. Design: the process of turning your concept into a full-fledged creature that could believably be a Pokémon. Remember that Pokémon are not simply animals with stats and attacks slapped on: their designs usually take inspiration from multiple sources but are carefully abstracted and simplified into a creature that feels like one concrete whole.
  3. Realization: at this point you'll want to finish pinpointing exactly what sort of Pokémon this is and get a real feel for it as a creature. Part of this process will probably be part of the initial concept, but the rest will have to be filled in now. What is it called? How big is it? What are its types? What, roughly, is its style of battling - is it offensive? Defensive? Speedy? Physical? Special? What sorts of moves does it primarily use? How does this Pokémon live in the wild? Where? Does it have different forms? How does it change between the forms, or if it can't change, what determines the form? Does it have gender differences? Once this stage is done, the real creative work of your Pokémon is done; the rest is all just details to qualify it.
  4. Basic data: here you'll want to pin down the fundamental game data for the Pokémon, necessary to give an accurate idea of how your Pokémon compares to other Pokémon and allow the viewer to truly imagine controlling it in one of their games. Though the Pokémon can be considered complete after the realization stage, it is strongly recommended you create at least these basic statistics since they are so relatively integral to how we think of the canonical Pokémon. Includes base stats, level-up moves, abilities, and how it evolves (if applicable).
  5. Minor data: less important but still somewhat noteworthy data: TM/HM/tutor/egg moves, egg groups, gender ratios, exact height/weight, shiny colors, species designations and Pokédex entries.
  6. Trivial data: the rest of the game data, stuff that doesn't really tell people anything of much interest but would have to be present if you were to include it in a fangame of some sort. Includes sprites, footprints, body types, catch rates, base happiness, base experience, growth rate, effort yields, hatch counters, wild held items, colors.

There are basically three types of fake Pokémon. There are original fakes, which have no relation to any existing Pokémon; there are counterpart fakes, which are counterparts to one or more other Pokémon but not directly related to them; and there are evolutions and pre-evolutions, which are directly related to an existing Pokémon. All follow the same basic process, though different strategies are appropriate for creating the various information for each type; this will be elaborated upon in the guide below.

The Process

Now, that wasn't very useful, was it? Let's go into the nitty-gritty details of how to go about making up all this stuff.

Concept

As mentioned above, the concept is something you have to think of for yourself. A concept can be pretty much anything: a creature you think should be adapted into a Pokémon, a creature plus a type combination you think would be interesting for it, something that seems like it would make for an ideal counterpart to an existing Pokémon, an idea of what you think some Pokémon should evolve from or into, just a type combination that hasn't existed before, a gimmicky ability you thought up, a very particular, unique move you made that it doesn't seem any existing Pokémon should be able to use - more or less any creative spark can become a Pokémon. The idea for Letaligon came from a random scribble I made in music class that vaguely looked like an animal's head with some kind of a mask, for instance.

If you're at a loss for ideas, reaching will usually not have the most interesting results, but you can look for inspiration to hit you in places like...

  • books or websites about little-known animals
  • books or websites about mythological creatures
  • the ever-shrinking list of nonexistent type combinations
  • any final evolutions you dislike
  • any Pokémon you feel are screaming to get an evolution or pre-evolution
  • more or less anywhere

Sometimes your concept immediately entails what type of fake Pokémon this will be (original, counterpart or evolution/pre-evolution), but other times you'll want to give that some consideration. Is your concept somewhat similar to an existing Pokémon? Think about it and consider whether perhaps it ought to be part of that evolution line. (If it clearly wouldn't fit there but is still very similar to an existing Pokémon, it might not be a very good idea - try to distance your idea as much as possible from any canonical Pokémon it resembles if you're not going to make it related to them.)

Many of the more gimmicky concepts revolve around certain abilities, designs or other things that technically come later in the process laid out by this guide. That's okay; the process is for filling in the blanks that don't come straight with your initial idea, not some kind of a rigid skeleton of fake-creation.

Design

When you have a solid concept in mind, you'll want to finalize your plans for what the Pokémon will look like. If your idea already involves an animal or creature or other thing you can base it on, or even is a rough design in itself, that's part of your work already done. Likewise, if your Pokémon is an evolution or pre-evolution, you can start off with the existing Pokémon it's related to, or whatever that Pokémon is based on in real life, as your base. Otherwise, you'll probably want to come up with an appropriate base for your design.

To find a good base if you need one, consider your idea and see if there's an animal, plant, object, mythological creature, etc. that seems to fit with the concept. If you can't think of anything, you can use the Random Page link on Wikispecies until you come across something interesting, or browse randomly through the nearest available book about animals or mythology, or even just pick some animal or creature you happen to like. Heck, you can even just start drawing freeform until you come up with something you like. This part really shouldn't be hard.

Now, don't think you can just take your base, slap a type on it, draw it in a cutesy style and magically have a Pokémon. To make your fake feel at home with the canonical Pokémon, its design has to be carefully 'Pokémonized'.

Pokémon Are Not Simply Animals

Consider Eevee. This little brown critter has been a fan favorite since its introduction in the first generation, and it's easy to see why: it's small and fuzzy and adorable and undeniably appealing to anyone who likes cute furry animals.

Now, who can tell me what cute furry animal it's based on?

For some reason the most common answer to this question tends to be foxes. But what? Those aren't fox ears. Fox ears look nothing like that. And foxes, like other canines, have elongated muzzles, completely unlike Eevee's rounded, compact face. Foxes don't have collars around their necks. Foxes have slender legs, nothing like Eevee's.

So what then? A cat? Don't be ridiculous; though that helps the head shape problem (though Eevee's head shape is still not really like a cat's), all the other fox complaints still apply, except perhaps for some cats that have thicker fur around their necks, and it adds that Eevee's tail doesn't look a thing like a cat's tail.

A rabbit? Well, that takes care of the ears - cartoon rabbits tend to have ears much like Eevee's. But rabbits have tiny tails, again completely unlike Eevee's big, bushy one, the head is still markedly the wrong shape, and now the whole body structure is problematic - rabbits hop around, with powerful hind legs and much smaller front legs, while Eevee is a normal quadruped and doesn't hop. What's going on?

Well, obviously, Eevee isn't just some one animal that's been drawn in a cute style. It draws features from many different animals and liberally makes up the rest. Some Pokémon outright mix and match many species, and others merely modify a single one for a simpler, more unique and visually appealing design. No Pokémon, however, is just a straightforward rendition of a single base. If they were, they wouldn't be Pokémon.

Thus, the first thing to do with your base is to basically go wild modifying it, keeping a few core principles in mind:

Pokémon Are Simple

In addition to not just being unmodified animals, Pokémon are also simple. They vary in exactly how simple, but even the most complex Pokémon that you wouldn't know how to draw off the top of your head turn out to be pretty straightforward if you actually analyze the components of the design. In particular, Pokémon designs never feature detail that doesn't fit comfortably onto a small sprite. Textures are always simple: Pokémon that would be expected to have scales, for instance, either have scales large enough to be clearly and individually drawn onto a sprite, or they have no scales at all. Some Pokémon have rough and bumpy hides, but then, again, the bumps are large and sparse enough to appear clearly on a sprite. Likewise, furred Pokémon either have fur thick enough to be visibly furry on a sprite or their design appears smooth rather than visibly furred even in larger art.

When refining your design, resist the urge to add too many details. If some feature is too small to show up properly on a sprite, either enlarge or remove that feature. Never have a very large number of anything: if your Pokémon has markings of some sort, give it just a few large ones, not oodles of smaller ones. Don't give it extra markings or features just for the sake of giving it markings or features.

Pokémon Have Types

One of the first concerns to consider is often that a Pokémon's typing should usually feel like it makes some amount of sense. (Not always, though: who would have guessed Latios and Latias are Dragon/Psychic types?) For some concepts, like Pokémon based on venomous animals being Poison-types, simple, animalistic Pokémon being Normal-types, Pokémon based on aquatic animals being Water-types, Pokémon based on plants being Grass-types, or Pokémon with wings being Flying-types, you shouldn't need to make any special modifications to the design to make it feel like its type. Other times, the type should generally be made a factor in how you proceed with the design.

There are really straightforward ways to make a Pokémon look like its type - turn some body part of a Fire-type into a flame, make a Water-type blue, make a Dark-type black, make a Rock-type's skin look like rock. However, be careful not to overdo this: if all your Water-types are blue and all your Fire-types have a flame on their bodies, you start to have the boring kind of artificial color-coding that the canonical Pokémon so brilliantly avoid. Consider Heatmor: there is no intrinsic connection between anteaters and fire, so they modified its design to indicate its Fire-type, but rather than simply lighting its tail on fire and calling it a day, they instead went with the mechanical, drawing elements from flamethrowers, ironworks, firearms and combustion engines. Go for that kind of creativity when you can; it makes things more interesting.

If the typing isn't part of your initial idea and there isn't some type that just obviously fits with it, or if many types would work, you can save the typing for a bit and concentrate on pinning down the basic design at this stage; if you later decide on a type, you can always modify the initial design to match it better if you think you need to.

Pokémon Are Not Hybrids

While Eevee may be based on a mix of many different animals, it does not look simply like a hybrid of those animals. When you look at Eevee you don't think, "Oh, a rabbit-cat-fox"; it feels like a natural whole, not like stitched-together parts. The same should apply to any fake Pokémon designed through mixing and matching: no part of a well-designed Pokémon should look pastede on yay.

This is primarily achieved by abstracting the parts you nab from other animals to the point that they seem somewhat generic rather than just screaming out that particular animal, and then carefully blending them in with the rest of the Pokémon's design. They don't have to be unrecognizable, just generalized enough to make the viewer's mind not jump straight to a second animal. For instance, Growlithe and Arcanine's orange color scheme and stripes are clearly taken from tigers; however, when you see one of them you think 'dog', and 'tiger' doesn't jump to mind until you start actually thinking about the design. Even Pokémon whose base animals are disputed don't make you think, at a glance, that it's animal X with parts from animal Y: it feels like a Pokémon first and foremost until you begin to analyze it.

Consider Vaporeon. It's part mammal and part fish. A naïve fakémon creator wanting to make a mammal-fish might simply make it something like a mermaid - front half mammal, back half fish. But that's not how Pokémon work: you never have a clear-cut "this part's this animal, that part's that animal" division. While Vaporeon's body is quite catlike, the fish parts have been carefully abstracted and modified so that the end result feels like a cohesive whole instead of a pasted-together mix of the two. The tail actually looks more like a whale's or a dolphin's, with the fins horizontal instead of vertical; the texture of the skin is uniform aside from the abstract blue pattern on the head; the back fin is a general fish feature but modified to run along the whole back and tail; the collar and head fins, meanwhile, are arranged unlike any fish but blend nicely in with Vaporeon's overall look (note how the cheek fins look kind of like whiskers). All this comes together to make Vaporeon's design feel natural and beautiful.

This may be why we don't have Pokémon based on well-known mythological creatures like griffins yet: unlike the Pokémon designers, the 'designers' of griffins really did just haphazardly throw together parts of two different animals; a traditional griffin wouldn't quite feel at home with the existing Pokémon.

Pokémon Are Not Humans

Even "humanoid" Pokémon don't actually look human; they're bipedal and have flat faces, but they don't look like a guy in a costume. This means even if you're basing your Pokémon on, say, a mythological creature that looks mostly human, the Pokémon version must be modified to look sufficiently alien to not make the viewer think of a guy in a costume. This is absolutely vital; a "Pokémon" that gives off the guy-in-a-costume vibe will not feel like a Pokémon, no matter how much it looks like its type or is simplified. In particular, note how no Pokémon with a humanoid body shape has a human-like nose, making their faces all look kind of alien. This is not a coincidence: it's a principle of keeping the monsters looking like monsters and not costumed superheroes.

As you design your Pokémon, it is usually natural to draw or otherwise visually depict it in some manner or another. Even if you're not a very good artist, draw it anyway just to get the design down properly, and then you can later give it as a reference picture to an artist who is taking requests. If, however, for some reason you really don't want to attempt to draw it and don't think there is any need for there to be a visual reference for this Pokémon, you can also just keep a vivid idea of the design in your head and describe it in words instead.

When you're mostly satisfied with your design, you can move on to the next stage.

Realization

Now it's time to properly breathe some life into your creation. This process is probably partly done, either as part of your initial concept or as something that floated through your head during the design process; that's okay, since yet again, this isn't a straightforward linear progression. Just fill in the blanks, and by the time you're done you should have finished all the details of your Pokémon that you need in order to, say, include the Pokémon in a piece of fanfiction. This stage is quite freeform: there aren't rules to it so much as helpful guidelines that can help you decide on the bits you don't have any prior ideas for, and a lot of it is just a matter of thinking about your Pokémon and determining what feels right.

First of all, in the unlikely case you haven't already decided on the Pokémon's types, do it now. If you're choosing between a few best candidates, it's usually more interesting to go with novel type combinations than ones that have been used before, and similarly better to go with types that haven't been used on Pokémon that resemble yours in some manner or another, to make it more interesting. (Meaning, for instance, that if you're deciding whether to make your cat Pokémon a Normal- or Fighting-type, go with the Fighting-type, because we already have three Normal-type cat evolution lines.) If that doesn't settle it, pick one at random; you can always make another Pokémon with the other type combination if you're very attached to it. Meanwhile, if you have absolutely no idea what type your Pokémon should be, it should probably be a Normal-type.

The Pokémon's evolution line is also important to pin down (provided it isn't an evolution or pre-evolution of an existing Pokémon, in which case it's trivial). If it seems like it would be a legendary, that's that problem solved, but otherwise you might want to think a little about what sort of role your Pokémon would have in a game - is it a starter? Pseudo-legendary? Early-game common thing? Does the early-game common thing end up big and powerful, in which case you'll probably want to give it three stages, or will it remain relatively small? (This is a good time to decide on your Pokémon's approximate size.) The general rule is that the Pokémon you encounter in a game increase gradually in size, with some exceptions (like pseudo-legendaries); anything found at the beginning will be quite small in its first form, and if its final form is reasonably large, you'll want an intermediate stage in between. Meanwhile, Pokémon you don't find until the midgame can start out larger and thus grow to a respectable size with just one evolution or even be small stand-alones, and ones you only start encountering relatively late in the game can be pretty big standalones. Again, there are several exceptions to this rule, so if your Pokémon seems like it really ought to break it, by all means do; this is only a helpful aid if you're genuinely not sure how many evolutionary stages you want to give your Pokémon.

Naturally, if you decide on adding evolutionary stages you haven't designed yet, do so. If the base for your Pokémon has an earlier or later "stage" in any sense - a mythological creature with some special origin story, a piece of technology that replaces an earlier piece of technology, an animal with a multi-stage life cycle - it is natural to base its evolutions or pre-evolutions on those stages. If not, design the other stages from roughly the same base in a younger or older form, following the guiding principle that pre-evolutions are almost always smaller, cuter and more simplified than their evolutions.

Next you can look at your Pokémon and decide on a vague idea of its stat distribution - you don't have to create detailed base stats just yet, but you'll want to get a rough idea of what it excels at and what it's not as good at. First, because this is usually the easiest part, does it seem like something that would be speedy? If you don't have any ideas about that already, looking at your design can usually tell you whether you'd expect it to be very fast; large, bulky Pokémon tend to be comparatively slow whereas lean, small ones are fast. Then, speedy Pokémon are usually more offensive and slow Pokémon more defensive, though not always; unless you especially want to subvert that correlation or special circumstances apply (e.g. it's a very small, lean Pokémon that would be fast, but it's a Steel-type and has strong armor), that's probably the way to go. If you've created an evolution or pre-evolution of an existing Pokémon, it should probably have a similar stat distribution unless differences in the design or concept should sensibly lead to differences in stats.

Now, as you're considering its battle style, also consider what sorts of moves it might use. There is no need to go constructing a whole movepool just yet; all you have to do is lay the groundwork by considering what its 'signature moves' would be. What moves would a wild specimen be likely to turn to to defend itself? Knowing this, in turn, allows you to pin down (if you haven't already) whether the Pokémon's higher attacking stat should be physical or special, or if they should be about even - note that even if you'd imagine it would be able to use a lot of special attacks, say, it should still have a pretty low Special Attack stat if you don't think it would actually resort to special attacks as a matter of course. Again, if you're designing an evolution or pre-evolution of an existing Pokémon, they should usually learn similar moves.

If your Pokémon has forms, it's probably time to think about those - how do they differ? (There are Pokémon with purely aesthetic forms, like Unown and Shellos, but also Pokémon like Deoxys that learn different moves or have wildly different stats depending on the form.) Can its form change? If so, how does the change come about? Don't give your Pokémon forms now just for the hell of it, though; forms are best kept to a few special Pokémon, and if your initial concept doesn't call for forms, you probably shouldn't make any (unless you just now had some amazing idea that you just have to implement).

Relatedly, if your Pokémon has different genders, you might want to consider whether it should have gender differences. Do note here that most Pokémon don't have them - as of the fifth generation, only 96 of the 649 existing Pokémon species have a gender difference. If you're making an evolution or pre-evolution of a Pokémon with a gender difference, you should probably give yours a similar gender difference. Otherwise, you don't need to make a gender difference for your Pokémon; most likely the genders will just look the same, and that's fine.

So when should you make a gender difference? A lot of Pokémon gender differences are derived directly from sexual dimorphism in the Pokémon's real-life counterpart, though often body parts that are completely missing in one sex for the real-life animal will merely be smaller for that sex in the Pokémon version. In particular, a lot of bug Pokémon's males have smaller abdomens than the females. Other gender differences are more random aesthetic changes. Please note that Pokémon gender differences are generally not based on human stereotypes: female Pokémon are not systematically daintier, less muscular or colored in softer or more 'girly' colors than the males, nor do they have breasts, longer eyelashes, wear dresses/bows/ribbons/lipstick, etc. There are a couple of exceptions to this (Wobbuffet and Frillish/Jellicent, the former being a one-off gag and the latter being based around the concept of jellyfish that are reminiscent of stereotypical human royalty), but overall Game Freak have done a pretty good job of remembering that Pokémon are animals and there isn't any damn reason male Gardevoir shouldn't have something that vaguely reminds us of a dress. You should do the same.

Also keep in mind that while human women tend to be more 'decorated' than men (i.e. they wear more makeup, jewelry, extravagant clothes, etc.), it is more common in the animal kingdom as a whole for males to be the fancy-looking ones - it's peacocks that have those massive fanlike tails whereas peahens look rather plain, for instance. (This makes sense: thanks to selective pressures arising from the disparity between large, precious, stationary egg cells and tiny, mass-produced, mobile sperm cells, it tends to be the males that compete over the chance to mate with the females rather than the other way around. This means it's the males that have somebody to impress, not the females, and therefore the males for whom it matters to look extravagant, while the females are free to have their bodies shaped and colored for practicality rather than sex appeal. Modern human society has it the other way around, for silly reasons that should be explained by sociology geeks rather than evolutionary biology geeks.) If you're tempted to give one of your Pokémon's genders some additional markings, fancier colors or other aesthetic flourishes, think twice before slapping it on the female just because that fits better with your human idea of normality; it usually makes more sense on the male, no matter how counterintuitive it seems to you. If your Pokémon has a real-life counterpart, look into its sexual dimorphism - of course, if the female of that particular species is fancier, it will make sense to make the female Pokémon fancier, too, but if it's the male, you definitely shouldn't just switch it for no reason.

Then, though this varies in importance depending on what your plans for the Pokémon are - you can probably skip this part if all you want to use the Pokémon for is implementing it into a competitive battling simulator or the like - you will probably want to give some consideration to how your Pokémon lives in the wild. Unlike many other monster-based franchises, Pokémon do not exist solely for fighting; they're simply creatures that inhabit the world, and that means you should know at least a little about how these Pokémon exist outside of battling to have a 'real' Pokémon. Usually you don't need much - just a vague idea of what sorts of places they'd live in in the wild, how aggressive they are, what they eat and how they usually behave is plenty. However, if you want to have a really well-realized Pokémon for a fanfic or something, you should also give some thought to its social structure, how they think and more detailed ideas of their behaviour and where they fit into the ecosystem.

Finally, if you haven't yet thought of a name, you should probably try to do that now. You know all the information you need to know to create a name now, so delaying it won't accomplish anything. Most Pokémon names are simple portmanteaus, two words relevant to the Pokémon spliced together in a way that sounds reasonably nonawkward, but others involve more clever wordplay, perhaps splicing two words in a portmanteau together in such a way that the outcome sounds like a third, also relevant word, or altering the spelling of a relevant word, or deriving from a foreign language (especially Japanese, since many Pokémon keep their Japanese names in English and the Japanese names are often Japanese portmanteaus or puns). The most typical sort of Pokémon name is a portmanteau of a word relating to the Pokémon's type and a word for an animal/object/creature/etc. that it's based on or is similar to (e.g. char + salamander = Charmander, tepid + pig = Tepig), but avoid just directly using the name of the type or base unless they fit very well into a portmanteau with another word; this is one of the few times looking things up in a thesaurus can actually help, as many Pokémon names are based on relatively obscure words and you don't necessarily want the reader to immediately know exactly where you derived your Pokémon's name from anyway. Being too obscure or complex, however, especially if you make many Pokémon and all their names are obscure or complex, will make your names fail to feel like Pokémon names, so don't go overboard.

Once you have all this stuff down, you have well and truly created a Pokémon that you could plug into a fanfic or the like. However, I'd recommend also creating at least the very basic game data, if only to make your Pokémon feel more concrete.

Basic Data

Certain data and statistics are quite fundamental to how most Pokémon fans think of Pokémon, not merely being some nebulous idea of something coded into a program but stuff we actually see and think about as we play the main series Pokémon games.

Base Stats

Though many novice Pokémon players don't even know what base stats are exactly, we all know what stats are: our Pokémon's HP, Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense and Speed are shown on their stat screens, and even before we learn about the mechanics of stats, we've usually noticed from experience playing the games that different Pokémon species have different stats, even if individuals might also vary a little.

So base stats tend to be pretty important for fake Pokémon. Not all fakes need them, but they help both you and the viewer properly visualize exactly how powerful your Pokémon is and what its relative strengths and weaknesses are, and even if you're just writing a fanfic, that will help you decide how it compares to other Pokémon that battle it.

The first thing to do when creating base stats is to find a similar Pokémon to base your Pokémon's stats on. This sounds lazy, but it's not as lazy as it sounds - base stats are just numbers, and that makes it really impossible to tell whether a set of base stats was created by modifying another set or completely from scratch. If your Pokémon is a counterpart to an existing one, you should always base your Pokémon's stats on its counterpart; otherwise, find some Pokémon that seems like it should be around as powerful overall as yours and with a similar variance in its stats (if your Pokémon is supposed to be a heavy specializer, try to find a Pokémon around its power level that's also a heavy specializer, even if it doesn't specialize in the same stats; if it's more balanced, find a balanced Pokémon to base it on), and write its base stats down.

Now the basic idea is to start off by simply switching around the numbers to fit with your particular Pokémon's stat distribution. You did part of this work in the realization stage, where you considered the stat distribution of the Pokémon; however, I was a bit vague there, especially on the defensive front, so it's time to give that some more detailed treatment. The key observation to make is what the three defensive stats - Defense, Special Defense, and HP - actually represent. Pokémon with a high base HP are generally fat or bulky. Pokémon with a high base Defense are usually armored in one way or another, either by having hides or shells made of rock or metal or being based on solid, sturdy objects. Special Defense is a bit subtler, but correlates with thick fur or fat, basically insulation. Since by now you should also know whether the Pokémon is more physical- or special-focused offensively, whether it's offensive or defensive on the whole, and how speedy it is, this should all together give you a pretty good rough idea of where the stats stand in relation to one another, allowing you to simply put the highest of the stolen stat numbers as the value of the stat your Pokémon should have as its highest, the second-highest as its second-highest and so on.

Once you're done with this initial lazy stat distribution, you should probably modify it a bit for a better fit unless it's a counterpart to an existing Pokémon, in which case a good bit of the time you should stick with the same-numbers-in-a-different-arrangement thing - counterparts, especially legendary counterparts or split evolutions, frequently do that. If you think one stat should be a bit higher and another a bit lower, just move a few stat points from the latter to the former, and if you want the Pokémon a little more or less powerful overall, just apply those modifications (never make a counterpart Pokémon more or less powerful overall than its counterpart, though!). Don't go overboard; especially be careful not to unnecessarily raise your Pokémon's base stat total unless it's really called for, or you'll end up with something overpowered.

Also on the overpowered front, if your Pokémon has a powerful gimmick - like Smeargle's ability to learn any move - you need to be sure to make its base stats suitably low unless it is a legendary Pokémon. If it is a legendary Pokémon, don't give it a gimmick that's too powerful, or at least if it is very powerful, try to add some limitations or restrictions on it to make it less so. Seeming broken is the bane of too many fake Pokémon.

Otherwise, just mess around as you like; stats are just numbers and as long as you keep the Pokémon balanced in terms of overall power, you'll be fine. A lot of base stats are multiples of five and a good bit of the time you'll probably want to stick with that, but if you want to be a bit different you can also use less 'clean' numbers. Remember that 255 is the highest possible value for a base stat in the games, so that's your absolute upper bound per stat.

Evolution Method

If your Pokémon evolves, you have to consider how the evolution happens. Most Pokémon evolutions are triggered by leveling up to a specific level, generally later the more powerful the Pokémon is; to think of a good level, it's good to look over my evolution list and see around where your Pokémon seems to fit in.

There are three other basic types of evolution: leveling up while some condition is met (such as being sufficiently happy, holding an item, knowing a certain move, or being in a particular location), using an evolution stone on the Pokémon, and trading. All of them may need some extra condition to hold in order to happen. Evolution methods are very much something that's just up to you and how you feel the Pokémon should work, but there are still a couple of rules to be observed:

  • No evolution chain is more than three Pokémon long. There can be more Pokémon in an evolutionary family, but then there must be a split evolution: any individual Pokémon can only evolve twice in its lifetime.
  • If you've created a new evolution of a preexisting Pokémon, it should generally not evolve by a method that can be replicated in the existing games. So no Leaf Stone alternate evolution of Grovyle - if you tried to use a Leaf Stone on a Grovyle in any of the existing games, you'd be told that it has no effect, so how do you explain it suddenly working now? This rule was broken a couple of times in the fourth generation with move-based evolutions, but all other evolution methods have stuck faithfully to this rule, and you should generally do so as well.
  • Pokémon never evolve by leveling up to a specific level after evolving through any other means, except for Marill into Azumarill after Azurill's happiness evolution, which follows the pattern of many baby Pokémon evolving into their basic stages by happiness. You don't have a Pokémon evolving by stone or trading and then evolving by level after that, and happiness evolution not from a baby would also seem rather strange preceding a level-up evolution.
  • Remember that Pokémon that evolve by evolution stones usually almost completely stop learning moves naturally once they've evolved, with room for maybe a few signature moves but no more. If you don't think your Pokémon's final stage should be mostly deprived of level-up moves, you generally shouldn't make it evolve by stone, unless some part of the theme or gimmick of your Pokémon seems to call for it.

If you've made a baby Pokémon, you might also want to decide if getting that baby requires a parent to be holding a special item or something of the like (should always be necessary if adding a baby onto an existing evolution line).

Level-Up Moves

To decide what your Pokémon should learn by level-up, it is best to just start constructing the move list, and to do that, it's helpful to take a look at the rules governing what move lists look like for the canonical Pokémon.

First, at the beginning of every move list come the Pokémon's basic starting moves, the ones it will hatch with from an egg unless overridden. Generally this is one or two moves, at least one of which should usually be damaging, unless it's a gimmick Pokémon with some other means of damaging its opponent or it's one of those Pokémon designed to be a pain to raise (like Magikarp). The damaging move should always be something pretty weak, again unless you're making a very special, rare, gimmicky kind of Pokémon (Beldum's only attack is Take Down, for instance); for non-legendaries, stay away from moves with a base power of more than 50 or so, and even for legendaries, you usually shouldn't go over maybe 60. Most non-legendary Pokémon of elemental types start with a Normal-type damaging attack rather than a STAB move; most of the time you'll want to go with Tackle, Pound, Scratch, Quick Attack, Constrict, Wrap, Bind or their ilk, but weak (under 40 base power) elemental moves (such as Astonish, Poison Sting, Peck, Bubble, Mud-Slap, etc.) can also work reasonably well as starting moves.

In the fourth- and fifth-generation games, many evolved Pokémon also have a couple of extra moves listed as starting moves in online Pokédexes, which would normally be unavailable since you can't hatch evolved Pokémon from eggs. Why are they there? Because of the move relearner, who will consult your Pokémon's level-up move list to find out which moves he should offer to teach your Pokémon. Nominally he claims he's there to reteach your Pokémon moves it has forgotten, but the developers snuck in some extra moves that Pokémon can exclusively learn from the move relearner. Usually these moves aren't ultra-powerful so much as just various moves of different types that they could conceivably use without any actual association with that type, e.g. Shadow Claw for various non-Ghost Pokémon that have sharp claws.

As for the subsequent move list, the levels at which Pokémon learn moves almost always follow a regular pattern for the most part. Bulbasaur, for instance, learns its moves in the fourth and fifth generations at level intervals that alternate between 2 and 4: taking its starting moves to be learned at level 1, it next learns a move at level 3, then 7, then 9, then 13, then 15, 19, 21, 25, 27, 31, 33, and finally 37. In the second and third generations, it learned moves at level 4, 7, 10, 15, 20, 25, 32, 39 and 46 - the intervals went 3, 3, 3, 5, 5, 5, 7, 7, 7. In the first generation it learned moves at level 7, 13, 20, 27, 34, 41 and 48, with six levels between the first two moves and then always seven. Sometimes Pokémon learn multiple moves at the same level (usually 'linked' moves, like Butterfree's Poisonpowder, Stun Spore and Sleep Powder, or Stockpile, Spit Up and Swallow), but the actual levels are the same as they would be otherwise.

That being said, the patterns vary, and the developers of the games aren't above breaking them every now and then if it suits them, so don't take this too religiously - realizing there's a pattern to the levels is mostly something that makes level-up moves easier to do if, like me, you started off always sort of working off some instinctual feeling of when it seems right for the Pokémon to learn the next move.

As with many things, the best way to construct a move list is often to just modify some other Pokémon's move list, though for the level numbers it's not hard to make up a suitable pattern yourself either as long as you keep it in line with the canonical Pokémon. If you're making a counterpart to another Pokémon, always base the move list very closely on that Pokémon: it should learn similarly-flavored moves at the same levels. Otherwise it's largely common sense. In general, a move list should start with weaker, more commonplace moves and move up to stronger, more unusual ones, and there should generally never be more than three non-damaging moves in a row on the move list unless you're dealing with a gimmick Pokémon - four non-damaging moves in a row, after all, means there is some range of levels at which wild specimens would have no damaging attack and thus no means of defending themselves.

Now, as you probably know, move lists change slightly when Pokémon evolve. First, Pokémon that evolve by level-up will learn their moves later after they evolve. Specifically, starting at the level the evolution happens, the level pattern for the evolved form becomes more spaced out. For instance, Bulbasaur's moves stay at the 2-4 interval pattern throughout; Ivysaur's move list, on the other hand, starts out identical to Bulbasaur's up until level 16 (when Bulbasaur evolves into Ivysaur), and then changes the pattern to intervals alternating between 3 and 5 levels. Venusaur learns its moves at the same levels as Ivysaur up until level 32 and after that changes the pattern to alternating between 6 and 8 levels between moves. However, evolutions can also make other changes to learned moves. Evolutions that change substantially in capabilities, such as by adding or changing types, growing additional body parts, switching from physical to special, offensive to defensive or vice versa, etc. especially often substitute some moves on the move list for others with a similar flavor that make use of the Pokémon's new features, in addition to sometimes adding a move or moves at the level at which the Pokémon evolves, ignoring the level pattern entirely. Venusaur, for instance, learns Petal Dance at level 32 in the fourth and fifth generations, even though it just learned Double-Edge at level 31 and the subsequent pattern acts like that was the last move it learned. Finally, evolved Pokémon sometimes simply learn more moves than their pre-evolutions; in that case, just continue with the same pattern after the last move learned by the pre-evolution.

Now, that's all Pokémon that evolve by level-up, as in by reaching some specific level. Pokémon that evolve through the use of evolution stones, on the other hand, generally learn no attacks naturally after they evolve, unless they have some signature moves (e.g. Arcanine's Extremespeed), in which case they learn those at some arbitrary levels but nothing else. Meanwhile, Pokémon that evolve through happiness, by leveling up at particular locations, with particular items, etc., or through trading, as well as those stone-evolving Pokémon that don't mostly stop learning moves, will continue to learn moves at the same levels as their pre-evolved forms; they might replace the actual moves with different ones of a similar flavor, as with normal level-up evolutions, but the levels always stay the same. These Pokémon do not suffer the penalty of learning moves later if they're made to evolve early.

Don't be tempted to give your Pokémon nothing but damaging attacks, or try to stuff every damaging attack of its type(s) onto its move list. It should only learn a few well-chosen candidates that seem like something this Pokémon would naturally use. Your Electric Pokémon don't all have to learn Thunderbolt and Thunder; maybe it suits them better to get Zap Cannon, or Discharge, or Wild Charge, or Volt Tackle. And all Pokémon get some 'useless' moves: don't be afraid to give them moves that would be awful competitively and that nobody should ever use. The key principle is always what you can picture the Pokémon using, not what you'd want to use if you had this Pokémon on a game.

Abilities

First, I'm going to note that if you've made a starter Pokémon, all starters have the ability Overgrow, Blaze or Torrent (as appropriate for their type, of course). Breaking this rule for your starters is not a good idea; it's been pretty firmly established by now and seems extremely unlikely to change.

Otherwise, abilities are often a large part of a Pokémon's gimmick, so it's fairly likely you've already decided on an ability your Pokémon should have. If so, you can pretty much skip this step. If you have an idea for a made-up ability but have yet to formalize it in a game-sensible form, you should do that formalization now. (It's not hard - abilities can do pretty much anything, really. Special flags have been added to moves just so some one ability can know whether to affect or not affect them. Something similar could in theory be done for your ability - though that does complicate things if you're planning to implement your Pokémon into a ROM hack or the like.)

Otherwise, if the ability isn't important, it's fairly easy to decide on something that suits it. If you want to see a quick overview of all the existing abilities, look here; then just scroll through the list and find something that seems appropriate. If the full list is daunting and you have absolutely no ideas, check what abilities some vaguely similar Pokémon have (same type, similar base animal, etc.) and see if some of them have generic abilities that could fit.

Minor Data

By this point, you've created a perfectly respectable Pokémon, complete for most purposes. However, if you like details and making your Pokémon really feel like it could be in a game, you'll want to add several other pieces of information.

Gender Ratios

A Pokémon's gender ratio is fairly simple to determine. If it's an evolution or pre-evolution, it's even simpler: just give it the same gender ratio as the rest of the family (unless, of course, you're going for some kind of a funky gimmick based on the fact Azurill does canonically change sex sometimes upon evolution). Counterparts tend to have opposite gender ratios. Otherwise, you can decide it using roughly this algorithm:

  • First of all, mechanical or amorphous Pokémon, as well as legendaries, are usually genderless, so in that case your work is already done.
  • Otherwise, if the Pokémon's design, realization, stats and so on are heavily based on one particular animal's gender, or it's based on a particular mythological creature with a specific gender, or it is otherwise important to the concept of your Pokémon that it be exclusively either male or female, make it so.
  • Otherwise, if the Pokémon is a rare Pokémon that, in a game, would be given to the player rather than being caught in the wild (such as a starter), it should be 87.5% male (this rule was most likely introduced by the game developers just to make it more difficult to breed more of them, so you can ignore it if you have no interest in faithfully emulating the games).
  • Otherwise, if you picture the Pokémon as being more often one gender than the other, make it 75% that gender.
  • Otherwise, make the Pokémon's gender ratio 50-50.

That's all there really is to it. Gender ratios aren't very complex.

Egg Groups

All Pokémon belong to one or two egg groups, which determine what Pokémon they can breed with: any Pokémon can breed with any Pokémon of the opposite gender that shares at least one egg group with it, except that Pokémon in the "No Eggs" group can never breed at all, genderless Pokémon in any egg group can only breed with the "Ditto" group, and Pokémon in the "Ditto" group can breed with any Pokémon not in the "No Eggs" group. The canonical egg groups are the following:

  • Bug, for bugs and bug lookalikes.
  • Ditto, for Ditto.
  • Dragon, for dragons, lizards and snakes.
  • Fairy, for cute, fairly abstract creatures with small limbs that don't look especially like any particular real-world animal.
  • Flying, for birds, bats and pterodactyls.
  • Ground, for Pokémon closely based on real-life mammals.
  • Humanshape, for humanoid Pokémon.
  • Indeterminate, for ghosts, gases and blobs.
  • Mineral, for Pokémon made of rock, metal or other dead materials.
  • Monster, for Pokémon based on reptiles and some 'creepified' mammals.
  • No Eggs, for Pokémon that can't breed.
  • Plant, for Grass Pokémon.
  • Water 1, for aquatic mammals or other Water-types that don't fit into Water 2 and Water 3.
  • Water 2, for fish.
  • Water 3, for Pokémon based on marine invertebrates.

If your Pokémon is a Ditto-clone that should be breedable with everything (only do this if you really mean it; presumably Ditto can breed with everything because of its transformation abilities, so only a Pokémon that can transform should be able to join it in this group, and at that point you're in considerable danger of your Pokémon just being redundant), put it in the Ditto group. If it's a legendary Pokémon (unless you have a special reason to want it breedable, as with Manaphy) or a baby Pokémon (i.e. a design that is clearly juvenile), or for any other reason should be completely unbreedable, put it in the No Eggs group. Otherwise, if it's an evolution or pre-evolution of an existing Pokémon you should put it in the same egg group as it, and if not you should just pick one or two of the other groups that seem to fit it and put it in those. There's not much else to this.

Extra Moves

A Pokémon's movepool is never just its level-up moves: it will also have TM and HM moves, move tutor moves, and some egg moves if it has a gender and is breedable. (Genderless Pokémon don't have egg moves, even though they're breedable with Ditto and can pass on TM/HM moves.)

The annoying thing about TM/HM and move tutor moves is that the available TMs, HMs and move tutors change with every generation, and new generations are precisely when new Pokémon are added - a hypothetical game containing your new Pokémon probably wouldn't have the same TM/HM/move tutor moves as the current generation, anyway, so it may even seem a little backwards to create a TM/HM or move tutor move list in accordance with the latest games to begin with. You could just use the current generation's lists and update your Pokémon's information as new generations come out - you're probably going to do that anyway to add in newly-introduced level-up moves and so on. However, another possible solution, especially if you're creating a whole region's worth of Pokémon, is to simply make up your own TM, HM and move tutor lists for your own hypothetical (or possibly not so hypothetical) game, and give your Pokémon a subset of those. If making your own TM list, try to keep in those TMs that have been available consistently for multiple generations since the introduction of the move in question - if Game Freak seems to want those moves to stick around as TMs, you should probably let them stick around, too.

Whatever you go with, the first step is to get a full list of the available TMs, HMs and move tutor moves you want to list your Pokémon's compatibility for - you can find a TM/HM list for the fifth generation here, but again, you might also just want to put together your own list. Once you've done that, copy that list into a file somewhere, go through the whole list and, for each move, try to picture your Pokémon using the move in question, erasing all moves that don't seem to make sense for it.

There are some general rules to observe when deciding this. First, some Pokémon can't learn any TM, HM or tutor moves whatsoever, because their gimmick is having an extremely limited number of moves (this includes the basic bugs found at the beginning of each game and a few other gimmick Pokémon like Magikarp, Ditto, Wobbuffet, etc.). If this is the case with your Pokémon, this bit is easy. Second, as a general rule, Hyper Beam and Giga Impact are learned only by fully evolved Pokémon (barring those who were once fully evolved and a couple of other rare exceptions), but by all fully-evolved Pokémon except some small, weak single-stage ones (such as Kecleon and Farfetch'd). Third, there are several TM moves that can be learned by any (or just about any) Pokémon whatsoever except the ones that don't get any TMs at all; they are the following:

  • Toxic
  • Hidden Power
  • Protect
  • Return
  • Frustration
  • Double Team
  • Facade
  • Secret Power
  • Rest
  • Endure
  • Sleep Talk
  • Natural Gift
  • Swagger
  • Substitute
  • Round

Additionally, every non-genderless Pokémon can learn Attract and Captivate, plus Mew and Cryogonal (Mew because its gimmick is learning every possible TM, Cryogonal likely because of a programming oversight; their Attract/Captivate will always fail) and minus Nincada (to prevent the player from having a Shedinja, which is genderless, with Attract/Captivate) and Larvesta/Volcarona (for unknown reasons; perhaps they were originally intended to be genderless). All of this means that unless your Pokémon doesn't get any TMs at all, it should learn all of the above list (they are all the kind of recurring TM I recommend keeping in any custom TM lists), and if it's not genderless it should probably get Attract and Captivate.

When it comes to move tutors, it's become a pretty solid tradition that there's a move tutor somewhere in each game that will teach Frenzy Plant, Blast Burn or Hydro Cannon to your final-form starter if it's happy enough, and that another move tutor will teach Draco Meteor to any Dragon-type Pokémon that can learn extra moves. Other tutors vary, and you can decide your Pokémon's compatibility with the moves they teach the same way you decide on TM compatibility.

Higher evolutions should nearly always learn a superset of their pre-evolutions' TM/HM/tutor moves. Losing the ability to learn a TM upon evolution is extremely rare - to my knowledge, it has only happened with Gloom losing Sludge Bomb upon evolution into Bellossom (only in G/S/C) and Minccino losing Thief. Only do it if there's a very, very good reason.

Egg moves are generally any additional moves you can picture the Pokémon being able to use from a hatchable evolutionary stage (this bit's important - you can't give an evolved form egg moves because egg moves are moves the Pokémon hatches with, and it'll never hatch in that form; if there are moves like this you want to give the evolved forms of your Pokémon, go with the extra starting moves that the move relearner can teach, as described in the level-up move section), but not coming naturally to it as a level-up move. These are fairly simple to decide upon.

Pokédex Data

While not especially necessary, fake Pokémon often don't feel quite real to avid game-players without the data that's been displayed in the Pokédex since the first generation: exact height and weight, species, and a Pokédex entry.

The height and weight aren't terribly interesting; just picture about how tall (or long, in the case of snakelike Pokémon) your Pokémon would ordinarily be and write that down, and then figure out what it would weigh. If you're not good at judging the weight of imaginary objects, don't worry, because neither are the game developers. You can try finding some existing Pokémon of a similar size and build and work from its weight, or looking up the animal you based it on and what it weighs on average. If your Pokémon has an evolution or pre-evolution, keep in mind that Pokémon almost always grow bigger and heavier when they evolve.

The species is the classification shown in the Pokédex that says Venusaur is a "Seed Pokémon", Blastoise is a "Shellfish Pokémon", Charizard is a "Flame Pokémon", etc. If your Pokémon is closely based on a real-life animal, you can use the name of that animal; otherwise you can just use something that seems vaguely descriptive of the Pokémon (very vaguely; just look at the Kanto starters' species classifications). It's not always a noun; sometimes it's an adjective, as with Gyarados being an "Atrocious Pokémon". This has to be short; the longest ones as of the fifth generation are thirteen characters (minus the "Pokémon" part, obviously).

Pokédex entries are basically a blurb providing a short bit of trivia about the Pokémon's physiology, habitat, behaviour, etc. You can make multiple entries; since the pair of games heading off each generation always have different entries for the Pokémon, the canonical Pokémon always start out with two Pokédex entries and you could do that as well if you want. In the fifth generation, the longest is 122 characters; Ruby and Sapphire, however, had considerably longer Pokédex entries than any of the other games, and the longest of those was 235 characters, so you'll probably get away with that length, too.

Shiny Colors

You presumably already know how your Pokémon is normally colored, but what about the shiny, or alternate-colored, version?

What shinies basically are is the original sprite displayed with a different palette - the game doesn't store the shiny sprite separately, only the palette, so a shiny Pokémon can only differ from the normal one in color. Sometimes the color difference is subtle, as with Zapdos; other times it's completely different, as with Charizard:

Normal ZapdosShiny Zapdos

Normal CharizardShiny Charizard

For evolutions or pre-evolutions of existing Pokémon, the shiny colors are usually (but not always) the same throughout the evolution line if their normal forms are the same color, so you can use that as a guideline. Otherwise, you can basically do anything here - if you think some particular color would look good or interesting on your Pokémon, you can use that, but if you're feeling uninspired you can also just make a slightly lighter- or darker-colored version. You don't need to have made sprites specifically to make a shiny coloring - just decide what the shiny coloring is like, really, and maybe draw it with those colors if you're artistically inclined. (Alternatively, if you already have a picture with the normal colors, you can use the hue sliders in Photoshop or another paint program to change it to the shiny colors.)

Trivial Data

By now you have everything people really care about, but if you want to implement your Pokémon into some kind of a fangame or are just very obsessed with details, there is still stuff to do.

Sprites

You may have created front sprites of your Pokémon already, if you're more comfortable with pixel art than freehand drawing and didn't want to just keep the design in your head. However, you likely haven't created back sprites, party sprites or (if applicable) overworld sprites, which will be needed if you're going to put your Pokémon into a game of some kind.

Assuming you want your Pokémon ready to be put into some sort of a fangame based on a post-Advance game, the basic sprites you need are:

Front sprite
The standard front-right-view battle sprite. In the third-generation games, this is 64x64 pixels; in the fourth generation, it's 80x80 pixels; in the fifth, it's 96x96. Emerald and the fourth-generation games animate these with two frames, so you might want to make both. In the fifth-generation games, meanwhile, there are full-body animations based on stretching, skewing and rotating individual body parts in addition to having extra frames for some of those body parts. I don't know if anybody would ever be bothered to actually do that for their fake Pokémon, but if you want to, you can. You can check out my spriting guide if you'd like advice on how to make good sprites, or you can just see if you can get somebody else to do it for you if you're no good.
Back sprite
A back-right view of the Pokémon, the same size as the front sprite. In the third- and fourth-generation games, it would show the Pokémon enlarged, cutting off at the bottom and left sides of the frame; in the fifth generation, the back sprite shows the Pokémon at the same size as the front sprite, just facing the other direction, and the graphic engine zooms in on the sprite to get the perspective right. Platinum and HG/SS had two frames for these, while B/W have animations as described for the front sprites.
Party sprites
Two frames of a 32x32-pixel top-front-right-view icon used for the party screen. Look at some of the existing ones for reference; they have a very unusual spriting style. In particular, the outlines on the bottom part of the sprite are gray, whereas the outlines near the top are near-black; it's a way of 'graying out' the parts of the Pokémon that are further away to make the shape less flat. Also (believe it or not) there are only three possible palettes these can have (shown here; note that the green at the far left side of each one is the transparent background color, so don't use it in the actual Pokémon), meaning you must pick the palette that seems closest to having the right colors and work with that.
Overworld sprites
Not always necessary, but when they are, most of them have a 32x32 frame (reasonably small Pokémon generally stick to sixteen pixels wide, however), except for particularly big Pokémon, in which case the frame is 64x64 pixels. Again, look at some actual overworld sprites for stylistic reference. The number of directions and frames you need depends on your purposes.
Footprint sprites
A 16x16 footprint for the Pokémon, in silhouette. Use other footprint sprites for reference. If the Pokémon doesn't have visible feet, however, it will not have a footprint.

Pokédex Stuff Nobody Cares About

Pokémon can have one of several body types, meaning the basic shape of their body - a similar concept to how the party sprites worked in the first two generations. This is a simple matter of picking the one that's closest to what your design actually looks like. The body types don't have any formal names since they appear in the Pokédex only as sprites, but I'm fond of those used by veekun:

  • Pomaceous
  • Caudal
  • Ichthyic
  • Brachial
  • Alvine
  • Sciurine
  • Crural
  • Mensal
  • Alar
  • Cilial
  • Polycephalic
  • Anthropomorphic
  • Lepidopterous
  • Chitinous

Additionally, the Pokédex defines each Pokémon as having a color. This is usually simply the dominant color of the Pokémon; since there is only one color designation, however, this can feel pretty wildly inaccurate when the design very prominently features two or more radically different colors. Just pick one. The available colors are black, white, gray, red, green, blue, yellow, brown, pink and purple.

Numbers Nobody Cares About

First, your Pokémon needs a catch rate. This is a number representing how difficult this Pokémon is to catch. Early-game weak Pokémon such as Caterpie and Pidgey have a catch rate of 255, which makes them extremely easy to catch, while most legendary Pokémon (unless the story expects you to catch them relatively early and thus takes pity on you, as with Dialga/Palkia/Reshiram/Zekrom) have a catch rate of 3. As so often, your best bet is to find an existing Pokémon that seems like it should be about as difficult to catch as your fake and copy its catch rate.

Next, it needs a base happiness, which is basically the happiness value this Pokémon will have when you first catch it and what it will be reset to if you trade it. Almost every Pokémon has a base happiness of 70, with a few exceptions:

  • Generally happy, cheerful Pokémon such as Chansey, plus Uxie/Mesprit/Azelf who are apparently just exploding with joy, have a base happiness of 140.
  • The cute event legendaries - Mew, Celebi, Jirachi, Shaymin, Victini and Meloetta - as well as Heatran and Cresselia, plus a couple of other generally playful Pokémon, have a base happiness of 100.
  • Latias, Latios, Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus have a base happiness of 90, because apparently they're just cool like that.
  • Other legendary trios, pseudo-legendaries, Keldeo, most Dark-types, many Ghost-types and a few other Pokémon that are generally distrustful of humans to start with (e.g. Ralts) have a base happiness of 35.
  • Other legendaries and Buneary (because bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposes) have a base happiness of 0, basically starting off despising you with every fiber of their being.

Figure out where your Pokémon fits in and give it that base happiness. I don't recommend making up a base happiness value that isn't 140/100/90/70/35/0 for your Pokémon, unless you have some really genius gimmick in mind with it.

Effort yields are extremely simple. Each Pokémon will give a total of one (first-stage or weak single-stage Pokémon), two (second-stage or relatively strong single-stage Pokémon) or three (third-stage or legendary Pokémon) effort points when defeated, in some distribution across its highest stats. There are only so many possibilities; you can figure it out.

Base experience, meanwhile, is subtler than you think. More specifically, in the first to fourth generations, I'd tell you to just find a Pokémon of a similar general power level and rarity and copy its base experience - but in the fifth generation, all base experiences were recalculated, and this time they (mostly) follow a pattern:

  • If the Pokémon is the first stage in an evolution line, its base experience is the sum of its base stats multiplied by four, then divided by twenty and rounded to the nearest whole number.
  • If the Pokémon is the second stage in an evolution line or a non-legendary standalone, its base experience is the sum of its base stats multiplied by seven, then divided by twenty and rounded to the nearest whole number.
  • If the Pokémon is the third stage in an evolution line or a legendary, its base experience is the sum of its base stats multiplied by nine, then divided by twenty and rounded to the nearest whole number.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, usually to compensate for abilities that make the Pokémon overall weaker than its base stat total would indicate. Additionally, the Unova starters also have the lowest experience yield of any Pokémon, presumably so you won't have your starter gaining multiple levels before you get out of your house, Volcarona is counted as if it were a legendary rather than a second stage (but Larvesta is counted as a first stage as expected), and Audino and the Chansey family have much higher base experience values than they ought to because giving inordinate amounts of experience is kind of their thing (they have about 2.5 times the base experience they should). However, unless your Pokémon has a crippling ability, you can just use the formula as given above and you'll have your base experience. And if it does have a crippling ability, just find a Pokémon that you'd estimate to be roughly as powerful as yours is after adjusting for the ability and use its base stat total or something close to it in the formula instead.

Your Pokémon's growth rate determines how fast it levels up. Note that the growth rate goes for the whole evolution line; it doesn't change with evolution, so if your Pokémon is related to an existing Pokémon, your job is done. The growth rates are:

  • "Erratic", growing slowly at the beginning but faster than any other growth rate at higher levels. They reach level 100 when they have 600,000 total experience points. These are mostly Bug- and Water-type Pokémon, plus Hoenn and Sinnoh's fossils, Swablu, Altaria and Zangoose.
  • "Fast", growing rather quickly from start to finish until they reach level 100 at 800,000 experience points. This group consists mostly of "cute" Pokémon, especially Normal-types.
  • "Medium Fast", the largest group, reaching level 100 at 1,000,000 experience points.
  • "Medium Slow", the second-largest group, which reaches level 100 at 1,059,860 experience points. Includes all starter Pokémon, some of the cute event legendaries, and a whole bunch of other random Pokémon.
  • "Slow", including most legendaries and pseudo-legendaries, as well as other relatively rare, powerful, late-game Pokémon. They reach level 100 at 1,250,000 experience points.
  • "Fluctuating", the opposite of the erratic group, which starts out growing very fast but ends up growing slower than any other group and needing 1,640,000 experience points in all to get to level 100. Used for a few scattered Pokémon with little in common with one another; interestingly, Game Freak were clearly playing a bit with opposites when they introduced this and the erratic group in the third generation, since Zangoose's growth rate is erratic while Seviper's is fluctuating, and Volbeat's growth rate is erratic while Illumise's is fluctuating.

Pick the one that seems most appropriate to how fast you'd imagine your Pokémon would grow. If you have no idea, just put it in the same group as some similar Pokémon, as usual.

The hatch counter is basically the number of cycles of 255 steps it will normally take to hatch an egg containing this Pokémon. Even Pokémon you cannot possibly hatch from eggs, like legendaries or evolved Pokémon, have this value defined in their data. Often this is presented as the actual number of steps needed for the egg to hatch, which amounts to the hatch counter value multiplied by 255 (or 256, which was the number of steps needed to decrease the counter prior to the fourth generation). As so often, your best bet is to find some vaguely analogous Pokémon and copy its hatch counter/steps to hatch figure.

Finally, if the Pokémon should have a wild held item, it can do so either very rarely (1%, B/W only), rarely (5%), frequently (50%) or always (100%). The former three can stack, i.e. the Pokémon can carry one item 50% of the time, another 5% of the time and another 1% of the time. The items involved are usually items vaguely associated with the Pokémon, e.g. Paras and Parasect holding Tinymushrooms, Big Mushrooms and Balm Mushrooms. Several Fire-types hold Rawst Berries and Ice-types hold Aspear Berries; some early-game Normal-types hold Oran Berries or Sitrus Berries.

Technically you should be making a cry to make this all the way complete, but I doubt even fangame creators would bother with this rather than just reusing some random existing Pokémon's cry.

And... that's it. Congratulations.

So Now What...?

Well, now you've created your Pokémon. Presumably you've written down all the stuff you've made up about it. If you have a website you can put it there; if you have an art gallery somewhere and have created artwork of your Pokémon, you can put it up there and include some of the basic data with it; if you make fangames, you can add it to that; if you write fanfics, you can write it in. It doesn't matter what you do with your Pokémon; it's yours. Do whatever you want.

Keep on improving and refining your design; fake Pokémon are fun to tinker with. Or you can just move on to creating more fake Pokémon. Perhaps you can make a whole fake generation. Or maybe you just want to stick to a few. That's fine too.

Above all, just have fun and be creative. That's what this is all about, after all.

Page last modified September 12 2013 at 16:22 GMT