Server Move and Site Upgrades
Published August 25 2018
If you can see this news item, it means that you're being served this site from its new online home! Although the hosting provider I started out with worked well for a few years, it was clear during last year's November rush that the site had outgrown my little hosting plan and I'd need to look into a new solution if it was going to continue to do well. Unfortunately I was in Australia last November and didn't really have time to take on such a big project, so I came up with the best janky stopgap measures I could to keep things running on the old server and deferred a real upgrade until I was home from my trip. This led to a lot of weird errors and a generally poor user experience for people using the NaNoWriMon this year, and my major goal is going to be using the new options this server affords me to be sure that things run much more smoothly for everyone when November rolls around again.
I also took advantage of the server move to modernize the site's code base a bit, implement SSL for increased security, and make some performance improvements behind the scenes. Given all the changes coming together at once, I expect there to be some issues, whether with the site not functioning properly, slowdowns or server errors, etc. If you encounter any problems while browsing the site, please let me know! I've been doing my own testing and will be keeping a close eye on the server analytics, but I'm sure I'll miss something.
I've been working on an analysis of SOS chaining in the Gen VII games, with the ultimate goal of making a calculator that will tell you the expected number of turns to encounter a shiny/pokémon with hidden ability/etc. under various conditions. So far the only visible result of that work is the Gen VII SOS Rates page, but I'll have more content in that vein along eventually. NaNoWriMon stuff is the priority right now, since I'd like to have it well done with and ready to go before October, but once that's dealt with I'll be back to getting mad at SOS battles. I'd also love to get a new layout going and make some upgrades to a few pages... there's always something going on with this site, even if the news page is pretty quiet!
Well, it's been a loooong time in coming, but the fic rec list has been updated with another set of five, and there are a couple more recs below.
And, now that November's over, it's time for the NaNoWriMon to go inactive for another year. I had a lot more users this time around than I expected, which was an exciting lesson in scalability for me. Thanks to everyone who reported bugs; there are still some mysterious ones floating around that I'll try to figure out and get fixed before NaNo season starts up again. I'll also be adding some new features--finer control of what a NaNoWriMon evolves into (or if it evolves at all) is at the top of the list. If there's anything in particular you want to see for the next go-round, let me know and I'll see what I can do.
I hope you've been enjoying Sun/Moon if you've been fortunate enough to get your hands on a copy! If you feel like taking a break from playing why not check out one of these PMD stories:
Fledglings by Fobbie: Fledglings is unusual in that it takes place in a PMD-style world, complete with guilds, gummis, and of course mystery dungeons, but doesn't feature a human-turned-pokémon with amnesia, or indeed any sort of human at all. It's instead a coming-of-age tale following the adventures of three young pokémon finding their way in a post-apocalyptic world where humans have long since gone extinct and pokémon civilization clings to life on a series of islands surrounded by an empty, blighted wasteland. Despite the grim setting, the story is overall lighthearted and upbeat, with pirates, plenty of action, and a real sense of humor. Overall it has the feel of an adventurous Saturday morning cartoon, with peril that feels real but never too perilous and villains that manage to be serious without becoming monstrous. I think the best aspect of the story is the worldbuilding; Fobbie explores a wide variety of pokémon cultures through the heroes' journeys around the islands, the mystery dungeons are heavily integrated into pokémon's everyday lives, and the story itself revolves around a myth literally come to life and how various characters deal with that happening. Overall, this story would best appeal to people looking for an adventurous romp with lots of colorful characters and settings who also want a 'fic that gives them plenty of material to enjoy--the story currently sits at over 300,000 words, and I don't think the end is in sight.
PMD: Victory Fire by sulfurbunny: this one is actually a comic; I might put together a separate comics rec list at some point, but since as far as I'm aware there are even fewer finished fancomics out there than finished fanfics, I figured talking about the odd in-progress one couldn't hurt. Victory Fire begins in the usual way of PMD stories, with a human-turned-pokémon being introduced to a world where pokémon have built their own society that happens to be under threat. Unlike most, however, Victory Fire crosses back into the human world, attempting to reconcile the PMD-verse with the main series games, the anime, and even other spin-off games like Pokémon Ranger. As a result, OC's stand alongside a diverse cast of canon characters, from Gengar and Wigglytuff from the PMD games to Lovrina to Team Plasma. If you've ever wanted to see Mewtwo, Wes, and N team up to save the Pokémon world, Victory Fire's got you covered (on page 399-400, specifically). Victory Fire has fantastic art, a great cast of characters, and has never missed one of its Tuesday/Friday updates since it began in 2012, giving you a deep archive to enjoy and a steady stream of panels to look forward to in the future.
Sun and Moon are now available pretty much everywhere except Europe, so I've made a couple quick updates to bring the site up to date with Gen VII. The Metronome Generator now produces Gen VII attacks and also has a new option to generate Z-Moves if you'd like. You can also adopt Gen VII or Alola-form NaNoWriMon--actually, they secretly went live a few days ago, but now it's official!
I also managed to badly break the comment database last week, and it still isn't back to normal. New comments are added fine, and none of the old ones were lost, but most of them don't appear on their intended pages. I've already fixed all the ones on the NaNoWriMon page and am slowly going through to put the rest to rights, but it'll take a little while yet to get them all.
Published August 03 2016
I've been wanting to put together a formal pokéfic rec list for a long time now, since I've had the pleasure of reading a lot of great stories in this fandom and would love to share them with others. Unfortunately, I kept putting it off because of the work involved in collecting the links and writing everything up... Until I got the idea of doing it in chunks instead of all at once! I'm going to look to add five stories a month until I run out of ones to feature, then probably update the list yearly. As we go along I'll feature one or two in-progress stories I'm following as well, for anyone else who enjoys keeping up with 'fics while they're still being posted.
To start off, I thought I'd put the spotlight on a couple of older chapterfics that have only recently started updating again:
Gods and Demons: ad terminos terrae by Keleri - Gods and Demons is an OT 'fic set in the fanregion of Gaiien, a sparsely-inhabited place with only the beginnings of an organized Pokémon League. When Moriko and her friends set out on their pokémon journey, they're prepared to face a hostile wilderness and difficult gym battles, but it soon becomes apparent that something far more dangerous is taking hold in Gaiien. The region's dark myths may not be so mythical after all, and knowledge long lost to humans and pokémon alike may be more important now than ever before.
Gaiien is a wonderfully well-conceived setting, with its own cultures, lore, and a boatload of cool fakemon, and Keleri makes full use of them throughout the 'fic. This is a story that feels like it couldn't take place in any canon region, and the wild, ancient feel Keleri gives to the region plays perfectly with the story's darker themes. All around tight writing, interesting characters, and a wonderfully twisty plot make this a standout among trainerfics. This incarnation, a reboot of a much older, and already plenty solid, fanfic, is only just starting, so it's the perfect time to jump in if you enjoy following along with trainerfics; and if you get impatient for more material, the old version is still up for you to enjoy, with new chapters being added while the rewrite catches up.
Rainbow by SunLight - Mai is a Kimono Girl in training, a transplant from Goldenrod City trying to come to grips with Ecruteak's deeply secretive culture. Soon her simple desire to become a dancer is complicated by the unspoken but sometimes deadly rules of life in Ecruteak and mysteries from her dead mother's past that refuse to stay buried.
SunLight does a great job of digging into the culture of Ecruteak City, with its traditionalist bent, the connection with Ho-Oh, and ghosts both literal and metaphorical. The story plays out like a murder mystery of sorts, with Mai slowly uncovering clues both to her own past and to what's really going on under Ecruteak's refined facade. It's an atmospheric 'fic, and SunLight's depiction of Ecruteak makes it feel like a character unto itself. This story combines a rich setting with a layered, multi-threaded plot, and it looks as though it's only a couple chapters from the end. Hopefully I'll get to see how everything ties together and add this one to the main recs page soon!
Smells Like Comments and Betrayal
Published July 20 2016
I've been working for a while to revamp the comment system, and I'm finally ready to roll out a couple improvements. The first of these is simple pagination for comments, which I thought I wouldn't need for a while--since having to add it means that I got more comments than I expected, I can't really complain! The other is comment threading, which is something I've been griping about not having since the very beginning. Now you can reply to people's posts and generally have an actual conversation in the comments, if you feel so inclined.
To provide a little content to go along with the technical update, I also did a brief write-up of my adventures in figuring out which was the first "Ash betrayal" fanfic to be published. Sort of an oddball topic, but I hope that it's at least a little interesting for anyone who's familiar with the Pokéfic scene on FFN.
There's more stuff coming up soon--some content I've been planning for a while, a new layout, and some further enhancements for the comment system to make it a little easier to use. Those last are probably a ways off, but we'll see!