Is a Monster Collecting game possible with the FX?

it seems like the main issue any monster collecting games ran into, mostly had to do with storage limitations… i had a few questions about how and if the fx could solve these issues:

is swapping the most you can do between two ‘cartridges’?
if so, can you keep some save data shared between the cartridges?

I’m thinking a game could have an overworld in one cartridge, monsters in a second, battles in a third… or something along those lines- these types of games rely heavily on relatively large sprites…

only the active team of monsters the player has would need to be ‘transfered’ between cartridges, i think…

thank you! sorry if this has been brought up, i tried looking around a bunch and did not find anything related to this idea exactly… :grin:

Interesting idea! This for sure would be possible!

There are a few ways you could do it but all of them require some PC to sit in the middle.

You could store the sprites and data for the “battle monsters” in the serial data and let the games use that.

Then my thought is you’d probably have a separate “game” that is on that cart that would would be like the pokedex is and give you stats on them and allow you to trade them.

Raspberry pi in the middle would work too.

Maybe the “Final Edition” arduboy needs an IR blaster on it…

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thank you for the reply!

You could store the sprites and data for the “battle monsters” in the serial data and let the games use that.

i think i may be misunderstanding… do you mean communicating with another device (the PC or Pi) via the serial port, and having the sprites and other data stored on that (PC or Pi) device?

trading and battling would be great :star_struck: but yeah i saw that it is not possible with the current edition of the device. (an IR blaster or link cable would be super cool haha)

If there’s not too much data to exchange and you only need to do it while not doing anything else, you could use the RGB LED too communicate directly between two Arduboys.


ummm i think this is perfect…!

monsters could battle automatically after the devices ‘link’ - so you could at least challenge someone to see who has the strongest monster/team lol

I have actually already put some thought into it.

The thing that puts me off more than anything is actually designing the creatures and drawing their sprites.

A ‘cartridge’ isn’t limited to what can fit in progmem, it has a data area and can eat up the entire FX cart (minus the mandatory header data) if you really want it to.

Sharing data is theoretically possible, but more awkward because ‘cartridges’ can move around on the FX so actually locating the other ‘cartridges’ would become a problem. Hence it’s better to try to fit it all in a single game, which should be possible as long as there aren’t too many features.

I’m thinking all three would fit just fine as long as the battle logic and the scripting engine are sufficiently slim.

I have no clue what @bateske meant, but take a look at this:

If you have a middleman computer, Arduboy to Arduboy communication is possible over serial.

My one concern with this is “It doesn’t work well if the room is too bright”.
I’d be fine because I live where the skies are perpetually grey, but some people aren’t so lucky. :P

I’ve actually been thinking about making an RPG game for the FX (but I’ve not got past the world building phase). As a result of that I’ve been researching Pokemon Gen III sprite hacking.

If someone wants to make a Pokemon game and is willing to handle designing and drawing the monsters then I’m willing to help out with the engine when I’ve got less other things to worry about.

The overworld engine is the thing I’m most interested in because I’ve already researched it heavily.

The battle engine and level up mechanics are a bit more difficult because to make them decent you need some well-balanced stat equations (and I’m terrible at maths). For the most part you could probably just copy what Pokemon does though, or maybe use a simplified version.

At any rate, unless you only have a small pool of monsters it would be a big project.

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Yes a serial bridge between them from a host pc


this was a mockup i did a while ago to try drawing a couple monsters for the arduboy…

do you think it would be possible to make a cord that looks similar to the old gameboy link cables? the center box would hold a pi (nano?)
(this is also kinda cool because you can plug in an additional cord to string together as many devices as a game allows, but not terribly relevant for monster battles or trading lol)

is this only because of the art and balance requirements?


I sort of think they look more like Digimon than Pokemon, but that doesn’t really matter as long as you can churn out several tens of them.

Theoretically yes.

Anything that can act as a USB host for more than one USB connection would do the job.

Ideally you’d treat it as a ‘link hub’ rather than a link cable, and possibly make the hub itself programmable so it could e.g. act as a game server for local multiplayer.


Stick a wifi chip in it and it could be global multiplayer.

Though at that point, why bother making it a hub when it could just be a wifi+bluetooth extension for the Arduboy?


(Some CPUs even have the wifi and bluetooth built in.)

Making it possible to ‘daisy chain’ them would be a bit more awkward because then the device would have to be both a USB host and a USB peripheral.

I would presume it’s possible, but it sounds like more effort.

Because of the content requirements overall. To make any Pokemon-like game you’d need:

  • A tile-based engine for the overworld (Progmem)
    • However many maps for the overworld (FX)
    • Sprites for your overworld characters (FX)
    • Tile graphics for the overworld (FX)
  • A scripting engine for overworld events (Progmem)
    • Scripted dialogue and events (FX)
      • (Assuming you actually want progression rather than pure battling)
  • A battle engine for the battling (Progmem)
    • An interface for battling (Progmem, possibly FX too)
    • In-battle monster sprites (FX)
      • Proper Pokemon should have front and back sprites, but if your monsters are all symmetrical then you could cheat by only drawing a left/right sprite and then flipping it. This is more to save effort than memory.
    • Attacks (FX)
      • These would either be data driven (i.e. their entire effect could be specified in just a few bytes) or script-based (i.e. the attack is implemented using a mini program that does the calculations, which could be tied in with the scripting VM)
  • A bestiary engine for reading about the monsters (Progmem)
    • (The monster data would all be on the FX, the actual ‘engine’ would just be a small UI rendering state)
    • Evolution data (FX)
      • (Would consist of criteria that needs to be met, e.g. level 25, and a value identifying which monster this monster evolves into)
  • A main menu (Progmem, possibly FX graphics)
  • Possibly some kind of inventory thrown in there somewhere?

That’s a lot of stuff to get through.

If you go for 151 monsters that’s at least 151 sprites to draw.
If those sprites were full screen (128x64), they’d take up 151KB of FX data, and the FX has about 16MB (i.e. 16,384KB), thus the actual drawing of the sprites is a much bigger issue than the memory requirements.

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Maybe instead of a link cable, you can create something in the game that can convert the monster’s stats to a code that can then be used by another Arduboy to recreate that monster in that system, and you implement certain things to prevent/discourage players from cloning their own monsters by making them pay a certain amount of in game currency to redeem a code as well as making it so that, whenever a monster’s stats are converted, the monster is deleted in the process and the game is saved to keep it that way

As for battling, you can make it so the one person can get their team converted to a code that they can then put that code into the other person’s Arduboy. Then they could pass one Arduboy back and forth with each other and battle that way

Just an idea I had and figured could share as an alternative to needing a seperate device, since some players might be turned off by having to buy an add on, but a link cable would be very nostagic, though. Definitely reminds me of days of playing on my GBA :slightly_smiling_face:

In my opinion, that’s the most fun part of the process, though I wouldn’t consider myself all that great at designing/naming creatures, nevermind designing them with the idea of them living in and playing part in a fictional environment, like GameFreak. It surprises me that they can create even 151 Pokémon, nevermind over 1,000 of them
at this point

It’s not really worth trying to stop people cheating.
You can make life hard for them, but you’ll never prevent it.

For single player it doesn’t really matter anyway.
Multiplayer is a bigger issue, but that’s where having a server would be useful, because the server could act as a mediator that knows how to look for cheating. E.g. it could detect illegal movesets and be in charge of the battle simulation so that hacked clients can’t do things like lie about their RNG values.

If it’s done via serial, an ordinary computer would do the job.
The idea of making a custom piece of hardware would be to make it more portable, or as a project for the kind of people who like DIY hardware.

I think it might be possible to do serial communication with a phone since I think I’ve heard of Android software that can program an Arduboy, but phone programming isn’t really my department.

Designing creatures is fun. Figuring out how to represent them with only two colours (plus transparency) is less fun.

When you look at the original Gen I sprites and compare them to their artwork, you can see where they had to make concessions. Though admittedly a lot of early designs were also a lot simpler compared to more recent designs.

I get the impression they don’t always take this approach.

To be fair, not all of those designs have been good.
They’ve created some really dreadful designs over the years.

But they’ve had at least 22 designers over the years, so it’s not like it’s the same person creating all the designs. Even back in Gen I they had at least Ken Sugimori, Shigeki Morimoto, Motofumi Fujiwara, and most notably Atsuko Nishida.

kind of cool that you said this actually, i was using both digimon and pokemon (gen1 mostly) as reference (this was supposed to be a sort of Nidoking / Rhihorn / Tyranitar big boy type evolution line)

multiplayer is also totally optional… i think if i found someone with another arduboy who actually wanted to battle and trade, it would be worth putting together or purchasing a linking system.

more fun! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I made several more to see what it took to design and pixel more of them… these aren’t 100% perfect/done yet, but it’s not too much work honestly, 151 or so doesn’t seem un-manageable for something long-term, especially if other artists join the project along the way :thinking:


They’re all pretty good in my opinion. My favorite is the final form of the squid. I love the cocky look on their face, as if they already know they’re gonna win :laughing:

I’d be tempted to join in, though I’m better at pencil drawing than sprite art.

Once upon a time I was intending to make a Pokemon game for a different game platform, so I have a few ideas that could be suitable.

EggCreature Squid

I aint much of an artist all things considered but I am quite the designer of systems considering all the card games ive developped over the years (look up cards and tankards on steam :wink: ) though I have never been the biggest fan of monster collectors nowadays.

I would love to join this even is to drawn one monster. I used to be a big pokemon fan back in the day, but please put my name on the waiting list to be part of this project as an artist :smiley:

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:kissing: :magic_wand:


These are good! It’s tough to get detail into black and white sprites!

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i thought i would post my personal opinion on how the game design could go… i am not sure if all of this is realistic? for the most part it is close to pokemon and/or the list pharap posted previously

tile-based overworld

  • standard pokemon-esque overworld, but with lots of shortcuts that open up as you progress, to allow you to traverse the world quickly after your first exploration of it.
  • tiles, characters, maps, dialogue and basic event scripting (i would be most interested in moving NPCs between locations)
  • everything should be about 2-3 times more concise than pokemon; due to the size of the screen and expected play-time
    – the overworld should be very tight. a similar scale to 1-bit rogue seems good imo; decent detail in the world, and quick to traverse (the original concept art for pokemon shows a similar scale)


  • each monster has a pose for [getting hit] [attacking] [idle]… imo, only front-facing is necessary (often, the back of a monster is really disappointing to look at lol… i want to see the face of my monster in battle!! this also makes the workload of multiple poses much lighter)
  • auto-battling makes a lot of sense imo.
    – theme-wise, it makes more sense than directly controlling what the monster does.
    – this also would fit perfectly if the LED “bumping” was used to connect devices (‘bump’ then watch the fight play out fully)
    – fewer attacks would be needed, since they are not content directly interacted with by the player… (like- selecting and ‘using’ water gun 100 times is boring, so pokemon needed to introduce more moves quickly…) (also, here is more original pokemon concept art because i like the simplistic style…)

monster storage

  • nicknames
  • personality (fun, also it could determine the simple auto-battle ‘ai’ of the monster… like, ‘lazy’ may often decide to just not do anything)
  • each individual monster will have slightly unique stats (meaning, even if they are the same evolution, one could be faster, or stronger, etc.)
  • ui for reading stats, image, and description of the monster
  • imo, a full dex reader or map aren’t important? piecing together the world is part of the fun with these games (and with Arduboy)…


  • yes i think this is important…
  • food, healing items, power-ups, nugget, evolution stones, escape rope, repellent, eggs, stat modifiers
  • can equip one item to each monster. it can either be consumed automatically in battle, or, it could be an item that modifies the monster overall (also, equip an evolution stone, then level up, to evolve certain monsters)
  • i would personally really like a simple animation for feeding a pet… (interaction with pokemon in the games, especially earlier ones, is really lacking… even small stuff like this would help the feel a lot, imo) (maybe you can also press a button while they are eating to pet them??)


  • main menu
    – splash art
    – continue
    – options
  • pause menu
    – squad
    – bag
    – option
    – link (multiplayer)

other differences from mainline pokemon

  • eggs instead of capturing (find, buy, trade, breed)
  • after collecting items in the over-world, they will respawn as a lesser item after a while, so there is more reason to re-visit old areas (any eggs you find will be from monsters you would battle in the area)
  • monsters will die after a long time
    – battling and especially getting knocked-out in battle speed up the aging process greatly
    – higher levels also age much faster (this also replaces a level cap, with death being a soft-cap)
    – a “retirement stone” can be given to a monster to stop its aging entirely, but, they can not battle or level up while holding the item
    – obituary with basic info: name, image, level, personality
    – one of the reasons for doing this is so players will conserve powerful monsters for important fights, and other monsters can see more use (this helps balance multiplayer to an extent also; because an experienced player has a good reason for choosing a lower level team to battle with when battling against a newer player).

this is all just my opinion/thoughts… feel free to reply with your thoughts or anything :kissing: i’d love to hear what others enjoy in these types of games