Hello, and welcome to the Pokémon Center. We restore your tired Pokémon to full health. Would you like to rest your Pokémon?
I dedicate this fideo to my new neighbours who moved in while I was working on this and to my interwebs friend Manu whose birthday is just around the corner. Will any of them ever read this? Good question. Dedicate. Dedicating. To dedicate.
As I’ve already posted on (other) social media, I spent the time since Coconut preparing commissions, practising icons, filling gahps in ACNH singing 2fideos and doing lots of other things that have been on my to-do list for years. But of course still not my website. I’ll upload every 2 or at least 3 weeks again now to prevent me from getting too rusty and to satisfy the infamous YouTube algorithm. Hopefully, I can find time between the coming fideos to finally make the website, now that my to-do list is (nearly) empty otherwise. I’ve been postponing it since I registered riolu.link in the end of 2018.
I’ve been wanting to cover this song for a long time, it’s very iconic and I love it. Especially this version. It’s not only in E minor, I mean major, and I love writing in E, but it also has a whole new part added at the end that sounds incredible. It’s the only version that has this extra part. They should have kept it for later versions. And it has interesting rhythm offsets that sound great. I don’t know if these features are what make it my favourite version of this theme or if it’s because Pearl was my first Pokémon game. Probably both.
To start with 8-bit covers again, I wanted to do something “simple” to get used to it again and that would not take too much time, in respect of the website. I had a couple of others in mind like the PMD 2 or SM 64 menu themes, but then this song came into my focus. I really wanted to cover it but I was also afraid of not being able to do it justice after my long break.
I was excited to start working on this, but at the same time very intimidated because I was rusty and if I don’t do something 100 % of the time, I lose the tiny bit of self-confidence I was able to acquire. I was immediately thinking that the cover would turn out so much better if I had regularly practised and now I’ve forgotten everything and am making something on the level of Spinda’s Café. My rustiness led me to some mistakes at first, but I forced myself to continue and eventually, it started sounding good. That motivated me to keep going. In fact, it eventuallier started sounding so good that I couldn’t continue working on it as I couldn’t stop listening to it.
In the second parts of the first part, the rhythm has interesting offsets. It does not in the second part, so I took some creative liberties to make more of those rhythm changes. I’m always afraid of making changes like this in covers because I’m worried that it might sound weird and bad to others if it’s not true to the original. That’s why I’ve already thought of making two separate versions in these cases, one different from the original and one true to it. If you want me to make an alternative version that doesn’t have the changes I made, tell me.
In the original notes that I robbery-murder-copied from the game, I found some notes that I just couldn’t hear in the mp3 rip I downloaded from the interwebs and that I used as auditory reference. When I played my extracted original notes with the extracted original instruments in SynthFont, the notes in question were very clearly audible. I also noticed that my rip as a whole sounded different compared to the mp3 rip from the interwebs, mainly the percussion and lower noted in my “original” version were quieter. To find out what the song is supposed to sound like, I started a new game on an emulator and dusted off my beloved physical Pearl Version. In both cases it sounded like my rip, except that the extra notes weren’t there. So the proper ingame version is different from both my rip and the rips on the interwebs. Interesting.
I used multiple different bass instruments. The one in the last part exclusive to this version sounds very loud and distinctive, something like a Banjo (I have no idea how instruments sound). The triangle channel is great for basses, but it couldn’t do this bass sound justice and was way too quiet. So, after a long time, I used a sawtooth bass again, as that channel was fortunately and coincidentally free during that part. However, a sawtooth bass alone doesn’t have enough depth when compared to the deliciously deep triangle bass. Therefore, a witch, I let both channels play at the same time. That gave it the depth of the triangle channel and the banjo-y loud sound of the sawtooth channel. In addition, the sawtooth channel allows proper volume values and not just 0 and 1 like the triangle channel, so I put a usual fading volume envelope on the sawtooth bass instrument. Both played at the same time means that the sawtooth sound dominates at first, but slowly the triangle gains dominance. That gives it a really interesting sound that reminds me of a vibrating bass string fading out. It’s not as noticeable with everything else playing, though.
In FamiTracker, one needs echoes. Without them, the bare simple sound waves sound boring and flat. This time, I gave the main voice not only one, but two echoes. A single-channel pulse width echo for another distinctive note attack and an additional dual-channel echo to play while new notes play, giving a very clear feeling of depth. I wasn’t sure if that resulted in way too much but I grew to really like it.
There are again many percussion instruments playing at the same time, but, unlike in Cynthia, I decided against using “arpeggio percussion” as that just deviates too much from the rhythm. I think it was acceptable for the softer timpanies in Cynthia but the mostly sharp and hard percussion here, especially when the additional drums come in to play, just didn’t sound appropriate. But just taking one of the many percussion sounds playing at the same time sounds good enough, especially since there was nothing too distinctive like the timpanies and snares in Cynthia and noise drums don’t sound that much like their “proper” counterparts anyway. But interesting, unique and good, I love noise percussion.
During Coconut, I acquired a taste for portamenti. So I thought to myself, if I’m taking creative liberties, I might as well incorporate some portamenti. So I did. I hope, my changes are acceptable. Again, if you want an additional version true to the original, tell me.
As a whole, all in all, boring repetitive unimaginative ending phrase, I’m really happy and surprised how the cover turned out. I love it and I enjoy listening to it. I did some things different than usual, so maybe the long break was actually helpful to gain some distance from my habits and to approach things in new ways. I also learned again that echoes are incredibly important, that’s probably the other mistake I made in Cynthia, along with using disgusting VRC6-exclusive pulse widths. Maybe if I go back to it and change those two things, I will like it.
The drawing gave me flashbacks to Spinda’s Café, as it has a similar eye-height front view of a counter. And how much I struggled with and hated the background, and the high resolution for a scene that is very close up. So, in the spirit of creative liberties, changes from usual habits and the low resolution lineless style I grew to like, I halved the resolution and drew Nurse Joy lineless. The background is not that ugly, but I still think it looks bad and boring. I always think that’s because it lacks detailed textures, but I also want a simple style without much texture and that should look good, it just doesn’t when I try it. Of course, there was also the usual problem of size. Pokémon have lots of different sizes in official images, either because they are unique different members of their species or because the artists are inconsistent and don’t stick to the size defined in the Pokédex. In images where Joy was at the counter and Chansey next to her, Chansey was almost as tall as Joy’s shoulders. According to the Pokédex, Chansey is 110 cm tall. That would mean Joy were like 130 cm small. Or Chansey tiny. In my version, I made Joy the standard 6 heads tall and Chansey 4 heads. That would mean that Joy is 165 cm tall and Chansey 110. Sounds reasonable.
I still have very little experience drawing humans, but, as always, I spam ctrl+z until I reach or even surpass the quality shit. And as usual now, I’m surprised and happy but at the same time intimidated by the result, as I think it was just luck and I can’t reproduce this quality. The mouth, or rather teeth, also remind me a little of the buck teeth in the newer official style, but it’s not really supposed to be that, it’s supposed to be the teeth row turning and going to the back of the mouth. With a continuous straight white line for teeth it looked worse. And the eyelashes, in combination with the eyebrows, kind of look like speed/fuel meters or windscreen wipers. But she has to have protruding eyelashes of course, eyelashes are the only thing that lets you know the gender of a drawn living being, after all.
The screen of course also gave me flashbacks to Cynthia. Only that this time I had no interesting on-screen layout from the original as reference. Surprisingly and unplannedly, the amount of frames in the “animation” fitted exactly to the song played two times, as I noticed while putting everything together in Resolve. Things like these that magically perfectly fit happen a lot to me. Maybe there is such a thing as magic after all.
While I was researching status effects, I read the Bulbapedia entries about fainted and badly poisoned. In the articles, it says this:
Fainting (FNT) (Japanese: ひんし near death) is a status condition in which a Pokémon is no longer able to battle.
There is also a special kind of poison condition known as bad poison (Japanese: 猛毒 deadly poison).
I guess my mum was right after all and Pokémon is a violent killer game. That also makes Nurse Joy’s farewell phrase of wanting to see one again even worse, considering that that not only means she wants one’s Pokémon to get hurt, but she wants them to be nearly dead and deadly poisoned.
I’m still not at all satisfied with the new intro. But I don’t really know what to do. Maybe I should remake it in my new low resolution lineless style. But I also am not at all motivated to spend more weeks trying to come up with or change intros again.
I wanted to get enough sleep and fun by playing two hours of games and reading daily again, but, as always, I worked until late or very late at night. It’s just annoying to stop working on something when I’m in the flow of work. Interrupting it means that I forget details and that I have to waste time getting into it again later. And days are too short to make something completely in one go. But like this the lack of sleep, variety and fun are just as bad. I never wanted to but I turned into a workaholic, just like my family. What do I do? I could of course work non-stop on something and then take an entire day off instead. But that would also not allow me not to keep being rusty in fideo games, which would not allow me to get back into competitive OW.
Usually, I exactly measure how long it takes me to make a fideo. I start the timer when I start working and I stop it every time I stop, like when I have to waste time on my physical body when it has to go to the bathroom or make food. Tracking the time was certainly providing me (and others?) with interesting information, but it also felt like there was always someone monitoring my progress and when I saw after 14 hours that my working time was less than 14 hours because I had to waste time with physical things, I was always very discouraged. That’s why I decided to try to stop keeping track of the time spent on a fideo. I think that’s even be’er, graet, maarvellous.
I’ll cover Drenched Bluff next as I originally planned and have been looking forward to. But first, I have some annoying family business stealing my precious time. And after Drenched Bluff, I will hopefully have time to work on the website without too much time between new fideos. I also planned (and spent a lot of time preparing) to stream working on fideos (and fideo games), both to get me to work more efficiently and to get more used to talking. I didn’t stream the creation of this fideo as I wanted to get back into everything first. But I’m of course not sure if I can handle other people watching me and seeing that I can’t actually do anything and I just make things that are not terrible by using cheating methods like looking at the original notes on my other screen, having visual references for every drawing and spamming ctrl+z until I get lucky and something better than shit happened. So, will I ever actually stream, as I’ve planned for years? Good question.
Discord server: https://phal.io/discord
Twitch (German): https://www.twitch.tv/phalio_
I’m on almost every site because I don’t want to exclude anyone, find out if I’m using the site you’re using here: http://phal.io/links
💾 Pʀᴏɢʀᴀᴍᴍᴇs ᴜsᴇᴅ
8-bit audio production: FamiTracker http://famitracker.com/
Pixel art: Aseprite https://www.aseprite.org/
Video editing: DaVinvi Resolve https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/
Extracting music from game: VGMTrans https://github.com/vgmtrans/vgmtrans/releases
Analysing original song: MidiEditor https://github.com/markusschwenk/midieditor/releases
Screen recording: OBS Studio https://obsproject.com/
🎵 Mᴜsɪᴄ ᴜsᴇᴅ
Original song: Pokémon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum – Pokémon Center (Day) https://youtu.be/FqnLgVA7Xsc