I received a Pokémon Red cartridge and Game Boy Pocket for my birthday in February 1999 and was immediately captivated by what would eventually grow to become the highest grossing media franchise of all time. After some years of waning interest in the early 2000’s, a couple months before Pokémon Diamond and Pearl came out I became aware of online competitive battling which led me to Smogon University and the Pokémon NetBattle and Shoddy Battle simulators.
At around the peak of my interest in competitive Pokémon I discovered programming, and quickly found I was significantly better at the latter. As I learned to code I began to have ideas about how I could apply what I was learning to Pokémon (inspired by projects like Technical Machine), though didn’t have the skill or time to make meaningful progress. A decade later after finishing school and having established a career in software I came across some of the old ideas I had written down outlining Pokémon projects I had thought up years earlier and was motivated to make a serious attempt at shipping them.
The ultimate goal of my work is to simultaneously lower the barrier of entry while raising the level of play in competitive Pokémon, though Pokémon as a general problem space is interesting and rewarding in its own right given the amount of complexity both inherent in the game and in supporting a wide variety of releases and edge-cases that have accumulated over the legacy of the franchise. Pokémon coding involves problems that are hard but tractable — the perfect size for fun hobby work — and the size of the playerbase means that it’s easy for contributions to be impactful.
While I occasionally get pulled away or lose interest working on Pokémon for one reason or another (and haven’t actually played the game in over 15 years…), I expect I will always find my way back as I am just as excited about the potential of various projects and ideas as I was when I started.