About Pokémon Essentials
Pokémon Essentials (also known as Essentials or the Pokémon Starter Kit) is, quite simply, a heavily modified RPG Maker XP game project. These modifications cause the game to look and behave like a Pokémon game.
Essentials was developed by numerous people, most notably Flameguru, Poccil and Maruno. As of 10th July 2011, Maruno is the lead developer and coordinator.
Creating a fangame using Essentials is simply a matter of downloading a copy of Essentials and then modifying it further to include the content you want (e.g. maps, characters). You can download it, naturally, from the Downloads page.
About this wiki
This wiki serves as documentation for the features that exist in Essentials. It is always under construction; speak up in the forum if you have anything to say about its layout or design. Please be patient if it lacks something you want to know.
Note that this wiki assumes that the user (you) already knows how to effectively use RPG Maker XP. As such, it does not repeat the kind of information that you could find in any RMXP guides online.
You are free to edit this wiki and contribute knowledge.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will the next version of Essentials be out?
When it's done.
When will feature X be added to Essentials?
I'm using an old version of Essentials and...
Old versions of Essentials are not supported, for obvious reasons. If you're having problems with something, see if it's fixed in a newer version of Essentials and consider upgrading (it's not as difficult as you might think).
This wiki will only contain information relevant to the latest version of Essentials. If, say, a data file is significantly altered in a new version, only its new format will be documented.
Download links for older versions of Essentials are available, although they are not maintained. If you have a pressing need to download an old version which is no longer available, ask for a download link.
Will Essentials be ported to another engine?
There are no plans to port Essentials to any other engine or programming language. To do so is akin to creating a new Pokémon game engine from scratch, which is a whole lot of work. Besides, Essentials fills its niche well (being an entry-level Pokémon game creator with simple 2D graphics), and a new Pokémon engine would benefit from targeting a different niche (e.g. supporting multiple platforms or 3D graphics).
If someone creates a new Pokémon game engine, that's great. If they want to associate it with Essentials, they are welcome to get in touch to discuss details.
Can I make a non-Pokémon game using Essentials?
By all means. Obviously Essentials is best suited to creating Pokémon fangames, but there is absolutely no rule against doing something different with it. You can create what you want.
Can I make money off Essentials?
This question generally refers to original games created using Essentials, which the authors then want to monetise in some way to generate profit. However, there are other ways in which Essentials could be used to generate money. Can any of these be done?
The short answer is: no.
Pokémon Essentials was/is created with the sole intent of being absolutely free to use. This means that developers do not have to "buy" Essentials in order to use it, nor should anyone have to pay money to play any game created with Essentials (either at all or to purchase "perks" or other premium content that would be unavailable to non-payers; this includes paying for server costs or subscriptions, etc.). Optional payments also fall into this category, as they would still be a source of income even if they were voluntary. To charge people in any way for playing a game made with Essentials is unacceptable.
If you are creating your own game by yourself (i.e. not using Essentials) and you wish to include some part of Essentials in your game (e.g. a particular mini-game), then you should ask the creator of the wanted feature/asset for permission. They may consent, they may not, they may want to be paid for it - it's up to that creator. The fact that the feature/asset is distributed in the free Pokémon Essentials is NOT permission to use it however you like.
On a similar note, a person may create third party features designed to work in Essentials, and may monetise them. This is allowed, as the product is entirely that person's creation and it is up to them how they distribute their own work. However, said work should not contain any code or assets that were taken from Essentials, and its distribution must not include a copy of Essentials. Other than that, the fact that their product is designed to work with Essentials is irrelevant.
The long answer, therefore, is: no if you want to use the whole of Essentials, ask permission if you want to use just part of it, and yes if it's all your own work.
Can I donate to the developers of Essentials?
Essentials cannot be used to generate money. Not only is this one of the core ideals of Essentials, it is also a matter of legality; Nintendo may see donations made in the name of Essentials as an attempt to make money from their intellectual property, and could bring legal action against Essentials that may ultimately result in its death. No one wants that to happen.