I can’t believe we’re finally here. I literally feel like I’m in the twilight zone!
I’ve been working on this new site for so long, I can’t even begin to convey how much struggle it took to get here. How many thousands of hours went into this, and how much blood, sweat, and tears it took to arrive to this point. We went through so many programmers, most of whom either failed to deliver a complete product or took my money and hightailed it out of town. I’ve directed films with crews of over 50 people, and those were an absolute breeze compared to this experience. This new website required so much conceptualizing, programming, technology, documentation, goals, and dealing with so many moving parts and people that I could go on for a year!
But, in the end, it was definitely worth every minute of hell. And I am so excited to finally, finally welcome you to the new PokéBeach! Finally!
My staff forced me to make a video to explain this new site, so I indulged their request and quickly filmed myself this morning. I didn’t practice or even comb my hair. If I look tired or aren’t acting as excited as I should be, it’s because I was mentally exhausted. :p
(If you’re short on time, don’t watch the video, read this post instead. It goes into more details than my thrown-together video.)
And now for a massive information dump that I doubt people will fully be able to process for a few weeks… :p
Full Forum Integration!
The forums have been upgraded to Xenforo, the most advanced and “fun” forum software out there! It has quickly become the new forum standard and I could spend all day writing an essay about all the new features you’ll see, but that’s not even the exciting news!
Through our own unique customization, the forums and your forum accounts are now completely integrated into the website! If you login with your forum account, you’re now logged in to the entire website! You’ll be able to receive notifications from wherever you are, send PMs from wherever you are, post status updates, comment on people’s profiles, make threads, change your avatar, and anything else you can do on the forums! It’s all one unified experience! In the future, this integration’s usefulness will become even more apparent – what’s to come isn’t even on the table yet!
With this deep-seated integration, you can now directly comment on news stories with your forum account! Each news story page will host a thread underneath it from one of the forums, which you can use just like if you were on the actual forums. Whether you post to the thread from the forums or from the front page, your posts will appear in both places. So now thousands upon thousands of people will not only be able to read my news stories, but they’ll also be able to follow your opinions and discussions, meaning you’ll also get to be the star! (Note that moderators will heavily enforce the forum rules and your posts need to be detailed and insightful. The discussions will not be chat rooms.)
With this integration, PokéBeach’s forums will always carry the latest and most active discussions. Since we’ll be posting news story threads to their relevant forums, and people will be commenting on those threads from the front page, you’ll always be able to visit the TCG, anime, and video game forums and see very active threads covering all the latest news. You’ll also see any threads that members create on their own, which themselves will be advertised on the front page in the “Forum Discussions” section. Basically, the forums will always be full of topics you’ll want to read, covering everything you’ll want to read about, and they’ll all be advertised on the front page! The whole point of this integration was to bring the forums out of the dark and front and center – to make “community” one of the largest facets of the site – and now the forums will be even more active than ever before!
This type of deep integration unifying Xenforo with our website software is completely unique to PokéBeach. In fact, it took two years to develop and eight programmers to pull off the framework! I can’t go over all the front-end and back-end features or it would take all day, but this system is something so powerful that we’ve already been swamped by requests from Xenforo developers and forum admins to send them our code. That should show you how exciting this is and how hard we tried to innovate something new and useful.
Additionally, all forum bans have been lifted! Unless you committed fraud or Officer Jenny was involved (and believe me, this has happened), you can now use your account again no matter how long ago you were banned. We’ve always believed in second chances here.
PokéBeach’s Article Program!
PokéBeach is proud to finally host an article program for the TCG!
Over the years I have been asked hundreds of times why we haven’t done an article program. And the simple fact is I did not want to do one until I knew we could do it full-force. If I’m going to do something, it can’t be halfhearted, it has to be planned to the last detail, and it has to be well-researched. My website is almost 12 years old after all, so I want to make sure anything we do is designed to last forever.
This article program was conceptualized and designed in tandem the rest of this new website three years ago. Naturally, I made sure to speak with as many people as possible to ensure it would not only meet fan expectations, but exceed them.
Layout-wise, all TCG articles have a dedicated section on the front page. This section will move up and down depending on how much Pokémon news there is, but it will always be present, meaning new articles will always be visible and won’t get buried (as would have been the case on the old layout). PokéBeach is the most visited TCG website by leaps and bounds, so there’s no other place to expose your articles to such a sheer amount of TCG fans. With the forum integration, people will also be able to discuss your articles, “like” them, share them, and so much more!
This will be the first time in my site’s history that other people will get to post to PokéBeach’s front page, so now you get to be the star too! As you’ll see throughout this post, one of the themes of this new site is opening it up to other fans.
Writing articles is incredibly easy. Our preliminary writers have gone out of their way to mention they were very impressed with the back-end experience. I’ve even produced a video to guide writers through making their first article. So it’s not just the front-end of the website that was meticulously designed, I also worked with our programmers to make sure writing an article would be simple for anyone.
PokéBeach’s article program is the community’s article program. It’s all about the community helping the community! As such, anyone is allowed to write articles as long as they know what they’re talking about. And of course, all visitors can read these articles.
We of course want to lean toward competitive-based articles, but we more than welcome articles about subjects such as starting your own Pokémon League, running a tournament, or topics like that. As long as your article has a decent amount of appeal to a TCG fan and introduces new insight about some subject matter, we’ll post it. You just need to know what you’re talking about, your article must shed light on some subject matter in an entertaining way, and your article must of course be written well.
To sign up to write for this program, please fill out this application. Once you’re approved, all you really have to do in the future is check in with us and have us approve your article for publishing. Easy-breezy-peezy!
Premium Articles, Subscriber’s Secret Hideout, & Expert Deck Help
While developing this program and speaking to competitive players from all over the world, one thing became very clear to me: the game’s best players would not be willing to give out their advice for free. I thought this was ridiculous at first since I myself have invested so much of my own time and money into making this website a resource for everyone, even having to dip into my shallow pocket on many occasions to keep the site running. To me, the satisfaction of having a voice and helping people has always been the reward for me.
However, it soon became apparent to me that the reason super competitive players have such success in the first place is because they are the ones investing all their money and time into the game. More than anyone, they have very real expenses, which is something I hadn’t really given much thought to before. They have to travel all over the place to get the amount of Championship Points they need, buy a variety of cards for playtesting, and of course invest a significant amount of time into testing their ideas out. It is very expensive for them to stay ahead of the metagame, so it makes sense they would want to be paid to give out their hard-earned advice.
Therefore, in addition to regular articles that anyone can read and write, PokéBeach is also offering a premium subscription service for those who want to improve their game. This service will directly connect subscribers to the game’s top players. This service exists so that we can offer PokéBeach’s members the opportunity of getting top competitive advice that they would otherwise not see from the regular articles.
With a subscription, you’ll:
- Get to read 2-3 extensive premium articles a week, written by these top players.
- Be given access to the “Subscriber’s Secret Hideout” forum, where you can post your deck lists and get them fixed by these top players.
- Participate in forum discussions about the metagame that the writers hold in the aforementioned forum.
For the month of May, all of our writers are top players in the game, whether National Champions, top cutting at Worlds, and/or winning so many Cities, States, and Regional tournaments that we had to tell them to cut down their lists to only recent seasons! To read a list of their impressive and extensive credentials, you can check out this forum thread. All of them are very excited to be writing for the program and they’re ready to give you their help and insight!
The subscription prices for this program are as follows:
- Weekly Subscription: 4.99 / week (the price of a coffee)
- Monthly Subscription: 13.99 / month (the cost of a restaurant meal)
- Quarterly Subscription: 12.99 / month (if you skip the tip because they had horrible service)
However, we also want to reward our most dedicated readers by making a one-time offer for just this week. If you subscribe before next Monday, you’ll get a special subscription price that will never be offered again. You will also keep this price for life!
- Weekly Subscription: 3.99 / week (regularly 4.99)
- Monthly Subscription: 10.95 / month (regularly 13.99)
- Quarterly Subscription: 9.90 / month (regularly 12.99)
Like any kind of subscription service, there is a 30-day money back guarantee. You can subscribe now and then cancel at the end of the month to get a full refund. But the special offer above will only be available for a week, so hurry now if you’re at all interested or you’ll miss out!
This premium article program is one of the best ways to improve your game. Not only will you be getting deck lists, strategies, and analysis from the game’s top players each week through extensive articles, but they’ll also fix your decks for you and give you advice. This premium program was designed from user feedback over the past three years: we asked visitors what they would want to see in a PokéBeach premium article service, and this was the result. So we know this program will be very helpful to players from every walk of life!
> To subscribe to the article program, go to the subscription page! You can also register a PokéBeach account through there if you don’t have one already. Remember, the special subscription prices expire in a week, so don’t miss out!
So, ready to practice with those hot decks the article writers suggested?
Introducing TCG One!
Some of you may have already heard of TCG One. Some of you probably have an account and have been using it for the past two years. But what you probably didn’t know was that anytime you were using it, you were actually visiting PokéBeach – you just didn’t know it!
Well now the jig is up since the new website is finally here!
TCG One is hosted exclusively by PokéBeach and is an unofficial, fan-made Pokémon TCG simulator. It was created by axpendix, a member of our forums, who started developing the simulator over six years ago. TCG One is his baby and he has put all of his heart and effort into it, even working on it during his real job! (But don’t tell anyone or he might get fired.) axpendix first started working on the simulator back in 2009, and then revisited it in 2011, which was when I decided to drop support for Redshark, our first PTCG simulator. Some of you may even remember back then that I promised we would have a new simulator up “next month.” Well uh… better late than never, right?
axpendix has programmed TCG One with over 200,000 lines of code. The simulator knows all the rules of the game and what every card does, making the TCG fun and easy to play! Bursting at the seam with features, you can build decks out of all available cards, use pre-existing decks built by other members, chat with players, and even play in a “Career” mode where you start with a basic deck and earn cards as you win matches. The simulator is a great way to practice for real tournaments and is especially helpful for players who want to learn how to play the TCG! The program even has old cards programmed into it, meaning you can play with all your classic favorites… and under the formats and rules of their time!
Like the forums, TCG One is fully integrated into PokéBeach! If you have a forum account, you have a TCG One account. This integration, like with the forums, will lead to some very cool features in the future. Stay tuned!
Note that sometimes TCG One reaches capacity, but if you are an article subscriber, you will get priority access as a small treat.
PokéBeach’s Pokémon Showdown Server
Pokémon Showdown is a Pokémon battle simulator that lets you build Pokémon teams and battle other players. I’m excited to announce that we now have our very own Pokémon Showdown server for you to use! You can access it here.
So PokéBeach hosts TCG One for the TCG and a Pokémon Showdown server for the video games. What can we do with these?
Whether you’re a fan of the video games, TCG, anime, art, or writing, PokéBeach has a special tournament or competition just for you! Whether it’s an art competition or a video game tournament, you will earn badges, climb PokéBeach’s leaderboard, and you and your work will be shown off to all of PokéBeach’s visitors!
For our competitive tournaments, the members with the most tournament points at the end of the season will face off to determine the #1 PokéBeach champion for VGC, OU, and the TCG! Will you be one of the very rare Trainers who battles your way to glory? In the future, we may even offer real prizes too!
The following is a list of all our activities. Hover over them for descriptions. Each day of the week features its own theme, such as the TCG for Tuesdays or Creative Works for Mondays. Activities will be posted on most days, but not every day.
The front page’s calendar section list all of the site’s upcoming activities so that you always know what to plan for. The schedule is posted at least a week before the month starts. Otherwise, you can check the front page’s Activity section to see what is going on at this moment.
|Create-a-Card||Monthly TCG Cup||Monthly OU Cup||Spin That Anime Scene!||TCG One Live Tourney (Standard)||Showdown Live Tourney (VGC)||Werewolf|
|Fanfiction Challenge||Alternate Format TCG Tournament||Monthly VGC Cup||PokéPoetry||TCG One Live Tourney (Alternate Format)||Showdown Live Tourney (OU)||IRC Werewolf|
|Dream It & Design It||Community Decklist||Mono-type VG Tournament||Hurr durt Purkurmurn?||Showdown Live Random Battle Tourney||Trivia Night|
|Collaborative Art Battle||Casual TCG Tournament||Multi Battle VG Tournament|
|Multi Tier TCG Tournament||Casual VG Tournament|
|Multi Tier VG Tournament|
Live Tournaments on the Weekends!
PokéBeach will host live tournaments every weekend for both the TCG and video games! This is a great way to meet other PokéBeach members, play in an organized tournament, practice for real Play! Pokémon tournaments, and win points toward your PokéBeach tournament score! Make sure to follow the front page on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays to see when the tournaments are taking place! The usual schedules are:
- Friday Live TCG: 5 PM Pacific / 6 PM Mountain / 7 PM Central / 8 PM EST / 1 AM Europe
- Saturday Live VGC: 12 PM Pacific / 1 PM Mountain / 2 PM Central / 3 PM Eastern / 8 PM Europe
- Saturday Live OU: 3 PM Pacific / 4 PM Mountain / 5 PM Central / 6 PM Eastern / 11 PM Europe
Start or Join a Member-Run Activity!
Want to play in even more organized activities? PokéBeach has designated areas for members to run and participate in their own tournaments and games! And the best part is that your member tournament will even be advertised on the front page of PokéBeach!
- Online TCG Tournaments – A forum where you can host or participate in member-run TCG tournaments. See this thread for details on how to get approved to run a tournament. Depending on the size, nature, and success of a tournament, it may qualify for PokéBeach tournament points too!
- Online VG Tournaments – A forum where you can host or participate in member-run video game tournaments. See this thread for details on how to get approved to run a tournament. Depending on the size, nature, and success of a tournament, it may qualify for PokéBeach tournament points too!
- Forum Games – A forum dedicated to… well, forum games! There is a wide variety of games to choose from and enjoy. For instance, you may want to jump into the world of Werewolf, a game in which trust and deceit reign supreme, or take on other longstanding games such as The Challenge! You’re also encouraged to create and submit a game to the Forum Games forum. You never know, your game could be the next big hit! So sit back, get your game face on, and engage in creative and fun games with the rest of the members!
- IRC Chat Room – Not only can you casually chat with other PokéBeach members here 24/7, but you can play games of Werewolf or Pokémon Trivia! Just message a staff member to start a game. The chat room has a history of turning members into close friends.
Most PokéBeach events and tournaments award badges and trophies, which display on each member’s profile page and under each of their posts. Which brings us to this:
The PokéBeach Badge System
These badges will not only represent your Pokémon interests, but they will more importantly represent your accomplishments in the fandom and in this community. Wear them loud and wear them proud – many of them are honors and trophies. And only the most dedicated members will earn some of them.
Every department on PokéBeach gives out badges (the Website Department, News Department, Forum Department, Article Department, Activities Department, Chat Room Department). The badge program is essentially a “shared” department that covers every area of the website. It works with all the departments to insure badges are created / given out to members who deserve them.
PokéBeach IRC Chat Server
The PokéBeach Chat Room makes a triumphant return! And it is hosted on PokéBeach’s very own IRC chat server!
PokéBeach’s old chat room facilitated many great discussions and friendships on PokéBeach over the years. It was adored by many, and some people even met their best friends and life partners there! It’s a place where friendly people who really love Pokémon can share their enthusiasm and day-to-day activities with each other!
As stated earlier, there will also be fun games and live discussions held in the chat room as well. We’ll even have movie nights!
You can access the chat room from the navbar or by going to irc.pokebeach.com (our server). Once connected, join #pokebeach.
What is the mystery of the child with blood-red eyes? Who – or what – is he?
PokéBeach Adventures is an unofficial fan story told through the layout’s banners and other PokéBeach platforms. In the old days of the forums, we were very well-known for having one of the largest Pokémon art forums on the net, which was in part fueled by how often we changed our banners and how often we held fake card competition. We’re hoping to revive that excitement with this program.
But more than the above, this program is an opportunity to gives talented artists a chance to show off their artistic talent to all of PokéBeach’s visitors! Each week a new banner will debut from a different artist to progress the story and a link will be provided to their portfolio so you can check the artists out! At the end of the month, we’ll also post a news story showing off some other samples of each artist’s work! Like with the article program and our activities program, we’re giving fans the opportunity to express themselves through PokéBeach. The website gets a ton of visitors, so I want other fans to be able to take advantage of that too.
PokéBeach Adventures was written by me in 2012, the same year its characters were designed by Xous54 and myself. You can see how long ago we wanted to launch with this new site and the characters from this 2012 Facebook post. XD Over the past few years hints of the story were planted in various PokéBeach news stories, Tweets, and even our old forum banner. The program was designed in tandem with the new website and all of its various programs, but since it took a while to get the new website up (a while = several years), the story is only just now debuting in 2015. The story has a documented beginning, middle, and end, and it will slowly be revealed over a long, long, long time. (Hey, we’re only working with non-verbal banners here!) Only the most observant, dedicated people will be able to decode the story – those who simply take a glimpse will never unlock its secrets. New characters will also be revealed as the story goes on. And of course the original characters Xous and I created are all PokéBeach’s new mascots, as you will see throughout the layout.
The story will require that you pay close attention. Most of what you will see means something, and even then, the story may not just take place through the banners… In due time you may have to keep your eyes open to other hidden possibilities if you are to see the whole picture. Will you be the first to discover the secrets of its characters? Will you be the first to realize your hidden potential?
If you would like to create a banner for this program and have your artwork and portfolio shown off to the world, you can fill out the Artist application (which you can find in the navbar under “PokéBeach”). Due note that we also have a fan artist forum called Smeargle’s Canvas, where you can also post art projects, your portfolios, and start your path to becoming a better artist. Many artists on PokéBeach, such as Xous, have gone on to do great things because of the feedback and attention they got here. We’re hoping you will too!
New and Returning Content
You’re on it, so obviously you see that the site features a new layout! Going along with the whole integration theme, I designed the layout to be used throughout the entire website. Whether you’re on the forums or the front page, you’ll be able to access every single PokéBeach link and function. The navbar and header appear on every page, and the layout itself is consistent throughout the entire website.
The front page features different sections for different content – News, Articles, Activities, and Forum Discussions. Each of these sections will move up and down based on when something is posted and how active they are. They’re “smart” in that they rearrange themselves. The news is also divided into different tabs now, which you can use to easily scroll through certain categories of stories.
The Forum Discussions section features threads and posts from the forum that are not attributed to news stories (since they are already on the front page with their own threads, such as this one). This will allow user content to shine through right on to the front page. Some forums will not show and neither will any thread that has under five posts.
We used to be famous for our calendar, but it was too hard to keep it updated in our tiny right menu! So now the front page features a full-fledged calendar with dates for every TCG release, anything about the games, and the anime’s schedule in both the U.S. and Japan. There is also a section for PokéBeach, which features the Activities calendar for this month and the coming month.
If you’re only interested in dates for a certain section (such as if you’re only a video game fan), the tab you click will stay open the next time you visit the page. The tabs remember your selections. I made sure the programmers got that in! :p
The site now features a totally awesome card search that lets you look up any card on the fly! You can also see information about the card, if the card is legal in Standard or Expanded, how many times it’s been reprinted, links to what it was reprinted from, any conditional notes for using the card, links to buy the cards (which help support the site), and a couple of other features. In the future, this card search will obviously be expanded even further. Details about that will come at a later date.
List of Standard and Expanded Cards
Back in 2005 I designed what I called then the “Modified Card-Dex,” which was a listing of every card you could use in the then Modified format. It was always very hard to update since I did it manually, but it has now returned in a new form!
The listings above contain every possible card you can use in your decks, even old cards that are still legal (such as Potion). You can also filter the cards in various ways, such as seeing all Water-type Pokémon, all Pokémon-EX, all Stadiums, and all old cards outside of the current range of Standard sets that are still legal. It’s an invaluable resource to any player! Best part is that it updates whenever I add a new set all by itself, so there’s much less manual labor involved than in 2005.
New Scans, Set Pages, and Now Promo Pages!
This should have been done years ago, but I was waiting for this new layout. :x All of the scan pages have totally been redone to show card thumbnails, which you can then open to see information about the card.
And I finally put up all the promo scans! We have promo pages! I think the last time we had promo pages was in 2004?
Shakespeare, our card scanner since the early 2000s, has also rescanned his entire collection using Dolby THX HD 5.1 SSD Hokie Pokéy technology. The scans are even higher quality than before! We are still editing most of the scans, but the most recent sets are using the newer images. Sets using the older scans have all been reprocessed to be larger than before.
Anime Screencaps – PokéBeach’s Own Capture Computer!
This section should really go in the section above in terms of organization, but it totally deserves its own!
There is no such thing as a Pokémon anime community without screenshots of each episode. As such, PokéBeach will now be posting anime screenshots every week! Because we also own the computer and it’s on the fastest Internet Japan offers, we’ll also be able to post the screenshots within 10-15 minutes of airing! With the new forum integration, it will be fun and easy to review episodes, especially since there is such a large community of anime fans who follow the Japanese show every week.
Two years ago I decided I wanted to set up a computer in Japan to capture live Japanese TV. This way, we could start screencapping the show and we’d also be able to do news coverage much quicker whenever Pokémon news broke on Japanese TV (such as a new TCG commercial or movie trailer). It took quite a long time to research what parts we would need and how Japanese TV works, but after over a year coordinating it, I was finally able to build a computer in Japan and get it all set up. Paul, the webmaster of PokéJungle, is really the one who should be thanked – he’s the one who found it a permanent home, and if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be able to capture anything! Thanks also goes to the actual computer host, “Andrew,” who was always so patient with us as we spent months trying to get the computer working and for being so gracious to host it.
I of course want to thank the PokéBeach staff, who hung in there all these years waiting for this new site to come that I kept promising all the time. Well it’s finally here guys! Pull out the chocolate milk!
I’d like to thank Shakespeare, our oldest staff member (in both age and tenure :p), for continuing to support the site all these years with his card scanning. It’s always fun to get a batch of scans from Shakespeare to edit, and I know he loves it just as much as I do, especially when I ask him to rescan his entire collection. :p (He’s probably scanned all of his cards five times over at this point.)
As stated before, axpendix has been working on TCG One since 2009 and it’s always been a blast talking to him about his program and figuring out ways we can make the TCG even more fun and exciting for fans. He is one of the most dedicated and hard-working individuals I have ever met, plus his iPod is full of classical music just like mine, so you know he’s got perfect taste! :D
The general staff are really the lifeblood of the website’s day-to-day forum operations, and without them, we simply wouldn’t have the kind of community we have now. A community where we love everyone like family and try to treat everyone with kindness, understanding, and respect. The forum staff really helped all throughout this process with so many little things that made creating this new website much easier. People like Athena, BigfootAUS, Machamp the Champion, Shining Raikou, Ice Arceus, Brave Vesperia, Camoclone, and Drohn all deserve special recognition. Thank you guys and gals for all of your continuing hard work. Now don’t screw up or you’ll be demodded!
Peer, our server admin, continues to be a great help to the website and its technical operations. Without him the site would probably crash. With him the site would probably crash too. But they cancel each other out, so we still love him!
But the real hero of this new website was Dragonfree, the webmaster of The Cave of Dragonflies, who I could always rely on to finish what the programmers were unable to do. We went through eight different programmers, the last of whom came closest to finishing the project. When he left, I was pretty upset, but Hlin stepped in and finished all of his work. Not to mention all the time she put into the development of this new site along the way. I have never met another programmer as knowledgeable as her and who you can throw anything at that she doesn’t know how to solve. She is truly an inspiration to me.
I’d also like to thank my family for always supporting me with this website since I was 14 years old, for my dog Pilaf, for my best friend, and for all of my classmates who filled in for me when I would have to skip out of film sets to go report news. So many loving people in my life!
And thank you, PokéBeach reader, for visiting this website! I love you too! If you haven’t already registered, make sure you click the “Log in or register to participate” in the top left corner of the banner. You can instantly register an account if you have a Gmail, Facebook, or Twitter account too. It’s so easy!
Want to Join the Staff?
Oh geez I’m so tired of writing by this point. Tired in a good way. If you’d like to join the staff, make sure you’re logged in to the site and visit the Staff Applications page. There’s so any fun things you can help with!
Okay seriously I’m petering out. Other stuff is coming in the future! Exciting stuff! For now I’m going to say I will never again keep a project like this secret and “do it all at once.” In the future I’m going to “do it as I go.” That way the site doesn’t look dead to the public, even though I of course know we’re always working on something!
For now, please enjoy this website. Don’t be too shocked about the layout change – the staff and I have been staring at it for two years and we can’t stand the old layout, so it’s just about adapting. You’ll love it in time if you don’t love it already! :)
THANK YOU EVERYONE! LOVE AND PEACE!
(Watch out for the child with blood-red eyes.)