Pokemon Emerald-Z dev diary

Hi Pokémon Fans! This will be a dev diary and feature guide for the Emerald-Z rom hack.


I had been enjoying many rom hacks for their increased variety, utility and challenge. So I decided to try to make my own hack, lifting the mythical and unique “Battle Frontier” quest before the ORAS Hoenn hype dies out. What would make Poké Fans play such a game?


    1. One thing that always got me hooked on the Pokémon games was the learning experience, fighting unknown monsters & finding secrets after days of training. This led me to revamp the type chart and most dual typings in the game.


    1. The next thing I liked was the ability to capture or raise many monsters of the same kind to compare their strengths better. So I cheapened EV-vitamins!


    1. I placed more Pokémon in the wild, so you can farm competitive legendaries & starters. I also changed up the priority(!) movepools and abilities to aid you.


  1. This is obviously a good way of preparing for the endgame: The Battle Frontier  🙂 But with the new type chart & moveset edits, this also became more of a challenge


My inspiration comes from hacks like Storm Silver, Blaze Black and Yet Another Fire Red. These versions gave the player more useful items and strategies to try early in the game. That way you didn’t have to scrap anything you invested time in, and fights were harder!

The problem with competitive Pokémon training today is that it takes time to get started. With the cheaper EV-vitamins, anyone can nieche their monster stats for a small price and improve several of their team members at once. Enemy trainers also play smarter!

Pokemon Emerald-Z_009 Pokemon Emerald-Z_005

When changing Pokémon types and stats, I wanted players to be able to use more of the overlooked monsters for competitive roles. Mareep now resists ground and water attacks better and can regain health. Players who liked sets like Elemental Punch Alakazam are also able to relive that nostalgia. Monsters like Sneasel were weak in this old system, but I compensated for this by adjusting its special attack. “Mega” Pokémon also got new tricks. Instead of using stones the final evolution just becomes improved and can use hold items.


Charizard was a hard “Mega” to implement. Mostly because it has two versions, each with their own role, typing and stats. I decided to go with the middle ground, where the player chooses weakness through the ability. You get the Charizard X stats and typing, but can choose between the Drought and Levitate abilities. Either you will be weak to ground, or you will be weaker against water. There’s also “legendary” dragons of each dual type now!

  • Normal Dragon – Dragonite (thick fat or levitate)
  • Fire Dragon – Charizard (levitate or drought)
  • Water Dragon – Feraligatr (swift swim or rough skin)
  • Grass Dragon – Sceptile (lightningrod or hyper cutter)
  • Ice Dragon – Lapras (water absorb or shell armor)
  • Electric Dragon – Ampharos (volt absorb or static)
  • Fighting Dragon – Hariyama (thick fat or guts)
  • Poison Dragon – Kingdra (swift swim or natural cure)
  • Ground Dragon – Onix (huge power or lightningrod)
  • Flying Dragon – Rayquaza (air lock)
  • Psychic Dragon – Lugia (levitate)
  • Bug Dragon – Scyther (limber or hyper cutter)
  • Rock Dragon – Flygon (levitate or sand stream)
  • Ghost Dragon – Altaria (levitate or own tempo)
  • Dark Dragon – Salamence (intimidate)
  • Steel Dragon – Steelix (rock head or lightningrod)

01-Pokemon Emerald-Z

Many players find beginner route encounters boring, sometimes not even worth catching. In Pokémon Emerald-Z you will face more interesting and diverse monsters in your early adventures. A Pokémon like Nidoqueen will provide you with the unique Ice/Poison typing once you find your first Moon Stone. Or you can try your luck with the impressive Fearow who gets the Flying/Fighting typing! There’s usually a defensive or offensive ability choice. You rivals will also choose different starters in this hack, which can get pretty interesting!

New video from a player who tried Pokémon Emerald-Z and recorded the first 10 minutes:

You can download the game for Android: GameBoid app with Pokémon Emerald-Z

Or visit the Reddit thread: Reddit presentation thread and feature list for Emerald-Z



107 thoughts on “Pokemon Emerald-Z dev diary

  1. First off,I’d like to say good job on the rom,very fun so far.But I’m at Mt. Pyre looking for Eevee,is it inside the Lavander Tower-looking part or outside and how rare?

    • Thanks! Eevee is primarily common between the safari zone and Lilycove City. Might also be on the top of mount pyre in the grass near where you get the orbs. Espeon and Umbreon should be on top of Mt.Pyre as well

  2. Hi! Great work on this hack, I’ve been playing it profusely and I’m always catching Pokemon just to see how they’ve changed. I hate to spoil myself, but I’ve been wondering… where does Lapras appear? I’m early in the game yet but I plan on using one in my main team later, and I’d hate to miss the opportunity to pick up an Ice-Dragon type!.

  3. Is it possible to get deoxys and all its forms in this game? I got really far in this rom hack but he is one of the few pokemon i have yet to find.

    • Not sure, you might find it in the steven cave or by adding the special ticket for its island. I don’t remember if i placed it anywhere, it would be standard Emerald way of changing forms.

  4. Hi Absol, I was currently using your game. Just want to know if the file is stable and will not be corrupted after the elite four/champion?

    My friend wants to use cheat on it to test the pokemons you’ve re-created/modified. Will be corrupted after the elite four?


    • Well it is decently stable, I have only received one report of someone having trouble with a certain cave, but it was solved by redownloading the game. The pokemon should still have the same adresses and so on, so you may try codes, but I never intended to check if cheats made the game strange after so many hours. Run 128k flash save to avoid corrupting the save after the elite 4 would be my tip.

  5. Absol, in the regular games Delcatty (as well as various other Pokemon) doesn’t learn new moves after they evolve. Is it the same in this game, or do Skitty and Delcatty both have the same learnset? When I caught one I got a Moon Stone with it so I’m trying to figure out when to use it haha.

    Thanks! and btw I’m loving this game so far! 🙃

    • Skitty’s last move is double edge at level 39. Delcatty only had 4 move slots for levelup moves, so probably evolve Skitty at 39 (or 19 if you want to spend up to 4 heart scales for psychic, faint attack, charm or heal bell and use Return instead of Double edge)

  6. hi absol i was wondering ihow to use megas because i don’t find any stones… do the pokemon change fisically (i mean do the sprite changes?)

  7. Hi, great job on an emerald mod. I am enjoying it very much!

    I would like to know if Trainer Red is in this hack. Maybe after elite four or some new ruin? I would like a difficult challenge so I am asking.

    • The final boss is probably Steven like in the original. Unless the hack i based my first edits on had additional trainer changes, you should not expect red to be in it!

  8. I’ve been playing for a bit and I defeated the 3rd gym and I am wondering how do you Mega Evolve Pokemon? I have a Charizard and a Venusaur and I want to evolve both of them. Can you help me?

    • Basically regular Char and Venu have mega comparable stats and abilities as ability options. Starters for instance have 2 ability options, one bulbasaur will lead to the mega-ish one (chrolophyll), the other to (thick fat)

      • Hi this is my fave game , and was really wondering how to mega evolve them ? Is it through leveling ?

      • Thanks for the kind words 😀 The top evolution is just as strong as the mega, but there is no new art and you can put an item on it instead. A charizard with 159 special attack and drought is basically a mega charizard for example

  9. How to make my pokemon mega evolve ? Should i level up my pokemon or there are item that make pokemon mega evolve ? Please reply @absol_89

    • The regular final evolution is given mega-like stats, and there is usually 1 normal ability option and the second ability will be more like the mega version. There is no item required, so you can use other items on the mega ability pokemon

    • I think it is on the top of Mt. Pyre in the grass, near where you get the red/blue orb, but I’ll double check with the encounter rate and get back to you later. Espeon and Umbreon is there at least.

  10. Hi Absol, I have just downloaded this ROM.. The special legendary pokemon; do they require the tickets and what not you would need to have gotten from an Event? Or is every pokemon catchable at some point in the map? Also, do the sprites appear in game or do they appear in the ‘battle screen’ as any other pokemon would in the wild?

    Trying to avoid the Event only pokemon as I only have the cheats for Diamond/Pearl.

    I would also like to fill the pokedex with legendaries and don’t want to miss out on any spaces.

    Any advice?

    P.S I am playing this as I can only get attached to the first couple of generations of pokemon, i.e, 1-3 so getting them all would be great.

    • The are implemented in the random encounter lists on the routes on the map i have uploaded. So no overworld sprites and no tickets required as far as I remember. My advice would be to get a fast sleep inducing pokemon above level 30 that you can heal effectively, and get a pokemon with false swipe or wrap or something weak like that to wittle legendaries down 🙂

      • Thanks for the reply; another question though..

        I encountered Celebi by accident at the top of Mt Pyre and something about the name made me think it was a Legendary, nearly didn’t remember.

        If you kill a legendary is it game over?

        Also, looking at the map you shared, where would you find Entei?

        I’m in that area of the game at the moment and would like to catch some before having to do the elite 4 and what not.

      • Each legendary that you encounter by random encounter has an infinite supply, so you can farm celebis or suicunes until you find one that you want to raise (good stats and nature etc) 🙂 The only legendaries that are limited to 1 is the ones you can save and battle at will, like groudon, rayquaza, kyogre and the regis. Even latios and latias have infinite spawns if you look at the map 🙂

    • Hi Absol,

      What is the encounter rate for Mew/Mewtwo?

      I have been in the Altering Cave for a very long time. Only picking up Chansey/Ditto/Kecleon

      • Hmm… I replaced one each of the spawn slots in the list of that map with one of those pokemon. Maybe it is not working as intended. It is the only postgame cave right?

      • I managed to get a Mewtwo. I’ve given up on Mew for the most part. I found it best to leave the cave from time to time.

        I’m working my way around the legendaries before I travel to the battle frontier.

        The three legendary dogs where a nightmare to catch but they did appear after a while, Latios (I think thats the red one) appeared when I was trying to catch Suicine as well.

        Moving on to Lugia as I already have Ho-oh. Does Lugia spawn in the small section of grass or in the water in that section of the map?

    • No It was my first hack so I did not document everything, I used the time to make more edits instead. You can check each route with advancemap if you are interested in the encounters.

  11. Is there a way to get more evolution stones without resorting to cheats? It’s always a dream of mine to collect all of the eeveelutions. Can’t find info on it anywhere.

  12. Hey great job on the hack! Just wondering if there is more than one masterball in this game and where to get them?

  13. I cant download:(. When i try open the file in my boy it’s just a white screen. Can you help me because I really want to play this.

    • The last evolution will be as strong as the mega, and one of its abilities will be as close to the mega’s function as possible. No new sprite or animation for it, so you can use other hold items on a drought charizard for example

  14. Hey absolutely nice rom, but I’m trying to catch milotic but I don’t seem to find it anywhere near the locations mentioned by the Pokédex
    Where can I find them?🙁

    • I think feebas is available in the origial location, evolving by happiness

      I might have put milotic somewhere in the world as well but you are better off going for feebas until I research that x)

  15. What are the win ratios with Lilycove lottery. Is it the same as original or a smaller more reasonable chance ratio

  16. Hey absol I love your hack I’m currently training on victory road and I’m wondering if Rhydon and Magmar evolve into Rhyperior and Magmortor and if so what level

  17. Pingback: Get to Know a GameDev: Eric Gulve - GameDev Cafe

  18. In this hack In game battles slower pokemon can attack 1st? Really. I noticed the 1st attack is based from chances in this hack, wild pokemon or trained using my charmeleon lvl 32 with average speed attacking after torkoal lvl 16 w/c obviously slower than my pokemon, is this a bug? Or your twist? I dont like slow pokemon who lacks at speed stat so am curious ryt know..

    • Some moves have been changed to priority moves since they are lower in power. You’ll notice a ! in the description of the move once you catch such a pokemon yourself.

  19. Hi
    Great job om the Rom hack Im loving it ..I did have to change a few Pokemon stat wise heheheh (Mainly Butterfree and Skitty) but I wanted to ask if you have a list where all Pokemon can be found???


    • The final evolution (charizard) has abilities and stats matching both mega evolutions. But there is no hold item or new evolution art in the hack. So basically you get mega for free!

  20. Hi working on a complete pokedex. Obtained 225 so far. How does one go about getting huntail and gorebyss and others thet need items and to be traded

  21. Hey! I just want to say that this rom is incredible and highly addictive!
    Does Taurus ever learn earthquake? It’s a little disappointing how you can find him right before getting the Dig TM (which you have generously buffed to 90 bp) and then you find out he can’t learn dig…


  22. Love the hack, the revamp on the type chart is absolutely amazing adds alot kg death to battling. Though I have hit a snag I have a lvl 52 pupitar I’ve invested alot of time leveling was wondering if he would ever evolve into tyrannitar ?

  23. Hey I caught a Sneasal now he’s level 50 still hasn’t evolved. How do I get Weavile? Also great ROM I’m currently playing a nuzlocke it is very challenging and fresh.

  24. Love this rom. Its one of my favorites. Great job. I Have one question, I have a charizard, a sceptile, and a blastoise, how do i mega evolve them?

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