Whoa, Someone Built A Machine That Finds Shiny Pokémon For Them

Finding Pokémon in rare, shiny colours is a time-consuming process. The average person probably won’t even attempt it. But what if there was a machine that found shiny Pokémon for you?

Maybe that sounds ridiculous, but someone actually built such a thing. The video above shows the handiwork of dekuNukem, who built what they call a ‘hands free shiny finder’. The machine will go into a Pokémon encounter on its own via a microcontroller hooked up to the 3DS. This part is simple enough; the machine presses buttons in a certain order.

Here’s where the machine gets particularly brilliant: it turns out that the easiest way to tell if you’re in a shiny encounter is to look at the bottom screen. Shiny Pokémon have special animations, which means that at the start of the battle, it takes longer for the bottom screen to load. So what the machine does is, it uses a light sensor to measure how long the bottom screen is blacked out for in an encounter. If its blacked out for long enough, the machine will sound an alarm, and the user can come over and try to catch the Pokémon. If it’s not a shiny encounter, it’ll simply run away and then will find another encounter. Eventually, though, it’ll find a shiny — it might take a while, but hey, the player doesn’t actually have to be present for the boring parts.

The power of science! I think I’ll stick to leaving my shiny encounters up to chance. It’s not that this is more noble or something, I’m just lazy — but props to dekuNukem for coming up with something so genius. My how far we’ve come from the days of trying to capture shiny Ponytas…

[via r/Pokemon]


  • That’s crazy clever, especially monitoring the audio to detect the bite. Only problem would have to be a really controlled environment to not give false positives and breaking the process. One loud noise or change in lighting conditions would mean you’d have to reset the machine.

    • The light sensor is taped down directly to the touch screen, so no need to worry about light from other sources. I think he’s using the headphone jack for audio out, although I’m not sure about that one.

      [Edit: Can’t really see, but it makes sense because he has his audio in line leading to the bottom of the DS, so I’d imagine he’s either hooked it up via the headphone jack or wired it directly to the board.]

    • A friend of mine already has 4 shiny Pokemon. There are in-game changes in this generation that makes the chance of finding a shiny much higher. Plus, given that everyone can now trade shiny Pokemon online, it reduces their value by a lot.

  • In WoW, we call that botting and we spit on the practise.

    Of course I don’t exactly agree with the time sink and for how these games are designed… but it’s basically done to give them longevity.

    Edit: I do commend the guy for his electronics prowess and doing this however. =)

      • I think it is when it’s in a competitive setting… kind of like steroids.

        Nobody cares if you cheat in a game by yourself. But in a multiplayer game, why should you have the rewards or advantage over someone who has legitimately put in the time, or be put at a disadvantage if you choose not to cheat?

        • But is that the fault of the people who bot or the people who make it so that you have to invest an unreasonable amount of time into gathering mats? I’ve only played with two guys who botted. Both of them were great players and pretty good guys, they just didn’t have the free time to invest in gathering mats for all the potions and junk that come with raiding (along with all the other daily stuff).
          They pretty much did it because Blizzard made end-game requirements incompatible with employment. Although part of that blame for that is also on the competitive raiding scene where the players demand hard content but also use every single advantage they can get. They have to build the content for someone with every possible advantage or else it takes a week before people are facerolling it.

          • That’s the fault of the people that bot.

            In vanilla WoW, the pvp titles were given according to how much time you could spend pvp’ing… so it was naturally biased towards unemployed/OCD people. I couldn’t do this and didn’t get it. I was working, and I still managed to ride around for many hours farming the materials/gear that I needed for end game raiding. I never botted.

            If an athlete trains for many hours a day to try to win the Olympics and someone else injects steroids and trains for a fraction of that time, does the cheater deserve to win gold because they have decided to be more efficient? You can blame the human body for being designed that way, or you could lay “blame” where it is deserved.

            Like I said… nobody cares if it’s a single player game. However, in almost all other competitive games(including the real world), you will get banned or similarly punished if you cheat.

          • I never botted either. I’m just saying can you really blame them for not wanting to do the boring, time consuming, extremely tedious grinding just to play the game. If I had the option to not do daily quests when all I need is rep/tokens for a pre-Heroic BiS trinket I’d rather not. I hate PvP but I did it on the rare occasions where a bit of PvP gear beat the PvE equivalent. I can hardly blame someone for wanting to skip that. Although botting PvP directly screws other players on your team over so I’m totally against it (I did once watch a really dumb bot beat the crap out of Horde though, which was really, really funny).
            Also we’re not talking about the Olympics here. Would you grind for hours just to get enough ammo to play CoD with friends a few nights a week? They’re not taking wins away from anyone, they’re just sanding off the corners of a really obnoxious systems. I know I used calculators to min/max my stats when I played because seriously, screw sitting around with a calculator trying to ensure that you get exactly the right numbers.
            I tanked so to keep my DPS off-spec up to scratch I’d use a DPS meter on a dummy rather than going through looking at individual hits and calculating DPS manually from the combat log. Is getting a bot to do your mining/herbing that different?

          • I think the key aspect here is whether it’s competitive or not. If it’s not competitive, you’re not really cheating, you’re just doing your own thing, and who cares if you do that? I absolutely agree that WoW has “boring, time consuming, extremely tedious grinding”, but millions of people across the world do it, or don’t do it, and still enjoy the game. If you’re botting to farm mats, then it’s typically low impact… unless it becomes like Diablo 3 where the economy is flooded.

            Yes it’s not about the Olympics, it’s about a level playing field. I’ve never played CoD. I have played Resident Evil however… and if I don’t have enough ammo, I’ll conserve.

            Using calculators and addons are an acceptable thing to do in WoW. Blizzard are okay with that. They set the rules, and have been generally fair about it. But calculating that you can do 23,698dps is different from say flooding the Auction house with 100 stacks of ore due to a bot farming program. And where your intention may be to help out your raid team as well as yourself, a botter could make his team be outnumbered in a battleground and make it a certain loss. If you ever had a problem with someone pushing in at the front of a queue, this is the same sort of thing. Someone who wants the rewards without the effort, at the expense of others.

          • @dogman @gwenclone

            I completely agree from a SP perspective

            but you should also consider that most people who bot, are usually the ones who dont have that much time to invest and therefore are most likely casual players for when they do actually play
            By that i mean they dont take the game seriously

            For example. I used to play Ragnarok Online with friends during HSC. But there was no way i was going to waste study time to farm and level up
            but i didnt want to miss out playing with friends.

            So i botted and then went to play with friends while maintaining a consistent loadout and level as them.
            there was no malicious intent and certainly didnt give me any player advantage considering i would have got there the same if i just invested more time.

            I think your analogy of olympics does not apply to MMOs

            primarily taking steriods to give you a competitive advantage is not a fair comparison to having a super efficient and automated robot do something you would have done anyway.
            Otherwise you could say that using MS word is cheating vs typewriters. PPl use MS word for efficiency. Toyota uses robot assembly for speed and efficiency. This gives them a competitive advantage in time…

            …but in a game where your items are attributed to luck (whereby using a bot or not gives you no advantage) and levels take the same amount of time for everyone to get to if they were equally efficient. Botting adds no competitive advantage other the fact that pure human players are less efficient and take more time to do the same tasks…But ultimately reaching the same goal.

            You can tell your bot to mine for 3 hours, at a particular spot, where creeps die and respawn at a fixed rate. You can tell your human player to invest 3 hours to farm as well, they equally have access to the same spot for farming, the same creeps which die and respawn at the same rate.
            So they will gain xp and drops at the same rate and probability percentage.

            Just because they click their mouse more inefficiently doesnt mean others have to be punished.

            At the end of the day in a MMO setting where all this only makes a real difference is PVP, but in PVP you can always choose not to fight the guy that is 10 levels higher than you…so what is the problem

            If it was FPS where one guy has ESP and Aimbot….thats a totally different story

            or Battlefield/Cod where you need to kill other players to level up. That is unfair

          • primarily taking steriods to give you a competitive advantage is not a fair comparison to having a super efficient and automated robot do something you would have done anyway.

            I tend to see the steroid argument as incorrect because steroids give you advantages that training can not. Bots are simply automating the non-skill based part of the equation.
            If I lose at whatever I’m competing at to someone who used bots before entering that’s the same as losing to someone who scored their mats legit or brought them from the AH. Unless they’re using the bot or a hack to do more than I possibly can we both entered and competed on even ground. You had potions you didn’t have to work hard to get, I have potions I did work hard to get, but at the end of the day we’re both using the same potion. You don’t perform better as a result. It’s not that different to how I had great little known node routes that allowed me to farm more mats faster.

            Honestly I sort of think if a stupid computer can do it and it’s not fun I’m sort of an idiot for not botting. I could have been playing a game I enjoyed while my PC did all the work rather than farming mats just to get to the fun part of the game.

          • I think it’s bad game design but you could also look at it this way: You and person B have 2hrs to play each night. You both need 1hr’s worth of farming for potions each night. You use a bot, person B doesn’t. You get to play for 2hrs each night while your bot farms the other 22hrs. Person B gets to play for 1hr and do mundane farming for the other 1hr. Fair?

            I’m not saying you’re wrong. But to me, bots are a scourge in WoW specifically and I spit on them.

          • Even if we both have the same amount of time though I’m not going to hold it against someone because they want to spend their only two hours not mindlessly flying from node to node. I don’t want to go herbing either. Nobody does. It’s terrible. You go to a node, click on it, go to another node, click on it. You can’t even watch TV while you do it.
            In the situation where we both have the same amount of active playtime if they’re doing better at the game because they’re using a bot then I hold Blizzard responsible for making such simplistic, repetitive tasks vital to the end-game experience.

            I don’t blame you for not liking players who use them, it’s totally understandable and as someone who has spent too much time farming mats I know it’s annoying to get beaten by the max speed flight form druid bot. I just feel like it’s not their fault the game is packed full of barriers that require players to stop playing and then put hours into completing tasks a brain dead chimp could do. Most of the blame goes to Blizzard for trying to make it so the players who sink 16 hours a day into the game won’t be able to say there’s nothing to do, and even then they still say it because there is nothing fun to do.

          • the reason why i dont mind bots is basically this

            gets around bad game design

            for example, MMORPGS basically are time black holes because 99% of the gameplay is just mundane farming

            whereas dota is a similar concept to RPGs but 90% of the gameplay is actual interactions. The leveling is organic and natural as you continue to play

          • I never played Rag online but some friends did… I think vanity hats were a big thing in that? The thing is that some rewards like rare items are based on chance and typically/should go to the people who put in the EFFORT to get them, rather than some fraud bot. I mindlessly grinded for a winterspring frostsaber back in the day in WoW, and I was the only human on my server with it. It gave me zero pvp advantage, but I earned it and other players recognized the achievement.

            I totally get where you’re coming from with botting to remain viable with your teammates. To me this doesn’t seem obviously wrong. Basically it’s a case of “would the other players think it’s wrong/cheating to do this?”. Everyone uses wordprocessors. Not everyone uses steroids or brings a mobile phone into the HSC to get answers.

            I’m all for thinking smarter, but thinking smarter can easily become cheating smarter. While you could tell your bot to mine for 3hrs or your kid brother to mine for 3hrs… chances are that you’re more likely to tell your bot to mine for 24hrs… or maybe nonstop. Certainly it’s more efficient… and you wouldn’t owe your bot ice cream or anything for doing that for you either. And your bot is more likely to get more xp/drops if it’s chugging away for 24hrs over another player that is maybe grinding for 5hrs.

    • I’m actually curious as to whether this would be considered a bot under Blizz’s EULA if it were WoW. Traditional WoW bots are all automated through macros and whatnot and don’t actually respond to any game stimuli other than code (at least not to my knowledge). This on the other hand actually requires a device to react to visual stimulus from the game.

      The guy in essence built a literal bot to play the game, but that changes the premise entirely from how I see it. No different to giving your 3DS to someone else and tell them to just farm shinies.

      • wow is that even possible? like a bot through macros? how would it respond to game data outputs (i.e. you just encountered a wild boar) does a macro have logic built in to respond to that scenario and then subsequently input left mouse click on these exact coordinates for you?

        • I used to use these little keyboard emulators for panels I made at work (they’re essentially keyboard chips where you wire in your own key). That could handle the inputs in a way that’s no different to pushing the keys on a keyboard. I actually built a few keyboards with them. UI addons, co-ords and the combat log could help make it a bit more camera friendly.
          Use something like WoWhead’s database help it know what to do. I’m sure bots already do a lot of that stuff, they just do it with software plugged right into the client instead of an external robot.

  • Interesting concept. I like the device but I’m not sure shiny fishing really needs it. What is it, 30-80 casts before you get one? Now if you made one that reset the DS so you could hunt shiny Legendary encounters that’s another story. I wonder how long it’d take to get a Shiny Mewtwo with perfect IVs and the matching nature. Hell, it’d be so unlikely it’d probably be flagged as a fake.

  • it would be more awesome if he made it to battle and catch it for him instead of making a beep noise to alert you

    but still good

  • I’ll forever remember the day I caught a shiny caterpie in Gold’s bug-catching contest. I didn’t come first place…

  • as much as the idea is good and all, I hate it, where is the blood, sweat and tears of effort put into finding shinies.
    A true trainer catches his/her Pokemon purely by effort. To show dedication.

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