Custom Sprites and the State of the PMU Toolkit 2024

Agenda Statement
This forum post intends to promote two agendas:
(1) Propose for a new or updated PMU Toolkit removing the decompiler.
(2) Promote the community interest into the spriting scene and enable those with Poké-sonas or creative ideas for sprites to do so.

IN ANY CASE, plagarism is NOT okay. Converting and spreading sprites from other sprite repositories as ones’ own work will not be supported by the community. If in public-domain/use, do follow the golden rule and provide credit where credit is due.

Custom Sprites and the State of the PMU Toolkit 2024

During the transition to introduce shiny pokemon, the spriting team was presented the inquiry of encasing our work in a new coding to protect them from being fully decompiled by the PMU Toolkit (PMUToolKit). This tool was able to compile our works to .Sprite files which were used prior to the update, however. Vise-versa, putting a .Sprite into the PMU Toolkit was able to spit out a folder with each frame-to-frame animation of a Pokémon. This became a vulnerability in protecting spriters’ works.

Since the coding update, the PMU Toolkit has been rendered somewhat obsolete. This change also meant spriters had to rely on certain staff members to compile their work into the new coding which we all now see as .Chara files in the GFX folder. Moreover, this had also meant the death to the custom spriting community. I will not go into depth about custom spriting and the process, given this post by Ludichat thoroughly explains it (

Closing Thoughts

Has the new coding efficiently protected spriters’ works? Honestly, pretty much no. To an extent it makes gaining access to our work harder, but anyone can screenshot in-game and wand select-delete the background and gain access to our sprites.

On my subconscious I sorta already know the outcome of posting this, and have accepted it’ll be tossed aside like so many others. Despite so, I will be replying to this post frequently to keep it in revelance for 2024, and in the coming days with my curation for the summer customs/reworks! Support and sharing this post is appreciated, and those of us who used to be or will be part of the custom spriting community get those creative-juices going!

I agree that the ‘protection’ of the sprites is not increased by lack of tools to decompile the sprite files. I was taking screenshots for some guild photos earlier this year and there were some people who couldn’t make it to the photo, so we just edited them in. Getting access to a single sprite with no background took less than a minute. If someone truly wanted to ‘steal’ sprites, it would be incredibly easy to do so.

There will always be thieves and people who try to claim artwork as their own. No amount of hiding files behind walls will stop that. I think if a sprite is uploaded to PMU, though, it should be in a way consenting for the sprites to be used in public, nonprofit projects and fangames, as it technically becomes public access when it’s in the game.

I support the idea that we should be able to customise sprites. I’ve been wanting to for a long time and I think it could be a really neat creative avenue; most players I know have a PMU/PMD OC of some sort and would jump at the chance to get them into the game. Having creative opportunities related to PMU is always neat, as right now we only really have Skins and house mapping as a form of expression. Most fangames, and even many big name games have a thriving modding scene going on. It would be neat if we could get in on that action too.


This snapshot intends to showcase the snipbits curated to best showcase “The Midsummer’s Night Dream” theme. All sprites in the snapshot are prone to further revisions and updates.

The snapshot was originally posted for pending on June 8th, 2024. However, due to inaction by staff went about another method to bypass to release this snapshot by midsummer. More information in the dropdown “Case Study”.

Case Study

As aforementioned, the snapshot was originally posted for pending on June 8th, 2024. It has been 12 days and was left to resort to using URL links to bypass. Given this had to happen, it brings to concern about staff monitoring of the forums. Is staff even active on here anymore? Also the more concerning question, is staff redirecting the playerbases’ concerns to the forum with false hopes of being considered for their suggestion? This definitely is leaving a bad impression of both new and old staff thus far. For those who have experienced, or have discord tickets of staff redirection to the forums for their concern please do share. Discord @yoon.minsoo
Case1.png - Google Drive

Free for use with credit, not for commercial purposes.

Snapshot Summer '24 - A Midsummer’s Night Dream
As the summer solstice approaches (for those in the northern hemisphere), the longest day in the year brings about a dreamy state for those seeking the night sky. All walks of life, day and night, lurk about…

Duplicate post that was eventually approved. Original screenie in the dropdown, “Case Study”.

So this is a complicated topic, and I apologize for not responding before. We’ve definitely read it, but figuring out the right path forward for this is well, not easy.

So I’ll try to address things as I can piece by piece, but recognize that a good bit of this is going to be my own personal opinion, and a truly official response may eventually contradict some of what I’m going to say here. But I do feel I owe you all a bit of a response regardless.

So with sprite encryption and the capacity to take sprite frames - I think, no matter what you do, you can’t ever fully stop anything from happening. However, the question that arises is how do you reasonably increase the level of difficulty for something to make it feel like it’s not worth the effort.

It is true you can, frame by frame, extract each frame used in a sprite. For a single frame, it wouldn’t take much time at all. But to get everything for a single sprite, you’d need to properly understand how we animate the frames, how we pace each of them, where they’re oriented relative to one another, etc.

Certainly, someone could do it. But the act of someone being able to do something at all isn’t necessarily the mark of a failed safety system, in my opinion. Otherwise, we’d have no good security system in the world haha since someone can crack it. And in general, I think this requires a lot more effort than the previous iteration likely would have.

On the subject of custom content, this is where things get a bit weird. In a vacuum, I think opening up opportunities for custom content and certain packs players can insert into the game is really cool! We have a thriving custom skin community, which I think is awesome. In PMU however, I think it can be a bit more complicated.

One of the most prominent features of the game right now is its featuring of shiny Pokemon. As we all know, shinies are a purely aesthetic feature with essentially no gameplay advantage otherwise. In a world of custom sprites, do we make finding them a lot less satisfying? I’m not super sure.

The other aspect is PMU is currently undergoing a lot of behind the scenes work. As a result, custom stuff that people work on now might not whenever that work comes to fruition. In that sense, it’d feel bad to put all this work into something and it breaks shortly after. I’m no coder so I can’t give any ETA on that sort of work. But I also recognize to even adapt the toolkit to that format would require some work which perhaps is better used in other areas at some point.

I guess all of this is to say we’re not closing the door on the possibility of custom assets at some point. But at least currently, we probably can’t accomodate it :(

Finally, with regards to the suggestions forum. I stated this elsewhere, but we do genuinely read all of the suggestions as able and discuss them internally. Certain topics, however, are a bit hard to then take from a private-facing discussion to a public-facing forum. Internal priorities can and often do change, and that can sometimes leave every response feeling like a “this might happen, maybe some day”. I hope responses like this can at least show the thinking process we go through, but there are times where even that can be a bit hard to define.

And with regards to the approval of the snapshot post, I usually get notified of those ahead of time. For some reason, that didn’t happen this time and that caused it to take longer than we intended. I apologize for that but I have approved the media to be shown in this post. If there’s ever anything in the future that seems to be taking a bit, just shoot a DM to me or send something through modmail and we can handle it.

This response is kinda long and a bit rambly, but I hope that it at least gives some insight into everything.


Turtwig I really do appreciate your openess to share insight for the vagueness of staff activity behind the scenes, along with your earnest efforts to improve player-staff interactions. Given you are the only staff that has replied to multiple suggestion posts by other players within the hours of this post1, it stands to reason you are the main voice for staff.

Footnote 1

Case2.png - Google Drive

In regards to the topic at hand, the point RinarosaIGN shared about there being no clear solution for protecting sprites from being pirated is true. This problem is further supported by Turtwig’s remarks along with the current system in place. As for the solution, this will not be an easy one and the concern for sprite security will be ever on-going, and thus this is moreso for staff to convene on.

I doubt the toolkit will get reworked anytime soon. Nevertheless, as a step to reopening custom sprites for the community, this thread will continue to push for the objective of the toolkit’s rework for such.

The implications to custom sprites are many, such as its impact on shiny hunting brought up by Turtwig’s response. The potential impact of custom sprites is there, but keep in mind the changes are all “client-side”. Thus, the MMO2 aspect to these shinies remain relevant for the players themselves to hunt for. The subconscious of the players’ mind will still acknowledge that the default sprite is there, even if they use a custom sprite that swaps a shiny form onto the normal. The sheer pleasure of using a default shiny to AFK in town will comparably be moreso desired than using a default normal for bragging purposes. On top of that, players are coming to PMU with prior love for the Pokémon franchise. Their motivations for hunting specific shinies are in-part due to just their adoration for that/those Pokémon.

With that established, custom sprites offers new possibilities to current Pokémon. From observing the latest sprites, I have noticed several break conventional proportions set by Generations 1 through 4 PMD. Seeing how this is the case, some current sprites could be revisited for new renditions, animations, added special effects that would’ve never been passed by staff along with much more. These custom sprites undoubtly can bring new interests to Pokémon and shinies that were previously lacking a fanbase.

Footnote 2

Take into perspective of other MMOs that have modding communities, such as FFXIV. The mods on XIV are client-side as well (unless one uses Mare Synchronos which pairs players’ mods) and despite the large amount of costumes one can mod over, majority of players keep in mind about how their default character looks in regards to other players.