Pokemon GO Articuno video is fake: here’s how they did it

Chris Burns - Aug 2, 2016
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Pokemon GO Articuno video is fake: here’s how they did it

Pokemon GO users on YouTube have caught legendary birds like Articuno and Moltres, ultra-rare Pokemon like Mewtwo and Ditto, and every oddity in-between. How could they possibly have done such a thing? Is there a glitch in the game? Have they cheated? Not so much. They’ve done nothing of the sort. What’s actually going on here is extremely simple – and they didn’t need any fancy multi-thousand-dollar software to do it. All they needed was Blender.

When we download Pokemon GO with an Android device, we get a file called an APK. This sort of file is relatively easy to pull apart and inspect. Some elements are not available to us right off the bat, and some require some de-coding – and some, like the 3D models of Pokemon we’d need to make a fake video aren’t included. It would seem that Niantic is keeping the 3D model files for each Pokemon on the server side of this equation.

Below you’ll see a video showing how one intrepid user by the name of FrozenAquaCat has created a fake video of a Ditto. He’s also managed to fake a video of a Zapados and a Mewtwo, too.

All this user needed was to download a “dump” of Pokemon GO assets, pull out the bits that make an accurate re-creation of a Pokemon catching scene, and make an animation. He needed to locate some 3D models of Pokemon, to.

Finding models of the rarer Pokemon in Pokemon GO wasn’t difficult because there’ve been so many Pokemon games released over the past decade. These games included 3D models of basically every Pokemon, and they’re available now through websites like The Models Resource.

These models come in “OBJ” filetype, just like the assets included in Pokemon GO’s own APK.

Users can download the app Blender (for multiple operating systems), a free, open-source animation editor. From there, plopping the Pokemon and the backgrounds in can be done handily.

A video can be made, and a user can choose to play it on their phone. Filming the phone playing this video makes it seem as though they’ve legitimately found a Legendary Pokemon out in the wild.

Mystery solved – now on to figuring out when Niantic is actually going to release these birds and other monsters.

And to the tips to find the rest! Have a peek at our @TeamPokemonGo Twitter portal for all the information you need on the world’s most popular game.


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