Saturday, 22 December 2012

Merry Creatures Christmas

Hello Creatures world! I've been away for a while. I know. Life has been somewhat demanding, (with four part-time jobs simultaneously while also attending University. Good times!)

Anyways, as it is the holidays, I have found some free time to play Creatures. And so, I've decided to make a holiday COB for C1.

Something I've always wanted in C1 was weather. Of course, this really is a terrible idea, as C1 can only handle so many objects at once and it will either crash or prompt you with polite error messages should you exceed this limit. However, my desire for snow had also reached its limit, and so I present to you the Winter Mushu.

This Mushu loves the snow, and he will perform a happy little snow dance for you! While he's dancing, snowflakes, (sprites courtesy of C2) will fall from the sky in the general area around Mushu only. This will allow you to have a nice, contained little area of weather.

If left out in the snow, creatures will have their Boredom and Need for Pleasure decreased. However, they will also slowly become colder, so it's probably not a good idea to let them stay in the snow too long.

You can make it stop snowing by picking Mushu up and dropping him again, (he will go to sleep). Snowflakes will only spawn while Mushu is dancing, not while he is sleeping or being held.

And yes, I do know there is a snow-storm COB included in one of the Christmas packs. But really, I just wanted an excuse to make something dance.

Winter Mushu can be downloaded from the Critter section at Jessi's Cobs, or alternatively, right here.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Amelia, Edgar, and Creature Link - Part 2

My previous post delved into the genetics of Amelia, who possessed the following mutation:

110 Chi B MutDup 1*Punishment + 1*<NONE> => 1*Reinforcement + 1*PunishmentEcho; half-life = 16

However, further investigation indicates that this cannot be her only problem. Though I have yet to isolate the cause of her learning and decision-making issues, further studies seem to dismiss the severity of her mutated gene.

I introduced two norns into a new world via the Science Kit with the same mutated gene as Amelia. The first was a first-generation Purple Mountain Norn and the second was a first-generation Snow Norn. I wanted to study a snow norn in particular, as they use the Survivor Norn gene, which I thought may be causing a more significant result in the case of Amelia. However, both Ceriba (left) and Morris (right) did not show significant problems with learning. They ate on their own and when instructed, and I rewarded them each for doing so.

An interesting thing to note about this gene is that, until childhood, the punishment/reward graph in the Science Kit appears as such. Without the gene switched on, it seems the norn constantly feels the maximum amount of Punishment. However, it does not seem to have a noticeable effect on Ceriba or Morris' behavior, other than the constant "get yes" expressions.

So as it is, I'm not sure why altering the gene showed such significant results for Amelia and Edgar and not for other norns, unless it just happened to be a fluke. (However, it should be noted that I did perform the experiment several times, and there were several incarnations of Edgar with various genes edited. The alteration of the above gene was the only occurrence where Edgar was able to eat properly. I then proceeded to crash the game each time as not to save it, so I could pretend that I hadn't performed so many experiments. Ahem. Carrying on.)

I may continue to attempt to isolate further problematic genes in Amelia, or just carry on and let her be. Though she is constantly hungry, the Survivor gene makes her particularly hardy and her inability to eat properly does not seem to be causing her significant health problems.

Creature Link News!

So I think it is time for some happier updates as I continue my documentation of Iberis and Serissa from Creature Link! The happiest and most significant update is that Iberis and Eliza had a baby egg together!

What's even better, is that in addition to being absolutely adorable, baby Athena did not receive her mother's mutation! She spent a bit of time with her mother, going over vocabulary and learning to eat, before I relocated her to the garden to socialize with the other creatures. Though I would love to let her stay with Eliza, I didn't want her learning abilities or health compromised by Eliza's Nannybugs. (Also as you may have noticed, Eliza did manage to shuffle into the garden far enough for me to teleport her to the computer!)

Serissa and Edgar ended up having a baby as well! Though this was a happy occasion, baby Aloe seems to have some rather significant issues.

He seems unable to follow any commands issued by the hand. Although this is not unheard of, he seems rather selective in what he will or will not listen to. For example, he will not look at an object directed by the hand, but he can learn words of objects he is already looking at. However, he does not seem able to learn the word for "food" under any circumstances. I find this very unusual, as he can learn words for everything else!

Unfortunately, Iberis was not the best father figure around. Immediately after his time with Eliza, he proceeded to wander off and kiss-pop with the other females. (At least he doesn't have fertility problems..?) The happy result of this, however, was a courtship with Serissa herself!

After laying her egg, Serissa and Iberis were greeted by an old friend, Graxx, who came to visit them! Though most likely a result of a variety of coincidences, I would like to think that Graxx was congratulating the happy couple.

Assuming that the baby has no severe mutations, he/she will be uploaded back to Creature Link after hatching!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Amelia, Edgar, and Creature Link

Edit: I have been unable to recreate Amelia's issue in first-generation norns, so it seems as though there is something else at work here that I have yet to discover.

Now that school has started up again, I will most likely be taking a break from Cobbing as it is a bit time-extensive. However, the good news about this is that I will be able to devote my Creatures time to actually playing Creatures! Which means, most likely, more blog posts about, well, creatures.

I wanted to do a small study on the effects of learning in baby norns, and how detrimental genes that hinder early development can have an effect later in life. My subject for this study is Amelia (left) and her clone-brother Edgar (right). Amelia was born with this gene:

110 Chi B MutDup 1*Punishment + 1*<NONE> => 1*Reinforcement + 1*PunishmentEcho; half-life = 16

This gene relates to a creature's ability to feel reinforcement from punishment. As Jessica from Discover Albia explains, "these two latter chemicals remain in the system for some time and continue to reinforce and echo the...action." The problem, however, is that instead of switching on at birth, this gene won't turn on until childhood. The effect of this in-game seems to be fairly severe, as it significantly hinders Amelia's ability to learn from her decisions during an integral part of her development.

Unfortunately, I had lost Amelia due to an accidental World overwrite, (apparently it's not always a good idea to have several versions of Creatures installed on one computer. Manual back-ups it is for now on!) The good news, however, is that I still had her genetic file and was able to re-create her with a Genetics Kit import. This also meant that I would be able to study Amelia from baby to adulthood!

After hatching Amelia and teaching her to talk, I immediately taught her the word for "food" and encouraged her to eat. She was fascinated with that piece of cheese. For a very, very long time. However, despite my best attempts, Amelia would not eat the cheese. Though she felt hunger, she did not feel the punishment associated with being hungry.

I had anticipated that after the baby-stage, Amelia would, with some coaxing, eventually learn to eat the cheese properly. Unfortunately, this was not quite the case.

Amelia picked up, dropped, slept with, picked up, and dropped the same piece of cheese well into adolescence. In fact, it took nearly an hour of constant encouragement for Amelia to finally eat! (And what a joyous occasion it was!) Though I rewarded her, she did not seem particularly interested in repeating the action. In fact, the Decision page of the Science Kit generally looks like this:

This is very similar to Eliza's Decision graph, which led me to believe that something else may be affecting Amelia's ability to make decisions as well. To test this, I used the Genetics Kit to alter Amelia's punishment gene so that it switched on during the embryo stage, as is normal.

The result was baby Edgar, who, unlike his "sister", immediately began eating when instructed, and continued to do so properly. This would indicate that the loss of proper learning and punishment reinforcement during the baby-stage was detrimental enough to have a lasting effect well into adulthood. The good news is that as Amelia gets older, she is, fortunately, becoming easier to teach. However, it does take a very long time and a lot of coaxing before she will eat anything! After 2 and a half hours of life, I have yet to see Amelia eat on her own, or interact with any object, such as a toy, without repeated instruction.

In Other News...

I have very pleased to announce that I decided to give Jessica's Creature Link a try! Creature Link is a site designed to create links between community members by creating links between generations of creatures. Players can request to adopt a norn, and then later upload descendants of that norn for other players to enjoy. The idea is to do this without clones or duplicates, so that other players can continue the link. Of course, there is no obligation to upload a descendant after adoption, but it does seem like it would be a lot of fun to do so!

My two adopted norns are Iberis (left) and Serissa (right). Iberis has a mutation that causes light to be transformed into testosterone! Serissa has no significant mutations, which I thought would be a good idea considering they are entering a world with a few unstable genes already.

According to the adoption page, Iberis may have some fertility problems as he ages due to his mutation. So far, I've noticed that he has a fairly high sex drive despite being a child, (oh dear). Otherwise, though, both norns are learning and exploring Albia normally!

Iberis quickly made friends with the resident grendel, Graxx, and he even taught him a few things, such as the word for "food". Serissa seemed particularly interested in Eliza, and spent most of her babyhood with her! Later on, Iberis became interested in her as well, and even began tickling and kissing her!

Could this be the start of a future romance? Who knows! But I am hoping to see some (relatively) healthy baby norns in the future, as I would love to continue the link on Creature Link with a descendant or two!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Nannybug Release

The Nannybug is now available for download at Jessi's Cobs or, alternatively, right here. As there is a bit more explanation involved than normal, I'll be providing a detailed description here on my blog (as this will be too long for my download site).

The Nannybug is a little mushroomy critter that produces tiny little spores, which, coincidentally, happen to be remarkably useful. A norn (or grendel) is able to absorb these spores through its skin, and obtain the benefits without needing to interact with the object at all. Simply placing the Nannybug next to the creature, so that the sprites are touching, is enough. The Nannybug will periodically shoot off little spores, and if a norn is touching the bug at that time, he will receive the effects. This is useful for norns who have trouble walking and interacting with objects.

The type of spore the Nannybug produces is altered by the food that it consumes. By default, the Nannybug will be red and have the effect of Sex Drive Increase. By picking up the Nannybug and dropping it on various food items, however, the effect will change. The color of the Nannybug's mushroom will also change, so that you can easily identify the type of effect it will have. I made up this handy-dandy little chart for your convenience.

For honey pots and alcohol, the jar/glass must be full (not tipped over) for the Nannybug to eat from the item. He will not deplete any of the honey or alcohol from the jar, however, so it won't get used up by feeding the bug.

For the plants, (Feverfew, Gentian, etc.) the Nannybug can eat straight from the plant like a norn. The plant will be consumed as normal, but will grow back much more quickly than normal for your convenience. (This does not alter the script of the plant, though. If a creature eats from the plant, it will grow back at its normal pace). The Nannybug can only eat from plants that are fully grown.

The Nannybug can also eat injected herbs from the Health/Breeding Kit, or the ones produced from SteerPike's Feverfew, Morning Glory, and Gentian Vendors. Please note, however, that while you can use the Health Kit Feverfew and Morning Glories, the affect of eating these two herbs will be reversed. That is because the Health Kit versions are very wrong, and I chose to make the COB compatible with SteerPike's herbs instead. Because they are right.

You may notice that the numerical values of the injections are not extreme, (ranging between 50 and 125), as I wanted it to be somewhat reasonable. If you find that these numbers are not high enough for your particular creature, you can always throw down more Nannybugs to increase the "dosage" your creature is receiving.

Clicking the Nannybug will put it to sleep, and it will remain sleeping until picked up again. When asleep, the Nannybug will not produce spores.

The Nannybug is intended primarily for use with special needs norns, who cannot eat for themselves or have issues sleeping, as an alternative to using the Science Kit injections to maintain their health. Using this COB with healthy norns can severely inhibit their ability to learn for themselves! (The temperature and population control effects should be fine to use with regular norns, however).

As always, please let me know if you encounter any problems with this COB.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Flowers, Flowers, and Mushrooms

I finally got a chance to try out a new update for C3/DS by Geek2Nurse, which I have been really very excited about. This update alters the Bluebell and Starflower plants that come in C3, and is available in the Agents Downloads section of CreaturesCaves.

Though it seems that you need Creatures 3 installed for these to work, you can still inject them into an undocked DS world as well. They will begin growing in the Norn Terrarium, or in the Meso if you are playing a DS only game. It should be noted though that this agent will remove the original Bluebell and Starflower plants from your world, so you may want to take that into consideration.
The first lovely thing about these plants is the beautiful recolors added for the Starflower. They seem to randomly sprout as pink, blue, or yellow, and will be facing towards either the right or the left. I really love these little details and added dimensions of randomness, as it makes the plant seem very natural in any environment. Which, of course, brings us to a very important tiny little detail, which is that both the Starflower and Bluebell plants can be picked up and carried around by both the hand as well as your creatures.

It is rather adorable watching your creatures walking around with a big, happy flower. The most important thing about this, though, is that it makes it very easy to customize other Metarooms! Like the Biodome.

In Other News...

I thought I would post about the Mushroom Bug as well, now renamed Nannybug. It is actually very close to completion, and is residing in that delightful testing-and-tweaking stage. You may notice that the critter is a tad bit smaller than it was initially. As much fun as it was having a legion of giant creepy mushy-bug-things, it wasn't remarkably practical, as they kind of got in the way. So I now introduce to you the much smaller, more compact, more efficient Nannybug.

There are nine different variations of the Nannybug, and is determined by what you feed to your bug. The current list of foods and effects is as follows:

Honey - Hunger Decrease/Starch Increase (ORANGE)
Alcohol - Boredom Decrease/Need for Pleasure Decrease (PURPLE)
Tomato - Increase Sex Drive (RED)
Ugly Tomato - Decrease Sex Drive (RED/YELLOW SPOTS)
Feverfew - Pain Decrease (GREEN)
Morning Glory - Exhaustion Decrease (DARK BLUE/YELLOW SPOTS)
Coffee - Sleepiness Decrease (BROWN)
Gentian - Coldness Decrease (LIGHT BLUE)
Campanula - Hotness Decrease (LIGHT BLUE/YELLOW SPOTS)

Like my other COBs, the Nannybug will be fed by dropping him onto various foods/drinks. Plants and such will grow back after being eaten, though slightly faster than normal for your convenience.

As mentioned before, this COB is primarily intended for the care of special needs creatures, or severe illness. As it injects nutrients and chemicals into your creature automatically, it can and will affect your creature's ability to learn properly. Of course, they can also be used for population control just because... well, why not?

In the case of Eliza, they are being used to improve her quality of life, as she cannot eat, walk, interact with objects, or wake up if she falls asleep. Although Science Kit injections can keep her alive, the Nannybugs can also keep her happy (with dancing!) and greatly improve the quality of her life.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Small Update

Muggy Update

Edit: Okay, I actually put the old version of the COB back up after some thought. Although the new version was consistent with the Health Kit herbs, it was inconsistent with the wild herbs. As I believe the effects of the wild herbs are intended to be correct, I think the herbs Muggy digs up should reflect that. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Original Post: It's time for another Muggy update. This time it's a rather minor issue, as the Feverfew and Morning Glory herbs he dug up had their sprites switched around. (So Morning Glory looked like Feverfew and vice versa). This was actually caused by the actual class numbers in-game to be mixed up. The Feverfew plant, for example, has the class number "2 4 9" and Morning Glory uses "2 4 10". However, the Morning Glory herb, (the one injected via the Health Kit) uses the class number "2 4 9" and Feverfew uses "2 4 10". Basically they seem to have gotten mixed up in the coding, so the herbs in my COB had the opposite effect that they should have.

Or at least, they had the opposite effect as that of the Health Kit herbs.

Long story short, my Muggy COB has been updated once again and the new version is available at Jessi's Cobs or right here.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Muggy Update 2

Update for Muggy COB

There was another issue with my Muggy COB, which was causing him to eat plants in addition to the tomatoes, flowers, etc. Obviously, this is a very bad thing, as he was able to eat the Tomato Plant, the Feverfew Plant, the Ugly Tomato Plant, and the Morning Glory Plant if a player dropped him onto it.

Muggy has been fixed, and will now only eat what he was intended to eat, no longer removing plants from players' worlds. He is available at Jessi's Cobs, as well as right here. Please re-download and replace the "Muggy.cob" file with the new version. Also please use the Muggy Remover before re-injecting the COB.

I am very sorry if this has affected anyone's worlds. If anyone did lose their plants, please let me know, and I can make up a fix to restore any missing plants back into your Creatures world.

Mushroom Bug Preview

I also thought I'd show a quick preview of the project I am working on, currently named "Mushroom Bug". Basically, what this guy does is that he will occasionally inject "spores" into the world that will react with any norn that is currently touching the Mushroom Bug.

These spores can be absorbed through a creature's skin and provide various beneficial effects. The effect depends upon what the Mushroom Bug has been eating recently. Feeding the bug will alter the type of spore produced. For example, feeding the bug coffee will alter his spores so that they will reduce a creature's Sleepiness levels. Feeding it a carrot or lemon will cause the spores to provide a norn with nutrition, essentially feeding the creature through touch. Feeding the bug will also alter his coloring, so that it is easy to tell what type of effect he will have on your creatures.

Clicking the bug will put him to sleep, in case you want to "turn him off" temporarily.

The general idea behind this COB is to help aid in the care of special needs norns. For example, he will be able to feed norns that cannot eat on their own, if that norn is touching the bug at the time that he releases his spores. By using multiple bugs, and customizing each one with the desired effect, you will be able to aid each norn in its unique situation.

Mostly I wanted to be able to care for a special needs norn without using the Science Kit injectors, as they cause pain and can often be harmful when overused, which is unfortunate when you have an extreme disability in a norn/grendel/ettin. Note that this COB will not be intended for healthy norns, as it may significantly reduce their ability to learn and function properly. This is for extreme cases, such as norns who cannot eat on their own or wake up without injections. (Or for population control!)

This is a list of planned effects, based on what the bug eats:

Carrot/Lemon - Hunger Decrease/Starch Increase
Alcohol/Honey - (makes bug dance!) Boredom Decrease/Need for Pleasure Decrease
Tomato - Sex Drive Increase
Ugly Tomato - Sex Drive Decrease
Feverfew - Pain Decrease
Morning Glory - Exhaustion Decrease
Coffee - Sleepiness Decrease
Gentian - Hotness Decrease
Campanula - Coldness Decrease

Okay, I know the Gentian and Campanula ones don't really make sense logically, but I haven't been able to think of a better alternative. If any one has any suggestions/requests for additional effects, please let me know! Also feel free to suggest names for this COB. "Mushroom Bug" isn't really doing it for me.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Fun with Metarooms - Part 2

I decided to give C2toDS a try. I was a little hesitant at first, not because of there being anything particularly wrong with the idea, but I still have sad, unwarm and unfuzzy feelings from my first experience with Creatures 2. Receiving it as a gift when I was a kid, and having played Creatures 1 enthusiastically, I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of complexity of Creatures 2. No matter what I did, my norns always seemed to die. I was never able to develop a stable breeding population, and only experienced repeated death after death after death. Being a creature-adoring child, this was a bit traumatic for me.

However, this is not Creatures 2. This is Creatures 2 to Docking Station, and that makes all the difference.

First of all, the detail added to this Metaroom is simply lovely, even going so far as to transform the appearance of the hand. Moe and Liam have done a wonderful job recreating the nostalgic feeling of C2, (I say this because I was instantly instilled with a sense of fear and terror upon viewing it). However, they've also included some new additions and improvements that make it work well as a DS Metaroom.

There are tons of seed vendors, which makes it very easy to populate your world with traditional C2 plants. Want more walking tendrils, mushrooms, carrots? They're all there. What's even better, is that these vendors make it very easy to populate other Metarooms with the C2 plants and critters as well. (Instead of trying to grab seeds as they fall to the ground and trying to plant them quickly. Am I the only one who does that? There must be a better way...) Of course, the first thing I ran off to do was populate the Biodome.

I really like how the C2 agents look in the Biodome! They work remarkably well in the upper, non-customizable areas of the Metaroom, so it's an easy way to populate the area with growing food sources.

Also as a side note, it has been pointed out to me that in order for the area types of the customizable areas in the Biodome to be changed, you need to "lock" the room. Changing the background won't alter the room type until the room is locked! I was a bit confused about this; I thought the lock only kept the backgrounds from changing on you! Anyways, everything seems to be working much better now.

On a similar note, the Biodome agents seem to work rather well in the Creatures 2 Metaroom. Sometimes fish and anemones get into areas that they probably shouldn't, but that's not a huge issue and it's not really the room's fault that I decided to inject mass quantities of agents that were not designed for it. But, I do love how it livens up the ocean areas!

I then decided to bring some creatures into C2toDS. I hatched a female Golden Desert Norn named Emma, and a male Gargoyle Norn named Murgo. At first everything seemed to be going well, although both Emma and Murgo seemed to enjoy plunging themselves into the ocean.

This was a bit of a problem, as even if the boat was at the dock, the norns could not walk onto it and kept falling into the water. Fortunately the spring still remains at the bottom of the ocean, so creatures are able to get back up again. I was a bit disappointed though, as my norns didn't seem much interested in exploring the vast Metaroom. However, after remembering that this was DS and not C2, a bit of Shift-Clicking magic helped me relocate Emma and Murgo into other areas.

Soon after discovering the garden, Emma became pregnant. Murgo then promptly abandoned Emma, deciding instead that he would rather explore the volcano. Unfortunately, when the egg hatched, I had only enough time to name the creature "Beth" before she had already grown old and passed away.

It was a bit of a sad start to my C2toDS world. However, after relocating Emma with Murgo, they quickly became pregnant again. Murgo promptly escaped on the elevator while Emma waited with the egg. A second daughter was born, and I named her Beth after her sister. Fortunately this Beth seems to be much healthier than her predecessor, as she does not have the same rapid aging problem that her sister had.

Overall I am very impressed with the Metaroom and am enjoying it very much. Like the C1toDS room, it's great if you want to relive the nostalgia of the previous games without losing the upgrades of Docking Station.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Fun with Metarooms

Now, I have two very distinct problems with Creatures 3 and Docking Station. The first is simply that changing to 16-bit graphics is mildly inconvenient to me, as it causes a lot of issues with my Windows skin and certain programs. The second is that the world in C3/DS is enormous, especially with addons. In itself this isn't really a problem, but Docking Station also allows me to set breeding and population limits. (16 norns? How about two-thousand!?) Because I have little self-control, my worlds tend to get overpopulated very quickly and lag very badly.

However, reading news about new Metaroom releases has got me interested in playing again, despite the minor inconveniences. Metarooms are my weakness. I love them. Very much.

The first one I tried out was Silence Falls by Grendel_Man.

I really enjoy this Metaroom. It's not overly large, but the size is perfect when playing in windowed mode, as it does not require scrolling to view the entire map. The artwork is gorgeous as well, and I very much enjoy that I can add plants and critters to it. Though I wasn't able to successfully grow anything on the lower floor, the upper floor was quickly customized with plants and wildlife from other terrariums.

As it is a damp area, I thought a Maraquan grendel would be a good match for one of Grendel_Man's Waterfall grendels. I had anticipated that breeding would prove to be a challenge, as the Waterfall grendel is supposed to breed rather slowly. However, the incredible affection and friendliness of the Maraquan grendel proved to be a stronger force, and soon Cassidy and Normie were the proud parents of three daughters.

Yes. "Mary bu graaaah" indeed. Unfortunately, though both Cassidy and Normie seemed rather peaceful, their second daughter Myrtle (on the right) was not. Immediately after birth, Myrtle proceeded to hit her sisters and parents repeatedly, while her sisters informed her that, despite her abuse, they still "like mywtle".

The second Metaroom I wanted to try was The Biodome. (Okay, I know it isn't exactly new, but I hadn't found out about it until recently. So shush.) This Metaroom is gorgeous and highly customizable. The lower sections have change-able backgrounds for each area, which really gives the room a great deal of personality. I had quite a bit of fun making little "mini biodomes" in each section.