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.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Food COB Update

 Food COB Updates

Unfortunately I have found another bug with my COBs, specifically the Happy Pink Flower, Bliumea Plant, Rodirea Plant, and Mugug Fruit COBs. There was a bug that caused the wrong creature to sometimes be targeted by the script, so if one creature ate the fruit, another creature would receive the effects of it. My apologies once again for not noticing this bug right away. The updated COBs have been uploaded to Jessi's COBs. (You can also click this links in this post to download).

Many thanks to Jessica from Discover Albia for bringing this to my attention! She had mentioned that sometimes her third-party COBs would randomly inject norns with starch, etc. after I had mentioned seeing an increase in life force in Eliza, a norn who could not eat. I found the source eventually, which was the Parsnip carrot COB, which causes the creature currently selected by the player to receive the effects, instead of the norn who ate the object. After checking my own COBs, I found that my food COBs all contained the same mistake. So thank you Jessica, you were right!

Also speaking of Eliza, it seems that her genetics have failed her once again, in an even more upsetting way.

Eliza had eventually fallen asleep for the first time once her Sleepiness levels had increased to the maximum. Unfortunately, another side effect of her mutations seem to be that once asleep, Eliza can never wake up again. Her Sleepiness never decreases, and even if I forcefully bring down sleepiness levels with injections of Wake-up Pill, she refuses to stir.

Fortunately I have an export file of Eliza before she fell asleep, and Eliza-clone is now residing in my second world. Occasional injections keep her awake, though I'd hate to think of what staying awake constantly is doing to her natural instincts. A funny note, however, is that every time she turns around her sprite actually moves a few pixels to the right, and she is slowly making her way into the garden!

I am also now working on the companion COBs I had mentioned previously, to aid in the care of special-needs norns like Eliza in order to make their lives a bit more comfortable. If nothing else, she at least won't need to suffer extreme hunger and boredom constantly.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Muggy Update

Update for Muggy COB

Unfortunately there was a small bug in my Muggy COB that I hadn't caught initially. It was caused by incessant petting of Muggy while he was trapped in small spaces, (such as elevators or the incubator). This issue has been addressed, and hopefully there will be no more problems.

The updated version of Muggy has been uploaded to my site. If you have already downloaded the COB, please re-download and replace "Muggy.cob" with the new version. Then use the Remover to remove any existing Muggies from your world before re-injecting the COB.

I apologize for any inconvenience. If anyone finds any bugs with any of my COBs, please report them to me. Thanks!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Eliza and Stumpy - A Case Study

With a little bit of prompting from Jessica of Discover Albia, I decided to try my hand at analyzing the genes of Eliza and Stumpy mentioned in my previous post. Unfortunately I don't know a whole lot about Creatures genetics, but I found the experience fascinating and hope to continue to learn more.

The first creature I took a look at was Eliza. Eliza does not walk, interact with, or pick up other objects. I wasn't sure what was causing Eliza's paralysis, but a look at her genetics seems to indicate a problem with the Decision and Concept Lobes in her brain. Using D-DNA Analyzer, I found this mutated gene in her Decision Lobe:  

120 Emb B MutDup Lobe #= 6 State Rule: state PLUS type0 MINUS type1 0 <end> <end>, WTA= 1

The "0" in red indicates the mutation in Eiza's Decision Lobe. The healthy gene in Eliza's mother looks like this:

120 Emb B MutDup Lobe #= 6 State Rule: state PLUS type0 MINUS type1 <end> <end> <end>, WTA= 1 

Unfortunately I do not understand fully what this mutation means. However, it seems that this gene relates to how a creature makes decisions. The "type0" and "type1" segments refer to the two types of dendrites that a creature can process. Here is a quote from The Creatures Developer Resource that explains this concept much better:

"The type 0 dendrites link from decision lobe cells to the 128 concept lobe cells indicate that that particular decision is good if those particular concepts are active. This means that if the concepts become active then the norn will be more likely to choose that decision over other decisions.

The type 1 dendrites link from decision lobe cells to the 128 concept lobe cells indicate that that particular decision is bad if those particular concepts are active. This means that if the concepts become active then the norn will be less likely to choose that decision over other decisions."

From what I can gather from my remarkably limited knowledge, this gene affects how Eliza is able to make decisions. The code adds and subtracts the total amount of dendrites from her current state so that she can select the best action to take. However, the extra "0" in the code seems to be affecting her ability to do so. This can be seen in-game by taking a look at the Science Kit:

All of Eliza's decisions are constantly stuck in the exact same location, which I presume interferes with her ability to select any one action over another. Again, I am not certain if my presumptions are accurate or correct by any means, but this is my theory based on what I have seen so far. She also has a mutation in the Concept Lobe which looks like this: 

122 Emb B Mut Lobe #= 8 State Rule: anded0 <end> <end> <end> <end> 0 <end> <end>, WTA= 0

Unfortunately I was unable to find much information on how the Concept Lobe functions, and I'm not sure if the "0" is applied to the calculation or if it is ignored as it is placed after several end statements. However, the "anded0" statements refers to the type 0 dendrites. It is explained from the Creatures Developer Resource as such: "If all type 0 dendrites are firing then this will be the value of the sum of these dendrites. If any of the type 0 dendrites are not firing then this value will be 0."

Because the type 0 dendrites indicate whether a decision is good, the "0" in the code (if it is being calculated) may be affecting the brain's ability to calculate the value of "anded0" and thus Eliza's ability to determine whether any action is good. However, if what I understand from reading Discover Albia is correct, then the state value rule should end once reaching an end statement, ignoring any variables that occur afterwards. If this is the case, then the "0" would be ignored and this mutation wouldn't be affecting Eliza. So in conclusion, I really don't know what this mutation is doing, if anything.

The second creature I'd like to take a look at is the grendel Stumpy.

Stumpy had an interesting mutation that caused him to run in fear whenever he saw another creature. Closer inspection indicates that he has a severe problem with his fight-or-flight genes located in Reactions:

336 Emb B MutDupCut 1*Collapsase + 1*Fear => 1*Anger + 1*<NONE>; half-life = 32.

Collapsase is Stumpy's "flight" chemical. Collapsase converts a creature's anger into fear, which activates the flight response and causes him to run. The chemical for "fight" is called Turnase, which similarly converts fear into anger and stimulates the creature's fight response. The problem here is that Stumpy's Collapsase gene is converting fear into anger, instead of the other way around.

The second problem is that this isn't a mutation with the Collapsase gene, it's actually a mutation with the Turnase gene. Stumpy's gene should look like this:

336 Emb B MutDupCut 1*Turnase + 1*Fear => 1*Anger + 1*<NONE>; half-life = 32.

Because of this, Stumpy does not have the gene that should stimulate his fight response. In addition, Stumpy's second Collapsase gene is actually working correctly, so he may actually be simultaneously converting anger into fear and vice versa. I'm not sure if both Collapsase genes are active, or if one is overriding the other, however. But because grendels, (or at least this breed of grendel) generally feel anger when seeing another creature, that anger creates fear for Stumpy. He is constantly both angry and fearful while in the presence of other creatures, which activates his flight response.

In related news, I have moved Stumpy and Winter into a new, unpopulated world. Almost immediately the two grendels kiss-popped, and I am looking forward to taking a look into the genetics of Stumpy's children.


Monday, 16 April 2012

Flowers, Critters, and Stumpy Love

The Spring semester is finally over, which is giving me enough time to finish working on some COBs. I have a couple new releases on my C1 COB site, which include two new flowers and a new pet for your norns, (or grendels, or ettins) called Muggy.

As mentioned in my previous post, Muggy will attempt to dig up food for your norns that can be difficult to find without installing a lot of vendors into your world. (Not that there's anything wrong with vendors.) What he finds is random, and he won't always succeed either.

I've also added two new flowers, which have been arbitrarily named "Rodirea" and "Bliumea". These little viney-looking things will grow upside down in the cave areas beneath the island and under the lift by the hootch tank. In addition to being somewhat nutritious, the red flowers (Rodirea) are very spicy, and will decrease a creature's coldness. The blue flowers (Bliumea) are rather refreshing, and will decrease hotness.

Muggy will also change colors if he eats these flowers, or the Happy Pink Flowers I've already released. There's really no practical reason for this, honestly, I just thought it would be fun.

For my next project, I am planning to create something to assist in the care of special-needs norns, (or grendels, or ettins). This is inspired by my norn Eliza, who was born with very little mobility. She can move her head, turn around, and speak, but she cannot walk or pick up/interact with items.

Unfortunately she cannot eat, which means regular injections if she is to survive. My idea at the moment is a companion that can provide nourishment and entertainment without the norn having to interact with the object. While Eliza's family members do tend to keep her company, she spends a good deal of her time standing in the same spot she was born and watching fish swim by. I'd like to improve the quality of her norn life.

In other news, Stumpy has found love, despite his horrible disability of being constantly terrified of other grendels.

While he is in constant terror during his interactions with Winter, one of Grendel_Man's Erzan grendels, Stumpy seems to have gotten better at managing his fears. He only runs away in terror sometimes now, and has even hung around long enough to kiss-pop a couple of times. Unfortunately, an overpopulated world at the moment means no baby Stumpys for now. I'm thinking of making a new world for him, so that he can experience the terrifying joys of raising a family.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


Hello everyone! So after reading other people's Creatures blogs, I felt very much inspired to make my own. So here we are. Mostly I will just be writing about various happenings in Creatures that I think are interesting, as well as talking about my own personal Creatures-related projects.

I have recently discovered Grendel_Man's C1 grendel breeds, and I have to say that they are lovely. There are a variety of breeds available, each of which has its own unique trait. I decided to try out the Scortch grendels, a breed that feeds off of heat, and the Erzan grendels, a warm-blooded breed susceptible to "hyperthermia". With the Friendly Grendels COB installed, these little lovelies can breed as well, so I thought I might see how cross-breeding these two types would work out.

So far, the two children born of my Scortch-Erzan hybrids seem to take after their Scortching side. Both children, a male and female born from two different breeding pairs, are in good health without eating and show no signs of hunger increase.

The most interesting offspring I have had was the child of the two Scortch grendels, Ambryn and Krakatoa. (Krakatoa, which I have learned recently from the Discovery Channel, is a volcano in Indonesia.) The baby, named Stumpy, seemed to have a terrible phobia of being near any other grendel. When coming into view of another grendel, Stumpy would become terrified and run away until he could no longer see them. Every time, his fear and anger would rise drastically upon seeing the grendel and not lessen until he was out of view once again.

This picture sums up the experience fairly well:

Poor little guy. I tried to separate him from the group, but his mother followed him relentlessly. He seems to be calming down a bit as he ages, however.

In cobbing news, I have been working on a new COB for C1. It is a little doggy-hyena-looking thing that I have been calling Muggy.

Muggy likes to dig up presents for your norns, (or grendels). Specifically, cheese. I was always disappointed that there were no recurring sources of cheese in the game initially. (Whyyy?) I know that there are cheese vendor COBs, but I wanted something a little more difficult to use that the norns themselves would have to interact with. In addition, Muggy will also dig up other hard-to-find sources of food, such as tomatoes, ugly tomatoes, and herbs.