Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tevaela: Posthumous Update

Okay, not "posthumous" per se. I haven't deleted Tevaela if that was what you were thinking - it's merely sleeping. Last time I popped in, the norns hadn't moved from that garden and didn't move from it during the entire time. Since I doubt you want to read much about norns who don't wander, I got disinterested and started up something else, which I'll cover in a later post. In the mean time, here's what happened the last time I opened the world:

 Warpish finally displayed a sign of her weirdness by aging to youth much faster than normal. Awash with hormones, she proceeded to annoy the crap out of the other norns (who still have a ways to go before breeding age). Matoko also decided to take up being slappy as a hobby. I'm trying to get her to knock it off, but she's always behind another norn when she starts up and stops before I can get to her. Okay, that has nothing to do with this picture, but I didn't manage to catch her in the act to take a picture.

Yes, this looks like D'Artenegan is being a gentleman and bringing Queenie a flower. In actuality, he grabbed the flower before Queenie showed up. Then Queenie starting beating the heck out of him, apparently trying to tell him to pick up a more manly hobby than gardening in her own special way. D'Artenegan, being the robust norn he is, didn't have much of a reaction. Maybe he was trying to offer Queenie the flower. Okay, I'm rambling. Moving on.

Himiko decided that she needed some solitude, and became the first norn in a while to use the elevator. She didn't go far, unfortunately - after this picture, she went back down and joined the others again.

Just a group shot I decided to take. Queenie, Himiko, Bonita, and D'Artenegan appreciate their moment of silence (though Bonita's a bit crowded), while Warpish continues to be a pest and fail to understand that 1. the others aren't old enough to breed yet, and 2. she's trying to kisspop another girl.

And another group shot to end the post, taken some time after the previous. It seems everyone except D'Artenegan and Queenie decided to pair up, and Warpish finally stops attempting to breed in order to get a bite to eat.

Lot shorter than the previous Tevaela update, huh? Like I said in my previous post, I'm not sure if I'll pick up the world again any time soon. I'm finding other things to be more interesting at the moment (both Creatures-related and not).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I'm Being Followed by a Moon Shadow....

Today, the 22nd of July, is my birthday. I've finally hit 20, which means I can join the old people's club and wave my cane at young 'ems yelling "GIT OFFA MAH LAWN!" However, that is of minimal importance to this blog, or to the community in general.

I first started playing Creatures a long time ago - I forget just how long, but it was before I had access to the internet, and most likely 10 years ago. I'm amazed I've managed to stick with the series this long, but I don't regret a thing.

So I've decided to celebrate, but that doesn't mean I should be the only one having fun. I bet a release would definitely lift some spirits up, and I've got just the thing: a breed that's most definitely my finest work in genetics up until this point.

 Those of you who frequent CCaves might have noticed that I was working on something and that something would get released Sunday. The Moonshadow Grendels V2 - an updated version of a breed I made way back on Gameware - were that something.
These grendels hunt norns, but are dirty cowards who run away when slapped and are more frail than the standard norn. What makes them so dangerous, then? They have an agent that comes with them, and this agent allows them to become invisible - enabling them to attack norns with impunity.
A lot of work went into them (it actually took me days to finish them - only the Flesheaters are taking longer), but it was worth it. I was finally able to put all the things I learned about genetics to work.

Don't have the Banshee Pack? Don't despair - the Moonshadow Grendels V2 come in normal Grendel form, too. If you have C3, you're good to go.

The Moonshadow Grendels were also the reason for the lack of Tevaela updates - they distracted me and at the moment I'm rather disinterested in continuing it (though I did play it a little - nothing much of interest happened, unfortunately). I'll get back to it at some point.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tevaela: Getting Comfortable

First off, this post is a major image dump, and I apologize for that.

Bonita was the first of the females to meet D'Artenegan, riding the lift right on up to meet him. It was a relatively peaceful exchange.

Queenie, in pursuit of the red-and-white bouncing ball, left the rest of the group and headed over the swamp. She would prove to be among the most adventurous of the first generation.

D'Artenegan, after his meeting with Bonita, decided to take a cue from her and headed up further into the treetops. Here he takes a nap, storing energy for the endeavors to come. 

Himiko and Artura got along well enough. In case you're wondering, I do have Vampess's altered Creature Breeding script installed, so these two have a way other than slapping to interact with each other directly. I do find it odd that two norns of the same gender still kiss, but whatever.

Bonita sets out on what would prove to be the biggest wandering of the early stages. In this tunnel, she rests and feeds on all the munchrooms that decided to grow in it. Those munchrooms are really, really adaptable. 

Back at the garden, Matoko reaches childhood (and changes color in the process) and Warpish continues to bumble around without eating much. I'm not sure what Matoko got herself into here - I thought her pain might have been genetically induced, but she recovered nicely later on. 

Queenie finds the amber stump, eats the amber it was dispensing, and proceeds to play with it. The egg layer next to her is non-functional, but it might not stay that way for the entire run....

Matoko and Warpish continue to stick together, perhaps seeing a kinship in their status as high-generation creatures. Warpish also learns that edibles are good for staving off hunger at last.

Bonita finds the lowest of the biodomes, where she proceeds to sample all the nutritious goodies that are laying around. If you look closely, you'll see the C1 Deathcap tucked in behind those pairs... I decided to inject the C1toDS Badplants to make up for the lack of the C2 deathcaps. Bonita was smart enough to leave the deathcap alone.

Warpish hits childhood at the norn-typical time of 9 minutes. Blame the import cloning for the lack of a birthdate. 

D'Artenegan also hits childhood at the highest level of the treehouse. I expected him to ledgejump at some point, but he proved me quite wrong. 

Queenie is among the last of the babies to hit childhood, and changes color to a bright yellow. She still doesn't see a reason to return to the gardens.

D'Artenegan decides that he would like some companionship and climbs back down from his treetop penthouse. Meanwhile, Bonita tries to figure out how the elevators work (she kept bouncing up and down thanks to how the lifts are coded). 

Bonita finally gets the lift to go back down to the ground level, as well as finally getting D'Artenegan to feel dirt underneath his feet. 

He takes a liking to Himiko, and is perfectly happy to simultaneously proclaim his happiness with her. 

Wayward clouds float into the valley where the norns call home. I'd call them fog, but last time I check fog doesn't snow. I really hope this little bug gets fixed in C2toDS's future releases....

Four out of five females in this picture get spooked by some unknown force. C2toDS is a rather scary place, apparently. Either way, they soon calmed down. 

Whatever it was also spooked D'Artenegan, who at this time decided that he liked it better flying solo. 

Also like the girls, he calmed down quickly and decided to pick one of the newcomer bleubells (they normally grow on the left side of the valley - I guess some seeds managed to get down to the bottom). He dropped it after a while, with the plant being no worse for wear. 

The population draws closer together as a cloud slowly descends to the ground around them. D'Artenegan and Queenie continue to be aloof, but at least D'Artenegan likes being around other norns once in a while.

 At this time, my playing was interrupted by this autokill error. Errors of this sort are among the easiest errors to prevent, but whatever. It wasn't game breaking, so I killed the offending agent and moved on.

As it turned out, a lightning bolt coming out from the blue was the thing responsible for scaring the norns - I traced it back to this thundercloud. Moe, I know you're trying to pass off the weirdly-positioned clouds as fog, but thunderstorms do not form in valleys!

Regardless of how plausible the thunderhead was, it at least got everyone close enough for this little group shot. Queenie finally decides to join the rest of the group, and doesn't find it particularly intimidating. D'Artenegan, apparently, would prefer going back to living alone. 

Sometime later, Artura becomes the first of the norns to hit adolescence. Warpish has finally stopped bumbling around and started acting more like a normal norn would, while D'Artenegan takes a few notes from Queenie and finds solace in the swamp area. 

Bonita and Matoko are the next norns to advance a lifestage. Matoko has also gotten a little brighter and now has the same coloration as Queenie. 

Speaking of Queenie, she rather likes the swamp area and hardly minds that D'Artenegan has chosen to wander it with her. While the pear plant growing on the bridge looks somewhat unfeasible, it also looks quite natural there at the same time. 

Himiko hits adolescence, and is currently taking her newfound maturity for a test drive. 

Warpish continues to age normally. Despite her odd ancestry and high generation, she doesn't seem to be all that strange. Matoko continues to stick by her side. 

 D'Artenegan's slow aging isn't that slow - he hits adolescence soon after Warpish. There's about a minute or so difference between the times he changes lifestages and a normal norn changes lifestages, in case you're wondering.

The first proper update of Tevaela ends with another group shot, including Queenie and her beautiful adolescent coloring. They are getting a bit crowded, but given all the food that's lying around it's a fair trade-off. 

For the rest of you who have worlds like this, what do you normally find worth taking pictures of? I'd like some feedback on how to cut down on my picture count so later posts don't have this many images (there's 30 here, in case you wanted to know - probably the highest amount of images I've ever stuffed into one post).

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tevaela: The First Generation

Well, I've gotten my norns together. It's time to introduce the initial generation of Tevaela. These little ones have quite the world to explore.

 First up is the future Lord of Tevaela, D'Artenegan (the character who he's named after actually spelled it "d'Artagnan," but I think my spelling looks a little nicer). He is pure CFE Siamese despite his limbs (Siamese + Draconian appeals to me for some reason), but he has been genetically edited to have a much stronger response to the antigens, resistance to slapping, a tendency to eat critters, and a slightly increased lifespan. He's also color edited, but at the moment it doesn't stand out too much - it will get more obvious once he gets older.

The first half of six girls are simply ordinary CFE norns from Muco. Not much to say about their genetics, but a few CFEs are good for keeping the general intelligence level up. I chose a Bengal, ChiChi, and Zebra because I tend to like the more natural-looking breeds over the more fancy-looking ones (Astro, Harlequin, etc.). I also didn't go with any of the official breeds with edited genetics as I didn't feel any of them really meshed well.

The other three girls come from TCR. Queenie was chosen because she had pretty colors, Matoko had a pretty color and pretty wings, and Warpish was chosen for her interesting genetics. Since the other three girls are pretty ordinary looking and D'Artenegan is only mildly colored, I thought some TCR stock might liven up the population a bit.

Here's everyone at a glance, in the positions I left them in after exiting the world. I'll begin the chronicle proper tomorrow, but from what I've seen so far someone's getting slappy (I think it's Bonita, but I'm not too sure), and Warpish seems to be averse to eating (when her follow TCR creatures dug right in). We'll see how this turns out.

Semi-Scenario World: Tevaela

Thanks to everyone (all 3 of you) who replied to my previous post. After reading them and mulling it over, I decided to do something that's not normal for this blog, but is a fairly common occurrence elsewhere: make a world and detail what goes in it.

I decided to call the world Tevaela, after the name I gave to a fictional otherworld in a story I was working on writing (and might finish someday). I think it's fitting, given that this world is based around the C2toDS metaroom:
I'm so original, aren't I? It's not like two other blogs already have a world based around this metaroom. Actually, I've been wanting to run a C2toDS-based world for a while. It's a big room with lots of varied environments (being a full game itself once does that). The problem I had with it previously? It's a big room with lots of empty space that was difficult to customize. However, a few recent releases have made it much easier to get this room into a state where I'm happy with the setup, not the least of which would be the Magic Words Room Edits (which made making the world navigable a lot less tedious). 
A little offtopic, but that screenshot also shows just how big the screen on my new computer is.

For the sake of brevity, I'm not posting a bunch of pictures detailing every single little thing I did to the metaroom. Instead, I'll list what the main changes were:
  • Added a bunch of extra food sources not native to the metaroom, either by going to the Agent Injector and dropping them in normally, or through the CAOs Tool. 
  • Ripped the sprites for JayD's Ocean Bridges from the original C2 and plopped them over the oceans, as well as removing the rowboat and inflatable raft.
  • Added CA links, as well as modifying the lifts so that they had a pull script (they only have a push script by default. Although said push script will make the lift go up or down based on the creature's up/down drive, creatures aren't rigged to push lift when they want to go down, and I can't be arsed to teach them otherwise). 
  • Removed the Death Cap mushrooms. It's not so much that I don't like the threat they pose, but because their seeds are classified as such, but are inedible. I don't need a bunch of creatures trying to eat them and getting confused. 
I also pimped out the oceans a bit:

Since I'm not planning on putting creatures in the seas (at least, not immediately), you won't be seeing much of either ocean. So I decided to put pictures of them up now, so you can at least see what's down there (and also to show off the bridges, since they didn't get into the previous picture).

So, why did I label this world as a "Semi-Scenario" world? Simply put, the term means I'm not going to just hatch a bunch of creatures and turn them loose. What I'm planning on doing here is something similar to the (C3/DS) worlds at Discover Albia and Confessions of a Shee (moreso the latter than the former). I'm planning on having a bunch of females running around, but only one male. When that male dies, one of his sons will take over as the resident Lord, and so on and so forth. Beyond this, Tevaela is otherwise a normal DS world.

For the time being, I've decided to stick to norns, though being me I'll definitely drop grendels into the world at some point. I do want this to be a mixed species world, but I haven't decided if I want the grendels to be malevolent or peaceful towards the norns.

There you have it: The initial introduction to Tevaela. I'll soon introduce the initial population, either tomorrow or possibly later tonight. It depends on when I finally decide on what breeds to use.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This Silence is Boring.

By now, I can happily say that I'm not going to be on hiatus any time soon. I've finally gotten the state of the Creatures install on my new computer close to where it originally was on my old one. I just need to install the map editor and find some way to get the GIMP Plugins and MNG Tools working and I'll be golden as far as development goes.

Only problem: where the heck is the rest of the community?

None of the main blogs have gotten new posts in months, CCaves is dead silent apart from a few newbies and will probably remain so until the revamp goes online, and it doesn't seem CTopia is any closer to getting out of the rut it's been in for the last year or so. One would think summer would be the peak of activity in a community like this, and yet it's the opposite. Either this summer is particularly busy for some reason (I know there's some people who are moving), or everyone's enjoying the break while it lasts. I envy that latter group - not having a social life outside the internet hurts sometimes.

I've heard that the best way to encourage activity is to be active, so I might as well make this blog interesting for the CC members who are just as bored as I am. So, I've decided to take some suggestions.

Is there anything you would like to see happen here? Interested in seeing a wolfling/feral run get documented? A few tidbits about projects such as the Flesheaters? CAOS/Genetics tutorials? Or heck, even a genetic breed/agent (that doesn't require new sprites) you'd like to see made? I'm open to all sorts of ideas.

In case you're wondering about some projects, I'm holding off on doing anything about the Sea Garden until I get the GIMP problem fixed, since trying to use the Sprite Builder for this sort of thing is both tedious and tends to create rainbow spew, and I'm not too convinced about Edos being a worthy substitute. No, it's not cancelled. On the other hand, I've finally come up with some sort of direction for the Sea Monsters V2 beyond "generic amphibious grendel breed" (they absorbed some features of the Merrow Grendels, which I briefly mentioned in a past post). Stay tuned - I'll probably talk more about the sea monsters in future posts.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

On Official Breeds and Messed-Up Body Data

While going to make female body data for the treehuggers, I noticed something that might be of interest to those of you who ever had messed-up body data for things like the C1toDS grendels or the Neko Ettins.

As it turns out, the official breeds (well, the norn breeds - I'm pretty sure the banshee grendels don't do this) not only install body data for the corresponding norn slot, but for the corresponding grendel and ettin slots (e.g. the treehugger norn agent installs body data for Norn H, Grendel H, and Ettin H). The extra BD isn't tailored for the grendels and ettins, either - it's a carbon copy of the BD the norns use.

The result? Any grendel or ettin who shares a slot letter with an official breed and lacks body data for any of the usual life stages (baby, adolescent, adult) will start using the body data the official breed installed when they hit that lifestage. Usually, that winds up making them look like this.

That junk BD is also part of the reason why automatic install from an egg agent isn't quite as reliable as installing a breed manually. When an automatic installer agent injects for the first time, it reads filenames, and if any of the files are missing it installs them to the correct folders. However, it only looks at filenames, and you can't tell the difference between two files by name and type alone if they share a name and type. So if the agent comes across one of the junk BD files installed by an official breed, it assumes that the file in question belongs to the breed it's trying to install and skips over it. Again, this results in grendels and ettins using BD meant for norns and looking very odd as a result.

Fixing it is relatively simple: Delete the body data for the breed slot in question, then reinstall the breed. With grendels and ettins that have typical proportions and lifestages, this means you can use the official agent again without repercussions as that agent will assume that the body data for the grendel or ettin breed is the same as the body data it's trying to install and skip over it.

However, for grendels and ettins that only have BD for one lifestage (the C1toDS grendels, for example), then you'll have to repeat this process every time you use the official norn breed agent whose slot has the same letter as the grendel's or ettin's. As such, it's a good idea to make copies of the one lifestage with original BD and rename them so they occupy the adolescent and adult lifestages as well, preventing the official breed agent from reinstalling the junk BD.

The official breeds only install BD for the male, as the female usually uses the same body data (although this practice causes issues on its own accord - try hatching a female treehugger in C3 standalone after installing the Gecko Norns, and you'll see what I mean). For this reason, it's more likely that you'll see messed up males than females, as it's the male slot that gets filled with garbage and not the female.

Why CL made it this way is beyond me. My best guess is that it's a failsafe should the original norn BD get deleted and the norns have to rely on grendel/ettin body data, but if that happens simply hatching another egg should fix it. As it is, the "extra precaution" wound up causing nothing but inconviences.

Hopefully, this little tidbit of info should help those of you who can't get their C1 grendels, Micro Grendels, and other grendel and ettin breeds to look right after installing them!