The New Creatures FAQ, by Lis Morris.
This FAQ actually only answers one question:
**How do I make a new norn in C1
This is a HUGE subject area. It brings together a lot of separate developer
skill areas. You need artistic ability to make the sprites, an understanding of genetic
engineering to make the norn, and a logical programmer's mind to make the body data files.
I could make this guide several pages long, and still not cover the whole area. If you
find something not explained in enough details here, I suggest you experiment for yourself
to find out what the sprite files, body data, and genome for a specific norn type look
like, until you feel comfortable with all three areas.
**Useful WWW References**
Naming Sprite and Att files (c1):
Building Att files:
Genome Injector and spr2s16:
There are three stages to making a new norn breed:
1. Designing the sprites
2. Building the body data files (att's)
3. Making the norn.
1. Designing the sprites.
Norns are built up of a number of images, known as sprites. These are stored in
the images folder of the creatures directory. Sprites can be compiled from windows bitmaps
using a number of third party programs... For C1, Creatures Object Editor
www.netins.net/showcase/slink/,CreEd32, i.am/kinnison/ and bobcob www.frimlin.co.nz work
well. There are many others out there, too. For Creatures 2, you can either use the latest
version of bobcob, or convert sprites from C1 using the DOS utility spr2s16.exe from
www.cnd.co.nz. Note that sprites have to have a width that is a multiple of four pixels,
and that sprites in C1 have to conform to the creatures 1 256 colour palette- you can make
a copy of this palette by saving a sprite using bobcob.
Making a norn is a BIG job. You must make all the possible angles of rotation and position
of every limb. In c2, for instance, there are 120 separate poses for the head! The best
way to decide which poses you need to do is to look at a completed sprite set from
cyberlife. There, I've dealt with the longest part of making a new norn in one paragraph!
There are a couple of ways you can speed up the process. You can make a 3d model of your
new breed, that you can manipulate easily in the 3D rendering program (this is how the
Last Shee was made), or alter an existing norn type (this is how the Wood norns and the
mernorns for C2 were made). You can, of course, start from scratch if you so wish. I hope
you have a few millennia spare, though.
Once you've made your sprites, you need to name them. In c1, this is not too easy, since
all the norn slots are already taken: 0: Banana norn, 1:Fox norn, 2:Horse norn, 3:Santa
'96 norn, 4: Purple Mountain, 5: Ron, 6: Forest, 7: Santa '97, 8: Many third party norns,
9: Grorns. The only slots really free for third party norns are slots 8 and 9. If you do
make a norn for these slots, they will overwrite other people's. Basically, it's up to you
to decide which one you'll overwrite.
In C2, the choice is a lot easier, because there are 26 slots for each breed,
and you can use any species slot to make any other species. The CDN will be keeping a
record of which creatures slots have been used already. At this point in time, slots A-K
have been used by cyberlife, with other slots also taken by various other people. These
are the ones I know are taken or already have a third party norn made for them: norn slots
M, S, T, Y, Z, Grendel slots A, L, and Ettin slot Z.
Remember, though, that even if someone else uses a slot after you have used it, you don't
have any right to tell them off for it- they have as much of a right to use any Creatures
slot as you.
Once you've decided which slot to take, you have the name the sprite files you have made
for all the limbs and body parts accordingly. Here's a quick guide:
First character: Body part.
A: Head, B: Body, C: Left Thigh, D: Left Calf, E: Left Foot, F: Right Thigh, G: Right
Calf, H: Right Foot, I: Left Upper Arm, J: Left Forearm and Hand, K:Right Upper Arm,
L:Right Forearm and Hand, M: Basal Tail Part (only in C2), N: Tail tip (only in C2).
Incidentally, left and right here are the norn's left and right, not their left and right
as it appears on the screen.
Second character:Species and sex.
0:Male Norn, 1: Male Grendel, 2:Male Ettin, 3: Male Shee, 4: Female Norn, 5: Female
Grendel, 6: Female Ettin, 7:Female Shee.
Third character: Age.
0:Baby, 1: Child, 2: Adolescent, 3: Youth, 4:Adult, 5: Elderly, 6:Senile.
Note that in most creatures, some of these ages use the sprite file from the age before.
Fourth Character: Creatures slot.
In C1, varies from 0-9, in C2, from A-Z.
So for instance, the sprite file n66h.s16 in C2 would be the ten poses for the
tip of the tail for a senile female ettin of type H.
2. Building the body data files.
All norns need to have the information to join all their body parts together.
This is supplied by the body data files, which are kept in the body data folder of the
creatures directory. They end in the extension .att.
An excellent tutorial on att file formation can be found on Greg Poehlin's
Look under 'tutorials'.
In summary, though, there is one att file for each sprite file. They have the same name
(although, of course, different file extensions. Sprites end in .spr or .s16). If you open
one in notepad, you'll see it's a simple text file with a series of numbers. These signify
the X, Y co-ordinates of the joins between different body parts in the norn, where the top
left hand corner has the value 0,0. Most att files have ten lines. Each line is a
different pose. Across a line, each couple of numbers is the X,Y for a different
attachment point. If you've based your norn on an existing norn type, you may be able to
simply copy and rename the att files for that norn.
The best way to find out the co-ordinates is to open up your norn sprites into Paint Shop
Pro, and hold the mouse pointer over the point where you want the sprite to attach. In the
status bar of the program, it'll show you the co-ordinates you'll need to enter into the
Personally, I think making att files is possibly the most difficult part of making new
norns. It requires a lot of concentration and rigorous organising not to have something go
wrong. Prepare to bang your head against a table when you hatch your new norn, and it
comes out with its legs knotted up! (yes, this happened to me with the Last Shee).
3. Making the new norn.
In C1, this is fairly easy using the genetics kit. Open up the genfile you wish
to alter, and then organise the genes according to type. Look for all the appearance
genes, and edit them so that the number for nor type corresponds to the last number of
your sprite file names. There are more details on how to edit genes in the help file for
the Genetics kit.
If you don't wish to shell out hard earned cash for the genetics kit, there are some third
party genetics editor. My personal favourite is CreEd32, available at kinnison's website
(address above). Open up the program, and click on the 'plugin main menus' menu item.
Choose Gene Manipulator->Gene editor, and select the gen file you wish to alter from
the list. Click in the circle next to 'Appearance Genes'. You'll see four rows of numbers
come up in a white box. Each of these is a gene. Click on the first one, and its code will
appear in the edit box beneath. Alter the last number only to alter the slot used- the
number you put in corresponds exactly with the last character of the sprite name you used.
Remember to put a 0 before the number, for instance, 09 to use slot 9. Repeat for the
other three genes to get your new norn.
In C2, there is currently no genetics kit, although one is promised! Therefore, you have
to use hex editing. To get a hex editor, try searching for 'Hexworks' in yahoo. Once
you've downloaded and installed it, open up your donor gen file in it. You'll see three
columns of numbers. The one in the middle is the important one. Do a search for the
67656E650202. This is the beginning of an appearance gene from a random gen file in my
genetics folder of C2. Here's an entire appearance gene in C2:
67656E6502020100000180000700 (fascinating, huh?)
Breaking down the code:
The word 'gene' that marks the beginning of a gene (well, duh)
Signifies this gene is an appearance gene.
The gene subtype number. This is gene 01 of the appearance gene category.
Unknown, and not important, in my experience.
Signifies the gene is mutable only. You don't want a gene that tells the norn what is
looks like to be deletable, after all!
Which part of the norn is being specified. I think (not entirely sure here, because it's
not something I've looked at closely) that 00=head, 01=body, 02=legs, 03=arms, 04=tail.
The creatures slot used. Translating between the alphabetic nomenclature and hexadecimal
would take me a while to explain, so here's a quick lookup table (displays best in a non
proportional font, such as Courier):
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R |
00| 01| 02| 03| 04| 05| 06| 07| 08| 09| 0A| 0B| 0C| 0D| 0E| 0F| 10| 11|
S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
12| 13| 14| 15| 16| 17| 18| 19|
The species used. This doesn't have to be the same as the actual species of the creature-
you can have a norn using ettin slots, for instance.
00=Norn, 01=Grendel, 02=Ettin, 03=Shee.
After you've altered the genfile to your satisfaction, make a new egg from it,
using the genome injector from www.cnd.co.nz, and hatch your first norn of the new type!
I've always found this a very satisfying moment.
If you release a new norn type, you may get people with a variety of problems, asking you
to fix them. Here are some of the more common ones I've had. One way of cutting down
problems is to include a readme file explaining how to install new norn types, and also
any background on the genome, if you've altered it.
i) I imported your norn, and it looked like a
ron/forest/santa/golden desert norn.
This person hasn't placed the sprite files into the images directory, so the
game has selected the next full sprite slot. Remind them where the sprites and body data
files are supposed to go.
ii) I imported the norn, and the game crashed!
I've had this happen occasionally for no good reason. It can happen due to a
missing sprite or att file, or because of corrupt files. Check the files you distributed
for corruption, and advise the person to try reinstalling the sprites and body data.
iii) I've installed the Life kit for C2, and now my new
norn types look like desert norns!
For some reason, your new norn type will get overwritten sometimes when the
life kit is installed. Tell them to reinstall the sprite set and body data files after
they install the life kit.
iv) This norn I imported doesn't fit together properly!
It's just a heap of jumbled up arms and legs, and it can't walk!
The sprite files are in the correct place, but the body data is missing. Tell
them (again!) where the att files should go.
And there you go... y'all wanted it... here it
is. :) I'd like to thank Lis for allowing me to post this on my page... it's a very
informative FAQ, and it's far more information than I could ever hope to offer in any
private email. Thank you Lis! ^_^
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