adv.gif (8570 bytes)

testor.gif (2914 bytes)

Main Page

LopEar Adoption

Creatures 1
My Family
Links

Creatures 2
MerNorns
Kai Norns
Scorpio Norns
UniNorns
My Family
Hebe Tribute
Downloads

Creatures 3
Shag-A-Delic
Lilac Bengals
Gecko Norns
Downloads

Tutorials
Norn Art

FAQs
Making Norns
Emailing Me

My Stuff
Projects
My Artwork
The Zodiac
Awards

Community
JRChat
Forum

Links

Other
Web Comics
Home Page


humm.gif (1065 bytes)

 

The New Creatures FAQ, by Lis Morris.
This FAQ actually only answers one question:

**How do I make a new norn in C1 or C2?**


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**
Sprite Editors:
Bobcob

Naming Sprite and Att files (c1):
http://www.jannart.on.ca/caro/carotoc.htm

Building Att files:
http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Vista/7820/index.html

Hex editors:
http://www.blubb.at/sweety/toolz/hexeditor.htm

Genome Injector and spr2s16:
alt.binaries.games.creatures

Creatures Developer's Network


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 site: http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Vista/7820/index.html. 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 att file.


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 following code:
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:

67656E65:
The word 'gene' that marks the beginning of a gene (well, duh)

0202:
Signifies this gene is an appearance gene.

01:
The gene subtype number. This is gene 01 of the appearance gene category.

0000:
Unknown, and not important, in my experience.

01:
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!

80:
Mutation probability.

00:
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.

07:
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|

00:
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.

**Troubleshooting**
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! ^_^


CyberLife is a registered trademark and the CyberLife, Creatures Lab,
Creatures and Creatures 2 logos are trademarks of CyberLife Technology Ltd in
the United Kingdom and other countries. CyberLife, Digital DNA, Creatures,
Albia, and Norn are also trademarks of CyberLife Technology Ltd which may be
registered in other countries.

Any images on this site not
provided by Cyberlife are the intellectual property of J. Vara (Me)and cannot be used
without my written consent.

More will be added as they are completed.