Saturday, June 6, 2015

Making a C1 and C2 Tricorder (knowing exactly what any cob does at a glance)

Creatures 2 could easily have become my favorite game in the series.
But as has already been pretty well explained, it was way to frustrating on many levels.

One of the major reasons I never really got into the game was the overwhelming quantity of new game items, plants and foods .
No guide existed at the time to explain their effects, and even today the few that exist lack in completeness or precision.And without any reference it was a very frustrating experience not to know what could or could not be eaten.I'll admit it, many of my C2 Norns never ate anything beyond cheese carrots or nuts by fear of the unknown.

Writing such a guide might be an option, but what about the various additional cobs one might not be aware of , or all future additions?
Can we be a little more clever about that?
What if we got a tool that simply told us what a cob does by hovering the mouse over it ?
That would be a creatures Tricorder of sorts, that we will learn to build together in this article.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Finding out what is what in Creatures 1 & 2

One of the most frustrating aspects of trying to understand C1 or C2 cobs might just be the first step you need to take.

Say you are looking at an object, and wonder "What is this object's classifier so I can look up it's scripts ?"
Or the other way round ? What if you find an interesting script and wonder which object it governs?

I've found no easy way so far to answer those questions, and got tired pretty quick of trying to manually look up my targets each time.
Cross referencing the various online lists of classifiers didn't cut it either: many of them are at best incomplete when not downright wrong.And they are limited to the standard game items, with obviously no way to reference every single COB ever made.

Things don't have to be this way.
Read through this very quick article with me, and grab a tool that makes the job as simple as hovering the hand over an object to get the needed information.

Friday, May 22, 2015

A smart(-ish) C1 scriptorium browser.

One of the hard aspects of trying to understand the C1 internals is trying to figure out which scripts exist for a given object.

C2 and C3, both have "Scriptorium browsers" available, that make it easy to visually browse ALL existing scripts for given classifiers.

Surprisingly, C1 seems to lack such a tool, and leaves us with no easy way to be sure we found all scripts governing a given object or behaviour.

Why is that so ? On what mechanisms do those scriptorium browsers operate ? And what can we do about it ?

Follow me for some technical exploration of the mysterious Shees CAOS library, and if you bear with me to the end of the article, a proper, exhaustive C1 scriptorium extractor will be the takeaway :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Parsing the Creatures 1 Graveyard file

One more victim of my file format reversing spree : the "The Graveyard" file containing all entries of C1 cemetery.

Parsing it will allow us to retrieve/edit/add all entries from this game file.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Understanding in game stores (Doctor's page and Aprodisiacs). aka "Health" and "Aphro" files.

There are two "stores" in Creatures 1, at least that's how I call them.

Those are the panels allowing you to inject additional items to the world through the Doctor's page and the aphrodisiacs page from the reproduction kit.

The C1 "Stores"

In this post I will show you reversing of those stores file formats, so we can replenish, parse, and edit them.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Parsing the Creatures 1 "TheRegister" file. (extracting Norn birthdates and owner information).

This will be a real quick article about parsing the Creatures1 "TheRegister" file.
This is like a primitive version of the C2 history files. It's the file that holds all creature information saved when you register a creature's birth.

They contain information about the Norn such as name, parents, date of birth and all owner info.

There's nothing really fancy about reversing and understanding the file format, so let's get this done.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Investigating Creatures 1 Teleporters

Alright, despite having loads of stuff in store, maybe I'll take a break from gory reversing stuff for this post, before I loose all of my readers (yeah, something like "both of them") :)

So why not take this opportunity to study something more generic? what about investigating how C1 teleporters work?

A happy Norn family, ready for exploration of time and space.

It only requires a bit of CAOS reading and your favorite C1 CAOS tool.