Saturday, February 15, 2014

Connecting to the Creatures DDE interface from python

We've recently seen how easy it is to connect to the C1 and C2 DDE interfaces using VB.

This time we will show how easy it is to connect to those interfaces using python, which will prove useful in upcoming articles.

Connecting to a DDE server from inside python is can be a quick and easy process.
The hardest part is in acquiring the correct modules to do so, (which can be a real pain if you take it from the wrong side), there are also a couple specifics that make debugging the first DDE connections unreliable.
Fortunately I've sorted those perks out for you,and will show you the single quickest and easy way to connect to the Creatures 1 and 2 DDE interface from python.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Parsing Creatures 2 .S16 files (Extracting/Manipulating any of the game's graphics).

"Back then" few easy image manipulation libraries were available, making the extraction of game image data an intricate process (that most creature fans/developers tackled in an easy but not very user friendly way as we will expose).Nowadays things got easier.

In this post I will explain the creatures 2 .s16 file format, and show you how you can now very easily extract any picture from the game using python.
Not only that but we can also harness the power of modern image manipulation libraries to convert the game sprites to any file format we like contrary to most legacy tools only proposing to export images as BMP's and letting us do the conversion work manually.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Connecting to the Game: accessing the DDE interface with 3 lines of code. (Tutorial)

We've been studying a lot of stuff lately, most of it involving running CAOS commands against C1 and C2 games.
C3 has a convenient built-in CAOS console, and various third party tools also propose that feature for C1 and C2.

But how would you go about implementing this kind of connectivity inside your own programs?
The simplest way to connect to a running C1 or C2 game is through the DDE interface (Dynamic Data Exchange). Also it REALLY is simple even if you barely know anything about programming, so this might be worth checking out.If you never programmed anything and don't have any development tools handy, you could initiate a DDE connection even from inside an Excel macro using VBA.Also the C1 and C2 DDE interfaces being strictly identical, you'll be writing code only once, and be able to use it in both games right now, without any change.

By sending the game some basic CAOS commands and reading their results you can reproduce all of the game functionalities and then some more: reading a Norn's needs and chemicals levels in realtime, selecting Norns and Grendels, carrying them, monitoring their brains,etc...

This time I show you a very quick overview to get you started in pumping CAOS in and out the C1 and C2 games.More advanced use cases or details will come in futher posts.