Thursday, December 1, 2016

CCSF Blog Carnival 5: Modding talk

Today's prompt is to talk about what sort of things you make for Creatures, how do you make those things, what you want to make in the future, and, if you don't make things, what would you like to make. I do create content, and I usually create things I'd like to see. If they turn out well, and aren't horribly buggy, I eventually release them. I've only been developing for a year, so I pretty much create whatever I can code and find sprites for. So far the things I create are either solely for the hand, or objects creatures and the hand can interact with. Objects that creatures can interact with but the hand can't are a minor pet peeve of mine, so I try and avoid that when I can. On a random tangent, the flowers and grass you've seen in some of the screenshots are a good example of a buggy things I don't feel are worthy of release yet. They work, there's just a problem I haven't bothered to fix yet.

Some agents end up going nowhere for months.
I'm going to read "what do you use to make things" as "how do you make things." Otherwise my answer is short and pretty boring. I use gimp to tweak existing sprites, the caos tool for the coding, and Jagent for everything else. Anyway, how I make things isn't very revolutionary. I start off with a problem I want to fix or an idea for an agent and figure out what I need to do to make it. If I know I can make the sprites myself or have someone making them for me, I then start planning out the code for the agent. I usually start with a description of what it does down to as much detail as I can manage. If there are any parts I know will be tricky, I even write out some pseudocode like "If creature has a Bengal face, target it and make it dance. Else do nothing."

I also prefer breaking the agent into chunks that can be worked on and tested individually, if I can. I've found that quiets the inner procrastinator a bit. Otherwise I tend to get interested in Facebook or literally anything else. From there I work on it, often testing as I go. These tests usually involve me creating buttons to test caos commands I've never used or specific chunks of code. (And, honestly, I've created more buttons then I have actual agents.) After it's done, I usually sit on the agents for months and release them when something like the CCSF or a holiday comes along. So most of my agents sit around as loose .cos and image files until the last minute. Also I use Caos2Pray to make the agent files because writing pray files is the worst.

As for future projects, the biggest one is to finish the Stinger Norns. I've been working on them, on and off (mostly off) for a good year and a half. I finally have a stable base genome for them and it's just a matter of working on the different variations of them. I also have two ideas for genomes after the Stingers are done, a swimming ettin breed and something I've been calling Interactive Norns. The Ettins are the farthest along, and I even started working on a genome for them a few months ago. The Interactive Norns, meanwhile, are still being planned out and I'll probably make a thread about them on one of the forums when I'm ready to start on them. They're meant to be a genome geared towards nurturing players and, if these past days of blog posts have taught me anything, I'm definitely not the most nurturing. So other's input on that is going to be more valuable then my own.

As for agents, I've hit another lull in ideas. The ones I have are either nearly complete, or . One thing I have been working on is a simpler version of the Hoverdoc, and it'll probably be release next year. It's simply a little circle that floats near a norn and tells you it's highest drive and whither or not it's currently sick. I've been documenting how I created it and what sort of problems I've run into. I'd like to turn that into a blog post or two eventually. I'm always interesting in how things were made, and hopefully others are as well. I also have an idea for a potted plant, but I'd like to finish the simpler Hoverdoc and a few other things before starting it. Plus I still need to find suitable sprites for it.


  1. ..That norn named "Frightening Invasion" cracked me up so much XD
    Sounds like you have a lot of neat ideas/projects in progress though. The Interactive Norns catches my interest the most!

  2. Maybe the simpler hoverdoc could use the status bar symbols from C2?

    1. If I didn't already have some modified hoverdoc sprites, I'd use them. I'll have to keep those in mind though, I always forget C2 even has a status bar.