As many know, my biggest project at the moment is updating the sprites and body data files for all of the standard six Creatures 1 Norn breeds. I started this project towards the end of last year, and planned on having the baby males complete for beta testing back in January. I’m a tad embarrassed to say that I’m still working on the baby males after all this time! However, those who know what goes into creating a breed know that there are hundreds of individual bitmaps to manipulate and coordinates to carefully set in the body data files. I could have cut this project into something small by just making changes to a few bitmaps. However, I just had to make this a lot more complex! How so?
- Better Body Part Shapes: Some Norn breeds have oddly shaped body parts, due to accidental clipping or missed pixels. The Ron Norn suffers from this problem the worst, especially when combined with the out-of-order bitmaps in certain positions. Norn breeds will still have their own unique shapes: Body parts have not been templated, except in extreme and rare cases. In other words, I have not simply recolored a single image for each breed: I’m still using every individual breed’s images and manipulating each one to ensure it resembles the correct body part without any strange edges.
- Body Position Fixes: Although only seen in a handful of poses for a couple of breeds, there are some bitmaps with swapped positions. This was what happened with the original C1 Grendel, which appeared to look down when the Grendel was reaching (and trying to look) up. The male Purple Mountain Norn is a breed which will greatly benefit from this element: When looking up high, the head position is not lined up with the neck! Body data (.att) files will also be redone to ensure that all body parts line up correctly.
- Improved Colors: Noticed any oddly colored green or pink parts on a Norn? This was the main reason I wanted to embark on this project! Along the way, I was also rather unimpressed with the color schemes of some of the newer breeds. Expect to see more uniform color schemes for Purple Mountain Norns, Forest Norns, and Ron Norns! They will still be easily recognizable, only with toned down color schemes. Previously, one could find pink, purple, blue, lime green, yellow, and brown all mixed together! Certain other issues are being improved, such as the removal of some pure white or pure black pixels, which would then be transparent. Norn eyes will be vastly improved.
- Standardized Bitmap Sizes: Many who play Creatures 1 know about the floating pixels that sometimes show up in certain breeds, particularly mixed breeds that include Purple Mountain Norn and/or Forest Norn sprites. The issue here lies with the size of the individual bitmaps: Leave too little space, and the image ends up wrapping any pixels near the edge to the opposite side. Not something that will ever break the game, but certainly not something conducive to a cute Norn! In the process, I decided to standardize all bitmap sizes, across all breeds. This is more of a shortcut for myself, especially when it comes time to setting up the body data coordinates. However, this should improve the way that mixed breeds appear, if only slightly.
It’s a tedious process, and one that requires a lot of patience! I’m nearing the end of the bitmap creation process for the baby males. My next step will be to create the sprites, which is just a matter of importing. The body data files will take some more time, as every body part requires its own coordinates to be defined. Expect to see a beta release to test out with C1 baby male Norns next month! I know I’ve said that in the past, yet I really want to get this project moving much more quickly and give something back to the community!