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Pearlescent Grendels   
I_am_THEdragon

I_am_THEdragon
Australia  


  1/26/2021  8

When I recently got back into Creatures, I found myself growing rather unpleasant towards grendels, who seemed insistent on turbo-slapping my baby norns into the afterlife. But then I realised, I don't need to hate grendels, I need to understand them, and their inability to be co-habitated with norns, ettins, literally anything else, and sometimes each other.
And so, I downloaded a few unofficial grendel breeds, set down a male and female of each breed into my world, and watched everything fall apart in real time. Naturally, a bunch of them didn't make the cut of 'staying alive', but the ones that did bred with each other and made mostly really weird looking lumpy multicoloured Frankenstein's grendels.
However, a diamond emerged from the rough. Or rather, a pearl.

These funky reptiles are what I assume to be a mix of Dustdevil grendels, Lavender grendels, and Darwin grendels. Some pigment bleed genes have resulted in a small population of grendels with a very pretty, almost pearl-like appearance. They stole my heart, and I set on breeding them to improve them further.
Then something went wrong with the save file and now whenever I try to open it I get a memory error and half of the metarooms disappear. Oh well.

But that brings me to my current project. Rather than breeding together other people’s hard work in a manner that would get me in trouble with animal welfare groups if I did it in real life, I’ve started working on the definitely over-ambitious project of creating a breed from scratch. Inspired by my shiny little grendels now stuck in digital purgatory, and the amazing work of Ghosthande for her Dustdevil grendels, I’m striving to make a breed of grendel that is pastel, iridescent, and overall quite aesthetically pleasing.
Right now I’ve modelled most of its bits (Missing the hair and some shape keys for the mouth and ears) and I plan on pre-rendering them into sprites. I have a fairly decent grasp on how the sprite making process goes, though I am not yet entirely sure of it.

The materials are entirely procedural by the way, relying on vertex paint weights for the faded parts of the coat. I’ve also tested to make sure it’ll look decent when scaled down, but I don’t know if Creatures 3’s colour palette (Ha ha old software) will affect it.

While I am somewhat confident that I could go about learning the genetic and technical aspects of creating the breed on my own, I would be glad to take any help or advice from the community. Right now I’m not even sure exactly what sort of genetic attributes this breed should have. I’d like the pearlescent grendels to be somewhat docile, if that’s not already an overdone concept, and susceptible to pigment bleed mutations if that is possible to do. Maybe they’d be harder to breed, and have a longer or shorter lifespan than jungle grendels?
We’ll see.
http://imagehost.eu/Kqyf.png
This was the original sketch, for what it’s worth.

 
Shooshadragon13

Shooshadragon13



  1/26/2021  1

He's looking really good! Grendels need more love. As for sprite-making, I don't know much, but you'll need Spritebuilder, a software developed by Creature Labs specifically for its games. And you seem to have the models themselves down, but you'll need to make variations for gender and age, and if you don't feel like doing the latter, just scale the adult sprites down. I know that you haven't put everything on him, but I feel like some more pattern on his back and tail could be nice, but that's just me. https://creatures.wiki/Sprite This could help you out. I wish you luck (and motivation!)

I need to draw more norns!
 
I_am_THEdragon

I_am_THEdragon
Australia  


  1/26/2021  2

Thanks Shooshadragon! I already have Spritemaker installed, and it's been handy for opening up jungle grendel sprites for reference. As for gender and age variations, I do plan on having some slight differences between the male and female grendels (Different sized horns and spikes maybe), and I think it may be a nice idea for the babies to be born almost white and gain their colour as they age.

Might give them some subtle stripes for a pattern :)

 
Merboy

Merboy
United States  


  1/26/2021

Gorgeous!

I'm not sure if this will help but here is my Ainarda page on my site with links at the bottom to Creature-making resources:

Ainarda/Resources


The Lantern Light.com
 
Layla

Layla
United States  
Moderator



  1/26/2021

It looks beautiful! I've made a couple of breeds in the past, so if you need a hand with anything, give me a shout!

I serve none but to rock.
 
Dragoler
Wrong Banshee

Dragoler
United Kingdom  


  1/26/2021

What a lovely idea for a Grendel breed! If you need help on the genetics front, I can provide a TCB genome or assist you in creating a genome for them yourself.

Creator of the TWB/TCB genome base.

 
cyborg

cyborg



  1/26/2021  1

Fun facts about lizards that might help as inspiration.

The normally dull male Sinai agama lizard becomes a brilliant blue during breeding season.
The plants species Guthriea capensis and Trochetia blackburniana are both pollinated by lizards.
Some lizards can reproduce asexually. Iguanas are herbivores.
Blue-tongued shinks as their namesake have a dazzling blue tongue which we humans think they use to intimate predators.
A lot of lizards have a third eye.

 
I_am_THEdragon

I_am_THEdragon
Australia  


  1/27/2021  6

Thank you all very much for the encouragement and support!
Over the past couple of days, I’ve dug a little deeper into the mechanics of sprite making, body data, and agent compiling, and although I haven’t tried it out yet I think I have a fair grasp on how it works. Right now I feel the thing I may need some help with is the genome. I’m still rather undecided on what exact attributes I want for this breed, and I am very open to suggestions! I am also still unsure of whether to use a Grendel genome as a base or perhaps a norn genome instead. Really it depends on what attributes I decide on.
As for the model, I’ve added a few new features, such as hair and stripes. I’ve kept the stripes subtle, as the main attraction of the creature is its striking iridescence, and I wouldn’t want markings to detract from that. The hair I’m still a bit mixed on, and I might change it later before I start rendering, but I have decided that I would like both the male and female variants of this breed to have ‘relaxed’ hair as I am not particularly fond of the ‘mohawk’ look. The gender dimorphism I think will appear in the form of differently sized horns and spikes.

cyborg wrote:
Fun facts about lizards that might help as inspiration.

The normally dull male Sinai agama lizard becomes a brilliant blue during breeding season.
The plants species Guthriea capensis and Trochetia blackburniana are both pollinated by lizards.
Some lizards can reproduce asexually. Iguanas are herbivores.
Blue-tongued shinks as their namesake have a dazzling blue tongue which we humans think they use to intimate predators.
A lot of lizards have a third eye.


These are some very cool fun facts! The vivid blue sinai agama lizard got me wondering if iridescent reptiles exist in real life, and apparently they do! Mostly in the form of snakes. I’m glad you brought up the blue tongue lizard; I think I might actually use that idea! It would be a nice touch to give my grendels a feature of a lizard native to my country. And I never knew about the parietal eye! That is so bizarre and amazing!

 
C-Rex
Lollipop Lord

C-Rex
United Kingdom  

 visit C-Rex's website: The Norn Nebula
  1/28/2021

Wow, those are gorgeous! What 3D software did you use?
 
I_am_THEdragon

I_am_THEdragon
Australia  


  1/28/2021

Thank you! I use Blender 2.79 :)

I've started rendering sprites, and currently I've rendered all the adult male head sprites. I think from here the rest of the head sprites should be easy to do as all I'll need to do is alter some details (Mainly the horns and material colour, and rendering smaller sprites for the younger variants). Actually animating the sequence of angles and expressions has been done and shouldn't need to be redone. So the hardest part of rendering the sprites should be over, as the rest of the sprite parts only need to be rendered at different angles, with no expression variants. That said, making the different expressions was more fun than difficult.

As for the genome, I'm still undecided on genetic attributes, and still open for ideas and suggestions! I'm having trouble with the genetics kit though, as I can't seem to install it. It just gets stuck and never finishes extracting. I've tried making it a zip file and extracting it manually but then the setup file fails to launch.

 
Layla

Layla
United States  
Moderator



  1/28/2021

If you want help with a grendel genome, I'd talk to Dragoler!

I serve none but to rock.
 
cyborg

cyborg



  1/28/2021

I_am_THEdragon wrote:
I'm having trouble with the genetics kit though, as I can't seem to install it. It just gets stuck and never finishes extracting. I've tried making it a zip file and extracting it manually but then the setup file fails to launch.



If you're using Creatures Exodus from GOG, you need to apply the Creatures Remastered Patch.

 
I_am_THEdragon

I_am_THEdragon
Australia  


  1/31/2021  2

I have tried the patch, running in compatibility mode, running as admin, but no luck unfortunately. It's a real shame, as would have loved to experiment with the genetics kit myself, but fortunately there are people on the forum willing to help with the genetic aspect of this project :)

As for the sprite work, it's getting there! I've rendered everything except the tail sprites, and I'm working on getting all the rendered sprites compiled into spritesheets for spritebuilder. It's a tedious process, but not impossible.

 
bedalton

bedalton



  2/1/2021  1

Man that is one good looking grendel. I cannot wait to see it in game.

I do not know if there is a better way to edit ATT files, but while working on my own grendel, I needed to edit some, so I built an editor into my IntelliJ plugin. Unfortunately you need a full blown IDE to use it. IntelliJ community is free, and it should work in most JetBrains IDE's. It seems to be downloaded most into Android Studio though.

Anyways, it requires having an SPR/C16/S16 file in the same project as its corresponding ATT file. When you do, it will open the ATT file with a graphical editor.

Here is a picture of the editor I use on the plugins GitHub page.
Screenshot of an ATT editor with arrows and text describing the layout of the editor controls

 
I_am_THEdragon

I_am_THEdragon
Australia  


  2/2/2021

That ATT editor looks great! For this project I haven't needed to modify any body data (They use the same as Jungle grendels) but I will keep that editor in mind for future projects!

So, a this point I've got all my creature body sprites working just find and dandy (Had to polish up some errors along the way) but for some reason my glyph files refuse to work! I have a male and female glyph, each just a 60x60 c16 file with no noticeable flaws to them, but when I try to apply them to my egg agent it just breaks the agent! Anyone have any idea what could cause this?

I've been working on the genetics and having little trouble with it, but I am regretting using Jungle grendels as a base because I was just reminded the hard way that female grendels go straight to the retirement home after laying an egg and into the cemetery soon after. Whoops. If I can't figure out how to fix that manually I might just start over with a different base gene, as I hadn't made too many changes anyway.

Here are the attributes I am giving the breed:
-Gains anger less than jungle grendels
-Loses anger when it eats (Because that's relatable)
-Lacks the instinct to hit norns and ettins
-Breeds a little less than jungle grendels
-Doesn't hit the retirement home right after laying an egg
-Maybe doesn't consider the jungle its home?

The ones I hatched made a near-immediate dash from the Norn Meso to the jungle. No idea how they even knew how to get there, but they did. I figure that since these grendels are less 'grungy' than jungle grendels they may prefer nicer environments. I dunno.

 
Dragoler
Wrong Banshee

Dragoler
United Kingdom  


  2/3/2021

It sounds like you're using the vanilla Jungle Grendel genome as a base. The trait of pregnancy causing females to rapidly age has been removed from most genome bases that came after, along with a number of fixes and improvements. I recommend you look into the changes made by CFE, CFF, 2017 and TWB/TCB before you start building a genome.

Creator of the TWB/TCB genome base.

 
I_am_THEdragon

I_am_THEdragon
Australia  


  2/4/2021  1

Yeah, I had actually forgotten that the 'aging after laying an egg' defect in the vanilla Jungle Grendel genome existed because I'd never experienced it myself until then. I was very confused as to what had happened until I remembered. Thank you very much for the suggestions, Dragoler!

Now I've restarted using the 2017 genome as a base, and making a few small alterations here and there. I might need a little help understanding what everything does, but I have a semi-decent grasp on the basics. Right now I've essentially got a functional custom breed, except for the egg glyphs not working.


Anyone have any idea what might be wrong with my glyphs? They are both seemingly normal 60X60 c16 files, but when applied to the egg agent the egg layer will pause briefly and then skip over them, failing to display the glyphs and essentially rendering the agent useless. Not having any glyphs applied will throw up an error whenever I select the breed, but it still allows me to lay the eggs at least.

 
Shooshadragon13

Shooshadragon13



  2/4/2021

Oh my gosh, these look so GOOD. I wish I had the time to develop my breed, but alas, school comes first. As for the glyphs, I'm not exactly sure what to do there, but did you name it right?

I need to draw more norns!
 
I_am_THEdragon

I_am_THEdragon
Australia  


  2/4/2021  2

Thank you! And good news- I've figured out what the issue with the glyphs was. According to this thread I needed to change the egg animation string from 104 to 0. Huh.

Now all that's really left is to tinker with the genome until I think it's done. Most recently I've made them less inclined to feel crowded, and now they all huddle together in massive groups. Some will even feel a bit lonely while doing so, somehow. I'll probably change that!

 
I_am_THEdragon

I_am_THEdragon
Australia  


  2/9/2021

Howdy! Sorry to double post; I hope this warrants it! So as much as I'd love to release this breed as soon as possible, I've run into a bit of an issue that I have explained in this thread.

To summarise, whenever I edit the testosterone and oestrogen emitters and receptors in any way, the creature will fail to produce the hormone at all and be unable to breed naturally. Editing the receptors and emitters back to their original values does not reverse the issue, and I essentially have to start over.

I could compromise by simply not having any altered breeding behaviours for these grendels, but I feel that they'd be lacking in unique genetic attributes if that were so. Aside from being docile and social, they don't have anything unique going for them aside from the sprites.

I'm not sure if the issue lies with the gene editor I'm using (I'm using the Genetics Lab from Creatures Unlimited, because I could never get the Genetics Kit to install) or the base genome (Jungle Grendel 2017 fix) or if I am perhaps missing something, but if someone could offer suggestions either here or in my help thread I'd appreciate it a lot!

In the meantime, this is Longin - A Pearlescent Grendel with an earlier version of the genome that could breed functionally. I bred the pearlescents with a few other breeds until I got this nice pigment bleed. You know, for science.

 


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Shooshadragon13
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