An abridged log of the live Q&A chat session with Fishing Cactus.
Please note: This log has had all of the chitchat and banter edited out, and includes only questions asked by Jessica ("DiscoverAlbia" -- the discussion moderator at the time), which come from the question list and also private messages that she received in chat. All pertinent responses from Sam and Andrea (C4 developers) are included. The questions were not asked in order. The unabridged log can be found here.
DiscoverAlbia: 1.1 Will the Creatures mate on their own without any player intervention? (Seonta)C4DEV_Sam: Totally, as in the previous game, norns can and will totally mate without player interaction!
DiscoverAlbia: 1.3 Will natural eggs be able to hatch without intervention, and quickly so as to sustain the population? (Not like, 30 minutes later?) Is it necessary for the player to click on every egg to hatch them? Or could they hatch on their own after an amount of time? (SpaceShipRat and dk1987)C4DEV_Sam: MK-Grendel, in the current players have to manually hatch egg, but we definitely love that feature in C3
C4DEV_Sam: eventually, pirate-rob, self hatching eggs.
DiscoverAlbia: 1.4 How long does the natural hatching of eggs take? How long does pregnancy last? How long will it take for a Norn to recover from a pregnancy? (dk1987) 1.5 At what age are Norns able to breed? (dk1987)C4DEV_Sam: 1.4 Currently hatching and pregnancy last around 2/3 minutes each, but we are still tweaking it
C4DEV_Sam: such timeframe will be locked during the testing phases so you'll have still time to contribute your thoughts and feedback on this!
C4DEV_andrea: (also, we are taking notes about everything is being said here of course)
DiscoverAlbia: 1.6 Will Norns form monogamous attachments, kissop like crazy as per the previous games or a bit of both depending on the Norn? (Hellfrozeover)C4DEV_andrea: 1.6 at the moment they kiss like crazy :-)
DiscoverAlbia: 9.1 How long do the Norns live? (Seonta and dk1987)C4DEV_Sam: 9.1 The current lifespan of a Norn is 3/4 hours, but again, as for the pregnancy we will lock it during testing, and you'll have occasion to give us more feedback in opening testing phase!
C4DEV_Sam: We take good note of it guys! Again, you'll get your say in it when testing the game Exactly SSR
C4DEV_Sam: MK Grendel it is also a good alternative! Different breed, different lifespan
DiscoverAlbia: [PM] How procedural are the C4 Norns' colorations, patterns, etc. - are they being "hung off" of pre-created assets/patterns/shapes or generated entirely based on genetics? Do we know all the 'types' of coloration patterns, or will we see things no one has ever seen before? (Marvolo323)C4DEV_andrea: DiscoverAlbia, About the patterns and colors, they are procedural in many ways. Each Norn is made of several pattern layers. We are planning to write a blog post detailing all this very soon.
NornsOfOurAlbia: As a geneticist I'm really interested in how the genetics of this game differ to previous games. It seems you've really ramped up some aspects of the Norns' dDNA and inherited traits this game.C4DEV_andrea: <NornsOfOurAlbia>, the visual side of each Norn is really more complex than in C3, we're really happy with it
DiscoverAlbia: 9.2 When will we see a clear picture of the Aqua Norn and mysterious fourth species? So far we have seen the Cave and the Common Norns. (Seonta)C4DEV_Sam: 9.2 When will we see the aqua Norn clearly? We are not entirely happy with the squishy skin yet, we are working on it, so we can show in in its environment, all shiny and beautiful!
CNDN_smoker: how long are alpha testing and feature locking expected to take before open beta?C4-Fishing-Scal: CNDN-smoker: the nature of an alpha-testing is such that we can't say that for sure. When our boss/producers and publisher say: "happy enough. You can show it to beta testers now." Can be two weeks. Can be six. Maybe even eight...
DiscoverAlbia: 9.3 Will the Norns get tails? Maybe simple fluffy ones? And horns for the male ones? (Genesis, lightyagami777, and Norngirl)C4DEV_Sam: 9.3 Tails, Tails, Tails, Horns? Well at the time being no base race has it! Doesn't mean it wouldn't come inan upcoming updates?
DiscoverAlbia: 9.4 Will baby Norns crawl? (Malkin)C4DEV_andrea: We are experimenting with crawling. The problem with it is that it requires all new transition animations to "normal" actions
DiscoverAlbia: [PM] Do Norns get fat and gain/lose weight and/or muscle mass? (Hellfrozeover)C4DEV_andrea: About the weight. Norn shape is only affected by their breed or from which breed genes they have
9.5 We've already seen that the Norns vary a lot in colours, patterns etc. But will there also be other things that make breeds different from each other? Like a breed that has floppy ears, some have horns, different tails and such? (HolyTomato)C4DEV_andrea: 9.5 Norn body varies too depending on their shape. Also, gender affects their look
C4DEV_andrea: Different breeds have different ears for instance
DiscoverAlbia: [PM] Will there physical traits we can only breed and not genmanipulate? (MK-Grendel)C4DEV_andrea: You can only alter the breed and a couple of properties in the splicing machine (more on that in a future blog post). All other genetics are specific to natural breeding (for now at least)
DiscoverAlbia: [PM] Will aqua norn be amphibious so it can go on land to breed and mix with others? (McDuff)C4DEV_Sam: Yes Aqua norn will be amphibious! It will be able to go on land, breed with others, yes, mix with others, yes!
DiscoverAlbia: [PM] Regarding Norn shape, is it going to be possible to crossbreed two differently shaped Norns and get something in between, or a mix? (Marvolo323 and Ghosthande). DiscoverAlbia: [PM] And since we're on the subject: Will Aquanorns have swimming animations? (C-Rex)C4-Fishing-Scal: One thing: there are some tiny details about the Norns for which we'd like to keep a bit of mystery too. Just, you know, to keep the surprise element in the game too ;-)
C4DEV_andrea: yeah we're not going to show you all the breeds before you get the game right?
C4-Fishing-Scal: No problem to discuss breeds and such broadly. But at some point: we don't want to go too deep. We want to make you smile while you play too, not only tonight :-)
C4DEV_Sam: No they don't actually swim , as sad as it is. We wanted to do it really bad but that sole features brings a lot of changes and limit cases. We do not have the time to implement it!
DiscoverAlbia: 9.6 Continued: Will Norns also have different personalities? Like when one Norn sees a critter, it immediately approaches it out of curiosity, but another Norn is too shy or scared to do that? Have you given a great deal of thought as to how to help Norns develop and show their personalities? (HolyTomato and Malkin). DiscoverAlbia: Did I forget to ask this part of it? 9.6 Are Norns still able to pick up stuff and interact with it? (HolyTomato)C4DEV_Sam: 9.6 About specific behaviors, we are currently working on it. All I will say is that we have an norn which is really really afraid of other Norns and another one which tends to be rather aggressive.
C4DEV_Sam: Exactly guys, you remember last gamescom demo well
C4DEV_andrea: angry nornito very angry !!
C4-Fishing-Scal: we've just decided to lock the name down on the spot: Angry Nornito will be his in-game name. Done deal;
C4DEV_Sam: hahaha, lets spread the angry nornito angry love!
C4DEV_andrea: 9.6 Norn are able to pick things up like fruits. They won't be able to pick everything up (like gadgets) as it's really hard on animations...Still, at the moment we're having a funny bug, they can sometimes pick up fruit trees!
DiscoverAlbia: 9.7 Are Norns able to distinguish family members from stranges? (dk1987)
C4DEV_andrea: about the physical traits, yes, you can totally see who the parents are
C4DEV_Sam: 9.7 Yes they are able to recognize family members, they have a brain lobe which allow to recoginze father/mother son/daughter, but currently we haven't had the time to wire it properly and test some very cool behaviors!
LilyNorn: Aww! That is so cute! Imagine, a little Norn getting scared of a critter and running to his mummy!
C4DEV_Sam: I want precise that the possibility is there, but I can't confirm if it will be present and properly wired at release!
DiscoverAlbia: 9.8 How many external properties determine the appearance of the Creatures? What are they? (Norns will differ in adult size? Same size ears? Various fur-spots?) (dk1987)C4DEV_andrea: 9.8, age, gender, breed all influence the norn's look
C4DEV_andrea: 9.8 breed genes alter the Norn shape. The colors/patterns/eyes are determined by 8 layers of textures (some procedural and some not). All of this is breedable
DiscoverAlbia: 9.9 How will Creatures learn how to talk? With self-chosen words, or with default terms built into the game? (dk1987). DiscoverAlbia: And related: Can you talk to the Norn by typing lines like in C3 or has that changed? (Macwa)C4DEV_andrea: C4 being multiplatform, communication with a Norn goes throught a sort of speech wheel. Not as freestyle, but we have some constraints on that side...
C4DEV_andrea: 9.9 Words are built into the game but they start with bibble of course. The by repeating commands and using speech-tutoring machine they can learn the full vocabulary
C4DEV_andrea: Also, they can still talk to each other and share knowledge
C4DEV_andrea: yeah, no insta-learn machine when you begin the game
DiscoverAlbia: [PM] In regards to the actual behaviour of the Norns, will they act like the C3 Norns, knowing everything without needing to be taught, or will they be more like the C1 Norns, where you had to teach them to talk and eat, and which plants were safe to eat, and they really needed us as Hands to help them survive? Personally, I miss my Norns actually needing me to care for them. (LilyNorn)<no answer>
DiscoverAlbia: [PM] Just a clarification on an earlier question: Will the offspring of two different breeds have mixed breed traits? beside colours? (SSR)C4DEV_andrea: yes, mixed-breed traits, that's the whole point of breeding
DiscoverAlbia: [PM] Can creatures see/fear water or is it invisible like in C2&C3? (MK-Grendel)C4DEV_andrea: At the moment it is invisible, we want to use CA to trigger a reaction to it though
DiscoverAlbia: [PM] What will the difference be between genders? (lightyagami777)C4DEV_Sam: the gender differences are currently only cosmetical at the moment.
DiscoverAlbia: 9.10 Will Norns be able to have positive same sex interactions? (Not necessarily 'gay', just be able to cultivate same-sex friendships). (Malkin)C4DEV_andrea: 9.10 yes, they can tickle/slap each other, not same-sex breeding
DiscoverAlbia: 9.11 Will female Norns have the pleasure of "friend-zoning" certain male Norns? Will female Norns be able to actively avoid males that have been mean, or exhibited other bad behaviors, such as not pulling their weight in the community, or ignoring their offspring? (Megane and nimh24)C4DEV_andrea: 9.11 This is not specific to gender, Norns like/dislike each other independently from gender.
DiscoverAlbia: This question was previously answered, I believe. Correct me if I'm wrong, though! In previous creatures titles we had various different creature types, such as purple moutain norns, horse norns ect can we expect actual different types in C4 rather than just colour changed versions of the same norn that we seen so far ? (Creature885)C4DEV_andrea: DiscoverAlbia, changes in physical properties (other than colors/patterns) will be limited to the body shape and genome (bigger, thinner, etc.)
DiscoverAlbia: 9.12 How many verbs does a C4 Norn understand? (Ascent)C4DEV_Sam: 9.12 Slightly more than in C3, I don't remember the number!
DiscoverAlbia: 9.13 Will Norns be able to form opinions about other Norns, without having to interact with them? Will they remember which Norns give bad, or irrelevant advice? (nimh24) DiscoverAlbia: Pretty sure this question also ties in with 9.15 Will Norns form friendships with and animosity towards other Norns? (Hellfrozeover)C4DEV_Sam: 9.13 FORF Lobe is still there up and running!
C4DEV_Sam: 9.15 Same answer applies, FORF lobe all the way!
C4DEV_Sam: FORF stands for friend or foe, part of the brain which determines if other creatures are good or bad
DiscoverAlbia: 9.14 If Norns do learn speech, will there be a safe-guard in the game to stop the infinite "boo hate emm" "bibble hate emm" "emm hate emm" loop? (CelineSSauve)C4DEV_andrea: 9.14 We haven't experienced that in all honesty. If we do, we'll find something
DiscoverAlbia: 9.16 How much control will we have over the Norns' personalities? (lightyagami777)C4DEV_andrea: Norn personality depends on its breed. Of course, life experiences and normal genetic madness intervenes in a Norn personality but we want to give every breed a specific personality (that's something we're working on, so no promises yet)
DiscoverAlbia: From PM: Will there be power pickups like in C2/C3? (Doringo)C4DEV_Sam: No power pickup at the moment!
DiscoverAlbia: 13.1 Will the Shee play a big part in the game? Or is it only the game guide? Are there more Shee than just Master Shee? (HolyTomato)C4DEV_andrea: 13.1 We're keeping the surprise on this for now. But you can expect something more
DiscoverAlbia: 13.2 The Shee in C4 seem to greatly depart from Shee in the previous games in terms of both their appearance and level of presence. Did anything in particular inspire you to take the Shee in this direction? Are the Shee in C4 tied to their prequel games' counterparts, or is this essentially a reboot of the species? (Officer1BDI)C4DEV_andrea: 13.2 Actually this was a pretty huge debate internally! We looked at all the reference from past games and then we thought about what traits we wanted our Shee to embody
C4DEV_andrea: 13.2 All, we wanted our character to embody the crazy scientist type while also looking cool
C4DEV_andrea: 13.2 Ah, about Jak & Dexter, it's true they look similar, but incredibly as it seems, we didn't look at it as an inspiration (Doc, on the other side
C4DEV_andrea: Maybe you'll see other things about the Shee, keep your hopes up
DiscoverAlbia: PM question: Will eggs be unbreakable and don't care about the temperature around them? (MK-Grendel) DiscoverAlbia: Related: Will eggs freeze if touched? (As in stop growing) (LilyNorn)C4DEV_andrea: Eggs are unbreakable at the moment yes, but you can move them around (like anything in the world)
C4DEV_andrea: No, eggs won't freeze if touched
DiscoverAlbia: And one question that has been asked numerous times and is a popular one: What about the Ettins and Grendels? Last we heard they weren't being included at launch. Any changes? (Everyone!)C4DEV_andrea: Ettins and Grendels question: we've heard and we want to release them after the release. That said, when you'll see the other Norn breeds I think you have something to keep you busy in the meantime
DiscoverAlbia: 6.1 Does the world and Creature activity continue when the player is not logged into the game? If the Norns are able to continue doing stuff while we are not playing, do we have the option to change this? (Seonta and lightyagami777)C4DEV_andrea: 6.1 Not at the moment, it's on our things-to-sort-out-super-fast list
DiscoverAlbia: 6.2 What are the system requirements for Creatures 4, for all operating systems and mobile? (Sam999 and Megane)C4DEV_Sam: As far as technical optimization goes we are currently unable to answer the PC/Mac tech specs question, as for mobile the target is equivalent power as iPhone4!
C4DEV_Sam: Linux is currently not supported at the moment, but one of the key programer of the team is a very strong linux supporter! Can't say more about it
C4DEV_Sam: a correct wine support could be a way to make it available on Linux, but again, no promise from our side
C4DEV_Sam: the game supports OpenGL
C4DEV_andrea: As a general rule for you C1/C2/C3 related questions...FC is not handling those version, your guess is as good as ours
DiscoverAlbia: Ah, good to know. I'll leave out the original game questions for now, or save them until the very end in case there's something in there that you might be able to answer!
DiscoverAlbia: PM question: I remember hearing about one of the goals of the game being to "recreate" the old norn species. How will this work? (Doringo)C4DEV_andrea: yes, the long-term goal of the game is to recreate all the "pure breeds" of Sphericus through breeding and splicing!
DiscoverAlbia: 6.3 Is the end game scenario going to be open and sandboxy? (Athenais)C4DEV_Sam: 6.3 Open and sandboxy? Totally! And ready for updates
DiscoverAlbia: 6.4 Will we be able to have multiple worlds with one account? (Athenais and Malkin)C4DEV_andrea: 6.4 Not planned at the moment. Maybe that can change after release if there is a huge request for it
DiscoverAlbia: 11.1 Will there be a population limit? (Seonta and dk1987)C4DEV_Sam: 11.1 Yes there will be a norn population limit, it will depends on each environement, but even more on the optimization we do and how many Norns the game will able to support without slowing down the whole game, making it impossible to play
DiscoverAlbia: 8.11 How will mutations work? Is there an aspect of randomness to it like in the original games, or do mutations need to be "unlocked" i.e. bought with in-game or out-of-game currency or unlocked in the course of the storyline? (LivewareProblem)C4DEV_andrea: 8.11 They work like in the original game but will probably be less frequent (and do not affect movement). You can give your Norn a heavy metals [beverage] whenever you feel the need to though to raise those chances!
DiscoverAlbia: 5.6 In the future, would it be possible to play with the Norns offline and when you have available internet be able to update to the server? (TehSamm)5.6 No, you'll probably stay connected for a while if your connection drops but you will still need require a connection to play (I know this will be troublesome to some people, but it is a requirement for us)
DiscoverAlbia: Probably only need a short response to this one since it's a little long: 8.4 Compare a C4 Norn's genetics to a C3 Norn's genetics. How many genes, on average, comprise a C4 Norn? More than a C3 Norn? Are they still rule-based in the same way? Do they still evolve and mutate in a similar fashion? (Ascent)C4DEV_Sam: 8.4 The C4 Norn genetics is very very similar, it is still rule-based in the same way, they evolve and mutate in the same fashion. I can say we use a bit more of instincts, new stimulus, and neuro-emitters
DiscoverAlbia: 3.4 Are there harmful or fatal areas of the world (like C2's volcanic area or the C3 piranha pool)? (Ascent)C4DEV_Sam: 3.4 Yes, there are fatal areas, won't say more.
DiscoverAlbia: 8.7 Can Highlander (immortal) Norns exist? Can they occur naturally? (Ascent)C4DEV_andrea: 8.7 Up to now, we have never witnessed a highlander Norn. Maybe because we usually play with many Norns and...well....there can be only one...
DiscoverAlbia: 11.2 What if you have no more Norns? Will be like in C3/DS where any time you are free to get new eggs? (dk1987)C4DEV_andrea: 11.2 Yes, if you have no more Norn you can get new Eggs
DiscoverAlbia: 6.13 Is the action-wheel form of interaction, similar to The Sims, final? If so, does a Norn have the choice to disobey an order, or is he forced to obey? Must he learn or unlock the actions in the wheel? (dk1987)C4DEV_andrea: 6.13 the action wheel (we need to find a better name for this, please suggest^^ ) is basically a way of communicating. When you press one of the commands it's like typing a message in C3
C4DEV_andrea: the Norns can totally disobey
C4DEV_Sam: disobey, especially if sick, not fed, tired, you know
DiscoverAlbia: 6.14 Is there a way to toggle off the option to NOT have gravestones laying around when a Norn dies? Also, will there be a graveyard kit of sorts? (Norngirl)C4DEV_andrea: 6.14 Yes, you can discard them or move them where you want and create your own small cemetery
C4DEV_andrea: it's a bit easier than in C3 since you can grab them and move them around. It's less stressful
DiscoverAlbia: 15.1 Is the game going to be linked to Facebook or some other social network? (Seonta)C4DEV_andrea: FB is definitely not mandatory
C4DEV_andrea: 15.1 Social networks are not mandatory, you'll be able to share some events and add friends from social networks if you want
C4DEV_Sam: but even its not a strong focus Zynga-like. You won't be prompter to share on FB/Twitter every 2 actions.
DiscoverAlbia: 14.1 Will there be a suggestion box for the shop? (Malkin)C4DEV_andrea: 14.1 What do you mean?
DiscoverAlbia: 14.1 is in regards to the in-game shop. Will suggestions be able to be sent in? What about third-party content?
malkin: Like, say I've got an idea for a toy or a cob that I'd really like to see in C4, can I write in to the shop people and suggest it as an idea, C4DEV_andrea?
C4DEV_andrea: 14.1 Yeah of course. User generated content is something we'll discuss after the release. The production pipeline is obviously ore complex than it was before (3D, animation etc.) so we'll need to create a good creation canvas if we want to do that.
DiscoverAlbia: Will be be able to see what our Norn is looking at like in C1 and C2? (YeikoVneef)C4DEV_Sam: It will be fairly clear what the norn is looking at, the Norn tracks agents with its eye and head
C4DEV_Sam: but no arrow or such things
DiscoverAlbia: 2.2 What are you most proud of in C4? (Malkin)C4-Fishing-Scal: The guys are not comfortable answering the pride question... Cause they're humble you see ;-)
DiscoverAlbia: Bascially a big ecoystem question. Any and all details! 3.6 Are there insects? How many and what kinds? What do they do? Plants? Critters? (Ascent)C4DEV_andrea: 3.6 insects, yes and some of them can harm Norns. Plants and weeds and mushrooms and critters too
C4DEV_Sam: We will answer all the other questions in a further blog post
DiscoverAlbia: But I would like to know if this question could be answered: When will be next Norn competition be? (Don)C4-Fishing-Scal: Norn Competitions: there should be one up in less than two weeks. And it won't be the only one :-)
C4-Fishing-Scal: hint about the norn competitions: the next one should be on our facebook.
C4-Fishing-Scal: and I wouldn't rule out scoring a quick-one on the fly by following us on twitter ;-)
C4-Fishing-Scal: In other words: check our social media ;-)