Monday, December 20, 2004

Fascinating. The creators of this virtual pet device did an even better
job than I expected.

The new cat looks different, in multiple aspects, from the previous
pet. Her face, ears, and whiskers are different. She has a bow on her
head, unlike the previous pet which was bareheaded. The little
"prancing" pattern, when she's dancing around the screen during the
times when she's awake, is different. Her sleep posture is different.
Even the little ZZZs that appear above her head when she's asleep are
different -- they're backward. Which leads me to believe that this
kitty's graphic is a mirror-image of another graphic that might appear
for some future pet, one in which the ZZZs are facing in the correct
direction.

And what makes the device even more realistic, as well as more
challenging to work with, is that it seems that the way she responds to
treatment is slightly different, as well. I could select the Exercise
option to keep the previous pet, Berny, at the maximum on the Strength
index. The current pet, Phuzz, doesn't seem to reach the top of that
index unless there's a combo of vitamins and exercise doled out.

Now I understand what the instructions meant when they referred to the
device as selecting DNA for the pet. (It was referring to the instance
where the pets from two different devices married and produced
offspring.) It seems like there are multiple traits that the device has
to choose from, when it creates a pet at the start of the game. Based
on that, if there are enough options for each trait, it could easily
result in a unique combination of tendencies every time a new digital
pet is "born". Which, of course, corresponds pretty well to how it is
with Real Life pets. There are some needs which they all have in
common, but there are other aspects of each individual pet which make
it unique.

I tip my cap to whoever designed this device. Every time I discover a
new aspect of working with the digicat, my opinion of the job they did
goes up.



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