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Ten Things You Need For Your DS World - Posted Tuesday, 1st August 2006 by Liam

The second part of a 2 part article detailing the 10 most useful agents for a player new to Docking Station, how they can help you run your world and care for your norns!

"The purpose of this article is to present a list of ten of the most basic, useful agents which the newcomer should know about and obtain when beginning a new Docking Station world. You can play Docking Station without them. But without them, success or failure at the game is more a matter of luck than otherwise. With them, good planning greatly enhances the chances for success. The best advice is to download these agents and install them to your Docking Station/My Agents folder before starting a new world, and go to the Comm's room and inject them into your game at the earliest opportunity."

Please read Part 1 before reading Part 2!

6) Knowing what your norns are saying is a real help in norn training. Not only an advantage in training but a source of great entertainment, as well, is knowing not just what they say but also what they think. This is made possible by use of Mark Ashton's Healthbar agent, which displays a bar graph of some basic chemical levels, and most importantly, the thoughts of the selected norn. Norn training is part carrot and part stick, so it's important not only to tickle your norn and speak kindly to it as a reward for correct behavior, it's useful to know if your norn continues to think "Me eat button" regardless of how many times you say "Maybe touch button"-- which means a little slap to the butt to get the norn's attention might be in order. Usually repeating your command (by holding Ctrl and pressing S) after a little rebuke will cause the norn to begin thinking along desired lines.

7) Enough training for now, it's time to play! Baby norns, and often even adults, love to play. The high-bounce rubber balls that are a part of the basic DS installation are a very popular toy. I've watched a baby norn stand by a vendor and bounce a ball for an hour or more, pausing only occasionally to say "Me is happy." There are dozens of injectible toys you can add to your world, but the one which stands out as an all-time favorite comparable to the high bounce ball is the Noisy Maracas. This is another agent which can keep a young norn amused for hours. I've occasionally seen norns devote most of a lifetime to standing in one spot shaking the maracas. Most are not so obsessive about it, but can still occupy hours in perfectly happy play with it.

Food is important. Norns have to eat regularly or death from starvation will eventually occur. Docking Station has a good supply of food, though, and if the electronic butler is put to use then any norns on your ship will get fed wherever they are whenever they ask for food. So the many food agents fall more into the realm of treats for your creatures, and not necessities for a new world. But some, like Hausemouse's Cornucopia have enough additional health benefits to be worth adding to the already generous foodstocks of DS.

8 ) A bit of automated discipline does, however, qualify as necessary. Sometimes norns can get a bit too frisky, get angry at another norn that's become a bit too frisky, or just like in real life, sometimes a norn comes along that just has a mean streak. After you've hatched or acquired several inhabitants for your world, and they've spread througout your ship, watching them all at once becomes impossible. The electronic butler will take care of their food and recreational needs, and Clucky's Stop Slapping Norns agent provides discipline as necessary in your absence. Whenever another creature hits a norn, it suffers the same amount of pain and damage, itself. This cuts down on bullying considerably! Later, when you've expanded your game by adding C3 or metarooms like C1toDS which contain other creature species, you can uninstall this agent and replace it with the Stop Slapping Creatures agent, which punishes any creature that hits another creature.

9) Well, your norns are healthy, well-fed, playing happily and peacefully together. What--they're not? Complaining about homesickness, eh? Well, I guess if you were locked aboard a colony ship bound for who-knows-where, with some crazy hand-thing as your only provider, you'd long for home, too. Add a few puffs of Home Spray to the air around them, and watch them immediately become happy (or at least find something else to complain about).

10) No list like this would be complete without including one of the several wonder tools available for the game. My own favorite is Wopsy's DevThing. It's an amazing tool, with too many uses to list here, but including clone creatures, inject genomes as eggs or creatures, manage ecology, manage population, autoname creatures, determine which gender of creature will hatch from an egg, graph and inject the full range of creatures biochemistry among many others. The more advanced your gameplay becomes, the more uses you'll find for it. A definite must-have.

There now, that's got you off to a good start. With the help of these ten agents you should be able to successfully manage your new Docking Station world without accidentally slaughtering too many norns in the process of learning how to play. Here's wishing success to you and long life and happiness to your norns. Hope I'll see you in the warp!

KnyteTrypper, CCSF2006

Part One - Part Two

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