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Читы для El-Fish

Чит-файл для El-Fish

El-Fish

 За игрой пока никто не наблюдает. Первым будете?

Выдержка из Энциклопедии игр

Разработчик:AnimaTek International
Издатель:Maxis
Жанры:Virtual pets
Multiplayer:Отсутствует

Даты выхода игры

вышла в 1993 г.

Solution [ENG]

Информация актуальна для
Created by El-Breeder
Maintained by El-Breeder (by the moment)

Version 1.0 (March 16th, 2000)

Comments, help, submissions, questions, insults and so on should be directed
to El-Breeder, shyguy_basque@yahoo.com or go to the El-Fish Breeder's Guild
for another address if that one doesn't work.

==============================================================================
FAST USAGE OF THIS FAQ
Each part, chapter and subchapter is sorrounded by brackets [] so searching
a particular item is easy. The FAQ is divided in three parts, which are the
table of contents, the FAQ itself and the appendixes. These parts are in
roman numerals, like you can see little down in the table of contents. The
chapters and subchapters are in normal numbers sorrounded by brackets too, in
the form of [Chapter-Subchapter], i.e. [1] (chapter 1), or [2-5] (chapter 2,
subchapter 5). But the appendixes are named by letters, [A], [A-1], [B], etc.
to avoid confusion with the chapter naming.
==============================================================================

_____________________
[I] Table of Contents

  [I] Table of Contents :)

  [II] The El-Fish FAQ
      [1] General
        [1-1] Disclaimer
        [1-2] Trademarks
        [1-3] Copyright
        [1-4] Foreword by the author
        [1-5] About this FAQ
        [1-6] Where can I get this FAQ?
        [1-7] Can I maintain this FAQ?
      [2] About El-Fish
        [2-1] What is El-Fish?
        [2-2] Where can I get El-Fish?
        [2-3] What's the story of El-Fish?
           [2-3-1] Why the Mac version of El-Fish doesn't have bugs?
           [2-3-2] What are the Differences between DOS and Mac Versions?
      [3] Installation
        [3-1] Getting ready for the Installation
           [3-1-1] Getting ready in DOS
           [3-1-2] Getting ready in a Mac
        [3-2] Installing
        [3-3] Installation Troubleshooting
           [3-3-1] It doesn't install!
           [3-3-2] It says my graphic card doesn't support XXX mode!
      [4] Usage
        [4-1] Looking around
        [4-2] The Environment
           [4-2-1] Running El-Fish under OS/2 Warp
        [4-3] Starting
        [4-4] Special things inside El-Fish
        [4-5] Other things outside El-Fish
        [4-6] Cheats
      [5] About Fishes and Roes
        [5-1] Different Stages of Fishes
        [5-2] Available Sizes for Fishes
        [5-3] Kinds of Fishes
           [5-3-1] Some Morphology
        [5-4] Creating New Fishes
           [5-4-1] Catching Fishes
           [5-4-2] Evolving Fishes
           [5-4-3] Breeding Fishes
           [5-4-4] Genetical Engineering
        [5-5] Getting Fishes Ready to Swim
        [5-6] Facts and Tips for Fishes
        [5-7] Distributing Fishes
      [6] About Aquariums
        [6-1] Overview of Tanks
        [6-2] Sizes of Aquariums
        [6-3] Tank Designing
           [6-3-1] Bottoms and Backgrounds
           [6-3-2] Plants and Objects
           [6-3-3] Animations
           [6-3-4] Adding Music
           [6-3-5] Adding Fishes
        [6-4] Tips for Designing
        [6-5] Distributing Aquariums
           [6-5-1] Which Files go inside the Tank
      [7] About Graphics
        [7-1] Different Kinds of Graphics
        [7-2] Using PCONVERT
        [7-3] Getting Graphics from El-Fish
      [8] About Music and Sound
        [8-1] Using the Music Generator
        [8-2] Using External Music and MCONVERT
        [8-3] How to get tons of Music
      [9] Things for El-Fish
        [9-1] The El-Fish "Runtime"
        [9-2] Other Planned Utilities
      [10] Limitations and Bugs
        [10-1] Overall
        [10-2] Fishes
        [10-3] Tank designing
        [10-4] Converting Graphics
        [10-5] Converting Music
        [10-6] The Annoying Beeps
        [10-7] Too few fishes at the same time
        [10-8] Other Limitations and Bugs

  [III] Appendixes
      [A] Resources in Internet
        [A-1] El-Fish Web Sites and FTP's
        [A-2] El-Fish related things
        [A-3] Graphic Resources
        [A-4] Music Resources
      [B] Modifications and Utilities
        [B-1] Modifications of El-Fish
        [B-2] El-Fish Patches
        [B-3] Graphic Utilities
        [B-4] Music Utilities
        [B-5] General Utilities
      [C] Format of Files and other Specifications
        [C-1] The El-Fish Palette
        [C-2] El-Fish Files
        [C-3] The Mutant Gen
      [D] History of this FAQ

____________________
[II] The El-Fish FAQ

___________
[1] General

________________
[1-1] Disclaimer

This FAQ is for the use of people who play and use El-Fish by Animatek. The
author of this FAQ (and all contributors) is/are in no way be responsible for
anything you do after reading this FAQ. This FAQ guarantees *nothing* at
all. All of the information in this FAQ could be complete crap. You decide.

The author(s) are in no way related to Animatek, Maxis, or any trademark
holder herein shown, and this FAQ should be treated as "unofficial" work.

________________
[1-2] Trademarks

El-Fish is a registered trademark of Animatek, Maxis and Electronic Arts,
and currently Bullet-Proof Software is a licensor.

All trademarks (shown and not shown) are acknowledged.

_______________
[1-3] Copyright

The El-Fish Breeder's Guild El-Fish FAQ is Copyright 2000 by Juan Miguel
Martinez, a.k.a. El-Breeder. All rights reserved. You are granted the
following rights:

I.   To make copies of this FAQ in original form, as long as
      (a) the copies are complete and are unaltered by anyone other than the
          copyright holder or anyone designed by the author(s);
      (b) the copies are in electronic form;
      (c) they give credit to the author(s).
II.  To distribute this work, under the provisions above, as long as
      (a) no fee is charged;
      (b) they give credit to the author(s), in any description;
      (d) the distributed form is not in an electronic magazine or within
          computer software;
      (e) the distributed form is the newest version of the FAQ (email the
          author to find the latest version number);
      (f) the distributed form is electronic.

     You may NOT distribute this FAQ in *any* non-electronic media.
     You may NOT distribute this FAQ in any electronic magazine.
     You may NOT distribute this FAQ within computer software.

     NOTE: These rights are temporary, and may be revoked upon written,
     oral, or other notice by the copyright holder. If you wish to distribute
     this FAQ within a magazine or electronic magazine, get in touch with
     the author.

     NOTE: You might be familiar with these words, read ahead.

____________________________
[1-4] Foreword by the author

Well, it's here. I always wanted to make FAQs of everything which didn't had
FAQ. But El-Fish was my choice, cause it's one of the most underrated and
forgotten games in my opinion. This FAQ might tell tons of things you already
know, but anyway having them organized in a FAQ is always good. And I think
that you might ignore certain facts about El-Fish that I've discovered.

One friend told me that this is a extremely large FAQ for such an easy and
simple game, but, that's the way I write.

So, I hope that something, even the smallest sentence, helps you to enjoy more
that incredible game called El-Fish.

While doing this FAQ (done in about a week) I made many experiments with
El-Fish to ratify the words inside this FAQ. But as a mere mortal, I can make
errors. If so, don't complain, tell me where I am wrong and I'll fix it.
Afterall, a FAQ is done with the contributions of lots of people, right?

And finally, I have to admit that this is not really a FAQ. A FAQ is a list
of (F)requently (A)sked (Q)uestions, but I used the more broad FAQ
denomination for files containing information about games or other subjects.
So you will find many answers to many questions you could have regarding
El-Fish, but not exactly as question/answers.

P.S.: Please forgive my english, I am spanish. I might make tons of mistakes.

____________________
[1-5] About this FAQ

This FAQ should be very easy to use, despite the gramatical/ortographical
mistakes. I based its structure (and the disclaimer and copyright) in a good
FAQ by Toby Goldstone, the Unofficial Quake FAQ. Thanks to him for that good
work (well I like to see fishes swimming but I also like to frag a little).

This FAQ doesn't have any kind of corrections other than the ones I make after
reading a bit around. So punctuation, gramatic, etc., might be awful. Ignore
them.

The logo was done by me, and it's just the ASCII version of the El-Fish title.
You can compare. In my opinion I did a fairly good work (or at least just
decent!).

The El-Fish story is done based in my own investigations and a Wired article
by Dan Ruby. Further information was obtained from Keiko M. Randolph. Dave
from the EA tech support confirmed me the total abandonment of the EF product
line.

Besides the Toby Goldstone unadvised help, there are many other persons who
contributed to the creation of this FAQ not directly, but by publishing their
own work in El-Fish and teaching me that way certain facts about El-Fish.
Thanks to all of them. They are (in no particular order) Susan Langston Pence,
Mark Lo and Patricia Shaw, Senusi Lewis, Phill Spulick and Brian Cody.

Special thanks go to Mark Lo helping me with various Mac issues, to Phill
Spulick for the help about some DOS things, and Jose Isla for good review of
the preview.

The preview FAQ was sent to Mark Lo, Patricia Shaw, Phill Spulick, Senusi
Lewis, and Jose Isla. Thanks again to them for their support.

This FAQ applies specially to El-Fish 1.02 for DOS, other versions might be
little different than this one. Since El-Fish also can be installed in a
variety of resolutions, this FAQ will refer to the 640x480 version, and state
it clearly when referring to other resolutions. Please forgive the lack of
information about the Mac versions of EF. There are some facts, but since I
don't have a Mac... If anyone can help...

_______________________________
[1-6] Where can I get this FAQ?

This FAQ is distributed at the El-Fish Breeder's Guild. There you can find the
last version of this FAQ. As other people distribute it in their homepage, I
will put them here too. For the addresses go to the appendix A-1, Web Pages.
It's also distributed at GameFAQs.
The truth is that El-Fish Breeder's Guild doesn't exist anymore, so go to
other EF pages or to GameFAQs to check if there are new versions.

______________________________
[1-7] Can I maintain this FAQ?

Actually I am abandoning this project, due to lack of motivation. I am kinda
tired of EF in this moment and I need to rest. So, what I am searching for is
someone who whish to maintain it, it's a low update FAQ. Any EF fan will be
welcomed. The only requirements is maintaining it in english, so it reaches
the most people, and keep both DOS and Mac information. You will get the
credit, copyright and everything else of this FAQ. If you are interested, just
contact me.

However, don't worry, I will still keep maintaining this FAQ until someone
else arrives.


_________________
[2] About El-Fish

______________________
[2-1] What is El-Fish?

It's hard to say if this is a game, cause there is no target at all (in
SimCity at least you had to earn bucks to survive). It's more an entertaining
application, or a fun program, than a game. But anyway, it's so entertaining
and fun that it should be called a game. El-Fish creators call it a software
toy. So:

El-Fish (from now on EF) is a software toy where you can catch and breed
colorful fishes, design beautiful aquariums and watch the fishes swim in them.

This doesn't sound too entertaining. But trust me, it is. And it's very
beautiful, good graphics everywhere, and you can use your own music too!
It has a very sophisticated engine for generating fishes, using 56 genes which
control more than 800 variable parameters for fishes (color, shape), it can
make thousands and thousands of different fishes of many sizes, shapes and
colors. It also "animates" them, I mean, generates all the possible images of
the fishes so you can really watch them swim, with the tails waving behind
them, and the body looks three-dimensional, the light reflects and just
everything. EF was the first game where you were able to create and render in
3-D your characters.

The aquariums are 3-D too. The fishes will swim in front or behind of the
plants and decoration. You can use many different graphics, including your
own (it's fun to see fishes watching TV!). The only real flaw is that the
objects and plants you place in the aquarium are 2-D. Besides placing all kind
of objects you can choose between lots of aquarium bottoms and backgrounds,
and you can also set a color frame.

A special mention should go to the plants. You have many kinds of plants, dark
green or bright red, and each time you place one, it's also generated! Every
plant has it's own shape and number of leaves, and you can make them tall or
short, have wide roots or make them grow from just one point. This little
thing makes a lot in the final work, cause you can place many plants of the
same kind and all of them are different, making the aquarium look more real.

EF comes with some object libraries, including plants, reefs, rocks and
decoration, and a set to make your own buildings with pieces in the aquarium.
All the graphics are really beautiful, with sunken ships, neptune statues,
stone frogs, and everything you need to life up a little that aquarium. The
reefs and rocks look realistic, and the pre-made plants are just thriving.

There are some additions you can put in the aquariums: the animations. They
can be fixed (like an actinia, or a skull with an eel out of it's eyesockets)
or moving (seahorses dancing around, or a cat's paw trying to catch a fish!).

The last thing you can add to all this is music: EF has the same kind of
generator for music than for fishes and plants. There are eight styles of
music, and the fractal generator fills them with notes, so the music can be
also different for each aquarium.

After all that, you can see your fishes swimming in a beautiful environment,
and you can give them food (which they don't need but they eat anyways), or
turn off the light (other thing they don't need).

All these features are combined so your experience with EF is fun and
relaxing at the same time, with a nice and easy interface, highly intuitive.

EF is not designed as an aquarium simulator. The fishes don't grow, nor die,
no matter what you do (or don't do) to them. It's just a tool for developing
relaxating and alive scenery. Once done everything and watched the results a
little, the best thing you can do is make more!

______________________________
[2-2] Where can I get El-Fish?

EF was distributed first by Mindscape and later by Maxis. Currently is a
pretty old piece of software (it was done in '93) and it's very difficult to
watch it in any shop. The distribution seems to be stopped at this moment.
Maxis was absorbed by Electronic Arts, but in their catalog they don't have
EF available. However, SimCity, SimAnt and all those old Maxis games are still
distributed, so the conclusion is that probably El-Fish is no longer
available for buying.

That puts EF in the category of Abandonware. You can look in many Abandonware
places for it, for example in Gangsters.org or in the Underdogs Home. Scootie
and the El-Fish has also a downloadable version of the game. Obtaining EF this
way might look illegal, but in my opinion it's not. If there is no other way
of getting it, then get it free.

To my knowledge, there are only english versions, for DOS and Mac, of EF.
There are no special Win95 versions (althougt EF runs in it very well and even
in NT), and no Amiga versions either.

There are obscure references of a japanese version in CD, but besides only ONE
reference in the entire web, I can't confirm this.

__________________________________
[2-3] What's the story of El-Fish?

That question is in fact a some more: Who made El-Fish? and: Which are the
available versions? and: Is EF discontinued?

The EF concept was born in the head of Alexej Pajitnov and Vladimir Polhilko.
Pajitnov is world-wide known by one of its first creations, Tetris. It's also
one of my favorite games ever! Pajitnov also made many other great mental
puzzles. Pokhilko was a research psychologist who ended as computer
programmer.

In 1989, when Polhilko met Pajitnov (or viceversa) they founded in Moscow a
company caled Intec, devoted to games sustained with scientists theories such
as genetic evolution and enviromental behaviour. Henk Rogers, founder of
Bullet-Proof Software (this time in Redmond), made a joint venture between
Intec and Bullet-Proof Software and AnimaTek was born.

With Rogers as a entrepeneur, AnimaTek was able to grow up its staff, and the
first works were done. Do you know that first they started working with
flowers? Then, they chose butterflies. It would have been also cool to view
El-Flower, or El-Butterfly. But finally they finished developing the program
to work with fishes.

Soon AnimaTek realized that they couldn't market the program properly. In 1991
and thanks to Esther Dyson (a computer industry expert) a meeting between
AnimaTek and Jeff Braun (president of Maxis) was made in Moscow, and Braun
offered quickly to shape and market EF around the world.

Maxis was the perfect match for EF. They already had many success in software
toys and simulations, such as SimCity, SimAnt, SimEarth... The Maxis team
started to polish a little te program, stripping off all the complexities of
the original program, such as enviromental and behavioural issues. AnimaTek
wanted to deal with these things but simply the computer standards in that
time constrained it to a point where they had to choose only one part for the
final EF.

Fast note about Maxis: Soon SimLife was out in the streets. SimLife deals
more with environment and behaviour and lacks of the stunning rendered
graphics of EF. If there was only a program with both things....

Read more about the story of Animatek and El-Fish in the excellent Wired
article in the URL www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.02/maxis.html with more
information. Also, run EF and see the credit list too!

So everything was ready by spring '93. Maxis was the godfather of the game
when it reached the shop shelves in 1993 (probably march or april), but it was
under a publisher company called Mindscape. Shortly after it (and even at the
same time), a release without Mindscape in the opening screens was thrown to
the market. These versions are the same to my knowledge, but I can't assure
cause I can't make them work in my puter. But I can assure that the versions
are the 1.01 and the only difference found is the Mindscape logo.

In November of 1993 another version reached the streets. This version 1.02 is
the last one AFAIK, and the only complete version I have. It added a third
resolution which improved even more the visual appealing of EF.

At the same time, a SVGA patch was released, it just transforms an old 1.01
version to be capable of installing the VESA 1.02 version (for DOS, not for
Mac). The SVGA patch was redone in 1994, but there is no difference between
them except the bootdisk makers. The SVGA patch is only available for DOS
versions.

Animatek is now devoted to the development of tools for 3-D Worlds, and Maxis
was absorbed by Electronic Arts. I don't know (and I don't really care) what
happened to Mindscape. It seems that EF is now a forgotten product for all of
them. I checked the EA web site, and its FTP, and besides the SVGA patch and
a few fishes, nothing about EF. They even say in its tech support page that
"no known issues have been detected for this product" when there is the awful
"just one fish swimming" bug! However, there is a hidden set of pages for old
Maxis games support and there you will find some references to EF.

So the version list for EF is:
El-Fish 1.01 (Mindscape version)
El-Fish 1.01 (Maxis version)
El-Fish 1.02

And of course the Mac version(s). If anyone can clarify for me the list of
Mac versions (and their features) I will be very thankful.

There are obscure references to a Pentium ready version of EF, or to a pentium
patch for EF. There is no pentium patch, the only way to obtain the pentium
version is to exchange the installation disk with Maxis/EA. I am trying to
locate this version. Any help would be appreciated.

Currently, the EF product line is totally discontinued. However, I've found
the folowing information which can be interesting. KEIS International, an
affiliated to AnimaTek, picked the rendering technologies of EF and evolved
them into a product called PetFish.

This FAQ will apply mostly to version 1.02 for DOS, hi-res 640x480 installed
version. If not I will stand it clearly

_________________________________________________________
[2-3-1] Why the Mac version of El-Fish doesn't have bugs?

The DOS version was the first one to be finished. Mac versions where done
later, when some issues where known.

Keeping with this issue, the next stage in the EF development should have been
the CD version, but it seems it never was done. But there are (again obscure)
references to a CD version of EF, for DOS and in Japanese. Any clue out there?

______________________________________________________________
[2-3-2] What are the Differences between DOS and Mac Versions?

The Mac version uses MIDI directly, and the DOS version uses XMI and includes
an utility to transform MIDI to XMI. This is due to the nature of the sound
drivers in the DOS version. These drivers only play XMI.

In the DOS version you should transform an image file to TIFF or PCX and then
transform it with an included utility to ISB, which is the format which EF
uses for graphics. In Macs you can use directly PICT files.

In DOS versions there are three resolutions available: 376x348, 640x400 and
640x480. In Mac the resolutions available are AAAxBBB and CCCxDDD.

Aquarium files are incomaptible between DOS and Mac versions. I am working in
the specifications of them and trying to figure out a way to translate between
them.


________________
[3] Installation

________________________________________
[3-1] Getting ready for the Installation

Mac Users, please also read the DOS section to get some more information.

____________________________
[3-1-1] Getting ready in DOS

EF works in any PC compatible 386 or better, with a mouse, and at least 4Mb
of RAM. Mouse is not really needed but without it you can't design aquariums
properly, and generally the program usage will be very slow.

EF supports many soundcards, including SoundBlaster, Adlib, PAS and Roland
compatibles, and Tandy and internal speaker. Note that the internal speaker
is always used, even when you turn off all sound.

EF also supports three graphic resolutions: 376x348 (regular), 640x400
(hi-res) and 640x480 (since 1.02, earlier versions don't have it). For the
640x480 hi-res VESA mode you need any VESA compliant card, and it should work
even when the installation program says it's not supported. See the
troubleshooting section about this problem.

The last consideration is the size it will take on the hard disk. It's fun
cause the installation disks are about 6.3Mb together, and the installed
program, even uncompressed is only 7.3Mb. Compressed again it's just 3.2Mb. If
the installation is all compressed, why that? Cause EF has three different
EXE files for each resolution, and all graphic related things (objects, ready
to swim fishes, icons and pics) are duplicated for regular and hi-res. So
beside some common files such the sound drivers and roes, the rest is
duplicated and EF only uses one of them for installation.

But 7.3Mb is not enough for EF. The aquariums are from 100kb to 400kb,
depending on what do you place in them, and the animated fishes are from 33Kb
(the smalles I've seen) to 1.5Mb (the biggest I've seen), but they are around
the size of the aquariums usually. So be prepared to have some megs used by
EF, I have around 100Mb for it and sometimes it uses more.

You can install from floppies or from the hard disk. Choose either option,
but I've seen problems with corrupted files using SmartDrive and other caching
programs. From hard disk is much faster anyway. Just put the first disk in any
folder and all the rest in the data folder (which the first disk should have).
All the files with the $XX extension should go in the data folder. Subst the
folder where everything is (see your DOS manual to learn how if you don't
know) and go to the substed drive and you're ready.

A final note about the DOS version: It runs in my MS-DOS 6.22, and it runs
under Win95 with it's MS-DOS 7.0, so you should have no problem. You will
need to use any 5.0 or higher probably, but I am not sure if the lower limit
is 5.0 or 4.0 or what.

______________________________
[3-1-2] Getting ready in a Mac

Minimum Requirements:
Macintosh computer, 68020 processor or above
5 MB RAM (3.5 MB free)
3.5" 1.4 MB high-density floppy disk drive
Hard disk with at least 10 MB free space
Color monitor with 8-bit (256-color) graphics
System 7.0 or above

Note that people recommends at least a 68030 processor or higher, unless you
want to spend too much time animating fishes.

EF has also been tested successfully on a PowerPC 604 processor (Power
Computing Mac clone) and a G3 processor (UMAX Mac clone).

________________
[3-2] Installing

Besides the technical references, Mac and DOS installations are pretty much
the same. In fact, the Mac installation is more easy than the DOS one. Most
information here is about the DOS installation, the rest applies for both
DOS and Mac versions.

The first choice you have to do is to decide what resolution you will install.
There is only one good choice, 640x480, but you can do whatever you want. But
it should be choosed now, cause there are two installation programs, one for
regular and hi-res, and the other for the 640x480 mode. They work the same
except that the normal installation will also ask you for regular or hi-res.

If you choose the VESA mode, it's installed with the file called INST_480.EXE
and the normal installer is called INSTALL.EXE. Just run it.
Note that when you run it and you don't have a mouse driver loaded, it warns
you, but the mouse is not used in the installation, so just ignore it.

There is only one important consideration in the installation program: it asks
for the owner of the copy of EF. This is very important cause all the fishes
and aquariums you create have embedded and encoded your name; choose it
carefully, it's all in uppercase and you can't use strange signs, just slash
and punctuation and maybe some more. Even when you write it in lowecase, EF
will save it in uppercase. The limit is 15 chars for the name.

Once you have chose your soundcard (and maybe graphics card too) and selected
where do you want it installed (an ELFISH folder in the root of any partition
is my recommendaton), it will start to copy some files and then uncompress
some more: exactly 104. This process without disk caching is fairly long in
a Pentium due to very small buffers in the installation program. Maybe if you
have a last-tech HD and a Pentium III you will think it's just normal.

It finishes, says a nice thing and you're ready for the El-Fish experience.

__________________________________
[3-3] Installation Troubleshooting

These are the problems I've located installing EF, but there might be more. If
you locate one, please tell me so I can put it here, but the best would be the
problem AND the solution :)

There are no known issues in the Mac versions. These bugs have been detected
in DOS versions.

___________________________
[3-3-1] It doesn't install!

Version 1.01 of EF doesn't install in my machine anymore. One of them says
that it doesn't have enough space on your harddisk, and the other just hangs.
You can install anyway, simply using the INSTALL.EXE found in version 1.02.

I have observed no problems with memory or hard disk space with version 1.02.
No probs with sound either, and I have a SB16 and a SB128PCI in the same
motherboard, and no problems with anything.

_________________________________________________________
[3-3-2] It says my graphic card doesn't support XXX mode!

There is a BIG problem in the graphic card detection in the installation
program anyway. It might have problems detecting your VGA or VESA card. Since
modern cards have VESA 1.2 embedded in their BIOS, it's not that, so it must
be the installation program. So it might say that your card doesn't support
the 640x480 mode, even when EF will support it. There is a long explanation
of this problem and how to solve it, but I will put here just a short version.

Open in any text editor the file INST_480.PRG. Look for a line that reads
":ASKOFMODE". Below it you will read "#VIDEOTEST", and below that line you
will read "#if @reply ! 0 #RETURN;". That's the line which says "if the
result is different than 0 then return to the installation process, else abort
everything". So you just change it, instructing the installation program to
always continue the installation. There are 2 possible modifications, one is
just "#RETURN;" and it will always return, and the other is more elegant:
"#if @reply = 0 #RETURN;" which does the same if you have the problem, and
corrects only that particular problem. Save the file and install again. Now it
should not complain about your graphics card not supporting anything.

To get the already modified file for 640x480 installation and the explanation,
get the El-Fish 1.02 640x480 Installation Patch at my home for EF, The El-Fish
Breeder's Guild. It's a small file.

There migth be problems too if the installation program for the regular and
hi-res resolutions thinks that your graphics card is a monochrome Hercules.
Just do the same with INSTALL.PRG.


_________
[4] Usage

Please forgive my complete ignorance of the Mac installed program. But since
the program is almost exactly the same for DOS and Mac, Mac users should just
pass the useless DOS information.

____________________
[4-1] Looking around

With your fresh installation of EF, there is something you should notice: a
file called ELFISH.RED. It contains the EF redirection system, which allows
you to place each kind of file where you want it. I usually don't touch it,
besides renaming the folder ARTWORK for OBJECTS and then changing the folder
name outside the RED file. It should be not very complex to figure out how it
works, but if people start to have problems I will write some guidelines to
alter the RED file.

Some programs come with EF, but they will be treated separatedly later. You
should just pay attention to two of them. RECONFIG.EXE allows you to change
your soundcard or remove the sound, and change your graphics card. It might
be useful but if you installed correctly, unless you make a hardware change
you will forget its existence.

The second program you should look for right now is the ELFISH.EXE file. Try
to imagine what it does :)

_____________________
[4-2] The Environment

There are no special recommendations for running EF in a Mac, besides having
lots of free memory. In DOS is more complex.

The best environment for EF is pure DOS, not under Windows. No memory managers
either, except HIMEM.SYS. A disk caching program is VERY advisable, it will
do no harm, except in certain installations I've made. Once installed the
caching will make EF run more smoothly, specially if you have many fishes.
EF will use any RAM until 16Mb, due to its old memory handling architecture.
The last thing is that you should have loaded your mouse driver before running
EF. It will run without it, but it's a pain to crawl to the exit button just
to exit and load the mouse.

I've tested EF succesfully under Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0. In 95 it runs
perfectly. In NT it needs that you use FORCEDOS (so open a DOS windows and
run EF with "FORCEDOS ELFISH.EXE") and at least in my case, the soundcard
doesn't work, but you should have no probs with sound under NT.

Windoes 95/98 users could be in the need of running EF in full DOS mode,
without the expanded memory manager. Read the READ.ME file accompanying EF to
learn about bootdisks, configurations and how memory managers conflict with
EF.

EF should work without problem in a variety of other systems, such as Linux,
OS/2, etc. Tell me if you are successful with these OSes, and I'll put the
results here.

_______________________________________
[4-2-1] Running El-Fish under OS/2 Warp

Games Settings for the El-Fish DOS Application in OS/2 Warp:
NAME                        ELFISH.EXE
TITLE                       El-Fish
TYPE                        DOS
ASSOC_FILE                  ELFISH.HLP
DEF_DIR                     \ELFISH
SESSION_MODE                FULLSCREEN
DOS_BREAK                   ON
DOS_FILES                   30
DOS_HIGH                    ON
DOS_UMB                     ON
DPMI_MEMORY_LIMIT           8
EMS_MEMORY_LIMIT            4096
IDLE_SECONDS                60
IDLE_SENSITIVITY            100
HW_ROM_TO_RAM               ON
KBD_ALTHOME_BYPASS          ON
HW_TIMER                    ON
KBD_ALTHOME_BYPASS          ON
KBD_CTRL_BYPASS             CTRL_ESC
MOUSE_EXCLUSIVE_ACCESS      ON
VIDEO_FASTPASTE             ON
VIDEO_8514A_XGA_IOTRAP      OFF
XMS_MEMORY_LIMIT            64
FOLDER                      GAMES

You should change the folder values to match your EF installation.

______________
[4-3] Starting

EF is a very easy program to use. With just some practice and no knowledge at
all, soon you will master it. And it has a good help system. Nearly every
place has its own help screen, accesable always with the key F1 (can anyone
tell me if the Mac version has the same help system?).

Once started, you will see the logo screens and the music. To skip that part,
just click your mouse (I guess any key will work too). You will reach after
the opening part the main menu. Your work starts here. You have two buttons
in the upper bar, which are available almost always inside EF, and they are
the SYSTEM button, which opens a good menu, and the EXIT button, which leads
you to the previous screen, and if you're in the main menu, exist EF.

The program usage should be not very hard to understand. There is a part for
working with fishes, another one for working with aquariums, and another one
for working with "films". In the bottom you will find the buttons for file
management for roes, fishes, objects and tanks. Most of all this will be
explained later, each thing in it's section.

Everytime you see a "catalog" of objects (lots of fishes, aquariums or
graphics), you can double click on the images to watch their information. That
information is different for each kind, so for fishes it will say the date
of creation, the status of the fish, etc. For object libraries it will say
the number of objects inside. For animations it will say the kind of
animation, and the number of frames. For tanks it will show a "packing list"
with all the items inside the tank (note that you can save that list as a text
file), and so on with all the kind of files. The exception is when clicking
over a graphic object, it will show you the object at its real size, and
nothing else. The exception for this are the bottoms, the backgrounds and the
music.

___________________________________
[4-4] Special things inside El-Fish

Well, there is not much to say, almost everything is at one or two clicks
away. But I think that certain things should be explained.

Always remember that pressing F1 will open a small help screen. It will not
tell much but it's better than nothing.

In the SYSTEM button, you will find the credits list as "About El-Fish". Below
it you will find one of the most useful things for managing all things inside
EF: the "Info" tool. This tool will tell you some statistics about EF, such as
current number of fishes (it doesn't count the roes), number of tanks, user
objects, animations, etc., and the version of EF you're using and the mode
you're running it in. The version should read "1.02". If it doesn't, then try
to ger a newer version, trust me, it's much better. And the mode should be
640x480, if not, then re-install, paying attention to what you can find in the
installation chapter, above in this FAQ.

Still in the SYSTEM button, you will find "File", which will be disabled most
of the time. It's a shorcut for the file manager of fishes and tanks. You will
get it enabled inside the breeding or evolving screens, and instead of getting
out to the main window, going to the fish manager and do whatever, you can
access directly there with this little shorcut, and when you exit you will
return to where you were first (breeding or evolving). The same goes for tanks
and the tank designer screen. It's not really a lot but it saves a few clicks.

The Setup option in the SYSTEM button will open a window where you can do a
couple of things. Mainly it will allow you to customize the colors of the EF
interface. Play around a little and you will figure out how it works, it's
easy. The Setup window also allows you to turn sound off. That means turning
off the soundcard, not the speaker. You will still hear beeps after completing
certain operations such fish creation and many more. A lot annoying. The last
thing you can set here is the fish default size, either zoomed or normal.

When viewing a tank, you can click anywhere, and as long as you have the mouse
button pressed, fishes will swim at max speed. If you click over an animation,
it will make something. The crab will say hello to you with a hat, seahorses
will jump, and the skull will let out it's eel.

Finally, there is something which is not explained in the help system, and
there is just an obscure reference in the manual. When viewing a tank inside
EF, you can make scren captures with F5. It can save in PCX or TIFF format,
and currently I have a captured tank with swimming fishes as my Windows
wallpaper (correctly transformed for 24 bit and 1280x1024!). One little known
fact about screen grabbing is that if you do it with light turned off, it
still makes it with the right colors. And never includes the cursor and menu.

__________________________________
[4-5] Other things outside El-Fish

Mac versions doesn't have these utilities. These utilities are only found in
the DOS versions.

In the EF installation, as said before, there come some programs. Two of them,
PCONVERT.EXE and MCONVERT.EXE will be treated separatedly in the graphics and
music chapters.

You will find a little program called INFO.EXE, which shows you some facts
about your computer and current configuration. It's not very useful with the
computers of today, but it was bundled with all the Maxis products since...

VIEWER.EXE is a stand-alone viewer for tanks. Enough said. It just read the
ELFISH.DMO file and show the aquariums inside there. Read the tank chapter
to learn how films work. The mouse is not really needed for this one, you
can move the cursor with arrow keys and the space bar acts like a mouse click.
The menu (not shown by default) is still accessible with te F10 key, and you
can capture the screen, turn off the light and everything like viewing a slide
show inside EF. Exits with ESC too, and it has the usual F9 for light and
everything.

AUTODEMO.EXE is a TSR for fast activation of the tank/film viewer. Not very
good in my opinion, but in a time where "screensaver" was a new concept under
DOS, it was pretty advanced.

____________
[4-6] Cheats

I haven't detected any kind of cheats for EF, such the FUND or JOKE of other
Maxis games. If anyone know about something, a cheat, or hidden parts, please
notify me so I cna add it here for all users of EF.

The only real cheat is the genetical engineering. That's explained in its
appropiate section, in the next chapter. The rest are only tips and tricks
spreaded all around this FAQ.


_________________________
[5] About Fishes and Roes

________________________________
[5-1] Different Stages of Fishes

A fish in EF is basically just "genetic" information about the size and color
of body and fins. That information is stored in a file called "roe". A roe,
which is just a little egg (like caviar, made of tons of roes) will contain
just that genetic information, the date of creation, the name of the author,
and the original name of the fish. That file is very small, only 1548 bytes.
In a 500Kb zipped file you can have around 800-900 roes.

But EF must turn it into a fish before you can use it inside EF. To do that,
just select the roe file manager (in the libraries section of the main menu)
and the button "Restore From". Select the roes you want to restore and EF will
create the next stage of the fish.

This stage is called simply "fish", and it just has a side view of the
resulting fish, so you can work with it. Now you can evolve or breed the fish,
or make it available for swimming, whatever you want. The fish files (still
not animated) are fairly small, from only 3-4Kb to around 16Kb and even
larger (although I've never seen a 20kb fish). It's the best way to manage
fishes if you don't plan to watch them swim for now.

But to make the fish available to swim, you must animate it. That creates a
lot of image frames of every position of the swimming fish, and add them to
the fish file, creating a rather big fish file. Then it's a "ready to swim"
fish, and it's noted by a "R" in the fish image. If for some reason you stop
the animation process, it still saves the already processed frames but the
fish is still not ready to swim, leaving it incomplete, and that's denoted by
an "I" in the fish image.

________________________________
[5-2] Available Sizes for Fishes

Besides the resolutions (376x348, 640x400 and 640x480 under DOS), you can have
the same fish in normal or zoomed mode. For EF, a fish animated in a different
resolution is a "wrong mode" fish. That's no problem, they will swim the same
way, just that they will look larger or smaller than they should.

But inside the actual resolution, you can make fishes look larger than they
are, just selecting "zoomed" in the setup and then restoring and animating
it. If you restore a fish from its roe with "normal" and then you select
"zoomed", the fish will animate larger but its image for the file managers
will still look normal.

Taking all that into account, the normal vs. zoomed modes, and the
resolutions, you can have the same fish at 6 different sizes. Actually the
difference between 640x480 and 640x400 is just the aspect ratio, so the fishes
will look taller or shorter but nothing else. But all that has no sense, cause
each fish has a fixed size, and EF only tries to animate it in a proportioned
size to its actual resolution. Anyway it's good for tricks when you have a
particular fish and it's too big or too small for what you want in the tank.
I have the low-res EF installed for animating big fishes which I want to be
smaller when swimming. It's kinda of a cheat, but it has good results.

The last thing you have to consider about fish size is the image size. When
you add a fish to a tank, it says its actual size (it's strange but it's the
only place where EF says it), but it's not really related to the size of the
swimming fish. That's cause the image size is the side of the fish, and the
swimming fish doesn't swim straight, and the fins wave as it swims, and many
frames of the fish are very small when the fish looks to you and it looks very
thin (although some fishes are very "fat"). So even knowing the size of a
fish, there is no actual easy equation to discover the real size of the fish.
But it's a good tip, and in 90% of the cases it works pretty good.

_____________________
[5-3] Kinds of Fishes

There are basically two kinds of fishes: normal and mutant. Normal fishes are
available for evolving and breeding, but if you put the change threshold too
high, the resulting fishes will be mutant. There are a variety of ways to get
mutants, specially genetical engineering, but the easiest way is just evolving
or breeding fishes and putting the shape or color changing sliders above 75%.

Mutants are sterile, and cannot be breed or evolved. Mutants have the same
structure in the roe and it's just a byte in it to denote the mutant factor.
It's very easy to hack them and make them evolve. But it's pretty pointless,
cause fishes tend to be "normal", and any strange feature of the fish will be
gradually removed. I normalize fishes to change colors usually.

There is a third class of fishes, they are the genetically engineered ones.
They contain actually two fishes, the "potential" and the "real". Read ahead
to learn about them.

_______________________
[5-3-1] Some Morphology

I guess that many of you were in the need of certain nomenclature to describe
your fishes. Well, the best one is the nomenclature used in zoology and
tropical fish books. Here you have a little resumed version which I think will
cover your description needs.

In EF all fishes are from the teleosseus family of fishes. That includes all
the preteleosseus and the ganoidean fishes, except the flat fishes and rare
shape like chest fishes and snakemorph fishes. The most wanted exception is
the Hippocampus or seahorse, which is a fish, but can't be replied with EF.
However, EF has the seahorse animation. Not the same but good.

Note that teleosseus fishes have two dorsal fins, one with hard radius and
another one with soft radius. In EF this difference is not used, and some
times you will find the hard radius fin behind the soft one. Ganoidean fishes
have only one soft radius dorsal fin, but in EF you will find also fishes with
only one hard radius dorsal fin. Curious,  it seems that EF doesn't take into
account all these ictiological facts, but in most times fishes fits.

Fishes have fins, of course. In EF certain fishes will not have certain fins,
but usually most fishes have them all. The pectoral fins are the ones placed
just behind the gills, and fishes always have one at each side of the body.
Below them, you will find the ventral fins. These fins are also always in a
number of two. In the top part of the fish (the back) you can find either one
or two fins. The first one is the hard dorsal fin, and the one next to the
tail is the soft dorsal fin. As explained, they are not always "soft" and
"hard", but as a name they are not that bad. Alternative names are main dorsal
fin for the one next to the head and secondary dorsal fin for the one next
to the tail. Again in the ventral part, the fin placed between the ventral
fins and the tail is the anal fin. Sometimes you will find two anal fins, but
it's the same one, just divided. Finally, in the tail you will find the caudal
fin.

The fins can be stripped, or gradient colored, or even spotted. Most fins will
have either round or jagged edges. Caudal fins have also arched shape, so the
caudal fin looks like a big C.

The body of the fish has an imaginary "middle line" which goes from the head
to the tail. The shapes of the fish top and bottom from this line are
unrelated. So fishes can have a big upper part and a htin ventral part (making
them look like a camel), or having a thin upper part and the ventral part very
prominent (making them look like pregnant).

The head is the part of the fish delimited by the two gill lines. These lines
are always two. The one next to the eye is the operculus line. The one next
to the pectoral fin is the operculus edge. The operculus edge has a distortion
in the curve, one times located in the top and another ones more in the
bottom. The eye is usually white or light gray in color, while the pupil is
usually red. Finally, the lips of the fish always run along the ventral line,
they can be more thick or not, change their color and have a black line.


_________________________
[5-4] Creating New Fishes

Well, fishes are not infinite, but taking into account the number of
variations for fish body size, body shape, fin width and length, etc., and all
the possible color variations for all those attributes, you will end with too
many fishes. That for "normal" fishes, not mutations.

In short words, you just need to rescue the beautiful or funny or strange
fishes from the huge number of possibilities. There are many ways to do this,
and you can choose your way to get new fishes. These ways are four and they
will be discussed now.

But when obtaining new fishes, you need to take into account the width of the
fish, not only it's length or height. Sometimes the fish will be like "fat"
and other times very thin, and just watching the image fish is not enough.
Feel free to animate them and watch them swim as you evolve or breed to check
that fact, cause a cute fish in the image might be ugly when swimming.

_______________________
[5-4-1] Catching Fishes

The basic way to get new fishes is catching them. You will find a little map
and you can get them anywhere on the map. To my knowledge, there is no
difference in fishes catched in different parts of the map, it just uses a
different random seed, or even just no difference at all. Just pick the place
you feel lucky about and start collecting fishes. Keep the ones you want and
save the interesting ones. You might think that getting from the center makes
more strange fishes, but in my experience, everytime you think you have found
a pattern in the map it makes an exception. It's just a way to get random
fishes.

There are just a few simple rules about the fishes you catch "manually". They
will be always normal fishes. Maybe EF has a 0.0000001% for you for getting
a mutant fish, I've never seen a mutant catched fish. They will usually have
green, blue or brown colors, with some variations and maybe another color
one, but usually not very beautiful. And as last observation, they will look
pretty normal. No long fins or strange bodies, just plain looking fishes with
certain interesting features (high front, etc) but nothing spectacular.

So why getting them? Cause sometimes you will find a pretty interesting shape.
Don't bother about colors, that can be fixed easily. But the shape is the most
difficult thing to control in fish creation, so if you think that you've found
an interesting fish to evolve a little, save it.

Anyway catching fishes is not really worth it. It's better to get any fish and
evolve it with 75% of change in both shape and color, and you will get many
interesing chromatic fishes.

_______________________
[5-4-2] Evolving Fishes

This way you select a fish to use as a base, and make them change gradually,
either in shape or in colors. You can select how fast they change from the
base, either in color or shape, and then watch them evolve to new form and
colors.

You can evolve fishes wit two different aims: first, to get new fishes, do it
changing them abruptly, over %50 of changing threshold, but not more than 75%
unless you want to get a mutant. Second, you might have an interesting fish
and you want to polish it a little more, making it bigger, smaller, or make
the fins look better. For it, never use a threshold higher than 25%, or the
resulting fishes will be too different from the base.

To obtain a particular result, you should be patient and make little changes
for each "generation", and eliminate the ones going in the wrong direction.
Evolving fishes searching a particular shape will be a hard process, so just
be very patient. Remember that you can make evolve your "temporal" fishes so
when a fish goes where you want to get, select the "change fish" and select
the fish you want to keep evolving, and clear the rest of them. Do this again
and again till you're lucky enoug to have that long body or wide top fin or
whatever you want in a fish.

You can also get better results ignoring color from first place, and only
evolving the shape, and when you have the shape, change the colors. Changing
colors will be a lot easier compared to searching a particular shape, and if
you change shape and colors at the same time, the color differences can hide
the shape changes, so you will not really know (until late) if that's the
shape you want. Get colors which help you to distinguish in the image the
features you want. When done, just make experiments with colors till you think
the colors match with the fish.

_______________________
[5-4-3] Breeding Fishes

Breeding fishes is a lot like evolving, but in this case you get two "base"
fishes. The characteristics of each fish are mixed and the resulting fish will
be evolved. If you want to see the exact mix of breeding two fishes, just set
the changing threshold to 0%, and three to five different fishes will appear.

Breeding can be unpredictable, so if you plan to get a particular fish, it's
better to evolve. While the evolving rules are easy to understand (just evolve
some fishes and you will see they are basically random luck and threshold
usage), the rules for shape mixing and all that are pretty confusing. If you
mix two fishes with long fins, the resulting fish might not have fins at all.
It doesn't have fixed and easy rules. It's just a matter of luck.

The "luck" part in breeding fishes is related to the genes. There is a value
for each gen which indicates how strong is the gen. So EF compares this value
for each gen in the parents' genes, and the strongest one wins, being carried
to the breeded fish. The weakest gen, if not too weak, will modify the strong
gen slightly.

And the changing threshold here doesn't seem to work the same way as in
evolving. It's more like telling EF to get the characteristics of each fish
more randomly and do not make exact copies. It seems to be related to the
way weak genes modify strong genes.

I know this explanation looks a lot confusing. But trust me, in my experience
it works this way. If anyone can give a better explanation, please submit it.

Mainly the breeding is useful for making always interesting fishes. Since
evolving a particular fish feature is pretty difficult here, I get the first
fishes from the breeding if they look interesting, and then I keep evolving.

_____________________________
[5-4-4] Genetical Engineering

This is one of the funniest and more interesting ways of getting fishes. Since
EF saves roes as pure and barely structured files, you can just get any file
and rename it as .ROE and then tell EF to restore the fish from it. EF will
make a VERY strange fish, most of the times ugly and with awful colors, but
other times this way will grant you wonderful views of incredible fishes.

This method doesn't always work. Some times, EF will crash or jump to DOS when
trying to read the "roe". Other times, when you think you got a really nice
fish, EF will jump to dos when you try to animate the fish. So you might need
some tries before getting things to work with some new strange fishes.

This is the only real "cheat" you can do in EF, but since it's very
unpredictable, I don't really consider it a cheat. And, besides being the
only cheat you can find for EF when searching for it in the Web, I think that
sooner or later this was discovered by most of the EF long-term users. And,
remember that in the manual it explains about this.

The other way of doing genetical engineering is opening the roe file with a
hex editor and directly modify with the contents you want. There is a part
with general fish information, a part for the shape, and a part for the
colors. Start modifying the file a little (again, any way you want) and see
the results, and continue modifying till you're happy with the results.

There is something you should know about genetic engineered fishes. They
contain sometimes two fishes, and not one. One is the "image" fish, which is
the one you restore from the newly created or modified roe. You restore it,
animate it, and throw it to swim. The other, the "evolve" fish, is obtained
making the fish evolve without change. If you evolve a fish without change,
common sense will say that the resulting fish will be exactly the same as the
original, but in these cases, you get a different fish. This doesn't happen
always, but in many cases you can obtain this way two fishes from the same
roe. This is kinda annoying, cause when you get a non-mutant fish with these
ways, you can't make them evolve or breed them. But in other cases there is no
"evolve" fish, so you can do whatever you want if you're lucky to get a
non-mutant.

The potential and real fishes are created due to the way EF uses the roe
information. There is the "genetic data" and the "shape data". If you only
change one, there are inconsistencies. EF uses the shape data to render the
fish with its characteristic shape and color, and the genetic data for
evolving and breeding. This duplication of the same data (after all the shape
data is done thanks to the genetic data) prevents the genetic engineering of
being more practical. Furthermore, EF has two sets of genetic data, one for
evolving and another one for breeding. If there are also inconsistencies
between these genes, evolving and breeding will make different fishes too.

In my opinion, the real fish is the one described in the first set of genes,
the one used for evolving. However, when you evolve or breed a fish, in any
amount, the resulting fish will have coordinated data for evolve genes,
breeding genes and shape data.

__________________________________
[5-5] Getting Fishes Ready to Swim

Actually this is the easiest thing about fishes. You just get the selected
fishes and animate them, so you can add them to your tanks.

When animating, get a glance of how the fish will be, cause sometimes, the
position of the fins, or the width, or many other factors might make an
otherwise beautiful fish look ugly. Since you can see the fish as it is being
animated, take advantage of it and you might save some time working further
in a bluff whihc is too thin or too wide.

_______________________________
[5-6] Facts and Tips for Fishes

When you have some interesting fishes, you might want to make a "family",
which is just a group of related fishes. You can decide the way they are
related. Or you can start "designing" them with an aim in your mind.

The name of the fish is very important, and the comment for them too. Always
name your fishes with cute names. It's pretty bad when you get some fishes
and they are named F1, F2, F5 and F13. Think of a name relating to its shape
or colors, like Flame, or Shoe, or Fastcar, or whatever you can imagine. Maybe
it resembles something you know, like Dracula, or a politician, or a singer.
If you seem to have trouble figuring out a good name dependind of its shape or
colors, then just use an unrelated name, like Mary, or Nuts, or Tree. Then
always remember to add a little comment for the fish, like "evolved from xxx
fish" or "fresh catched and color evolved" or something like that, so you (and
other lucky users if you decide to publish it) will always remember how this
fish was created.

Special care about this should have the Mac users of EF. In Mac, the name of
the fish can have spaces, uppercase and lowercase letters, and can be longer
than 8 characters. When distributing roes, try to make a short, 8 characters
long name, or distribute them in ZIP files admitting long filenames. DOS users
will change the long filenames. But that's better than having F1, F2, etc.

Also note that when you transform a fish into a roe, the comment for the fish
is lost. So if you htink the fish needs a comment, add a little text file for
it.

Always make the colors the less important thing of a fish, cause it can be
easily fixed at the end of the creation of the fish. And, complex colors can
make difficult to distinguish the actual shape of fins, head, or hide the
eye, or other things which will bother you in the fish creation.

When trying to emulate a real fish, always get the photo of the fish handy,
and be very patient. First, try to get a fish of the same size and more or
less same shape. Evolve it to get the particularities of the real fish, like
fins and body shape. The more you get closer to the real fish, the slower you
should evolve. When you're happy with the shape, then evolve colors quickly
till you get some colors close, and keep evolving them slower till you get
the result. Then save it for good, cause if you get there, it will be after
many hours of work, and your fish will be very valuable.

Don't get into the "small fish syndrome". This affects breeders to see what's
the smaller fish they can get. But if you get a too small fish (let's say less
than 50Kb after animated), even when its image will look good, swimming it
will be just a group of pixels, and you will barely distinguish a fish in
them. Medium or big fishes look better, really. I think that most breeders are
not affected now by the limit of amount of RAM which causes this syndrome.

Before saying you have a real nice fish, watch it swim. Add two or three of
them to a tank without too many decoration and see the effect. Sometimes that
long bottom fin will look unnatural when swimming.

Don't try to have always long or wide finned fishes, or with strange forms.
A couple of normal shape fishes with good colors is always a good addition to
most aquariums.

Fishes don't have behaviours: they will swim gladly among other fishes, and
from the top to the bottom of the tank, and besides swimming around them, they
will pay no attention to plants and other objects (or animations).

There is only one behaviour for fishes, and it's that sometimes they swim in
banks. This behaviour is only observed in small fishes. For an unexperienced
breeder, the smaller the fish, the greater probabilities they have of
swimming together. That's not exactly true. It's just that the first "specie"
of fish you add to the tank in a number more than one, and being a small fish,
will be a bank. This is more a tank designing tip than a fish tip, but since
I think it's more related to fishes, it's here. There will be only one bank,
so the first small set of fishes will be the bank. You can add any number to
the bank, but remember to get it in first place to ensure the bank will be
composed of the fish you want. Big fishes don't count, and I am trying to
discover the limit where EF thinks a fish can swim in banks or not.

Again about banks: you might want to make a bank of fishes and then make one
or two swim their way, not in the bank. Just make a copy (with a different
name) of the fish, and add both of them. The first one will be the bank (as
explained above) and the second will swim separately. Since you have only one
bank, this will be only needed once for each tank. This is possible to do
cause for EF there are no identical fishes if their name is different.

Having too many fishes is very confusing, so in fact, the best advice is:
store everything as roe, and have them handy. Have only the fishes you're
using in your aquariums, and the fish you plan to evolve or breed. If you have
lots of space, save with the roe a copy of the fish, and you only copy and
delete to avoid the beeps when restoring from roes. Managing a big fish
collection can be the difference between getting crazy and bored or keeping
interested in EF.

Please, if you think you have a good tip or fact regarding fishes, and it's
not shown here, submit it.

_________________________
[5-7] Distributing Fishes

Of course, the best way to distribute fishes is as roes. They take very little
space, and they are perfectly compatible between all versions of EF. Just add
a little text file with some notes about the fishes you're including, your
name, or any data you think is related to the fishes. It's specially useful
if you explain how you made the fish: catched, evolved or breeded? Or
genetically engineered? Should users use them as they are or do you suggest
the zoomed version?

Feel free to add pics to the file if the roes are replications of real fishes,
so users can compare (not all users will have an aquarium library!), or any
other file you think is needed to explain the existence of the fishes. Be
careful, cause adding a 500Kb TIFF file to a 4 roes collection will be no
good!

Ensure that the names of the fishes are ok, and they are not just RARE01,
RARE02, etc. If they are a lot of fishes, divide them into different packs,
or at least in different folders. In the other hand, don't be ashamed to
distribute only a fish, specially if it is worth it for you. You're the only
judger of your fishes.

Then pack them nicely inside a ZIP or HQX file, and submit them to any web
site which admits new submissions. There is a list in the appendix of such
sites. If you plan to distribute it from your web site, then be sure to serve
it in both HQX and ZIP file so unexperienced users of one compressor will have
available the other format.


___________________
[6] About Aquariums

_______________________
[6-1] Overview of Tanks

MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT TANKS: The tanks created in Mac are not compatible
with the DOS EF, and the tanks created in DOS are not compatible in the Mac
EF.

Ok, now you have tons of fishes, and you want to make a state-of-the-art tank
to see them swim. Or maybe you have that strange couple of incredible fishes
and want to make a custom aquarium to fit them nicely in a related
environment (I made a chinese style aquarium, music included, for the Dragon
and its variated forms, for example). For that, just knowing how to use the
tank designer might be enough for you. If not, read this general information
about tanks.

Tanks are the other strong side of EF. In one place, fishes, and in the other,
tanks. The rest you can do in EF is just to dress a little more these things.
They are real 3-D, although the objects are 2-D. But you can place any object
in any point of this 3-D space.

You can add fractal-generated plants, or fixed graphics, or animations either
fixed or floating, and of course fishes, and to ice the cake, more
fractal-generated music. This chapter will explain briefly the particularities
of designing aquariums.

As with fishes, which have a little image of them, when you save a tank EF
generates another little image for it. That's the running yellow bar when you
changed any graphics in the aquarium and save it. EF saves the aquarium almost
instantly, but it takes its time to resize the image of the tank.

________________________
[6-2] Sizes of Aquariums

At least in the DOS platform, there are three sizes for aquariums, each one
for each resolution. But since this is about 640x480, I will tell you the size
of a tank in this resolution. Since tanks are 3-D, there are three axis. The
size in pixels is approximate, cause they are shown for each object and you
can't make the object go past certain limits, and I was too lazy to make
certain calculations.

The vertical axis, top-bottom, goes from approximately 100 pixels to 450. The
transversal axis from left to right, goes from 0 to 640 (really hard to
believe, uh?). And the depth axis, from back to front, goes from 0 to 256.
Other resolutions will have other set of coordinates.

Now a question comes along. What if you see a 640x480 aquarium in the low-res
EF? Well, if the resolution is smaller than the tank, it's cropped. If the
tank is smaller than the resolution, it's pushed to the back-left-bottom part
and the rest is filled with the background and bottom chosen for the tank.

When you open a tank of a different resolution and you save it after a change
(even if you leave the position of the object you moved exactly the same), it
is saved in the new resolution, and the new image (with the correct size) is
created and saved in it.

____________________
[6-3] Tank Designing

Tank designing is an easy and gratifying task, it's just choosing what, and
where to place it, and doing it. The tank designing interface is very easy and
comfortable, and it's only confusing about changing the XZ and XY axis
movements and when you have too many objects in the aquarium (and that's not
that bad with the PREV and NEXT buttons!).

Actually you should only be aware that deleting objects doesn't actually
delete them, but hide them. They are only deleted when you save the tank.

_______________________________
[6-3-1] Bottoms and Backgrounds

This is the first step in designing the aquarium. You choose the sand, gravel
or stones for the bottom of the aquarium, and then the background, either
flat, with gradient or with plants.

About the frame... Well, I don't like it. Fishes swim in and out the tank, so
the frame makes it look unnatural. My advice is to not use the frame, but if
you think it's good, then go ahead. But without frames there is the illusion
than your tank is bigger in the sides than what you're watching in the screen.

__________________________
[6-3-2] Plants and Objects

There are many plant types and colors, and each time you place one they are
different. You can choose bed size and overall size, and generate the plant
till you're happy with the result. Note that setting the bed size in a side
instead in the center has a good effect to make plants look more variated. If
you want two plants exactly the same, just duplicate them.

About objects, well, you have some libraries and you can add your own artwork.
There are no special considerations about this.

__________________
[6-3-3] Animations

EF have animations which aren't fishes. It's cool to add a cute effect to the
tank. There are two kinds, the fixed and the free.
Fixed are for placing in the bottom of the tank (or above a rock or a
pedestal). They are added like any other graphic object in the tank.

Free animations are divided in swimming (seahorse), crawling (crab) and top
(cat paw). They are added like fishes, but in its own category. Swimming
animations do not swim in banks!

Note that an animation is counted in EF as a fish! So adding tons of
animations might make EF show only a few fishes. Just be careful.

____________________
[6-3-4] Adding Music

Well, an easy part. See the music chapter in this FAQ to learn a little about
it. Just be sure that the music match with the final aquarium. Test the music
you choose listening to it, to see if it sounds good (specially if it has been
converted from MIDI).

_____________________
[6-3-5] Adding Fishes

Read above in the fish chapter to learn about the swimming together feature.
The rest is easy, just choose the fishes you want and add them in any number.

Take into account the number of fishes you're adding. If you place too many,
EF will make them swim in turns. The first ones you add will be the first
shown. You will need to make some attempts to see if the number of fishes you
have added is the best for the tank.

________________________
[6-4] Tips for Designing

Make a good use of the "duplicate" feature. The same graphic good placed can
make a kewl effect, like an arch, or a complex big rock, etc. Experiment with
it a little (specially with reefs and rocks) and you'll see. Combining
duplication and flipping some of the duplicates achieves the best results.

If you're creating objects made of many other smaller objects, be careful. It
might look ok when doing it, but when fishes swim between them when it should
be a solid thing, it looks very bad. Just place all objects in the same Z
coordinates, and them move them in the XY axis. This is specially true if
you're making a building using pieces from the libraries.

Don't overcharge the tank with too many objects, or you will barely see the
fishes. Big objects should be placed in the back bottom part, and smaller ones
can be spread in the rest of the bottom. But don't be scared to put a big
plant in the front if you like, if the plant has thin leaves you will see the
fishes swimming through it.

Placing a fixed animation is always a good choice. I think I abuse of the
actinia, but it's so cute... A fixed animation spices up a lot a tank,
specially if you're placing just a few fishes.

Please, if you think you have a good tip or fact regarding tank designing,
and it's not shown here, submit it.

____________________________
[6-5] Distributing Aquariums

MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT TANKS: The tanks created in Mac are not compatible
with the DOS EF, and the tanks created in DOS are not compatible in the Mac
EF.

First of all, when you are watching your aquariums, if you double-click over
one of them, a small window with some information will pop-up. The information
in that window can be saved as a text file called PACKING.LST. Do it and add
that file to your tank pack.

Make a little text file about the aquarium, decide if you should add the roes
for fishes, and pack everything in a ZIP or HQX. Submit it to any web site
accepting tank submissions, or add it to your web site.

Tanks are not cross-platform. Mac tanks can't be seen inside the DOS EF, and
viceversa. Be sure to set it clear when distributing your tanks, so Mac users
don't waste time getting a DOS tank they will not be able to see, and
viceversa.

If you choose to distribute roes with the aquarium, cause you think they are
the best for it (instead of any other fish, and you see the tank and fishes as
a complete set), you might want to add a little information about the fishes
too.

If you used custom artwork, you might decide to distribute the ISB file so
other EF users can place it in their aquariums. Add a little information for
it too.

______________________________________
[6-5-1] Which Files go inside the Tank

Inside the tank they are included: the background and bottom, all graphic
objects, and the music file if any. Mac tanks will have a MIDI file, and DOS
tanks will have a XMI file.

These items are not saved within the tank file: all animations (fixed and
free) and fishes.

Take this into account when distributing tanks. Since all the EF releases have
the same animations, you should be only worried about fishes. And since the
best way to distribute fishes is as roes, do it that way.


__________________
[7] About Graphics

Graphics are the most powerful thing when making the tank design. Besides the
infinite plant variety, and the object libraries, you can use any image you
have (with a few restrictions) to place in your tank.

_________________________________
[7-1] Different Kinds of Graphics

For EF, once you've placed it in the tank, there is no difference between
plants, user objects or library objects. All of them share the same palette
and have transparency, and they can be duplicated and flipped. The only
difference is how you obtain them.

____________________
[7-2] Using PCONVERT

This is an excerpt of the EF READ.ME file of the DOS versions:

To use PCONVERT.EXE, the file you are going to convert must be a 256 color or
8 bit .pcx or .tif file. The background color must be color zero (in most
cases black) and the file needs to be smaller than 60K. In some cases, you may
have a file less than 60K that you have problems converting. This is due to
the fact that some art packages have a compressed format that is better than
the El-Fish compression. If you are converting a .tif file, it must be in the
un-compressed format.

I think it's clear enough to give you directions on preparing images for using
inside EF. Just load the EF palette (obtained from any EF capture!), and be
sure to use color 0 as the transparent color, and the colors above 16 for the
rest of the pic. Save it in PCX and done.

If your graphic is too big, split it in two images and merge them inside the
tank.

Again, you should be careful of the palette. PCONVERT will try to match the
image colors with EF internal colors, but if they are the same, no problem. If
they differ a little you might get undersired results. As explained in the
palette specifications (found in the appendix C), you will have only 240
colors in a 6 bit resolution to make the graphics.

For Mac this utility doesn't exist, cause (supossedly) they use directly PICT
files.

___________________________________
[7-3] Getting Graphics from El-Fish

Actually, getting images should be not very difficult. There are plenty of
them in many web sites. You should only be aware of the size and colors. Pale
colors will match poorly with the rest of EF graphics. Edit them using the
EF palette.

In fact, the "hard" part of all this is getting a good painting program, which
should allow to load palettes, and test transparency. I use PSP6 for PC's,
and Photoshop would be my choice for Mac's.


_________________________
[8] About Music and Sound

This chapter will only refer briefly to the sound in EF.
In the DOS versions, the default chord and songs for EF are saved inside the
file EFSND.BSE. Inside it you can find with any sound ripper the XMI's of the
program. For Mac, all the resources (graphics, cursors, sounds) are found
inside the executable. Open it with a resource editor.

The rest of the chapter will discuss (also briefly, there is not much to tell)
about music to use with tanks. Mac versions use MIDI files. The DOS EF can use
almost any XMI music file (very similar to MIDI music) inside a tank. Both
versions have also a fractal music generator. This little feature allows to
have exclusive music for each tank without too much effort.

_______________________________
[8-1] Using the Music Generator

When you choose to generate your music for your tank, you have eight styles
to choose from. Each style has three base songs, which are used then to make
the final song. Each one of the three bases is picked randomly each time you
select an style.

The songs generated are also randomly long, from a short 3 minute song to a
long 10 minutes piece. DOS users can even save it as XMI to use in other tanks
if they want. I don't know if Mac users can save the MIDI.

Actually choosing music seems to be not used for long. Most breeders
(including me) make the generation and selection very quickly, cause after all
the effort of designing the tank, we can't wait to hear 10 songs to choose the
best one. But, trust me, if you are a more little patient, your final tank
feeling can improve a lot.

Basically, I recommend to hear at least 20-30 seconds of the song before
saying "it's cute", cause these songs tend to be repetitive, and other times
change abruptly into another style or tempo. I've seen good aquariums which
I don't like to see for long cause I can't stand the music. Ok, ok, it's not
an MP3, but they are also notes and rhythms, and if they are awful, then the
rest is not as good as it should be. You have to try to ice the cake in tank
desigining when adding music, usually the last step. Don't be too lazy or
impacient.

_______________________________________
[8-2] Using External Music and MCONVERT

The Mac EF can use directly any MIDI file. MIDI files can be found anywhere
in internet without any problem.Where Mac users don't have a problem, DOS
users have the XMI limitation, I guess I should talk a little about it.

The DOS EF version includes a kewl utility to transform MIDI music files into
XMI for use inside EF. This is really fun, cause one of the funniest things I
ever made in EF is a dark tank with dark, scary fishes swimming with the
Beethoven's 5th symphony as background.

Read ahead in the limitations chapter about limits of this program when
converting from MIDI to XMI.

______________________________
[8-3] How to get tons of Music

Out there, in the web, there are tons of MIDI files ready for you to use in
your tank. What about some classical music, or the last pop hit, or just your
favorite artist and song for the tank? Just search a little and you will be
rewarded. Get a hold of the list in the appendix to start.

And there is also another way to get lots of music: from other games. Many
games use either MIDI or any other form of digital music (contraposed to
digitized music such as MOD, S3M and other waves). But also a good part of
games use music in XMI format. So you just get them in XMI, or in MIDI and
transform them to XMI and done. Certain games save their music files inside
other files, so a file ripper could be handy (unless you want to make some
hex editing!).

(Note from the author: I have a rather big collection of MIDI and XMI music
files from many games, so if you're interested in something in particular,
just contact me and I will gladly help you.)

And finally, there are music converters so you can use even more music formats
such as MUS, WRK, and many others.


______________________
[9] Things for El-Fish

___________________________
[9-1] The El-Fish "Runtime"

NOTE: Again, this is only about the DOS version. If any Mac user can tell me
the way and file list a Mac runtime needs, I will be glad to add it here.

The EF "runtime" is the minimal set of files needed to view a tank. They don't
include the EF executable ELFISH.EXE, but the VIEWER.EXE. Also includes the
necessary sound drivers, and the configuration files. Here is the list:

VIEWER.EXE      Executable file
EPICTURE.DBP    Picture file (cursors are read from here)
XX_MDR.DLL      Sound driver file
SOUNDLIB.MIR    Sound driver file
ELFISH.INS      Main configuration file
ELFISH.RED      Redirection file
ELFISH.DMO      Slide show file

No more files are needed besides the tank, the fishes and the animations, but
there are certain facts you should be aware of when preparing the runtime.

First of all, the cursor is read from the picture file, but nothing else.
There will be no icons, or splash screens, so actually you can trim this file.
In my 1.02 version, at 640x480, you can trim the file EPICTURE.DBP as small as
3830 bytes and it still works. If this file is too small you will notice it
cause the viewer will jump to DOS.

Unless you actually add all the sound drivers and the configuration utility,
it will use the sound driver you have set it for. I recommend the SB driver
cause it's now the most common.

The ELFISH.RED redirection file should be changed, so EF search for all the
files in the same folder. All the lines regarding folders should be changed to
contain no folder, like this:
PIC_DIR       := #;

Now you get it. You only need the tanks and their files, and edit the DMO file
to show them. As explained in the tank chapter, you need the tank file, the
animated fishes included in those tanks, and the MVY files for the animations
if any. Then edit the DMO file as explained to show the tanks in the order
you want. If you only have one to show, then add it with a very high time,
like 100,000 seconds or so (the viewer won't crash with high values).

Now pack everything to show it to a friend which doesn't have EF installed and
don't want it anyway. It's a cute gift. Or you can use it yourself for the
times when you don't want all the EF stuff but still want to view tanks from
time to time. The packed runtime can be as little as only 200 Kb, and the rest
depends on what do you add, but in only 1Mb you can have a good example of
what's EF.

_____________________________
[9-2] Other Planned Utilities

EF can have a complete set of utilities for it. Here are some ideas if any
programmer out there want to make them. Contact any EF fan (like me!) if you
need help and directions.

Random Slide Show Generator: It just reads the DMO file and rearranges the
tanks so next time the viewer runs you start with different aquariums.
Optionally it launch the viewer after the rearrangement.

ISO Compiler: This could be the most wanted utility I can imagine for me. It
just read some images and joins them inside an object library, so you will not
only have the Reefs, Rocks and Plants but also the Tech, the Flower and the
Heroes libraries, for example.

El-Fish Customizer: This one changes the EF cursors and icons for other ones.
Great to have a different interface, other than colors. It could also change
the splash screens, the fishing map, and even the credit list (in other file).

Fish Analyzer: An editor for roes. Basically it should be able to change a
mutant into a normal fish, but a little editing would be good too, if anyone
discovers the format of roes any day of these.

Mac-PC Tank Converter: Tanks are incompatible between the Mac and PC versions
of EF. 99% of the data is the same, but located at different places. I am
working in a way to completely disassemble the tank and reassemble it. The PC
to Mac converter is little harder, cause it will have to make also the MacBin
header.

Tank Stripper: It just get out those images and songs from tanks. Images and
music already inside can't be exchanged between aquariums, so it would be
handy.

ISB Recoverer: Kewl, we have a PCX to ISB converter, but what about the
inverse? Might be the less useful one, but it could help sometimes.

Tank Refresher: It takes new images to construct the bottom and background
libraries, so you can have new styles for tanks. What about fishes swimming
over a persian carpet with Van Gogh pictures in the wall? Cute!

Animation Editor: Using the already existing MVY files, create your own one.
TV's with some movie frames in them, or swimming coke cans, or instead that
cat paw, a good dragon's claw :)

Music Tool: Get out and in the default EF songs and sounds, and substitute
them with your own ones. It would be also good to translate back from XMI to
MIDI.

Speed Patcher: Just alters the EF executable so it uses a bigger maximum
animation number. See below the "only one fish" bug.

Sound Patcher: Just alters the EF executable so it never does anymore those
annoying beeps. See below the "always beeping" limitation.

El-Fish New Generation: Anyone out there is interested in porting EF to Linux
or Windows or MacOS or whatever, with more resolutions and 16/24 bits color
depth? A remake of EF is needed for all the EF fans worldwide. The same
concept re-executed.

You have other ideas? Have you located an interesting tool for EF? Tell me so
I can put it here.


_________________________
[10] Limitations and Bugs

Please note that all these things are observed in the DOS version of EF. Mac
limitations and bugs are not shown here. I don't have a Mac to make the needed
tests. Help!

______________
[10-1] Overall

EF can only have 300 objects of each class at the same time. These classes
are: fishes (roes are not included), tanks, object libraries, user objects,
and animations (the total of animations and fixed animated objects). That
means you can have 500 fishes in your FISH folder, but EF will only recognize
the first 300 it founds. You can have 200 fishes and 200 tanks thought. The
limit of 300 is just for each class.

The obvious limit is in the number of fishes, of course. The common solution
is to move and restore the fishes to other folders than the default FISH one.
I have inside that folder many others for each group of fishes. Anyway I
consider more practical to create copies of fishes for each aquarium and save
all together as a set to avoid confusion.

_____________
[10-2] Fishes

When catching, evolving or breeding fishes, EF keeps temporal fishes, which
you might save or not as you want. But EF can't keep more than 18 temporal
fishes at the same time. Also, it can't relocate temporal fishes between one
action and another, so if you catch a fish and you want to evolve it, you
should save it first, and once you have a good result, delete your temporal
fishes.

There should be a limit of how small can be a fish, but it seems that a black
point dancing in a tank has no thrill, so just make small gnomes.

In the big part, it seems that EF has a limit too, but I haven't found it. I
can animate the Ao fish zoomed at 640x480, giving an almost 2Mb FSH file, and
no problem. The fish looked great (errr, I mean, big) in the tank, with no
cropped edges. But there should be a limit for the fish frames, it seems to be
256x256 pixels. Any part of the fish outside that size frame will be cropped.
Please, anyone can confirm this?

EF only has a set of fishes (always of the same specie) for bank swimming. The
rest of the fishes, no matter the number or size, will swim each one in a
different direction. However, there is no limit for the bank size. It can be
of only two fishes or of 50 fishes.

And to finish with fishes, the "jumping fish bug". Certain fishes are animated
incorrectly, causing certain frames of the fish animation to be more up than
the rest of them. When the fish swims in the same place, those frames appear
and the fish seems to jump in the same place. Looks awful. I have seen this
bug many times, but right now I can't locate an example. Help! To my knowledge
there is no solution for this problem, besides evolving your fish till it
doesn't jump (which is not a solution anyway!). It has been observed in fishes
with long bottom fins and short top fins.

_____________________
[10-3] Tank designing

MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT TANKS: The tanks created in Mac are not compatible
with the DOS EF, and the tanks created in DOS are not compatible in the Mac
EF.

EF can only handle 128 fixed objects in your aquarium. That includes plants,
objects and fixed animated objects. That includes the "deleted" objects. To
get rid of the deleted objects, just save the tank and edit again. The places
will be free again allowing you to place more objects to the top limit of 128.

You can only add 256 different fishes to the tank, and 256 different
free animated objects. There should be a limit for total animations, but it
seems to be very high, like 32767 or 65535. I added 315 seahorses without
problem (besides taking too long), and inside the tank file, it's saved in a
2 byte integer. I don't know if there is really a limit for the total, but
it's not really needed, cause EF has an internal limit of how many animations
it shows at the same time, and EF just makes turns for the animations, so when
one enters another exits.

I haven't detected a limit in the final aquarium file size, but if you create
a too big plant, EF might refuse to place it and it will tell you to redo the
plant.

__________________________
[10-4] Converting Graphics

The original picture, before converting it to ISB, should not be larger than
60Kb in size. That limits greatly the size of the graphics you can use to
spice up your tank.

The only solution is to split the original image into two or more images, and
then join them inside the tank.

_______________________
[10-5] Converting Music

This is copied from the El-Fish Readme file:

If you try to convert a MIDI file that does not have the
volume set inside the midi file, it will play at a very low
volume. For a midi file to be converted to the proper El-Fish
format, it should be authored in channels 2 through 10 where
channel 10 contains all percussion tracks.

Until now I haven't found a MIDI file which doesn't work for EF properly.
Anyway my knowledge of structure of MIDI files is very little, so who knows.

Many XMI files (specially from other games) have been tried with EF without
problem. Just be sure they are long enough and not a plink or a couple of
notes, or your fishes will look like they are swimming in a modern gabba
disco.

_________________________
[10-6] The Annoying Beeps

EF uses speaker beeps (and I mean the classic internal speaker beeps) to warn
when certain operations are finished. For example, when restoring fishes from
roes, it beeps for each fish, which can be a lot bothering when restoring lots
of fishes at the same time. But it doesn't beep for other long operations,
instead it plays the nice harp, such as entering a file manager.

It's kinda stupid that way, cause you can't turn off the beeps. You can turn
off the sound, but not the beeper. All it does is mute the soundcard. The beep
remains, and there is no normal way to deactivate it.

A solution could be the use of a TSR which intercepts the callings to the
speaker and mutes it. I have one but it doesn't work in my pentium. It would
be nice to locate one or more utilities which can do this with EF.

Another solution would be a patch for the EF executable file, which stops the
beeps. Any programmer interested?

______________________________________
[10-7] Too few fishes at the same time

EF uses a little algorithm to determine the speed of your computer, and then
figure out the maximum number of animations it can show without them getting
slower than they should be. This is neat but the algorithm has a serious bug.

Modern computers (in a normal P-200 it happens) are too fast for what that
algorithm predicted. The result is saved in a too little space. Let me
explain it clearly. The algorithm ranges the speed with a number, let's say
it uses 2 bytes to store that result. So the results can be from 0 to 65535.
But with a pentium, imagine that the result would be 78000 (for example, I
don't know the real numbers). But when storing that number inside the 2 bytes,
the space is not enough. So it only stores the modulus of the
more-than-2-bytes number. So for EF the computer has a speed of aprox 12500.

Now EF takes that number and starts to decide how many animations it can show.
10000 units of speed for the background process, and 5000 units for each
animation larger than this, and 10000 for each animation larger than this
other (again I don't know the real numbers, these are only as examples). So
for EF your puter is too slow, it will only show one animation at a time cause
for EF that's what your computer can handle.

There is other explanation, it can be caused if the number is stored as signed
and the result is too big to be positive (so a result of 32768 would be read
as -1). Anyway the final effect is the same.

In a pentium 200 the result is only one fish at a time, no matter how small it
is or how many you put, it will only show one. I would like to hear more
experiences about this, maybe a PII-300 will show 7 fishes but not more, for
example. That way I could figure out the way it really decides the speed.

All this stuff is explained to tell you that the problem is not that you have
too few megs of RAM or your computer is too slow. It's to explain you that
your puter is actually too fast.

One solution is, of course, slowing down your computer. I use a little program
called Mo'Slo, which can slow your computer by percentages. If I slow my P-200
to 68% of its speed, EF shows tons of fishes. If I slow it only to 69% (that's
only 1% faster) EF only shows one fish at the same time, again. The advice is
that you should experiment with different slowdowns, so EF can show many
fishes and you don't waste CPU. If you slow too much, again EF will start to
show too few fishes at the same time.

The problem is that if you use Mo'Slo directly with EF, it doesn't work. You
have to create another shell with Mo'Slo slowing down COMMAND.COM, and under
that shell, run EF. In The El-Fish Breeder's Guild you can find a pack with
Mo'Slo and detailed instructions.

Another solution is to make a patch for the EF executable which, for example,
let's you hard-code inside EF the maximum number of animations at the same
time, instead of letting it use the result of the speed test algorithm. Any
programmer interested? :)

_________________________________
[10-8] Other Limitations and Bugs

If you find any bug or limitation in EF not shown here, please send it to me.
Don't forget to explain it, telling the version of EF you're using, the
environment where EF is running and all the data and ideas you have.


________________
[III] Appendixes
_________________________
[A] Resources in Internet

Any contributions to this part will be welcomed. If you find a good resource
in Internet, or if you have EF related things in your site, please tell me
about it.

All the URL's found here were checked in march 2000.

_________________________________
[A-1] El-Fish Web Sites and FTP's

Electronic Arts
Web: www.ea.com
FTP: ftp.ea.com/pub/maxis/el_fish/
This is the company which absorbed Maxis, and it is the only official place
for EF things. I haven't found any reference to EF in the web pages, besides
the "no current issues for this product". In the FTP you will find a few roes
and the SVGA patch for DOS. However, there is an obscure URL (still working
but the references to it were deleted in EA) with EF tech information at
www.ea.com/techsupp/maxis/elfish.htm. It says there is a pentium ready version
of EF (and 1.02 is not pentium ready!). Any help on this issue?

Scootie and the El-Fish
Web: www.upf.org/~nuttall/scootie/
made by Susan Langston Pence - pence@upf.org
This was the first El-Fish related page I found like two years ago. It has
lots of things. Aquariums, roes, the El-Fish installation disk (DOS 1.02) and
some links. Unfortunately it has been updated since april of 1999. In the past
she accepted roe submissions.

Mark and Trish's El-Fish Page
Web: www.geocities.com/rainforest/8350/
made by Mark and Trish - mark-and-trish@geocities.com
This page has lots of roes, with pictures of them and tree families. Cute!
Also some links. Presumably accepting sumbissions. Last update was july 1999.
This FAQ is distributed here.

Senusi's El-Fish Archive
Web: nimbus.ocis.temple.edu/~slewis00/elfish.html
made by Senusi Lewis - gemstone@astro.ocis.temple.edu
Maybe the best EF page out there. It has from contests to the finest tanks. It
accepts submissions and also distributes the EF program, for Mac. The roes can
be found in nice families and sets too. It is an alive site, last update was
in february 2000 and probably Senusi will update again soon.

The El-Fish Tank
Web: members.aol.com/pspulick/elfish.htm
made by Phill SPulick - PSpulick@Aol.com
A cute page with some general information, tanks, roes and even some artwork
for tanks and music. This might seem a dead site cause the last update was in
september 1998. But I contacted recently with Phill and he will do a good
update very soon.

The Realm of El-Fish
Web: www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Bay/3395/main.html
made by Brian Cody?
This has four sets of roes, and to my knowledge, there is nothing else
(besides broken links) in this site. It seems to be dead.

Nick's Collection of El-Fish Related Sites
Web: www.oz.net/~gurfle/elfish.html
made by Nicholas Dreyer - gurfle@oz.net
Just a couple of links and a short short review of what's EF. Seems to be
really dead...

The Lady Phantom El-Fish and Warcraft 2 archive
Web: underworld.fortunecity.com/virtua/831/index.htm
made by Lady Phantom - lady_phantom1@yahoo.com
A rather good collection of roes, but it seems that this part of her site is
frozen.

To the extent of my knowledge there are no web rings or mailists exclusively
for EF. If you want to maintain any of these, notify me!

____________________________
[A-2] El-Fish related things

Animatek
Web: www.animatek.com
This is the web site of the creators of El-Fish. Now they do other things in
3-D modeling, but it could be interesting for you to visit.

Maxis
Web: www.maxis.com/games/
It might be "dead" but still kicking. If you go to the root of maxis.com they
will redirect you to the simcity page. If you go to the above URL you will get
to the pages for other Maxis games. Note that EF is not shown there. These
pages are also available from the EA site. If you put an URL like this:
www.maxis.com/products/el_fish/, it sais it doesn't exist. But this URL is
still found in many link pages in the web, so the conclusion is that it was
deleted. Why?

Home of the Underdogs
Web: www.theunderdogs.com
They review El-Fish briefly and have a link to where you can download the 1.02
DOS version (Scootie and the El-Fish). But besides that, it's my premier place
to get abandonware. Many golden titles are here, go there and start your
harvest!

GameFAQs
Web: www.gamefaqs.com
The home of all FAQs for games. They have thousands of cheats, FAQs and game
data, with message boards and so on. This FAQ can be found here.

Channel 1 File Library
Web: www.filelibrary.com
They have in their archives a few roes, but you must register to get them.
This is almost the only place besides the El-Fish related web sites where I've
found things for EF. They have only 5 sets of roes, which are also in my
private collection (tip).

TidBITS Issue 231
Web: seawolf.cac.psu.edu/TidBITS/tidbits-231.html#lnk7
This URL contains the TidBITS magazine bnumber 231, which contains a rather
big and good review of El-Fish (from a Mac point of view!).

Virtual Pet
Web: www.virtualpet.com/vp/index.htm
Virtual pets, enough said by now. They have a review of El-Fish in this URL:
www.virtualpet.com/vp/farm/elfish/elfish.htm with some captures. The rest of
the sites is about computer tamagotchies and alikes (Aquazone included).

CD-ROM Guide
Web: cd-rom-guide.com/cdprod1/cdhrec/000/678.shtml
Besides other CD-ROM reviews, I've found this strange page. Well the page is
not strange. But it says that a CD version of El-Fish in japanese can be
obtained. Any info on this? And, the review of the program is AWFUL! Go there
and have a laugh; what you can say when you don't know what are you talking
about.

Known Users
Web: www.savetz.com/ku/ku/reynolds_from_russia_with_glub_may_1994.html
This Mac magazine also has a review of EF. Go there, it's from a fun point of
view.

Aquazone
Web: www.aquazone.com
This is a program very similar to El-Fish. The difference is that you have to
buy the fishes! All the fishes are real, and it's more an aquarium simulator
than anything else. I got a copy in 1998 as a bargain but when I went to
install it it was in japanese! Any Aquazone user out there please contact me
to tell me a little more about this program.

MOPy
Web: 193.129.255.102/mopyfish/
This is an INCREDIBLE fish pet, done by Globalbeach and made free thanks to
Hewlett Packard. Visit the avobe URL for more info on this red nice fish and
its makers.


PetFish
Web: www.petfish.com
This is the next generation of the El-Fish family. Dissapointingly, it only
covers the rendering engine. Watch awesome and beautiful fishes based on real
ones on your desktop. Even the FSH files have a common structure compared to
EF fishes! Worth a look, lots of free fishes to download (but to feed them you
will have to buy the food!). This seems to be also the home of KEIS Intl.


Real Aquarium and Fishes Links:

Aqualink
Web: www.aqualink.com/
They claim to be the "largest aquaria web resource in the world." Go there
and check if it's true! In their software archives they have many things and
programs about fishes, including a 2 meg compilation of EF tanks and roes.

All Things Fish!
Web: www.cling.gu.se/~cl2lryd/allfish.html
If you like fishes this is your page. With tons of links to fishy webs, and
also links to pics of fishes (real and virtual!).

The Virtual Fishtank
Web: www.tcm.org/html/fishtank/index.html
I placed this web site here not cause it's very fishy. It is related to a fish
museum, made with many virtual experiences. I placed it here cause you will
find among the pages some of te most beautiful and strange fish pics.

_______________________
[A-3] Graphic Resources

Clipart Download
Web: www.clipartdownload.com
Maintained by Corel, this is my favorite resource for cliparts. You can find
many objects and themes as WMF images, and with a little retouch have them
ready for EF. They ask you to register but it's free.

TuDogs
Web: www.tudogs.com
This is a free resources directory. Among all the things in this superb web,
you will find a good image resource directory. In it you will fulfill all your
graphic needs. The URL of this directory is

_____________________
[A-4] Music Resources

MIDI.com
Web: www.midi.com
This is one of the best MIDI archives (files and other MIDI sites) I've found
in the web. Go there and search for your favorite music, or get some new
original work.

midi.net
Web: www.midi.net
Also a good site for searching MIDI files and sites. Get a hold of this one
too!

_______________________________
[B] Modifications and Utilities

Well, this list is FAR from complete. Specially cause only DOS or Windows
utilities are mentioned here. Mac users, help please!

______________________________
[B-1] Modifications of El-Fish

You can get the El-Fish SVGA Installation patch by request. Send a note to me
and I'll send it to you, but with the explanation in chapter 10, subchapter 7
you shouldn't need it. This installation workaround is only for the EF SVGA
patch for DOS EF versions.

There are no more modifications for El-Fish available at this moment. If you
create one or you know about them, please notify me.

There are no known things for Mac, sorry.

_____________________
[B-2] El-Fish Patches

You can find the only current patch done for EF, the El-Fish SVGA patch, from
the FTP of Electronic Arts. Note that this is only needed for DOS versions of
EF. It will upgrade your EF installation to EF version 1.02 and will add the
support for the 640x480 mode.

To the extent of my knowledge, there is no "pentium" patch. Let me explain it.
The SVGA patch has new executables which allow EF to run in a pentium machine
without crashing. But the only-one-fish-swimming bug is still there. The
"pentium version", which doesn't have this bug, was available through EA in
the past, but now not. If anyone has this version please contact me.

_______________________
[B-3] Graphic Utilities

Paint Shop Pro 6 is the latest version of a shareware program which I think
it's the best for editing graphics with the EF palette. You can find the
evaluation version in www.jasc.com. It supports palettes, and MANY graphic
file formats. It works in Windows 95/98/NT.

For Mac users I'll recommend Adobe Photoshop. Yes there is a PC version, but
since I don't know about a program like PSP6 for the Mac, Photoshop is my
choice. It's pretty big for working with just some EF artwork, but...

A screen capture program for DOS could be handy sometimes. I use PCXDump,
which is pretty old but very good in my opinion. Version 9.3 can be found at
www.hotlink.com.br/users/bello/Paginas/appz.htm and
www.daimi.aau.dk/~jesperf/Pcxdump/pcxdump.html. Note that the last one is the
official URL of PCXDump, but it didn't work when I checked it. This program
is made by Jesper Frandsen. You can find a review (and maybe working links) at
www.prc.dk/user-friendly-manuals/ufm/tip-9703.htm.

_____________________
[B-4] Music Utilities

One of the music formats out there is the HMI. You can convert it to MIDI with
a small DOS program I've found at www3.sympatico.ca/jdrexler/midi.

You will find many other music converters in the Fencer's Music Archive at
lide.pruvodce.cz/Fencer/emarchive.html. It also contain music rippers so you
can get that cool tune from your game. (Tip: here you will find a link to
the mighty Cubic Player home page!!!!!).

A few more music converters can be found at the MSNavigator URL
interjump.netzpro.de/converter.html. Be warned, you will find them among other
file converters.

For even more converters visit The Converter's Paradise, at
hem.spray.se/joakim.slettengren/

Any MIDI Mac converters out there?

_______________________
[B-5] General Utilities

Mo'Slo is a good program for slowing down your PC. It has to be used with the
COMMAND.COM shell file and then run EF under it, but it works good and you
can adjust the percentage of slowdown. It's shareware, and you can get latest
free version from www.hpaa.com/moslo. This could be needed if you're running
EF under DOS and have the only-one-fish-swimming bug.

WinZip is my fav ZIP compressor (and decompressor), it's shareware and can be
found at www.winzip.com. Visit www.completelyfreesoftware.com for other free
ZIP programs. For Mac, ZipIt is a good choice, find it anywhere in the web.

Aladdin Expander 5.0 is free and it supports both ZIP and HQX files for
extraction. It's available for Windows and Mac, and can be downloaded from
www.aladdinsys.com.

If any Mac user out there can tell me any good program and where to get it, I
will be very thankful.

I am also searching for a free, generic DOS mouse driver and an exact internet
location to get it, so I can include it here. Any clue?

This is not exactly an utility:
For futher information about certain EF related file formats, (such as PCX,
TIFF, XMI and so) you should visit Wotsit's File Format Collection at
www.wotsit.org.

____________________________________________
[C] Format of Files and other Specifications

Right now I have very little information about the format of EF files and
other specifications, so if you want to help, please do.

I am compiling the results in the "El-Fish Unofficial Specs", read ahead to
learn a little more about it. But here I will also include the palette specs
so people wanting to make graphics for EF have them handy. Also, the mutant
flag for roe files is included here so everyone has something new to do :)

_________________________
[C-1] The El-Fish Palette

This is the palette as found in the DOS EF version. To my knowledge, the Mac
version uses the same palette.

The EF palette is a 256 color palette, in 6-bit resolution. Internally, it
saves the colors in RGB 6 bit values, from 0 to 63. You can find two parts in
the palette, first the interface colors and then the general colors. All the
EF interface, such as menus, file managers, etc. use the interface colors, and
fishes and graphics use the general colors. This allow the color customization
without changing actual fish or tank colors.

The EF palette can be obtained just making a capture of a tank. Then extract
the palette with any paint program which allows it. Note that the colors
stored in the capture will be 8-bit values, with values for RGB from 0 to 252.

Now, here is a list for all the color indexes and how EF uses them.

First, the interface colors. Colors through 1 to 11 are the twelve
customizable colors, the rest are fixed, except 13-14, which aren't clear what
are they used for.

Idx Usage
000 This is the background color, and you can't change it. It's always black.
001 The BODY color.
002 The SHADE color.
003 The FRAME color.
004 The TEXT color.
005 The PICK color.
006 The ON color.
007 The OFF color.
008 The FOLDS color.
009 The ACTIVE color.
010 The ENTRY color.
011 The DISPBODY color.
012 Unselected item color. Can't be customized, and it's little dark gray.
013 Unknown, but it's always the same as the BODY color.
014 Unknown, but it's always the same as the BODY color.
015 Selected item color. Can't be customized, always white.

The rest of the colors are the general EF colors, which are used for graphics
in tanks and fishes. These colors go from index 16 to index 255. When turning
off light when viewing a tank, these are the colors which are dimmed. Actually
the colors are about 4 times darker than normal ones (exact ratio is 3:10). To
obtain a palette with these dim colors, you should use an external screen
capturing program, cause EF still saves the capture with bright colors.

The general colors should be the only used when creating graphics. PCONVERT
only uses these when transforming the palette. The only other color you should
use is the index 0 pure black as transparent color. In index 16 you will find
another black, this one will be shown as black and will not be transparent.

___________________
[C-2] El-Fish Files

I am working hard with all the file specifications. I am compiling all my
results in the "El-Fish Unofficial Specs". This file can be found on the
FAQ distribution places as EFUSPCxx.ZIP where xx is the version of the file.

Here you have a sample of the specifications you can find there:
Roe Files
Fish files
Tank files
MVY Animations
ISO Libraries
ISB Images
Background and Bottom files
Credits List
PRG Files
Image Resources in PIC and DBP files
Plant Seeds
Fish Catching Library
Help System

This list can vary, cause it's only the list of all the file specifications
which can be done for EF. If I can't figure out a file specification then I
will not show that file's specification in the Unofficial Specs. Currently
there is some about date and author's encoding format, roe files, and tank
files.

____________________
[C-3] The Mutant Gen

As I said, I am working on the roe file specification. But many breeders out
there will appreciate this info: the little byte which makes a roe to generate
a mutant or nomal fish is located in the first byte of the roe file.

If that first byte is 00 then the fish will be normal. If that byte is 20 in
hex (32 in decimal) then the fish is a mutant. If you get any mutant fish' roe
and set the first byte to 0 with the help of any hex editor, then you will be
able to evolve and breed that fish like it was not a mutant.

Any non-zero value in the first byte is interpreted by EF as a mutant fish.

The current work of the roe files is pretty ahead. I've located the mutant
gen, located and decoded the date of creation and author of the fish, and I've
located the 56 genes in the roe file, and I am still working on interpreting
them (still 20 unidentifyied genes!). Wish me luck or offer me help.

_______________________
[D] History of this FAQ

03-08-2000 First preview of this FAQ. It was never published. Only some true
           El-Fish fans got it to take some final feedback. This first version
           was done in less than 10 days and it already had 2000 lines.

03-16-2000 Version 1.0 is finished and gets out on GameFAQs and some El-Fish
           web sites. Main changes are in the story of El-Fish, adding some
           tech information, discovering some obscure EF references, including
           the OS/2 game settings, and then some touches here and there.
           Specially made many adjustments to include more Mac specific
           information. Added two EF related sites! And some more sites about
           fishes or EF story related sites.

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