In 2006, UbiSoft released
You can visit the new UbiSoft web site for these Petz games here.
2006 and later Catz, Dogz and Horsez games
As of late 2006 and beyond… Just a note to anyone who potters along to Petz.com or Babyz.net and sees the new games that were released recently.
Most of you already knew that a bunch of virtual life games have been released by UbiSoft since 2006, for various consoles and for the PC. Hamsterz Life, Hamsterz 2 and Bunnyz are apparently only for the Nintendo DS, Horsez and Horsez 2 are released for NDS and PS2 as well as for PC, and there are some wildlife “petz” games also for the NDS centered around Tigerz and Dolphinz. various Catz and Dogz games have been released for mobile phone, Gameboy Advance, NDS, PS2, Wii and PC. Although most of these would be playable and, presumably, moddable on the PC using emulators, it’s the native PC versions that I’m talking about here. If anyone wants to mod, or hex, the NDS or mobile phone versions of the games you’ll find very active modding communities amongst the emulator scene. There is also a PS2 emulator for anyone who wants to try that, and there may well be a modding community for PS2 games, but I don’t believe that there is any way as yet to play a Wii game on an emulator.
Although they are named Catz and Dogz or Catz 2 and Dogz 2, the latest “Petz” games for Windows are not really part of the Petz series we know and love.
They are not really a “Petz 6” although for convenience people have referred to them that way; the first two were also known as Catz 2006 and Dogz 2006 for a while. There are many differences between these latest games and the ones that we have so far enjoyed, the most obvious being that the catz and dogz are 3D and that you have to earn points, or coins, to get even the basics that your pet will need. I’m sure a lot of people will enjoy the games, but they are not a part of the original series and you willnot be able to import your petz from Petz 5 or earlier. If you enjoy these games, you might like to check out Lost Sock Gamestitles — Puppy Luv, Kitty Luv, Pony Luv and Hollywood Pets are very similar in many ways.
As regards modifying the games, however, things have been made easy enough for us “hexers” apart from the 3D models. The files used by the game are:
LUA, INI, and TXT files all of which are text files which can be edited in Notepad.
You’d have to get used to what all the various column headers and key words mean, but there’s no harm in experimenting — so long as you keep backups of everything of course. The saved-game files, which is where your pets are stored, are .sav files, also just text files, which can be edited. They are stored in your
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Ubisoft\Catz (or Catz2)
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Ubisoft\Dogz (or Dogz2).
TGA files which are a recognisable format for most paint programs.
WAV and MP3 files which are editable sounds.
DDS files, which are actually editable with the correct tools. They can easily be edited using a plug-in which works with either Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop, available for free from Nvidia’s site — the file is dds.8bi
GR2 files, which are “Granny 3D” files. These are not so easy to edit and are, in a way, the 3D “bones” of the game. Of course anyone who has the Granny 3D SDK would be able to edit them, but that’s beyond the pocket of most of us I’d have thought! I have heard rumours that there is a Milkshape plug-in that allows these to be edited, but if not there is at least a tool that allows them to be viewed, obtainable for free from the Granny 3D site
Update as of mid-2008 — there is now a free way to extract the GR2 files so that they can be edited in a 3D modelling program. A close friend of mine called Topper Carson has the games and he found that there are some amazing people who have been picking away at the Gr2 files which so many games use these days. For useful tools and info pop along to the “Decode Gr2” site. So theoretically you should be able to modify anything that you wish in these games.
The Horsez game, as with Catz 2006 and Dogz 2006 and beyond, is not a real part of the Petz series. You’re supposed to care for your chosen horse as well as enter it for shows and have some adventures with it, and the environment is a 3D one. For anyone who has the game and wants to edit it, the graphics are in the form of editable .tga files which you should be able to edit in a reasonable paint package, and the “bones” of it are in the form of .nmo files which will have been created via Virtools. If you have Virtools of course you’ll be able to edit them. I don’t know if there is a cheaper utility for editing such things, but if you’re keen you could have a look around Google. The saved-game files are in a directory off the Horsez one, called Save, and the files in there are .txt files and therefore should be easy to edit. You’d have to get used to what all the various column headers and key words mean, but there’s no harm in experimenting — so long as you keep backups of everything of course.
Babyz players, the only new games available for you from Ubisoft now seem to be only for the NDS. So far there is “Imagine Babies” (also called “Imagine Babyz” in the US) and possibly due for release in September 2008, “Imagine Baby Club”. The first one is probably closer to the original Babyz experience, but in my opinion neither seems like a good replacement. They are part of the extremely girly Imagine series for NDS
A footnote for Babyz players — there is a new game out called “Bratz Babyz”, which starts up with a “Babyz.exe”, which you might stumble across when looking for updates etc. As far as I know, it is not a UbiSoft game and it is certainly not in any way a new kind of Babyz game, plus the Babyz.exe will not work with your old favourite babyz game.
I doubt that I’ll be editing any of these newer PC games. Even apart from the fact that they aren’t likely to work under my beloved Win 95, I don’t really have the time even to play these days, and as for my skill in editing graphics, well… let’s just say I’m “graphically challenged”, LOL. Of course I’d have no trouble cheating in the catz and dogz games, as the saved-game (i.e. pet) files are just LUA files — in other words, they are editable in Notepad.
For people who are interested in such things, since 2006 the rather complex ownership of the games is as follows. The Petz titles are now trademarks owned by “Ubisoft Entertainment”. The mobile phone versions of Petz, Catz and Dogz have been released by Gameloft. The DS Catz games were developed by Powerhead Games while the DS and GBA Dogz games and the Catz GBA game are copyright to MTO Inc. For the Wii and PS2 the Dogz and Catz games are copyright to YUKE’S Co. as well as Ubisoft. For the PC, the Dogz and catz games were developed by ImaginEngine which is a division of Foundation 9 Entertainment.
It’s all a long way from the day in 1995 when P.F. Magic created and put up for download their own unique and exciting game “Dogz”. You could download it and try it, and if you liked it you could buy a key online — which also was a new concept back then. It was so popular that it was also then released for the Apple Mac in 1996.