Update (May 27, 2021): I may still finish this, but meanwhile there are other petz guides on the internet, for example:
At Unique Petz.
Steps to play Petz:
1) Get the game. Follow the instructions on this page. Unfortunately, the installers don't seem to work on windows 10, despite the site instructions. https://mazzew.neocities.org/games.html another place to get it, petz 5 with petzA installed. "for best results, install somewhere other than program files." Another working installer (petz 4)(ubisoft version..) came from a google drive somewhere... is it in my favorites..?
2) Download and install PetzA for fixes and improvements to the base game. *this is part of the instructions on the above link, actually*
3) (Optional) Get a copy of the PF Magic Official Downloads for Petz 3 and 4. **the game folders from acid-trip come with these already!**
4) (Optional) The Petz Wiki has a list of fixed and improved versions of the original breeds. **TO DO: Find links to the Petz3->Petz4 conversion of the completed/missing outfits.**
5) (Optional) For custom fan-made downloadable content, look in these lists of fan pages:
The Petz Wiki's Website Index
The Petz Museum
The Petz Site Directory
and of course Carolyn's Creations, because it is a CLASSIC.
TO GET STARTED WITH HEXING:
Basic info: Petz is a series of virtual pet games released from 1995 to 2002 for Windows computers. The intellectual property has changed owners and is currently owned by the dreaded Ubisoft, who has basically none nothing of importance with it. Fortunately, these games are very easily modified to add various types of custom content. This is known as hexing (so named because it was oiginally done in hex editors). Hexing is primarily used to add new breeds of cat and dog to the game, as well as bizarre fantasy creatures (that still have the brain of a dog or a cat no matter what). Petz has a small but dedicated fan community, despite the IP being neglected and despite hosting sites such as Angelfire and Geocities being shut down, taking fan sites with it. In Petz, plurals of proper nouns/game entities are spelled with a z. Petz, Dogz, Toyz, Babyz, Oddballz...
In-depth info: In these games, creatures are rendered in a unique way, in 2d/3d, by means of "ballz" connected by lines. The shape of the pet/breed is stored in the LNZ section of the file. Use a hex editor, Petz Workshop, and/or LNZ Pro...
Steps to play Petz:
1) Obtain the game by downloading the installer for free somewhere.
2) Figure out how to install and run the desired version of Petz on your operating system.
3) Download and install PetzA. This adds many features and improvements to the game, such as the ability to take out more than two petz at a time. You don't have to do this but I highly recommend it. (It may be broken on Windows 10?)
4) (Optional) Download extra content and place it in the relevant folders.
Links up to date as of May 01, 2021.
The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine has existed since the mid 90s and allows you to archive web pages. Very useful for excavating old sites that are currently not avalabile on the web.
Bookmark Save Page Now on the Wayback Machine. You should use this to save things you like, because in the Petz fan community, links tend to get dead a lot.
Carolyn's Creations. A classic and beloved hexing resource. Has text-based tutorials as well as hexed breedz.
Acid trip Download link for all petz games (including babyz and oddballz).
PF Magic Official Downloads for Petz 3 and 4. (Images of most of these, except for the Petz 4 toy pack and exotic seeds, can be seen on the wayback machine's archived version of petz.com). Most of the Petz 3 items were included in Petz 4 except for the menorah and some of the clothes (making the outfits incomplete in Petz 4). Archived version.
Download links for Playscene Converter and Runaway Rescue.
Sherlock Software PetzA can be found here. Also, some extremely useful hexing tools. Namely Petz Workshop and LNZ Pro.
LNZ Pro: "LNZ Pro is an all-purpose Petz, Babyz and Oddballz file editor. It can edit breeds, pets, babies, toys, playscenes and other Petz resources. It is a complete replacement for the tool "Resource Hacker", but misses out on the annoying Resource Hacker bugs that can corrupt your file! "
PetzA source code on github.
Resource Hacker for decompiling excecutable files. It extracts resources from an exe file, which you can browse.
The unofficial Petz Wiki. There's not much here yet...
Misc hexing research and info:
Petz stuff.xlsx is a google sheet with secret advanced hacking info.
Kalium's petz hexing info, including: tutorial/download for LNZ for a "blank slate" dog/cat breed, swapping personalities, research notes on SCP (script) files (unpacked via resource hacker), download link for SCP Reader, and a list of weird unused animations. (Note to self: How to archive an entire site easily?)
Petz animation decoder by sherlock software.
Common routines for petz utilities on GitHub, also by Nick
From the above: prebuilt viewer for a few dog animations. You can see all the petz animations, including unused ones, in Petz Workshop. This is just cool because of the rainbow shading on the ballz.
Interview with a petz dev.
List of petz traits we got from a dev. Before we got this, all this was a mystery....
Pig science. Archived.
Cutting edge of petz research:
Replacing animations with other animations, causing strange things to happen. Apparently (according to discord) you do this by swapping bdt files (secret animation files you need to unpack from the breed file). A bdt file corresponds to a two-digit-hexadecimal-number action Not only are there secret animations (seen in Petz Workshop) but it's possible to *put them back in the game*! Bunnies float to the top of the play area when they fly. The swooping/flying is very cool how it repeats. (seen in a video I secretly downloaded from discord/google drive.) Othertimes, messing with this stuff can make them explode....
There is also a way to add items to the adoption center.
Things to find/include documentation for (search in the discord and include the info): Matrix memory, YALP, goal descriptors. Alpo, oberon... Also read up on brexing and unibreeds, which are new techniques that didn't exist last time I did anything with Petz.
Goal descriptors are 0-100 decimal numbers that determine a pet's personality. The breed determines the value range that a pet can have.
.scp files were known to Carolyn Horn all the way back in 2003, when she posted a tutorial on breed personality swapping and making "Flealess Alley with Attitude."
Before LNZPro was developed, Resource Hacker was the tool for this (also known as ResHacker or ResHack). But Carolyn Horn also developed "easy edit packages" as an alternative. ResHacker vs Easy-edit
Omar's Petz Debugger was an early tool used to view petz brain sliders, back before PetzA. (Version 2.0 of PetzA was released back in 2005! A lot of this stuff is very old.)
Carolyn wrote about 2nd-gen breeding problems back in 2005; I believe it has been solved since then.
Slider-brain debug keys: Changing the registry (in Petz 2-5 and Babyz) to view brain sliders without using an external tool. According to the Petz Hacking Discord server, there are also registry keys that let you take an even deeper look inside a pet's brain...
Early research into the innards of Petz, posted in 2009 (Link to archived post even though the original is still up).
List of adjectives: