A Second Life
All of This Hurts to Write
I'm going to start out with the easy part: Lily Frogs. They are a great breedable. In fact, they are one of the BEST breedables to come along in a long time. They come in an assortment of colors and patterns. They are four prims each. They hop high in the air. They have two eggs a week (I'd like more). They blink their eyes and turn themselves around. They are fine, frisky, and fun to watch.
Lily Frogs could also be a lot better.. The really good news is that most of Lily Frogs' issues are NOT technical. It would be fantastic if the frogs did amplexus for two days. You'd see who had mated with whom, and frogs in real life do this. It's utterly G-rated. Ninth graders watch frogs mate (real ones) in the biology classroom aquarium. Amplexus lasts all day long or more. It's an embrace. Frogs fertilized their eggs externally in real life.
Lily Frogs species names do not resemble them at all. Here are the Lily Frogs' "real life" counterparts. They are called microhylid frogs. Their taxonomic family is made up of a whole bunch of frog species (several genuses of them) with narrow mouths. More importantly, there are microhylids that bear froglets rather than tadpoles. These frogs are arboreal. They live in rain forests not ponds. Mississippi Gopher frogs belong to the family Ranidae. You've got crosses of species thrown around carelessly that are absolutely impossible (These creatures are different at the family level!) in real life.
I don't have this problem with my other breedables. Petable Turtles are really tortoises. They come in different colors. Zwickies are also zwickies, just one species.
By the way there is such a thing as a Rio Grande chirping frog. It's a member of the Leptodactylidae family. It is another ground dweller. Frogs are very specialized and well adapted. Unfortunately, they are a whole taxonomic order. I just wished the creators of Lily Frogs paid attention to the real life creatures their frogs resembled.
Second, Lily Frogs are about as badly marketed as any breedable can be. I looked high and low for Lily Frog food Monday night. I did not find it. It is now on the second floor of a saloon. It's still there, and the new vendors are nicer than the old, but they are hard to find, and you don't see a picture of a single Lily Frog and no live specimens when you go shopping. No one has any lives out anywhere. How would any one get started with Lily Frogs without seeing live ones in action. That was how I bought into the breedable last fall.
Third, like most small time breedables, Lily Frogs have a biodiversity problem. Petable Turtles have this problem too, but they are utterly fecund. Most breeders are old hands, and I can get free or cheap eggs to improve my stock should I need a P1 turtle. I also have lots of "iced turltes" in my inventory. Again, I've got fresh blood.
My Lily Frogs are another matter. They inherit their breed/species (body pattern) through the mother. This is not how it should work. I believe frogs work on the ZW (for females) and ZZ (for males) system, but I was wrong. Different frog species have different methods of sex chromosome inheritance, so the daughter frog does not always get a Z (equivalent to an X) chromosome from her mother. It depends on her species. Also some female frogs are chromosomally males. Sex determined traits are just a bad idea with all these species of frogs. Making all the frogs closely related subspecies of one genus in one family could clean this up, but the results even if resembling real life, are still not great.
What maternal species inheritance, as unrealistic as it is, is means is that all my eggs with one exception are for Mississippi gopher frogs. I'd like a diversity of coat patterns. Worse yet, I don't think inbreeding is good for my frogs even if it doesn't hurt them. There is just something icky about it.
Now the good news, is that none of these problems except providing amplexus, involves much scripting. Apparently the server gives out the breeds by fiat, so it could change the breed names/species of all new eggs to something appropriate to Lily Frogs' real life natural history and appearance. By the way, most froglet bearing microhylid frogs live in the jungles of New Guinea do not have English species names, so the folks of Breedable Nation can make up their own names. That would be fun. Name that frog.
Marketing means sparing some prims to have a live display. Also it would be great to make affiliate vendors available. I bet a lot of us would put them up, preferably where we have our frog facilities. I ditched my pond and set up a one prim frog dome. Pictures of frog domes and terraria would be a wonderful addition to the Lily Frog web site or to a frog-o-vision screen. You can get that last for free at the UAA Seawolves sim.
As for biodiversity, set up some egg swaps. There's a bid board at the Breedable Nation store. Set it up as a swap board. Advertise a swap. I suspect a lot of us have way more eggs than we can use and would welcome a swap.
Last, breedables are detail oriented. It pays to get the details right. The special egg was a lovely gift, but someone should have proof red the floating text. Now I'm an awful speller, and I make just this kind of mistake. Also, the egg is now more precious like those Wright Brothers' plane stamps that show the plane upside down, but really.... if you care about this product...do you care? I care. What I said at the start of this article holds true.
It's going to hurt to retire my frogs when they can no longer breed. I look forward to the next generation. I'm curious to figure out how color inherits. I just wish that the folks at Breedable Nation took the steps to make Lily Frogs Second Life's absolute best breedable. It's within reach and yet so far away.
Eileen H Kramer and Iyoba BatOni -- Frog Breeders and Feeders -- March 21, 2011