What is "hexing"
As of the end of 2006... some thoughts to help people who are confused by the term "hexing" and think that it's some strange Harry Potter type ritual, LOL.

Hexing is merely the modifying of game files, using the most basic of tools -- a hex editor. A hex editor is so called because it uses the hexadecimal, or 16, based counting system instead of our more usual decimal, or 10, based one.

In the early days of Petz, actually all the way up to and including the first year or so of Petz 5, a hex editor was the only way to do the job -- although I did my best to make it easier for people with my tutorials and easy-edit packages. Then came Resource Hacker, which made a big difference to people. And then came our own wonderful Nicholas, only about a year and a half ago, and gave us the wondrous LNZPro, Tinker, Pet Workshop and Petza. Hexing is no longer "hexing" in the truest sense!

I'm not going to comment on the rights and wrongs of hexing -- most of the better games these days are created with those of us who like to tinker with the files in mind. Different people like to do it different ways and, as with everything in these games, whatever gives you enjoyment is a valid way to do it.

What I will say, though, is that hexing should be fun and not a chore. I also feel that there is no fun in using someone else's code, but that's just my feeling. I love doing different things, seeing what the game is capable of, and then letting others know so that they can try pushing the boundaries too. That's why everything that I make or discover eventually finds its way onto my site.

What I do enjoy about seeing other people's codes is the interest of discovering how others approach any given idea or problem. I really, really enjoy seeing the codes or information that people post, and I do like to see the various interesting combinations of colour and style that others create with them. In the Babyz community a new term has emerged, "pexer". I don't see a problem with the term Pexer -- it's perfectly valid to distinguish that as a different approach to hexing. Pexing is also a good way to start learning about hexing, but I really don't think that it's right to ask anyone to release codes -- it should be purely a voluntary thing, and in my view such releases should be to the public as a whole, not just to one or two people. But again, that's just my view.

Another of the reasons that I put everything of mine up for everyone to use as they wish is to prevent my stuff from becoming some kind of special "trade". I suffered from that when I made a few items for someone who pleaded with me way back in the early days -- and then I saw her hawking them around to get other things that she wanted.

What I make freely available for everyone is all the information they need to make their own items or, if they are programmers, to make items that can help others to "hex" ( yay, Nicholas! ) plus I allow anyone to look inside my downloads and use whatever of that they need to begin their own creation. What I don't do, mostly, is make detailed codes for people to download separately and insert into their own -- partly because I'm too lazy and partly because I like to exercise others' minds a bit. If someone figures out, by looking inside a particular file, what I've done to make it, then I feel they have learned something. That's not intended in any way as a criticism of people who do make copy/pastes of their codes available -- as I say, I love to see them -- but it's just not the way I usually do it.

On the pexing, copy/pasting, or hexing issue, these are only terms which make it clear whether someone uses another's freely-available code or not. They don't actually describe the process in real terms -- who these days bothers to use a hex editor, to make or edit game-files? Even I don't usually now, since LNZPro (and Tinker, for toyz etc) became the perfect tool. The days of laboriously editing a .baby or .pet file byte by byte are long gone, as are the similarly laborious days of editing the dll files etc in a hex editor. I still often use my external-lnz files for some things, but that's just me.

Really, what we mostly do now should be called "LNZPro-ing". LOL. Perhaps we should have the following "grades" in the Petz and Babyz hexing communities:
Tinkerer (which takes in also LNZProer or ResHacker)

But in fact, we should use the same overall term that people who modify files in many other games use -- "modders". That's what we are really.

I remember in the Petz Community what an outcry there was when first ResHacker and then Nicholas' tools started to be usable by "the masses" -- some wonderful new creations were achieved which otherwise would not have appeared... but suddenly hexing wasn't an exclusive type of club, and some hexers who had spent ages perfecting their style got miffed at the ease with which new "hexers" could create startling petz -- particularly with pet Workshop -- and at the way they could copy whatever is a fashion or fad at the time. I'm not getting at anyone, I'm just using the point to illustrate how new attitudes to hexing -- and new tools -- can breathe new life into these old games and how those of us who have been around for a while can feel a bit pushed to one side. In my view it is very important that new people coming in should understand this and not expect extra hand-outs. Some people feel very protective about their data, and this should be respected.

You know what Nicholas was doing when I first found him? By then, ResHacker was being used by the PC, so copying was easier than it had been in the old hexing-only days. He was trying to create a program which would edit breedfiles in such a way as to make them un-copy-able. What a waste of talent... As I pointed out to him, people would still be able to steal code from adopted pet files, and there were much more useful things that the PC, BC and OC could use. Bless him, he responded wonderfully and the rest is history -- but the point is that modders are always very protective of their work and the more protective they are the more others want to grab it. And some of the people who want to grab are not polite about it -- I am in no way talking about anyone here when I say that, I'm just remembering abusive and demanding emails I've had in the past.

The best thing for everyone to do is to forget all these kinds of issues and instead to just enjoy modding -- and for everyone to be courteous and sensitive to others' feelings.