Friday, December 2, 2016

CCSF Blog Carnival: Day 6

What do you think of the mythology and backstory of creatures? Do you have any favorite background details in the world? Any pet theories or thoughts, or questions you would like answered?

The general mythology behind the series is alright, if a little weird (Some smart aliens made life, abandoned the planet, went to space, abandoned the ship...? Apparently invented the warp at some point and sent newly created breeds through it..?) I think I mostly enjoy reading and writing extended lore about the Shee and Albia. I love backstory in general, about metarooms, breeds, agents-- this community can be so creative when it comes to that stuff. Ghosthande's metarooms in particular often have fascinating stories behind then and secrets to discover within.

Hm, and when I was a kid I headcanoned that MerNorns were extremely rare because they were born terrified of the water, and unless they overcame their fear before they became adults, they would die. But I think I mostly just developed that concept so I could write a corny love story about a norn who manages to overcome his fear to join his lover in the sea.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

CCSF Blog Carnival: Day 5

Do you create content for Creatures? If so, what sorts? What do you use to make things, and what would you like to make in the future? If not, what would you like to make if you could?

Why yes, yes I do.

My tools of choice are the CAOS Tool and Jagent, along with helpers like the CAOS debugger. I've also found Windows Grep to be invaluable when trying to remember the best context in which to use a CAOS command.

There are so many things I'd like to make in the future; it's just a matter of finding time and energy and prioritizing reasonable projects over crazy audacious ones. I'd love to rewrite the Garden Box from scratch but that probably isn't the best use of my time. I'm currently messing with some scripts to log every creature action to a file that can be parsed to gather all sorts of fun data for analysis purposes. I've also got at least a dozen scenario scripts in concept that I'd like to implement but then I wonder if I should just write a central scenario core agent with a ton of parameters you can set by hand to make your own scenarios, with the ability to write, export, and import others' parameters (similar to C3 blueprints). But that's such a huge project that if I started it you'd probably hear an update a decade later, so maybe I should just stick with the small standalone scripts. I'm also still really in love with a lot of the concepts in Project Underground and even wrote a ton of lore for it a few years back, but that's probably a life's worth of work. I guess I'm just at a rather frustrating point where the only projects I want to work on are too large for me to reasonably complete, so I tend to spend more time just enjoying playing the games and hoping I'll get inspired enough to tweak a few things along the way without feeling compelled to rewrite the entire game. I guess I'll see where that takes me.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

CCSF Blog Carnival: Day 4

What COBs/agents/breeds/metarooms/etc do you use the most? What would you like to see more of? Less of? What pet peeves do you have with add-ons? What do you love to see?

To be honest, I don't actually use that much third party stuff on a regular basis unless I'm going for a themed world or playing C1/C2, aside from a few of my own tweaks like the nametags. I guess I don't really like to clutter my worlds with agents I don't really need. As long as there are accessible food, fruit, and starch sources, along with appropriate toys and ways for creatures to get around, I don't feel the need to add much extra. Often I run my worlds with a purpose in mind, and don't often want to add anything that doesn't contribute to that purpose.

There is one huge exception to this, however, and that's the CFE Norns. They are so far improved over the stock genomes that I have a hard time using anything else. I haven't had a chance to try out their successor, the CFF Norns, but I've heard a lot of good things about them too.

What would I like to see more of? Anything, really. Even though I don't personally use them very often, I love to see people planning and developing-- I believe fanmade content is the reason this community has lasted so long and I think it's important that stuff continues to be developed to keep the game interesting for the majority of the playerbase. One of my goals in developing the Garden Box was to create easy-to-use templates to get others developing their own stuff, and a lot of my future goals lean towards creating tools and guides to make development even easier. I think I would especially like to see more large collaborative efforts between community members, in which developers of all skill levels can contribute in some part (the Biodome was pretty fantastic).

If we're talking personally though, I would like more than anything to see the development of external tools to assist the Creatures game engine, or just total rewrites like openC2E aimed to do. I would love to be no longer be limited within the constraints of the engine when developing.
I would also love to see the exploration of ways to make Creatures multiplayer, whether in a "Twitch Plays" fashion or with another web interface such as Netures. I would love to see the warp brought back in any form or fashion. These are all fairly tremendous undertakings that are far outside my range of skill, but I guess I still hold out hope that one day they might be real.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

CCSF Blog Carnival: Day 3

How has the way you play Creatures changed since you started? What has stayed the same? Do you play a different game more, have you picked up a different play style, have you thrown out one species and embraced another?

When Creatures 3 came out, I totally abandoned C2, and when Docking Station was released, I ditched the others as well. For a very long time I was focused entirely on DS and didn't touch the other games at all, with the exception of dabbling a little in C1 when I got a copy of Albian Years. It was actually reading Discover Albia that prompted me to give the original Creatures another go. Then nostalgia brought me back to C2, and even occasionally C3 standalone and Creatures Village. I think I'll always be mostly focused on DS because that's what I'm most comfortable developing for, but I'm a lot more open to playing the other games now, understanding that each has its own charm, and one can never completely replace the other. Maybe eventually I'll do some development for the older games, too.

When I was first starting out with Creatures 2, I did a lot of  what might be termed 'norn torture' with the advanced science kit merely in an attempt to figure out exactly how my creatures worked. Wolfling runs were only barely possible until C3 came along and creatures could actually fend for themselves. I remember initially those were a lot of fun-- going to bed at night and hoping some awesomely color-mutated norns will be there in the morning. When the warp was active, it was a ton of fun just swapping random creatures with people and creating a highly diverse world. When I started streaming my worlds, it became a totally new and interesting interactive experience (I always lament that I couldn't make LNA engaging enough to gain much popularity). But after the warp went down, my play styles evolved along with my ability to script stuff. As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm always looking for interesting ways to play. I think I will always fall back on plain old nurturing worlds though, especially in C1/C2.

Funny that species was mentioned-- I've always been almost exclusively a norn person, sometimes to a fault. Maybe that's some bias carrying over from C2, where norns had almost twice as many genes as ettins/grendels and seemed just far more interesting/intelligent in my view, and ever since, I'm guilty of just kind of forgetting that ettins and grendels even exist at all. I've tried to incorporate them into my worlds in the past, but it's a rather conscious effort, and most of the time I just find it simpler to stick to once species.

Monday, November 28, 2016

CCSF Blog Carnival: Day 2

How would you describe your playing style? Do you have lots of worlds, or a few? Do you have strict wolfling runs or do you individually nurture your creatures, or both? Any particular habits or quirks?

I feel like the best way to describe my playstyle would be 'a little of everything.'

When I first created this blog and was trying to come up with a title, I was hoping to encompass this range of play styles. I do wolfling runs, I have nurturing worlds, I have downright strange scenario worlds. I even dabbled in norn fighting back in the day when The Creatures Match was popular.

I like to try out different styles of play to keep things interesting. A lot of these play styles I write assist scripts for, such as Hera, an all-female world where offspring are created from the genetics of the fittest norns. I think a lot about what would make a world interesting without being tedious, and scripts help a lot both in avoiding the amount of work involved (manually exporting every male and tracking the scores of the fittest females by hand would start to kill my interest after a few generations) and in the suspension of disbelief (SERU is probably my favorite example of this).

I hope to develop more scenario scripts and agents that prompt new and interesting game play in the future!