Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy 20th, Creatures!

I feel like I just had to make a post today, the 20th anniversary of the game series that brought us all together. My memories of this series encompass well over half of my life.

I remember getting ads in the mail for Creatures 1 before it was even released (I guess I was on the mailing list after filling out the registration postcard for my Catz game) and being confused but intrigued.

I remember going into JRChat to ask questions about the game before saving up a month of my chore wages to purchase it, and I recall being absolutely horrified that I couldn't keep my vanilla C2 norns alive long enough to breed until I discovered and abused the Advanced Science Kit, learning a ton about biological systems in the process.

I remember 'writing' my first C2 cob, which was little more than a sprite edit and a new classifier number for a tutorial cob. I remember getting some very patient and generous help from fuzzie writing my first timer script and learning about agent structure in general. I remember having to write a "Life Goals" list in high school, listing "master CAOS" as one of them right up there with "write and publish a book" and "become a vet." At least I accomplished one of those.

I remember when the DS warp was active and I would get random messages and chat requests from people who didn't even know the community existed, asking for help with their game. I remember Warp Week and my attempts to document it resulting in my first Creatures video.

I remember when CAOS finally started to click in with me and I realized nothing but a lot of time was holding me back from making this game into just about anything I wanted. Well, that, the limits of the engine, and my non-existent ability to sprite, but there was still a lot of excitement surrounding what was possible.

I remember having a minor meltdown of nervousness when I decided to finally release the Garden Box, and having the support and encouragement of so many wonderful community members behind me to keep my head up-- thanks again to malkin, Jessica, Ghosthande, Moe, Liam, ArchDragon, Geek2Nurse, and RProgrammer-- the latter of which I have to give an extra thank you for taking the time to modify Jagent to be more Garden Box friendly.

And an extra thanks to all of you who still stick around and leave comments occasionally as I fall in and out of the loop with this community, jumping from project to project and never really being all that reliable. You are who drive this community forward. Thank you.

I'm not the only one celebrating today! Here are some other neat things going on:

  • Jessica of Discover Albia got in touch with Steve Grand, the mastermind behind our beloved Creatures, and he was generous enough to write a little piece for our celebration and tell us a little bit about his past, present, and future workings in the fields of Artificial Life. It's really exciting to hear from the one who started it all on this important day. If you have the time, leave a comment to show your appreciation!
  • The Centre for Computing History has put up a page with new, detailed photos of the original Creatures 1 background model! This one is particularly fascinating to me as a fan of the intersection between traditional and digital media. 
  • GOG is celebrating with a sale on the Creatures games, knocking them down to only $1.99 each! Most of us probably already own these updated versions of the games by now, but this is a great opportunity to introduce a friend to the series and bring more life into the community!

I hope you are all celebrating Creatures in your own way today! As for myself, I'm going to try to queue a few more posts for my C2 world for the next few days. I've been falling behind, but I'm making an effort not to drop off completely!


  1. It's awesome to read about where you started with Creatures, and to see how far you've come! Funny how so many of us got this as just a simple game, often because it looked cute or unique, yet ended up diving into the more advanced aspects of it. A huge thanks to you, too, for keeping the community alive! Everyone has a part to play, and your early posts were one of the main reasons why I decided to attempt my own blog. Here's to many more years of having fun with Creatures!

    1. Aww thank you! It warms my heart to think I helped inspire your blogging even a little. Here's to the future of Creatures (and Creatures blogging)!

    2. On this anniversary I wanted to wish you continued enjoyment out of the Creature games! May your C3DS Norns feel more alive, your C2 norns be less silly and your games never crash!

      Also, extra thanks from all my Ettins, Norns and Grendels in Docking Station for helping in keeping them fed and teaching them language. Knowing me, they'll only know bibble and eat tons of spreading, self-replenishing mushrooms instead of a more diverse diet if it weren't for your agents!