Tuesday, September 22, 2009

CCSF is Coming!

The time has flown, and this year's Creatures Community Spirit Festival is quickly coming upon us. All around the world creatures fans are writing, drawing, spriting, coding, breeding, gengineering, organizing, interviewing and otherwise preparing for the biggest CC event of the year.

This will be the sixth annual festival for the Creatures Community, but if it's your first time or if you're looking for inspiration, this post will (hopefully) help you understand what the CCSF means to you-- and perhaps more importantly, what you mean to the CCSF.

So what's the CCSF?

Even though it has been years since the last Creatures game was released, the Creatures Community is still fighting to stay alive and keep up the morale of Creatures fans everywhere. Despite the dwindling of the Creatures fanbase, we continue to show our support for the Creatures series as well as each other. This is what the Creatures Community Spirit Festival is all about.

Think of the CCSF as a big online holiday, full of celebrations, special events, and of course, presents for all. Everyone is invited to participate by contributing content, hosting events, and just showing support for for the Creatures Community.

The majority of CCSF content generally centers around a website, the URL of which is released as the festival draws nearer. Everyone submits their content, events, and other contributions to the festival organizers, along with a suggested release date. The CCSF organizers are then in charge of posting up all submissions on the site throughout the festival for everyone to enjoy.

This year 3kul has taken the bulk of the responsibility of organizing the CCSF, which is scheduled to run from November 1st-14th. An ever-changing calendar of events, as well as guidelines for submissions can be found here.

Each CCSF has a theme, and this year the theme is Time. This broad topic could encompass a number of things-- reflections on the past, predictions for the future, the complexities of timer scripts, the changes of the seasons, and so on. Generally, submissions are encouraged to have some relevance to the theme, but it is by no means required. The theme is meant to be an inspiration, not a hindrance, so don't feel shy about creating content or organizing events just because they may not fit the theme. What is most important is participation-- sticking to the theme is just bonus. Even I joke that the only thing time-related about my submissions will be that I will rushing to finish them in time for the festival!

But what can I do?

Community participation is the core of CCSF. The festival would simply not exist if it wasn't for all the work each member of the community puts into it! Everyone can contribute, no matter what their talents may be. If you're not sure what you can do for CCSF, here are several ideas to inspire you:

In-game content: This is the most obvious (and common) sort of contribution. If you have the skills necessary for writing/spriting agents, gengineering breeds, or even creating metarooms, CCSF is certainly the time to put those skills to good use!

Fanart/Fanfiction: If you're a more creative sort, Creatures-related art and stories are always appreciated by the community, especially as Creatures artists/writers become harder to find.

Guides, Tutorials, and other Articles: You might call this Creatures Fan-non-fiction. CAOS tutorials are the most common in this category, but you can write anything else you would like to share with the community in the form of an article, such as your secret method for breeding creatures as fast as possible, a guide to drawing a basic norn, or a descriptive list of underused agents.

Music, Video, and other Media: These may be few and far between, but if your talents lie in the realms of other media, by all means record a creatures parody of a well-known song or produce a video of your creatures doing something entertaining!

Interviews: An extremely popular part of earlier CCSFs that has since become a lost art. Is there a member of the Creatures Community that you think the community would like to know more about? Perhaps an upcoming project has raised your curiosity and you wish to ask the developers a few questions? Contact the community member in question and (politely) ask if you can interview them for the CCSF! Past interviews can the found on both the CCSF06 and CCSF07 websites.

Hosting Events: If creating stuff just isn't your thing, maybe organizing an event or a contest is more your style. Run a community wolfling run, start a fanart competition, judge a norn pageant, or anything you can think of! You may even choose to award prizes to winners if you like, but this is completely optional.

Participating in Events: On the other side of the coin, event participants are just as important as event hosts! Join in the fun and show your support for the community by participating in the many events going on during CCSF.

Participating in the Community: While this is something most of us do year round, activity in community forums such as CreaturesCaves, Creaturetopia, and Albia2000 becomes extremely important during CCSF-- seeing as community is what it's all about! If you tend to lurk around forums rather than post, CCSF is a wonderful time to start getting more active within the community. Checking the forums to see that several new posts have been made does wonders for the morale of a small community. Just be sure to follow the forum rules!

Posting Creature Adoptions: (As Malkin reminded me-- thanks!) This is a special sort of contribution because single creature adoptions don't need to be formally submitted to the organizers-- there's a special CCSF09 group on The Creature Repository for you to simply upload your special CCSF09 creatures to!

And if you still need more inspiration, there's no better place to look than at the old CCSF websites to see what others have done in the past.

Do feel free to leave any questions, comments, or suggestions you might have. Let's work together to make this the best CCSF yet!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mixed Nuts Screenshot Dump

I'm not shy of labeling myself as a norn breeder. Keyword being norn, not ettin or grendel. It's always been about the norns for me, in all their infinite variety, personality, and cuteness. But after chatting with a few people in IRC and DS, I was inspired to try a mixed world-- containing all three varieties of creatures, ideally living in some form of harmony.

This screen-shot intensive post (warning, I mean it-- this one has a lot of images) documents the first few hours of my experience with this handful of creatures.

It started simply enough -- I hatched six creatures: Gon, a male Bruin Norn, Okt, a male Atavist Ettin, Kona, a female Jungle Grendel, Finn, a male C2 Grendel, Kyla, a female Chameleon Ettin, and Sepenta, a female Draconian Norn.

Suddenly I had six babbling babies running around the Capillata.

Okt and Finn almost immediately saw a kinship in their graphic style, and took a teleporter to the workshop together to gaze in awe at the training dummy.

Meanwhile, Gon and Sepenta's "run grendel" instincts made themselves quite apparent as poor Kona tried to make some new friends. They were just creatures being creatures, I thought.. this won't be much different than any other world I've run.

But when I looked away for literally five seconds to check on Okt and Finn, I was shocked to see a notice appear telling me that... Gon had died.

Kyla had come out of hiding and apparently managed to beat the helpless norn to death without any warning at all. Maybe this was going to be more complicated than I thought...

Quite on time, I received a few creatures through the warp from Papriko-- a female banshee named Areguzandora, and very nice gargoyle/chichi cross, who I named Skai.

Alright, I told myself. This isn't a docked world for nothing. It's time to migrate everyone into their own space. Despite the aggression of the ettin, I decided the grendels would be first to go. I just didn't trust them.

Sadly, the migration was not without its consequences either. Areguzandora mysteriously died after the journey, though not before expending her last bit of energy to walk to the aquatic meso. Perhaps she knew she was dying and wished to go to a peaceful place.

Really, none of the creatures wanted to stay in their assigned areas. Kona took a liking for little Skai and began following her around. I kept a wary eye on them both.. I do not have much trust in grendels, but I let them do as they pleased.

But I had made another mistake. Sepenta the Draconian was complaining of cold, so I led her into the desert meso, hoping she would find it more to her liking. But my heart froze as I noticed yet another death notice on the screen.

Kyla had murdered her second creature, and if I had anything to do with it, it would be her last.

As much as I wanted to beat her to death then and there (see how she likes it..), I managed to control my rage and instead, decided she would simply be imprisoned until she was properly trained.

I spent a good 15 minutes or so slapping her whenever she hit the norn dummy and tickling her for pushing it. She was a stubborn creature, but she would either learn or stay in that workshop for the rest of her life.

Skai, in the meantime, was growing up. I considered hatching her a mate, but with Kona still sticking close to her, I decided I didn't want to interfere with that strange but charming relationship.

Deep in the shadows of the Shee ark, between the point of docking, Finn begins to hatch a devious plan...

Okt hasn't been mentioned in a while. He's been happily living on that little hillside in the norn meso, munching carrots and generally enjoying life.

Skai and Kona continue to spend every waking moment by each other's side...

...Sleeping moments, too!

Finn, noticing the crobster dispensor, considers the possibilities..

Kyla remains imprisoned, but is starting to do a lot better.

What's this? Skai wandering alone without Kona? And in the jungle, no less? It seems... she was suddenly seized with a burning desire for knowledge.

Another death notice. Wow, I'm worse at raising creatures than I thought... Okt, our happy carrot-eating ettin, suddenly drops dead from ATP Decoupler. Never even saw it coming... sigh. So sad. I'm sorry Okt. I'll get better at this.

Crobsters... more crobsters! I gotta have more crobsters!

Humming sounds backed by dramatic instrumentals signifying the passing on of wisdom.

No, I don't think he ever stopped staring at the screen throughout this entire crobster-raising venture.

When Skai returned from her vision quest, filled with new knowledge and speaking in a language Kona did not understand, the poor grendel (I can only assume) felt quite left out and hurt, and began beating Skai in a rage.

Skai moved back, but Kona pursued viciously-- wait, is that the medical bay teleporter?

"Now look what you've done! How are we supposed to find our way home now?" Kona can only express her disgust with the one word she learned from Skai's foreign babbling:

And with that, it seems the friendship has been torn.

...Meanwhile, Finn's crobster army seems to be revolting against him.

(I feel the need to mention that I'm not interacting with these creatures at all-- I'm only watching them. If I was interacting though, this would have been a great time to create a meeting between the bickering pair and the crobster army of doom..)

Kona and Skai both made it back to the norn meso... and while they ignored each other for a while, they slowly started to warm up to each other again.

I guess sometimes friends just can't stay mad at each other.

Kyla, while being technically "free" now, still has yet to leave the workshop. It must be the sheer number of all those strange and wonderful machines to push.

Finn falls into a bit of a depression after his plan to take over the ship with crobsters falls through. I really don't know where all those crobsters went-- it's possible he ate them all.

In the meantime, I hatched a male guppy ettin named Flail; in the event that Kyla ever leaves the workshop, she could use a companion of her own kind. In the meantime, he's chilling out in the DS meso.

Enter Etincelle, a very pretty creature from the warp who was eagerly welcomed onto the shee ark.

At this point I was a little tired of all the creatures speaking gibberish, but as I really don't find much joy in instant vocabulary and don't have the time to hand-teach them all, I worked a bit of CAOS magic and modified the robot toys to teach nearby creatures a random word when they push it. Like a toy version of the C2 doozers. Finn seemed to take some comfort in learning new words like, "ill". (Hey, is that a surviving crobster?)

(Then just for fun, I gave them all randomized pigments. Leave it to me to pause my PERFECTLY NORMAL creatures world just to start scripting something wild.)

At this point I decided it would be best to guide poor Finn out of his ex-crobster lair and into his natural habitat, where he stared awkwardly at the mushrooms like he had never seen one before, then promptly devoured them.

While performing a routine bacteria/toxin check, I noticed Kona was split from Skai again, and was aggressively slamming around a gadget. Did she say something to make her angry? Something like, "go take a bath, you bacteria-infested lizard!"? Luckily she wasn't at all sick, just carrying the bacteria, so a few sprays and she was clean again.

Meanwhile, Finn wanders out of the jungle again (complaining of homesickness the whole time), and into the desert, where he takes joy in setting off the volcano.

And this is where we leave it for now. So far it's been quite a crazy trip. I really wasn't expecting a mixed world to hold this much drama, but it's had far more than its share of both touching and depressing moments.

Who knows what the future holds for Mixed Nuts?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Overheard on LNA, Installment 1

I've been absolutely hit hard with personal family/life drama and really haven't been able to put much time into my Creatures ventures, but I'm still around. I've received a few messages over the last couple of days that have reminded me that people do get some joy out of the random stuff I throw together in the name of Creatures, so it's inspired me a bit to try and find more time to stay active in the CC. Thanks guys :)

I finally put LNA back online (It was still streaming, just an offline world), and it's a bit chaotic but the queue is starting to clear out. I thought this would be a good time for a little segment I've been planning called, "Overheard on LNA"

For those of you that don't know, LNA, or Live Nornish Action, is a live video stream of Docking Station hosted on Justin.TV (formerly on Ustream). Because it's publicly hosted, quite often random strangers will stumble onto the stream and leave very shocked messages in in the chatroom. Other times even regular visitors will have something odd to say. Some of these amusements have been screened for posterity and will now be posted here for your amusement, with usernames blurred out, of course:

Some of these are amusing enough to use as satirical slogans for the channel. I can see it now:
LNA: Right when I entered this channel, I believe I have developed a drug problem.
LNA: It's like the ewoks take over hell

...Okay maybe not. I think I'm just amusing myself now.

Next post when I get around to it will probably be an image dump of my latest pet world, Mixed Nuts.