Thursday, July 7, 2011

Narrowing Focus

First of all, I want to thank all of you that gave feedback on my last entry. I have taken everything you guys have said into consideration and used it to formulate this tentative plan for future creature creations. That said, I am still open to feedback, and this not by any means set in stone, but more an update on where my line of thinking is.

The first thing I want to address and get out of the way is Project Underground. After going through my notes on it and giving it a lot of though, I have regretfully come to the decision to put it, for the most part, on the very back burner. It really is just too big. My ultimate goal with that project was essentially to make creatures as attachable as the engine might allow. Throw them into conflict, a dangerous world where they need your help and eachother's help to survive. Add as many random elements as possible to make each play session a different experience. But the more I thought about it, interacted with my Mixed Berries creatures, and leafed through pages and pages of notes and plans, the more I realized that getting attached to creatures just isn't something you can formulate, no matter how many dangers you have to save creatures from or how much the world may change, suspending your disbelief enough to get attached to your creatures is something you have to choose to do-- it's not something a bunch of mods can do for you. Yeah, they can help, and I don't doubt finishing the project would help, but there's a lot of other things I can do to help without rewriting the entire game. In the end, I just don't feel it's worth it. I have more faith that when Grandroids gets into a playable state, it will blow anything I could do within the limits of the DS engine out of the water, as far as realistic and emotionally attachable A-life is concerned.

Now that said, this doesn't mean I'm scratching every idea related to the project. Some of the ideas I had for the project are still viable under the regular DS world-- namely the notion of a randomized metaroom system. That still sounds like quite a bit of fun, and I'm fairly certain I'd like to try and implement some version of that if I can amass a large enough collection of plants, critters, background imagery, etc to make it viable. Ideally, I'll be able to code it in such a way (probably relying a lot on catalogue files) that it will be possible to construct a very basic version with just a few options that will be easily expanded with new possibilities over time. But I'll find time to ramble on that more in later posts.

As far as LNA goes, I'm leaning towards fixing up the status window and coding very basic client/server agents (the things that let you adopt/retrieve norns) somewhere in the near future and see if it sparks any more interest. If so, I'll look into developing it further, but if not, I'll probably have to retire the project as just another one of those ideas that was way better in theory than practice rather than putting more energy into it (that's not to mean I'll take down the stream by any means, just that I probably won't develop a lot more for it)

I probably will make an effort to use the LNA computer for development too, though. A few people seem interested in watching the game crash and bug out, haha.

As far as my old agents, Mind arrows, SERU, Population Control Options-- I think it's best to just leave those as they are for now (though I probably should at least update SERU's readme since a lot of people running Exodus still aren't aware of its issue handling catalogue files). In the future I may develop better agents that serve similar purposes, but for now I think they stand quite well on their own for what they are.

My unfinished agents... I think I'm going to try to finish them. The critical hit script isn't that far from completion and the crossbreeding script probably only needs an hour or so of work to at least get into a testable state. The lift-ring things will take a little more, as I'm hoping to get them better sprites (from Caos of the Creatures Realm, a rather promising blog for us not-so-artistically-inclined coders) and idiot-proof them a little more as right now they throw errors if say, you stick one in outer-space and then try to port a creature to it. And as much as I dread it, I will prod selective muco a bit more and see if I can make anything of it. I've learned quite a lot since I last touched it-- maybe this time around it'll be a bit less daunting.

I was a bit surprised to hear how many of you were interested in seeing Project BattleStance finished (considering the grand total of zero comments achieved by previous posts about it, hah!). Personally, it's a project that's always been a little dear to me and if people are interested in it, I would be more than happy to oblige-- plus, this could be quite a fun thing to develop live on LNA.

Meanwhile, stuff like revamping the blog, caos tutorials, and documenting nurturing worlds will probably just be done on an "as I feel like it" basis. Though I have a new method I'm trying out for nurturing-world documentation that hopefully I'll get around to finishing/posting in the next few days.

The fanfiction podcast, sorry to say, probably just isn't going to happen, both due to lack of interest and the fact that it's been a really, really long time since a creatures story has really caught my attention. However, if anyone else wants to pick up the idea and run with it, you are more than welcome!

With all this in mind,  I have been working on a project/progress page that I will try to post in the near future, so keep an eye out for that, and if you have any comments, questions, complaints, or concerns, as always, do feel free to leave a note!


  1. Will you post when you are going work on dev stuff or will we just have to check every now and again to hopefully see you working on something?

  2. All sounds like a very logical development path. I hadn't actually thought about it before, but Battle Stance and LNA would go hand in hand together.

  3. Sounds like a plan! I will be interested to see the progress page, because I'm always a fan of finding things in one easy-to-read place. Your current agents are awesome, and I'm sure the completed projects will be even better! Good luck with everything: I'm happy that there were a lot of responses to help you prioritize!