Saturday, August 20, 2011

Updates, call for testers, C4, etc.

These posts are getting rather unexciting, hah.

I sort of dropped off the face of the earth for a while, random upsets that real-life throws at you can do that. Some of you may have noticed that LNA is down-- most likely it's going to stay that way until the DS server goes back up. I can't really do a whole lot of development for it until that happens anyway.

If you've been keeping an eye on my projects page though, you've probably noticed that I have been finishing up a lot of my smaller projects and they mostly just need to be tested and compiled. So if you are a bored DS player interested in helping that process along by bugtesting and giving feedback, send a PM to Amaikokonut on Creaturetopia. You can technically send me a PM on CreaturesCaves too, but I'll get them faster on Ctopia.

I also feel the need to briefly throw my two cents out there about C4, since news about it is making its way around, sparking mixed opinions from everyone, some a bit disturbingly hostile. Let me just drop in a sixteen-second reminder on how to handle other people's opinions before going on:

Anyway, my view on things may be a bit different than some-- for one, when I first heard the news about C4, I didn't leap for joy or anything of that sort. I didn't have high expectations. Heck, I stated years ago that I wouldn't have high expectations for any future creatures game because the things I personally love creatures for (science, genetics, brain-simulation, etc) are just not marketable traits of a game in this era. No one is going to put tons of time and money into advancing artificial-life science unless they are passionate about it and not looking to turn a profit. That's a project for people like Steve Grand, not a team of game developers. It's just not financially reasonable to expect otherwise, in my view.

So I'm really not expecting C4 to be anything but superficial. In my mind, Creatures has split off into two paths: Grandroids, which takes all the science and realism and improves them without any of the actual surface elements, and Creatures 4, which takes the surface/game elements (norns themselves, graphics, etc) and improves them without the science/realism.

That said, I think C4 looks cute. I will probably buy the boxed version, if nothing else but for the little figurine (I'm just a sucker for stuff like that). I will play it, and possibly find some inspiration with it. Then, in all likeliness, I will go back to playing/developing for DS.

In my mind I'm seeing C4 as almost more like a spin-off or a side-game than an actual successor. And from that standpoint it really doesn't look that bad.

Honestly, I don't think this community needs a C4. It needs lifeblood, it needs more people, development, art, stories, and other interactions-- that is what has kept it alive thus far. But C4 is likely to bring us that in the form of publicity, if nothing else. In that sense, it is most certainly a good thing, no matter how the game turns out. That is, providing the CC doesn't get so up in arms fighting over it that it drives old and potential new players away.

And who knows? Maybe C4 will surprise us a little, too.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Magic Words Demo

Wow, sorry for the lack of updates. There simply just hasn’t been a lot to write about-- I’ve mostly been spending a lot of time revamping the framework for LNA. There’s not a whole lot of visible changes, but things overall should be running a bit more fluidly and I’ve made it a lot easier on my end to make updates and changes, tailor scripts to certain worlds, and so on.

A lot of this is in preparation after Don’s announcement that hopefully the DS server’s registrations will go back up this month. In anticipation that this will result in a bit more traffic for LNA as well, I certainly want to be prepared.

Oh, and just a little preview of something else that’s been occupying my time:

Just a quick demo of the "magic words" core module I'm working on, as well as the auras module.
The core module basically allows the use of speech-bubble activated scripts while additional modules define what words/phrases to react to and how to react to them. It's basically a foundation for writing interesting agents without having to deal with spriting/coding a GUI. There's a dynamic in-game help menu (not shown) that lists all the commands and what they do, (provided the authors of the modules were not too lazy to define descriptions for their scripts) so you don't need to memorize all the commands.

Anyway, the auras module is just a means of attaching a certain "aura" to a creature. Here I have large stars, small stars, butterflies, and bones (which needs work, it's a little hard to see right now). Useful if you just want to mark a favorite creature or separate creatures into various groups and be able to tell at a glace which group a certain creature belongs to. Still has a bit of work to go, but I figured I'd demonstrate the concept.

I really, really should probably avoid starting new projects when I have so much else to do, but I can't help myself sometimes!