Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Yet another strange file found in my ancient folder...this one timestamped from June of 2000, though I suspect it's older. Looks like the beginnings of what was supposed to be a creatures story in which the Shee were...less than loving, pretty stupid, and apparently wore tacky clothing:

When Albia came to an End

Chapter 1

    One fine day, the Shee council was having a meeting.
"Albia is way too over populated!" one Shee stated. "I'm afraid we'll have to get rid of all the creatures but a few."
    "Oh, but you know those creatures, they breed like crazy if their population gets too low!" Another Shee said. "The only thing to do is wipe out an entire species!"
    "Are you sure that's all we can do?
    "Positive. Now, which species should we wipe out?"
    "Well, the ettins are peaceful and social, lets keep them.
    "And the grendels are nasty, but without them, we would have never won that war years ago!"
    "Do you know what this means?"
    The Shee sighed. "Yes, we'll have to wipe out all the useless, lazy, overeating, wall-bonking, dumb, and annoying creatures. The norns. Tomorrow we'll announce to all shee that all norns seen must be killed."

    The next day, signs were put up all over Albia. If you were there, you would see that the sign in the desert had a picture of a fat golden desert norn eating several pieces of cheese. Next to it was a picture of a starving ettin. It read below, "Kill norns and let ettins have a chance to eat."

The sign near the lake showed a frog norn lazily swimming along, while other creatures worked hard to build houses. The sign read "No work, all play, kill a couple norns today!"
And lastly, the sign in the volcano showed a picture of a norn running into a wall, and other baby creatures getting curious and trying it. This one read, "Norns can have a bad influence on our kids, don't give them a chance, don't let them live." Soon ettins, grendels, and shee were all running around with signs, t-shirts, hats and shoes with pictures of crossed out norns. All shee were given free cyanide and other lethal chemicals. Norn-killing classes for grendels were held, and ettins built traps. The norn-killing craze had begun!

     "Oh Ollie, what are we going to do?" cried Tigera, and adolescent female norn. "Everyone is against us norns, and we can't do anything!"
    "We'll make it through this, somehow." Ollie replied "We survived the grendel raid as babies and the ettin attack as children, I'm sure we can make it though this time!"
    "But they only thing that stopped them from wiping us out was the shee council! And now that they're against us too, I don't know how we'll ever survive! They make us sound so bad, but all those pictures were fake! They drew them! I just don't understand!"

    The two norns walked over to the edge of the lake, and watched the fish swim by. It had been a long, hard day. They had always loved the shee, and thought that they would never do such a thing. But they were wrong. The shee had turned against them, and there was no escape.
    "We got one, Rhama!" A large shee yelled as he stuck the cyanide-filled needle into a norn's arm. Within minutes, the small brown norn was dead.
    "Chica!" Rhama scolded. "You're supposed to catch the norns so we can feed them to our hunting grendels, not kill them!"
    "Aw, come on, they don't need any more! Besides, last time we caught one of those brown ones he found a way to open the cage and they all escaped!
    "Yeah, because YOU didn't give him the sleepy surup."
    "I didn't have any!"
    "Exactly, you forgot to bring it!"
    "You two stop fighting and go catch those two norns near the lake!" a younger shee commanded. They quickly looked around and saw Tigera and Ollie. After running, climbing, and many trips on the lifts, the two norns were finally caught.
    "All that work for two norns!" Rhama exclaimed. "Chica, give me the jar of the Sleepy Syrup and a needle."       

    "Uh-oh" Chica mumbled.
    "Oh brother, you forgot again, didn't you"
    "Well uh..."

    While the shee were busy blaming each other, Tigera and Ollie managed to get out of the cage.
    "Tigera, run for the treehouse lift!" Ollie yelled. They both ran as quickly as they could. When they were inside, Ollie pushed the "up" button as hard as he could. When they finally got up to the tree, they saw the Shee were following them. The two norns knew what to do. They jumped up onto the rope holding the lift up and gnawed as fast as they could. The rope finally snapped, and Ollie and Tigera were saved! Well, stuck was more like it. Although no one could get up the tree, they couldn't get down either.

    "Well, there's enough fruit up here to last us a few centuries!" Ollie exclaimed, looking at the wide range of fruit dangling above their heads. Let's at least make this place homey! So they got to work. The leaves made great beds, and the large fruit seeds were good for toys. When they finally finished, they fell asleep.

To be continued...


Obviously, it never was. But it's kind of sad, I almost wish I had. I actually find myself wondering what happened next, heh.

Though those campaign slogans... what the heck. I can just picture Shee parading down the streets, in their anti-norn hats, t-shirts, and shoes, chanting, "No work, all play, kill a couple norns today!" There are no words to describe the extreme eye-rolling going on right now.

Incredibly Old Creatures Ideas

Alongside the story of Bibblita, in my folder of old, dusty documents, I came across this little gem-- an ancient file called "creaturesideas.txt" containing the following text:

 I always thought DS needed some more excitement to it. I mean, a lot of people are perfectly happy breeding norns and letting them run amuck, but to me that can get dull. The creatures can practically run around without a caretaker; as long as you leave out enough food for them they'll breed like rabbits and fill the world within a few hours. In Creatures 2 it wasn't that simple, you had to actually care for the creatures...but that quickly got frustrating, for the norns were so stupid that if you left them alone for a few minutes they'd all throw themselves into the sea and drown. I think with a little tweaking, DS could be a little more interesting, with twists like having to plant and grow food in the spring, then harvest it in the fall and store it for winter, and other foods would grow at other times and the like, instead of just having infinite food vendors, etc. Just having an advanced cycle of plant growth could make the game much more interesting. Of course there would be a backup food source incase you got lazy and the crops were frostbit, but it would be something like hard tack--it would sustain the norns through the winter, but they wouldn't like it. I always liked the part in Creatures Adventures where you could plant a garden (not that it mattered because you had infinite cakes anyway, but hey..)

I'm aware DS takes place on a spaceship without seasons. But this is brainstorming. Such a thing doesn't matter right now.

Anyway, that's just one thing that could change tons about the game. It could even get more advanced--certain berries could be mixed to make healing potions or grendel poisons, or perhaps not only could you raise vegetables, but animals too as a food source.

The food source stuff, actually, is very possible (as far as I know) for 3rd parties to create as an agent. It would have a script to remove all the plants, animals, and vendors. Then it would need to replace it with new and improved plants and animals with the life cycles needed. Some plants would grow when others wouldn't, certain animals would need to eat certain plants to live, and then there could perhaps be a machine to put harvested foods in, similar to the Deep Freeze agent (can't remember at the moment who made this..), which stops the agent's timer script so it wouldn't rot (at least that's how I understand it, I'm no CAOS expert). The animals would also need to be properly prepared for eating, and perhaps the machine could do this simply, using scripts similar to those of the quirky cookie machine. You'd drop in the animal, out comes meat and perhaps some warm fur. As an added bonus, just because it's DS and we can do what we want, a plushie toy of the animal would be created too. If we wanted to, we could make it possible for people to do things such as drop a norn or grendel in the machine, which would obviously kill the creature and produce meat and a plushie as with any other creature. O.O; That might disturb some people though, I'm sure, but my snowball is getting bigger and bigger, I'm getting more ideas the more I type. 

So while that addition is perfectly feasible...many of my ideas aren't, but I'll type them up anyway. More possibly disturbing things are ahead though, I warn you.

I'm sure this has been debated many times over, but Grendels should be able to eat norns and ettins. Not just slap them to death, they should be able to drag them off and eat them, and gain nourishment from them. Grendels should be meat-eaters, only eating norns, ettins, and critters. When desperate, maybe they would eat bugs, or perhaps eachother. They also need better hunting instincts. As it is now grendels and norns play with eachother if they're in a good mood. That's not right. Norns need to be afraid and flee at the first sight of a grendel, and a grendel needs to hunt down and kill any norn he/she sees. There's two major ways this predator/prey thing could work that I've come up with. First off, there could be one grendel that hatches..oh say, every two hours or so. He would be the great enemy whom everyone fears--big, strong, bloodthirsty. The norns would know to flee, so the difficulty of the game wouldn't tremendously increase by having the burden of shooing all the norns to safety. But some norns would not run fast enough or be sleeping at the time the predator 

approaches, and they would be killed and eaten unless you could save them. This one grendel could be killed by poison or other means, and a new one would not hatch until the next two-hour cycle. Another way this could work is similar to the way the Banshee grendels work now-- a male and a female would hatch, be only a bit bigger than the norns, and be able to breed and reproduce as normal, but would still have hunting instincts. The only big difference between this and the one grendel system is that the herd of grendels would hunt together as a pack, but one alone would not be as deadly and easily overpowered by two or more adult norns.

Also, this somewhat ties to the grendels, creatures should be able to pick up other creatures smaller than them. This could be interesting in that parents could pick up their children, and grendels could take norns prisoner instead of just killing them on the spot.

As far as the 3rd party possibility of the grendels, I don't think it's possible. But the single huge predatory grendel might be able to be simulated with a highly advanced agent.

I just get sick of the easiness of DS sometimes and thus come up with these ideas. I generally play the game hands-off to make it more interesting, meaning I touch the creatures as little as possible, and use verbal commands to guide them to flee the grendels or hit them. It's more interesting than just picking up the grendels and tossing them into the sea. Where's the adventure in that?

Ah, if only I had the skills...I could make my Creatures dreams come true....


Just kind of interesting to see how my wishlist (and writing-style, for that matter) has changed over the years. And yet, the core of my ambitions hasn't changed much-- adding danger is a great way to make ones' creatures more valuable to the nurturer, and thus more attachable. I might be able to learn from this.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Story of Bibblita

I've posted a story both on Ctopia and Ccaves... a strange, amusing, somewhat embarrassing, potentially insightful piece that lately I just can't get out of my head. I figure I'll post it here, too, especially since I'm a little more comfortable spewing personal thoughts here than on forums.

Really, when I dug this story up to repost it by request of a Ccaves member, I didn't expect it to have so much impact on me. Reading through this was like looking into the mind of my child-self. It's a somewhat silly, over-dramatic journal I kept on the life of a specific C3 norn when I was about 12 or 13 years old, but it just speaks volumes about how I saw my creatures back then.

It's sort of left me a little lost, to be honest. All this time, the majority of my efforts in DS development have ultimately been working toward one major purpose: to rekindle that sense of real emotional attachment to our creatures. This story is a perfect example of what I am trying to achieve-- there's no doubting that I really cared for these creatures. And I did this in near-vanilla C3 standalone, no more!

Considering this, I can't help but wonder if all my development efforts are futile. The key element in developing an attachment to a virtual creature, in my view, is suspension of disbelief-- something that children are immensely more capable of than adults. I start to wonder if maybe it's just going to be impossible for me to reach that level again. I wonder if, in all my digging into what makes the game tick, I've ruined it for myself.

I try to find more ways to personalize the game and the creatures, make certain annoying tasks easier, make certain elements of the game more interesting, and generally make it easier to get absorbed in the game instead of alt-tabbing to something else because my creatures aren't doing anything interesting at the moment. I figure if I can accomplish that, it'll be easier for me to suspend disbelief, and maybe I'll find that spark again. But I'm really starting to think it's not any element of the game that's suppressing it. Maybe my imagination is just too jaded for me to really believe anymore.

As you read or reread or gloss through or just scroll past this little window in my twelve-year-old mind, consider this: When was the last time a creature evoked an emotional response from you? Tell me your stories in the the comments. Do you think suspension of disbelief is something that can be helped along with special tweaks or agents, or is it purely in one's imagination?


The Story of Bibblita

One beautiful morning, an egg was laid by a small but very violent norn. She laid her egg, walked off and got pregnant again. Her egg hatched and a baby norn popped out, only to be beaten to death by her own mother! I watched it in horror. Then I waited for the mother to lay her egg, and then I exported her. Suddenly, the father died! Now I had an egg holding an orphaned norn. I took it to a safe spot. I heard it crack, and then a small female norn crawled out. I named Bibblita. She had a nice tiger striped body and tail, and a Bruin head. I took her to another norn, a boy. They started to play together and so I let them be. Suddenly she started coughing and sneezing like crazy! I quickly took her to the medical pod, and saw that she had histamines A and B, antigen 2, and glycotoxin! It was the antigen that scared me most, because I had never been able to get rid of it. So I got to work; a couple arnica injections, some antihistamine and antibodies…

One day, a miracle happened. Bibblita was cured! I grew to like this norn quite well, so I checked on her often. She was released from her little hospital room to go play with the other norns. All the norns seemed to like her, and she liked all the norns. Many funny things happened from that point on, including this:

"Tangerine like Bibblita"

"Jessie like Bibblita"
"Tangerine like Bibblita"
"Jessie like Bibblita"
*Tangerine hits Jessie*
"Tangerine like Bibblita"
"Bibblita dislike Tangerine"
"Bibblita like Jessie"

She became an adult before I knew it, but she wasn’t the super breeder I thought she’d be. She liked all the norns, but no breeding! But one day she met a Norn named Kovu. They instantly bred and had a baby boy called Bibble. I made Kovu and Bibblita king and queen that day.

One day a grendel invaded the norn area! The norns were scared, and I was scared! He went through, slapping every norn in sight, I shook nervously as he approached Bibblita. I couldn’t watch. I covered my eyes until I heard the moan of a dead creature. I opened my eyes to see Bibblita standing next to the dead grendel. She had saved the norns! Shortly afterward, she had another boy whom I named Ollie. Then she had two girls, Arcin and Skittle.

One day, something awful happened. Kovu went crazy. He hit every norn in sight until it was almost dead, even Bibblita! I quickly exiled him to the desert. When I came back, Bibblita was sitting in a corner, saying, “Bibblita sad, Bibblita get norn” Suddenly, a norn called Bibble came and kissed her. They instantly kisspopped and had a baby boy named Chipper, and a girl named Scamper. I made Bibble the new king. Shortly afterwards, Bibblita became old. Her hair turned white, and her color faded. I paid extra attention to her during this time. I knew her time was getting near, and I wanted her to be as happy as possible in her last days. She was 4 hours and 42 minutes old, an ancient, when she suddenly bred twice! Now I was worried. She was so old, would she live though it? She laid her eggs and went on as if nothing had happened. Then I realized something. All the norns alive were related to her in some way! Could it be a mutation of some sort, which she passed on to her children?

Bibblita was 4 hours and 54 minutes old, Only 6 more minutes left. I nervously watched the time go by. I checked her stats. She appeared healthy, but then I saw something. Her life chemical was at 100%! The life chemical is supposed to slowly dissolve, as the creature gets older. When it disappears, the creature dies. I checked the stats of another Norn. Her life was at 25%! I checked another, younger Norn. Her life was at 75%! I relaxed. Bibblita still has a lot of time.
Bibblita. 5 hours and 31 minutes old. Has another child. Kills a Grendel. Has a check-up. Life was at 65%. Injury Level: 1. 1 bacteria was detected. This was bad, very bad. It didn’t say which bacteria though! Suddenly, It went away. I was so relived!

Bibblita had another child, whom I named Love. She was sweet and gentle. She was destined to be the queen after Bibblita! I loved her, and watched her closely. She was loved by all.

One day a Grendel came in. As usual, a crowed of norns gathered around and hit the Grendel to death. But the Grendel wasn’t the only one. After the Grendel died. I noticed a furry brown body beside him. It was Love. She had been killed in the mob.

Now, back to Bibblita. She was old and had taken quite a beating from that Grendel. With her life force at 60%, I estimated she would live about 40 more minutes. This was very frightening to me, as I started to think about what I would do when she died. Her life suddenly went down to 50%. She could go any second…

Meanwhile, Kovu (remember him?) had one minute left to live. I let him say goodbye to Bibblita, and then, he died. Although he was violent, and had to live with the ettins, He was still a Norn, and I loved him.

Bibble turned white. Now he’s old.

Once again, Bibblita was pregnant. After laying the egg, a Grendel quickly stole it! I said, “drop” and he dropped the egg. It hatched, and the girl was named Joy. Bibble was now very, very old. His life was at 5%.

Okay, I know this has nothing to do with anything, but I had a little ettin that hangs around in the basement. Her name was Daisy. She played with the baby norns and kept away grendels. Once she got very sick, but I saved her. She was very sweet.

Bibblita’s life was at 26% Bibble’s was at 4% His life dropped much more slowly than hers. Bibblita was 7 hours old. Now I’m worried. She is always tired and sleepy. So is Bibble. I knew they didn’t have much time, so I decided to take them on a vacation. I packed food and toys, and set off on the trip to the aquatic area.

The aquatic area is the most beautiful place on the spaceship. Bibblita and Bibble had a great time relaxing and watching the fish swim by. Bibblita started to go deaf. She didn’t hear me when I said eat food or push toy. But she heard me when I said rest. Strange.

One time, Bibble did the sweetest thing! Bibblita said she was hungry. Bibble picked up an apple and gave it to her! Then he did it again and said, “Bibble love Bibblita!”

Bibblita’s life was at 20%. Bibble’s was 3%. This got more and more scary. Bibblita had another child! It was a boy, whom I called June. He looked almost exactly like Bibble! I was pleased with him, and knew he would be the future king. Or should I say, king in a minute.

That’s right, shortly after June’s birth, I heard a moan. I looked over and saw a good friend, father, and king, lying on the ground. Bibble had died.

Bibblita’s life was at 17%. I decided to let her say good bye to all her children and grandchildren. She went over and kissed June, Ollie, and even Daisy, the ettin! But after Bibblita was out of sight, Scamper became old and gray, June was, “Intensely sad” and Ollie died. Poor Ollie. Poor, Poor Ollie. I brought her back, but, Ollie was gone.

Bibblita was playing with Daisy, when she turned on her! Daisy was beating Bibblita! After finally getting Bibblita away. I realized Bibblita was hurt badly! “Bibblita very scared!” “Calm down,” I said. “Bibblita very calm” Soon she was on her feet again, but as for the ettin, she would be watched carefully from now on!

Bibblita life force was at 10%. I gave her a feast of every food item in the Spaceship. She quickly ate it all, maybe she was hungrier then I thought! After dinner, I let her play with several toys. And take a nap. Visit the fish; go for a swim in the deep of the sea, one last time. Bibblita knew how to hold her breath, and she loved water. Then I took her back to the medical area and gave her the blue Norn doll, which she had grown to love over the “Years” and would not let it out of her sight. She held it tightly to her chest with one hand, while I held her other. She started to choke. I held her hand tightly and said, “Be calm, Bibblita” She said “Bibblita very calm” Then, with her norn doll in one hand, and my hand in the other, she laid down, drew her last breath, and slipped from the world of Grendels, pain and disease; and into the world of eternal paradise.

I let go of her limp hand and watched it hit the ground. Then I took the sacred Norn doll and put it in the aquatic area, along with all her other favorite things. No norn, ettin or grendel of any kind was to ever enter that area again. Bibblita, lived 10 hours and 33 minutes, was the mother of 16 children, and was my friend.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Developer's Den

Amusing things I like to do -- stream LNA on a huge TV where I can see if from my developing computer.

Wishlist: bigger monitor. Or just a second monitor. Or both.

More Garden Box info is coming, I swear >: In my defense, I haven't been writing about it because I've been busy actually working on it. Is that a fair enough trade, you think? I'll do another video soon-- those are a bit easier (and more interesting, I think?) than huge informational walls of text.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Garden Box Preview

I am so, so tired right now. So here is a teaser video, and I will make a more formal post later!