Wednesday, February 22, 2012

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.


  1. This is definitely a gem! Even though the document is dated, the core is still quite correct: DS is fairly easy. With unlimited food supplies and a limited number of dangers in a vanilla world, there is little challenge. Worse yet, Norns usually do not need a caretaker. I think this is where the fundamental shift occurred in the Creatures series: We started off in C1 as nurturers who were almost always required. We were needed. Wolfing runs in C1 were still possible, yet Norns seemed so much happier when they had someone to keep an eye out for them. They didn't always listen, yet a hand-raised Norn seems to have so much more than a wild Norn, so to speak.

    In C3/DS, the game almost turned into an old rerun one has seen too many times. Luckily, third party developers have kept the came alive and fresh: Everyone who has created just one thing, no matter how simple, deserves some credit!

    Although some of these ideas might be a little intense, such as the Norn-eating Grendels, I think these dangers would make us feel more connected with our Norns. At last, it might feel like we were actually needed again.

    Such a good day for Creatures discussions! Thanks for stirring our minds today, Amaikokonut!

    1. Funny how in Creatures we were always developing agents to make it easier to keep norns alive, but since DS, it's actually a challenge to make raising them harder.

      Hah, "Intense" is a friendly way to put some of these ideas. I realize the general opinion of grendels over the years has edged toward a friendlier light, but I always loved the idea of having actual life-threatening predators to fear, something much more than just a scary story mommy norns tell to keep their younglings from straying too far!

  2. DiscoverAlbia is right about C1&2 Norns really needing their caretakers. Although one of my major goals has always been to breed a self-sustaining population in C1, counter intuitively the fact they generally can't is why I like them so much.
    C3 had some challenges, but most of them were artificial, such as having to collect unlockables and keeping the ships bio-energy up. The Norns themselves were fairly easy, and that only got easier with DS and unlimited food supplies.

    I've always thought a nice middle ground for having Grendels be more dangerous but still 'kid friendly' was to allow them to eat eggs. Grendels steal eggs, wait for them to hatch, then beat the baby Norn to death. It's such a strange practice. Eating the eggs would give some purpose to this.

    Again I have to say how much I'm looking forward to Grandroids. Sadly CAOS is a dead language and relearning it at this point seems kind of redundant. Unity3D is such an amazing engine as it allows you to code in about 5 different languages that can all work together; it will open 3rd party development something amazing. I'm really hoping some of these ideas you keep talking about will be easier to achieve with a new system, I'd love to see them come to fruition. And to top it off Steve has promissed that after X number of years he'll release the source code so we can pull the entire game apart, something I know has frustrated developers in the Creatures games.

    1. It really is a shame that eggs are all classified the same, regardless of species. That would be a nice middle ground, if grendels wouldn't just start eating their own eggs!

      Though, egg-eating grendels could be modified to be livebearers, or lay eggs that were invisible or just classified differently, and that problem would be solved. It's certainly possible, anyway.

      I probably should start taking steps to learn the languages Unity does support, heh. I know I'll probably want to be all over writing mods for that too...but on the other hand, if it's as good as we hope, my guess is it'll be a long time before I actually see a need to modify it at all. I'd probably need to start getting bored of the vanilla game first before I bothered hacking it apart :P

  3. Wow, the talk of grendels being able to eat eggs reminds me of the C2 cob that made edible grendel eggs. If you hit the egg often enough it would crack open exposing the grendel embryo inside & it could be eaten, but if you didn't break the egg it would hatch & release another grendel to wander the world. I think regular grendel eggs that were laid normally were safe from being broken, it was only the eggs given by that cob that could break.

    I really do like some of the ideas listed there, especially the machine that vends out meat & plushies when critters are dropped in. I've always been interested in something similar to the quirky cookie machine, something that could vend things besides cookies. That file is definitely a treasure trove of ideas.

    1. Wow, I had never heard of that COB. The idea of an edible grendel embryo falling out of a broken shell makes me squirm a little, to be honest. Certainly an interesting way to reverse the food chain XD

      The quirky cookie machine was always one of my favorite agents-- there's no doubt that helped inspire these ideas!

    2. Well, the embryo never actually fell out of the egg, & the sprite they used for the embryo was actually the baby grendel sprites posed & modified to fit in the broken grendel eggshell. I'm kind of surprised that I actually still have that cob. I looked last night to see if I did still have it, it took a bit to find it since that folder is so badly organized, but I do still have it.

      I never had a chance to actually play with the quirky cookie machine since the mall had closed by the time I would have been able to buy that breed pack. The only mall breeds I have are the free ones. Do you think after you finish some of your other projects like the Garden Box, that you might make an agent that is somewhat similar to the cookie machine? With more options maybe?