Thursday, December 29, 2016

Some Downloads Broken

Hey all, just a heads up that I'm having some problems with the host for several of my downloads right now. It's only temporary and everything will be back to normal on the first of January, but I'll try to get some of the more popular ones rehosted sooner (I've been needing to do that anyways), Sorry!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Speech Bubble Update In Progress

The CCSF has come and gone and my goodness, I blinked and it was over. These past few months have just been absurdly busy for me I was unable to get anything out. As I think I've mentioned in a recent post, I've been frustratingly at a standstill for years it seems wherein the only projects I have motivation to work on are those so big, so absurd, that the chances of actually ever getting them in a releasable state is slim to none. If only I could stick to smaller and more manageable projects, I might actually finish something one of these days.

Anyway, one of the CCSF releases that caught my eye was Splincer's Protective Tub Short Name List. This list address a problem with Protective Tub that's been low-key nagging at me for years-- the fact that no one is going to want to type out a long and obnoxious name to address a particular norn directly. So during a rare afternoon off I decided to try and see what I could do to address this. 
The solution I eventually came to was a modification to the speech bubble script that intercepts any typed command that begins with the word "hey" and changes it to be prefaced with the name of the currently selected norn. This makes it easier if you just want to give a command to one specific creature and not everyone in the room. I had thought of other words to preface the command with, like 'selected' and 'creature' but in the end I wanted it to be something short and quick to type, since that was really the point of the whole thing. It came down to 'you' and 'hey,' and well, 'hey' just sounded more fun to me.

 While I was at it, I tried fixing one of the other problems with really long names-- the speech bubble occasionally cutting off due to the names just taking up so much space. I still really don't like how huge and cumbersome the speech bubble is, but hopefully it won't be seen all that often with your average Protective Tub name.

There's still some quirks that I have to iron out before it's in a releasable state, but hopefully that won't take too long. In the meantime, there's some other things I would like to fix about my older agents, such as the plane for the nametags being set way too high, and about a million little bugs in the Garden Box. But we'll see what I find time and motivation for.

Is there anything else you all have noticed in my agents that needs fixing/tweaking, before I get bogged down in another impossible project and you don't hear from me again for three more years?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

CCSF Blog Carnival: Day 7

Why do you like Creatures? If your interest in it has come and gone and come again, what brings you back? Despite how hard it can be to run on modern machines and the total lack of official support now, why do you play?

I guess I have quite a few reasons for this one. A pretty big reason I keep coming back is that there's just no modern replacement. Even after twenty years, no one has developed a sim game with the same or greater level of detail when it comes to biology, genetics, and brain simulation. When I'm itching to raise some A-Life, Creatures is simply the best way for me to scratch.

 Another reason is just plain nostalgia and attachment-- I've been playing this game on and off for so long that even if something more interesting does come along, I'll probably still come back to raise norns occasionally.

But really what usually draws me back in the first place is getting a message, comment, or email from someone who has a question about the games or something I've developed. I think it's seeing that interest from other players that inspires me to play again too. Sometimes life gets so busy I forget Creatures exists, forget games in general exist! But having those reminders once in a while from other community members helps me remember how much I really do love this game and how much I enjoy playing and developing for it.

Friday, December 2, 2016

CCSF Blog Carnival: Day 6

What do you think of the mythology and backstory of creatures? Do you have any favorite background details in the world? Any pet theories or thoughts, or questions you would like answered?

The general mythology behind the series is alright, if a little weird (Some smart aliens made life, abandoned the planet, went to space, abandoned the ship...? Apparently invented the warp at some point and sent newly created breeds through it..?) I think I mostly enjoy reading and writing extended lore about the Shee and Albia. I love backstory in general, about metarooms, breeds, agents-- this community can be so creative when it comes to that stuff. Ghosthande's metarooms in particular often have fascinating stories behind then and secrets to discover within.

Hm, and when I was a kid I headcanoned that MerNorns were extremely rare because they were born terrified of the water, and unless they overcame their fear before they became adults, they would die. But I think I mostly just developed that concept so I could write a corny love story about a norn who manages to overcome his fear to join his lover in the sea.

Edit: Check out this comment Steve Grand wrote explaining some of his thought processes behind the mythology of Creatures! It's so neat to have some insight from the creator!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

CCSF Blog Carnival: Day 5

Do you create content for Creatures? If so, what sorts? What do you use to make things, and what would you like to make in the future? If not, what would you like to make if you could?

Why yes, yes I do.

My tools of choice are the CAOS Tool and Jagent, along with helpers like the CAOS debugger. I've also found Windows Grep to be invaluable when trying to remember the best context in which to use a CAOS command.

There are so many things I'd like to make in the future; it's just a matter of finding time and energy and prioritizing reasonable projects over crazy audacious ones. I'd love to rewrite the Garden Box from scratch but that probably isn't the best use of my time. I'm currently messing with some scripts to log every creature action to a file that can be parsed to gather all sorts of fun data for analysis purposes. I've also got at least a dozen scenario scripts in concept that I'd like to implement but then I wonder if I should just write a central scenario core agent with a ton of parameters you can set by hand to make your own scenarios, with the ability to write, export, and import others' parameters (similar to C3 blueprints). But that's such a huge project that if I started it you'd probably hear an update a decade later, so maybe I should just stick with the small standalone scripts. I'm also still really in love with a lot of the concepts in Project Underground and even wrote a ton of lore for it a few years back, but that's probably a life's worth of work. I guess I'm just at a rather frustrating point where the only projects I want to work on are too large for me to reasonably complete, so I tend to spend more time just enjoying playing the games and hoping I'll get inspired enough to tweak a few things along the way without feeling compelled to rewrite the entire game. I guess I'll see where that takes me.