Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New *Arg*!

The holiday period has finally reached its end (more or less). I hope you all enjoyed spending time with your families, opening presents, eating delicious food, and whatnot. I know I did, anyway. 

To wrap up the holidays and 2013, how about I release a couple things?

Inspired by (among other things) Clohse's Sea Monkey Marina and Angelneko's Little SeaMonsters, Reef Gliders are amphibious norns who gain the ability to swim at adolescence (as well as a slightly carnivorous diet). They're not overly complicated, but I'm pretty happy with them. 

Next up is a fairly big update:

What? The Deep Abyss again? Yes, but this time with more stuff - this release comes with the plants, finally giving your deep-water-dwelling creatures something to munch on. Make sure to read the readme before installing this version, however - there's important information for those updating from V1 in there.

That's all for big releases, but I also have two smaller updates for you. 

First off is a Chione update. I've updated the mapping a bit - the ice over the lake is now "air" instead of "drained soil" (meaning plants can no longer grow there), and the space right before the surface cave (where the door is) is now "drained soil" instead of "air." Nothing particularly noteworthy, but it does set the stage for future updates (when the ecology starts coming in at last). 

The final thing on the list is an update to my swimming agent. It should help your creatures swim better with less incidences of them being unable to reach objects. Just in time for the release of the Reef Gliders, huh? 

Finally, here's an update about the blog. I know I haven't been updating it recently despite the fact that I am still playing Creatures right now (and making stuff for it, to boot). The fact of the matter is that I simply haven't had much to say lately. That being said, I might decide to document the grendel wolfling run I've been doing here (for something a little more informative than my bibbles over at CCaves) or maybe even a reboot of Tevaela, since I do still have quite a lot of time off before I have to go back to college. 

For now, just enjoy the releases! I'll see you all in 2014.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Another CCSF come and gone

Disclaimer: This post is a bit blunt. Do know that I mean no offense towards any participants, and that I believe that everyone did their best.

Today marks the final day of the CCSF 2013. To be brutally honest, I found this year to be really underwhelming. Don't get me wrong; it wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination. However, nothing about it was anything to write home about. The releases were mostly genetic breeds and agents, with only three metarooms (one of which was mine) and no full breeds. Furthermore, none of the other happenings really got me hyped.

However, I will say that I really like Clohse's Sea Monkey Marina, particularly how it blended the sea monkey stuff with original stuff. I don't know if I'll ever get around to making a world around it (might try to make a personalized version of it first), but it is quite fun to just watch. Furthermore, it did help me get my motivation to finish the Deep Abyss back.

With my thoughts out, I do think it's time to post my own releases here, yes?

My breed release consisted of the standard Colorful Grendels. They're extremely simple by my standards; they're based on the ChiChi genome with a few edits to make them more grendel-esque, and they're colorful. This initial pack consists of five colors picked at random by the egg agent.

That's not all I have that's related to the Colorful Grendels, however. As I stated on the website and in the readme, I plan on making more color variants and even sub-breeds as time goes on. To end the festival, I decided to make and release the first color pack for the Standard Colorful Grendels.

This second pack will let you hatch five new color varieties with the Standard Colorful Grendel egg agent in the initial release. Not much else to say here, really. 

My other release was the yearly metaroom: the initial version of the Deep Abyss.

I apologize for the lack of an ecology, playthings, or even basic food sources. Alas, my mental issues got in the way and I wasn't able to complete those in time. Hopefully, the basic room will give you enough to play with while I'm finishing it up. 
When will the final release be out? I would like to get it out by the end of the year, but at this point you should know that my word on when things will be out holds no value. It really depends on when Mea gets all the necessary sprites done, and when/if I can force myself to work on it. Do know that it's going to be a while. 

And that's all for now, folks.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Woah, What happened?

I'm still around, yes. In fact, I'm actually rather active over at Creatures Caves. However, you wouldn't know that by looking here, judging by the lack of posts for roughly two months. 

I don't think I need to say that it was the result of a hiatus. However, this hiatus was a particularly nasty one; not only was my will to do anything Creatures-related sapped, my will to do anything productive was sapped. But fortunately, I'm working on getting myself out of this rut and will hopefully get my motivation back soon. 

Unfortunately, the timing of the hiatus couldn't be worse considering that the CCSF is just around the corner. What I originally intended to do was make four genetic breeds (two grendels, a norn, and an ettin) and a metaroom. What actually got done was one extremely simple genetic breed and a metaroom without flora or fauna. For what's probably the biggest event of the Community, you'd think I would be more driven to actually get this stuff done in time.

However, while my actual submissions to the CCSF may be a little disappointing, that may not be the whole story. If I can manage to get all my ducks in a row by the time the CCSF starts, I may release a thing or two here over the course of the CCSF. That is a very big if, however - it's just as likely I won't get around to making anything more than I've already made.

On a final note, I really need to be more realistic here. Seriously, how many times I said I'd do something on this very blog and then have absolutely nothing come of it? Too many. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Metaroom Review: Veridia

After a month and a half hiatus, I'm back at college but ready to get back to Creatures. I'm trying to set up a wolfling run, but I've found that my taste in both agents and metarooms has gone completely OCD and therefore I'm finding it extremely difficult to come up with something I'm satisfied with. So rather than mess with that, I decided to review one of the most popular metarooms around: Veridia, by Soliloquy and Liam (and quite a few others).

When Veridia is first injected, two things immediately jump out: the place is gorgeous, and the place is very empty.

I'll comment on the presentation first. Veridia, graphically, is very beautiful. Apart from some smudging around the walkways taken from C2, it's one of those places you can stare at for hours and not get bored. I wouldn't say it's as atmospheric as Aquamind or the Oasis, but if you're looking for beauty you'll certainly be satisfied here.

The graphics have the bonus of making the task of finding appropriate agents for the room a little easier. At the very least, there's plenty of background flora to put patch plants on.

Now onto the emptiness. Soliloquy had the intention of making Veridia a large, customizable expanse not unlike the Biodome. For the most part, it was a success. Veridia's one of the best rooms to use with the Garden Box, due to all the background flora for patch plants and wide expanse for other plants.

However, my main criticism with this room ties into to the fact that there's nothing in there to begin with (besides CA emitters, elevators, etc.).

These walkways are certainly pretty and help fill up what would otherwise be empty space, but for practical purposes they might as well not be there. The only level in the room that is actually fertile is the lowest level. Couple this with the fact that the Garden Box patch plants and a ton of third-party potted plants tend to just fall past the walkways, and creatures in here have absolutely no reason to go up into the canopy. Sure, you could cover the walkways with vendors and toys, but why should a creature go up a floor to use a vendor when it could stay on the ground level and find food without any extra effort? It doesn't help that the elevators are derived from the C2toDS elevators and therefore lack pull scripts (and therefore tend to confuse the heck out of creatures), and that there's no CA links to start with (though that's rectified with Amai's Magic Words Room Edits).

As a result of all this, I really don't find myself enjoying Veridia as much as other people. I do like the place, don't get me wrong, but having only one level that's really open to customization is a bit of a turn-off.

Summary: Veridia is a great metaroom. It's beautiful, creature-friendly (despite the elevators), and goes hand-in-hand with the Garden Box and Magic Words Room Edits. However, its attempt to be a customizable metaroom really falls flat when you consider the fact that it has one fertile level. Your creatures will enjoy being in here, but don't expect them to want to go up to the upper levels anytime soon.

Final score: 7/10

Friday, July 26, 2013

Aquanornia Update #2

So I decided to run a Maraquan Grendel wolfling run to enjoy my recently-created fixes...and found out the hard way that they, and presumably other norn-bodied grendels, have trouble navigating the lowest floor of Aquanornia Revamped once they're adults. In light of this, the metaroom has been updated again.

It's available from the C3/DS Downloads page as usual, or you can get it directly here.

Two posts in one day, whoo. \o/

Dabblings in BD....

....Have resulted in something usable.

If you've ever used Trix's Maraquan Grendels, you may have noticed the issue adolescent and older grendels have with their arms. If you haven't noticed it, the issue is that the lower arm tends to detach at the elbow and that the grendels seem to pick things up with their wrists as opposed to their hands.

Being as OCD as I am, I found it to take away significantly from my enjoyment of the breed. The thing is, there used to be a fix for this issue made by Trix herself. However, she forgot to upload it to her server when she updated her website, and as a result it was lost forever. I didn't have any luck finding it, so I instead decided to dive into the BD files and fix the issue myself. It was tedious, but the result?

I succeeded in recreating the fix, and therefore putting the Maraquan Floating Arm bug to rest. If you found the floating arms as annoying as I did, then you'll find this fix will drastically improve the breed's presentation.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another Year, Another Birthday

As the title says - today is my 21st birthday. That means I'm finally free of the last bit of legal prohibitions - I can now drink alcohol, etc. Does that mean I will drink alcohol, etc.? No (alcohol has more cons than pros as far as I'm concerned).

I wasn't going to miss the chance to release a breed this year, if the crapton of releases that came before this one are any indication. I could have made a jab at my newfound ability to drink by making a breed revolving around alcohol, but decided that a serious breed would be more worthwhile. Unfortunately, this is where I break the streak of aquatic releases. Instead, this breed is more suited for an ocean of a different sort - the sea of outer space, as a passenger aboard of the Capillata.

Corny metaphor aside, the W-Runner Grendels are simultaneously a breed designed for wolfling runs and a breed designed for Docking Station. They have the advantage of being able to follow smells and navigate doors and lifts from birth, unlike normal creatures who have to wait until childhood. In addition, they do not get homesick and love using portals. They're more even-tempered than normal grendels to prevent their anger from getting in the way of their survival, but if you think they're completely friendly you're sadly mistaken.

And speaking of portals, you may be wondering how there's an open warp portal behind the grendel up there when the DS server has been offline for who-knows-how-long. Here's your answer....

These altered warp portals let your creatures travel from place-to-place in your world, while simulating the appearance and feel of the warp jumps of lore. 
Do note that there's a bug with these: if you have a closed portal in the same world with open portals, your creatures will sometimes get warped to the closed portal. It doesn't happen often, though, so hopefully you can live with it until I can figure out just exactly what's causing it. 

To end this post on another corny philosophical note: the way these grendels jump through the warp they love so much symbolizes my anticipation and worries for the future. With any luck, I'll still be here next year, bringing you yet another breed to enjoy. Time will tell, though....

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Yet Another Aquatic Release

Every single post this month thus far has been a release, and this post is no exception. Let's get to it, shall we?

The first release is a breed, albeit one that isn't quite as complex as some of my other ones.

The Swimming Aqua Grendels are...well, Aqua Grendels that can swim. That said, they do have some differences from the normal variety besides the obvious - chief among them are the swim bladder edits from the Astro Tetras.

The next release is quite a bit more significant. 

I've been talking about the Sea Garden for quite a while, and decided it was about time to do more than that. Since the full pack is taking forever to finish, I decided to release it in parts. 
Part one consists of two plants: the Sea Pen and the Coralroot. The sea pen provides creatures with an underwater source of fruit, while the coralroot does the same for food. With these, the lack of aquatic fruit (and too a lesser extent food) has been addressed. The coralroot has the bonus of providing aquatic creatures with entertainment once it's been eaten. 

So, is that all the releases for this month? Nope - my birthday's coming up within five days, and just like last year there's going to be a breed release for that too. In fact, since it's my 21st, the swarm of releases is a bit of a preliminary celebration. Stay tuned; there's more to come.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Need more aquatic stuff? How about some norns?

In a similar vein to the Twilight Norns, it's time for me to release a norn breed for the third release post in a row. I've talked about these guys a bit, but I think it's time they got a proper release.

The Coral Reef ChiChi Norns are exactly what it says on the tin: ChiChi Norns who are adapted to live on a coral reef. They cannot breathe above water, but they have an adaptable diet that includes critters and bugs, and they're very social. They also change colors as they progress through their lives. They took a little while despite not being that complicated, but I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out.

Monday, July 1, 2013

More Anemones!

I assume most of you remember me going on and on about the Oasis/Biodome Anemones and how unsuitable they were for creatures. Well, I finally decided to stop just saying I was going to make a revamp of them and actually made said revamp.

These new anemones can now be interacted with by creatures. While they're no longer "critters," I decided to turn the two varieties into a "plant" and a "weed." Peach Anemones (right) are pleasant for creatures to interact with, but they best watch themselves when thinking about touching Purple Anemones (left) - not only does it hurt for most of them, fully grown purple anemones are slightly toxic. In addition, the anemone spores can now become dormant when creatures start getting hungry, protecting the anemones from getting wiped out.

But that's not all. You're probably wondering where those wonderful tints went. For those of you who value beauty over a faster computer, I made a version that has those tints intact.

Friday, June 28, 2013

C2 Anemones for the Garden Box

So I've been in a bit of a development rut lately, which is a very bad thing considering my birthday's coming up and I need to make a breed for that, and I'm also trying to make four breeds for the CCSF. This all on top of having a ton of unfinished projects (such as the Coral Reef ChiChi Norns).

This release is an extremely simple one, but it's an attempt for me to get out of that rut. If nothing else, it'll help liven up your oceans.

The anemones from Creatures 2 are now available for use with the Garden Box. They're classified as "plant," and will amuse any creature who decides to play with them. Beyond that, they're pretty much living decor for any saltwater area.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Aquanornia Revamp Update

After spending some more time with Aquanornia Revamped, I decided to do some remapping to increase navigability. There's been no CAOs or catalogue changes with this one, but you should at least have less incidences of having teleporting creatures, unreachable food items, and the like.

The update is available at the same link as before - you can download it on the C3/DS Downloads Page or here.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

An Old Release

So Draggy's recent experience with Creatures Village reminded me that I actually did some development for that game. Granted, it wasn't a whole lot, but it did make playing the game a little more interesting.

This little update will double the maximum size of your Creatures Village population (from 4 to 8), in addition to giving you more eggs to start with and letting the females lay more eggs. There are some side effects to this (the extra population bubbles sometimes obscure a detail or two, and sometimes your norns will lay an egg that can't be messed with until someone dies), but I found it did improve my experience with the game quite a bit. Maybe other CV players will find it useful.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Idea Dump Post Mk. II

I'm having trouble focusing again as far as Creatures goes. I keep thinking I'll make something, but then I get bored in the middle of making it, and eventually it gets to the point where I go "screw it" and lurk on TVTropes or Smogon or something instead of doing anything related to Creatures. This isn't anything new for me, but dear Banshee does it blow.

So I figured I'd make an idea dump post and see if I can get my thoughts in order. Nothing here is guaranteed to get made.
  • An aquatic grendel breed that's similar to the Aqua Grendels, but never feels homesick underwater (as in, if they get homesick dropping them in the sea gets rid of it). Might have GoM-like sexual dimorphism (fast-aging males that live to breed; normal aging females). 
  • A grendel breed based on mosquitoes - the males are friendly and have a normal diet, but females can feed by slapping around other creatures, and might need to in order to breed. Might also start out aquatic and become land-living as they age.
  • A vampire breed that can lengthen its lifespan by hitting other creatures, and will lose life when slapped itself.
  • Dragyns - a series of grendel breeds with draconic traits that use Draconian Norn sprites, with features tailored for a variety of environments. 
  • An ettin breed of some sort
  • Chameleon Grendels: Grendels that look like norns, presumably so that they can blend into a norn population. 
  • Potamogeton Grendels V2: An update to my Potamogeton Grendel breed, which are themselves an update of Grendel_slayer's Pondweed Grendels (updateception?). The original Potamogeton Grendels lacked some CFE edits (for example, they can still become immortal) and the homesickness reduction trait didn't work the way I intended it to.

Also in the "things I want to do" list: Do a feral run involving land-living grendels (thank you KittyTikara for making me want to do this). This is easier said than done for me since my taste in agents is really, really finicky.

Not certain if I'll get out of this rut any time soon (though I did manage to mostly complete a norn breed, so that's something). I seriously need ADHD meds or something. x_x

Monday, April 29, 2013

Screwing around with Starter Families

Most players of C3/DS are aware of the Welcome Screen that greets you whenever you create a new world. One of the options on this screen gives you two adult, pre-trained norns to start off with. This was fine and dandy back in the day, but now with all the improved genetics running around, the default genomes the starters use is really outdated.

So I decided to look into the possibility that the starters could be messed with. This sounds simple, but the starter families use a unique file type (.family), which I wasn't certain could be edited. However, changing these files around is not difficult at all - the way the .family files are composed is almost identical to the way normal .creature files are composed.

A little background info first: Compiling a .creature file uses PRAY, just like .agent files do. However, the way the file's set up looks quite a bit different from an .agent file:


inline GLST "001-mist-jru57-bwdgq-xp8h2-65prp.glist.creature" "001-mist-jru57-bwdgq-xp8h2-65prp.glist.creature"

inline CREA "001-mist-jru57-bwdgq-xp8h2-65prp.creature" "001-mist-jru57-bwdgq-xp8h2-65prp.creature"

inline GENE "001-mist-jru57-bwdgq-xp8h2-65prp.genetics" "001-mist-jru57-bwdgq-xp8h2-65prp.genetics"

inline PHOT "001-mist-jru57-bwdgq-xp8h2-65prp-2.photo" "001-mist-jru57-bwdgq-xp8h2-65prp-2.photo"

group EXPC "001-mist-jru57-bwdgq-xp8h2-65prp"
  "Creature Age In Ticks" 552
  "Creature Life Stage" 4
  "Exported At Real Time" 1367289044
  "Exported At World Time" 8007
  "Gender" 2
  "Genus" 2
  "Pregnancy Status" 0
  "Variant" 4
  "Creature Name" ""
  "Exported From World Name" "Engineering"
  "Exported From World UID" "ship-6v34z-wncpq-65jll-srkjr"
  "Head Gallery" "A40a"

I'm not quite sure what GLST and CREA are supposed to do - I'm guessing the former has something to do with life events, but the latter just seems recursive (considering the finished file is a .creature file). GENE and PHOT are the creature's genetics and photographs, respectively. This particular PRAY file came from a C3 standalone creature, so there's probably some additional information in the PRAY files for a DS creature.

What exactly all this means isn't important at the moment, however - what's important is how this relates to .family files. As it turns out, .family files also use PRAY and are compiled almost identically to .creature files:


inline GLST "001-time-6rja3-nmfrr-hsfgz-ubtj2.glist.creature" "001-time-6rja3-nmfrr-hsfgz-ubtj2.glist.creature"

inline CREA "001-time-6rja3-nmfrr-hsfgz-ubtj2.creature" "001-time-6rja3-nmfrr-hsfgz-ubtj2.creature"

inline GENE "001-time-6rja3-nmfrr-hsfgz-ubtj2.genetics" "001-time-6rja3-nmfrr-hsfgz-ubtj2.genetics"

inline PHOT "001-time-6rja3-nmfrr-hsfgz-ubtj2-4.photo" "001-time-6rja3-nmfrr-hsfgz-ubtj2-4.photo"

group SFAM "001-time-6rja3-nmfrr-hsfgz-ubtj2"
  "Creature Age In Ticks" 856
  "Creature Life Stage" 4
  "Exported At Real Time" 965732356
  "Exported At World Time" 1357
  "Gender" 1
  "Genus" 1
  "Pregnancy Status" 0
  "Variant" 3
  "Creature Name" ""
  "Exported From World Name" "Training ground"
  "Exported From World UID" "ship-hd4jj-kfwpp-7ts2c-3qxay"
  "Head Gallery" "A00a"

Literally the only difference between .family files and .creature files is the fact that the PRAY group for .family files is SFAM rather than EXPC. Which means that if you take the PRAY file of a normal .creature file, change EXPC to SFAM, and recompile the file, you get a file that the game can use as a starter parent.

And here's how you do that:
1. Export a creature of your choosing.
2. Decompile the .creature file into its component parts somehow (REVELATION works extremely well, and I believe the PRAY Decompiler at TCR can also break it down. Jagent can't handle .creature files as well as it can .agents files, unfortunately, so I wouldn't recommend using it in this case).
3. Find the .ps file and open it up (if you're using Windows, Notepad can open it and edit it without issues)
4. Find the line that begins "group EXPC..." Change EXPC to SFAM.
5. Now grab all the parts that decompiling the .creature file gave you (.creature, .glist.creature, .genetics, and .photo) in addition to to your altered .ps file and recompile it (I used PRAYBuilder for this - considering Monk's difficulty decompiling .creature files, I'm not sure if it'll work for compiling them).
6. You'll get a .agents file. Change the extension to .family (ignore any warnings your OS might give you about doing this).
7. That's it! You can now put the .family file into your "My Agents" folder (though I recommend replacing one of the default .family files - I haven't gotten around to testing what happens if you just drop it in there). When you create a new world, select the Starter Parent option and one of the creatures that gets dropped in should be the one you exported earlier.

More testing remains to be done concerning this subject (particularly if the choice of starter parent can be randomized), but the fact that it can be changed at all can make the early game a little more interesting. Let me know what you come up with!

Edit: So I just decompiled a .ds.creature file, and turns out PRAY files for those look a bit different:


inline GLST "001-star-tnhhf-mp5aj-nq88u-suksv.DSEX.glist.creature" "001-star-tnhhf-mp5aj-nq88u-suksv.DSEX.glist.creature"

inline CREA "001-star-tnhhf-mp5aj-nq88u-suksv.DSEX.creature" "001-star-tnhhf-mp5aj-nq88u-suksv.DSEX.creature"

inline GENE "001-star-tnhhf-mp5aj-nq88u-suksv.DSEX.genetics" "001-star-tnhhf-mp5aj-nq88u-suksv.DSEX.genetics"

inline PHOT "001-star-tnhhf-mp5aj-nq88u-suksv-2.DSEX.photo" "001-star-tnhhf-mp5aj-nq88u-suksv-2.DSEX.photo"

inline PHOT "001-star-tnhhf-mp5aj-nq88u-suksv-7.DSEX.photo" "001-star-tnhhf-mp5aj-nq88u-suksv-7.DSEX.photo"

group DSEX "001-star-tnhhf-mp5aj-nq88u-suksv.DSEX"
  "Creature Age In Ticks" 712
  "Creature Life Stage" 4
  "Exported At Real Time" 1367291960
  "Exported At World Time" 450487
  "Gender" 2
  "Genus" 1
  "Pray Extra Tint_Blue" 128
  "Pray Extra Tint_Green" 128
  "Pray Extra Tint_Red" 132
  "Pray Extra Tint_Rota" 128
  "Pray Extra Tint_Swap" 128
  "Pregnancy Status" 0
  "Variant" 4
  "Creature Name" ""
  "Exported From World Name" "Crystal Cave"
  "Exported From World UID" "dock-y8fwb-r7knm-65q4j-dja5a"
  "Head Gallery" "a40w"
  "Last Network User" ""
  "Native Network User" ""
  "Pray Extra Birthday" "29 Apr 2013 23:18"
  "Pray Extra Moniker" "001-star-tnhhf-mp5aj-nq88u-suksv"
  "Pray Extra Pregnant" ""

And here's what DS .family files look like:


inline GLST "001-aqua-hgru4-5fevv-aaz32-7npj8.DFAM.glist.creature" "001-aqua-hgru4-5fevv-aaz32-7npj8.DFAM.glist.creature"

inline CREA "001-aqua-hgru4-5fevv-aaz32-7npj8.DFAM.creature" "001-aqua-hgru4-5fevv-aaz32-7npj8.DFAM.creature"

inline GENE "001-aqua-hgru4-5fevv-aaz32-7npj8.DFAM.genetics" "001-aqua-hgru4-5fevv-aaz32-7npj8.DFAM.genetics"

inline PHOT "001-aqua-hgru4-5fevv-aaz32-7npj8-3.DFAM.photo" "001-aqua-hgru4-5fevv-aaz32-7npj8-3.DFAM.photo"

group DFAM "001-aqua-hgru4-5fevv-aaz32-7npj8.DFAM"
  "Creature Age In Ticks" 1196
  "Creature Life Stage" 4
  "Exported At Real Time" 995030875
  "Exported At World Time" 1698
  "Gender" 1
  "Genus" 1
  "Pregnancy Status" 0
  "Variant" 7
  "Creature Name" ""
  "Exported From World Name" "Space camp"
  "Exported From World UID" "dock-rszby-82syq-c4an3-xpapx"
  "Head Gallery" "a00d"
  "Last Network User" ""
  "Native Network User" ""

Now that's a more significant difference than the C3 versions. I haven't tried making a DS .family file yet, but it's lesser priority for me since DS gives you the option to just go into the game, but I'm going to give it a shot eventually. If you want to give it a shot yourself, let me know what comes of it!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Rise of the Forged

If you've been reading my bibbles at Creatures Caves and/or been poking about on TCR, you might now that I've been working on a version of the Grendels of Minimordor.

First, some backstory - the original GoMs were not my creation, but Minisauron's. In stark contrast to my own habits (where I make multiple breeds), Minisauron took a single breed and refined it over the course of many years and in-game generations. The ultimate result were the Arimeides Grendels of Minimordor, and later on the Ueber-GoMs (who are more of an update to the Arimeides). If you haven't tried out either of these, you should - they're an absolutely amazing breed, and a very unique one at that. Both the Arimeides and the Ueber-GoMs are available at Minisauron's section at the Norn Adoption Center, the Mini-Blackgate.

Now, onto my own GoM variant. For a while before making these, I was scrounging about trying to either find a breed to use for a wolfling run or trying to come up with an idea for my own. Eventually, I settled on the Ueber-GoMs, as they are one of my favorite genetic breeds. They worked for the world I set up for them, but I couldn't help but notice how stupid and idiotic the males were - in a few generations time, they were outnumbered by the females, with a breeding script that strongly favored male eggs.

Since the Uebers didn't work out as well as I hoped, I decided to make my own variant. I originally wanted to base their genome on the Ueber genome, but Ueber brains crash the genetics kit, and I've yet to find another genetics editor that can even open their genome. So instead, I went back a breed and based them on the Arimeides, where I came up with the name and backstory for them....

The word "Facticius" means "Artificial" or "Man-made" in Latin, which reflects upon these GoMs' history of being artificially enhanced as opposed to (mostly) naturally bred like the Ueber-GoMs were (a history also reflected by their alternate name: The Forged). They share many features both with the Arimeides and the Ueber-GoMs, but also bring a new set of features to the GoM gene pool (most notably Vampess's CFE edits).

I tried contacting Minisauron about this new variant and seeing what he thought of them, but unfortunately the e-mail address I had for him was apparently defunct, and the only other way to get a hold of him was through DS (which is no longer a viable option since the server's been down for practically a year). However, the readmes for his GoMs said he didn't mind people distributing or modifying the packs...so I'm hoping he won't mind me releasing an edited variant of them.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Creatures: Repercussions of Violence

Emily waited. The pulse switch next to her blinked and sparked out of the air. There were grendels on the ship. she didn't see them, but had expected them now for years. Her warnings to the Hand were not listenend to and now it was too late. Far too late for now, anyway.

Emily was a hardman norn for her entire life. When she was young she watched the jungle terrarium door and she said to dad "I want to be in the jungle terrarium daddy."
Dad said "No! You will BE KILL BY GRENDELS"

There was a time when she believed him. 
Then as she got oldered she stopped. But now in the jungle terrarium of the Shee Ark she knew there were grendels.

"This is the Hand" the Hand said. "You must fight the grendels!"
So Emily trotted over to the button and pulled the elevator.

"SHE GOING TO KILL US" said the grendels
"I will beat her up" said the banshee grendel and he swung his fists. Emily swung at him and tried to beat him up. 

 But then they both got stupid and they were trapped and not able to kill.

"No! I must kill the grendels" she shouted

The Hand said....

And then Emily was a dustdevil.

...And that's enough of the ripoff of a legendarily bad DOOM fanfic. Next time: I start a tutorial series.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Challenge for a Breed

First off: the "unorthodox release" I mentioned in my last post isn't happening. At least, not in the way I originally intended it. One part of the release was a genetic breed - I got to the point where I made the egg agent and zipped up the file, but after observing the breed in a wolfling run and making some observations of Minisauron's Ueber-GoMs, I came up with some more ideas for them. As such, the breed's still being tweaked. I'll get it out eventually.

The other part of the release was a DS world designed for a wolfling run, complete with IQ test and Ovicidal Agent. It, unfortunately, is never coming to fruition, unless this is something people would be very interested in.

While I'm working away on the aforementioned genetic breed, I have a challenge to offer. After looking over CU7's C3/DS breedlist and noticing how many breeds have a standard CL genome, I came up with the idea to make a new genome for each of them. I'm willing to let the community pick which breed I work on first, but there's a price: Before I do anything related to this project, I want to see 10 creatures submitted to the Creature Repository. There's an additional caveat to that: the 10 creatures cannot be submitted by one person. One person can submit 2 creatures maximum - the remainder of the 10 need to be submitted by other people.

I think it's a fair tradeoff: bring some activity to a site who sorely needs it, and a breed gets a new and unique genome to call its own. Once the TCR quota is met, I'll open up a vote for the genome revamp.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Realm's First Anniversary

Like the title says. This day marks the first anniversary of the Realm's opening. I'm pleased with myself that I've been able to keep it running for this long, even if it's been rather inactive as of late.

So, considering that I tend to celebrate these sorts of things with a release, one would naturally think that I had one ready for this occassion.

Well...unfortunately, I could not think of anything to make. It's not helping matters that I spent most of the week slacking off (or swamping the CCaves breedlist with other people's breeds) and the day's about over here. So the only thing I have for anyone reading this today is this post (unless you're really wanting to settle for a really sloppy breed made in an hour or so).

But! Rest assured, I do have something planned. It's definitely not making it out tonight, but if all goes well it'll be out within 24 hours of this post. And to (belatedly) celebrate the Realm's first birthday, it will be really unorthodox to boot. Stay tuned; I'm not done yet.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Breeds and the Creatures Caves Breedlist

In case you haven't noticed, one of my breeds - the Twilight Norns - has finally appeared on CCave's breedlist. I wasn't the person who did so, but as adding my breeds to the list there is low priority for me at the moment I really don't mind if other people want to go ahead and do so.

However, before you start flooding the CCaves breedlist with my stuff, I have one request: Please do NOT just copy-paste the description and image provided here at the Realm onto the Creatures Caves breedlist. It's a major pet peeve of mine when people do that; even if it is convenient, I find that it makes for a much nicer-looking breedlist when people provide their own images and description when listing breeds - it's part of the reason why I find CU7's breedlist to be one of the nicest around, even if it hasn't been updated in a while.

I'll probably get to it myself once I don't have college to worry about (read: when I'm out for the summer), but this notice is for anyone who wants to beat me to it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

So Much for Schedules

That hiatus I mentioned a while back is still unfortunately ongoing (real life is getting demanding). I have absolutely no idea when I'll get back to my old projects - it's definitely not coming back this month, I can say that much. I imagine it'll be shortly after Creatures Caves finishes upgrading, though I make no promises.

In the meantime, I figured I'd release something for you to mess around with while waiting for the CCaves upgrade to finish and to make up for this blog's relative inactivity:

 After my Oasis review, I mentioned that I made a swimming agent that allowed creatures to retreat from each other. After some more tweaking, I decided that it was in a releasable state (there weren't any autokill errors, anyway). And so, here it is. There are still some bugs with it (notably, you might have creatures start swimming backwards), but for the most part it's a major upgrade from the original swimming agents that fixes almost all of their major bugs. I'm proud of it, and I hope you'll enjoy playing with it.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dear Metaroom Developers....

Please stop making walls like this. Your baby creatures will thank you, and personally I'll be much happier.

Grendel Man

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hiatus IV

As so happens when a new college semester starts up, I've completely lost interest in doing anything related to Creatures.

I don't have any major projects going on right now (apart from an easily-finished metaroom and maybe updating the Metallophagus Pack with bugfixes), so nothing much of value is getting lost there. However, "anything related to Creatures" includes Survivor. This is unfortunate since Mahk Mako got a little too friendly with the remaining contestants, and as a result my lack of activity has kinda left that plot thread hanging.

Mea and C1anddsaddict, if you're reading this, go ahead and assume Mahk buggered off and has gone back to his usual "watch and record" style of reporting. I'm not certain I'll get my drive back before the game ends - if I don't, then I probably won't update the column again until the time comes to bid it farewell.

For the same reasons as above, I apologize for the slight delay in getting the next Freak of the Week uploaded. I had to move back in to college Sunday, and as a result it kinda slipped my mind. Which means Mea's Borgetta unfortunately lost a day for her feature here. But she's up now, so anyone who got interested by her Survivor antics can download her and see how she acts in-game. To make up for that, Borgetta might get two weeks as Freak, since I'm not certain if I'm completely willing to make a new Freak for next week.

And that's the update.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

So I can Make Videos now....

If you've been on CCaves lately, you might have noticed one of my latest bibbles was this video:
If you've been on CC Chat lately, you would know that this video is actually my own creation. It's nothing too special - just a simple recording test. However, this does open the way for other videos (previews of upcoming agents, promotional trailers for some already released stuff, a little something I had planned for a while).

That said, I'm still a bit of a n00b to video editing (the fact that I really don't have access to a proper video editing program bites a bit...I did have Sony Vegas on my old computer, but unfortunately I wasn't able to re-access the download for it from my new computer without buying it again). As such, I'm not going to be very active in the video-making department for a while.

As a final note to anyone who wants to immediately subscribe to my Youtube channel, here are two things you should know:
1. It's not a channel dedicated entirely to Creatures - it's a general video gaming channel, and in fact the video above was the first Creatures-related video I uploaded.
2. I haven't updated this channel in years, and am probably going to make a completely new channel for Creatures videos when/if I get the hang of video making. If I do anything else with my current channel (not likely), it'll probably be a continuation of what I was originally doing with it (that is, uploading my favorite video game music, making video game music-related countdowns, and doing playthroughs of my favorite games).

So yeah. I'm interested in doing videos, but for now they're going to be a rare occasion. 

Edit: You know that remark I made about not having access to a proper video editing program? Scratch that remark - I just found my Vegas install on my jump drive, and I've successfully managed to reinstall Sony Vegas onto my current computer. Learning how to properly use it is going to be a bit of a pain, but you might be seeing videos from me quicker than what I initially said.

Monday, January 14, 2013

These Parts of the CC Need Activity

After a wonderful bout of activity courtesy of Survivor and a couple of wolfling runs, the CC has hit yet another period of silence. If I had to take a guess, this is mostly due to the winter holiday period ending and people returning to their usual work/school/what-have-you schedules. It's a boring silence, as silences tend to be, but I don't think there's much that can be done about it apart from waiting.

That said, there are parts of the CC that have been silent a long while before this current one, and so I decided to blog about these parts and see if I can help snag them the activity that they really need.

First order of business: the Creatures Wiki. We all know about it - it's probably the prime hub of knowledge as far as the community is concerned. However, it's in need of a little help - no one's been actively keeping it up-to-date for a while (most likely due to the fact that there was talk of a move that never went anywhere). So, the place needs curators. I'm planning on doing my part soon, starting with the pages for my own stuff, but there's no way I'm going to be able to update the whole wiki myself. For anyone else who's interested, here's what I think we need:
  • Cleaning up the older pages. There are some dead projects that had a wild history and therefore deserve pages, but there are other projects that have but a few lines dedicated to them on their pages. I think the latter should have their pages axed and their contents moved to the "Development Ideas" page. This category also includes going through the older pages and updating them with things like new versions, spelling and grammar corrections, rewriting the pages so that they're more informative and seem less like advertisements (a lot of pages seem to have this problem...), etc. 
  • Adding new pages for the things that don't have them. This includes a lot of my own work (which I'll get to adding myself at some point), but I can think of other things that deserve to have a page, but don't have one.
That's pretty much all I can think of; perhaps other people can think of a longer checklist?

Second thing: The Creatures Repository. It has 2000+ creatures, but recently it's been suffering from a lack of uploads. The only person who's been actively uploading creatures in recent history is Ylukyun. No doubt the recently improved CCaves Download section is giving it some competition, but that doesn't mean that the place has to be shafted. It's just as viable an adoption center as any place, and submitting a few creatures is easy.

The final place that I can think of that could use some activity is the Garden Box forums. The Garden Box is quite possibly one of the greatest agents ever made, but there has been an extreme lack of drive to get anything made for it, and all in all it hasn't been making the splash that it should have been (the fact that it didn't get a spot on Ghosthande's C3/DS Must-Haves isn't helping matters). It's not so much that there's a lack of people using it; there's a lack of people making agents that work with it (even Amai hasn't been doing anything with it as of late). We either need more developers making stuff for it, or increased awareness of it so that the developers can get the motivation they need to make stuff for it.

All three of these websites can be found in the Links section, but I'll also link to them here:
Creatures Wiki
The Creature Repository
Garden Box Forums

Let's give these websites some more love; they certainly need it!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Metaroom Review: Oasis

Along with the Freak of the Week, I've decided to attempt some sort of regular posting schedule again. Rather than the "post-a-day" that I originally started out with, I'm going to try to make a post at least once a week (hiatuses aside). To start off, I think it's about time I gave the Oasis, created by Moe and Liam, a bit more fair review than my original rant. 

When one first injects the Oasis, one thing stands out: the place is absolutely gorgeous. All of the objects in the room are nicely animated (though the shrimpton sometimes swim backwards), and the crystal-clear water is a nice change from all the blue-tinted aquatic metarooms. The place isn't just easy on the eyes, though - it's easy on the ears, too. The sounds of the waves and bubbles underwater are quite relaxing (though you won't get to hear the latter much if your screen is as large as mine is).

There's quite a few things about the room that add to its overall atmosphere, and one of them are these waves that wash against the shore occasionally. I think they alter the CAs of the room slightly, but otherwise they don't really do much other than look pretty. They're a very nice touch, however - I don't think there's another metaroom that handles splashing waves in this manner.

Oasis comes with a few toys, and while you wouldn't want to keep creatures in here (for reasons I'll get to shortly), they're nevertheless fun for the hand to play around with.
My favorite of the toys is this little submarine. When you click on it, it whirls around and then swims in a random direction. If you time your clicks right, you can keep the submarine swimming for quite a while....

...To the point where you can make it start flying. The thing lacks a room check in its push script, and as a result it behaves the same whether its underwater or not.

The behavior of the dead sharks is quite possibly my favorite of the little touches this place has, for only how well-coded it is. Instead of sinking to the bottom, the sharks float on the surface after they die.

But when it comes time for them to rot, they sink and fade out at the same time. It's quite awesome to watch.

The Oasis has a lot to offer the hand - it's pretty; it's peaceful and atmospheric; and there's a lot of fun little touches to observe. What does it have to offer creatures? Absolutely nothing. For how pretty the place is, it can hardly be considered creature-friendly. The room's history is mostly to blame for this. Moe never actually intended to release the metaroom, and it was never intended to be a creature home. It was a testbed, first and foremost - and it shows.

First off, none of the critters can be interacted with in any way, shape, or form. They have a timer script, and that is all. As a result, trying to feed a creature with these won't get you very far, and you'll just confuse the heck out of the creature.

There's also a whole lot of questionable classification choices. Everything that swims in this metaroom (apart from the toy submarine) is classified as a critter, when the sharks would be better off as beasts and the shrimpton better off as bugs. Perhaps the most questionable, however, would be the anemones. Going off things like the opal sponges from C3, you'd expect them to be classified as plant. Instead, Moe opted for biological accuracy and made them critters. Granted, this isn't the big deal I've been making it out to be everytime I've brought the anemones up (they're the same ones that are included in the Biodome Agent Pack), but I still find it a bit odd given their behavior.

While the above mentioned things are a problem, for me they can be easily fixed. The critters aren't edible? Make them an eat script and change their behavior. Sharks are critters? Change them to beasts. It'd be a simple enough task for me to fix all that, and so it's really not that big a deal. The next thing, however, almost sinks the metaroom for me:

This wall. Oh my god, this wall. This is the one thing that keeps the place from being completely creature-friendly after the native lifeforms have had a bunch of scripts added. With a wall that steep, baby creatures will happily run up it and get themselves stuck, unable to get down unless they're able to swim (and the current release of the swimming agent has problems all its own). The only real way to fix this and still make it look reasonable is by taking the image for the background and editing it, but for me and my lack of artistic ability that's all but impossible. As a result, the place is completely unsuitable for non-swimming aquatic creatures, and that really, really bothers me.

All that said, the Oasis actually isn't a complete waste of space as far as creature care is concerned. The underwater area may be unsuitable for creatures, but the land area is perfectly navigable (the only real problem is the tide pool, which might cause a few deaths if you're trying to keep non-amphibious creatures there).

You might fail miserably if you try keeping aquatic creatures in here, but with some outside agents the Oasis becomes a wonderful place for your land-dwelling creatures to enjoy the beach.

Summary: On the whole, the Oasis is a very nice metaroom. It's extremely beautiful, very atmospheric and peaceful, and has a lot of unique features and embellishments. On the other hand, despite what the CCSF ad for it might say, it is not a "perfect place for creatures of all ages to enjoy the water." The critters cannot be interacted with at all, and baby creatures can easily get themselves stuck. Land-dwelling creatures will enjoy the beach though, provided you bring in some outside agents and make sure they don't drown in the tidal pool.

Final score: 7/10

Now, time for a status update: I finally managed to create a working swimming agent that fixes one of the biggest issues with the originals: creatures can finally retreat from each other (and other objects) while swimming. Even better, this new agent can be injected and removed like any other agent since it doesn't mess with the creature navigation scripts like the old ones did. Swimming creatures still have problems interacting with agents while inside their vehicle, but I'm not certain how much can be done about that.
I'm hoping to get this new agent out soon, but that depends on how long it takes to polish it - I could get it out within the next week or so, over the summer, or for the CCSF 2013. Either way, progress has been made, and I'm very pleased with what I have so far.