Friday, May 3, 2019

Of Edits and Improvements of my Work

As of this typing, there's an ongoing discussion on Creatures Caves about rehosting and updating addons created by people who are no longer a part of the Creatures Community. I haven't added my two cents to it myself, largely because I feel I have nothing to add. This bit pretty much says everything I would have:

"I say we fix/patch/reupload everything first and ask forgiveness later if they ever bother to file a complaint. It’s not like this is being done maliciously after all. We’re not trying to take credit from the creators, but if we stand by and do nothing, tip-toeing around antiquated modding distribution policies, we only stand to lose more and more content to an already damaged and emaciated community."

However, it has got me thinking about my policies about my own work. My sharing policies are listed on my main downloads page, and I don't intent on changing them anytime soon. It ensures all my work is found in one, easy-to-find place. 

But what about edits and fixes? My policy says nothing about those. 

In the past I might have been a little possessive over it. However, nowadays I just don't see the point. All this stuff is for a game made by somebody else, and a fair chunk of it's based on somebody else's work as it is. Furthermore, I learn best when I rip apart things somebody else made and figure out how they did this, that, and the other thing. Finally, it's not like I have the enthusiasm nowadays to go back and fix any outstanding issues that might exist in my work. 

So my policy on editing my creations is thus: Go nuts.

Want to make my metarooms TWB/TCB friendly? Go for it. Find a game-breaking bug in one of my agents? Patch it up. Dive into my genomes and see what makes them tick; improve them if you so desire. Heck, feel free to share these improvements with the community. All I ask is that you credit me for the original work (and don't use my work to create something offensive, intentionally hurtful, etc.).

However, I should note that the artwork for much of my agents and metarooms was created by somebody else (Mea for the most part). Before you start editing the artwork I'd suggest contacting the creators of said artwork to see if it's okay. 

That is all for now. Until the next one, folks.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A Different Sort of Experiment

This has nothing much to do with Creatures, but if you noticed that the header at the top now refers to me as "D.L. Yomegami" instead of "Grendel Man," you might be wondering why that is.

Well, there's a burning question I've had about myself for quite a while now, and lately that question's been getting more and more difficult to ignore. To answer it, I've decided to conduct an experiment for the next week or so, and for the purposes of that experiment my current username had to go.

As to what this experiment is? Well, I'm not going to say it here, but if you poke around on my profile either here or Creatures Caves, you'll probably notice a rather significant change.

That's all for now. Maybe next time I'll have something relevant to say about Creatures in my next post.

Until the next one, folks.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Days Long Past

I've crabbed enough about "how the community isn't what it once was." All I need is a cane, and I'd be a perfect example of the cranky old man yelling at those darn kids to get off his lawn.

But what did the community used to be?

I first discovered the community not long after getting internet access for the first time. Not surprising, since Creatures was my absolute favorite series at the time. This was somewhere around 2006, or so I think (at least a couple months before I joined Creatures Caves). The days of alt-games-creatures were gone, but there was still plenty of enthusiasm to go around. If nothing else, there were a multitude of forums to pick from. 

Then came CCSF 2006. To my younger self, this was the best thing ever. Almost every day of it, there was complete awesomeness coming out. Terra Pluvialis. The Vampyre Grendels. Even the little agents were awesome. Plus there were interviews and tutorials aplenty. It truly was the best of the community coming together.

I think it's this enthusiasm that I miss most. A community full of people of all skills, willing to help a budding developer out. If they didn't lend you their skills directly, they'd at least point you in the right direction. 

In a way, this spirit's still there. A look through Creatures Caves will prove that there's still people making things and posting about their experiences. However, it's so much more quiet now. There's plenty of people posting ideas, but very little with the skills to bring those ideas to life.

These days, a genetic breed is what constitutes a major release. They are cool, to be sure, but they just lack the oomph that something like Aquatilis Caverna had in the heyday I remember. 

The CCSF's been hit really hard. These recent festivals have just felt...dead. The majority of 2018's releases came from two people, and they were all adoption packs and small agents. The coordinator really tried their best to make things exciting, but there's not much one can do to make such dime-a-dozen releases exciting. Ultimately, 2018 was the first CCSF I flat out didn't care about.

As of this typing, there has yet to be any discussion of CCSF 2019. I feel it should stay that way. With how the community's been, it doesn't feel like it'd be worth it. 

Maybe such a decline was inevitable. After all, the series is a relic of the nineties/early 2000's that hasn't seen a new game in almost two decades. Even now modern operating systems have problems running them. There's next to no chance of a new game either, since the current IP holder only wants to crap out awful mobile cash grabs. There's hope of a spiritual successor, but Grandroids feels like a long shot and I refuse to speak of the other.

It's only natural that people have moved on. It'd be so easy for me to move on as well.

Yet, I'm still here. Maybe it's because I'm a manager on Creatures Caves and don't want to give it up. Maybe I'm just that paranoid about the Creatchi bloodlines I've helped breed dying out. 

Maybe it's because the community's been one of my homes on the internet for so long that it'd be painful to leave. Maybe it's because there's still a place in my heart for this franchise and I still cherish the memories I have.

Most likely, it's all of the above.

As I type this, I find myself wondering about the people in the community now. Are they really happy with this state of affairs? Do they browse what sites of old remain, seeing a glimpse of days long past, and wish they had been here to see it unfold? 

There's still a chance that the spark of life lives, and that it can be rekindled and send flames dancing once more across these embers. Or maybe I'm just seeing things, as a has-been developer who yearns for the days of old.

TL;DR Grendel Man is an old fogey who thinks things were better back in his day.

In other news, I remembered that I backed up my old C3/DS folders, allowing me to transfer my install to my new computer with all my edits intact. With that massive barrier to playing Creatures again cleared, I might take a stab at developing again. What, I don't know. Watch this space.

Until the next one, folks. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

An Ambitious Idea

Well, I suddenly found my motivation to replay Creatures surging some days ago. Now I'm finding it relatively easy to at least run a wolfling run and play around with genetics again. I don't know what happened, but it's something.

Anyway, some days ago Xan created a new breedlist, since all of the old ones have either gone down, are no longer updated, or just incomplete. It's quite comprehensive.

However, it only covers full breeds. Which got me thinking: There should probably be an equivalent for genetic breeds, shouldn't there?

I loved CU7's breedlist, when it was still online. It had practically every breed, genetic or otherwise, that had ever been created on it, complete with a picture, description, what sprites it used, and where it could be found, even if that website had gone down. Some of the pictures were quite nice, too. Alas, now it's gone, never to return. It can't even be browsed with a web archive (-arg- robots.txt. Seriously, -arg- it). 

But that's not to mean something like it can't be recreated, as Xan proved. With my specialty in Creatures development being genetics, I've been thinking of taking a stab at it myself. A full list of genetic breeds, still available and extinct alike. 

If a breed was no longer available anywhere else, it'd be hosted on the list. Even if the creator stated that they didn't want it hosted anywhere else. I'm well aware of why someone wouldn't want their creations hosted, but at the same time these breeds are likely to be extremely old and their creators no longer available to be contacted. 

As far as I'm concerned, it's better to archive them somewhere so that present and future Creatures players would be able to enjoy them. If by some stroke of luck one of those creators came back and expressed displeasure at a breed being hosted, then I'd oblige (albeit with the request that they put it up for download themselves). 

But what about the breeds that can no longer be found and that nobody has lying around? Well, genetic breeds aren't that difficult to create. In the event I could not find a lost breed, I'm thinking I would recreate that breed and host that instead (albeit with a CFE-based genome as opposed to a vanilla genome). It might not quite be the same breed, but it'd probably give present and future players an idea of what that breed was like. 

All this said...the effort all this would require is monstrous, and I have no idea if my current burst of inspiration's going to last long enough for me to get the list started and recreate all the breeds that need recreation. Chances are I'd give up before I got halfway.

My final thought, as such, is not trying to do this alone. Surely I'm not the only one who'd want to see such a list, and I'm not the only geneticist in the community either. Perhaps a group could be assembled to hunt down all the breeds that could be hunted down, and remake everything that couldn't be found. 

Let me hear your thoughts: Is this something you'd like to see? Would you be willing to help me out somehow? 

Until the next one, folks.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

C1 Downloads Images Fixed + Status Update

First things first: If you've looked at the C1 Downloads page lately, you might have noticed that most of the images read "Please upgrade your Photobucket account to enable third-party hosting" instead of actually showing what the breeds looked like.

Rather than deal with this questionable business decision, I opted to just reupload the images via Blogger's natural image uploading function. Now all the images should display properly.

Originally that was all that was going to be here, but I figured I might as well say a few things about my current frame of mind concerning Creatures.

And that, sadly, is that it's completely unchanged from before. My motivation for Creatures-related things is still zero, and for mostly the same reasons. So chances are the silence here is going to remain, though I'll still do my best to make sure all my stuff remains available in this era of dying Creatures websites.

While I'm here, I figured I might as well advertise Pilla's Discord Server, the Caos Coding Cave. I hopped in there a while back, and while it's been just as quiet as the rest of the community (which I'm really not helping much) I haven't really regretted it.

It is worth mentioning it's aimed at Creatures development, though. For non-developing people there's the Norn Nebula server, which I don't have a link to. I haven't joined that server, for reasons I'm not stating in public.

That's all for now. Until the next one, folks.