Friday, May 25, 2012

Metaroom Review: Aquamind

While I'm waiting for the new computer to arrive, I figured I might as well do another metaroom review. The metaroom featured this time is one of my old favorites: Aquamind, by zareb.

Before I properly begin, here's a bit of backstory on the room. Aquamind was one of the first aquatic metarooms to be made, and I believe it was zareb's first metaroom as well. As such, it's not necessarily the most well-put together metaroom and really shows its age when compared to other, more recent aquatic metarooms (Aquatilis Caverna, for example). 

Anyway, when one installs the metaroom and is about to inject it, he/she will notice that it has multiple parts, like the Devil's Reef, C2toDS, and older releases of Aquatilis Caverna. I imagine that this is due to zareb's relative inexperience at the time - the metaroom isn't quite large enough to warrant splitting the agent files. It's also worth noting that one needs to open the CAOs Command Line and expand the map manually before injecting Aquamind - it'll throw an error otherwise since the room doesn't expand the map automatically when it's injected.

The first agent contains the metaroom itself, and this is the sight that greets the player upon entering the room for the first time. As you can see, its graphics aren't the best, but still relatively well done given the room's age. The room is a combination of C2 and original artwork - the shee statue in the middle is the biggest example of the C2 influence. Given that there's two severed norn heads sitting on the torches next to it, I imagine that zareb was going for an evil feel with it.

That's the metaroom without agents. The metaroom once it's been filled up looks a little different.

This bit is the freshwater section of Aquamind once all the parts have been injected. As you can see, the freshwater fish make Ostrova look like fine art in comparison - another sign of the room's age. The tubas are also worth noting - besides a different classifier, they're practically identical to the default DS tuba. I'll get to how the heck they're growing underwater in a little while (for the record, the area that doesn't have fish in it is air).
There's a bug with the lower part of the room here - sometimes, a creature who wanders too far to the right will vanish, probably due to the rooms there extending past the right side of the metaroom.

The saltwater area is less intricately designed than the freshwater half, but isn't any less livable. Apart from the aforementioned creature-disappearance bug, the room is very navigable for swimming and nonswimming creatures alike. However, there isn't any way for creatures to get to one section of the room to another without the hand's assistance - there aren't any elevators or doors that link the areas together.
I particularly like the mountains in the background here - they really add to the overall feel of the room, which just so happens to be Aquamind's strongest selling point. More on that in a little bit.

Just as there's a lack of elevators and doors, there is also a lack of CA. However, just like Ostrova, Aquamind has the excuse of being made long before adding CA was one of the requirements for a quality metaroom. The lack of CA also doesn't affect this room as much since there's no elevators or doors. 

So, how the heck are those mostly unaltered tubas growing underwater? It's thanks to the odd way in which the room is mapped. While most of the underwater areas are indeed fresh/salt water, the platforms in the saltwater area have a small room inside of them that is classified as "wooden walkway," and the small rooms you see towards the bottom of this picture are classified as soil. It's an odd way of mapping a metaroom, but fortunately it doesn't effect the ability to customize it all that much. It's still possible to take aquatic plants from other metarooms and plant them in here. However, the fish in the metaroom will usually die if they swim through the platforms. Again, the odd mapping choice is probably due to zareb's inexperience.

Yes, that odd rectangular thing that was in a previous shot is a vendor, and the food it gives out looks rather inedible. It can be eaten though. This leads to another one of Aquamind's strong points is that it doesn't need outside food sources to be made fully inhabitable - between the fish, the tubas, and this odd piece of food, creatures have everything they need for nutrition. That said, some toys could probably come in handy since Aquamind doesn't come with any.

Aquamind may be rather dated, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's not worth the hard drive space or the time spent to download it. Actually, I'd say it's quite worth the download. Why? One word: Atmosphere. Aquamind is one of those metarooms that makes the mind get curious and start wandering off, making its own stories about how the metaroom came to be. If there's one thing I like in my metarooms, it's lots of atmosphere, and Aquamind delivers spectacularly in that area.

This light close to the top of the metaroom is one of the biggest contributors to the room's atmosphere. Where is it coming from? What could possibly be waiting on the water's surface?
Okay, I'm probably going to sound a little corny from this point on - I apologize for that. 

The only part of the metaroom that is air is this bit, but it's no less atmospheric than the rest of the room. In addition to another light, the clouds from C2 are also very nice touches. Between them, the tree, and the bridges, it becomes clear that this area was inhabited at one point - but by who?

Now we come to what is the most odd thing in the whole metaroom - this odd contraption. Back in my younger days, I always used to call this area the "sphere of time," probably because of the clock in it. This thing is probably the biggest contributor to the atmosphere in the entire room - what the heck was it used for? Is it meant to provide Aquamind's lifeblood? Is it connected to the Shee statue, perhaps? 

Long story short: Aquamind has one of the best atmospheres I've ever experienced in a metaroom - and that is about the highest amount of praise I can give out. 

Summary: Aquamind is a great metaroom despite its age. What it lacks in navigability and graphics, it makes up for in atmosphere and habitability. Your creatures will probably get bored without some sort of toy to entertain them, but there's no shortage of food. In the meantime, the room's design and atmosphere is more than enough to keep you busy. 
If I had the chance to give any metaroom a revamp, it would be this one. If it had ways creatures could get around the area without the hand's assistance, better graphics, and a more original plant, it could quite possibly be my favorite metaroom. 

Final Score: 8/10

One final note: Aquamind is one of the few metarooms that I've made a breed for - the Aquamind Ghost Swimmer, a female of which can be seen in the picture above. I've been meaning to update them for a while, but for the time being you can find them at my Norn Adoption Center section (it's linked to on the C3/DS Downloads page here). 

Aquamind itself could once be found at Zareb's Creations, but as that site has gone down I've uploaded Aquamind to Mediafire here. I imagine that my views on the metaroom are a bit different from everyone else's (I believe Zareb himself considers Aquamind to be a bit of an old shame), but mileage always varies.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Past Seas + Silence Falls Update

Just a quick post to announce that I've found a few more minor bugs in Past Seas and Silence Falls and fixed them:

Past Seas: Fixed the door so that creatures get told to wait when activating it, preventing them from warping back and forth between the areas the door links to. Also fixed the Eelgrass fruits so that they emitted the correct CA (they emitted Fat smell before - now they emit Protein smell like they should).

Silence Falls: I found a typo with the CA management system - the Heat emitters were unaffected when they should vary depending on the time of day just as the light emitters do. This has been fixed.

Finally, there's another announcement I'd like to make: the hiatus is still ongoing, but not so much because of other games - it's because I'm getting a new computer soon. The one I'm using now is really starting to show its age (it's noisy, has a tendency to slow down ridiculously at random times, and there's some keys missing/loose). Basically, it'll probably be a while before I get back to development, as not only do I have to set up preferences on the new computer, I'll have to install Creatures onto it and re-add all my add-ons/re-customize my bootstrap folders/etc.

After that's all said and done, I'll resume work on and release a new genetic breed, in celebration of both the new computer's improved performance and Amai's most recent release. After THAT'S done, I'll get back to work on the Sea Garden.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hiatus 2

Once again, interest in other games has dragged me away from Creatures for a while. I don't know when I'll get around to finishing all my projects - probably around 2 weeks or so. Note that this doesn't mean that I'll be absent from the community - I'll still be around. I just won't be contributing anything, which includes posts here.

On a slightly more distressing note, the name change not only failed to keep the bad traffic away, but the bad site is currently the one contributing the most traffic when it comes to links (as far as whole sites go, Creatures Caves is thankfully in the lead by a significant margin). I'm wondering if the name had anything to do with why such sites were linking here in the first place. Do any other bloggers have issues like this, or am I just unlucky?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Blog Name has been Changed + Current Projects

As some of you have already noticed, I've finally gotten around to changing the blog's name. "The Realm" was the first name I came up with, but I didn't change it immediately because I figured I could come up with something better. However, everything else I thought of either had the same implications as the last name, didn't fit the blog, or only fit the blog's current theme. So I settled on "the Realm." Yes, it is just "The Realm." Short and simple.

Now, why didn't I announce this immediately? Well, I was holding off on it since I was going to announce it and release something at the same time, but I reckon that everyone would have noticed the name change before I finished the release, so I just announced it now. Instead, here's a list of everything I plan on making/am working on at the moment:

C2 Genetic Breeds


Yes, I do have some things for C2 planned. I decided that Creatures 2 deserves a proper page instead of just being a link.

Canny Grendels: In a similar vein to the Canny Ettins of Amy from Flib Dat, these grendels will be based on the Akamai Canny Norns with altered stimuli, instincts, and poses to match the actual grendels. These are being made more as a basal genome for me than anything else - the default grendel genome is difficult to work with since there's a crap ton of issues with it, and the boney genome isn't much better.

Demon Norns: These norns were inspired by the spritemix of the same name created by Amanora. While they use the same sprite arrangement, their genome is completely different. These guys will be based on the Akamai Canny genome and are aggressive, heat-loving creatures with severe weaknesses to the cold and water.

C3/DS Agents


Glowflower: Another one of the plants I'm making for Mea. They're similar in appearance to the Iceflower, but increase the light level instead of reducing the heat level. These are actually mostly done coding-wise - they're in the process of being bug-tested and will probably be released soon.

Genetic Radishes: Yet another plant I'm making for Mea. These are similar to the C1toDS carrot in appearance and function, but have the chance to mutate into different colors as well.

The Sea Garden: This is a pack of aquatic plants + a critter to increase the amount of standalone aquatic plants and critters. It's actually going to be a bit larger than originally planned since many of the plants are getting additional varieties. I believe I already mentioned this in a past post, but it is a current project so I decided to mention it again.

C3/DS Genetic Breeds


Dendrobate Grendels: That release I mentioned earlier? That would be these guys. They're named after the traditional genus of the Poison Dart Frog, and have behavior to match. Notably, they require moisture (CA 3) to survive since without it they suffocate. They have most of my focus at the moment, and I plan on getting them out soon. Also notably, they'll be the first completely new C3/DS genetic breed I've made in over a year (the Metallophagus Grendels V1 were the last new breed before them).

Sea Monsters V2: Mentioned before, but I'm mentioning them again. These guys will be the proper second version of my Sea Monsters (V1 is available from my Norn Adoption Center page, and V1.4 is available from CU7). Unlike the previous versions, they'll use the Jungle Grendel sprites solely, but hopefully the digestive and brain updates will make up for that. I'm not certain when I'll finish them because I'm completely out of ideas for them outside of the base features of the previous two versions (peaceful, amphibious grendels that crawl around on all fours and need to be underwater to lay eggs).

As you can see, it's a long list, and I don't intend on working on it nonstop. After the Dendrobates and Glowflowers are done, I'll probably take a break before working on anything else on this list. And on another note, this marks the 25th post I've made. Only 75 more posts to go before I've made 100. \o/

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Metaroom Review: Ostrova

After reading the responses to the previous post, I've decided that the name is staying the same for now. However, I do plan on changing it in the future once I can come up with something that can't be an unexpected way. Anyway, moving on.

I've been considering doing metaroom reviews for a while now, but held off on it for some reason (I don't think my initial review of the Lost Cave managed to hit all the points I wanted to make - it was never published). However, this blog shall be a decent testing ground for this potential new series.

My first published review will be of one of the few third-party metarooms one has to pay for - Ostrova, by Chaos Development. So let's get down to business.

Upon injecting Ostrova, you're greeted with this. Having an introduction screen is always a nice touch, and it's also nice that there are several help screens to let players know what's what (although I do admit I missed the snowball teleporters completely when I initially injected the room despite the big honking sign).

Yet another help screen. Clicking on these gets rid of them, since most players are unlikely to want them sticking around long after their purposes have been served.
From this picture, you can already see one of my gripes about the area: it's quite barren initially, and since the entire metaroom is mostly Air + Indoor Corridor, there's not much you can do to customize it outside of stuff like the Gaius plants (which won't benefit most creatures anyway).

 Graphically...well, I wouldn't call this metaroom a work of art. The background itself is rather well done apart from the completely white floor of the upper level - in particular, the parts taken from C3 (the stars and some of the walls) blend in with the original graphics quite well. However, most of the original graphics haven't aged well. Look at this picture, and then look at the Biodome or Devil's Reef, then look back at this picture. Compared to some recent metarooms, the images here look like they were made by someone who was an utter newbie at modeling.

Some of the agents do look nice, though. The penguin and trees are the standouts in this picture.

That "wall" to the left can actually be walked through. Oversight, much?
Ostrova's layout is one of its strong points. It's quite easy for creatures to get around, and there's no places where they could get stuck.
This pond has nothing in it initially besides a rather large egg, but that's easily fixed. The egg is part of a puzzle, in case you're wondering - yet another one of Ostrova's strong points.

As I mentioned earlier, Ostrova is really barren initially. The developers, however, decided that more lifeforms could be added to the room via these tubes. This tube creates 3 caterpillars that will (or rather, could - I've never seen them complete their lifecycle) become butterflies. Unfortunately, there's only three of these tubes, and they really don't do much to add to the room.

This is what the pond looks like when both of the tubes above it have been activated - you've got fish, bugs, and a plant. The rightmost tube needs to be activated multiple times before the sponge can take root - and even once it gets planted it rarely lasts long.
There's another problem with this room, and that is a lot of its coding isn't original. Everything in this picture is based on a C3 critter (the fish are based on clownfish, the bugs are based on aquamites, and the based on a sponge), and besides having different images they're completely identical to their official counterparts, right down to the sponge spores and bugs not being edible and everything requiring salt water to live in (although this pond is salt water, so that latter point isn't much of an issue).

Allow me to reiterate one of my complaints from before - Ostrova is incredibly barren, especially the upper level. These fruits are the only thing that don't require a vendor to be obtained on the upper level - actually, everything that grows naturally is classified as a fruit. It's not a particularly good metaroom for your creatures if you don't plan on interacting with them much.

The only other source of food on the upper level is the snowman, who will occasionally spit out a hunk of cheese when pushed. It usually vends toys, though - although that does mean your creatures won't be that bored.
Also, I forgot to mention that the DS version gets a mini empathic vendor injected into it at the start. Another testament to how little this room has in the way of food items.

  The lower level is probably the best place for most creatures in terms of food. The stocking vends both lemons and carrots in addition to the cheese from the snowman, and there's a soup vendor. The reddish fruits are classified as manky and are quite alcoholic. This is probably one of the better designed areas in Ostrova, in my opinion. Also, that radio plays some cool (no pun intended) tunes when clicked on.

While this little issue can be forgiven given how long Ostrova's been around, there's no CA emitters to be found in here, and the levels are not linked. This means that creatures in Ostrova won't use the elevators intentionally and will often find themselves huddled in the corners. Some of the agents do emit CA - albeit the wrong ones (the snowballs from the launchers emit starch smell for some reason).

While this more a nitpick than anything else, the developers weren't very creative with their naming scheme. In fact, a lot of the names range from odd to stupid. The sponge is in the odd category - can you even pronounce that? I know I can't.

Ostrova does come with its own grendel breed, the Yeren Grendels. Design-wise, they're actually pretty neat. However, like a lot of other things in this room, they reek of laziness. They have sprites for the childhood and adolescent stages, but the adult and old lifestages are just copy-pasted from the adolescent lifestage. It doesn't help that they have body data issues upon becoming adult (although I'm planning on fixing this). They also don't have a unique genome to back them up - they just use the Banshee genome with a different appearance. 

In short: Ostrova is a decent - but not great - metaroom. It has a good layout, some original concepts, and is mostly instinct friendly. Creatures can survive and thrive in here, but they'll need support from the hand in order to do so. However, it's bogged down by only decent to mediocre graphics, lack of CA, and lack of overall originality in coding. Some things about the room and its corresponding breed just look like laziness and/or a desire to just get the thing done.

Final Score: 5/10

One final note: Like I stated earlier, Ostrova isn't free. You have to buy it from Chaos Development's current website. It's not cheap, either - it costs $12.50 in U.S. money. For comparison, you can buy Creatures Exodus from for less than half of that. As you can probably guess from the score I gave it, I don't think it's worth that much - if it's worth anything at all. I really think Chaos Development really needs to look at the current state of the CC, since that price tag suggests they aren't aware that we're still around.

And so concludes my first metaroom review. I'd like feedback on how well I did - do you guys think it's fair, or do you disagree?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Metallophagus Update + Potentional Blog Name Change

First off, I've uploaded the updated Metallophagus Pack. The carrot should now be considerably less prolific and creatures now have more ways to interact with the seeds. It's available from the same link as before and therefore can be found on the Downloads page or the initial Metallophagus release post. You can also get it here.

Right, now onto a slightly more pressing issue.

Some of you are probably wondering why this blog is named what it is. Well, the name itself is also the name of a particularly good song made by a Newgrounds user. This song, to be exact. Since I liked the song and the feel of it suited what my blog was about, I decided to name the blog after the song as a homage. "Hole" in this case is referring to "hidey-hole." I suppose the name could be interpreted to mean "My own little world," which is the feel I imagine the author of the aforementioned song was aiming for. I know that was what I was aiming for with the blog's title.

However, it's the name of the blog that leads into a big problem. "Hole" has a bunch of other meanings, one of which is very, VERY inappropriate as far as this blog and the Creatures Community in general. Unfortunately, I recently found that one of the major traffic sources to this blog seem to be reading "Hole" with this alternate meaning in mind - the second biggest, in fact (it's apparently responsible for 12-13 hits a day). So I decided to read the title using that meaning of "Hole"... and suddenly the name doesn't sound quite so family friendly.

So I'm seriously considering changing the blog's name to something else that doesn't carry such an...undesirable alternative meaning and therefore keeping the traffic that has no business being directed here off. Therein lies another problem: I'm somewhat attached to the name since it's intended meaning is really fitting.

What do you guys think? Do you think that enough people are going to take the title as innuendo to make changing the name worth it, or do you think it's a non-issue? I suppose I could just be worrying too much, but the fact that this inappropriate site is the second largest source of traffic here is really, really bothering me.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ark World: First Thing We Do, Let's Eat All the Food and Make Lots of Babies!

While this update was actually played out yesterday, I couldn't upload it since my internet whacked out (and today I had to take a bunch of life, yay). Also, fail Shakespeare reference is fail.

Ark World has certainly gotten a lot more hectic since the last update.

This segment of gameplay started off with another pregnancy. As you can see, most of the grendels who were running around downstairs in Engineering have migrated to the upper floors. Which means even more babies on the way.

Speaking of which, the pregnancy resulted in a little female. Unfortunately, you really can't see her well since the firstborn is obscuring her face a bit, but she features quite a bit in the other pictures.

At some point, the female on the lower floors finally joined the other two on the topmost floor of Engineering. Also, there was another pregnancy shortly before this picture was taken - I'm guessing it was the two on the right, but I don't quite remember.

The resulting egg hatched into another young male. Oh happy day.

As food has become increasingly scarce, the adult grendels have started to get around. Here, who I believe is the oldest grendel on the ship has joined up with the younglings on the upper floor. Also, the baby female gets a better shot taken of her (although she's still partially obscuring her face here).

The firstborn male eventually got crowded enough to go skydiving. While it probably wasn't too pleasant at first, his outgoing nature lead him to some delicious solar flower seeds. Also, I'm pretty sure the Mechanical Grendel's being on the ground floor was also his doing (it's normally sitting by the Egg Receptacle).

The mechanical garden gains another occupant when the little female follows her fellow youngster off the edge of the ledge (more unintentional rhyming, yay!).

This is about where I lost track of the pregnancies. The greenish male on the right is the newcomer - I'm not too certain who the parents are.

At this point in the run, the most popular place on the ship has become the Bridge. All the grendels seem to be cramping each other's styles, though. It was also about this time that I realized the grendels were running out of food - that female on the lower right was suffering from Eat Elevator Syndrome when this picture was taken (I really hate that bug).

Of course, not all the grendels favored the bridge. These two decided to retreat back to the bowels of Engineering. Since there's both genders of grendel down there (and the population is rapidly increasing as it is), I'm not too worried about either one not getting the chance to pass their genes along.

As the Gaius Plants and Botanoid inched ever closer to extinction, I decided that the time was now to reintroduce the Techno-Organic Carrot (updated so that it's not quite so prolific) to Ark World. Right away, the new patch attracted interest.

Right away, the patch drew hungry grendels in from far and wide. It seemed like the food issues had been resolved....

...Only for the grendels to completely wipe out the patch shortly afterwards.
I injected the carrot again, only to have all the seeds get nommed before they could sprout. Several attempts later, and I got patches established in their original growing place, the center of the corridor, and on several levels of Engineering.

Yet another baby male was born during all the carrot madness. Since I don't use a .cos file that disables season-dependent gender ratios, I figure that it must be a season that favors male birth. Either that, or the Grendels are channeling the spirit of Minimordor. One of the two.

Now that the carrot's been re-established, I expect the population to quiet down as they return to constant carrot grazing. At least the time when the carrot was not in the world managed to shake things up a bit.

In case you're wondering, I still haven't gotten around to patching the Metallophagus's .agent file with the updated carrot just yet. I'll make a post here when I get around to it.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ark World: Grendels on the Move

After a bunch of posts concerning revamps, I think it's about time I resume posting about my Metallophagus Grendel feral run.

First off, the most notable update concerns the Techno-Organic Carrot. After seeing some V1 Metallophaguses attempt to push the carrot seed, I decided that an update for the carrot was in order. Among other things, I altered the seeds such that they no longer grow so readily, which more or less restricted the patches to one area unless helped along by hungry grendels. In addition, the seeds got updated with push and pull scripts - pushing or pulling a seed enough times will make it break. I'll update the pack with the updated carrot at a later date.

I was going to inject this updated carrot into the world, but I decided that the grendels weren't going to be very interesting as long as the carrot remained in the world. So instead of updating it, I completely removed the carrot. In between the botanoid and the Gaius plants, the grendels should have enough food to last them.

The results were profound. Deprived of an easily accessible source of food, one of the females in Engineering decided to head back up to the upper floors. Once there, one of the males caught her eye. Shortly afterwards, the first pregnancy of the run occurred.

The two grendels at the Bridge also were forced to start traveling when the carrot was removed. The female soon migrated down to the lower levels, seeking the food the Botanoids spat out.
The Chyme Plants you see here have also been altered to match the grendel's stims - just as Gaius gets stimmed differently from the unaltered Chyme Plant, these plants stim gadget-eaters differently. However, it's unlikely that the grendels will sample them.

The other two females in Engineering more or less remained where they were when the carrots were still present. They'll probably rejoin the main population sometime soon, or so I hope. If they choose to remain down there despite the drastic decrease in food, I'm probably going to grab them and forcibly re-integrate them.

Somehow, the laying of this egg escaped my notice. Must be a quirk of the Eggonicer to hide the "Egg Laid" event. As the current population in this world was well below the maximum of 20, the egg was promptly sent to the hatching area, where it hatched into the young male on the right. As there's nothing much left for him at the hatching area, I expect he'll bumble around until he matures enough to use the elevator.

This update ends with the bridge female finally snapping out of her food obsession long enough to kiss-pop. This picture was taken the moment she got pregnant. I'm assuming the father is the smiling male sitting to her left - the guy to the right seems to be trying to eat that botanoid sitting at the foot of the cheese machine. Botanoids are classified as machinery, but as they can't be picked up they're the biggest reason that the grendels get turned off machinery so quickly.

With the carrot gone, you can expect to see more frequent updates about Ark World now. Hopefully, it'll get more interesting from here on out.

Friday, May 4, 2012

C3/DS Downloads Page Now Up

As the title says - I've finally finished formatting the C3/DS Downloads page and you can now access it. It looks quite a bit different from the C1 page (and C2 page if you actually count that) thanks to the fact that most of my work was made for C3/DS (and considering how many things I've made...yeah). I'm pretty sure I've gotten everything I've released on the blog onto the download pages, but if I'm missing something please let me know.

As of this typing, this is the shortest blog post I've written so far. Nothing special - I just thought you'd like to know. :P

Edit: Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I've disabled comments on the Download pages. This is just to make them look more professional rather than to shut anyone down. If a download link gets borked, just post here, message me on CCaves, or e-mail me.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Incubi Grendels for Creatures 1

No, I'm still not done making the C3/DS Downloads page yet. However, I'm making considerable progress with it.

In the mean time, I made another C1 Grendel Breed for you to enjoy. It's not any of the ones mentioned at the topic at CCaves, though:
The Incubi Grendels are friendly and social - just as well, considering that they feed by absorbing the slaps and pushes of their fellow creatures. If they get hungry, they'll try to encourage other creatures to make physical contact with them - they don't have instincts to eat normal food, although they can digest it and benefit from it just as any other creature would.
They didn't take very long to make, but I think they came out well enough.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Blog Revamp

After reading the responses to my last post, I decided that the blog was in need of a slight makeover, and so I gave it a redesign.

First thing - I've changed the theme almost entirely. Hopefully the new color scheme will make things a little easier to read. I also applied some more CSS effects. Finally, I've also changed the banner (although I'm probably going to update it later since the text is a bit hard to read).

More notably, I've added download pages! The C1 Grendel Breeds that were originally found at the CCSF 2007 site and the topic at Creatures Caves can be found under the appropriate page. The C2 Downloads page just links to the section at CU7 where my C2 breeds are hosted - if I ever start developing for C2 again I'll update it.

Now, you're probably wondering where the C3/DS Downloads are. Well, I've made a lot of stuff for C3/DS. A lot. The sheer amount of all of it would just make it difficult to host it all here. I'm still deciding what to do about it, but it'll be up in due time.

Comments would be appreciated - I'm still seeking suggestions for improvement, after all. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Current State of Things + Blog Improvements?

I should be making another post about Ark World, but nothing much has happened since the last time I posted about it. The population is still doing nothing but munching on carrots, no one has moved from the spots where my last post left them, and no one seems to be interested in breeding.

So instead, I want comments about the blog. I recently was told that the current color scheme (specifically, the black text on a dark gray background) was somewhat difficult to read. Is anyone else having problems reading the blog, or is this a one-off?

As well, I'm also wondering what everyone thinks of this blog thus far. If you have any suggestions, comments, etc. about how to make this place look nicer, be more easily accessible, etc. I am treating this place like a bona-fide website, after all - I'd like to make it the best it could possibly be.

Besides that, I also have a few projects planned. The first and biggest of them is yet another collab with Mea - The Sea Garden, which is a pack of aquatic lifeforms that should hopefully help alleviate the lack of standalone aquatic plants and critters (in case you're reading this Mea, it's okay to leave the images for that up at your blog - this isn't supposed to be a secret or anything P=).

Speaking of aquatic plants and critters, I'm also planning on completely revamping the fish + anemone from the Biodome Pack if that's alright with everyone who worked on the pack. The anemones are classified as "critter" and their spores as "animal egg" when they should be classified as "plant" and their spores as "seed" (prevents carnivorous creatures from trying to eat the anemone and getting turned off as a result, and the spores can be a valuable source of starch). Most of the fish are also in dire need of a recode (I have no idea what went wrong with them, considering the cod/mackerel in Devil's Reef use similar coding and they work perfectly fine), and the one fish who isn't also can't be eaten, which is again a bad idea from a design standpoint.

The final future project is yet another breed update - the Sea Monsters V2. For those of you unfamiliar with the breed, V1 was the first breed I ever publicly released (although they didn't receive much fanfare considering they were put up for download at Alien's Norn Adoption Center). They were amphibious grendels who were generally friendly unless slapped, crawled around on all fours, and ate critters instead of food. V1.4 was the result of my thinking the originals were badly done, and updated them to use less third-party sprites and to only lay eggs underwater. Since I was never happy with that version, a proper V2 is in order. I have no idea what I'm going to do for them besides the features in the original versions; however, with any luck they should be released sometime before the Sea Garden is.

Yay, another wall of text without pictures. P=