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.