Thursday, September 28, 2023

Revival of an Old Idea

As far as my getting back into Creatures goes: I wound up falling out of it again, mostly because as it turns out validating the Steam version of C3/DS not only fixes bugs (which I did to get the Genetics Kit working again) but also changes any file replacements back to their original versions. Which includes the changes to the .cos files I made and to 99% of .cos files made by the community. After that I uninstalled it and have yet to try again. 

But every now and again I think about picking it up again. Not only that, but I think about making something for it again. I figure that it'd be nice to bring a proper closure to my Creatures development journey with something spectacular. I've thought about reviving my old Flesheater Grendel project (grendels that can properly serve as population control without completely wiping out the norn population as regular grendels are wont to do), or a big pack of four genetic breeds (two grendel, one norn, and one ettin).

But ultimately, I think the best candidate would be an outright full breed: the Kraken, one of my oldest ideas. 

After all this time their Creatures Wiki page is still there, mostly the same as I wrote it back when I was a dumb teenager who didn't consider that creating a whole new page for an idea probably wasn't the best decision. Back then I wanted them to be geats who ate other creatures.

Now? Well, it seems like people have mostly figured out what causes the Wasteland Glitch, but there's still enough other problems with geats that I don't think I'd like to stick with that. And the idea of them eating other creatures is also not a great idea as I've long since learned how prone creatures are to cannibalism if you give them that ability (especially if you're using a genome that has better learning capability like the CFE). 

So as the page also mentions, present-day me would want to make them grendels, who genetically would likely just be pretty standard aquatic grendels of the kind I've made dozens upon dozens of before (if more aggressive than what I usually liked to do). I do think it'd be interesting to give them traits reminiscent of actual cephalopod behavior to set them apart from other such breeds.

It's their appearance I've put the most thought into. Over the years I've come to appreciate more simple designs, and I've also been putting a lot more thought into speculative evolution. So rather than going with the description I initially came up with, I figured something more evocative of a cephalopod that evolved into the shape of a grendel, with four of the arms moving further on down the body to become the arms and legs. The remaining arms would remain around their face, and the tail instead would have fins reminiscent of squid. 

If you're familiar with Splatoon, imagine a grendel version of an Inkling and you probably won't be too far off. Just instead of tentacle hair it's a tentacle beard (for both genders, I might add; I'm not sure what I'd do to make the genders visually distinct, but it'd definitely be something more naturalistic).

However, I've also had another thought. It just so happens that everyone's favorite C Monster Borland has a body plan that's much like a grendel's already, and converting Borland wholesale to C3/DS might be a bit of a pain due to how wonky his sprites are. The idea of just making outright Borland Grendels sounds really fun, but combining Borland with the ideas I already talked about is another option, both bringing the Kraken's design more in line with the mythological beast they're named after and to reference the greater Creatures mythos. 

Everything else on their page? Still something I'd want to include with them. I just love the idea of the Kraken bringing their own ecosystem along with them, be that in the form of a metaroom or just an agent pack. And that toy ship still sounds cute. 

But...have I made any progress towards getting past the roadblock that kept me from making them long ago? That being, the graphics? I have picked up some skill in photo manipulation courtesy of learning to edit RPG Maker's default resources, but I don't think I'm at the level where I could make all the frames necessary for a breed that way. Far from it, in fact. And my other visual art skills are still horribly lacking and my brain still woefully unsuited for the process of learning. 

There has been an exciting development for breed development in the form of GeneForge, which to my understanding eliminates a lot of the tedium of making breeds and brings them in line with the official breeds to boot. However...that still requires a 3D model which I can't provide. So ultimately, I'd still need someone to handle that part while I handle the genetics and coding.

And also I'd have to overcome a f-argh-ton of inertia from not playing the games for so long and having to remember all the basics. And I'd also want to make a suitable base genome for the breed before anything else, which would take a while. there hope for the Kraken to finally become reality after all this time? Definitely not right now. But maybe someday. Maybe even sooner rather than later?

If nothing else, I can at least do a concept sketch. My art skills may be unsuited to for the breed proper, but I think I can do that much.

In any event, I needed somewhere to dump my thoughts, and my blog was as good a place as any. For now, back to silence I go.

Friday, January 21, 2022

It Lives...?

Well yes, but actually no. Maybe? 

Truth be told, I wasn't expecting to ever come back. I just wasn't getting a whole lot of fulfilment out of the community at the time, at least compared to the other communities I was a part of. Then my life suddenly took a nosedive for reasons I'd rather not get into publicly, and I found myself in search of a new internet home. 

I started getting back into science-y things as part of that, which in turn made me long for a good life simulation game. And a couple decades later, there's still no better game for that than Creatures. But I wasn't sure if I was really in the mood to reinstall the game considering my current computer has no CD/DVD drive, which is inconvenient to say the least, and...well, it's still really quiet around here. 

But what really brought me back was the discovery that the Creatures series is now on Steam. Not only that, but the Steam version is much more convenient to use than the GoG version and is in the hands of people who are willing to update it (well, as much as they can at least). 

I hope this can bring in some much-needed fresh blood into the community. It's not quite as huge as a new game, but it's great for the series all the same. So now I have the Steam version of C3/DS, and am in the process of figuring out what patches, breeds, agents, etc. are generally recommended nowadays and figure out which of those are things I want. 

As of this post it seems the community in general is as quiet as when I initially left, but maybe that's just because the hotspots are in places I haven't thought to look? There's definitely still stuff going on, but it doesn't seem like Creatures Caves is that active anymore. 

Don't expect me to get back into active development anytime soon. I still plan on fiddling around with genetics if only to make my personal gameplay more interesting for me, but as of right now I don't have any plans to make any new full-blown addons. At most I might update an older release. After all, it's been a long while since I've actually played the games. 

If I decide I have something interesting enough to post about on here I'll post it, but otherwise this blog's probably going to continue to remain silent. 

One last thing to note is that I've changed my global username a second time and now I go by Risen Angel or Rise Engel if the former happens to be taken on any particular website. I just figured it was time for a change and I think this name suits me.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

The End

Let's get straight to the point: I'm leaving the Creatures Community. 

I'm not going to repeat my reasons why. I've been over those time and time and time again. I'd prefer to go out with something a little more dignified than a burst of negativity. 

What I'd most like to do is go out with a massive bang. A whole new slew of releases; genetic breeds, agents, maybe even a metaroom. Despite all that negativity, the Creatures series and the community around it's been one of the biggest parts of my life, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciated it. Alas, I can't do this either. 

As such, my final gift to the community is instead a change to my terms of use (which is funny, considering my last post here was about just those). Do whatever the heck you want with my work. Share it, rehost it, edit it, preserve it for future Creatures players to enjoy. 

There's a lot of people that I've enjoyed talking to and working with over the years, to the point where I honestly can't remember them all off the top of my head. However, there are two people in particular I'd like to give a special thanks to:

Mea, for helping so much with the artwork that I'm lacking in. Without her, a lot of my crazy ideas would have never come to life. I only wish I could have given more back to her; I do feel like I asked a lot of her without offering much back in return. 

Ylukyun, for hosting the server that has all the downloads here on it for so long, and without asking any compensation from me in return. As with Mea I can't help but feel a little guilty that I couldn't offer much in return but gratitude. 

For everyone else, I wish you the best of luck in keeping the spirit of these old games alive. Who knows? Maybe someday one of these attempts at a new game or a spiritual successor will actually come to fruition, and you'll be the reason why that person had enough determination to see it through.

Well, I think this goodbye's gone on long enough. Farewell, folks.

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.