Wednesday, November 30, 2016

CCSF Blog Carnival 4: Mostly mods

Today's prompt is about the agents/metarooms you use and what you'd like to see more of. I'm mostly going to talk about C3/DS, since I play it the most. Advanced Muco is in every world, and I don't know how I played the game without it. The Garden Box is in most of my worlds as well, since it makes my seasonal wolfling runs possible. The inseminator, eggornator, and super splicer are permanent agents in my splicing world. I also use the splicer control panel from the DS splicer to import creatures and make them sleep. If a world doesn't have the garden box, it probably has the potted norngarden plants and some of TwilightCat/Bugs agents. For sprite breeds I use as many as I can, often referencing a breed slot list. And for genetic breeds, I use any CFF or CFE genomes.

For metarooms, I end up using Primordia and Veridia the most. They're around the same size and mesh well together. Veridia is empty, easily customizable, and perfect for most of my worlds. Primordia can also easily be emptied out of agents, so it's almost as customizable as Veridia. Ainadia and Chione are my go to rooms for larger worlds, though I use Ainadia the most out of the two. Anadia is a gorgeous room, and it even has an aquatic area. So I can have aquatic and terrestrial creatures in the same world. Chione, meanwhile, is my favorite room for Christmas or cold-themed worlds. It's big, customizable, and has one of the best system of doors and elevators of and metaroom. I also use the Norngarden rooms, even the second one. I can't say it's worth how much it costs, but it is a very gorgeous room.

The only other Creatures game I mod a lot is C2, so I might as well list a few from there. I don't use as many cobs for it as I do DS. I often use the desert and volcano garden mods though, to give my creatures more spaces to live it. I also use the golden tomatoes and rainbow peppers to give my norns more to eat. For breeds, I love using the Albian Greys, Gargoyle Norns, Draco Norns, Kimahri norns, and Cat Norns. I don't use the genomes that come with those breeds though. I just change the breed slots in a default Akamai Canny norn and call it good. I never learned which breed had which genome, and don't really care enough to compare genomes and find out.

As for pet peeves, I have one major one. Most of the existing portable door agents are terrible, but I'm forced to use them in some of my larger wolfling runs. With most of them, creatures end up bouncing between the doors. They eventually get to where they want to be, but only after playing door roulette. It's frustrating when you want to string metarooms together and the poor creatures bounce between the rooms until they get exhausted and sleep. It doesn't ruin wolfling runs, but it's seriously annoying. Even the door agent I made a few months ago doesn't always work properly, and I can't figure out why. So whenever I get enough time, and more importantly motivation, I'm going to create a portable door that just... works.

Lastly, I'd love to see more decorative agents that do something. It's probably because I've spent so much time decorating my worlds with the Garden Box, but I'm tired of my worlds looking pretty but not doing much. I'd also love to see more terrestrial critters and bugs. I love the ones we have now but my carnivorous creatures could use some variety. If fact, if someone would make the sprites I'd be happy to try and code them. I've never coded a critter before, but I'd love to figure it out. And Grendels and Ettins could also use a few more sprite breeds.

What I'd really love to see are more tutorials though. I forget who said it but developers are the lifeblood of the community. Maybe if we had some tutorials or coding tear downs like on the Creatures Wiki, it wouldn't be so intermediating for newbies. A part of the reason it took me so long to really dive into caos was that I didn't know where to go after basic toys and vendor tutorials. I know I'm going to start commenting on why and how I made my agents the way I did, if I can get everything in order. That way there are a few more examples floating around for people to learn from. And, who knows, maybe some of my useless buttons can inspire someone to tweak my code a bit and dive into caos.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

CCSF Blog Carnival 3: Old play style

Today's prompt is about how your play style has changed since you first started playing. I still play the game I started with, still mostly run wolfling runs, and still mostly play with norns. So the way I play hasn't changed much, but the species I raise and type of worlds I build has changed a little. I used to only raise norns because, like most players, I had a bad introduction to grendels and ettins. The default grendels and ettins in C3 either killed my norns or messed up my gadget arrangements. I even had a few serial killer ettins who killed norns because they were over crowded and fearful. I have gotten over that though, mostly because I either kill the egg layers or keep the species separate. Plus I've found smarter and much happier grendel/ettin genomes to play with. Grendel Man's genomes helped me realize that happy grendels are absolutely adorable, and they've become my second favorite species. The Chameleon Ettins made me realize that the regular ettins were the worst species because of their genome, and not just because they're ettins. Seriously though, I'm terrible at reading the Desert Ettin's moods, their expressions all look the same to me. Even third party breeds can't save that species for me.

In fact, it was this world that lagged the GB a lot.
I build different worlds then I used to. When I first started, I was limited by what metarooms were around and what they came with. As a result, I tended to use metarooms that connected to the main ship. The Norngarden 1 and the Terra rooms were my favorite, especially the former. I was also fond of using TwilightCat and Trollop/Bugs agents. The ones that came in seed packets spread nicely, and the tea time potted plants produced enough food for a small colony of creatures. I also didn't decorate my worlds that much. Then Magic Words: Room Edits and the Garden Box came out and my worlds were never the same again. I realized seasonal wolfling runs were possible, so I started making a lot of them. Overly decorated worlds were now possible, so I started making them as well. The only way my play style has changed since those came out is that I don't add quite as many GB decorations everywhere. Turns out you can make the Garden Box if you add to many decorations.

One minor change in how I make worlds is that I don't make so many of them anymore. I used to limit myself to six Docking Station worlds at anytime, and deleted one when I wanted to make a new one. As a result, I made a lot of worlds and usually made worlds for a specific population. The Mobula Ray and Remora Ray were the only worlds that weren't made that way. As you might imagine, this got really old after a while. So I stopped making so many worlds and stopped deleting them. In case anyone is curious, I currently have 13 worlds, two of which have names like "!" and "!!." What great names for testing worlds!

Maybe a C2 "vacation" will change things up.
Another change is that I play the game less then I used to. If I were keeping track of my play time, I wouldn't consider background wolfling runs and testing things to be actually playing the game. So the amount of time I'm playing the game has gone down drastically over the years. This has had an interesting effect on the way I play the game, creature watching has become interesting again. With the right music (and my web browser closed) watching creatures has become a nice way to relax. So, on second thought, I suppose my play style is in the middle of changing as DS slowly grows boring and tinkering with genetics/caos takes over my older play style.

Monday, November 28, 2016

CCSF Blog Carnival 2: Play styles

Even the aquatic worlds are decorated.
Today's prompt is about playing styles and habits/quirks. My play style has been shaped by my first real creatures game, Docking Station. So I usually play hands-off, full of wolfling runs, full of decorated worlds, and full of genetic and caos projects. I have a lot of worlds, and most of them are for testing things or wolfling runs. Coming up with ideas for wolfling runs and setting up the worlds is about as active as I get with most creatures. I love playing like that, and seeing if the populations can survive, thrive, and mutate is fascinating to me. Also Decorating worlds is sometimes a pleasant way to burn an hour or two. The focus on wolfling runs means I'm free to tinker with caos or genetics without worrying about my creatures.

Most of my play time this year has been spent messing with caos and developing a few agents I've always wanted or whatever random idea pops into my head. Caos, to me, has become the ultimate jigsaw puzzle. Like any good jigsaw puzzle, I have a picture on the box, a bunch of pieces, and it's up to me to figure it all out. And, unlike a real puzzle, it's almost impossible to loose these pieces. I also mess around with genetics, though I haven't done that as much this year. There's only so much I can take of the genetics kit before I get bored.

When I get tired of testing things, I start a nurture world. I have the occasional DS nurture world, and my C1 and C2 games are dominated by nurture worlds. I gave up on wolfling runs in C1/C2 after I always ended up wiggling food in my favorite norn's face to try and get it to eat. Even though I enjoy most of my time with C1 and C2, I don't play them that often. The norns in C1 are equally as frustrating as they are lovable, so it often gathers dust for months between play sessions. I used to play C2 more, but my game somehow corrupted itself early this year. I lost all of my worlds and any creatures I didn't export. I haven't really touched it since then (though I have been slowly reinstalling it.) So most of my recent nurture worlds have been in DS, which hasn't gone well. As much as I love the game, the norns in it aren't as charming or lovable as the older ones.

Stingers in a Stinger Norn world, how original.
As for habits or weird quirks, I have a few of them. I have a few names I use when I can't think of a good name for a world. Mobula Ray is the name I've been using the longest, so much so that I named my blog after it! I've probably used it for dozens of worlds now. I also use the Remora Ray for a filler name. Mobula and manta rays often have remoras attached to them, and the original Remora Ray was meant as an extension to the Mobula Ray world at the time. So it was named the Remora Ray. And my oldest habit is adding stingers, bugs, and critters to every world. The habit started forming back from the many, many tests I did when making the original Stinger norns. For whatever reason, I just haven't stopped adding stingers and bugs to my other worlds. To be fair, the stingers act as a hazard to regular creatures, and the bugs I usually use act as play things to my CFF creatures. So perhaps it was a good habit to get into.

My most recent habit formed from me trying to figure out caos. I got in the habit of creating buttons that run chunks of caos code. Most of them only get used once or were one off tests. A few of them have become permanent parts of my game though. The one I use the most is a button that checks creatures hunger levels every few minutes and exports them if they are extremely hungry and not a baby. (An earlier version killed them and targeted babies... that run didn't end well.) I use it in my wolfling runs to help weed out creatures who won't feed themselves. I can't say if it's made much of a difference to my gene pool, but it does help the generations go by a bit quicker. It was originally inspired by the wolfling monitor. I wanted a simpler version, so I made it. And that's pretty much been my play style this year, full of caos, genetics, wolfling runs, and the occasional nurture world.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

CCSF Blog Carnival 1: In the beginning

Today is the first day of the CCSF! I've already sent in my two things, and might be sending in another thing or two. I also signed up for the blog carnival event, and have been mostly unsuccessful in keeping things short. So hopefully you enjoy my ramblings though, I know I enjoyed writing them. Anyway, today's prompt was basically how did you get started with Creatures and are there any fond memories.

I got into Creatures through the PS1 games years ago, though Creatures DS was the first one I played in the main seris. If I remember correctly, my mom brought home the original ps1 game at some point and I tried playing it. I thought it sucked so I shoved it in a case with some other games. Fast forward a number of years to 2008ish and I tried playing the game again. This time I gave it a fair shot and thought that it had potential, even if it was a bad game.

Creatures Caves looked a little different in 2013.
I thought that a sequel might have improved on a few things. So I Googled it and found Creatures DS. I also found the CCSF website and found that there was still an active community. I vaguely remember thinking that the community was going to die at the time, so I didn't really join the community. I then played that game on and off before joining the community in 2012 or 2013.

What first intrigued me about the games was the creatures themselves. I've always played games like Monster Rancher and the Petz series, so cute norns were a natural next step. The promise of an evolving population was to interesting to resist, even if that evolution usually turns out to be fertile creatures with useless mutations. The mountain of mods didn't hurt either and the only other modding community with that level of creativity I'd seen at the time was for Elder Scrolls series. For as small as this community is, it has an impressive amount of creative people doing things with the game! There's still amazing things like the Garden Box and CFF/TWB creatures coming out every few years. The Garden Box alone reshaped how I played Docking Station, and the CFF norns helped get me back into genetics after a lull.

Most of my creaturey memories are from DS. I still remember back when I knew even less about genetics then I do now. My first attempt at the Stinger Norns failed horribly. I couldn't figure out why my Stingers were dying. They were getting the necessary nutrients, but they were still hungry. I think I got angry and gave up before I figured out how the hunger for whatever chemicals and stimulus genes worked. I also remember that they were red, angry Hardman Norns with grendel tails, the most original genetic breed ever.

All but one of them are from 2010.
I also remember the first time I used the genetics kit to make something. I was breeding Vampyre grendels and bred an adorable blue grendel with draconian arms name Ayuka. For whatever reason, I loved this little grendel, and watched over her carefully. Unfortunately, her genome was a mess and she ended up dying being adulthood. So I wrote down her moniker, downloaded the genetics kit, and figured out where the lifespan and death receptors were. A few tweaks later, and I had an adorable grendel who couldn't die named Balmora. I used the inseminator on her a few times and she had a few babies. Sadly, the world most of those babies were in corrupted and I was unable to save them. Their mother survived though, and she's still around even five years later. She's as close as a virtual thing has come to a pet as anything. The only ones that come close are Petz I've had for almost as many years.

And I'm going to be cheesy and say that my last fond memory is the community itself. This community is one of the best things that ever happened to me. Since 2013 quite a few close family member have either died or nearly died, and that's on top of my own failures at various things. The Creatures community wasn't the only thing keeping me going during all of that, but it certainly gave me something positive to look forward to. Things have gotten better since then, and the games and community have continues to be a (mostly) positive thing in my life. So thank you Creatures community and thank you to the two coordinators for this year's CCSF! If the interesting Blog Carnival is anything to go by, we are in for a fun CCSF this year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Grendels: The End

This was written after the months long gap in posts. Even after that gap in blog posts, I was surprised by how well I remembered certain individuals. Puddle was the darling little baby who found the forbidden fruit first and Arroyo was one of the grendels who laughed in the face of physics. The grendels didn't notice the time gap, and didn't seem to care that their world was in the wrong season. To them it was an eternal pool party, from sun up to sun down.

The Aquanornia group was spread out on two levels, with Lagoon joining Gulf as soon as I opened the world. Spring, Arroyo, and Firth were fond of kisspopping while Lagoon and Gulf preferred to give each other some space most of the time. Meanwhile the Oasis group was still in two separate groups. Even after an hour, Fjord was still with his parents, Creek and Loch. Meanwhile, Ocean was still with her parents, Bay and Puddle. Cove was there as well, enjoying the sun and butterflies fluttering about. Even old immortal Balmora was as happy as an eternally bored grendel could be.

Everyone was entering the the ancient stage, so I decided to up the population limit a bit. Almost immediately, Ocean was expecting an egg from her father. A few minutes later, Creek and Fjord were expecting, as well as Puddle and Bay. Unfortunately for the Aquanornia group, I hadn't increase the limit that much. So they didn't have any extra children. They had spread back out anyway, apparently driven into the depths by Balmora's constant vibraphone playing.

All was quiet though, so I decided to record a few minutes of each group. I realized around three minutes in that Fjord had decided to visit the Aquanornia group. Gulf also died during the video. She didn't die of old age. I don't think she was eating that well and starved. How did the rest of the group do in the face of death? Spring didn't wait around for it. In the last minute of her life, she visited to the Oasis. Puddle and Bay, meanwhile, did wait for death and died within a few second of each other. The rest also didn't move much, and enjoyed the company of their friends. In the end, I was left with five grendels of various ages and 20ish eggs to hatch.

 

The remaining grendels, Fjord, Lagoon, Loch, and Ocean, as well as half of the eggs will be moved to a different world at some point and the other babies will probably be uploaded. Balmora, meanwhile, rushed into the warp room with her vibraphone babbling about some concert in an old castle. So maybe we'll see what she is up to later. All in all, I really enjoyed watching this generation and I'll eventually get around to writing about the next one as well. Next week is the CCSF, and I joined the blog carnival. So expect a lot of rambling from me!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Grendels: Getting Old

These lavender grendels didn't always die from eldritch entrancement, sometimes they just didn't like eating. Delta died of starvation, and I wasn't surprised. He and Bay had a mutation that made eating seeds useless for them and both of them had problems remembering to eat in the past. I would have been worried for Bay, but he had a happy smile on his face and plenty of food near him. So the only way he would starve would be to ignore all of the food around him. With Delta's death, Fjord was born. He quickly dove into the group of adults and it took a few seconds before he came out for this screenshot. He was Creek and Loch's baby, so I moved him over to his parents group. They immediately welcomed him with hugs and kisspops.

Meanwhile in Aquanornia, everything was fine. Firth and Spring were still on the top level, Arryoyo and Lagoon were checking out Mere's old area, and Gulf was off on her own still. Balmora had finally decided that pushing unpushable plants was a waste of time and instead filled the air with her wonderful vibraphone songs again. Almost as soon as she did, Lagoon took the elevator up to the top level and started pushing Balmora. Pretty soon a little fan club had formed around her, though Lagoon made it very obvious that she was Balmora's biggest fan.

Besides a newly formed fan club, the world was other wise very quiet for a while. Eventually the main population started entering the old stage and even Fjord was growing up. I decided to celebrate this by burying everyone in ice cream and quirky cookies. They weren't very impressed at first, but some of them eventually gave into temptation and ate some.