Wednesday 7 December 2016

Treba the One-Drive Norn

Looking through some of my recent posts... I haven't done a crazy genetic experiment in a while! Time to change that.

A while ago I was reading one of Jessica's posts on Discover Albia and it got me thinking: what would happen if you ticked "Winner takes all" in the drive lobe? It would mean the Norn could only feel one drive at once, but how would that actually affect the Norn in a practical way?

I think you know where this is going...

So, in this Norn I'm only going to make one single change: switching the drive lobe to WTA. If you're not familiar with what that option does, it makes it so that only one neuron can fire in the lobe at once, and the neuron which has the strongest value will be the one to fire. In the context of the drive lobe, it means that only the most pressing need will registered by the Norn.

Meet Treba, a cute little Cheri Norn whose wellbeing and happiness I have probably just permanently destroyed. But we'll see how she turns out.

Sunday 4 December 2016

Blog Carnival Day 7

And now it's time for the final blog carnival post for this year's CCSF. It's been really fun to see what others have to say about the topics and to write about them myself. The final topic:

"Why do you like Creatures? If your interest in it has come and gone and come again, what brings you back? Despite how hard it can be to run on modern machines and the total lack of official support now, why do you play?"

Why do I love Creatures? Because I love my creatures! It's as simple as that. You can't go past how adorable those sweet lil Norns are, silly as they may be. Seeing them interact and wander about is simply a delight.

On the other hand, I love how complex the game is in regards to the genetics. There's just no other games like it, with the way that it simulates a whole brain for the creatures, and how every gene is mapped out thoughtfully.

Another thing is the innovation it allows - you could go into the genetics kit and completely change everything to make Norns work in new ways. And if you invest the time to learn CAOS, you can also make your own objects to put into the game.

It's interesting that the question specifically mentions interest in the game waning and returning, because that is something that's happened to me in the past. And really, I think what brings me back is simply that I'd open the game again and be struck by this sudden wave of: "OMG, I remember this, I bloody love this!". As soon as I start to hear the sounds of Albia again I just feel so totally immersed and it just feels so right and all the reasons I love Creatures just come rushing back to me, especially because the things I love Creatures for aren't really things I've ever seen in a video game outside Creatures.

I think it really all boils down to just how unique the game is. I've never seen another game anywhere that's even remotely like this.

Saturday 3 December 2016

Blog Carnival Day 6

It's time for the second-last topic:

"What do you think of the mythology and backstory of creatures? Do you have any favorite background details in the world? Any pet theories or thoughts, or questions you would like answered?"

I'll admit a fact that makes me sad, which is that I actually don't know an awful lot about the mythology and backstory of Creatures. I could tell you that the Shee are the ancient creators of a bunch of different technologies and stuff (I think...?) and that Norns and Grendels (maybe Ettins and the Shee too, but I'm not sure) were named based on a couple of things from real life mythology. That's essentially the extent of my knowledge regarding the mythology. And like I said, this makes me sad.

So, to answer the part "Any questions you would like answered?" my answer is, "Everything! Tell me where I can learn all this wonderful stuff!"

So I've made a solution: I'm going to go look up about all this Creatures mythology and come back and tell you the most interesting things I've found. I'm going to write this as I look stuff up so expect it to be a bit messy.

Friday 2 December 2016

Blog Carnival Day 5

Today's topic:

"Do you create content for Creatures? If so, what sorts? What do you use to make things, and what would you like to make in the future? If not, what would you like to make if you could?"

This is going to be a very short post. I don't really create content for the Creature; I don't make COBs or breeds or anything like that. The closest thing would be my weird genetic experiments and this blog.

My genetic experiments haven't really discovered/proved anything really cool yet, though they might be entertaining to read about, so I don't really know if those count.

I guess blogging is a form of creating content, though it's more content for the Creatures community rather than for Creatures itself. My process for blogging isn't really structured; I kind of just do whatever I feel in the game like then vomit my thoughts about it and descriptions of what happened onto a text document and BAM! Blog post done.

That lat question does apply to me though: what content would I like to make? Oooo. I think, if I could, I would honestly like to try and make everything, but that's a nonspecific and really rather boring answer, so I'll narrow it down to the one thing I'd like to do most. Unsurprisingly enough, I would really like to be able to make weird/interesting genetic breeds that actually do what I intended them to and don't have a million other faults. Maybe one day I'll achieve this. One day...

Thursday 1 December 2016

Blog Carnival Day 4

Halfway through the blog carnival! Here's today's prompt:

"What COBs/agents/breeds/metarooms/etc do you use the most? What would you like to see more of? Less of? What pet peeves do you have with add-ons? What do you love to see?"

I don't think I've downloaded a COB in aaaagggges. Mostly I just chuck the COBs in the world to begin with and don't really think about what ones I have in there.

I think the COB I use the most often is probably the cheese vendor made by SteerPike. It's just so useful for getting nutritious food for my Norns with the minimum of trouble.

The Grendel Friendly COB deserves a shout-out too. It's a great tool for making sure there's no troubles with the Grendel trying to slap all the Norns, even when the Grendel is technically trying to tickle them. It must be a relief for the Grendel.

As for breeds, my favourite would have to be the Cheri Norns made by Nello! They're such a cute breed (you can download them here). I wish I had more of them in my worlds.

As for what I'd like to see more of? It's quite a weird little thing, but I'd actually love to see more COBs done in the art style of Creatures 1. There are plenty of COBs that fulfil this, true, but there's plenty that don't and it would be nice to see more that do.

It would be cool to see more breeds being created, too; I know that sprite breeds aren't so popular to make because they're so time-consuming, but hey, I can dream, can't I?

Wednesday 30 November 2016

Blog Carnival Day 3

[Note: originally posted with the wrong colour font by accident, making it basically unreadable. Apologies for that!]

Here's the topic for the third day of the CCSF blog Carnival:

"How has the way you play Creatures changed since you started? What has stayed the same? Do you play a different game more, have you picked up a different play style, have you thrown out one species and embraced another?"

This one really got me thinking, and after pondering it for awhile I don't think the way I play Creatures has ultimately changed that much. I mean, I guess when I first started to play Creatures I wasn't interested in the genetics side of things; I just played to look after the Norns. However, it really wasn't very long after I started that I downloaded the genetics kit and started to play around with it.

I think I also used to be a lot more reluctant to slap my Norns than I am nowadays. In the past I literally never ever slapped my Norns because it made me feel like a horrible person. Though I still don't like to use slaps if it can be avoided, I'm not so averse to it as I was a year or two ago.

Another thing is my attitude to Grendels. While I still don't name and feed them like I do my Norns, I used to think (and this is a belief that harks from ever since I originally saw Creatures round about a decade or even slightly longer ago) that Grendels were infected with horrible contagious diseases that would kill Norns if they even went close to a Grendel. This, back when I was still real young, made me absolutely terrified whenever I saw the Grendel getting closer to Norns, to the point where I made my older sister inject the cage object and lock the Grendel up in it so it wouldn't hurt the Norns. Gosh, I was a silly child. Anyway, nowadays I couldn't care less if the Grendel interacts with my Norns; I know now that the Grendels can't do more than slap a Norn, and Norns do that to each other often enough anyway.

I honestly can't think of anything else significant to mention in regards to how my play style has changed. I wasn't lying when I said it hasn't changed much.

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Blog Carnival Day 2

It's time for the second day of the CCSF blog carnival, and that means another new topic to discuss:

"How would you describe your playing style? Do you have lots of worlds, or a few? Do you have strict wolfling runs or do you individually nurture your creatures, or both? Any particular habits or quirks?"

Another interesting topic! I'm not exactly sure where to begin; there's a lot of good points to talk about.

Monday 28 November 2016

Blog Carnival Day 1

Dunno if I'm posting this at the right time but oh well!

So, it's the first day of the CCSF and that means it's the first day of the blog carnival! Here's the prompt for the fist day:

"How did you get into Creatures in the first place? What game did you start with? What intrigued you about it or was the most fun? Do you have any special or fond memories?"

Certainly an interesting topic to kick off the CCSF blog carnival! The story of how I came to play Creatures is actually quite an interesting one.

At this point, the only game in the series I've played is Creatures 1; obviously, this was the one I started with. In fact, the first time I ever played it was on its original CD when I was still a teensy little kid. It was one of the few games we had on our family computer and my older siblings played it a fair bit though I was still too young at that stage to play it properly on my own. I couldn't tell you exactly what year that was because I was too young to remember it exactly but I'd estimate somewhere around 2002-2004?

Friday 11 November 2016

Creatures 1 and the Curse of the Missing Files

Guess who finally has a laptop! I've moved my stuff to it from the old computer, and it all went very smoothly... or so I thought.

I booted up creatures, and everything looked fine, at least to begin with, but when I set my camera to view a different Norn... bam. Crash. No good. I was baffled - what had caused it to crash? Had I installed it wrong? Was the game incompatible with my new laptop?

I tried again a couple more times, and the same thing happened - if I switched to looking at a different Norn, the game crashed. I restarted the computer to see if that would help, but no luck there.

I was scratching my head for awhile, part of me utterly confused at what was going on and part of me scared that I wouldn't be able to get it all working on the new computer. As it turns out though, idiot me had simply left some of the save files behind on the old computer and that's why it wouldn't work. After porting everything over properly, it all works fine now. Whew.

In other news though, you're probably aware that the CCSF 2016 is coming up! Some pretty awesome-sounding events are in the works for it as well, and it looks like it'll shape up to be a pretty cool CCSF. I'm really excited to see what's in store.

Saturday 29 October 2016

New Life and Death in Albia

Today was an interesting day in Albia.

To begin with, all I had to worry about was getting my Norns to eat - a hard enough task, but nothing particularly gruelling. Though it was noteworthy that Dubby still hadn't woken up; if you can remember as far back as January you might recall that last time I played I was a little concerned that Dubby had been sleeping for ages. He still  hand't woken up and his life force was dropping rapidly; I don't know why he was sleeping for so long, and I don't think I ever will, but at this point I worried enough by his prolonged sleep that I gave in and decided to inject him with some wake-up pill.

He woke fairly quickly, and he's quite a good eater so it wasn't long before I was able to get him back up to full health. However, elsewhere in Albia...

Monday 19 September 2016

Albia: A Place to Call Home.

To say, "It's been awhile since I played Creatures" is understatement of momentous proportions.

As I've previously mentioned, I'm a busy little chicken in real life, and since I wrote that update I've been spending a lot of my spare time writing fiction rather than playing creatures. But today on a complete whim I opened up the game, and honestly the feeling that seeing the world of Albia gave me is hard to describe. Comfort, happiness, excitement... none of those words quite fit, but they all do fit a little bit, in some small way.

Let's go off on a tangent for a moment: if you look at my past posts, you'll notice a pattern. A burst of posting here and there with large periods of inactivity sandwiched in between. And this is relevant to me opening up the game again today, and relevant to the feeling I got from doing so, for one reason: I came back. Even if I go away for weeks or months, I always end up coming back. Albia just draws me back in every time.

Thursday 9 June 2016

Perception Lobe: Neuron List

You might remember that the last post I did that was actually about Creatures was on brains. You might also remember that I couldn't find anywhere that had a full list of what neurons in the perception lobe corresponded to which perceivable thing, so I put together my own list based on Chris's information on CDR. I also never got around to posting that list because I wanted to test it more.

Now, I was about to carry out some massive experiment to confirm what my list says, but as soon as I opened up BrainViewer I realised there was a pretty obvious way to check my list:

Wednesday 1 June 2016


I was meaning to get around to doing this sooner, but I never found the time. Amusingly that is exactly what I needed to get around to doing: posting about the fact that I haven't been posting much because I haven't had the time to. In real life I'm a highschool student and I have a part time job and I do a lot of extracurricular stuff so naturally I don't have an awful lot of time left to play Creatures. I really do wish I had more time to post stuff but my real life responsibilities are many and getting everything done in real life is stressful enough without trying to keep a regular blog as well.

However! I do intend to finish off a couple of things from my last post which I never followed up (hopefully in the next week or two but I can't promise anything I'm afraid), and I'm starting to think about what cool amazing thing I could do for Creatures' 20th anniversary, which although technically isn't until November (I think?), November also happens to be exam season in my country (fun times...) and the 20th anniversary is awesome enough that I want to be able to get something done for it without stressing about my exams at the same time. Haven't decided what I'll do yet but I'll think of something cool...

The other thing is that sometime within the next couple of months I will probably be getting a laptop of my own rather than having to use the family computer. Not having to share the computer should make it easier for me to post a little more frequently.

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Mucking About with Norn Brains

The title sounds like I did something awful but don't worry, I haven't severely disabled any more Norns yet. Today was observation only.

There's this great website out there, don't know if I've linked to it before, but it's called The Creatures Developer Resource. It's no longer being updated, but it has some really good information about the Norn brain and some astoundingly useful tools for analysing Norn brains. Norn brains are something I'd love to come to understand, but due to their complexity it's not good to jump right in and start making random changes that I think might work (which seems to be my approach to other areas of Norn genetics, hehe...), especially because, even with Chris's awesome tools from CDR, it's hard to understand exactly what the changes you've made have done if you don't understand anything about Norn brains.

So I thought that, in order to properly accustom myself to using Chris's tools and to wrap my head around something Norn brain-y—the Norn learning process, which I know about but have never seen in action on a neuronal level—I thought I would do a little bit of an observational experiment: I would create a new baby norn in a new world, and using the monitoring tools from CDR, see if I could track some of the things it was learning. I downloaded the Brain Viewer, Lobe Study, Brain Cell Monitor and Brain Activity from here to assist me with this experiment.

Monday 15 February 2016


I was feeling kind of arty so I made a little comic for y'all to enjoy. Drag it into the URL bar to see it full size.

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Creatures Online

I don't know if there's any of you who don't know this already, but I thought I should share the link to a statement Fishing Cactus made a few days ago about the development status of Creatures Online:

I think it's really sad to see this happen, especially as, from the sounds of it, they were really close to having something they could release. What's more, I don't feel that Bigben Interactive has been fair to Fishing Cactus in the way they have handled the game, and nor do I feel that Bigben has been fair to the Creatures community—their communication with us has been exceptionally poor.

But still, what's done is done, and even with the Fishing Cactus's statement there's a lot we don't know about why the decision to halt development on Creatures Online was made.

It would be a right old shame for three years of hard work from Fishing Cactus to end up totally wasted, though.

Friday 8 January 2016


Today I sat down to creatures and the tedious but necessary task of getting the Norns to eat. Even so, as much as the task is tedious and sometimes frustrating, it is always kind of relaxing too. 'It would be good to play a nice, relaxing game of Creatures,' I said to myself as I booted up the game. 'Jolly good.'

Naturally I wasn't too ready when this happened almost as soon as I started:

He wasn't even really old. It always hits me right in the heart when this happens, especially when you're not expecting it. I'm gonna miss this kid.