I admittedly have been silent about Creatures 4 lately, mostly because I had been anticipating its release in June. However, despite the delay until Q4 2012, I’m still very pleased with the direction the game seems to be headed in. A Bigger Update on Creatures 4 was published on the Fishing Cactus blog over a month ago, yet there is a gold mine of information in the comments section! Andrea Di Stefano and Bruno Urbain have been providing information and answers to some questions throughout this time. In fact, I had a response to some of my comments just today. Many of us are most likely aware of how lively the comments on the blog are, but I quickly wanted to touch upon a few points that might be of interest.
On June 14, MK-Grendel touched upon the idea that preventing super Norns was fairly easy to do in the earlier games, but was left out. This actually rang a bell for me, since the answer actually comes in the form of altered genetics! Interestingly enough, Creatures 1 Norns had their life stage genes set to be unable to be duplicated, mutated, nor removed. The most recent case study involved a C3/DS Norn who actually had a mutation in one of these genes, and was thus unable to age past the baby life stage.
There are other genes that might benefit from being set to be non-mutable, especially those involved with energy costs. Does an updated genome like this exist? It certainly could be useful to use, particularly during wolfing runs, to prevent certain kinds of undesirable mutations. Sometimes they’re interesting, yet I rather like the idea of being able to avoid this if at all possible!
Learning was another idea brought up in the comments. Many of us, myself included, rather dislike the use of the computer for teaching creatures how to speak. I like to teach nouns the old-fashioned way in Creatures 1, but the verbs must be taught via the learning computer. I rather avoid teaching the language in C3/DS because it can be too complex, and the loops of “Me dislike Norn-Over-There” can drive anyone batty! Malkin mentioned the use of books to teach Norns different concepts. Technically, I could see how a book could perform the same purpose as the computer, but it seems so much more natural! Norns teaching Norns is something I’ve witnessed at times, and to see this more often in Creatures 4 would be neat. Perhaps the most important thing is to offer a few different ways of learning, so that the player would be able to teach Norns, or let them live on their own and teach one another. Somehow this brings to mind a Norn teaching a youngster how to run by literally running away… Then again, my Norns seem to do that well enough without any lessons!
I brought up a quick discussion of the population limits in Creatures 4. It sounds like population limits will increase with each player level, but the control should be in the ultimate hands of the individual player. I think Creatures 1 was seriously limited by its 8-12 Norn population limit: Wolfing runs were nearly impossible since pregnancies were unable to occur after there were enough Norns in the world. I rather like the Docking Station model, where we’re free to set our own limits. Those who enjoy playing with just a few creatures can do so, while those looking for large wolfing runs can also freely play the game. I’m sure there will be more Creatures 4 news in the future, but make sure to check out the Fishing Cactus blog comments! Creatures 4 was renamed Creatures Online in 2013.