|📰 Title:||Creatures series (with Openc2e engine)||🕹️ / 🛠️ Type:||Game|
|🗃️ Genre:||Simulation||🚦 Status:||05. Released|
|🏷️ Category:||Simulation ➤ Life ➤ Alien||🌍️ Browser-based:|
|🔖 Tags:||Simulation; Life Sim; Aliens; Realistic; 1990s||📦️ Package Name:|
|🐣️ Approx. start:||2004-05-30||📦️ Arch:|
|🐤️ Latest:||2020-06-12||🍥️ On Deb repo:|
|📍️ Version:||Latest : 0.2 / Dev : d3f0d6d||📦️ Deb:|
|🏛️ License type:||Commercial||📦️ RPM:|
|🏛️ License:||Code : LGPL-2.1 / Artwork : Commercial||📦️ AppImage:|
|🏝️ Perspective:||Third person||📦️ Snap:|
|👁️ Visual:||2D Side-scrolling||📦️ Flatpak/Athenaeum:|
|⏱️ Pacing:||Real Time||⚙️ Generic bin.:|
|👫️ Played:||Single||📄️ Source:|
|🎖️ This record:||📱️ PDA support:|
|🎖️ Game design:||👫️ Contrib.:||Goupil & Louis|
|🎰️ ID:||12170||🐛️ Created:||2010-08-20|
|[fr]:||Creatures series est une série de jeux de simulation de vie artificielle (publiés entre 1996 et 2001). Le joueur élève des Norns, de petits êtres vivant dans le monde d'Albia, leur apprenant à se nourrir, à communiquer et à se protéger de leurs ennemis (les Grendels), la simulation s'occupant du reste. Cette simulation était innovante, car elle intégrait non seulement l'IA, mais aussi l'évolution génétique des espèces. Openc2e est un moteur libre et multi-plateforme en développement, compatible avec la série (Creatures, Creatures 2, Creatures 3, Docking Station, ...).||[en]:||Creatures series is a series of artificial life simulation games (published between 1996 and 2001). The player raises Norns, small creatures living in the world of Albia, teaching them to eat, communicate and protect themselves from their enemies (the Grendels), with the simulation taking care of the rest. This simulation was innovative, as it incorporated not only AI, but also the genetic evolution of the species. Openc2e is a libre and multi-platform engine under development, compatible with the series (Creatures, Creatures 2, Creatures 3, Docking Station, ...).|
🤓️ Présentation des développeurs / Dev presents [en] / [fr] : (original)
🕯️ How To : (original)
🕹️ Gameplay [en] / [en] / [fr] : (original)
🏡️ Website & videos
[Homepage] [Dev site] [Features/About] [Screenshots] [Videos t(202xxx) ts(202xxx) gd(202xxx) gd[fr](202xxx) gu(202xxx) id(202xxx) r(202xxx) lp(202xxx) ht(o) ht(o) g(o) g(o) g(o) g(o) g(o) g(o) g[fr](o) g[fr](o) g[de](202xxx) g[ru](202xxx) g[pl](202xxx) g[cz](202xxx) g[sp](202xxx) g[pt](202xxx) g[it](202xxx) g[tr](202xxx)] [WIKI 1 2] [FAQ] [RSS] [Changelog 1 2 3]
💵 Commercial (Creatures: The Albian Years = Creatures 1 + Creatures 2): [GOG (Windows, for contents extraction)]
• Resources : (empty)
🛠️ Technical informations
[Open Hub] [PCGamingWiki] [MobyGames 1 2 3 4] [CreaturesFrance [fr]] [Creatures Caves] [Albia 2000] [AmberCreatures]
(Openc2e) Devs (Openc2e Team 1 2 [fr] [en]) : [Site 1 2] [mastodon] [twitter] [PeerTube] [YouTube] [Interview 1 2]
(Creatures series) Devs (Steve Grand (enchantedloom) [fr] [en]) : [Site 1 2] [mastodon] [twitter] [PeerTube] [YouTube] [Interview 1 2]
(Creatures series) Devs (Cyberlife Technology, Ltd. / Creature Labs Ltd. [fr] [en]) : [Site 1 2] [MobyGames] [mastodon] [twitter] [PeerTube] [YouTube] [Interview 1 2]
(Creatures series) Devs (Millennium Interactive [fr] [en]) : [Site 1 2] [mastodon] [twitter] [PeerTube] [YouTube] [Interview 1 2]
Game : [Blog] [Forums] [mastodon] [twitter] [PeerTube] [YouTube] [Discord]
[Wikipedia (Creatures) [fr] [en] [de]]
[The Linux Game Tome] [HOLaRSE [de]]
📦️ Misc. repositories
📰 News / Source of this Entry (SotE) / News (SotN)
[Changes with v. 0.2 (20200613)] [HOLaRSE [de] (20200613) (SotN)]
🐘 Social Networking Update (on Mastodon)
📖 Our entry: https://bit.ly/bottinLightOn
Source of this Entry:
Une série de jeux de simulation de vie artificielle et un moteur compatible, Creatures series par Steve Grand (enchantedloom) pour le studio Millennium Interactive, Openc2e par l'Openc2e Team.
Creatures series est une série de jeux de simulation de vie artificielle (publiés entre 1996 et 2001). Le joueur élève des Norns, de petits êtres vivant dans le monde d'Albia, leur apprenant à se nourrir, à communiquer et à se protéger de leurs ennemis (les Grendels), la simulation s'occupant du reste. Cette simulation était innovante, car elle intégrait non seulement l'IA, mais aussi l'évolution génétique des espèces. Openc2e est un moteur libre et multi-plateforme en développement, compatible avec la série (Creatures, Creatures 2, Creatures 3, Docking Station, ...).
Creatures a été l'un des premiers logiciels commerciaux à pousser de manière si profonde une simulation de vie artificielle, intégrant notamment un modèle de biochimie permettant aux êtres d'évoluer génétiquement et une intelligence à réseau neuronal pour leur comportement.
Les Norns sont de petits animaux fragiles, placides, naïfs et curieux, conçus à l'origine par les Shee pour leur servir à la fois de valets et d'animaux de compagnie. Les Shee sont des êtres et scientifiques sans scrupules, ayant habités à l'origine sur Albia que l'on retrouve à présent dans toute la galaxie, ayant évolués en différentes races, après avoir modifiés leur propre code génétique. Ils sont aussi à l'origine de la création des Grendels et Ettins.
Creatures Internet Edition est une réédition comprenant :
• la mise à jour de Creatures 3 : à la différence de Creatures, l'action se passe sur un vaisseau Shee, divisé en Terrariums, et de nouvelles races sont disponibles,
• et de Docking Station : un supplément gratuit pour Creatures 3, comprenant de nouvelles créatures, et surtout le raccordement et l'interaction des mondes des joueurs via le site internet de Docking Station,
• et des outils complémentaires.
Voir aussi / See also : Creatures series (1996-2001, with Openc2e engine), Docking Station,
openc2e est un moteur de jeu open-source pour les jeux Creatures. Le développement d'openc2e a commencé en mai 2004, a été interrompu en 2010 et a été relancé en 2020. Les versions et le code source sont disponibles sur GitHub à l'adresse openc2e/openc2e.
Les principaux développeurs d'origine étaient Fuzzie, Nornagon et Bdonlan, ElasticMuffin, Dylan et d'autres ayant codé divers éléments. ElasticMuffin était également responsable du site web et de la construction de Windows, et Pez du logo. De nombreux autres membres de la communauté ont participé aux tests.
Il s'agit d'un moteur capable de faire tourner tous les jeux de la série Creatures, permettant aux gens de les faire tourner sur des systèmes d'exploitation non supportés et d'étendre le moteur de manière impossible sans accès au code source. Notez, cependant, qu'openc2e n'est pas un jeu en soi ; il a besoin de contenu de jeu provenant d'ailleurs (soit des jeux officiels de Creatures, soit des jeux créés par la communauté) pour être jouable.
Il a été lancé comme un projet du défunt Creatures Community Development Network. Le site web original est archivé ici (voir le site).
openc2e est un moteur de jeu open-source pour les jeux de la série Creatures.
openc2e est destiné à supporter :
• Créatures (1996)
• Créatures 2 (1998)
• Créatures 3 (1999)
• Docking Station (2001)
• Creatures Playground (1999)
• Creatures Adventures (2000)
• Les agents (COB) fonctionnent
• Une physique imparfaite
• Biochimie des créatures
• Effets sonores
• Créatures existantes (les créatures C3+ fonctionnent un peu, celles de C1 et C2 ne fonctionnent pas du tout)
• Améliorations dans le domaine de la physique (en particulier C3+)
• Capacité de réseau (lien avec la Docking Station)
• Sérialisation ( sauvegarde du monde, exportation de créatures, ...)
Il demeure beaucoup de bugs en suspens qui doivent encore être résolues.
GOG (traduction du Bottin) :
Découvrez un grand paysage vivant - la surface d'un monde appelé Albia. Vous n'existez dans ce monde que sous la forme d'une présence virtuelle, une sorte d'existence télécommandée, que l'ordinateur représente comme un curseur de souris en forme de main. Dans ce monde se trouvent une série d'endroits et de créatures étranges, vaguement liés (et avec une licence poétique considérable) aux mythes du Nord. Vous commencez près de la maison abandonnée depuis longtemps d'une famille de Norns (petites créatures à fourrure), où quelques œufs, languissant dans un incubateur en panne, sont presque tout ce qui reste de la race Nornir.
Le premier jeu de ce pack jumeau vous introduit au monde de la technologie de la vie artificielle et des Norns d'Albia. Vous pourrez ensuite découvrir les tout nouveaux Norns, Ettins et Grendels. Explorez les laboratoires Shee et découvrez les tout nouveaux Norns qui habitent un écosystème vivant et dynamique. Trouvez l'épisseur génétique (Genetic Splicer) et défendez vos Norns contre les Grendels vicieux et maladifs.
• Creatures: The Albian Years est une compilation de Creatures 1 avec les deux kits de vie, Creatures 2 avec son kit de vie et 6 packs d'objets officiels
• Un jeu unique centré sur l'élevage de Norns autonomes et contrôlés par ordinateur
• Un système d'IA complexe qui imite les comportements réels
Creatures est un programme de vie artificielle créé dans le milieu des années 1990 par Steve Grand qui travaillait alors pour la firme de programmation de jeux vidéo Millennium Interactive. Le logiciel a été considéré comme une percée importante dans la recherche sur la vie artificielle.
Un nouveau projet a été annoncé par Steve Grand le 28 février 2011 : Grandroids: Real artificial life on your PC.
Dans Creatures, le joueur élève des petits êtres animalisés nommés Norns dans un monde appelé Albia et doit leur apprendre à parler, à se nourrir seul et à se protéger d'une autre race vicieuse, les Grendels. Plus tard, dans les jeux suivants, arrivera une troisième espèce appelée Ettin.
Le logiciel est très significatif puisqu'il est l'un des premiers produits commerciaux à coder des vies artificielles avec un haut niveau de génétique comprenant une biochimie et un cerveau à réseau neuronal. Les Norns et leur ADN peuvent ainsi se développer et évoluer très diversement, d'une manière en quelque sorte imprévisible. En élevant certains Norns avec d'autres, certains traits de caractères peuvent être transmis à d'autres générations. Plus intéressant encore, les Norns se sont avérés se comporter comme des créatures vivantes. Ceci a éclairé la façon dont les vrais organismes de la planète ont pu évoluer. Précédemment, les programmes de vie artificielle fonctionnaient de manière à donner à leurs organismes une partie limitée de commandes et de paramètres, et à regarder s'ils se comportaient de manière réaliste.
La génétique des créatures est quelque peu différente de la génétique humaine. Ils sont haploïdes et donc n'importe quelle évolution est le fruit de passages aléatoires des mutations. Il n'y a aucun concept d'allèle dominant et d'allèle récessif. Néanmoins, la complexité de la biochimie simulée a montré que le comportement des Norns était très imprévisible.
On compte parmi les fans de Creatures Richard Dawkins, et l'auteur Douglas Adams.
Il y a six programmes principaux Creatures édités par Creature Labs. En plus des trois jeux principaux, Docking Station (généralement référencé comme un jeu séparé) et deux jeux pour jeunes enfants furent édités.
• The Albian years (Les années Albiennes)
C'est le titre original de la série, édité en Angleterre et en Australie en novembre 1996, puis en Amérique du Nord en juillet 1997, se déroule sur Albia, le monde en forme de disque. Alors qu'une face de ce monde est complètement inhabitable, l'autre supporte un environnement compliqué qui peut ressembler à celui de la terre. Sur cette deuxième face se trouve une série de laboratoires abandonnés par les Shee, une race évoluée qui a soudainement quitté la planète plusieurs années auparavant pour trouver un monde (peut-être sphérique ?) plus stable. Avec ces laboratoires et dans cet environnement, le joueur est capable d'élever des Norns avec les œufs restants afin de réinvestir le monde d'Albia.
Creatures 2, édité le 30 septembre 1998, se déroule quelques années après le premier jeu après qu'une catastrophe naturelle (ou, expliqué plus tard dans le jeu, un désastre Shee dévastateur) eut changé dramatiquement le paysage d'Albia et rendu accessibles de nouvelles zones dans le monde. De nouvelles technologies et de nouvelles espèces sont désormais accessibles au joueur. Malgré ce radical changement d'environnement, le but du jeu reste le même.
• Creatures Exodus
Creatures 3, édité le 4 novembre 1999, a une différence majeure avec les deux opus précédents. La scène se passe sur le vaisseau qu'ont pris les Shee pour fuir Albia. Ce vaisseau est divisé en divers terrariums dont l'environnement est soigneusement contrôlé. Creatures 3 est beaucoup plus orienté vers la technologie. Pourtant, le but reste d'expérimenter et de peupler le vaisseau avec les trois principales espèces.
La dernière production majeure a été Docking Station, un supplément de Creatures 3 fondé sur Internet, distribué gratuitement sur le site de Creatures le 27 mars 2001. Il a été conçu de façon à vendre Creature 3 (il est possible d'« amarrer » les deux jeux ensemble, d'où le nom de Docking Station, « Station d'amarrage » en français), ainsi que de vendre quelques nouvelles races de Norns.
Docking Station permet une interaction entre les différents mondes des joueurs individuels ; des Norns peuvent voyager dans les mondes connectés via le serveur central, les joueurs connectés peuvent discuter grâce à une messagerie instantanée intégrée et il est possible de retrouver les Norns (et leur descendance) qui ont été présents dans votre monde via le site de Docking Station. Alors que ce jeu était distribué vers la fin de la course de la série, cela changea dramatiquement la façon de jouer (et le potentiel de la série). Cela accrut considérablement la mythologie du jeu en y insérant des « Creatures anti-Shee », les Banshee qui depuis ont été décanonisés.
Creatures Internet Edition
Il s'agit d'une réédition de 2001 faite par FastTrack Software Publishing du pack Creatures Exodus comprenant Creatures 3 et Docking Station. Il comprend aussi la mise à jour Creatures 3 Update 2 ainsi que quelques environnements et outils supplémentaires (comprenant les variantes multilingues).
Linux Game Publishing a publié une version pour Linux au début 2002.
En 2002, Focum Multimédia fit une nouvelle édition de ce pack sans le manuel, comme pour Creatures Gold, mais le contenu du CD était identique (et donc les install et le fichier PDF du manuel qui étaient référencés comme Creatures Internet Edition).
En 2004, Fusion Software fit l'ultime réédition de Creatures 3. Par contre, cette version ne nécessitait pas d'utiliser l'assistant de compatibilité pour une installation sur Windows XP. Bien que les mises à jour aient été hors ligne depuis 2003, il était nécessaire de changer le raccourci DS depuis InstallBlast.exe à engine.exe avec une option « ne pas vérifier ».
• Creatures Village
En marge des séries Albia et Exodus, deux jeux furent produits pour une cible différente. La série Creatures Village, qui visait les 6-9 ans, possède une atmosphère plus coloriée et une interface de jeu simplifiée.
Distribué en 2000, Creatures Adventures laissa de côté l'interface complexe des séries principales pour un graphisme plus brillant et une atmosphère enfantine tout en gardant l'aspect exploratoire des jeux précédents.
Second jeu de la série Village (distribué la même année), Creatures Playground peut être connecté à Adventures pour créer un monde plus grand à explorer.
"A series of (innovative) artificial life simulation games & a libre compatible engine under development" (Serge Le Tyrant, Le Bottin des Jeux Linux / The Linux Games Book).
openc2e is an open-source game engine for the Creatures games. Development on openc2e began in May 2004, was put on hiatus in 2010, and was restarted in 2020. Releases and source code are available on GitHub at openc2e/openc2e.
The original primary developers were Fuzzie, Nornagon and Bdonlan, with ElasticMuffin, Dylan and others having coded various bits. ElasticMuffin was also responsible for the website and the Windows builds, and Pez for the logo. Many other members of the community participated in testing.
It is intended be an engine capable of running all the games in the Creatures series, allowing people to run them on unsupported operating systems and to extend the engine in ways impossible without access to the source code. Note, however, that openc2e is not a game by itself; it needs game content from elsewhere (either official Creatures games or community-created ones) to be playable.
It was started as a project of the now-defunct Creatures Community Development Network. The original website is archived here (see the site).
openc2e is an open-source game engine for the games in the Creatures series.
openc2e is intended to support:
• Creatures (1996)
• Creatures 2 (1998)
• Creatures 3 (1999)
• Docking Station (2001)
• Creatures Playground (1999)
• Creatures Adventures (2000)
• Agents (COBs) work
• Imperfect physics
• Creatures biochemistry
• Sound effects
• Actual creatures (C3+ creatures work somewhat, C1 and C2 ones don't work at all)
• Physics improvements (Especially C3+)
• Network ability (the Docking Station warp)
• Serialization (world saving, creature exporting, ...)
There are lots of open issues that still need solving.
Discover a large, living landscape - the surface a world called Albia. You exist in this world only as a virtual presence, a sort of remote-control existence, which the computer portrays as a hand-shaped mouse cursor. In this world are a range of locations and strange creatures, related loosely (and with considerable poetic license) to Northern myth. You begin near to the long-abandoned home of a family of Norns (small furry creatures), where a few eggs, languishing in a broken-down incubator, are almost all that remains of the Nornir race.
The first game in this twin pack introduces you to the world of artificial life technology and the Norns of Albia. Than you can discover the all-new Norns, Ettins and Grendels. Explore the Shee Laboratories and discover the all-new Norns inhabiting a vibrant, living eco-system - find the Genetic Splicer and defend your Norns against the vicious and disease-ridden Grendels.
• Creatures: The Albian Years is a compilation of Creatures 1 with both Life Kits, Creatures 2 with its Life Kit and 6 Official Object Packs
• Unique gameplay centered around breeding and raising autonomous, computer-controlled Norns
• A complex AI system that mimics real behaviors
Creatures is an artificial life (alife) video game series, created in the mid-1990s by English computer scientist Steve Grand whilst working for the Cambridge video games developer Millennium Interactive. Gameplay focuses on raising alien creatures known as Norns, teaching them to survive, helping them explore their world, defending them against other species, and breeding them. Words can be taught to creatures by a learning computer (for verbs) or by repeating the name of the object while the creature is looking at it. After a creature understands language, the player can instruct their creature by typing in instructions, which the creature may choose to obey. A complete life cycle is modelled for the creatures - childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and senescence, each with their own particular needs. The gameplay is designed to foster an emotional bond between the player and their creatures. Rather than taking a scripted approach, Creatures series games were driven by detailed biological and neurological simulation and their unexpected results. There were six major Creatures releases from Creature Labs. Between 1996 and 2001, there were three principal games released, the Docking Station add-on (generally referenced as a separate game) and two children's games, and there were three games created for console systems. A sequel named Creatures Online was in development, with the artificial life technology from Creatures 3 and Docking Station updated to a 3D environment.
The program was one of the first commercial titles to code alife organisms from the genetic level upwards using a sophisticated biochemistry and neural network brains, including simulated senses of sight, hearing and touch. This meant that the Norns and their DNA could develop and "evolve" in increasingly diverse ways, unpredicted by the makers. By breeding certain Norns with others, some traits could be passed on to following generations. The Norns turned out to behave similarly to living creatures. Sight is simulated by having a group of neurons representing each type of object in the world. When an object belonging to this type is in front of the creature ('within eyesight'), the neuron becomes active and the creature can 'see' the object. The Norns possess simulated biological drives which give punishment when they are raised, and reward when they are lowered. The model for Norns' decision-making process is Behaviorist and based on Norns learning how to reduce their drives. Dickinson and Balleine state that while this stimulus-response/reinforcement process makes the creatures seem like they are goal-directed, they are instead 'habit machines' responding in a learned fashion to particular stimuli.
Mutations in the genome also occur, allowing new characteristics to appear in the population and potentially be inherited by a future generation. Because the Norns have a lifespan of roughly 40 hours, users could observe the changes that occur over a large number of generations. Faulty genomes can also occur - for example, Norns which cannot see or hear, or immortal Norns due to a hyper-efficient digestion system. Creatures used the emergent approach seen in animats, but with the goal of more complex behaviours than locomotion. Grand describes the psychological model of the creatures as being inspired by rats. In 2000, Steve Grand described the intelligence level of Norns as being like ants. Margaret Boden, in 2003, rejected Creatures as being a form of alien life as the simulated metabolism is concerned with controlling the Norn's behaviour, not on maintaining its 'physical' form. In 2011, Steve Grand stated that while the Norns in Creatures could learn, generalise from past experiences to novel experiences, and react in an intelligent manner to stimuli, they could not think.
The genetics in Creatures are somewhat different from human genetics; they are haploid. There is no concept of dominant gene and recessive gene, much less recombination between loci. Nevertheless, the complexity of the simulated biochemistry meant that Norn behaviour was highly unpredictable.
Among the fans of Creatures were the Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins, who called it a "quantum leap in the development of artificial life", and author Douglas Adams. Creatures inspired some players to take up careers in the sciences.
Basic gameplay consists of hatching some creatures, usually norns, and guiding them to reach maturity and to breed more creatures, with the goal of a more intelligent future population. Words can be taught to creatures by a learning computer (for verbs) or by repeating the name of the object while the creature is looking at it. After a creature understands language, the player can instruct their creature by typing in instructions, which the creature may choose to obey. The player cannot force creatures to do anything. The player is represented by a disembodied hand in the world, and the hand can attempt to teach creatures by tickling them as a reward or punishing creatures by slapping them. (For Creatures Village, aimed at very young players, tickling is done by a feather wand, and punishment is represented by a squirt bottle.) Older norns can also teach concepts to younger norns. Norns may also express to the player how they are feeling. The language aspect was incorporated to promote a relationship between norns and players, allowing players to anthropomorphise their creatures. A complete life cycle is modelled for the creatures - childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and senescence, each with their own particular needs. Breeding is depicted in the game as "a delicate affair", and is shown in the game by "a long kissing sound followed by a pop". The gameplay is designed to foster an emotional bond between the player and their creatures. Death has real consequences - the individual norns do not return after they die. All creatures are bipedal, but there are some variant appearances that are genetically-linked. Some alternate play styles include "wolfling runs", where the player may not intervene in their creatures' lives, or even norn torture. Trying to selectively breed or engineer certain traits into the population is also popular, for example, coloured creatures, norns with a better immune system, or a less-aggressive grendel.
A Norn is an AIL (Artificial intelligent life) species, the development and survival of which constitute the main thematic elements of the program.
Norns are playful, all-trusting, naive creatures that love to explore. This is often the reason for their downfall, suffering, and death. They are more susceptible to disease in comparison to Ettins and Grendels, and in old age they may fall prey to a wasting disease that prevents them from absorbing certain nutrients.
Grand wished Norns to be endearing and for players to keep them as pets - that they should be independent and stubborn, like toddlers, that the design of the norn should be appealing to as many people as possible, and that the player should care about the norns. Reviewers have compared the Norns' visual design to the Mogwai of the Gremlins film series. The Shee originally created the Norns as a mixture of valet and pet. According to the Creatures Labs website, they spread across the galaxy through the Warp and evolved into various variations, including but not restricted to: Toxic Norn, Treehugger Norn and Magma Norns. The spread of Norns throughout the galaxy is related to the mysterious disappearance of the Shee from Albia (from the point of view of the Norns). It may also be a sign of how the Shee fared in their attempt to find a habitable planet.
In the games, the Norns have their own simulated biochemistry, haploid genetics, and neural network to serve as a brain. From Creatures 2 onwards, Norns also possess organs determined by their genetics; mutation and injury can render these defunct, with typically fatal consequences. Each of these has grown somewhat over the course of the series, allowing the creatures to become more complex and intelligent. Norns are omnivores and eat a variety of foods, including carrots, lemons, seeds, insects, fish, honey, and other things. The Norns that the player starts with require some degree of training and discipline from the player in order to make good decisions to maintain their health; however, later on they can evolve to be more independent and hardy, with better-developed instincts and a more robust biochemistry. The player can take advantage of this to breed certain colours or traits through artificial selection, and through many generations the changes can become quite pronounced.
Norns are very social animals, sometimes to the extent that they will prefer to play with other norns than to eat.
The Shee are a race of absent-minded scientists. They are the original inhabitants of Albia, and the creators of the Norns, Ettins, and Grendels.
The Shee are all inventors, and make most of their inventions to save time on tasks that would have taken but a few minutes otherwise.
Most of their discoveries are made by accident, and as such, they sequenced their own DNA and eliminated all genetic defects, before discovering the wheel.
Millennia ago, the Shee had left the disk-shaped world of Albia, as they desired to live on a "more spherical world". They created the Shee Ark, took along some Norns, Ettins, and various animals and plants, and set out for their new home. The Shee Ark, like all Shee spacecraft, was itself a living creature grown from scratch, and used "Bioenergy" (the energy of living things, used to balance the game) to perform its various functions.
Early concepts of the Shee had them as merely a more advanced life form than the Norns, not their creators.
Ettins are a species in Creatures 2 and Creatures 3.
Ettins were created by the Shee to help them on their experiments, especially when using machinery. They made them like machines so much, they tend to steal bits for themselves, often taking them to wherever they consider their home.
C2 Ettins behave rather differently; they tend to lead a sad and lonely life underground with no one but Pitz and the occasional Grendel for company. The backstory in the guides and manual, as well as the opening sequence, reveals that they once lived in the desert at the top of Albia and, true to their nature, built the pyramid that sits there. The actual use (if any) of the pyramid is unknown.
Ettins were introduced into the Creatures series in C2, having been revealed to the world after the volcanic eruption.
An early concept of the Ettins described them as insignificant "small, lizard-like creatures", who were often kept as pets by Norns.
The Ettins in Creatures 2 were infertile; however, in Creatures 3, there were two Ettins aboard the Shee Ark at most times (both female), and it was possible to get them to breed if two of them were placed in the Gene Splicer machine to create a male Ettin.
An in-depth exploration of the genetics and neurology of the Ettins in Creatures 2 revealed that they were constantly in pain, apparently by design. This discovery was met by fan uproar.
Grendels are the green-skinned, red-eyed antagonists of the Norns, over which the player has little control, stealing food and injuring individual Norns. They also carry diseases harmful to Norns. The early concepts of their appearance described them as "resembling a huge, titanium spider".
In the unmodified Creatures 1 and 2, Grendels do not reproduce, being born infertile. Generally, only one Grendel is alive in the world of Albia at a time. In Creatures 3, two Grendels were alive aboard the Shee Ark at most times (both male), but it was possible to get them to breed and have offspring if both were placed in the Gene Splicer machine and used to create a female Grendel.
In all three games, Grendels are automatically produced by a "Mother" machine; in Creatures 3, however, it is possible to ensure that there are no Grendels in the game by killing any existing grendels (e.g. in the airlock) and then waiting by the mother, then placing any eggs into water (the piranha pool) so that they cannot hatch.
The Grendels were another genetically engineered creation of the Shee, albeit an accidental one. They were certainly not what the Shee were trying to get as a result from their experiments, and were considered to be harmful, useless monsters. However, some of the evil Shee (known as the Banshee) believed the Grendels were genetically superior to the Norns, and kept some for improvement.
It is possible to cross a Norn with a Grendel, creating a 'Grenorn'.
The Creatures community has appeared to adopt the Grendel as an underdog figure, creating a "Grendel Liberation Front" - despite being intended to add stress to Norns' lives, players began to tame their Grendels.
In each of the games, players interact with the world through the use of a graphical hand as the player's mouse in the main visual area of the game. In Creatures and Creatures 2, players can use applets in a toolbar, often called Kits, along the top of the game window, to access many functions, such as getting their first norn eggs, naming and photographing their norns, monitoring the health and general biochemistry of the norns and administering medicines, monitoring pregnancies, injecting objects into the world, and recording deceased norns. Creatures 2 introduced an Ecology Kit and Neuroscience Kit.
In Creature 3 and Docking Station, players still use a hand as their mouse to interact with creatures and the world, but the main game area does not have toolbars like in Creatures and Creatures 2, but instead has areas along the sides of the screens with buttons that the user can press to move to different locations, view the current creatures in the world, manage an inventory of items, and change game settings.
Charlie Brooker regarded the level of detail shown in the monitoring kits as "terrifying", and it has been argued that the detailed monitoring kits highlight the artificiality of the norns. Peter Smith disliked the limitation of C1 that the player is "limited to seeing areas that you've tagged as favorite places or that are currently inhabited by Norns," and found it difficult to correctly reward and punish the creatures. Creatures 2 introduced an angel and devil glyph which appears next to the hand to show you whether you are about to reward or punish your creature. Jim Brumbaugh, in reviewing Creatures, disliked the amount of typing that was needed to communicate with the creatures, but found the menu system "highly user friendly." He noted also that there was only one way that the player could save, when the player exited the game. Eddie Walou praised the simplified user interface of Creatures 4, saying that earlier games felt like you had to have your BAC to understand. Kahn Lusth, writing for Canard PC, enjoyed the new interface of Creatures Online for communicating with creatures, where with a click of the mouse the player can choose suggestions to guide their creatures, describing it as more convenient than typing keywords. To improve the ergonomics on the iOS system, a 'rubber-band' system has been created for Creatures Online, where the player draws a line between the norn and an object. When the finger is lifted, the available instructions appear.
While the initial pitch was for a desktop pet that could interact with other Windows programs, for example, Windows Media Player, as the game developed, the need for a self-contained world became more apparent. The world was named "Albia", after Albion, and one of the goals of gameplay became to explore Albia. Grand thought that having the creatures inhabit a rich, "messy", world, and to be able to interact with it in many ways would help creatures' personalities to emerge. The backdrop for Creatures was created by taking photographs of a physical model of the world, part of which is now housed at The Centre for Computing History.
The world is rendered in 2.5D, and the world can smoothly scroll to follow a creature. The world contains many different items, which creatures can interact with in a variety of ways. Objects are written using an object-oriented programming technique - each item has their own scripts which determine how they interact with creatures and with other objects. Objects are detected by a creature by being in its line of sight, which excites a neuron dedicated to that class of objects. The object-oriented approach means that the games are highly modifiable. Some of the items in the world are dangerous to norns.
In Creatures 2, the environment became more complex, with a "Complete working eco-system, including weather, seasons and a functioning food-chain. The plants seed and spread around the environment if conditions allow. The result of this is a very "real" feeling world that adapts around the player."
In Creatures 3 and Docking Station, the game was set on a spaceship. The environment became more segmented into areas called "metarooms", small biomes, each with their own ecosystem. Players could download and add new metarooms to their games.
Games in the series
There were six major Creatures releases from Creature Labs. In addition to the three principal games, the Docking Station add-on (generally referenced as a separate game) and two children's games were released.
• On Albia (later re-released as Creatures: The Albian Years)
The original Creatures game, released in the United Kingdom and Australia in November 1996 and in North America in July 1997, took place on the fictional disc-shaped world Albia. While the "faces" of the disc were uninhabitable, the "rim" of Albia was home to a complicated environment much like Earth's. Here lay an abandoned system of laboratories left over by the Shee, an advanced race that had suddenly left the planet many years earlier in order to find a more stable world. In these laboratories and environments, the player was able to hatch new Norns from leftover eggs and re-inhabit the world of Albia. According to Millenium, every copy of Creatures contains a unique starting set of eggs, whose genomes are not replicated on any other copy of the game. An expansion pack, called "Life Kit #1" was released for purchase later.
Creatures 2, released on September 30, 1998, took place many years after the first game, after a devastating natural disaster (or, as explained in later games, a devastating Shee disaster) had changed the landscape of Albia dramatically and opened up new areas of the world. New technology and species were made available to the player, and the creatures themselves had been provided with "considerably more sensory input, more actions they can take, and improved brain dynamics". Despite the great change in environment, including a "complete working eco-system", the focus of the game remained the same. Creatures 2 Deluxe (with Life Kit) soon followed. 200,000 copies of Creatures 2 were immediately shipped upon its release. Two expansion packs, Life Kit 1 and Life Kit 2, were released for C2. Creatures 2 was considered "much more difficult" than C1, and the new, more challenging environment and norn biology was described as frustrating, but that after installing a new genome and going through successive generations, the Norns seemed smarter. Nick Walkland described the gameplay as a "labour of love", noting that the challenge was to sustain your Norns' lives. Sid Fisk of Gamezilla criticized the audio for Creatures 2 for not alerting him when his creature was near-death, but playing a "funeral dirge" as the body left the screen.
• After leaving Albia (later re-released as Creatures Exodus)
Creatures 3, released on November 4, 1999, took a detour from the first two games. It took place on the spaceship that the Shee had used to flee Albia. The ship was divided into many carefully controlled environments (Norn Terrarium, Jungle Terrarium, Desert Terrarium, Marine Terrarium). Creatures 3 was much more technologically focused, including many agents which could be connected in various ways to perform tasks. Still, the goal was to experiment with the three principal species and create a living world out of an empty ship. Creatures 3 included a "new social element", by which norns could remember relationships they've formed with other creatures better.
The final major Creatures release was Docking Station, an Internet-based add-on to Creatures 3, released free of charge on the Creatures web site on March 27, 2001. It was intended as a way to sell Creatures 3 (you could dock the worlds of the two games together, hence the name "Docking" Station) and extra packs of Norn breeds. Docking Station has an intermittent reminder screen that encourages users to buy Creatures 3.
Docking Station added the possibility of interaction between individual player worlds; Norns could 'travel' to other online worlds via a central server, players could chat to other online players, and it was possible to track Norns (and their offspring) that had been present in their worlds via the Docking Station website. While Docking Station was released late in the series' run, it changed gameplay (and the potential of the series) dramatically. One reviewer stated that it opened up a whole new world for her online. Another reviewer criticised the online portion of the game, as it requires the player to find online buddies. Docking Station also expanded considerably on the game mythos, including the introduction of an 'anti-Shee', the Banshee (a Grendel/Shee hybrid).
• Creatures Online
Creatures Online was a planned sequel to the game, which was being developed by Fishing Cactus. The game was announced as Creatures 4 in Fishing Cactus's blog in May 2011. Creatures Online was to have 5 worlds, was to be completely in 3D graphics instead of 2.5D pre-rendered graphics, and in-game currency was planned to buy Norns toys, food, etc. Creatures Online was designed to be a free-to-play game. A collector's edition box was also announced with a Norn figurine, the three original games for current PCs, and all the money you paid for the game as in-game money for your Norns. Creatures 4 entered an in-house alpha phase in March 2013. The internal systems of the creatures from C3/DS were retained and updated for the 3D environment. Norns' fur patterns were to be partially procedurally generated, with the goal of ensuring "that no two Norns look alike". Heterochromia iridum has been introduced. The norns of Creatures Online will have a new drive, tentatively called "altruism", which encourages them to do things which will benefit the norn colony, like tending to plants and fixing broken toys. "Creatures 4" was renamed "Creatures Online" in May 2013. Creatures Online, unlike earlier entries in the Creatures series, was to have a system of missions for the player to complete. Creatures online was cancelled in November 2015 due to the loss of the license.
• Younger children's games (later re-released as Creatures Village)
Released in 2000, and targeted at younger children (ages 6–9), Creatures Adventures dropped the complex interface of the main series in favour of brighter graphics and a more childlike atmosphere.
The second game in the younger children's series, Creatures Playground (released the same year), could be connected to Adventures to create an even bigger world to explore. It has a theme park for the creatures, including mini-games like whack-a-mole.
• Console games
The Creatures concept was made into three different games for consoles: Creatures for the Game Boy Advance and Creatures and Creatures: Raised in Space for PlayStation. In the PlayStation games, the hand is replaced by a fairy named Scrubby. Because of the limited processing power of the early-day consoles, the AI had to be completely reprogrammed by the console development team around Volker Eloesser. A fourth, Project Loci, was in development at the time of Creatures Labs' liquidation, but was cancelled for lack of funds. Loci would have been the first Creatures game for the PS2, Xbox and GameCube.
• Later bundled releases
There have been various re-releases of the Creatures games. The later re-releases from Gameware improved Windows XP compatibility by allowing them to run easily under non-administrator accounts and without the use of the compatibility mode, but break compatibility with some third-party content without the use of a third-party patch.
Creatures Trilogy / Creatures Trilogy Gold Collection
This release of Creatures Trilogy included Creatures, Creatures 2, and Creatures 3, as well as the Life Kit addons for the earlier games. It was released before Docking Station, but the version of Creatures 3 included in this was identical to the original release (except that it was using the newest patch) and was therefore compatible with Docking Station.
Encore Software released a Creatures Trilogy containing Creatures, Creatures 2, and Creatures 3, under their Encare line. They also released a "gold" version titled Creatures Trilogy Gold Collection.
Creatures Internet Edition / Creatures Gold
The final major Creatures release was a re-release in 2001 by FastTrak Software Publishing as Creatures Internet Edition, a bundle of Creatures 3, Creatures 3 Update 2, Docking Station, and a number of environment extras and tools (many with multilingual variants). Linux Game Publishing released a Linux port of Creatures Internet Edition a few months later in December 2001.
The original Creatures Internet Edition was released again in 2002 by Focus Multimedia, without the physical manual, as Creatures Gold, but the disc contents were identical (and so the installer and PDF manual both referred to it as Creatures Internet Edition).
Creatures: The Albian Years
Creatures 1 and Creatures 2 on one disk, updated to run on Windows XP.
Creatures 3 and Docking Station plus a selection of new Norn breeds on one disk, updated for improved Windows XP compatibility. Mac OS X and Windows & Mac dual-format, and free downloadable versions are also available.
Creatures Adventures and Creatures Playground, merged and updated for improved Windows XP compatibility. Mac OS X and Windows & Mac dual-format versions are also available.
Creatures Triple Collection
Creatures Triple Pack, otherwise known as Creatures Collection: Triple, contains The Albian Years, Creatures Exodus and Creatures Village for Windows.