The Creatures Community is what we see around us every time we we browse Creatures Caves, Albia 2000, or Gameware Development's Forums. It is the thing that has made the Creatures series so succesful - and is one of the most loyal fanbases there is. It has been going strong since 1996, when the first Creatures game was released.
There have been many, many things that have influenced the Community. Feel free to add stuff in!
It all started on a balcony in 1992, where Steve Grand thought up the first inklings of what would once become the Creatures series. Work started on the game in 1993 and the first game was released in 1996 (mid-1997 in the US). Creatures was adored by both genders of all ages, and was a virtually instant hit - especially in the US, where the UK release had been getting rave reviews.
Cyberlife released a number of addon-packs for Creatures, including the Purple Mountain Norns, and a number of new kits, including the Observation Kit, and the Injector Kit, which allowed you to inject Cyberlife's COB packs. Soon after, CL made a Life Kit, and sold it at their mall. It included 2 entirely new Creatures breeds, and a number of Cobs. Another thing they made and sold at the mall was the C1 Genetics Kit, which many people found extremely useful in their developments.
These caused positive waves throughout the small but growing community, and soon, as always happens, people were looking to create addons for the game. No-one knew how to do it, though, and it was an Alexander Laemmle who came up with the solution. He called it a .cos file, standing for Creatures Object Source. He built a program called the Creatures Object Editor (COE) to make .cob files from these .cos files and .spr files, which you could alter in the program, as well as copy/paste (which enabled people to make graphics in other programs and then copy it into the program). COE was met with great success, and soon other programs were springing up, including Cyberlife's COB Maker and the later BoBCOB by BoBWare. Another fantastic program to spring up was BORG, again by Alexander Laemmle. A fantastic program which is virtually invaluable now when people play Creatures 1.
This signalled the first 'Era' in the Creatures Community, an era of development, excitement, and discoveries.
A host of COB makers (or cobblers) sprung up, each intent on creating the best addons they could for Creatures, including Alexander Laemmle, LummoxJR, Slink, SteerPike, Steven Kuske, and Steve Dismukes.
One of the most controversial members of the community began his experiments in norn torture at about this time, and his nickname was AntiNorn. He ran a website called Tortured Norns, and he was shunned from the community, hated by most members. His actions, however viewed by the rest of the community, caused many Norn Rehabilitation Centre sites to be erected. Steve Grand had this to say on the matter in his book Creation: Life and how to make it.
- Take cruelty, for example. One Creatures fan (who I believe is in the US Navy) started a Website entirely devoted to ways in which people could be cruel to these creatures. He devised various tortures to make their little lives a misery, and I think he did so with his tongue firmly in his cheek and a challenging grin on his face. I was so pleased about this (although I didn't dare say so publicly while I still represented the company that made Creatures, for fear that it would upset our customers), because it forced people to think about whether this really was cruel,. I expected him to elicit some response from the other Creatures owners, but not quite such a hostile one as ensued. The poor guy recieved an enormous amount of hate mail, and was excluded from the Creatures Internet community for a long time. Much of his hate mail showed a greater regard for the creatures than it did for the life of this one human being.
- Less traumatically, I was pleased to see people start up Websites of their own in response, setting them up as rehab centers and adoption agencies to provide shelter for the poor victims of this virtual abuse. This was not the behaviour of people who felt that life had been debased by the existence of artificial beings, nor was it the behaviour of people who were scared of artificial intelligence. These people were going out of their way to protect and care for these creatures, and they held them in equal regard to other more natural forms of life. They may have been overreacting, but I was glad of the sentiment.
It was later revealed that AntiNorn had done what he did to make people care about the helpless more, and in that he succeeded spectacularly.
HomeCreatures originally came about in the summer of 1995, with only a large 'Coming Soon!' splash and the promise to become one of the most successful community hubs to date. It was one of the first 3rd party sites to have its own domain (one other being CreaturesLife.net) and soon a message appeared on CL.net about its forthcoming 'sister site'. About this time, many rumours were beginning to fly about this now-famous site.
Soon Miff was offering hosting at HomeCreatures, and many who had been use Geocities and Xoom jumped at the chance of hosting at www.yourname.homecreatures.com
Miff, of course, was helping the rumours along in JRChat and a few forums by dropping tantalizing hints. People were still completely in the dark however, and wanted to know more about HomeCreatures.
Lis Morris was, and still is, one of the most amazing develioprs in the Creatures Community.
Her more notable projects include the Canny Norns, the Hippy Norns (a Creatures breed which used photosynthesis to turn light into energy), and the Infirmary, the first third-party metaroom for Creatures 3. Many of her projects influenced the way the developers of today look at genetics and CAOS.