I’ve just seen my parents off after their visit and I want to get back into the swing of things. I want to get some Creatures posts out but, unfortunately, that might have to wait til Monday when I’ve had time to settle into the old routine.
In the meantime, I was asked to answer some of my blogging prompts and, like Jessica, I’ll be picking and choosing questions rather than selecting a single prompt and answering all of the questions. Anyway, let’s begin.
Who are you?
My name is Kat and I’m very much a gamer. I’ve played video games my entire life and I’d like to be involved with video games my entire life. I’ve even started a video game commentary (OK. Let’s Play) show on YouTube because I enjoy sharing my gaming experiences with other people. Nothing gets me going like a cooperative game played with some good friends.
Why did you start?
I guess I started because it just seemed like fun. At the time, I was reading Naturing::Nurturing and Discover Albia and it seemed like Amai and Jessica really enjoyed writing in their blogs. Beside that, as I stated above, I enjoy sharing my gaming experiences and blogging seems like a great way to reach out to more people. I just love talking about games.
What is your favorite Creatures Game?
I guess of all the games, if I had to pick just one, it would be Creatures 3. Not Docking Station, but Creatures 3, even though I started with Docking Station since it was free. Unfortunately, I can’t play Creatures 3 standalone but I’ve actually gone ahead and made some agents to make the experience a little more old-school. I liked the challenge that came from collecting power ups and having to protect my Norns from disease and Grendels. These days, I prefer Grendels but the game forced me to learn one species at a time. I guess I like being a little limited. With Docking Station I feel more like a scientist than a caretaker or parent. There’s nothing wrong with that, but as an unbiased “scientist” it’s hard for me to connect to the creatures.
Creatures 1 is a very close second since I find bonding much easier and the setting is also a lot more relatable and comforting than in Creatures 2 and 3/DS. Granted, the norns can be a bit of a headache sometimes but with the issues in that game, that’s not much of a surprise. Still, it’s much more stable and much more charming for me than Creatures 2.
Creatures 2 is OK, but there are too many glitches and stability issues. If they could be fixed, I’d be willing to give it a better chance but as it is, there just doesn’t seem to be any way for me to get around it.
Creatures Village is just a waste of space on my hard drive as far as I’m concerned.
How long have you been blogging?
My first post was published on December 15th, 2012. I didn’t announce that I was going to start documenting a creatures world until the next day, however. Still, as of writing that means I’ve been blogging for just shy of 2 and a half years. There have been a lot of breaks and hiccups due to computer problems, moving, etc but I still consider this blog active, so there’s that.
Why do you continue?
I continue to blog because it’s something that I enjoy doing. Honestly, if no one read these posts, I think I’d be OK with that because I just enjoy writing. There’s a therapeutic quality to just documenting what these digital animals do and how they live their lives. However, I do have readers and in a way, I want to please the people that read my posts because I consider many of you as my friends. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I like being involved in a community that is open to new faces and doesn’t judge or bully people and I found a community that does just that. I mean, they say it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch, but in general, I like nearly everyone in the Creatures Community.
What challenges did you face as a blogger?
A lot of the challenges I’ve had to deal with in this hobby are related mostly to my life outside of the internet. My husband is an active duty marine and we don’t have children, so we move a lot. Every time we’ve had to move to a new country or simply move house, I’ve had to build up a backlog of entries just to keep posts going for a while. Now, living in California, I can’t afford air conditioning so I can’t blog during the hottest months of the year simply because my computer can’t handle the heat.
When my “real” life is giving me a break, I have other challenges like coming up with new activities and projects that I can do to keep the blog interesting and to keep people engaged. The Creatures Community Quilt and forum/streamed runs are things that I like to do but there’s always a lot of planning and thinking that goes into these things. The same is true of my private wolfling and nurtured runs. I’ve found that simply plopping some creatures into a world and documenting what they do can be pretty boring, so I like to add new conditions or rules to make the experience tighter run and more unique.
What challenges do you face now?
Now, besides a sore finger tip, I also have a YouTube channel and my other hobbies and going to the gym all compete for my time. Who could’ve guessed that recording, editing, knitting, crocheting and working out all took up so much time? Still, I’ve reworked my schedule so that I get most of my video and blogging work done over 5 days of the week. Since I can blog in advance, I can plan for things like appointments and visits that I have coming up.
Beside the cost of time, my computer is also falling apart. My husband is helping me out by building me a new machine but that’ll take time and money. Someday and someday soon, that won’t be such a huge issue anymore.
The other thing is getting myself pumped and in a good mood to blog. I avoid blogging when I’m in a bad mood because I honestly believe that blogging or recording when I’m in a bad mood makes for a lousy experience for my audience. Besides, if I blogged when I was in a bad mood, it would make blogging seem like work.
What I wish I knew when I was starting out blogging: Question from Malkin
There are just a few things I wish I knew when I started blogging. To begin with, I already had some experience with building websites. I’ve always liked computers and I started making crappy geocities and angelfire sites when I was 12. As I learned more, my sites started to look better and better and eventually, I found I enjoyed creating content and I eventually learned how to use PHP and MySQL to create a (now retired) browser game. I even learned how to modify phpBB forums but as it’s been a few years, I’m awful rusty.
Basically, I already had some experience with websites and the internet before I started blogging about Creatures.
I did learn some things about Creatures blogging in particular, though. If I had to make a list, I think I’d have to say that I wish I knew:
1. Just how time-consuming it could be.
I spend a few hours writing and recording on my blogging days just documenting my creatures worlds. I actually started out writing my blog posts in advance, but for some reason, I didn’t really expect to continue doing that for the next two years.
2. How involved readers would or wouldn’t be.
For a long time, I didn’t think anyone read my blog because of the lack of comments. I did have some support early on (and a lot of support and readers now! More than I thought!), but I found I didn’t need a lot of comments or views to keep me going. I already owned the kezune.com domain, so really, it just turned into a fun hobby that I could enjoy whether anyone read or commented or not.
3. How to record and edit videos in case I wanted video entries.
This is less important for me because I never expected to record many videos of my Creatures or game adventures. It would have been useful to know either way since videos can sometimes work better.
4. Just how rewarding it would be.
I underestimated how much I would actually enjoy this. I stuck through some rough and absurdly boring patches because I knew that the hobby would pay off in the end.
What resources have been most useful to you when coming to grips with blogging? Question from Malkin
This is very easy for me to answer. The most useful resources for me have been other blogs. They gave me ideas for things that I could blog about. Grendel Man and Amai both created agents and Grendel Man created breeds and I thought I could try my hand at the same thing. Jessica and Arch documented worlds, specific creatures and genetics. Others, like KittyTikara posted notes and summaries of their worlds and the results of their wolfling runs and still others, including Chip and Arch both write stories, poems and created art dedicated to the creatures, characters and the game worlds that they loved. There are also new bloggers cropping up from time to time which are taking their own direction when they blog, like Chip and Malkin. All of this was and is still interesting and inspiring for me. The community as a whole has been great for getting me involved and giving me ideas, however.
Do you have a theme or subject for your blog?
Not really, no. Just “Artificial Life, Artificial Intelligence, Life Simulation, Evolution and Pet games”.
Do you have a favorite activity on your blog?
For a while, I was running the Daily Creature Feature, which is still one of my favorites. Though I had high hopes for the Random Event Forum run that I did for CCSF 2014, it failed in some ways. The Daily Creature Feature was more fun and more hands off for me. If I ever have the resources to start it and run it again, I would love to.
What milestones have you made?
Well, so far, I’ve got over 300 blog posts and 2 and a half years of blogging time. I think both of those are noteworthy feats. I don’t keep good track of what I’ve done, though. I meant to have some sort of celebratory post for my 250th post, but that came and went before I even realized it happened.
I’ve also had a lot of successful and failed projects and runs. The beginnings and ends of all those runs could be milestones, if you want to look at them that way. Most of the failed runs are documented nurture runs but they haven’t caused me to lose any steam over the years. The runs I consider “successful” are the ones that are still ongoing. If I can continue to run them without feeling bored, then I consider that a success because that means that I’ve entertained at least one person, even if that person is me.
Do you have a release schedule or do you intend to blog as you feel is necessary?
I do have a release schedule, but I do allow myself breaks for the hotter months of the year, when I can’t run my computer. If I can’t run my computer due to heat, then I can’t play the games, you know? Still, I publish posts every day, Monday through Saturday. Sunday is usually a break day but I occasionally post entries for other games or “bonus” entries or announcements on Sunday. I’ve been known to (try to) dedicate a week at a time for different games like Aquazone, Petz, Species, etc. but in general, I prefer to post about Creatures through this blog.
What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
I’ve given the answer to this a lot of thought but the honest truth is “I don’t know”. I have adsense, but I don’t have any hopes to make a living on blogging, reporting or commenting on games. I would like this blog to encourage more people to get involved in Creatures and all the other artificial life, intelligence, sim and pet games out there (and to tell me about them if I’ve never heard of them) but I don’t really have any goals here. I just enjoy blogging. It’s like knitting for me. When I knit, I don’t have or think about an end goal other than “I’m going to finish my current project”. I might make someone else happy when I give them a gift or when I publish a blog post, but really, I just like what I do here.
Who are some of your most memorable Creatures, either from your blog or a personal world? Question from KittyTikara
Easily, my favorite norn is Five Cheese, from my very first nurture run. She was a Bondi, which is already my favorite Norn breed. Thin Desire was a Grendel I had at the time and I found her similarly sweet. I don’t remember why, but her personality sticks in my mind. Maybe it’s because she was one of my first Grendels? I don’t know for sure.