March 14, 2019

Nearly a Decade of The Norn Nebula

Due to my interest in Creatures hitting a bit of a low, along with real life commitments and not being able to think of anything to talk about, The Norn Nebula has been left silent since around August last year, and while I don't have anything particular to announce, I think it would be nice to have another blog post after such a long period of inactivity.

My main issue with writing blog posts is motivation, along with thinking of things to write. Usually I have loads of thoughts swimming around in my head during the day, but as soon as I sit down at my computer they completely evaporate and I sometimes find it a bit difficult to think of things to talk about, which can be quite frustrating. This has been a problem for quite a while and I have no idea if it is mental health-related or not, but I've still tried to soldier on regardless.

Earlier this year I was busy working on a new genetic breed, which are essentially a C3 edition of my Albian Ant Norns which I released years ago. Unfortunately I lost interest in them, but their files are still up so I can resume them when I suddenly feel the motivation to do so. It might be nice to have them out for the Norn Nebula's tenth anniversary, but we'll see.

The blog's Discord server has been running for just over two years and I have seen it grow immensely. Sadly, we did have quite a few individuals who seemed to want to ruin it for others, but these have all been dealt with. Those who frequent the blog will have noticed I removed the "Kreatures - My Views" post, and this was mainly to avoid attracting any more potential drama to the blog or server, and to be quite frank I'd rather let sleeping dogs lie regarding this particular user.

With regard to content posted on the blog, I've considered possibly starting up reviews, or the "Download of the week" section again, as I quite enjoyed doing them in the past, and it would also provide a good information resource for the Creatures Community.

When The Norn Nebula/Docking Station Galaxy does turn ten (which is this May, I believe) I will most definitely be trying to do a blog post announcing it. Despite the inactivity this blog means a great deal to me - I've been through so much in the past decade and yet this blog has always remained as a sort of beacon of hope in some ways. Hopefully it will remain this way for many years to come.

August 15, 2018

A Quick Update

Although I've not got any plans to do anything for the Norn Nebula for the time being, I thought it might be a good idea to give a quick update on things regarding the site, and what to possibly expect in the future!

Note: This is a standalone post. I will likely not be following it up with anything for a while.

Firstly, I did a little housekeeping on the "Other downloads" page (what was I thinking with the image alignment?) to make it look a little bit neater. I am also likely going to be doing a check of all the downloads and links I have hosted on the blog to make sure they work properly. Yes, the Discord button doesn't work. It will be staying that way for a while.

I will be keeping The Norn Nebula's YouTube channel, even though the newer version has barely been used. Facebook, on the other hand, will likely be removed as I haven't been bothered to update it since November last year. I will still be keeping the actual page up, however, as it's been running since 2014 and is a piece of history, and it would be a shame if I were to get rid of it.

I hope those who enjoy the blog continue to do so for many years to come. If anyone wishes to get in touch please see the about page. 

November 14, 2017

Regarding Inactivity

It has been nearly a whole decade since I joined the Creatures Community, hard to believe, I know! Throughout the years I have seen a whole load of members come and go, along with many websites, some of which I have fond memories of visiting when I was a child and first discovered Creatures. Things have certainly changed within a space of ten years. However, this blog post is about to adopt a more poignant tone.

As a person, I rarely play creatures any more. I may go through phases of playing it, but these are often quite few and far between. I haven't released any content since 2013, and personally, there doesn't seem to be the spark that there used to be. I am most certainly not done with Creatures, and I think it is a modern classic, but I simply don't have the time to play like I used to.

It is with this that I am announcing The Norn Nebula will be going dormant. To put it bluntly, I will not be posting anything unless it is significantly important. I know the blog hasn't seen much activity over 2017, but I thought I would at least announce it so people are aware. However, the blog will NOT be closing permanently any time soon, and I will be keeping it available as long as possible, so there's no need to worry about it.

Now, on a related note we have the Creatures Community Discord Server, which WILL be remaining active. I must say, though, that I have seen some behaviour from certain members that I have been quite disappointed with - I have never set out to make enemies in the community and I hope that everyone understands that I am running the server with the community's best interests in mind, but I am willing to listen to feedback if people have suggestions.

As always, I hope everyone continues to enjoy the blog, and if anyone has suggestions or feedback, feel free to get in touch.

NOTE: Due to spam I have had to disable comments on this blog post. Sorry!

September 08, 2017

The Discover Albia Forum Closes

It has recently come to my attention that the Discover Albia Forum has been closed by Jessica, and is no longer open to new users or posts. Jessica's blog, Discover Albia, went on holiday last year and so it's understandable that it has been closed, but it is still sad to see the forum close.

Running a forum can be quite a lot of work - The Norn Nebula had its own forum at one point, but like the Discover Albia Forum, it closed, but it was down to a lack of activity rather than myself not having the time to maintain it. It seems that in this day and age forums may be starting to become things of the past, but they are still very useful regardless, especially Creatures Caves which has been running for, wow, over seventeen years!

I might consider archiving the Discover Albia Forum at some point, as Jessica states it may be removed at some point in the future. I hope this isn't the case, but it's always good to be prepared in case the inevitable happens.

I'll still keep a link to the forum in The Norn Nebula's link section, but will edit the title to let users know that it is closed.

Thanks for the experience Jessica, and I eagerly anticipate the return of Discover Albia.

September 03, 2017

Creatures 2 - Windows 10 Lag Fix

I recently posted a topic on Creatures Caves about this fix, so thought I'd share it on here too!

As everyone knows, Creatures 2 is incredibly picky out what system it runs on; up until the releases, we had to rely on hex editing in order to run it on Windows 7. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Windows 10, and the game suffers from numerous issues.The first is the Black Box of Doom, but thanks to Issy, a solution for fixing it has been found.

But what about those who experience serious lag when running the game? Well, this problem arises from the way Windows 10 emulates DirectDraw. I'm no expert, but it is apparently very poorly coded and so cannot handle high resolutions very well at all, leading to severe lag. So how can we fix it?

Well, to get rid of the lag, simply change your screen resolution to 1280x720, relaunch Creatures 2, and the game should run much smoother. It will obviously look a lot lower res now, but it's really not much of a bother, especially as most people first played the game on those horrible CRT monitors at horrendously low resolutions anyway. Besides, your creatures will be bigger on-screen!

Now, there are several issues with the game that are not related to the lag. Firstly, certain parts of the game such as the Status Bar and tool-tips will be very buggy, or just won't appear at all. I don't know why this occurs, I'm afraid, but the game is still perfectly playable.

I should also mention I have emailed about these issues, and I'm currently awaiting a response. I'd recommend everybody else does the same. It might not receive a response, but at least we'll have tried!

 I hope this guide has helped people. If anyone has any questions or additional problems, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Edit: It seems the highest resolution the game is willing to run at without suffering from lag is 1366 x 768. I have no idea why running the game at 1080p in Windows 10 causes lag whereas it runs perfectly fine on Windows 7, but I think the issue might be DirectDraw related.