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Interview with Laura - Posted Monday, 7th August 2006 by Liam

An interview with Laura, our very own CreaturesCaves.com Agony Aunt, wonderful overlady and all round gal!

What first brought you into the Creatures Community?

When I first bought Creatures 1 in 1997, I didn't have access to the Internet. So when I returned to the series again in 2003, (I had Creatures 2, 3 and Docking Station by then) I used the Internet to expand my games with agents, COBs and new Norn breeds. One of the first sites I visited was "Helen's Bibble Directory", and I found myself both fascinated and amused by the "Ask Trish" column there. I only really started to get involved in the community when "Ask Laura" was up and running.

What were your first thoughts on how the Creatures Community functioned, and do you think it has changed since?

I thought the Creatures Community did, and still think it will continue to function with the aid of community spirit, third-party projects and an everlasting enjoyment of the Creatures series. The only thing I think has changed is the size of the fan base - I think more people should be aware of the games and what the community, surrounding them, is all about. This is why I'm excited as to what the "Creatures Community Disk" might achieve, should it all go to plan.

What drew you to Creatures, and how has playing Creatures influenced you?

When I first picked up Creatures 1, it was during the "Tamagotchi craze" in England - the tiny electronic pets that everyone went mad over, because it was something that was completely new. So I was really pleased when I discovered that Creatures revolved around the same idea - you were responsible for the care and upbringing of virtual life forms, but this time it was much more advanced = hours of fun! I was very much hooked in the early days.

How has Creatures influenced me? Well, it introduced me to the column, and through it I feel I have become a charismatic and influential person whom people can rely on. (I should hope that's the case anyway!)

What inspired you to begin Ask Laura?

The "Ask Trish" column, definitely - I used to read it an awful lot when I first discovered the Creatures Community, and after a while I was *dying* to do the same thing. So I emailed Helen about starting a new advice column and she replied saying that "Trish" was retired, but Rascii was looking for a new feature for his site. So the idea was forwarded to him, and he took it on as a new feature for Creatures Caves.com. I don't think anyone can better Trish though, she's quite irreplaceable, and I'm just following her lead. A little bit of pointless trivia: I received 14 questions on the first day!

Do you ever get frustrated at the large volume of similar questions, often of a technical nature?

If I'm honest... Yes, it frustrates me greatly!! I mean, the column comes complete with a search feature, which was put in place to make my life and the others lives easier, yet it's hardly used. The result is that a question is submitted numerous times by different people.

This is a good time to point out that when "Ask Laura" returns to normal in August, a new policy will be put in place and it'll mean that no more technical questions will be answered, people will be encouraged to make use of the Caves' Help forum instead.This is because "Ask Laura" was originally intended to be based upon the same principle as "Ask Trish" - with funny questions from Norn owners and the Norns themselves. Instead, it became an intensive technical support with people asking ÒHow do I create my own Norn breed? and "Why won't my Creatures 1 install? I'm using Windows XP." a million times over. However, with proper assistance from my Helper Elves, the frustration is often eased, (I can't be expected to know absolutely *everything* after all).

What would you consider to be the 'Best of Ask Laura'?

There are plenty of good 'uns hiding within the 60 pages of archive, and it'll be good to have the best questions put all in one place at some point. There are just too many to choose from! I even reckon that there are some really funny ones in there that I've forgotten about!

(Editors note: you can read the Best of Ask Laura article to have a look at some of Laura's very favourite questions and answers!)

Where do you think the community will go from here?

I stand by the belief that so long as people are discovering and playing Creatures, developing new third-party addons and frequently visiting Creatures Community websites - the community will always prosper.

Rapid Fire:

What is your favourite agent or COB, and why?

The Ask Laura Mystery Agent. It has sentimental value for me because Liam (sprites) and nornagon (coding) created it to commemorate the 500th Ask Laura question. Plus, I've never had an agent made in my honour before! And it's green! - My favourite colour.

What is your favourite breed and why?

The Treehugger Norn, no question about it. Actually, it became my favourite rather by accident - when Rascii completed the column script, he asked me which Norn I'd like to use for the banner. I thought about it, and decided to use the female Treehugger promo image, because I reckon she looks how an Agony Aunt Norn should look like. After that, I started using her as my persona, within the column and in avatar form. You might be surprised to hear that I've never purchased the actual breed pack itself though.

What is your favourite world or metaroom and why?

I can't just choose - they're all so nice! Better than anything I could ever dream of producing. I'm not a developer/CAOS type-person at all, so I'm in complete awe of what these people can do.

Carrot or cheese?


C1 or C2 Albia?

C2 Albia - *very* pretty graphics!

Cute or fierce?

Fierce - more interesting

Metaroom or world?

World - because I prefer C1 and C2 - the Albia based games.

Any other comments you'd like to make?

Despite popular belief I am not a Treehugger in real life

Thank you Laura. We hope that the column will work again soon.

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