Lifandi Team Interview - Posted Saturday, 19th August 2006 by Liam

An interview with the Lifandi Dev Team, explaining exactly what this fascinating project is, what it hopes to achieve, and more!

Team members interviewed: Muffin, fuzzie, Spook, and Kaelis.

What exactly is Lifandi? A very broad question, but many people have absolutely no idea what Lifandi is whatsoever.

Muffin:
Lifandi is a community project to build a completely new game along the lines of Creatures, consisting of only Free content.

It will use openc2e as the underlying engine, and is intended to be primarily built around a main 'world', rather than a collection of metarooms.


What sort of features are planned for Lifandi?

fuzzie:
I think our current plans are far more technological. openc2e lets us build far more advanced biochemical and brain systems. It also allows for more sophisticated art usage, like true alpha transparency and 32-bit sprites.

Various people are planning more a more advanced user interface, perhaps incorporating C1/C2-style external applets as well as simple in-game UI elements. And, openc2e will allow for some fixes to a number issues that have plagued c3, such as the immortal fast-agers.

We're also hoping to have proper swimming creatures without CAOS hacks or vehicles being involved.

There are several 'modes' of play - could you explain this concept briefly?

fuzzie:
While there will still be a more normal 'sandbox mode' for freedom play with no restrictions, some members of the team have been discussing alternative modes, such as a restricted Play Mode where your actions are restricted and you are challenged to perform activities without 'cheating' by dragging norns around or controlling them via CAOS - ranging from getting your creatures to certain locations, to having them survive for a certain number of generations in a more dangerous world, to goals involving shaping the world ecology to different goals.

Spook, you're one of the main artists of the team- could you tell us a little about what you have planned for Lifandi?

Spook:
Well, at the moment, we don't really have much of a plan. I've been working on little things that could be used regardless.

What program are you using to model with?

I use Blender 3d for all my 3d modeling. So far, I've modeled a lift, which could fit in pretty much anywhere in the world, depending on how it turns out. Since we haven't decided on a final plan, it's difficult to model things.


Will Lifandi be using the concepts of 'norns', 'ettins' and 'grendels'?

fuzzie:
We're certainly not planning to follow Creatures that closely - we're planning to have a hopefully wider variety of different breeds, all with equal status in the worlds - while in Creatures the emphasis is on the cute fuzzy norns, with the other species differentiated greatly and generally mostly seen as a simple annoyance. However, the breeds are one thing which are most definitely still in a stage of only concept sketches and ideas, partially due to the fact that openc2e development is concentrating on perfecting other issues for now.

So each breed will be a different species, or are you creating a sort of subspecies system?

fuzzie:
The plan at present isn't to artificially differentiate between species in the engine, they'll simply be differentiated by parts of their genome such as their behaviour, appearance and reproductive systems.

What sort of genetics are planned for Lifandi? I assume it'll be different to Creatures 3/Docking Station?

Kaelis:
Well, my intention is to correct a number of flaws that allow things like immortal fastagers, that and also add diversity amongst the creature species. That said, the grendel-like species will no longer be one-dimensional killing machines, and ettins no longer poor man's norns.

Could you explain what you mean by 'diversity amongst species'?

Kaelis:
Well, I intend to make a few variant genomes, rather than like in C3/DS a bunch of norns, and one grendel/ettin. But yeah, its not going to be just norns, norns, and more norns. I did intend to have a vicious creature for all species, a more.. neutral? breed for all of them, and, a frail cute breed for all.

So in other words you're opting to move away from the stereotypes of norns being cute and cuddly, ettins being kleptomaniacs and grendels being evil?

Kaelis:
That would be right, yes.

Will there be any major changes to the existing Creature genome - will you be using lobes, neurons etc?

Kaelis:
Most of the basic parts to a genome will be the same, but I believe there was talk of allowing body parts to be changed to a finer degree, such as upper arm and lower arm, and also pigmentation for specific body-parts.

Exactly how detailed will the plants and critters be- are there any plans to give them 'genetics' ala norns?

fuzzie:
At present the plans for plants and critters are to code them similarly to current DS agents - with simple genetics using CAOS - but there's certainly nothing preventing more advanced work being done with openc2e's help if anyone is interested.

Is there any concept art to speak of yet?

fuzzie:
Various team members have been sketching ideas for the project; some of this is viewable at our wiki.

Will Lifandi be a wraparound world, and will there be separate 'metaroom' like areas leading off from the main map?

fuzzie:
The general feeling in the Lifandi team is that C1 and C2-style wraparound worlds are more fun and allow more interesting behaviour - like ecologies - than individual metarooms, and while there may be space for metarooms in the eventual world design, the intention right now is simply to build a single large wraparound world as our final product.

What level of detail will Lifandi have, ecosystem wise?

fuzzie:
The plan is to attempt to build a detailed, integrated ecosystem with a wide range of wildlife of all kinds spread across the world, with all sorts of possibilities about gardening and breeding critters, but obviously this depends on getting a lot of artwork done.

Could you explain exactly what 'free content' is, and how it is beneficial for the community and Lifandi?

fuzzie:
It is most definitely "it'll be out when it's done" at this point - while there are hopes of having an openc2e beta and perhaps a Lifandi preview out by the 10th anniversary of Creatures in November, it's a massive project and we'll have to see nearer the time. And people being able to experiment with their own creatures-style things, like different ecosystems and worlds and creatures, without having to beg for permission first.

The end result hopefully ending up being a lot more interest in creatures from the wider Internet community, as well as a lot of fascinating new ideas and creations.

The usage of "free" in "free content" carries only the latter meaning -- as in speech -- because the emphasis is on everyone's freedom to engage with the content, understand it, modify it, and share it with others.

It's like the ability to modify CL's genomes and art have led to many new addons in the current community.

How can people help with the Lifandi Project?

fuzzie:
People are welcome to put their ideas or sketches on the wiki; other than the wiki, we mostly discuss Lifandi on the Sine IRC network, and openc2e in #ccdevnet on freenode, although hopefully the ccdevnet forums will be up sometime soon.

Is there any set 'release' date, or is it more 'it'll be out when its done'?

fuzzie:
It is most definitely "it'll be out when it's done" at this point - while there are hopes of having an openc2e beta and perhaps a Lifandi preview out by the 10th anniversary of Creatures in November, it's a massive project and we'll have to see nearer the time.

Have you decided what kind of world Lifandi will be, or is it a bit up in the air at the moment?

fuzzie:
The world design is very much up in the air right now, with various sketches and a lot of ideas present on the wiki and elsewhere. The world will almost certainly contain a useful amount of underwater space and some traditional Creatures-style areas - other than that, only time will tell.


With thanks to the Lifandi team!

Links:

The Lifandi Development Wiki
Lifandi's CWiki Page

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