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[History] Mythology behind Creatures 
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The Nymph (Administrator)
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Post [History] Mythology behind Creatures
Mythology behind Creatures
It was Steve Grand, former Technology Director at CyberLife, whose creative talents first dreamed up Creatures back in 1993. He spent a lot of time developing a suitable world for his Norns to live in - a world that was steeped in mystery and history.

"You can't just go making up worlds out of thin air - it simply doesn't work," said Steve Grand, former Director of Technology at CyberLife. "It's much better to build upon worlds that are already self-consistent - worlds that already exist deep inside our racial memories. Places of our dreams. Tolkein did that for his Hobbits, and I chose to do much the same for my Norns. Luckily for them, I happen to live in a place that's absolutely stuffed full of history and myth."

A few miles across the flat moor from where Steve lives in Somerset, England, is Glastonbury Tor, the fabled Celtic Isle of Avalon. Beyond it is Cadbury Hill, the most promising site for the real Camelot castle. The mythical King Arthur, (if not the real one) kicked around here quite a lot - even the cave just a mile from Steve's house contains a witch "turned to stone" by a monk from Glastonbury, apparently under Arthur's orders. The hill above is still called Arthur's Point. According to Steve, if you come to Somerset and don't feel moved by its genius loci then there's definitely something missing inside you!

So Albia is a world of the imagination, but not recent imagination. It is a world drawn out of stories that have been told for thousands of years, by humans and perhaps by Norns. "However, when I was in the middle of designing Creatures a few of my colleagues started to assume I was talking about myths because I wanted Creatures to be a game like Warcraft," commented Steve. "Whereas I really just wanted to create a world that was self-consistent and understandable."

Within every myth and every legend, there lies a truth. Somewhere out there, not in our universe, but in a universe of Otherworlds, live all the monsters and mythical beasts that ever entered human imagination. The nature of these creatures and of the lands they occupy is perhaps not quite as men have imagined it, but they exist, nonetheless.

No-one is entirely sure whether it was echoes from this Alter-universe that shaped the stories in men's minds, or whether it was fevered human imagination itself that begat the Otherworlds: current evidence tends to support the latter hypothesis. In any case, it is well understood now that the rise of Rationalism in recent centuries has all but destroyed men's concern for the world of myth, and that this has corresponded with a calamitous shift in the fortunes of the Otherworlds. Whole species have been wiped out in an altered balance between Good and Evil. It is as if the good races of these strange lands have been deprived of moral support, and have lost the will to survive. Our myths may be derided as primitive stories, with no place in modern men's minds, but the demise of whole races of mythical creatures should be mourned, as an irrevocable loss to the richness of the human spirit.

Happily, modern developments in Virtual Reality have given us direct contact with this Alter-universe of our minds, and for some time now, explorers have been sailing strange seas and slashing their way through mysterious jungles, intent on describing and recording what little is left of these doomed civilisations before they are lost forever. But perhaps recording is not enough: perhaps we should try to do something; try to redress the balance and save these products of human thought from extinction. For some of these poor creatures, there is very little time left.

Sat Jun 21, 2008 8:10 pm
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