Creatures Community Chat

Monday, June 4, 2012

Creatures 1: Gen3- Clowen update

Wow, is it just me or has the Creatures Community blogs been really quiet lately? Hmm, perhaps I'm not the only one who has been sucked in by other games such as Skyrim...

Well, Steve gave us an update on the Grandroids progress today and it's given me a bit of a drive to do some Creatures related stuff again.

Firstly, I probably can't give any serious details as to the Grandroids posts, but I think I'd be safe simply saying it was all about the Grandroids vision. And boy is it going to be better than the Norns. Like much, much better. Without going into the nitty gritty of how it works, Grandroids should be able to differentiate objects by things like shape and colour, instead of just object categories. Rather amazing stuff but that's probably all I can give away right now.

I'll be hoping to get some details out shortly about another new baby Norn, but this post will again be about Clowen, our genetics study from last time. The reason being I included some info that was just plain wrong and wanted to amend it.

Clowen has a RECEPTORS mutation that affects her Need For Pleasure chemical by changing it from Digital to Analogue.

45:Creature, Drive Levels NFP, chem=NFP, thresh=0, nom=0, gain=255, features = Digital
45:Creature, Drive Levels NFP, chem=NFP, thresh=0, nom=0, gain=255, features = Analogue

Last post I suggested this mutation basically inverted the chemical, so rather than increasing NFP this mutation would reduce it. Well that was just plain wrong!
The difference between Digital and Analogue is the way the values get calculated. The formula can be found at The Creatures Developer Resource, but I'll lay it out here with some examples so we can try and wrap our heads around it.

The formula for Analogue receptors is:

Nominal + (((ChemicalAmount - Threshold) * Gain/255) * R)

R = 1 if 'Output reduces with increased stimulation' is not checked, OR
R = -1 if 'Output reduces with increased stimulation' is checked.

In the case of this gene this box is not checked, so R equals 1.
The gain and threshold can be seen above in the gene itself.

The Digital equation is a little more tricky:

Nominal + ((ChemicalAmount > Threshold ? Gain : 0) * R)

Honestly, I've found this layout with the '>' and '?' to be confusing, so I've rewritten it to be:

if (ChemicalAmount > Threshold) {
     Nominal + (Gain * R)
   else {

Hopefully the programming language doesn't mess with you too much there. Basically this means that if the ChemicalAmount is greater than the Threshold, then multiply the Gain by R and add the Nominal. If the Chemical Amount is less than the Nominal, leave it at the Nominal value.

Again, R can be 1 or -1. In our case it is 1.

By themselves these equations are pretty meaningless, so lets add some numbers into them and see what we get.

Generally the NFP RECEPTOR gene should be calculated with an Analogue equation. Let's assume that Clowen's NFP chemicalAmount is currently set to 50.

0 + ((50 - 0) * 255/255) * 1 = 50

However Clowen uses the Digital formula, meaning it will look something more like this:

(0 + (if 50 > 0) 255) * 1 = 255

So what does all this mean for Clowen?

Ahhhhh...honestly I have no idea. In theory it should mean her NFP drive rises much faster than other Norns, but I've been watching her NFP drives for the last hour and comparing them to her near twin Totlet. Aside from Clowen saying "Clowen get yes" (which seems to be their way of asking for tickles, effectively lowering their NFP) constantly whenever her NFP drive was above 0, I couldn't spot any serious differences.

I did learn a couple of interesting, although largely irrelevant things. Firstly, the only visible difference between Clowen and Totlet seems to be their legs (note that's their legs, not their feet). What's really amusing about this is that Totlet seems to have a slight slouch, making Clowen about half an inch taller. It's really quite cute when they stand next to each other.

The other thing, is Totlet really is a darling. Having the NFP chemicals being graphed I was able to see just how much love Totlet was dishing out. She was actually making my experiments hard because she kept tickling Clowen to the point her 'Need For Pleasure Decrease' chemical was maxed out!

The only relevant thing I've learned is that Clowen does need a little extra care. It's not a huge deal, but she can get stuck in a "Clowen get yes" loop, where she's reluctant to do anything. She will need lots of hugs to enjoy life fully, whether they come from the Hand or other Norns.

This actually makes Clowen a rather interesting Norn. Although it's unlikely she'll make it into the next generation of breeding, I'll likely put a star next to her name, as I'm wondering if I could breed a group of Norns that need hugs to properly thrive. Clowen really doesn't need a lot of food, which could make for an interesting breed.


On a completely irrelevant note I've found some settings for the blog layout and made a few minor adjustments, the most noticable of which is that the column width is now larger. I've put it at 1024px, which means it should fit comfortably on most peoples screens. It also means the Genes should fit on one line from now on, making them much easier to read!


  1. Hello! I have a bit of a silly question but is R -1 or 1? I thought I understood that the unchecked box meant R is 1 but then the rest of the text has it as -1 and I'm trying to figure out if I'm missing something or if one of these is a typo. :)

    Even for someone who doesn't know a thing about coding like me, the code equivalent statement was actually very helpful! I read it like an Excel If Statement and it made more sense.

    It's lovely to see that despite the problem that Clowen's mutation presents, the other norns can help to look after her. The genetic breed sounds fascinating - what an interesting way to reward norns who show caring!

    1. *Facepalm* Yes you're right. A simple missreading on my part, but R should be equal to '1', not '-1'. Which actually makes a lot more sense. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how this gene was reducing the amount of NFP when I was pretty certain it should be increasing it.

      Will make the needed amendments now. Thanks for picking that up.

  2. Oh doh! It's easily done though. And I'm glad I could help!