Creatures Community Chat

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Genetic Manipulation

When I began doing these posts over a year ago (OMG, it's been over a year!) I had in mind the goal of creating my ideal Norn. I intended to start off breeding multiple generations and diving into their genetics to learn as much as possible, before moving over to the Genetics Kit and hand crafting my perfect Norn.

Well, I'm still a bit of a ways off from doing this, but I've learned a great deal over the last year and I wanted to start jotting down some ideas for when/if I ever get around to doing this.

1. Sleeping & Eating:
I think the most important things that need to be 'fixed' with the current Norns is their eating and sleeping abilities. The eating aspect was mostly solved with the new genes in the Forest and Ron Norns. Sleeping was also improved, but I still think it could be improved further. C1 Norns just don't seem to have any concept of "sleep".

2. Improved immune system:
An idea Jessica brought up quite a while ago was an improved immune system. Currently the Creatures immune systems are ridiculously simple and unrealistic. Creating Norns that could build up immune systems would be awesome.

3. Speciation:
A recent post over at Discover Albia got me thinking about the species limitation in all the games. No matter how much they change, a Norn will always be a Norn. Scripts have been created to allow Norns to breed with Grendels, but that's just cross breeding species. It's completely unrealistic in terms of evolution.
If someone could create some new genes that allowed Norns to branch off into new species, effectively creating two lines of breeding populations, that would be amazingly cool.

4. Unmutatable genes:
Some genes are tied down and can't evolve. This was put in place to stop creatures from crashing the game with terrible genetics. Unfortunately this one may be impossible to fix without constantly crashing the game, or at the very least making for a whole heap of still births.
Still, this could be looked at and some genes that currently can't evolve could be turned back on, assuming we can figure out which ones are safe.

5. Energy conservation:
Unrealistic mutations. The most obvious ones being those that create immortal Norns by allowing them to convert air into glucose for example. This breaks the laws of energy conservation, which unfortunately don't exist in the games. This one may be impossible to get around, since mutations are completely random. Again, would be awesome to find a way around this.

6. OHSS:
Although not nearly as bad as in Creatures 2 with the One Hour Stupidity Syndrome, Creatures 1 Norns do tend to get worse at eating and sleeping as they get older. And not because they get senile. It kicks in shortly after adulthood. I'm guessing there is something in their brains that allows this to happen and I'd love to fix it, although at present I don't even know where to begin looking.

7. Instincts:
A lot of problems in new breeds get fixed by adding instincts. The Forest/Ron Norns for example have instincts that reward them for approaching herbs and punish for approaching weeds. Very good for the Norns no doubt, but not great for the learning process. This scenario forces them to learn these habits. I'd rather have Norns that can figure this out for themselves.


That kind of does it for my list, at least for now. What other funky ideas do people have for improving the genetics of creatures?


  1. As far as I know C1 norns had no genes for death and therefore were kinda sabotaged in later life by their genes that Clabs gave them, maybe their OHSS is caused by that?

    Maybe stronger against Grendels as an improvement?

    1. Hmm, I'm pretty sure Tarlia's C1 hatchery update fixed the "die of old age" genes that had been removed in the original release. To the best of my knowledge it was only two genes that needed to be fixed.
      There's a great deal of reading you can do on C2 OHSS. Maybe I'll go back over some of that and see if there's a similarity in C1 Norns.

      I wouldn't bother making the Norns stronger against Grendels. C1 Grendels are incredibly peaceful as long as you have the 'Grendel Friendly' COB.

      I've just taken a look at the Grendel .gen file tonight and the Norns have about 70 more genes. If I was going to do anything in regards to the Grendels, I think I'd start by giving them a great deal more functionality.

      My poor Grendels don't seem to get BoredomDecrease from anything other than playing with toys. Poor things get bored so frequently and don't have a lot of ways to overcome it. Would love to fix this for them.

  2. You have a lot of great ideas, ArchDragon! I've thought of creating a brand new Norn genome complete with a lot of fixes, although we'll see how long that project gets shelved. Creatures 1 is a great place to start because the genetics are pretty simple, at least compared to those in the other games. The number of genes in a standard genome is also manageable... I've thought about doing the same for a C2 or C3/DS genome, although the complexities are a little daunting!

  3. Regarding speciation, this has sort of been done in both C2 and C3.

    In C2, the Canny and Nova Subterra norns, who both have brain modifications, are unable to interbreed with each other (babies fibrillate after birth). Can't remember off the top of my head if they can breed with normal norns, I think they can't.

    In C3, Toxic norns have a lot of trouble breeding with most other breeds. Not 100% fatality, but most half-Toxic babies will die fairly soon after birth. They essentially poison themselves, since beneficial chemicals for normal norns are deadly for Toxics and vice versa. In particular, I believe the most common cause of death is the initial concentrations of antibodies that normal norns are born with (antibodies are deadly to Toxic norns). Most half-Toxics inherit at least some antibodies while also inheriting weakness to some of the antibodies.