Creatures Community Chat

Friday, October 25, 2013

Genetic Manipulation

I've been working far too hard this last week. Needed a gaming break and unfortunately I just finished playing the latest Tomb Raider. So what to do in the mean time? Oh I know, how about I create a Norn!

As I've mentioned in the past I've been wanting to create a new breed of Norn for a long time. Honestly, most of my efforts on this blog have been building towards this, from the original 3D world I created in Unity3D, to my wolfing runs in C3, to my selective breeding programs in C1. It's all been towards this end.

To give a quick recap, what I'd like to achieve with a new C1 breed would be:
  1. Better eating and sleeping habits
  2. Better at relieving boredom
  3. Intelligence that doesn't rely on instincts
  4. Life spans based on how stressful their lives are
  5. Improved immune system
  6. Energy Conservation
  7. Speciation
I suspect 6 and 7 may not be possible with the limitations built into the game. I also suspect 5 will take quite a while to puzzle out and develop. But 1-4 should be pretty easy to implement, at least in theory if not in practice.

The last couple of days I've gone through the entire Forest Norn genome and made a stack of notes on things I'd definitely like to change, and a few things I'd like to play with. I won't bore you with the entire list (with 332 genes already present, plus a few I'd like to add that would take forever), but I'll give you a quick run down on categories of genes I'd like to play with.


Genes 57-70 are labeled as DRIVE RAISERS in the Genetics Kit. Essentially these genes all relate to what happens with all the drive-increase chemicals (eg. painIncrease, hungerIncrease, etc.). A typical gene might read:

59: 1*HungerIncrease + 1* => 1*Hunger + 1*Punishment; half-life = 8.

In a Forest Norn gene, it reads:

59: 1*HungerIncrease + 1* => 1*Hunger + 1*; half-life = 8.

Most of these genes have been altered in the Forest Norn genome not to punish the creature. I think this is a good thing, as sometimes increasing drives isn't a bad thing. For example, if you exercise you will increase your hunger. Exercise isn't a bad thing, but under this model the Norn may feel they are being punished for it. It's also possible that if the creature was playing with a ball at the same time as being hungry they might associate this punishment with pushing toys. Not so good.

I intend to take the Forest Norn genes a step further and take out all punishment for increasing drives. The actual punishment can come from elsewhere.


There's a whole range of stimulus genes I'd like to tweak. They cover a wide range of topics, so I can't list them all here, but one example would be:

93: Pointer slaps me = PainIncrease + FearIncrease + AngerIncrease + SleepinessDecrease

These all make sense, but I think I'd rather change the SleepinessDecrease to Punishment. At present slapping your Norns doesn't directly punish them (although tickling does reward). It only punishes them through drive-raisers, which I'll be removing. In fact the current SleepinessDecrease would reward them slightly.

Another example would be:

98: Object comes into view = NFPdecrease + BoredomDecrease + LonelinessDecrease + SexDriveDecrease

Lowering NFP (Need for pleasure) and boredom makes sense. Lowering loneliness only makes sense if the object happens to be another creature. Lowering sexDrive makes no sense. I'd definitely remove that.


I'd like to remove as many instinct genes as possible. I prefer my Norns to learn from their lives, not be forced into it by their genetics. That said I'll still keep a few, such as the fight/flight mechanics or breeding related ones.


The digestion related genes (142-145) were altered in the Forest Norns and I think for the most part I'll keep these the same. But they're worth mentioning as it's a pretty important change from the original design.

When a Norn eats it injects Starch into their system. This then turns into Glucose and finally into Glygogen.

In the original genome Starch would turn into Glucose. Glucose would turn into Glycogen + HungerDecrease. Finally Glyocogen could turn back into Glucose + Hunger.

The Forest Norn model is Starch into Glucose + HungerDecrease. Glucose into Glycogen. Glycogen into Glucose. Notice that the Norns hunger gets address immediately in the Forest Norn version. There is also no increase of hunger when converting back and forth. I think this a more realistic model that should also help the Norn learn the importance of eating.


The stress related genes are found between 282-292. These genes already reduce sexDrive and lower life expectancy. I just intend to push them further. Idealy I'd like Norns that can live for the normal ~12 hours, but realistically only live for around 8. I definitely want stress (Adrenaline) to have a greater impact on reducing sexDrive and breeding. This should help simulate some natural selection.


Currently males get angry when drinking and females increase their sexDrive. Am I the only one who thinks this is a little sexist? Not entirey sure how I'll change this yet, but either way these genes will be the same for both male and female.


There's a whole range of genes dedicated to sleeping and they're spread throughout the entire genome. I intend to address each of these and make alterations as I go. One example would be gene 312:

312: Emitter "I'm asleep" = Chemical Boredom

Norns have enough trouble sleeping without increasing their boredom (and therefore their punishment). I'll be changing this to Reward or something similar.


There's a great deal more genes I intend to play with (around 100 in all) and I will make a post listing all the changes at some point. But hopefully this will give you an idea of what to expect. If you've got any ideas you'd like to add, please throw them my way.


  1. Sounds like a great project, Arch! I, too, would ideally like to fiddle around with a genome to create some sort of updated version. I'm sure you'll get around to it before me, what with all of my crazy projects! I like where you're going with a lot of these ideas. I've made the mistakes of not writing down notes, and forgot about some of the thoughts I had. One very minor change I might recommend is in relation to the appearance genes. These have the mutate checkbox marked, thereby allowing random body parts to enter the gene pool. I personally always found this highly unrealistic, particularly in C3/DS when one might have some very unique breeds installed. I also imagine that some people dislike some of the breeds, so having the possibility to have these appearance genes show up as a mutation could be undesirable.

    As far as the immune system updates, you might want to take a look at the second part of my case study on Dee... Located towards the bottom is a discussion of the new immune system genes from the Yin Yang Norns. They might not be perfect, but they're a lot more realistic than what's included with the standard genome!

    Best of luck with everything!

    1. Ah fantastic! I knew you'd done a post somewhere about enhanced immune systems and I was going to ask about it at some point. No doubt I'll tweak some things to my own liking, but I definitely wanted some kind of theoretical platform to start from. Thank you.

      I know exactly what you mean about the appearance genes. I've known of this...feature?...for a while and thought about it again when I was breaking down the genome. I haven't made those changes yet, but I'll definitely lock those genes down. I like the idea that appearances can mutate, but the Creatures titles just don't have enough variation to make it realistic. It could also mess up anyone trying to breed in a particular appearance to their Norns.