So ah, I've been gone for a loooong time. In fact, my last post was in November 2013! Where did that last year go!?
Well, I'm back for a little bit. Might not be long, as I've got a heap of other projects I'm working on at the moment, but I'll get a post or two up hopefully.
Anyway, the reason for my brief visit is I checked out Creature Caves the other day and heard about the Evo Norns, or CFF Norns, a new breed created by Evolnemesis.
There's a massive write up about them, but in a nutshell they're a continuation of the CFE (creatures full of edits) genome project with a whole heap of new features.
Just to be clear, the original CFE breed was created by Vampess, not Evolnemesis. The CFFs use the CFEs as a base and build on them from there.
A full description of the CFF Norns can be read here, but as a brief summary:
- New brain lobe that monitors eating. Should help prevent them from overeating and gobbling up all the food in the area.
- Suffocation. I'm sure we've all seen Norns drowning. They usually don't seem to realise it's happening. There's a reason for that, discussed in detail in the forum, but the short version is this has been addressed and Norns should be much better at preventing drowning.
- More realistic reproductive system. We all know C3 Norns can breed like rabbits. The reason for this is they can recover from a kisspopping or pregnancy session far too fast. As in seconds or minutes. This has been addressed and it massively reduces their breeding rate.
- Reduced their tendancy to get stuck in "I like/I hate/I love" loops. They'll still do it, but they'll only do it if they're paying attention to the specific Norn, rather than the sort of automated response the game forces them in to currently.
- New responses to alcohol. They'll dance, they'll cry, they'll...act like real drunks.
- Probaby a whole heap of other small changes I've missed or forgotten.
Veridia is actually quite nice to set up for a IQ test. Here's how I set it all up.
I used the Eggonicer agent. This little beauty collects any eggs in the word and stores them. It allows you to set a population limit, and should your population fall below that number it dispenses an egg through a teleporter you can set up.
So I set the teleporter in the highest level in Veridia. I made sure there was no food available until they got to the bottom level, meaning they'd have to travel through three levels of lifts to get to any food.
I also set up elevines rather than lifts and used the Magic Words to ensure all the levels were connected by CAs. I prefer elevines for two reasons.
- You don't have to wait for lifts to go up and down.
- No freeloaders. With lifts, sometimes Norns can accidentally tag along for the ride. With elevines, each Norns has to push/pull it themself.
On the top most level where the eggs hatch there was only an elevine. With nothing else to do most Norns should go straight to the elevine and find their way to the second level.
On the second level are two toys and another elevine. The toys serve as a distraction.
On the third level, the final elevine, plus a host of toys, plus a Blue Intelligent Core from the Portal pack, which classifies as machinery and can be used to teach Norns their entire vocabulary.
Now, as a random piece of information that you may or may not know, Norns instincts to sniff out food via CAs doesn't kick in until they're children. So in the initially baby stage they're essentially helpless.
Periodically I found a baby Norn would find their way to the ground level, but most of the time I found they'd need to grow to child stage and then most of them very quickly found their way to the ground.
This was a good start.
I set up the rest of Veridia to provide various food sources on the ground level. This meant any Norn that survived the IQ test was rewarded with a stack of food.
But! As I mentioned, many of the Norns made it to the ground during their baby stage. This means that they're able to pass the IQ test based on luck alone. Since their food searching instincts don't kick in until later in life it couldn't possibly be an intelligence thing.
So I added a secondary IQ test based around the seasons. During Spring and Summer the ground level was overrun with food. But in Autumn and Winter all the food at the ground level vanishes and gets replaced by food sources up in the treetops, meaning hungry Norns would need to use the elevines to ascend into the trees to find food.
This is where things went belly up.
During the cold seasons most of the Norns would gather around the ground level elevine, just below an apple fruit source. Presumably they've been drawn there by the smell of protein. Very, very few of them actually use the elevine to get up to the apples. Over the course of the 2.5 hours or so it takes for the seasons to change, eventually most of the Norns do make it up there, but this seems to be more based on luck than an intelligent decision to hunt apples.
In the treetops I have one level set up with apples, the level above set up with acorns. Most of the Norns stay at the ground level with no food and slowly starve. A handful of Norns make it to the apple level and live, but spend their whole time complaining about being hungry for starch, despite acorns being available one level above. The Norns that make it to the acorn level stay there and complain about the lack of protein.
What's annoying is that without a food source the Norns tend to sit in one group and get annoyed with each other, which ends in slapping. This slapping then leads to Norns expressing how much they can't stand each other, which results in the "I like/I hate/I love" loops coming back.
While the Norns have plenty to do, such as eating, they tend not to get into these loops, which is great.
I haven't yet figured out what the problem is, as I'm pretty sure the world is set up correctly with CAs traveling between the appropriate rooms, with elevines linking said rooms.
I've done another test with the original CFE Norns to compare the differences, and the CFE Norns have the same problem. They just sit next to the elevine and starve, except for a small number who head up the elevine after quite some time, leading me to think this is more luck based than anything else.
The advantage the CFE Norns have is that they still breed like rabbits, so although heaps of them die of starvation, they breed as such a rate that they make up for it. As you can see from the image below, most of these Norns have already kicked the bucket. According to the Eggonicer I still have some 80 odd eggs to go through before the population is extinct. This is only around the 5th generation!
As a note of comparison, the CFF Norns never had more than about 6 eggs in storage, so at least their reproductive system seems to be working as intended.
I'm fairy convinced they do figure out how to use the elevines early in life, as just about every single Norn has passed the first IQ test, and most of them do so after reaching childhood. I'm not sure yet whether there is something wrong with the elevines/CAs during the second IQ test, or whether Norns just get dumber later in life.
I'm planning on doing a second test similar to this using the Biodome next, which will hopefully allow me to figure out if I'm doing something wrong or whether Norns get dumber with age.
After that, I'm thinking I might just set up a normal world without IQ tests and let the CFF Norns run around for a bit. I'd like to test out their other genetic advances.