Saturday, 26 December 2015

Glitch Norns

I figure it's probably about time to introduce you to another one of my experiments gone haywire: the Glitch Norns. The idea I had in mind when I made these was to create Norns with funny poses that would move strangely but could still do stuff fairly normally. I gave them the name 'Glitch Norns' because the end goal was essentially to make them look like they were all weird and glitchy. I made two versions of the Glitch Norns, the second one 'improved' from the first (it wasn't really: predictably I screwed it up). There are only two Glitch Norns: Pythagoras, the first one, and Tessa, the second.

Essentially, the method I used to make these Norns was quite simple: enter the genetics kit, change up pose strings and hey presto, you're done. Very scientific.

Friday, 11 December 2015

CCSF 2015

OK, I'm late to the party. Even so, I'm actually really excited by this year's CCSF, and I have been following along this whole time; I was just too lazy to post anything until now. There's been a lot of really good stuff so far and I can't wait to see what comes over the next couple of days.

The link to the CCSF is here, in case you missed it.

I think the thing which really makes the CCSF (you probably know already, but just in case you don't, CCSF stands for Creatures Community Spirit Festival) special is that it shows that, even though the series is like a decade old, we're still here, and we have it in us to pull off something like the CCSF every year. And more than that, I think it shows just how much we all love the series.

I could say something eloquent about community spirit and endurance and what have you, but, essentially, that's what it boils down to: we all love the series.

'Nuff said.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Operation Save Unova

It's been awhile since I visited my Norns that aren't genetically modified, so when I sat down to play creatures today I thought I might boot up their world. Honestly though, I think I forgot how hard it is to look after ancient (and I'm talking 30+ hours old) Norns. They just don't eat like they used to!

...especially when they're hanging out and refuse to be separated from each other. As you can see from this picture, Coco, Finch and Dubby have decided to party on the raft, which doesn't make it easy to feed them.

As it turned out, though, these three Norns weren't really going to cause me too much trouble in the end—they all had an OK life force, so it wasn't like they were going to drop dead if they didn't eat within the next ten minutes.

But Unova—oh, Unova. She was the one I needed to be concerned about. She simply didn't eat. Her life force had dropped to around 35% and she still wouldn't eat. And of course, she was only going to find a way to make matters even worse. While I took a short break to admire Aladdin as he played some music for me on the drums and harp, Cosmos found Unova and made her bloody pregnant.

I didn't fancy her chances at this point. Especially seeing as I would have to find a way to get Cosmos away from her for there even to be chance that she might eat something.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Carrot Love

At first, this might seem like Monty is just feeling a tad peckish. Don't be fooled. I'll admit that he was hungry at the time, but he wasn't actually eating this parsnip. Just staring at it lovingly...

Alas, it was not to be. He gave into the hunger pangs. Well, it was fun while it lasted, I guess, and it seems to have sparked a craze with all things carrot-like in Albia. Not only did Monty find a cave carrot to obsess over afterwards, he even went so far as to share his newfound love of carrots with Quella, who was happy to join in with him.

And Monty and Quella weren't the only ones to get caught up in this new trend. Over at the island, Erin couldn't keep her eyes off a parsnip. And the lift. And the parsnip. And the lift. She couldn't decide which was worth focusing on so she spent a good minute or two just swapping between them. I suppose it simply fascinated her.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Lonely Norns—Update

Just checking in real quick to let y'all know that the Lonely Norns are available for download now, and a full list of their genetic modifications is up on their pages too. You can get them from here.

Have fun with them :)

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Lonely Norns

Dr. Shoy is back! Sorry for the absence.

The idea behind the lonely Norns was to create a breed of Norns that would avoid each other's company, but would still have a trigger that would fill them with sex drive so that they would still want to breed. Guess how that turned out???????

Yep. So, Monty, Erin, Quella, and Cornelius are all Lonely Norns. There's quite a few changes in their genome so I'll merely summarise the changes rather than listing every edited gene compared with the original version. Keep in mind while you read this that the changes probably don't have all that much logic to them as I knew very little of genetics when I made these.

A main feature of the Lonely Norns was my attempt to make them change from hating each other to horny in an instant - which was going to be done by slapping and patting them. Patting was supposed to make the Norns sex drive go down and slapping was supposed to bring it up. That at least did work, but at the time I didn't realise that saying 'yes' and 'no' have the same affect as physically patting/slapping the Norns, so I didn't realise that this would leave me with no way to punish and reward them without putting other chemicals in that might affect their learning.

The other main aspect was controlling three chemicals: loneliness, sex drive, and crowdedness. Of course, being the inexperienced little mad scientist that I was back then, I'm not sure I fully understood what I was doing. It seems I was operating under the assumption that these three drives, upon being changed, would automatically convince the Norns to act in different ways, when that's not the case; the drives affect the neurons in the drive lobe (which can be used to form concepts) and punishment/reward is used to reinforce the concepts.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Beach Party

They grow up so fast!

Here's Cosmos, already forty-four minutes old. It feels like time just flew by. His download is now up so if you'd like to play with him you can get him from here.

In sadder news, Michelle passed away aged 9:28, sooner than I'd expected. The odd thing is that when Asper - her mother - died it was of old age and she died surprisingly early too. I wonder if this is in some way linked to their modified genes? Whatever it is, Hat stayed with Michelle the whole time, as you can see from this picture.

Recently I was thinking about the Norns in my other world and I realised that it's been a long time since I visited them, so I thought I'd drop by and see how they all are going. And they seemed to be doing pretty well, all with life forces higher than 70%.

But why is it that every other time I play this game someone ends up eating deathcap? It barely made a dent in Erin's life force as she ate some cheese right afterwards, but you'd think Norns would learn. Though I suppose every Norn has to try it at least once before they realise it's not a good idea.

I'm really quite proud of Tessa for this. Despite the changes I made to her poses, which didn't at all do what I wanted them to and made it incredibly hard for her to walk, she made it all the way to the lift instead of just being stuck near the incubator. And then she fell asleep. I guess going places is hard work for a Norn like her.

If you've been keeping up with this blog you'll remember that Monty, Erin, Cornelius and Quella were actually part of a genetic experiment to try to make Norns dislike each other's company. In my notes about it, the project is labelled 'Lonely/Lone/Lonesome Norns' because I couldn't pick which version of the name I wanted to use. I don't have time now to go into their genetics and what about them didn't work, but it's the next thing on my to do list, especially as this is a genetics project I intend to finish one day.

One last thing: beach paaaarty!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

The Egg Lottery #1


Remember when I said I have twenty eggs? Well, I've decided to make a start on hatching them. The only trouble is that they are all sitting in the tunnel beneath the garden perfectly unorganised. I put them down here because originally I thought I would never want to hatch them because they didn't have die of old age genes. But recently I went through and altered the genomes of all these eggs to contain the genes to make them die of old age; I wasn't sure if changing the genomes like that would work so I tested it in a new world with eggs from the genetics kit and it seemed to work all right there so let's hope it doesn't somehow break my world over here.

Two of my eggs are stored elsewhere in Albia so there are only eighteen eggs here, but that's still a lot of different possibilities of who will hatch without me knowing what I'll get. And there are some pretty interesting ones thrown in there, but we'll get to that once I start hatching.

To begin with I'll hatch only a couple, and these are the three eggs I've picked out to hatch first, simply because I like these eggs more for some inexplicable reason. Let's start with the one on the left.

...and meet Cosmos! He's the newest addition to my little family and, as you can see, he's already displaying signs of a great intelligence. Wallbonking is so trendy nowadays! He's doing it because of some dumb floating egg so I guess I can't really blame him too much for it.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Seven Genetic Mutations

Wherever Norns are, genetic mutations are sure to be too. And while you can already find a list of each Norn's genetic mutations on their pages - which you can get to from the 'Norns' link under the header - I thought it would be good to highlight some of the more interesting ones in a post. In total there are fourteen mutations, which is far too many to go through without making everyone bored, so I've selected the seven which I think are the most intriguing.

Before I continue, I'd like to say that that the downloads for the Norns that are not genetically modified or descended from genetically modified Norns are now fully functioning! Each zip file comes with the Norn's genome, the exported Norn (if the Norn is still alive), and a text file with information about the Norn, its genetics, and its appearance genes.

Back to mutations! Here's a lovely one from Hat:

Original gene:
122 Emb  B Mut Lobe #=8 State Rule: Anded0 <end> <end> <end> <end> <end> <end> <end>, WTA= 0

Mutated gene:
122 Emb  B Mut Lobe #=8 State Rule: Anded0 <end> <end> <end> <end> <end> <end> <end>, WTA= 1

The mutation has switched on WTA (winner takes all) in this gene, which is for the concept lobe. WTA means that only the neuron with the highest state value will fire. I'm not exactly sure (I never am) about what this does, but I'm fairly certain that normally many different neurons in the concept lobe can feed through to the decision lobe at once, thus allowing for cases where more than one concept can
affect decisions (eg. the Norn is hungry and food is nearby but the Norn also has high sex drive and there's a pretty lady nearby) but with this mutation only the cell with the highest state value will fire, meaning only one concept can affect decisions at any given time. I think.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Asper & Co.

Asper was my first attempt at large-scale genetic engineering and she came out surprisingly well considering. The aim of this experiment was to create a norn that eats more often on its own, and while this goal wasn't achieved it did produce some interesting effects. I hatched Asper in my world with my non-modified Norns and she has two living descendants - Michelle and Aladdin - and four unhatched ones. She's dead now, but as my first real experiment she holds a special place in my heart.

Now let's get into her genetics. I'll give you a warning first though: when I made Asper I knew almost nothing about genetics and some of the changes don't really make sense. Let's start with a couple of simple ones:

Original gene:
91 Emb B Mut  'Pointer pats me' causes sig=32 GS neu=0(I've been patted) int=255,,, Sensed Even When Asleep => 64*NFP-- + 16*Pain-- + 16*Loneliness-- + 16*Reward

Edited gene:
91 Emb B Mut  'Pointer pats me' causes sig=32 GS neu=0(I've been patted) int=255,,, Sensed Even When Asleep => 64*NFP-- + 16*Pain-- + 16*Loneliness-- + 51*Reward

Original gene:
135 Emb B MutDupCut Drive i/ps Tiredness + (Lobe/Cell=0/0) + (Lobe/Cell=0/0) and I rest => 93*Reward

Edited gene:
135 Emb B MutDupCut Drive i/ps Tiredness + (Lobe/Cell=0/0) + (Lobe/Cell=0/0) and I rest => 155*Reward

The first gene is the stimulus for being patted by the hand and the second is an instinct gene that encourages the Norn to sleep when it is tired (note that it's tired, not sleepy, they're different drives). The only thing I've changed in these genes is that I've increased the amount of reward Asper gets.

Friday, 12 June 2015



When I booted up the game today I found Dubby like this. He's not harmed in any way; he can still interact and pick things up and do all the usual Norny things, he just looks a little... memorable.

Seriously, I don't know how this happened. The best guess I have is that an image or something got corrupted after I exported and then imported him again to get an .exp file to eventually upload to this blog. Whatever the case, he seems to be enjoying life as much as ever. Let's hope it doesn't somehow break the rest of the world.

Later while I was doing the rounds with cheese, Finch decided it would be nice to try some deathcap. Fortunately he's better at actually eating the cheese than a lot of my other Norns and his life force never dipped too low.

I figured this along with Dubby's makeover would have been all the drama for one day, but alas that was not true. Unova, who was already down to 51% life force because she refused to eat, fell ill at the island. And how many of the eight Norns living in this world were on the island with her? Five. Only Michelle and Hat were absent.

One Norn sick with her life force already low is bad enough, but five other Norns nearby gives it the potential to be disastrous. But luck was on my side this time - the sickness only had Antigen 7 and two unknown toxins. With no histamines present, the disease would not be contagious and the rest of my Norns were safe.

But that didn't mean that Unova was safe, especially because she thought it might be nice to have a little nap instead of eat. Her life force was dropping rapidly and there wasn't time to lie around! Normally I don't use the injections from the science kit because I don't find them useful, but in this case the Wake-up Pill was the very thing which could help save her.

She managed to conquer the antigen without eating anything, but she was left with a measly 25% life force. She still refused to eat afterwards and 25% soon became 20%, and then 14%. By this point I'd been trying to feed her for at least ten minutes without any success. But right when I was starting to give up, she ate! It was only one piece of cheese, but it was enough to keep her alive for now.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

The Story So Far

This may be my first foray into blogging and into the Creatures community, but it's not the first time I've played Creatures. In fact, I still watch over the Norns from my original world. There are a couple of things you might like to know about my Norns before I start rambling on about them, so I'd like to begin by introducing you to what's been going on so far.

The first point of interest is that when I first starting playing Creatures I didn't know that the original hatchery Norns don't actually die of old age, so seven Norns were born effectively immortal, though only five of those are still alive today.

The time I hatched my first Norn with die-of-old-age-genes coincided with the time I started messing around with the genetics kit. The first time I changed only pigment genes, but unfortunately for some of my Norns I quickly grew bored with baby steps and as a result their genetic engineering didn't go quite so well. These attempts include one to try to make Norns eat better, one to make Norns avoid each other, one to make 'Glitch Norns' with wonky poses, and one to make Norns age backwards. None of them worked right, which I think might be why I tried so many different ideas instead of perfecting one, but I promise I will tell more, in detail, about these experiments at a later date, as well as trying to actually finish some of these ideas one day.

Now let's meet my Norns!

From left to right, these are Sally, Coco, Hat, and Unova. Sally's quite well-behaved for a Norn, whereas Coco and Unova are anything but. Hat likes his own company and spends a lot of time sitting on his own staring at nothing in particular.

This is Finch, Dubby, Michelle, and Aladdin. I like to think of Finch as a kind old man and of Dubby as a mischievous youngster, even though he's entering his twilight years too. Michelle's a bit of a trickster; she likes to taunt me by not eating until she gets to about 60% life force, at which point she promptly has a feast without me even needing to ask her to eat. Aladdin's very social and can almost never be found alone.

Think I'm done? Not even close! I still have to introduce you to my genetic experiments. These Norns live in a different world from those listed above to prevent too many eggs with really demented genomes.

These are Erin, Monty, Quella, and Cornelius. All four were part of my attempt to make Norns avoid each other. Erin and Monty were hatched before the other two and it almost feels like they're Quella and Cornelius's parents. Quella is quite a good little girl and Cornelius is stubborn and never listens to anything you say, especially when you ask him to eat.

Finally, this is Pythagoras, Tessa, and Mitzi. Pythagoras and Tessa are both part of my failed attempt to make 'Glitch Norns'. Pythagoras is hardly affected and really quite a cheerful lad, but Tessa can't walk. This wasn't what I was trying to achieve at all and I feel awful for doing it to her. Despite this I don't think she's overly sad about it; she may be stuck right next to the incubator but she enjoys playing with her ball and eating, and the other Norns drop by frequently to keep her company. I tried to make Mitzi age backwards but because of an oversight she's going to be a baby for the rest of her life. Which I'm almost entirely certain will effectively last forever, because of another oversight. Oops.

I'd also like to take a moment to commemorate my Norns who have passed on.

These are Fandom, Fred, Asper, and Kate. I have fond memories of each, more than words can express. The way you'd all chat and kiss and slap each other, run away from other Norns when you just wanted some peace and quiet...

Moving on to brighter things, I have twenty unhatched eggs in my original world, all of them brimming with mutations. I'm rather looking forward to starting to hatch them.