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.

So like I said, the mess I made has three chemicals involved. First we'll look at sex drive, which I think is the least poorly done.

I modified the genes that emit sex drive (genes 154 and 161) so that they no longer emit anything and reduced the half-life of sex drive (gene 1). There's one receptor gene which stimulates the sex drive neuron in the drive lobe (56) when Sex Drive is present in the Norn's system, but I've increased the threshold so the sex drive chemical won't affect the neuron until there's a lot of it, and I've also increased the threshold on another gene (155) which determines how much Sex Drive a female Norn needs to have for her to be able to get pregnant. The reaction genes that take Sex Drive Increase and Sex Drive Decrease and increase/decrease the actual Sex Drive chemical (86, 70) have had their reaction rates bumped up so that the reaction happens almost instantly. Usually there's a gene which makes females get sex drive form alcohol, but in this case I've replaced sex drive with anger (281). I've also altered a number of instinct genes relating to pushing and pulling other Norns to try to get them to do it less.

Then there's loneliness. On the receptor gene which stimulates the neuron for loneliness (51) I've put the threshold to 255 so that the neuron will pretty much never trigger. I've made it so that now loneliness doesn't create adrenaline (284). The gene which emits loneliness (140) has been nullified by removing the loneliness from it, and the reaction gene for raising loneliness (65) has had punishment removed. When the user speaks the Norn gets 60 loneliness decrease instead of 16 (100), and rather than the stimulus gene for 'IT is approaching' (95) only stimulating a neuron it now gives loneliness decrease.

Finally, crowdedness. I did this one a little differently because rather than trying to restrict it I tried to increase it in any situation when they might be near other Norns. I changed the emitter gene 141 to make extra crowdedness chemical when the Norn is around other Norns. The gene for being patted (91) has had 255 crowdedness increase added to go with the slapping/patting thing. The stimulus gene for 'IT is approaching' (95) now gives crowdedness. When the Norn hears a creature speak it give more crowdedness increase than usual (101). There's a new gene (321), an instinct which rewards the Norn for running when a creature is nearby. The 'I am approaching' gene (106) gives more crowdedness and punishment now. In the reaction gene for crowdedness decrease (80) I've removed reward.

In addition they have two genes which I borrowed from Asper's genome: genes 97 and 102. Respectively, these are the ones that add punishment for walking into walls and give some tiredness decrease for doing nothing.

You can see from looking at what I've done to the three chemicals that they're inconsistent and that I didn't have a clear picture of what I was doing. Punishment/reward are all over the place too.

They've also all aged more rapidly than usual, probably because of all the adrenaline from the extra crowdedness.

A full list of altered genes and what they've been altered to will be found on Monty's, Erin's, Cornelius's, and Quella's pages when I get around to putting it up.

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