In a very recent Creatures video, we saw one rather peculiar Creatures 1 Norn named Niltava. She constantly flinched from pain, even though the Health Kit showed no sign of any pain. I had not expected anything too strange from her, since I had looked at her genetics myself and noted a few mutations. Looking back at the initial genetic analysis, I omitted one mutation that looked like it would not make a difference. I was almost positive that this was the reason for Niltava’s strange behavior, though it was a rather difficult genetics problem. Continue reading, and perhaps prepare yourself to weigh in on this Creatures case study discussion!
Chemical reactions define rules for individual chemicals and chemical combinations. These genes can also state the rules for how chemicals are used up, and each reaction has a defined half-life to determine how often it occurs.
Default: 57 Emb B MutDupCut 1*Pain++ => 1*Pain + 1*Punishment; half-life=8
Mutation: 57 Emb B MutDupCut 1*016 => 1*Pain + 1*Punishment; half-life=8
I previously reported that this mutation meant that Niltava would still be able to experience pain, so long as it was administered directly and not in the form of pain increase. What’s the problem with this statement? All of the stimuli genes associated with pain utilize pain increase, rather than pain! Effectively, Niltava is impervious to pain. She can never experience it, and from my tests, this held true. A slap didn’t even register on the pain scale, when it would normally cause a steep peak. So if Niltava does not feel pain, why does she flinch and say, “Ouch!” all the time?
Stimuli genes define the chemicals that a Creature expects to receive in response to an action. These actions can range from interactions with the hand to involuntary actions like coughing or sneezing.
Default: 103 Emb B MutDupCut ‘I’ve Activated1’ causes sig=0 GS neu=255 int=0 => 3*Tiredness++ + 16*Boredom-
Mutation: 103 Emb B MutDupCut ‘I’ve Activated1’ causes sig=0 GS neu=255 int=4 => 3*Tiredness++ + 16*Boredom-
Don’t miss the mutation! It seems like it would be negligible. It affects the value of “int” which stands for intensity. This value can be set anywhere from 0 to 255. Understanding this element of a stimuli gene is a little tougher to understand. There is not a lot of documentation related to it. geNorNics defines it as “The amount to nudge the input neurone by.” The Creatures Developer Resource states “This is the amount by which the particular sensory neurone will be increased by. So if the value here is ’50’ and the current value of the particular neurone is ’25’ then when this stimuli occurs the sensory neurone will fire at a value of about ’75’.” For some reason, this change in intensity appears to be interpreted as the “I’ve been slapped” cell in the general sensory lobe.
I went through all sorts of in-game graphs, examined all sorts of stimuli genes, and came up with no reasonable explanation. The “GS neu=255” means that there is no general sensory neuron associated with the stimuli. Somehow, though, this must have some sort of effect. I noticed that Niltava mainly flinches when she attempts to push something, which is the action associated with “I’ve Activated1.” Even after treating her as a case study, I found nothing to clearly nail down the reason for her behavior. I know it relates to the stimuli gene mutation, yet it simply does not make complete sense. I have a feeling Niltava will continue to baffle me, until I find a satisfactory explanation! What do you think?