After settling into Albia again after so long, I was fairly certain that Creatures 1 was safe from harm for a time! I was focused on many of the silly aspects, yet the time was right for something a little more serious, but still enjoyable! It had been far too long since a new baby was born in this fifth generation of Norns. The incubator whirred back to life after taking a very long break, and out popped a handsome little guy! Preetar, the son of Xenops and Towhee, looked like he was all business as soon as his feet touched the ground. Before I could let him loose into the world, there were some genetics I was eager to sift through! His genome did not disappoint.
Chemical receptors define parameters for a certain chemical. When these parameters are met, an element in the Creature is affected. These genes can increase drives, define life stages, control fertility, and more.
Default: 53 Emb B MutDupCut Creature, Drive Levels Fear, chem=Fear, thresh=0, nom=0, gain=255, features=Analogue
Mutation: 53 Emb B MutDupCut Creature, Sensorimotor, in pain, chem=Fear, thresh=0, nom=0, gain=255, features=Analogue
In the standard Norn genome, this chemical receptor simply states that when any fear chemical is present, the Norn will have a corresponding change in the fear drive. It makes perfect sense! Only with Preetar, this gene turned a rather strange corner. The mutation changed this gene so that it now states that when he has any fear chemical, he will be in pain. This is the sensorimotor definition, though, which is a little hazy on its definition. Most of the other sensorimotor functions correspond with involuntary actions, like laying an egg or sneezing, while there is a separate one for flinching. My guess is that the pain sensorimotor mentioned in the mutation has something to do with when a Norn displays a sad face. Anytime Preetar experiences fear, it will somehow translate into a pain response. Hopefully that won’t be too often!
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: 228 Emb B MutDupCut 2*Antigen2 + 4*Glucose => 1*Antibody2 + 1*Hotness; half-life=88
Mutation: 228 Emb B MutDupCut 2*Antigen2 + 4*Ageing => 1*Antibody2 + 1*Hotness; half-life=88
If the previous genetic mutation sounded like it could be bad, this one actually has a fatal consequence. The standard Norn genome contains a handful of similar reactions relating to antigens and their corresponding antibodies. In most cases, a small amount of the antigen combines with glucose to produce the antibody. Remember that antigens are the bad bacteria, while antibodies help fight them off. The use of glucose in the production of the antibody is the reason why Norns need extra care when they are ill: Their bodies have to use up a lot of glucose to build up their immune systems. For Preetar, antigen 2 will likely be a death sentence. Why? Rather than combining with glucose, which can be replenished simply by eating, antigen 2 combines with the aging chemical to produce antibody 2. The aging chemical determines the life stages of a Norn, and when it reaches a specified low level, that Norn passes away. Preetar will be completely unaffected, so long as he doesn’t pick up a case of antigen 2. If he does at a young age, he simply might advance to the next life stage much quicker. Caught in old age, however, and nothing will save Preetar.
On a brighter note, Preetar turned out to be one of the brightest students at the learning computer! He raced over to it as soon as the lift reached the top floor, and it seemed like I was in the way of him pressing the buttons and repeating the words. A tasty carrot was even overlooked, and slightly trampled, in his zest for knowledge. Well done, little guy! So often I have to practically drag a newborn over to learn his or her vocabulary lessons. Preetar was one focused little guy! I probably could have left him alone to learn, although I never leave a new baby Norn alone for the first few minutes if I can help it. Thankfully, there were no emergencies to attend to.
Preetar waited patiently for me when I headed off to do a quick checkup on everyone else. He was ever so glad to see the hand again! I guided him in the direction of the teleporter, which he stepped through without a glance back. Quite a brave fellow! We were in the garden, eating up all of the carrots Hybralvao thought she grew, when along came a pair of adult males. Mayth stood back and tried to get eye-to-eye with Preetar, while Brekennion took another route… He greeted the baby Norn with a slap. Luckily, young Preetar was more delighted than anything and he quickly shrugged it off.
And with that, Discover Albia now has 600 total posts! There is just about a month to go before the fifth anniversary rolls around. There have been plenty of changes throughout the history of the blog, both in terms of design and content. I plan to get back into some of the other elements, such as the genetics lessons, before too long. It’s difficult not to get distracted and just play, though! I always encourage readers and Creatures players to do just that: Have fun with the games, no matter how you play. I hope that my musings have been a little bit fun and somewhat interesting, but the ultimate reward is inspiring others to play Creatures. Play on, and enjoy!