One of the most perplexing elements in Creatures 1 can be summed up in three letters: NFP. It stands for need for pleasure, and represents a rather puzzling drive. I’ve never looked at very closely, although I can’t say I’ve ever understood it completely. Yet everyone is likely familiar with the phrase, “get yes” or, with my custom vocabulary, “get good.” We know that the best way to reduce NFP is by tickling our Norns and Grendels, but what is this strange drive? Time to piece together this puzzle!
ArchDragon posted an informative article about NFP, ultimately concluding that it’s akin to a drive for love. And if we dig into how NFP is handled in a Norn’s genetics, it certainly does seem to point towards that! I decided to take a closer look at everything related to NFP as I work on my C1 carrot updates. Why would a carrot contain such a large dose of NFP decrease? Going back to ArchDragon’s article, a Norn would have to learn to eat when he or she wasn’t hungry in order to reduce NFP with food. That makes little sense to me. I’m toying around with the idea of removing NFP decrease completely from the carrots, especially once I started to understand what this drive was. There are a surprisingly limited number of individual genes associated with need for pleasure. In laymen’s terms, these do the following:
Gene 1: Sets the half life of NFP to 56, NFP increase to 64, and NFP decrease to 64
Gene 45: Associates the NFP chemical with the NFP drive
Gene 58: Punishes a Norn when he or she experiences a NFP increase
Gene 72: Rewards a Norn when he or she experiences a NFP decrease
Gene 90: Increases NFP when a Norn is disappointed
Gene 91: Decreases NFP when the hand tickles a Norn
Gene 92: Decreases NFP when another Norn or Grendel tickles a Norn
Gene 136: Decreases NFP very slightly when a Norn is sleeping
By far, the greatest way NFP is decreased is through a tickle from the hand. This is actually somewhat confusing, though, since this action also rewards a Norn. Saying “yes” or “good” is the equivalent of tickling a Norn, so unfortunately there is no way of separating out the positive side of learning from a simple act of love. It seems that Norns were designed to experience a decrease in NFP not simply from their environment, but from interactions with others.
This graph illustrates how prevalent the need for pleasure drive often is. The large dip in the middle of the graph was the result of another Norn tickling this one, while eating a bit of honey reduced this drive just a bit. I still don’t quite understand the exact causes for the increases in NFP: Perhaps this has to do with gene 136, making NFP rise slightly when a Norn is awake? NFP means that a player almost has to be involved in order to keep this drive low, unless there are friendly Norns and Grendels around. Maybe that explains why food items decrease NFP… This helps Creatures be independent and reduce the drive on their own! Yet I still feel like it would make more sense to encourage interactions with others, rather than depending on unrelated objects to reduce NFP. What do you think?