How Hunger Works in Creatures 1

A Comparison of How Hunger Works in NornsWith my recent work on the Creatures 1 carrots and lemons, hunger and the Norn digestive system have been very interesting to me! I’ve learned a lot through CAOS, although there is an entire genetic side to the equation. While browsing through new posts around the Creatures community, I was inspired by Perichan’s question. If the following information seems useful, it would be very much appreciated if someone could include a link here! The mechanics behind hunger in Creatures 1 differ significantly between two sets of Norns. The standard breeds operate on a fairly simple system that results in hunger increasing rather quickly. The Life Kit breeds, such as the Forest Norns, use a floating emitter and receptor.

Linking Biology and Genetics in Norn HungerWhat does it all mean? This is one of those exciting instances where biology and genetics really jump out of Creatures! Two Norns can have the exact same diet, yet experience hunger in completely different ways. It might be worth reading a description of how a floating emitter-receptor pair works at the Creatures Developer Resource. To keep things simple, though, the pair can be understood as something that operates on its own, without the need for a brain lobe. In essence, these two genes are constantly “floating” in a Norn’s system.

An Illustration of How Hunger Works in Standard C1 NornsFirst, we can examine the standard Norn. Note how hunger increased very shortly after starch reached zero. Glucose and glycogen are locked together, which is true for all non-mutated Norns: Glucose can be converted into glycogen, and glycogen can be converted into glucose. Where does a Norn get this nutrition? Starch! Starch is the building block of the digestive system, and it can be found in all standard foods. Starch is converted in glucose through a chemical reaction, and is used up in the process. So a Norn needs to eat in order to gain starch. Hunger is the mechanism that tells a Norns to seek out food and starch. Decreasing hunger rewards a Norn, which should teach him or her that eating is a good thing! Yet what about the rate at which hunger increases? Let’s take a look at the genetics!

Receptors

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.

46 Emb B MutDupCut Creature, Drive Levels Hunger, chem=Hunger, thresh=0, nom=0, gain=255, features=Analogue

Reactions

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.

59 Emb B MutDupCut 1*Hunger+ => 1*Hunger + 1*Punishment; half-life = 8
73 Emb B MutDupCut 1*Hunger- + 1*Hunger => 1*Reward; half-life = 8
142 Emb B MutDup 1*Starch => 2*Glucose; half-life = 64
144 Emb B MutDup 3*Glucose => 1*Glycogen + 1*Hunger-; half-life = 56
145 Emb B MutDup 1*Glycogen => 3*Glucose + 1*Hunger; half-life = 64
146 Emb B MutDup 1*Glucose + 2*Hexokinase => 4*CO2; half-life = 24

Note that not every digestive gene has been included, but this should paint a fairly clear picture! Hunger can be tied directly into a falling level of glucose. The very last gene includes a chemical called hexokinase, which is fancy talk for when a Norn moves around. One who is at rest is producing little to no hexokinase, while one who is running about is producing a large amount. This is where glucose gets used up quite readily. If starch is present, it produces glucose, which can then be used up. When starch is not present, though, glucose will start to fall, which then triggers the Norn’s body to convert glycogen into glucose. That right there produces the hunger chemical, which is then understood as the hunger drive. The short version: Without starch, a Norn’s body converts glycogen into glucose, thereby raising hunger. The reason for this is because glycogen is a long-term energy store, and depleting it is supposed to trigger a Norn to find food to replenish it through starch and, eventually, more glucose.

Floating Receptors and Emitters in Creatures 1In a Life Kit Norn, one can see the difference in hunger immediately! I actually started counting how much longer it would take for hunger to rise, until it dawned on me that this was a genetic issue! Without needing to go into too much detail, the Life Kit Norns have two very big differences: Hunger is tied to glycogen, not glucose, and converting between glucose and glycogen does not affect hunger. The following genetics should look pretty similar, but take note of the differences! In short, hunger is tied into the floating receptor-emitter pair, and only rises when glycogen begins to fall. In my own experience, Life Kit Norns are typically much happier and require less food. This doesn’t mean that they’re prone to not eating, though! They still get rewarded for eating, even when they’re not hungry.

Receptors

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.

46 Emb B MutDupCut Creature, Drive Levels Hunger, chem=Hunger, thresh=0, nom=0, gain=255, features=Analogue
324 Emb B Creature, Circulatory, floating chem 2, chem=Glycogen, thresh=0, nom=0, gain=255, features=Analogue

Emitters

Chemical emitters define specific conditions within a Creature in order to affect chemicals. Some examples include experiencing stress from excessive drives, becoming cold due to environmental conditions, and more.

325 Emb B MutDup Creature, Circulatory, floating chem 2, chem=Hunger, thresh=0, samp=5, gain=2, features=Inverted Analogue

Reactions

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.

59 Emb B MutDupCut 1*Hunger+ => 1*Hunger; half-life = 8
73 Emb B MutDupCut 1*Hunger- + 1*Hunger => 1*Reward; half-life = 8
142 Emb B MutDup 1*Starch => 2*Glucose + 1*Hunger-; half-life = 64
144 Emb B MutDup 3*Glucose => 1*Glycogen; half-life = 56
145 Emb B MutDup 1*Glycogen => 3*Glucose; half-life = 64
146 Emb B MutDup 1*Glucose + 2*Hexokinase => 4*CO2 + 8*Activase; half-life = 24

As a recap, why do these two types of Norns experience hunger so drastically? Two reasons:

  • Standard Norns tie hunger into glucose / Life Kit Norns tie hunger into glycogen via a floating emitter-receptor pair
  • Standard Norns have an increase in hunger when converting glycogen into glucose / Life Kit Norns are unaffected

Hopefully this explanation shows how hunger differs in Creatures 1 based on the breed! I would be happy to go into more detail, or answer any other questions on the subject. I think one of the reasons why C1 Norns can be so miserable is based on unnecessarily high hunger levels. When possible, I recommend using the updated Life Kit Norn genome. Just keep in mind that mixing these two can have odd consequences: If only one part of the floating receptor-emitter pair is inherited, the resulting Norn may never experience hunger, and might never know when to eat. Good luck!

First Two Images Credited to Gameware Europe

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