A Double Norn Case Study: Part III

A Docking Station Zombie Norn via MutationsOh my! The final part of the current double Norn case study is ready to come to a close with a flourish of genetic mutations. Make sure to read through the first and second parts to get the full picture! Atalo and Atalos came from the world of Wolpertinger, and this has been quite an interesting way to look at the more complex genomes in Creatures 3 and Docking Station. These case studies serve as a learning experience for me, too, and you’re welcome to chime in with your own thoughts! Let’s jump right in to see what else is going on!

Stimuli (Both)

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.

Original: 390 Emb B MutDupCut Creature slaps me (4) causes sig=116 GS neu=0 int=0, 240 => 2*Anger + 6*Fear + 3*Pain + 4*90
Mutation: 390 Emb B MutDupCut Creature slaps me (4) causes sig=116 GS neu=0 int=0, 240 => 2*Anger + 6*Boredom + 3*Pain + 4*90

This gene may look like a nightmare, but we’re only concerned with the simple part of it! This defines what happens when a Creature is slapped by another. Most experience a little jolt of fear, which is designed to activate the fight-or-flight mechanism in cases of extreme slapping. Atalo and Atalos actually get a little bored when someone else slaps them, which is a little dangerous. Compounded fear can help a Norn escape danger and potential death, but these two will need to find something to alleviate their boredom after being slapped. This isn’t a fatal mutation by any means, yet the consequences could be disastrous in certain situations.

Original: 505 0 Emb B MutDupCut Eaten fruit (78) causes sig=0 GS neu=0 int=0, 0 => -25*Hunger for protein + -25*Hunger for carbohydrate + 13*Protein + 12*Starch
Mutation: 505 0 Emb B MutDupCut Eaten fruit (78) causes sig=0 GS neu=0 int=0, 0 => -25*Hunger for protein + -25*Hunger for carbohydrate + 13*Protein + 12*Fatty Acid

Fruit is typically a source of protein and starch, and eating it reduces these two hunger drives. Unfortunately for these two, this mutation means that fruit does not involve starch, but fatty acid. This is involved with the digestion of fat, and its presence replaces starch. Atalo and Atalos will have a decrease in hunger for carbohydrates even though they technically don’t have a corresponding intake of starch (carbohydrates). As I understand it, though, fruit items contain chemicals of their own, so this is not everything that happens with a piece of fruit.

Original: 506 Emb B MutDupCut Eaten food (79) causes sig=0 GS neu=0 int=0, 0 => -37*Hunger for fat + -21*Hunger for protein + 12*Fat + 12*Protein
Mutation: 506 Emb B MutDupCut Eaten food (79) causes sig=0 GS neu=0 int=0, 0 => -37*Hunger for fat + -21*Hunger for protein + 12*Fat + 12*Muscle Tissue

We can examine the stimuli for eating a food item. Food usually contains fat and protein, but this mutation makes these Norns even more different! They don’t get a boost in protein, but rather experience an increase in muscle tissue. Now in most instances, replacing a chemical can be pretty bad. They actually got a little lucky with this one! Muscle tissue is the end result as protein is digested, so this skips a few steps. This might be classified as a good mutation, although I hesitate to go that far with the history of Atalo and Atalos!

Stimuli (Atalo)

Original: 391 Emb B MutDupCut Hand slaps me (3) causes sig=0 GS neu=0 int=0, 240 => 5*90 + 4*Fear + 3*Pain + 87*Punishment
Mutation: 391 Emb B MutDupCut Hand slaps me (3) causes sig=0 GS neu=0 int=0, 240 => 5*90 + 4*Fear + 3*Hunger for protein + 87*Punishment

Again, ignore all of the rather technical values included with this stimuli gene, and just look at what sorts of chemicals are associated with the action. In this case, a slap from the hand no longer causes pain… Instead, this raises hunger for protein a little bit. This was one of the reported quirks with Atalo, and this explains it!

Original: 398 Emb B MutDupCut I am sleeping (periodic) (22) causes sig=75 GS neu=0 int=0, ,Sensed even when asleep,,224 => -5*Sleepiness + -2*Crowded + -5*Tiredness + 2*Boredom
Mutation: 398 Emb B MutDupCut I am sleeping (periodic) (22) causes sig=75 GS neu=0 int=0, ,Sensed even when asleep,,224 => -5*Sleepiness + -2*Loneliness + -5*Tiredness + 2*Boredom

Some mutations are more apparent than others. Even with a chemical change, this gene will not give Atalo any great troubles. When asleep, a Norn typically experiences a decrease in crowdedness. This is basically the opposite for Atalo: Sleeping reduces his loneliness. Perhaps he has some really exciting dreams filled with lots of characters!

Original:404 Emb B MutDupCut I have approached (periodic) (16) causes sig=29 GS neu=14 int=0, ,,,0 => -8*Boredom + 1*Crowded + -6*Loneliness + 1*Hunger for carbohydrate
Mutation:404 Emb B MutDupCut I have approached (periodic) (16) causes sig=29 GS neu=14 int=0, ,,,0 => -8*Boredom + 1*Crowded + -6*Crowded + 1*Hunger for carbohydrate

This gene makes the previous mutation even less problematic. In the standard Norn genome, this stimuli states that when a Norn approaches something, his or her loneliness decreases. In Atalo’s case, there is actually a net decrease in crowdedness. He certainly won’t have any trouble hanging out in crowds, and he might be in the ironic scenario where he feels lonely around others. Unusual, yet nothing to be too concerned about.

Original: 410 Emb B MutDupCut Involuntary 2 (30) causes sig=0 GS neu=0 int=0, Sensed even when asleep, 112 => 2*Pain + 2*Tiredness + 2*Hotness
Mutation: 410 Emb B MutDupCut Involuntary 2 (30) causes sig=0 GS neu=0 int=0, Sensed even when asleep, 112 => 2*Pain + -20*Tiredness + 2*Hotness

To unravel this mystery, it helps to know that the action defined here (involuntary 2) is a sneeze. Atalo’s unique characteristics just keep adding up! In his world, a sneeze actually reduces his tiredness by a decent amount. Then again, that makes some sense… The sound of a gigantic sneeze can be most alarming!

Original: 411 Emb B MutDupCut Involuntary 3 (31) causes sig=0 GS neu=0 int=1, 48 => 2*Pain + 1*Tiredness
Mutation: 411 Emb B MutDupCut Involuntary 3 (31) causes sig=0 GS neu=0 int=1, 48 => 2*Pain + 0*Tiredness

Can you guess what involuntary action 3 is? … Coughing! The mutation simply means that Atalo won’t get tired from coughing, although it will still be a tad bit painful. Apparently he was built to avoid exhaustion during any illnesses.

Stimuli (Atalos)

Original: 396 Emb B MutDupCut I have rested (21) causes sig=116 GS neu=9 int=78, 112 => 1*Boredom + 1*Hunger for carbohydrate + 3*Sleepiness + -6*Tiredness
Mutation: 396 Emb B MutDupCut I have rested (21) causes sig=116 GS neu=9 int=78, 112 => 0*Boredom + 1*Hunger for carbohydrate + 3*Sleepiness + -6*Tiredness

Quick explanation time! Atalos doesn’t get bored when he rests, which is when he lays awake and still. Easy!

Original: 511 Emb B MutDupCut Play critter (86) causes sig=0 GS neu=0 int=0, 0 => -25*Anger + -25*Loneliness
Mutation: 511 Emb B MutDupCut Play critter (86) causes sig=0 GS neu=0 int=0, 0 => -25*Anger + -25*Crowded

Playing with a critter is usually a rather relaxing activity that reduces a Norn’s loneliness. Atalos has a mutation that actually makes him feel less crowded in the same situation. This works against him in that he might still feel very lonely even with something to keep him company. On the other hand, this mutation could come in handy when he’s in a large group: His crowded drive will decrease if he takes a moment to play with a nearby critter. Not too bad.

Organ Death and the Inability for a Norn to EatTo break for just a moment, I was really concerned with Atalo. Recall that almost all of his organs had died, and his chemical levels never changed. He could still eat, but nothing changed in his body. His drives remained the same, and he was literally like a zombie. None of his problems could be blamed on anything but bad luck, and I started to think about him. Was he actually enjoying life? Or was this a possible case for humane euthanasia? I contemplated this while Atalo ate all of the mushrooms and walked around in a shower of spores.

Instincts (Both)

Instincts define the expectations for certain behaviors. These genes do not state exactly what happens when the parameters are met, but rather provide the basis for Norns to base their decisions on.

Original: 454 Emb B MutDupCut [03: stim] [Cell 11 (Food)] and [Hunger for fat] => Cell 12 (Eat)
Mutation: 454 Emb B MutDupCut [03: stim] [Cell 15 (Critter)] and [Hunger for fat] => Cell 12 (Eat)

An instinct mutation! In the standard Norn genome, this encourages a Norn to eat a piece of food when his or her hunger for fat is high. For Atalo and Atalos, their instinct tells them to eat a critter instead of a piece of food. Some edible critters may contain fat, although food is a much better source. This is one case where an instinct might be overridden by actual experiences: Remember that instincts aren’t programmed behaviors, but more like expected outcomes and recommendations. Atalo and Atalos will likely experiment by eating critters more often than other Norns, yet they might find a better source of fat through their own life lessons.

Original: 453 Emb B MutDupCut [03: stim] [Cell 3 (Seed)] and [Hunger for fat] => Cell 12 (Eat)
Mutation: 453 Emb B MutDupCut [03: stim] [Cell 13 (Bug)] and [Hunger for fat] => Cell 12 (Eat)

This gene is very similar to the previous one, which makes the explanation a little easier! Eating a seed is normally tied in with reducing hunger for fat, but these two Norns have an instinct to eat bugs instead. Again, this instinct might not be as useful as their actual experiences, and it isn’t completely terrible. Note, though, that they weren’t born with the right instincts to find sources of fat. It might have been a slight handicap, yet they seemed to have learned on their own.

Original: 456 Emb B MutDupCut [03: stim] [Cell 8 (Fruit)] and [Hunger for protein] => Cell 12 (Eat)
Mutation: 456 Emb B MutDupCut [03: stim] [Cell 15 (Critter)] and [Hunger for protein] => Cell 12 (Eat)

This is just like the genes above, only in relation to sources of protein. Critters instead of fruit for these instincts!

Original: 455 Emb B MutDupCut [03: stim] [Cell 11 (Food)] and [Hunger for protein] => Cell 12 (Eat)
Mutation: 455 Emb B MutDupCut [03: stim] [Cell 13 (Bug)] and [Hunger for protein] => Cell 12 (Eat)

Sometimes one goes through an analysis of a genome and realizes that some genes might not be mutations. In this case, it looks like Atalo and Atalos inherited some rather carnivorous genes that weren’t actual mutations. This one makes them expect to eat bugs instead of food in relation to hunger for protein. So long as there are enough bugs around, this one might make sense! After all, bugs can be excellent sources of protein.

Original: 457 Emb B MutDupCut [03: stim] [Cell 8 (Fruit)] and [Hunger for carbohydrates] => Cell 12 (Eat)
Mutation: 457 Emb B MutDupCut [03: stim] [Cell 11 (Food)] and [Hunger for fat] => Cell 12 (Eat)

I still believe that this instinct is part of a set that came from another breed, although this one seems to have mutated quite a bit! It’s almost like a brand new instinct that encourages Atalo and Atalos to eat food when their hunger for fat is high. Interestingly enough, this is one of the above instincts, so these two do have a decent way to find fat in food.

Mulling Over Genetic Mutations with a Sad Looking NornAtalos also has a mutation in his sad facial expression. The value of pain is only off by a single unit, but I suppose that’s what does it to him. He really isn’t as miserable as he looks! On the contrary, most of his organs are in good shape and he can still reduce his drives. His body is still alive and functioning, even though he has a few oddities that require special care. Still, I started to think about the whole concept of happiness and life in relation to Atalo. Before we get to that, let’s take a look at all of the reported quirks and the genetic reasons behind them. There are plenty of other mutations mixed in, yet sometimes the hidden ones don’t make themselves apparent. It’s these ones that can be the most dangerous, too.

Atalo

  • Still a Baby at 3 Hours: Nothing directly explains this, but the organ where the life stage reactions reside died long ago. Likely the organ died before he met the requirements to become a child, thus trapping him as a baby forever.
  • Constantly Complains About Hunger for Starch with a Low Drive: I observed a high hunger for starch drive which does not decrease no matter what he eats. Again, this is due to his organ failure: This drive will never change.
  • Difficulty Waking Up on His Own: Chemical emitter 103 is mutated so that sleepiness isn’t properly recognized in his body. He did wake up on his own once, but this was after a very extended period of sleep.
  • Almost Entire Organ Death: Chemical reaction 419 switches on the production of prostaglandin in the child life stage, rather than at birth. His organs were never able to heal, leading to relatively quick deaths.
  • Spike in Hunger for Protein from the Hand’s Slap: Stimuli 391 replaces pain with hunger for protein, so that the hand actually increases this drive rather than inflicting a bit of pain with a slap.
  • Spike in Boredom from a Creature’s Slap: Stimuli Stimuli 390 replaces fear with boredom. He will get bored by a slap, rather than experiencing the standard increase in fear.

Atalos

  • Stuck in His Life Stage: Chemical 189 has a mutation in the threshold for the life chemical, which makes it impossible for him to become an adolescent. Instead, he will always be a child.
  • Never Sleeps: I observed him sleeping on at least two occasions, but chemical emitter 103 likely creates a scenario where his body is not able to correctly recognize sleepiness.
  • Complains About Hunger While Staring at Food: This could be the result of his unique instincts, which tell him to seek out bugs and critters to satisfy most of his hunger drives.
  • Constantly Looks Sad: Facial expression 450 has a slight mutation that keeps him looking sad, even though he may actually be very happy and content.

The Future of Two Case Study NornsCase study complete! Thanks again to Wolpertinger for this interesting opportunity to look at genetics! Only one question remains… What to do with Atalo? Normally I delete worlds, although I sometimes let Creatures live out their entire lives. Atalos has his quirks, yet he can survive on his own. Atalo may be incapable of dying of old age with his dead organs. Is it fair to keep him “alive” even though he’s already dead in many ways? Oh, the questions Creatures asks us. I hope this double case study was an intriguing one to follow!

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