In an effort to improve the next generation of Creatures 1 Norns, I mentioned a few gene updates to make nicer Norns. After a little more fiddling about in the Genetics Kit, the genome is all set! I also went through and modified it for each natural Norn by copying over most mutations. They technically won’t be “natural” eggs after all of this genetic tinkering, yet the improvements will give them a much better lease on life. One of the biggest changes is that everyone now uses a modified Forest Norn genome. What does that mean? Eating habits should be improved with the floating receptor and emitter. Interested in the specifics? Perhaps the following will help you update your own C1 genomes!
Brain lobes include important information about how the different parts of the brain work, from how concepts are learned to how a Norn goes through the decision process. These genes can greatly affect the learning process.
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MutDup Lobe #=6
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By default, most brain lobes are completely locked in place with no chance of going haywire. Brain lobe genes are very unique in that each one stores a vast amount of information. A seemingly minor mutation can create serious issues that get away from the carefully crafted brain programming. These lobes range from decisions and concepts to how a Norn focuses his or her attention… Rather important ones! I wonder if making these able to mutate and/or duplicate was a mistake. In any case, brain lobe mutations will no longer enter the equation.
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.
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MutDupCut Brain, Decision i/ps, Chemical 0. chem=Reward
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MutDupCut Brain, Decision i/ps, Chemical 1, chem=Punishment
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MutDupCut Brain, Concept, Chemical 1, chem=conASH
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MutDupCut Brain, Decision i/ps, Chemical 2, chem=decASH1
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MutDupCut Brain, Decision i/ps, Chemical 3, chem=decASH2
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MutDupCut Brain, Concept, Chemical 0, chem=Reinforcement
Surprise: More brain genes! These ones tie in specific chemicals to areas of the brain, mainly associated with learning. These can cause mayhem when they don’t work as intended. Note that my goal isn’t to negate special needs Norns: These brain mutations can be prevented, and there are plenty of other ways mutations can create unique Norns. Remember that there are over 300 genes in a genome, so locking in this handful doesn’t mean that everything will be safe from mutation. Had I wanted to go that route, I would have used the No-Mutate Norns as the base genome.
173 Emb B MutDupCut Creature, Immune, Die of non-zero, chem=Glycogen
306 Emb B MutDupCut Creature, Sensorimotor, invol 6=’languish’ chem=Glycogen
On the other hand, these genes used to be locked in and now can experience all sorts of mutations. The first is the gene that states a Norn will die if glycogen is too low, and the second defines the parameters for the involuntary action for languish. The first is an important gene, yet I figure it could open up some interesting possibilities if a Norn could die of the lack of a different chemical. The latter is a little less important, and it seemed unnecessary to keep it from being cut, duplicated, and mutated. Better be ready: These genes are no longer safe!
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.
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MutDupCut Brain, Concept, # Loose dens/cells type 0, chem=conASH
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MutDupCut Brain, Decision i/ps, # Loose dens/cells type 0, chem=decASH1
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MutDupCut Brain, Decision i/ps, # Loose dens/cells type 1, chem=decASH2
Here we have some more brain genes that are no longer able to change in any way. These control the dendrites, which help link up cells in a Norn’s brain. In other words, they’re vitally important in learning new concepts and using those ideas to make decisions. There is a lot more behind them, but that’s precisely why I chose to lock them in!
143 Emb B MutDupCut Creature, Somatic, muscle energy used, chem=Hexokinase
The only change to this gene is to make it possible for it to be cut from the genome. Although it is quite important in defining the chemical assigned to using muscle energy, it seems viable to have the small chance for an interesting Norn who might not actually use muscle energy. Believe me, the possibility is extremely low! Yet with all of the brain genes getting locked in, I wanted to open up a few chances for rather unusual genomes down the line.
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MutDup Creature, Circulatory, floating chem 2, chem=Hunger
Back to locking a gene in place! This gene deserves a discussion all its own, as it is one of the major upgrades from the Forest Norn genome. Suffice to say that it vastly improves upon the way hunger is treated. A similar chemical receptor associated with glycogen was never allowed to be mutated nor duplicated, so I applied this logic to this gene. Simple!
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.
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MutDup 1*Reward => 1*Reinforcement + 1*RewardEcho
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MutDup 1*Punishment => 1*Reinforcement + 1*PunishmentEcho
More brain-related genes! These ones define what the reward and punishment chemicals turn into. Without these genes, teaching Norns right from wrong can be nearly impossible. No worries about that anymore!
142 Emb B MutDupCut 1*Starch => 2*Glucose + 1*Hunger-
144 Emb B MutDupCut 3*Glucose => 1*Glycogen
145 Emb B MutDupCut 1*Gycogen => 3*Glucose
146 Emb B MutDupCut 1*Glucose + 2*Hexokinase => 4*CO2 + 8*Activase
All of these genes are very important, but were already designed with the ability to be mutated and/or duplicated. I simply added in the ability for them to be cut. Would this create havoc for a Norn? In some cases, indeed, and a Norn might not even survive. Yet there are other genes out there that have that same possibility and create some challenges.
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Mut 1*NONE + 1*NONE => 1*NONE + 1*NONE
This is, perhaps, one of the oddest genes. In the Genetics Kit, it carries the label “051 Hunger Reaction from PM Norns – Reaction” and yet… It doesn’t seem to define anything! Nothing creates nothing? All the same, I figure it must be important to include. Any mutations could be quite strange, so I locked it in place. I suppose it has a purpose, although I’ll leave that open to comments: If you know, please feel free to share.
291 Ado F MutDupCut 1*Adrenaline + 1*Estrogen => 1*SexDrive-
A gene specifically related to breeding really doesn’t need to kick on right at birth! This now mimics the rest of the genes related to a female’s fertility, kicking on in adolescence. Although I will note that I actually set the life stage to “Youth” and the D-DNA Analyzer still lists this as “Ado”. Just keep this in mind when doing any C1 genome comparisons.
313 Ado F MutDupCut 1*Gonadotrophin + 1*Glucose => 1*Gonadatrophin
Talk about a slightly odd gene! Unmodified, this kicks on at birth for both genders and is locked in place. This is labeled the “Eating for two” gene since it shows how a pregnant female Norn requires a lot of additional glucose. Now it kicks on in the youth life stage (as above, incorrectly labeled “Ado” in the D-DNA Analyzer) and only affects females. Additionally, it is no longer locked in and can go through all sorts of natural mutations.
Chemical half-lives define the decay rate of each chemical. In the absence of any reactions, a half-life defines how long a chemical will remain. Half-lives can range from fractions of a second to an entire lifetime.
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Ready for an easy one? The gene that defines all half-lives can no longer be duplicated. Mutations are still possible!
Initial concentrations define the starting values of different chemicals at birth. The most important of these genes are for glucose and glycogen, allowing babies to survive without needing to eat immediately after hatching.
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MutDup Initial Concentration of Glycogen is 122
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MutDup Initial Concentration of Glucose is 159
Every now and then, one of these genes can get mutated and will lead to a stillborn Norn. Although rare, it’s a very sad occasion when one isn’t given an opportunity to live simply due to a single mutation. I know that natural stillborns happen, but like the modified brain genes, if I can prevent some of the worst things from happening, I’ll gladly uncheck those gene header boxes! Stillborn Norns are still possible from other mutations… But much less likely.
220 Emb B MutDupCut Initial Concentration of Antibody1 is 130
223 Emb B MutDupCut Initial Concentration of Antibody1 is 130
I wanted to normalize the amount of antibodies in a newborn Norn: Antibody0 and Antibody4 are set at 130 units, so I made these concentrations identical. Note that it wasn’t a huge difference: The other values were 140 and 147… Not a major change! One interesting thing to note that antibodies 2, 5, 6, and 7 are missing from newborn Norns.
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.
104 Emb B Mut ‘I’ve Activated2’ => 3*Tiredness++ + 2*Boredom-
106 Emb B Mut ‘I am approaching’ => 2*Tiredness++ + 8*Loneliness- + 8*Boredom-
I detailed these genetics in a recent post. These are designed to make “nicer” Norns with a few other changes.
Appearance genes define the sprites and body data files to be used for each body part. In Creatures 1, these genes consist of the appearances for the head, body, arms, and legs.
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In the original genome, all of the body parts could mutate. This might mean that a population of White Haired Pixie Norns could end up with some Horse Norn heads from out of nowhere. Although it adds an interesting dynamic, I prefer to ensure that none of the wrong breeds make it into the gene pool! Remember that unique Norns are still possible through pigment mutations and inheriting different body parts from each parent. I just don’t have to worry about something like a Grorn making it into the population, since I’ve never had one of those yet!
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.
151 Emb B MutDupCut Drive i/ps Boredom and I Come => 93*Reward
164 Ado M MutDupCut Drive i/ps SexDrive + General Sensory i/ps IT is opposite sex and I Come => 112*Reward
Again, I went into a lengthy discussion about these two gene changes. In a nutshell: The first rewards a Norn for approaching when bored (rather than pulling/slapping) and the second makes male Norns nicer to females when courting them… They will now attempt to approach females, rather than slap them. Just remember that these are instincts, though, which means that they don’t necessarily define what happens: These are just what Norns are born expecting to happen, but actual experiences also play an important role.
307 Emb B MutDupCut Stim source i/ps Food + Drive i/ps Hunger and I Push => 255*Reward
This gene tells a Norn that he or she should expect to be rewarded for pushing food when his or her hunger drive is high. The only change I made was to give it the ability to be cut, duplicated, and/or mutated. Every other instinct is set up this way, so this one now follows suit! It might lead to some unwanted consequences, but that’s genetic mutations for you!
We’re nearly there! I was in the midst of finishing up the modified Grendel genome when I attempted to save it… And the Genetics Kit decided to crash. I believe it requires a file to only be four characters long, and I always forget about this. So the Grendels will also get an updated genome, although it won’t be identical to that of the Norns. There are only a few differences, though, giving more weight to my constant talks about how Creatures 1 Grendels are basically Norns in disguise. And a hint: A Grendel needs to be introduced before the Norns so the Grendel Mother doesn’t get triggered. Every Norn genome is all set, and I edited the base genome each time to take every mutation into account. I only left out ones that weren’t actually possible, as well as those affecting the genes that are now locked in. I am way too excited to begin documenting another generation of Creatures 1 Norns and Grendels… Hopefully there are at least a few people who share that enthusiasm! Be prepared: We’ll have a proper egg hatching soon!