Genetic Differences in C1 Grendels and Norns

I decided to take a quick look at the genetic differences between Norns and Grendels. As one of the more misunderstood beings in Creatures 1, Grendels have a few key differences that can make caring for them slightly different than the standard Norn. Below, the differences are underlined and explained in more detail. My genetics knowledge is still in the learning stages, so please feel free to add anything or correct any mistakes! Also be aware that this analysis is pretty in-depth, but the number of actual differences is not too terrible. I had a little too much fun learning about Albian genetics! It also gave me an excuse to show off one of my favorite baby pictures of Keir, who passed away a while ago.


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.

109 Emb B Lobe #=3 Cell body settings: nom=0, leak=0, rest=0, input=255

This gene is actually number 117 in the standard Norn genome. Since Grendels and Norns have a different number of genes, many are numbered differently. Luckily, the D-DNA Analyzer is still able to line them up correctly most of the time! The different section of this gene refers to the leakage rate, which is the rate at which the state of the lobe will drop to its rest state. Lobe 3 refers to the Verb lobe, and it has a rest state of 0. When a verb is spoken, this lobe is fired. In the typical Norn with a leak rate of 32, it takes a little bit of time for this lobe to return to its rest state.

For a Grendel, it returns to its rest state virtually instantaneously. Note that in the Genetics Kit, the leakage rate is on a sliding scale with the highest value on the left-hand side. For a Norn, a value of 32 takes approximately 5 seconds for the lobe to go from its maximum value to its rest state.For a Grendel, this time frame is instantly. My understanding is that there is a 5 second delay between the time that a Norn pays attention to a verb and forgets about it. Grendels must hear the verb constantly, lest they move on to something else more engaging.


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.
In a nutshell, all of the receptors pertaining to the reproductive system are missing from the Grendel genome. This includes receptors for estrogen, sex drive, progesterone, and testosterone. Standard Grendels will always be sterile, which makes sense. Most Creatures 1 worlds only include one Grendel, so it makes little sense to include the capabilities for reproduction. Note that the “die of old age” genes are located in different locations and appear separately in the D-DNA Analyzer, but they state the same rules about death.


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.

132 Emb B MutDup Creature, Somatic, muscle energy used, chem=Hexokinase, thresh=0, samp=20, gain=1, features=Analogue

In the standard Norn genome, this gene is numbered 143. It indicates the rate at which Hexokinase is released as muscle energy is used up. This chemical is a measure of how active a creature is: If he or she is constantly moving around, there should be much more Hexokinase in the bloodstream than if he or she were at rest. The different section is the sample rate, which is the rate at which the chemical in question will be injected. The higher the sample rate, the less often the chemical will be injected. In the standard Norn genome, the sample rate is 17. Although the difference is not exceptionally large, this means that when Grendels are active, Hexokinase builds up in their systems at a slightly slower rate. In essence, Grendels can move about longer than Norns before they need to rest and replenish their energy stores.

As with the chemical receptors, all of the chemical emitters controlling fertility are missing in Grendels. This is almost overkill, since an emitter means nothing without a corresponding receptor, and vice versa. More interesting, however, is the fact that Grendels are missing all of the chemical emitters related to adrenaline and excess needs. These needs include pain, hunger, loneliness, crowdedness, fear, boredom, and anger. I would like to test this out, but I’m fairly certain that Grendels have no way of naturally producing adrenaline. This might explain why they tend to live longer than Norns: Excess adrenaline can shorten a Norn’s life, but this does not appear to be the case in Grendels.


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.

135 Emb B MutDup 1*Glucose + 2*Hexokinase => 4*CO2 + 1*Hunger; half-life = 24

The standard Norn genome has this gene numbered as 146. It basically indicates what the chemical reaction is when energy is used up through the use of Hexokinase. In the Grendel genome, this reaction creates carbon dioxide and hunger. In a Norn, only carbon dioxide is created. In effect, the Grendels of Creatures 1 become hungry as they move about and use up their energy. Although Hexokinase builds up more slowly in Grendels, this benefit is counteracted by the increase in hunger.

252 Ado B MutDupCut 1*Alcohol => 2*Anger + 1*Sleepiness; half-life = 64

This gene can be found in the standard Norn genome as 280. In Norns, alcohol has different effects on males and females: Males become angry and sleepy, while females experience an increase in sex drive and sleepiness. In Grendels, alcohol creates anger and sleepiness in both males and females. This makes sense, because Creatures 1 was originally developed to only handle male Grendels. Grendels are also missing virtually every gene related to reproduction.

As expected, Grendels are missing all genes related to the reproduction chemical reactions. Also missing are some of the genes related to adrenaline, which is another possible reason for the longer life span. Finally, one of the most interesting discoveries I made involved the genes that control the reactions of the syringe chemicals from the science kit. Grendels are missing all of the reactions: In effect, they should be immune to their effects. I would certainly like to test this out, because it could mean that the injections are controlled at a genetic level, rather than being hard coded into the game.


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.

1 Emb B MutDup Hunger 248 Vitamin E 255

The standard Norn has a half-life of 144 for hunger and 248 for vitamin E. Vitamin E is not in use in Creatures 1, so this difference can be disregarded. In terms of hunger, the difference means that hunger takes much longer to decay in Grendels than in Norns. According to the Genetics Kit, a half-life of 248 translates into 52 years for the chemical to go from its maximum to zero! A half-life of 144 equates to just about 20 hours for a chemical to fall from its maximum value to zero. Both of these time frames are irrelevant to a creature which only lives for under 12 hours, but it should indicate how much longer it takes hunger to decay in Grendels. This could point to a greater need for hunger reducing food than the amount needed in 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.

86 Emb B Mut ‘Creature pats me’ causes sig=80 GS neu=0(I’ve been patted) int=255, , , Sensed Even When Asleep => 48*Anger++ + 16*Loneliness-

This Grendel gene corresponds to gene 92 in the Norn genome. It is relatively straight forward: This gene controls what will occur when the Grendel is patted, or tickled, by another creature. In a Norn, this stimulus reduces need for pleasure and loneliness, while it increases crowdedness and sex drive. A Grendel will actually receive an increase in anger and a decrease in loneliness. The downside is that Grendels can become very angry around Norns and other Grendels, but they do not experience an increase in crowdedness.

88 Emb B Mut ‘Creature slaps me’ causes sig=128 GS neu=1(I’ve been slapped) int=255, , , Sensed Even When Asleep => 80*Pain++ + 41*Boredom++ + 72*Anger++ + 18*Sleepiness-

This gene is numbered 94 in the Norn genome. It is very similar to the aforementioned stimulus gene, only this one controls what happens when a Grendel is slapped or spanked by another creature. The difference is that a Grendel experiences boredom instead of fear, and has an increased amount of anger increase and sleepiness decrease. In other words, Grendels have a more intense reaction to being slapped. The high increases in pain and anger, coupled with the increase in boredom, might explain why Grendels have a tendency to slap back!

94 Emb B Mut ‘Heard creature speak’ causes sig=47 GS neu=6(Creature has spoken) int=175, , , Sensed Even When Asleep => 16*Anger++

This Grendel gene can be compared to gene number 101 in the standard Norn genome. The first difference exists in the significance of the stimulus: In the case of the Grendel, it is 47, while a Norn has the significance set at 16. This number is an indication of the amount that the neuron related to the stimulus will be increased by: A higher significance indicates a more interesting object for the creature. In this sense, a Grendel attributes more significance and focus to a creature who has spoken, as compared to a Norn. Grendels seem to pay attention to others a little more often! The downside to this gene is that a Grendel only derives increased anger when a Norn or Grendel speaks: Norns receive a decrease in boredom and loneliness, and an increase in crowdedness.

Grendels are also missing the stimulus related to when the user/hand speaks. A Norn derives decreases in boredom and loneliness when players speak to them. Grendels can still interact with the hand and listen, but they receive no helpful decreases in these important needs.


Pose genes define numerical strings for each type of pose, which indicate the position of all body parts. These are used almost constantly as a Norn moves around, interacts with, and reacts to the world.

Not surprisingly, the Grendel genome is missing the pose for crouching and laying an egg. Why have the pose when Grendels were designed to be infertile males? For worlds with breedable Grendels and updated genomes, I would be curious to know if this gene was included, or if eggs simply pop up out of nowhere!


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.

This is perhaps the most extensive section when it comes to differences between Norns and Grendels. It all boils down to a large list of missing genes in the Grendel, rather than different instincts altogether. They are missing all of the instincts associated with the concept verbs, except for look, yes/good, and no/bad. However, there are no instincts associated with these verbs to begin with. All of these instincts give a full boost of 255 reward when a Norn hears a verb and performs the corresponding activity. For instance, if a Norn hears the word “get” and he or she gets something, the reward will be received. Grendels are, therefore, not born with the instincts to obey these commands. They learn through their experiences, and from interacting with the hand and other creatures. Grendels are also missing the instincts related to kiss popping, as well as an interesting one which gives a Norn 255 reward when he or she runs when crowdedness is high and a creature is sensed nearby.

This is a very granular analysis of the differences between Grendels and Norns at a genetic level in Creatures 1. Further differences can be found in Creatures 2 and Creatures 3/Docking Station, but this should offer a decent foundation. Grendels and Norns are not all that different from one another: Many of the differences exist only in appearance. Remember that the Grendel’s penchant to slap Norns is actually hard coded into the game: Halvor and I highly recommend the Grendel Friendly COB! Let those Grendels act the way they really want to, which is usually quite kindly!

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