The most recent case study about Berose prompted the wonderful Mea to send in an interesting creature as another case study. Whereas Berose was perpetually stuck in the baby life stage, Mea had almost the exact opposite issue! Uppyo, pictured here, was never a baby, but progressed through his first few life stages extremely quickly. However, I had in my world for some time, where he was a youth around 40-45 minutes of age. It seemed that there was something strange happening to him during those first few minutes of life. Uppyo was quite interesting to watch! He turned out to have a mixture of mostly Norn and Grendel genetics.
Although Gene Compare showed a plethora of genetic differences, I thought it would be most beneficial to focus in on a few interesting ones. In particular, the aging issue was the main goal of my analysis. The gene listed on top is that of Uppyo, and the second gene belongs to a standard Creatures Docking Station Norn.
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.
179 Emb B MutDupCut Organ# = 10, Creature, Somatic, Become a child, chem=Life, thresh=182, nom=123, gain=255, features=Inverted Digital
188 Emb B Organ# = 10, Creature, Somatic, Become a child, chem=Life, thresh=229, nom=119, gain=255, features=Inverted Digital
This gene defines the conditions necessary for a Norn to age from a baby to a child. One of the biggest differences is that in Uppyo, this gene can be altered in many different ways, whereas the typical CFE genome sets this gene in stone. Notice how the threshold has been changed from 229 to 182: This means that Uppyo would remain a baby for a longer period of time, barring any other genes, as we will shortly see. The life chemical constantly falls, and the genes controlling the life stages indicate at what point a Norn should grow.
180 Chi B MutDupCut Organ# = 10, Creature, Somatic, Become an adolescent, chem=Life, thresh=241, nom=127, gain=255, features=Inverted Digital
189 Chi B Organ# = 10, Creature, Somatic, Become an adolescent, chem=Life, thresh=194, nom=116, gain=255, features=Inverted Digital
Here is the problematic aging gene for Uppyo! Just as the gene above, this controls a life stage: The only main difference is that this one controls when a Norn enters adolescence. Notice the serious problem? Take a look at the threshold: This is typically set to 194, which is well below the threshold of 229 defined at childhood. According to his genes, Uppyo should jump ahead to adolescence before ever being a child!
181 Ado B MutDupCut Organ# = 10, Creature, Somatic, Become a youth, chem=Life, thresh=217, nom=138, gain=255, features=Inverted Digital
190 Ado B Organ# = 10, Creature, Somatic, Become a youth, chem=Life, thresh=165, nom=128, gain=255, features=Inverted Digital
Uppyo also had a fairly significant mutation in the timing of his youth life stage. If the game would allow it, he would have become an adolescent, a youth, and then a child! Luckily, there are parameters in place to force creatures to resort to the highest life stage without reverting backwards. Uppyo still had normal timing for his adult and later life stages: It was just amazing that he had three interesting aging mutations!
Some may wonder why I designated these genes as negative: Wouldn’t a Norn who aged to the youth life stage quicker be better? Breeding could take place faster, and who wants to wait so long for a Norn to mature? Uppyo seemed very confused with his environment, and even though he was about 40-45 minutes old, I had a feeling that he had missed out on a lot of learning that was supposed to happen as a baby and child. A lot of hormones kick in when a Norn becomes a youth, and Uppyo looked downright awestruck at times! I decided to hatch a few clones from the Genetic Kit for a better perspective to figure out what was going on.
Talk about fast! Within his first minute, Uppye was already a youth! He seemed to act quite normally for a few seconds, but he soon became very mystified over the most trivial of things. I fancied he was aiming to throw that tuba plant right through the screen and into my face… Naughty Norn/Grendel! This genome actually had many Grendel genes, and the arms were a little reminder that this colorful male might not be as soft and cuddly as a typical Norn.
I was determined to make sure that this one quick birth was not a one-time glitch, so I hatched another male from the same genome. Pardon his nameless condition here… I literally had about ten seconds after he was born to capture him as a baby! This second test subject, Uppyi, looked a lot plainer, but one must keep in mind that a lot of pigment changes occur in the later life stages. For this little one, he only had to wait a few seconds before he experienced a beautiful metamorphosis of colors! I didn’t even have to wait… Things were moving rather quickly.
Suddenly, Uppyi entered his next life stage: Which was it? I could have sworn that he looked about the size of a child, but those pigment genes were a nightmare to decipher. He would have had to skip one life stage, though: Either the child, or adolescent one. I was too slow to check what his life stage was labeled as, for it was only a few more moments before he experienced another color change. I almost wish that a color change would be set in stone for all life stages with these genetics…
So there it was: Two male Norns born a few minutes apart, who grew into youths within their first minute of life. Hopefully this case study has shed a little light on the magic behind the life stages in Creatures! I would highly recommend not breeding creatures with similar mutations, only because this could lead to a quickly growing population without the necessary survival skills. Babies and children often learn behaviors easier than older Norns, Grendels, and Ettins. Never underestimate the power of early learning in Creatures Docking Station!