Friends from Birth and Extended Genetics Analyses

The lone Norn of the fourth generation was well on her way to becoming an independent explorer. I bid Astrapia a lot of luck as I turned my attention to the flashing incubator. Even though I had cheated with a genetic analysis, the suspense was no less exciting! Out of the generously speckled egg emerged Blackcap, the son of Flewddur and Angharad. He might have looked like a typical first generation Horse Norn, but there was much more to this little guy than met the eye! He also looked dashing as he showed off the Updated C1 Male Baby Updates. That adorable smile melted my heart, as it always had. Yet Blackcap certainly had a few hurdles.

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.

Default: 54 Emb B MutDupCut Creature, Drive Levels Boredom, chem=Boredom, thresh=0, nom=0, gain=255, features=Analogue
Mutation: 54 Chi B MutDupCut Creature, Drive Levels Boredom, chem=Boredom, thresh=2, nom=0, gain=255, features=Analogue

This gene actually has two separate mutations! The first changes the life stage when the boredom receptor will work. Normally, a Norn is able to experience the boredom drive immediately at birth. For Blackcap, he will have no concept of boredom until he reaches childhood. Although this is a blessing in some ways, he will fall a little behind the times in terms of learning how to alleviate boredom. The second part of this mutation occurs in the threshold value. This value states when the receptor will trigger. In a standard Norn, this is set at zero, which translates into even the tiniest amount of boredom chemical affecting the boredom drive. When Blackcap reaches childhood, he will be able to withstand a very small amount of boredom before actually feeling it as a drive. Granted, his threshold is still extremely low considering that the maximum chemical value is 255!

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.

Default: 123 Emb B MutDupCut Brain, Concept, # Loose dens/cells type 0, chem=conASH, thresh=0, samp=1, gain=255, features=Analogue/Clear Source
Mutation: 123 Emb B MutDupCut Brain, Concept, Cell 2 Output, chem=conASH, thresh=0, samp=1, gain=255, features=Analogue/Clear Source

I always cringe when I find a mutation with a direct connection to the brain. So many complicated processes! Even a seemingly small mutations can render a Norn completely unable to perform necessary tasks, like eating. My understanding of the Creatures 1 brain is still a little on the shaky side. In a nutshell, this gene normally emits conASH whenever there are loose concept neurons. Put even more simply, Blackcap likely will have some learning difficulties when it comes to learning concepts, such as eating and resting.

Default: 152 Ado F MutDupCut Creature, Reproductive, I am fertile, chem=Oestrogen, thresh=0, samp=17, gain=6, features=Inverted Digital
Mutation: 152 Ado F MutDupCut Creature, tissue 34, locus 0, chem=Oestrogen, thresh=0, samp=17, gain=6, features=Inverted Digital

How will this gene impact Blackcap? Trick question: It will have no bearing on him! This gene is specific only to females, although it is a vitally important gene. This is how a female Norn experiences a drop in estrogen and becomes fertile. The danger with this gene is that it will render a female completely infertile: Her estrogen level should theoretically never drop, thus never allowing her a chance to become pregnant. Blackcap is safe, yet he does have the ability to pass along this mutation to any daughters. Hopefully this gene won’t make it through to the next generation!

Half-Lives

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.

Default: 1 Emb B MutDupCut Glucose 128
Mutation: 1 Emb B MutDupCut Glucose 130

This is not much of a mutation, but I wanted to bring it into the discussion of Blackcap. A half-life of 128 corresponds with a decay rate of five hours. The slightly higher value means that glucose can remain in Blackcap’s system for a little bit longer in the absence of chemical reactions. Such a small difference normally has no significance at half-lives of about 0-64 and 144-255. In this case, the closest defined half-life of 136 corresponds with ten hours. Glucose is usually used up, but this might give Blackcap a slight advantage when it comes to glycogen production.

Blackcap also had one more mutation… A second body and head! Of course that wasn’t the case, although the picture I snapped looked like a Siamese twin incident! I decided to hatch two Norns at just about the same time, both as a challenge and a chance to keep loneliness at bay. Hiding behind Blackcap, Cotinga looked around her new world. She was the daughter of Doli and Dwyvach. I felt a little guilty for taking away the bonding time I would have had with Blackcap, but he was absolutely dancing with excitement over the new arrival! I was equally as happy, although there were a few genetic mutations in Cotinga’s genome that raised a few red flags. I like having interesting genes present in the breeding pool, though!

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.

Default: 126 Emb B MutDupCut Brain, Concept, Chemical 1, chem=conASH, thresh=0, nom=4, gain=255, features=Inverted Analogue
Mutation: 126 Emb B MutDupCut Brain, Lobe 9, Chemical 1, chem=conASH, thresh=0, nom=4, gain=255, features=Inverted Analogue

Does this look familiar? Blackcap has a mutation in the chemical emitter that corresponds with this chemical receptor! Perhaps these two were destined to be born together. As mentioned above, my dealings with the Norn brain are still a little murky. What can be said about this mutation is that it changes the lobe from the concept lobe to lobe 9, which I believe is undefined. As with Blackcap, Cotinga will likely struggle with learning concepts.

Default: 248 Chi B MutDupCut Creature, Sensorimotor, fearful, chem=Fear, thresh=144, nom=0, gain=239, features=Analogue
Mutation: 248 Chi B MutDupCut Creature, Sensorimotor, fearful, chem=Boredom, thresh=144, nom=0, gain=239, features=Analogue

This receptor is much more straightforward: It states that a Creature will become fearful when there is a certain amount of fear chemical present in his or her system. Very simple! For Cotinga, this mutation means that she will become fearful when she experiences a decent amount of boredom chemical. As with many mutations, this has a good and bad side. Cotinga will not actually feel fearful even when she has a lot of fear chemical in her system. Fearless Norn! Yet when she is extremely bored, she will also be very fearful, which could interfere with her ability to alleviate her boredom. The whole learning element with avoiding fearful activities is also seriously compromised.

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.

Default: 174 Emb B MutDupCut 1*Glycotoxin + 2*Glycogen => 2*Pain++ + 2*Sleepiness+; half-life=72
Mutation: 174 Emb B MutDupCut 1*Glycotoxin + 3*Glycogen => 2*Pain++ + 2*Sleepiness+; half-life=72

This is one of the more sinister genes, for it defines how glycotoxin eats away at glycogen to create pain and sleepiness. In the process, a Creature’s glycogen level quickly decreases. Cotinga’s mutation means that one unit of glycotoxin reacts with more glycogen: In effect, glycotoxin has the potential to kill her more quickly than the average Norn. Most Norns can eat the deathcap mushroom once and still survive. Cotinga could die from a single bite: She will surely be kept away from the deathcap mushroom if I can help it!

Stimuli

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.

Default: 93 Emb B Mut ‘Pointer slaps me’ causes sig=32 GS neu=1(I’ve been slapped) int=255, Sensed Even When Asleep => 75*Pain++ +32*Fear++ + 16*Anger++ + 16*Sleepiness-
Mutation: 93 Adu B Mut ‘Pointer slaps me’ causes sig=32 GS neu=1(I’ve been slapped) int=255, Sensed Even When Asleep => 75*Pain++ +32*Fear++ + 16*Anger++ + 16*Sleepiness-

The only difference in this gene is the age at which Cotinga should expect to experience the results of being slapped. Although it sounds a little harsh, a well-placed slap during pivotal learning moments can help reinforce an important concept. Unruly Norns are apt to develop if they learn they can get away with ignoring the hand: I usually only use a handful of negative commands during a Creature’s young life, but this mutation could put Cotinga in danger of not fully understanding negative feedback. At least there is always positive reinforcement!

Default: 244 Emb B Mut ‘Invol 3=’cough” causes sig=0 GS neu=255 int=0 => 32*Pain + 8*Tiredness + 8*Fear + 16*Hexokinase
Mutation: 244 Emb B Mut ‘Invol 3=’cough” causes sig=0 GS neu=255 int=0 => 32*Pain + 8*Coldness + 8*Fear + 16*Hexokinase

Finally, something in Cotinga’s favor! Her mutation means that when she coughs, she will experience coldness in response to tiredness. This is an inherited mutation, so it might seem rather familiar. Since coughing is often accompanied by a fever, Cotinga could very well end up cooling herself down during an illness.

With a rather lengthy genetics discussion behind them, Blackcap and Cotinga decided that they had to be joined together in everything they did. The learning computer was actually pretty painless: I assumed they would be a little unruly and decide to ignore the language lessons, but they paid careful attention and even kissed one another in between the repeated words. Despite never having a meal to satisfy the grumbling in their little bellies, they were the happiest Norns I had ever seen! They almost convinced me that hatching Norns in pairs should be the new standard… Almost, though. I still liked my one-on-one time!

Did I mention how precious this little couple was? I separated them for a few minutes to make sure that they both managed to eat. Initially they had one honeypot to share, and Blackcap was a little more selfish than I thought he was! I saw no indication of their brain mutations holding them back, aside from the fact that they both needed a prompt to eat on their own. Or maybe they were just distracted with each other: It was adorable how they couldn’t take their eyes off of one another! The practical side of me thought that this was likely a terrible match from a genetic standpoint: Combining the brain mutations they each possessed could be a disaster for any offspring. But they seemed so fond of one another, and I couldn’t help thinking that they might love one another forever.

The only Norn missing from this adorable display was Astrapia. I left her in the safety of the garden, confident that she wouldn’t stray far. When I was comfortable with leaving the two babies alone, I discovered Astrapia far away on the desert island! She had grown into a child, and her face held hints of misery. It was mainly exhaustion she suffered from: I felt a pang of guilt, thinking that perhaps she had ventured so far in search of the hand. After all, I had effectively abandoned her while I cared for the newborns. She harbored no hard feelings, though, and a rewarding tickle after she ate made her happy!

Blackcap and Cotinga were still babies who had not ventured forth into the garden. When I returned a mere minute later, however, Cotinga had already grown into a child! At just twelve minutes old, she was definitely a very early bloomer. Blackcap stayed a little further behind… He was supposed to be the older, stronger one! Her baby days (or minutes) might have been over, but Cotinga was likely the happiest baby ever to have set foot in Albia. Confident with her training and with her favorite pal behind her, she made the decision to explore Albia. What lay before her was a beautiful garden, and more mysteries lay waiting just around the corner.

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