Unusual Appearances in Albia

Love was blossoming in Albia, after an unusually long drought! As I would soon find out, Norns were showing their love for one another in a rather strange way. Cotinga had chosen Blackcap as the father of all of her previously laid eggs, but he had wandered off long ago. Unable to find him, Hypocolius noticed his opportunity and cheered up the lonely Norn. They were having a lovely time near the learning computer: The area was well stocked with honey and toys, which made for a sort of paradise in Creatures 1! Then, Hypocolius stared deeply into Cotinga’s bright blue eyes, and some sort of secret language passed between them. Some moments later, a new egg was on its way! And still they stared.

Just as I left the two lovebirds alone, I came across Euphonia and Drongo on the desert island. I scratched my head, for they were in that same sort of deep staring contest! Not surprisingly, they decided to have an egg of their own. Aside from their faces looking far too close, I found it adorable how their hands looked like they were intertwined. This seemed far more preferable to the typical male Norns… They were there one moment, and then disappeared when the females had to go through the trouble of laying the eggs! This group of males seemed rather considerate, which wasn’t lost on the females. They still bore the brunt of the egg laying work, though!

Cotinga’s pregnancy advanced without incident, fortunately. Norns can remain pregnant for a variable amount of time, even without any genetic mutations. This usually isn’t a very long wait, but with the growing egg using up a lot of the mother’s energy, it can wreak havoc on a Norn’s life force. I was pleased when Cotinga had the smart thinking to lay her tiny egg right next to the incubator! She even stood there for a few minutes, and it looked like she was trying to find a way to lift it. Quite a gallant effort! She had a fairly strong set of maternal instincts, though, so it was hardly surprising to watch her carefully take care of her egg. It certainly would have been neat if Creatures 1 Norns knew to lay their eggs near the incubator! Alas, I was only on egg collecting duty.

Remember this little guy? Pipit was the latest addition to the world, and he had already grown into a child! Although I only had time to teach him the basic language skills and the most important words, he stilled managed to travel very far from his original birthplace. I previously hinted at something very odd about this Norn’s appearance. His father had a Forest Norn head, while his mother had a Horse Norn head. See the oddity? Pipit has a Banana Norn head! This was not a trick of Norn genetics suddenly gaining the ability to have dominant and recessive traits. Rather, Pipit’s head appearance gene had mutated. In fact, he didn’t actually have a head appearance gene! Time for a genetic analysis on this little guy.


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: 88 Emb B MutDupCut Brain, Decision, i/ps, Chemical 0, chem=Reward, thresh=0, nom=0, gain=255, features=Analogue
Mutation: 88 Emb B MutDupCut Brain, Noun i/ps, Chemical 0, chem=Reward, thresh=0, nom=0, gain=255, features=Analogue

A brain receptor mutation! With many similar past cases, the bottom line is that this mutation will affect the learning process. In the default genome, this gene states that the reward chemical stimulates chemical 0 within the brain’s decision lobe. In other words, it controls how the reward chemical is passed to the decision lobe, thereby allowing learning to take place based on positive reinforcement. For Pipit, this link has been broken. Rather than affecting the decision lobe, this gene now allows the reward chemical to affect the noun lobe. From what I can tell, however, there is no way for chemical 0 to affect the noun lobe. Effectively, this gene has simply been silenced. Pipit didn’t seem to have trouble learning, although I did notice that punishing him had better results than sticking with a routine almost entirely composed of reward. It might seem harsh, but a few extra slaps for not listening really helped Pipit start to learn.


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: 245 Emb B Mut ‘Invol 4=’shiver” causes sig=0 GS neu=255 int=0 => 16*Hotness++ + 32*Coldness- + 16*Tiredness + 16*Fear
Mutation: 245 Emb B Mut ‘Invol 4=’shiver” causes sig=0 GS neu=255 int=0 => 16*Hotness++ + 32*Coldness- + 16*Coldness + 16*Fear

This mutation should look very familiar, as it has been passed down through a couple of generations. It originated with Ramsvika, Pipit’s grandmother. It’s actually quite interesting to see a mutation sort of settle into a population! Pipit’s half-brother, Hypocolius, also inherited this mutation from their father, Kaw. When Pipit shivers, he does not become tired, but also stays a bit colder than a typical Norn. It will take him longer to warm up when he does shiver, yet he will not grow tired in the process. More of a quirk than anything else!


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.

Default:: 8 Emb B Mut Head is of type 5
Mutation: 8 Emb B Mut Leg is of type 5

Oh dear! Appearance genes are fairly easy to understand, especially compared with the other sorts of genes. Typically, this gene simply defines the sprites and body data files for the head. Poor Pipit’s gene mutated to say that this definition is for his legs… He doesn’t even possess a head appearance gene! A very small part of me was curious to see if he would hatch without a head. Thankfully, Creatures 1 simply assigns breed slot 0 to any undefined body parts. This corresponds with the Banana Norn, which is how Pipit has a different appearance from both of his parents. Since his standard leg appearance gene already had type 5 defined, I was unable to determine what would happen with conflicting appearance genes for the same body part. Mutations like these are why I often edit my breeds so that their appearance genes are set in stone, without the ability to be duplicated, mutated, nor removed. Have you ever had an odd appearance gene mutation? Sometimes I feel like it adds a comical element, but I also think it seems unrealistic!

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