Monday, 14 May 2012

Amelia, Edgar, and Creature Link - Part 2

My previous post delved into the genetics of Amelia, who possessed the following mutation:

110 Chi B MutDup 1*Punishment + 1*<NONE> => 1*Reinforcement + 1*PunishmentEcho; half-life = 16

However, further investigation indicates that this cannot be her only problem. Though I have yet to isolate the cause of her learning and decision-making issues, further studies seem to dismiss the severity of her mutated gene.

I introduced two norns into a new world via the Science Kit with the same mutated gene as Amelia. The first was a first-generation Purple Mountain Norn and the second was a first-generation Snow Norn. I wanted to study a snow norn in particular, as they use the Survivor Norn gene, which I thought may be causing a more significant result in the case of Amelia. However, both Ceriba (left) and Morris (right) did not show significant problems with learning. They ate on their own and when instructed, and I rewarded them each for doing so.

An interesting thing to note about this gene is that, until childhood, the punishment/reward graph in the Science Kit appears as such. Without the gene switched on, it seems the norn constantly feels the maximum amount of Punishment. However, it does not seem to have a noticeable effect on Ceriba or Morris' behavior, other than the constant "get yes" expressions.

So as it is, I'm not sure why altering the gene showed such significant results for Amelia and Edgar and not for other norns, unless it just happened to be a fluke. (However, it should be noted that I did perform the experiment several times, and there were several incarnations of Edgar with various genes edited. The alteration of the above gene was the only occurrence where Edgar was able to eat properly. I then proceeded to crash the game each time as not to save it, so I could pretend that I hadn't performed so many experiments. Ahem. Carrying on.)

I may continue to attempt to isolate further problematic genes in Amelia, or just carry on and let her be. Though she is constantly hungry, the Survivor gene makes her particularly hardy and her inability to eat properly does not seem to be causing her significant health problems.

Creature Link News!

So I think it is time for some happier updates as I continue my documentation of Iberis and Serissa from Creature Link! The happiest and most significant update is that Iberis and Eliza had a baby egg together!

What's even better, is that in addition to being absolutely adorable, baby Athena did not receive her mother's mutation! She spent a bit of time with her mother, going over vocabulary and learning to eat, before I relocated her to the garden to socialize with the other creatures. Though I would love to let her stay with Eliza, I didn't want her learning abilities or health compromised by Eliza's Nannybugs. (Also as you may have noticed, Eliza did manage to shuffle into the garden far enough for me to teleport her to the computer!)

Serissa and Edgar ended up having a baby as well! Though this was a happy occasion, baby Aloe seems to have some rather significant issues.

He seems unable to follow any commands issued by the hand. Although this is not unheard of, he seems rather selective in what he will or will not listen to. For example, he will not look at an object directed by the hand, but he can learn words of objects he is already looking at. However, he does not seem able to learn the word for "food" under any circumstances. I find this very unusual, as he can learn words for everything else!

Unfortunately, Iberis was not the best father figure around. Immediately after his time with Eliza, he proceeded to wander off and kiss-pop with the other females. (At least he doesn't have fertility problems..?) The happy result of this, however, was a courtship with Serissa herself!

After laying her egg, Serissa and Iberis were greeted by an old friend, Graxx, who came to visit them! Though most likely a result of a variety of coincidences, I would like to think that Graxx was congratulating the happy couple.

Assuming that the baby has no severe mutations, he/she will be uploaded back to Creature Link after hatching!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Amelia, Edgar, and Creature Link

Edit: I have been unable to recreate Amelia's issue in first-generation norns, so it seems as though there is something else at work here that I have yet to discover.

Now that school has started up again, I will most likely be taking a break from Cobbing as it is a bit time-extensive. However, the good news about this is that I will be able to devote my Creatures time to actually playing Creatures! Which means, most likely, more blog posts about, well, creatures.

I wanted to do a small study on the effects of learning in baby norns, and how detrimental genes that hinder early development can have an effect later in life. My subject for this study is Amelia (left) and her clone-brother Edgar (right). Amelia was born with this gene:

110 Chi B MutDup 1*Punishment + 1*<NONE> => 1*Reinforcement + 1*PunishmentEcho; half-life = 16

This gene relates to a creature's ability to feel reinforcement from punishment. As Jessica from Discover Albia explains, "these two latter chemicals remain in the system for some time and continue to reinforce and echo the...action." The problem, however, is that instead of switching on at birth, this gene won't turn on until childhood. The effect of this in-game seems to be fairly severe, as it significantly hinders Amelia's ability to learn from her decisions during an integral part of her development.

Unfortunately, I had lost Amelia due to an accidental World overwrite, (apparently it's not always a good idea to have several versions of Creatures installed on one computer. Manual back-ups it is for now on!) The good news, however, is that I still had her genetic file and was able to re-create her with a Genetics Kit import. This also meant that I would be able to study Amelia from baby to adulthood!

After hatching Amelia and teaching her to talk, I immediately taught her the word for "food" and encouraged her to eat. She was fascinated with that piece of cheese. For a very, very long time. However, despite my best attempts, Amelia would not eat the cheese. Though she felt hunger, she did not feel the punishment associated with being hungry.

I had anticipated that after the baby-stage, Amelia would, with some coaxing, eventually learn to eat the cheese properly. Unfortunately, this was not quite the case.

Amelia picked up, dropped, slept with, picked up, and dropped the same piece of cheese well into adolescence. In fact, it took nearly an hour of constant encouragement for Amelia to finally eat! (And what a joyous occasion it was!) Though I rewarded her, she did not seem particularly interested in repeating the action. In fact, the Decision page of the Science Kit generally looks like this:

This is very similar to Eliza's Decision graph, which led me to believe that something else may be affecting Amelia's ability to make decisions as well. To test this, I used the Genetics Kit to alter Amelia's punishment gene so that it switched on during the embryo stage, as is normal.

The result was baby Edgar, who, unlike his "sister", immediately began eating when instructed, and continued to do so properly. This would indicate that the loss of proper learning and punishment reinforcement during the baby-stage was detrimental enough to have a lasting effect well into adulthood. The good news is that as Amelia gets older, she is, fortunately, becoming easier to teach. However, it does take a very long time and a lot of coaxing before she will eat anything! After 2 and a half hours of life, I have yet to see Amelia eat on her own, or interact with any object, such as a toy, without repeated instruction.

In Other News...

I have very pleased to announce that I decided to give Jessica's Creature Link a try! Creature Link is a site designed to create links between community members by creating links between generations of creatures. Players can request to adopt a norn, and then later upload descendants of that norn for other players to enjoy. The idea is to do this without clones or duplicates, so that other players can continue the link. Of course, there is no obligation to upload a descendant after adoption, but it does seem like it would be a lot of fun to do so!

My two adopted norns are Iberis (left) and Serissa (right). Iberis has a mutation that causes light to be transformed into testosterone! Serissa has no significant mutations, which I thought would be a good idea considering they are entering a world with a few unstable genes already.

According to the adoption page, Iberis may have some fertility problems as he ages due to his mutation. So far, I've noticed that he has a fairly high sex drive despite being a child, (oh dear). Otherwise, though, both norns are learning and exploring Albia normally!

Iberis quickly made friends with the resident grendel, Graxx, and he even taught him a few things, such as the word for "food". Serissa seemed particularly interested in Eliza, and spent most of her babyhood with her! Later on, Iberis became interested in her as well, and even began tickling and kissing her!

Could this be the start of a future romance? Who knows! But I am hoping to see some (relatively) healthy baby norns in the future, as I would love to continue the link on Creature Link with a descendant or two!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Nannybug Release

The Nannybug is now available for download at Jessi's Cobs or, alternatively, right here. As there is a bit more explanation involved than normal, I'll be providing a detailed description here on my blog (as this will be too long for my download site).

The Nannybug is a little mushroomy critter that produces tiny little spores, which, coincidentally, happen to be remarkably useful. A norn (or grendel) is able to absorb these spores through its skin, and obtain the benefits without needing to interact with the object at all. Simply placing the Nannybug next to the creature, so that the sprites are touching, is enough. The Nannybug will periodically shoot off little spores, and if a norn is touching the bug at that time, he will receive the effects. This is useful for norns who have trouble walking and interacting with objects.

The type of spore the Nannybug produces is altered by the food that it consumes. By default, the Nannybug will be red and have the effect of Sex Drive Increase. By picking up the Nannybug and dropping it on various food items, however, the effect will change. The color of the Nannybug's mushroom will also change, so that you can easily identify the type of effect it will have. I made up this handy-dandy little chart for your convenience.

For honey pots and alcohol, the jar/glass must be full (not tipped over) for the Nannybug to eat from the item. He will not deplete any of the honey or alcohol from the jar, however, so it won't get used up by feeding the bug.

For the plants, (Feverfew, Gentian, etc.) the Nannybug can eat straight from the plant like a norn. The plant will be consumed as normal, but will grow back much more quickly than normal for your convenience. (This does not alter the script of the plant, though. If a creature eats from the plant, it will grow back at its normal pace). The Nannybug can only eat from plants that are fully grown.

The Nannybug can also eat injected herbs from the Health/Breeding Kit, or the ones produced from SteerPike's Feverfew, Morning Glory, and Gentian Vendors. Please note, however, that while you can use the Health Kit Feverfew and Morning Glories, the affect of eating these two herbs will be reversed. That is because the Health Kit versions are very wrong, and I chose to make the COB compatible with SteerPike's herbs instead. Because they are right.

You may notice that the numerical values of the injections are not extreme, (ranging between 50 and 125), as I wanted it to be somewhat reasonable. If you find that these numbers are not high enough for your particular creature, you can always throw down more Nannybugs to increase the "dosage" your creature is receiving.

Clicking the Nannybug will put it to sleep, and it will remain sleeping until picked up again. When asleep, the Nannybug will not produce spores.

The Nannybug is intended primarily for use with special needs norns, who cannot eat for themselves or have issues sleeping, as an alternative to using the Science Kit injections to maintain their health. Using this COB with healthy norns can severely inhibit their ability to learn for themselves! (The temperature and population control effects should be fine to use with regular norns, however).

As always, please let me know if you encounter any problems with this COB.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Flowers, Flowers, and Mushrooms

I finally got a chance to try out a new update for C3/DS by Geek2Nurse, which I have been really very excited about. This update alters the Bluebell and Starflower plants that come in C3, and is available in the Agents Downloads section of CreaturesCaves.

Though it seems that you need Creatures 3 installed for these to work, you can still inject them into an undocked DS world as well. They will begin growing in the Norn Terrarium, or in the Meso if you are playing a DS only game. It should be noted though that this agent will remove the original Bluebell and Starflower plants from your world, so you may want to take that into consideration.
The first lovely thing about these plants is the beautiful recolors added for the Starflower. They seem to randomly sprout as pink, blue, or yellow, and will be facing towards either the right or the left. I really love these little details and added dimensions of randomness, as it makes the plant seem very natural in any environment. Which, of course, brings us to a very important tiny little detail, which is that both the Starflower and Bluebell plants can be picked up and carried around by both the hand as well as your creatures.

It is rather adorable watching your creatures walking around with a big, happy flower. The most important thing about this, though, is that it makes it very easy to customize other Metarooms! Like the Biodome.

In Other News...

I thought I would post about the Mushroom Bug as well, now renamed Nannybug. It is actually very close to completion, and is residing in that delightful testing-and-tweaking stage. You may notice that the critter is a tad bit smaller than it was initially. As much fun as it was having a legion of giant creepy mushy-bug-things, it wasn't remarkably practical, as they kind of got in the way. So I now introduce to you the much smaller, more compact, more efficient Nannybug.

There are nine different variations of the Nannybug, and is determined by what you feed to your bug. The current list of foods and effects is as follows:

Honey - Hunger Decrease/Starch Increase (ORANGE)
Alcohol - Boredom Decrease/Need for Pleasure Decrease (PURPLE)
Tomato - Increase Sex Drive (RED)
Ugly Tomato - Decrease Sex Drive (RED/YELLOW SPOTS)
Feverfew - Pain Decrease (GREEN)
Morning Glory - Exhaustion Decrease (DARK BLUE/YELLOW SPOTS)
Coffee - Sleepiness Decrease (BROWN)
Gentian - Coldness Decrease (LIGHT BLUE)
Campanula - Hotness Decrease (LIGHT BLUE/YELLOW SPOTS)

Like my other COBs, the Nannybug will be fed by dropping him onto various foods/drinks. Plants and such will grow back after being eaten, though slightly faster than normal for your convenience.

As mentioned before, this COB is primarily intended for the care of special needs creatures, or severe illness. As it injects nutrients and chemicals into your creature automatically, it can and will affect your creature's ability to learn properly. Of course, they can also be used for population control just because... well, why not?

In the case of Eliza, they are being used to improve her quality of life, as she cannot eat, walk, interact with objects, or wake up if she falls asleep. Although Science Kit injections can keep her alive, the Nannybugs can also keep her happy (with dancing!) and greatly improve the quality of her life.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Small Update

Muggy Update

Edit: Okay, I actually put the old version of the COB back up after some thought. Although the new version was consistent with the Health Kit herbs, it was inconsistent with the wild herbs. As I believe the effects of the wild herbs are intended to be correct, I think the herbs Muggy digs up should reflect that. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Original Post: It's time for another Muggy update. This time it's a rather minor issue, as the Feverfew and Morning Glory herbs he dug up had their sprites switched around. (So Morning Glory looked like Feverfew and vice versa). This was actually caused by the actual class numbers in-game to be mixed up. The Feverfew plant, for example, has the class number "2 4 9" and Morning Glory uses "2 4 10". However, the Morning Glory herb, (the one injected via the Health Kit) uses the class number "2 4 9" and Feverfew uses "2 4 10". Basically they seem to have gotten mixed up in the coding, so the herbs in my COB had the opposite effect that they should have.

Or at least, they had the opposite effect as that of the Health Kit herbs.

Long story short, my Muggy COB has been updated once again and the new version is available at Jessi's Cobs or right here.