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!


  1. Iberis and Serissa look adorable together! I'm so glad they integrated themselves so well with Graxx and Eliza! I'm also very interested in the genetic study you did... I wouldn't think that the mutation would affect the way decisions are made to such a severe degree, but you learn something new all the time! I hope to see some descendants for CreatureLink in the future: Good luck!

    1. Iberis and Serissa are both wonderful additions to my world! (Also you'll be happy to know that Iberis is NOT infertile!)

      I was also a bit surprised to see the effect of the gene as well. I also checked and altered quite a few other genes, (which I didn't write about mostly because the post was already too long, and changing them didn't show any results.) Changing that one specific gene seemed to make all the difference.

      However, I think there may be some genetic issues with the breed as well. The Snow norns I've been using have the Survivor Norn genome, and seem to have a lot of attention and health issues in general.

      I'm continuing the study using an official norn breed instead, to see if the results are similar. (There is a part of me that feels bad experimenting on norns, though!)