Friday, June 26, 2009

Of Streaming and Splicing

The amusement never seems to cease when I'm reading the comments people leave in the LNA chatroom. Most people just ask "what game is this?" despite the show description blatantly stating it (I do wish that was a bit higher on the page..). Others will come in the chatroom to tell me to play warcraft/starcraft/other various games. And yet others who know and understand the concept will ask me to "kill off" some of my norns so theirs can warp in.

I wish there was a way to mark myself as away or something, because though I want to be around to answer questions and help people out, I don't appreciate it when people leave nasty messages because I'm not watching my chatroom every second. I also really wish the show description was somewhere other than the bottom of the page. That's kind of critical information, and I don't really appreciate how ustream pushes it underneath the comments box and other recommended shows.

Ah well.

In other news, my DS splicer control panel is coming along rather nicely! You'll have to click the thumbnail to see the full image though-- I didn't want to break the screen with it.

Right now it works decently-- the top button divides all creatures in the world into two groups and drops a group over each of the splice pods so they don't have to be dragged over to them, the second button automatically imports all creatures from the My Creatures folder, the third button will create a pair of random creatures from two randomly selected genomes in the Genetics folder and drop one over each of the splice pods so they're ready to mix. The fourth button is the sedative gas, which can be turned on or off; it lowers all drives of the creatures in the splicing area and lulls them into a deep sleep, which ensures the creatures are the happiest they have ever been and as a bonus stops them from moving around and getting out of the range of the splice pods. For the most part, these buttons work pretty flawlessly.

The AutoSplice button, which is pretty awesome when it works, is still giving me a few problems. Essentially it systematically splices all the creatures in the world until there are only a specified amount left (6 is the default, but that number can be changed by the user). It starts by splicing all the creatures near the splice pods, (realigning them with the pods if they wander off), and then teleports the second generation under the splicer up to the pods to resplice, and so on until the desired number is reached.

I'm having a few issues though-- one is with the teleport segment of the process; even though I'm using the exact code from the top button which works perfectly, it likes to give me "invalid position" errors. The second problem is an issue with the splicer itself: occasionally it will mistake an empty pod for being full, which throws the cycle into an endless loop of trying to splice something that isn't there. So I might have to actual modify the code ripped directly from the C3 splicer, which I was hoping to avoid.

Nonetheless, I'm pretty happy about how well this is going. I've never created anything this elaborate before, and even though much of it is just altered code from the C3 splicer, the control panel thing was pretty much done from scratch, with the exception of the import button which takes a lot from the DS import script. Now if I can just figure out how to fix these bugs... then I'll need to seek out people interested in testing. Developing is certainly a fun path :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

You can't be serious.

I thought adding the WarpMonitor to my LNA world would be a nice way to let viewers know how long they would have to wait to see their creature on screen. I wasn't expecting to find a line of 70+ creatures awaiting entry. My goodness.

I didn't know what else to do-- I cleared out the backup by exporting all the creatures as they came in until the queue was empty.

Wow though. I knew there was a queue but this came as a serious shock. Now that I have this agent running though I should be able to monitor the queue more carefully. If this continues to be a problem I might have to figure out a way to limit things.

Friday, June 19, 2009

More Efficient Splicing


First of all, I need to gush about how much fun session 1 of the first Live Wolfling Run was today (erm, yesterday technically, seeing as it's 1 in the morning now). It's been so long since I was in a chatroom with other creatures players, and all the silly commentary that was made about what was going on onscreen just made it so much fun. It was like we were all raising norns together. I am both excited and apprehensive about tomorrow-- Hopefully the fun will continue, but I also know creatures will start dying out, and that will be a sad thing to watch...

In my personal worlds though... I have been splicing hundreds of creatures that have been found in export files on my harddrive, doomed to an eternity of being frozen in time otherwise. But during my splicing adventures, I kept thinking how nice it would be to be able to have the splicer in an undocked world so I wouldn't have to deal with the slowdown that all those extra metarooms in a docked world bring.

So just out of curiousity to see if I could do it, I poked around in the C3 splicer .cos files, changed some coordinates, then messed around with some of the scripts involved in the powerups and bioenergy to actually get the thing running. And tada:
I found myself with a fully functioning splicer in my DS hub.

I then went so far as to add some extra rooms to the area underneath the main hub area so freshly spliced creatures land on a floor underneath the splicer-- this is so I don't accidcently splice them again until the whole first generation has been spliced.

Then I was on a roll, so I decided to fix another problem-- a ton of adult norns running around the splice room tend to block the hand from being able to click the pods to get the creatures inside them. So I created a "sedative," an invisible agent that lowers all the drives of creatures in the hub and puts them in a sort of a delerious, happy grog, while strongly suggesting them to rest. Not only does this make their splicing the most pleasant and painless experience of their lives, but while they're lying down the hand can click the pods without accidently tickling a creature.

Still having way too much fun with this, I then created a Creature Call button, which, when pushed, teleports all creatures right above one of the two splice pods, alternating between the two so that the creatures are evenly distributed. This, combined with the sedative that makes them sleepy mean I virtually never have to chase norns around to get them into the splice pods ever again.
It's just a matter of clicking each pod and pressing the splice button now.

At that point the most painful part of the process is importing all the creatures to splice. So again I tinkered with the import button found in the DS UI and created a similar button that essentially automated the process of importing. One click imports all creatures in your My Creatures folder (or at least, until you reach the population limit or your game explodes from holding too many creatures).

So now my splice process consists of moving 40 creatures from my Random Creatures folder to the My Creatures folder, one-click importing them all, using the call button to place them all by the pods, click-click-splice, repeat until the first generation is all spliced, call the second generation to the pods, repeat two more times or until I have about 5 creatures left, which are exported.

It's quite an improvement over manually importing each creature, dragging it to the splice pod, getting it in without tickling it, repeat for second creature, splice, move offspring somewhere safe, and so on and so forth.

Right now though, this splice system is spread out in about 6 different cos files and the buttons are in random places and are unlabeled, so perhaps I'll eventually structure them into a decent control panel and use proper sprites for the buttons, and compile and release it as a tribute to fellow splicers.

I'm also considering a button based on my Random Run script that creates a pair of completely random creatures for the beginning splicer who doesn't have hoards upon hoards of exported creatures sitting around on their hard drive.

...I'm sure I'll get back to working on BattleStance and my random run and all my other projects eventually. I just have so many nutty ideas.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Layout/Life in Girls Night

I got a bit tired of the default blog template, so I tweaked it a little. The metaroom shown above is Children of Capillata: Daedalus (images by Silvak and coding by Zzzzoot, downloadable here). It's quickly becoming one of my favorites.

I plan on eventually re-tagging everything on this blog to make it a little more organized, so people can use the tags like a menu bar/contents listing, so if things look a little funny, that's why.

I don't have a lot of time to play around in my pet worlds lately, but today I exported all my girls from my all-female world, Girls Night, wiped and remade it. This time they're exploring the Children of Capillata rooms.

There have been a few timely deaths-- nearly three of my older norns passed on around the same time. But more were born via insemination and I even broke away from my CFE-only mode to hatch a new butterfly norn named Wyng. She later had a child (the one in the banner above) who sadly and mysteriously died when I wasn't looking. Leffa, the bruin-headed norn in the banner, is due to norn heaven herself-- in about four minutes if she lives an average lifespan. She has had the joy of mothering two children and "fathering" a third. I suppose soon I will give Wyng another chance at motherhood. She's been pushing the door for five minutes now though-- I may have to chase her around with the inseminator.

I have been having problems with Kiara, another one of my bruin-headed norns. She seems to have developed a mean-streak and has been beating the snot out of Kimmy, the newest baby. In fact, it's a little concerning how much time she spends just looking at other norns. I wonder if it's something genetic.

Oh dear... Kimmy is insisting on eating the door. I really don't ever plan on having human children.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Live Nornish Action FAQ

I've been getting an awful lot of questions about LNA-- most of them left in the chatroom (which is an impossible way to contact me since I'm usually not around to respond). So this is a little FAQ to answer the questions I get asked the most.

Last update: June 14th, 2009 -- added a new question: What is the maximum population of the LNA world?

About Creatures
What is Creatures/Docking Station?
What exactly is going on here?
What are the creatures saying?

About LNA
What is Live Nornish Action?
What software is used to record the video?
What breeds/agents/other addons are installed?
What is the maximum population of the LNA world?
How do I contact you?

Sending Creatures
How do I send you a norn?
Can I send ettins or grendels?
Is there anything I shouldn't send?
Did you get my creature?
Where is my creature?
Can you send my creature back?

About your Creatures
Why does my creature look different in your world?
My creature is starving! Do something!
Will my creature be able to breed?
Why was my creature exported?

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About Creatures

What is Creatures/Docking Station?

Creatures is a series of Artificial Life programs starring the Norns, a breed of curious furry creatures eager to explore their world. Norns are unique in that they are far more complex than any "virtual pet" game on the market today. They have a realistic simulated biochemistry and a neural network brain with which they make descisions. None of their actions and behaviors are pre-programmed-- norns learn about the world around them as they grow and experiement, then make their own choices. Each norn also has its own set of genetics, which it passes on to its offspring, allowing for endless variety in crossbreeds made even more interesting with the random chance of mutation.

Creatures Docking Station (often abbreviated as DS) is one of the more recent additions to the Creatures series, and is completely free. DS adds a new level of functionality-- it allows users to swap and share their creatures with each other online via the in-game warp. As its name suggests, Docking Station may be "docked" with the retail version of Creatures 3 to expand the world, but the world is also expandable with thousands of free new breeds, objects, and rooms, all created by the community.

If you want to learn more about Creatures, check out the Creatures Wiki. If you want to experience Docking Station for yourself, you can download it free at Docking Station Central, and be sure to check out the small but dedicated Creatures Community at Creaturetopia.

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What exactly is going on here?

No one is actively playing the game; it is running by itself (though if you watch for long enough you may occasionally see the hand checking the world for immortal norns, responding to messages, and so on). For the most part you are watching the norns (or ettins or grendels) in their natural habitat, eating, sleeping, exploring, and interacting with their environment and fellow creatures.

The following diagram will help you to more easily understand what you are looking at:

1. Name of the currently selected creature. Every few moments a script will select a different creature.

2. The connection indicator. Green means the world is online and likely open to receiving new creatures. Orange means the world is offline.

3. Life events. These icons depict the last three major events that took place in the LNA world. The small egg inside the larger one represents a pregnancy, the egg icon means an egg has been laid, and the cracked egg means a newborn creature has just hatched. A cross icon means a creature has recently died. The cross icon is generally the most common in LNA, because the population is usually too high for the creatures to breed or lay eggs.

4. The small red arrow hovers over the selected creature. This makes it a little easier to see which creature is selected in a crowd.

5. The small green arrow hovers over the object or creature that the selected creature is looking at or thinking about. Right now, Skitty is thinking about the bit of purple food she is holding.

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What are the creatures saying?

Norns speak in their own gibberish language (generally referred to as Bibble) but activating certain objects in the world will allow them to learn very simple English, which they use to express themselves and make suggestions to other creatures.

Creatures speak in third person, referring to themselves by their own names. They will often speak about how they feel, what they are doing (or thinking about doing), and make suggestions to other creatures. Their overly simplified vocabulary may be confusing at first, but it is not difficult to catch on. The most confusing thing to understand at first may be the verb "push" which is an all-purpose word for "interact with." To push a toy is to play with it; to push a vendor is to get it to dispense food, to push a bug is to poke it. Pushing a creature is a gesture of affection. For objects with two different interactions (such as elevators which can either go up or down), creatures will push the object for the first interaction, and pull it for the second.

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About LNA

What is Live Nornish Action?

Live Nornish Action (abbreviated as LNA) is a stream of video from the game Creatures Docking Station. The game is left mostly unattended (except in certain events) so the creatures are left to fend for themselves.

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What software is used to record the video?
The software I use is called WebcamMax. Its primary function is to add various effects to a normal webcam, but it includes a feature to turn a portion of your screen into a webcam. The trial is free, but you'll have to register if you want to get rid of the watermark.

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What breeds/agents/other addons are installed?
I have made an effort to include as many different breeds as possible so norns sent into the world will show up correctly on screen.

Depending on what is currently going on in the world, there may be any number of agents installed. There are, however, two invisible scripts that are always running. One is AutoTab, a script I wrote that targets a new norn every few minutes so you don't have to always watch the same one, and the other is the Supernamer, which automatically gives a unique name to any unnamed norns.

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What is the maximum population of the LNA world?
The total population of creatures allowed in the LNA world is currently set at ten. The goal is to keep the population small enough that it doesn't get too crowded, so people don't have to wait an hour for the auto-selecter to get around to selecting their creature, and so the world doesn't slow down too much.

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How do I contact you?
Honestly, the fastest way to contact me is by sending a private message on the Creaturetopia forums to Amaikokonut. Alternatively you can leave a comment at the bottom of this page. You can also send a message inside Creatures Docking Station to LNA, but beware, it may show up on screen. You can also send a message to my personal DS ID, BluburryNorn, but response may be slower as I don't check that every day.

Leaving a message in the show chatroom is not an effective way to contact me, as I don't watch it constantly.

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Sending Creatures

How do I send you a norn?
If LNA is online and the warp is open, you are perfectly welcome to warp it into the LNA world and watch it on screen. To sending a norn into LNA, you must warp it in via the Docking Station warp. A simple guide is as follows:

- Make sure you are online.


- Go to the Workshop.


- Select the 'Configure Chamber' icon at the top of the warp champer interface (the one that looks like a norn in jail)


- Use the arrows to add and remove names the "send to" list. Make sure LNA is the only name in the list. If LNA is not in your contacts list at all, you can add it manually from the Creature Labs site. If LNA is shown in red, the world is currently offline and is not accepting creatures from the warp at that time.



- Drop the creature you wish to send into the containment chamber and make sure it is locked.



- Click the green checkmark to send off your creature! You may need to reselect the Configure Chamber icon if the check doesn't light up at first.

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Can I send ettins or grendels?

Despite the name of the stream, yes, you are perfectly welcome to warp in Creatures of all sorts.

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Is there anything I shouldn't send?

Because the warp portal is wide open to the randomness of the warp, it is understood that anything might show up. However, please try to avoid sending immortal or especially violent creatures. Creatures older than 8 hours will be routinely exported to keep from clogging up the queue of incoming creatures, and sending creatures to kill everyone else is just mean :(

You should also avoid sending creatures with special needs, dietary or otherwise, because the creatures are not cared for by hand and must be able to fend for themselves.

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Did you get my creature?

Ideally, LNA is up and running 24/7. Unfortunately, I am not. For this reason I am not watching the game constantly and cannot give you specific information on your creatures. You'll have to keep watching the stream yourself to see if your creature shows up.

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Where is my creature?

When you send a creature through the warp to LNA, it is unlikely that it will show up in the world immediately. Often there is a queue of creatures sitting in the warp waiting to get into the world, and it may take a while before yours appears. There is a population limit, so a creature must die or be exported before the next in the queue can show up.

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Can you send my creature back?

LNA is not constantly monitored, so it is highly unlikely that any creature you send can be returned to you before it finishes living out its life. Please keep in mind that when you send a creature anywhere in the warp, it is could end up anywhere and its fate is no longer in your hands.

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About your Creatures

Why does my creature look different in your world?

If you warp in a creature and it looks quite different on screen from how it appears in your world, it is usually either because LNA has a breed installed that you don't, or because you have a breed installed that LNA doesn't. If you are fond of a particular breed that does not display properly on LNA, feel free to leave a message with a link to where the breed is available so it can be installed.

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My creature is starving! Do something!

In LNA, creatures are left to fend for themselves. The resources in the norn meso are more than adequate for a creature's survival. Unfortunately, if the creature leaves the meso and cannot find his/her way back, there is often nothing that can be done. If this troubles you, avoid sending creatures with poor survival instincts into LNA

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Will my creature be able to breed?

Technically, yes. If your creature comes into the world during a time of low population, it may find a mate and produce offspring. However, this is highly unlikely, because quite often norns are coming in through the warp as others die off and the population rarely gets low enough for breeding to be possible. If you want your norn to produce offspring, please let it do so before sending it in.

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Why was my creature exported?

Creatures are exported if they are considered detrimental to the population. For example, if a creature is immortal, or is more than 8 hours old, it is exported to make room for more creatures; it's not fair for a norn to stay in the world for so long when so many others are waiting to get in. On the other hand, a creature will also be exported if it is quite violent and excessively beats other creatures. A creature may also be exported if its name is considered inappropriate.

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This FAQ will be updated as necessary. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

Enjoy the show!

Random LNA Ideas

So I'm still racking my brain for ways to make Live Nornish Action more interesting for the community. And while I'm planning on doing a few community live wolfling runs, so far the idea really hasn't gained much support or contribution.

One of the problems with streaming community live wolfling runs is that the lives of the norns are so short. People might be interested in watching their own norns and maybe their first offspring, but after that the creatures are foreign to them and there's no real motive to keep tabs on them.

So I'm trying to come up with some more ideas for "programs" that hopefully people can feel a little more connected with.

The first and simplest notion to come to mind is just a feral run with genetically altered norns-- just changing the half-life gene so the norns age very, very slowly. I'm talking a lifespan of 100-200 hours (less so if the run was shown in intervals rather than stream 24/7). Some other modifications might be made to make pregnancies longer as well as recovery time afterward, but otherwise the run would proceed as normal. It would give everyone a chance to see their creatures in action and perhaps put more emphasis on actual survival, since the longer a creature lives the more likely it is to come in contact with antigens and other dangers. People might be able to get a bit more attached to something like that.

Now, developing the notion a little further, I might consider running some sort of Survivor-esque game show (which.... probably wouldn't be very survivor-esque, considering I've never even watched survivor) in which members of the CC send in creatures under their names. The creatures are genetically altered to be fixed at a desired lifestage and never age (they are still perfectly mortal, just not by aging). These representative Creatures would be released into the world and occasionally be subjected to certain obstacles-- be that disease, a particularly vicious creature, an elaborate version of the IQ test, etc.. Creatures would be awarded points based on how many children they had (which would be exported after note was made of them) and for exceeding in certain obstacles (being the first to finish the IQ test or killing off the vicious creature). Most of the time though, the creatures would just run around doing their creaturely things-- though I would probably make note of dates and times that certain events would take place so people could watch at that time if they wanted to.

Something like this could work several ways:

- The game could run for a certain length of time and at the end the creature with the most points would be declared the winner. Creatures that died throughout the course of the game may be reincarnated at the cost of half or all of their points.

- The game could last as long as it takes for all but one of the creatures to die off. Points could be spent on reincarnations, but if a creature dies and is out of points, it is out of the game.

- As per tradition, people could vote a different creature out of the game every week. The creature with the most points would be immune to the votes, reincarnation would cost a set number of points, and votes against creatures with negative points would be worth twice as much.

- The game would be ongoing until everyone got bored and and have no real winner, but a point tally would be kept for fun.

In the end though, LNA is just a bunch of creatures running around-- something anyone can witness by firing up the game. Except in the case of special events, it's really not meant to be something you watch for extended periods of time; it's just something you peek in on now and again to check on a favorite creature. Unless the community can really benefit from it in some way, I'm not sure how long it will last after the novelty wears off.

I am considering using it for other purposes though-- perhaps as a way for developers to promote upcoming breeds, metarooms, or agents. I think having an open warp in an unreleased metaroom would be quite a way to get people interested about what is to come.

It doesn't have to be limited to unreleased stuff either... It could also just promote any community-created content that people might be interested in. Might be a fun way to spread the word about new or nearly-forgotten content.

Anyway I'm rambling now. I believe I've been up all night brainstorming.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Belated Warp Week 1 Video Journal

I don't know if I mentioned it at the time, but during the first Warp Week I kept a little daily video journal, detailing the highlights of the days. I finally got around to compiling it into a single video file which you can download at this link, if you so wish.

Granted, it is a bit long (21 minutes, hence why I didn't stick it on YouTube or anything) and a bit large (78mb, but that's quite a feat considering the raw AVI was nearly five gigs). It's more for record-keeping/archival purposes than entertainment value. But if you want to listen to me ramble on about norns for 15 minutes followed by five minutes of hundreds of norns being spliced in super-speed set to insane DDR music, you're welcome to it!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Scattered State of the Creatures Community

I miss the Gameware forums.

Not because they were great forums. Don't get me wrong-- I was annoyed as anyone with the spammers and kids who just couldn't grasp the concept of basic forum etiquette, and it really would have benefited from closer moderation.

But they were a gathering place. People would break off and start their own forums, but all organized events, all group projects, all big announcements could still be discussed on the Gameware forums with the whole community. But when the forums went down, the remainder of the Creatures Community was scattered to the four winds. Some didn't know where to go and disappeared entirely, and the rest scurried to one of several fan-based forums.

Years later, the community continues to shrink, and appears even smaller due to being so split up. It makes it extremely difficult to coordinate a community-wide event (such as CCSF) when several people don't seem to know that there are more people involved in the community outside their forum, or if they do, don't seem to have any interest in contacting them.

But what can we do?

In a perfect world, we could all merge into one big happy forum. But that is far easier said than done.
First to protest I believe would be the admins/mods of the forums. I've run forums for other games/fandoms and let me tell you... merging just plain sucks for the admins. When you've been handling your community pretty well for a while and you have your own set of rules, your own way of handling misconduct, and even your own favorite skin for your forums, it is a serious test of patience to be put in a situation where you no longer have full control over your community, where you have to clear changes with other people before putting them into action, and so on. And if any conflict erupts between the admins, the whole thing is pretty much history. In fact, trying to run any community with more than two or three admins is generally a bad idea. I'd like to say we're above petty conflict and drama, but we are still human (though some of us swear otherwise)

Not to mention that during these past gameware-forum-less years, some of these sub-communities have grown rather comfortable and happy within their little group. Some forums are perfectly fine with mindless offtopic spamming; others will ban you for it. Trying to force those previously isloated cultures to mingle would likely result in conflict as well.

So what do we do? We can't create another general creatures forum and advertise it as the new community gathering, because unless everyone agreed on that concept we would just be creating another sub-community and splitting ourselves up even more.

So the idea I'm turning in my mind is not necessarily a community forum, but a community hub.
It would link to all the other sub-communities out there. It would include Creatures-based communities as well as other general communities started by CC members, and just generally link everything CC-related together as much as possible so we're just not so scattered.

And though it would have a forum-- a small one-- it would be used purely for discussing events that pertained to the entire community, so as to not take away traffic from the other sub-communities, but create a neutral ground for discussing things like CCSF, for coordinating and recruiting people for development projects, or for announcing new sites/content.

As per usual, I have no intent or means of putting this proposal into action, but it certainly has a much smaller chance of happening if I didn't write it down at all.

I really hope someday we can find a way to unite the CC again. As it seems Gameware has all but abandoned us, we really need to take matters into our own hands.

Random Run Updates

It didn't take terribly long for the first run to homogenize-- by generation 20~ or so pretty much the whole population was Chichi with Astro arms (which actually match very nice on the female Chichi body) and Harlequin legs. Not terribly impressive, but some potential, so I decided to try another.

I actually made note of which genomes were randomly injected this time, and the resulting sample consisted of Hardman, Wasserpflanze Plant, 2x CFE Treehugger, Moon Light, Unkraut Loewenzahn Plant, and "screw.gen", which is probably one of my long forgotten bizarre genetic experiements.

As of typing, the run is creeping into its 20th generation and most of the population consists of these odd grape-hardman-headed moon light norns. Some of them have moon light tails but many of them have these strange ... grendel-like tails? I'm not sure where they came from.. it may be some sort of mutation.

But they don't account for the entire population-- I'm really not sure of the genetic quirks involved in the plant norns but they don't seem to mind hanging out in the bottom of the workshop, thriving despite their lack of food. It may be a while before the population is truely homogenized if two separate populations can exist in different places on the ship, which is quite fine by me!

In other news, I'm going to try to make use of my Ustream channel to do a live wolfling run sometime in the next week or so. Details are in this thread at Creaturetopia if you want to get involved. It should be an interesting experiment.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Random Run

Well, LNA has been running fairly nicely for a week now. In an attempt to better the performance I reformatted the hard drive and while I don't know if I see a notable difference in the stream, the computer itself is much easier to work with now.

Progress has been slow but steady on BattleStance. I have added in the overlays, CAs, CA linkers, and have worked a little on the sprites for the fruit meant to grow on the tree. In experimenting with norns in the room though, I am worried that I may have made the lifts too large-- in some of the smaller rooms, they seem to grab every norn into it, willing or not-- and because they move so fast, if one norn is insistant on pulling the lift and the other on pushing, the lifts end up bouncing up and down for quite a time. As much of a pain as it was to do those lifts I am seriously considering reworking them.

There's been a lot of chatter over at Creaturetopia about CCSF '09. A couple of polls finally set this year's festival date for November 1st-14th-- partly in honor of the ten-year anniversary of Creatures 3, which was released on November 1st, 1999. Now there's a bit of dicussion about the potential theme. It's nice to see so much enthusiasm. I have high hopes for this year.

With the required updates out of the way, I'd like to make mention of a new sort of wolfling run I'm trying out. I'm calling it a "random run" and essentially beginning it with this block of code injected eight times:
new: simp 3 4 1 "eggs" 8 0 2000
pose 0
attr 195
bhvr 32
elas 10
fric 100
aero 10
accg 4
perm 60
gene load targ 1 "*"
setv ov01 0
tick 900
mvto 443 9167
anim [0 1 2 3]
It is a generic egg-injection script-- but the bolded line ensures that a completely random genome is injected into the egg. I have recently downloaded just a ton of new breeds and thought this would be an interesting way to test drive them.

It looks like the initial line-up consists of some chichis, an astro, a fallow, a harlequin, a couple plant norns, and a weird purple bengal. Not as many of the strange new breeds as I initially hoped, but randomness will have to take its course for the sake of the run rules.

I intend on letting the run go on until the population is mostly homogenous. Nothing special is being done to accomodate those norns with special needs-- the resulting genetic sample needs to be able to survive and breed normally in a typical DS world. I've rigged up the egg finder with the timer in the workshop and killed all teleporters as I do for all my runs, but other than than the world is virtually untouched. Nature will take its course now.

On a somewhat related note, I would like to do a few experiments on norn adaptation in different metarooms. It would take a while, and the results may or may not produce anything, but it might be interesting to try.

I would run several feral runs... perhaps five for each room. Starting with normal chichis, and letting them run until generation 100 or so, then comparing genetic samples to see how much they differ from each other and the base chichi genome. In theory, the norns within the same run would differ very little from each other, but differ some from the norns in different runs within the same metaroom, just due to the randomness of evolution. But theoretically, the norns from all runs done in one metaroom would differ quite noticabley from norns raised in another metaroom, because they have had to adapt to different enviroments.

I'm not sure if 100 generations is really enough for the genome to settle though. And I'm not even sure if the difference in metaroom enviroments would cause the genome differences to be greater than the sheer randomness of mutations that take place in separate colonies. But eh... that's what experiments are for, right? To prove or dispprove theories.

But I'll file that away in my nice little idea folder for now. As if I don't have enough projects to keep me busy!