Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Case of the Lonely Grendels

It occurred to me while interacting with my little berries today that it's been so long since I've played with regular creatures, or even CFE creatures, that I really can't tell if the seemingly odd behaviors of these creatures are due to their being instinctless, or due to being CFE, or if they are just regular creatures traits. So I may just have to leave that up to you more experience nurturers to determine.

I didn't think starting off right away with all six helpless, instinctless creatures right off the bat was the best idea, so I just started out by importing the norn pair

I decided to auto-vocab everyone in this world because while I do love the charm of spending time to hand-educate your first handful of creatures, I've discovered in the past that after the first or second generation, it becomes this generally mundane and repetitive chore that results in temptations to just lock the little guys up in the learning room for all their babyhood instead of doing any actual nurturing during those important formative years. Well, minutes anyway.

So I was a bit surprised when I first imported the pair and it was apparently love at first sight. I know CFEs are more expressive of their emotions, but it seems a little weird for even them to pop out of the egg and begin declaring their undying adoration for the creature beside them.

They sat cuddling in the corner for the first few minutes of their little lives before getting bored, when I suggested they play with the ball. They...took that idea and ran with it, chasing the ball all the way to the end of the hall, sticking with each other every step, before stopping to express their joy.

Ahh, the innocence of youth.

I looked away for just a moment to respond to a message, and came back not a moment later to see that Icepaw had developed a sudden streak of wanderlust that landed him in the jungle, and was starting to regret it. His little playmate didn't seem too happy with the arrangement either.

But they seemed to be getting on alright-- they weren't starving or throwing themselves into bodies of water, so I thought I would progress to importing our scalier pair.

They didn't have the cute cuddle time that the nornlings had right out of the shell, but they did express their likings for each other a few times before Gnaw decided to go prove her bravery by dancing on the piranha pool bridge. Wish I had a picture of that one.

Was it really safe to let Icepaw wander so close by? I'll admit, I was curious if instinctless grendels would have a better chance of getting along with other creatures. Norns still genetically make them angry to be around and hitting creatures does release that anger, but they aren't born knowing that, so they would have to learn that hitting creatures makes them feel good before it became a habit, and maybe I could teach them to take their aggression out elsewhere before they realize that small helpless creatures are the most effective punching bag.

But it seemed all they wanted to do was play with toys anyway.

So the really weird stuff started when Leo became separated from his bonier counterpart and began expressing his sadness.

Icepaw responded with "maybe get norn Leo," which I have to mention because it actually has some significance with instinctless creatures. As they are born without knowing what to do, it's easy to tell what they have learned when they respond to other creatures' complaints-- they will express what they think should be done in that situation. Without instincts to pre-program those reactions, they will usually respond with "maybe left/right something" unless they have learned a better way of dealing with it. So it is a little exciting to see that little Icepaw has learned how to deal with loneliness.

So I attempted to tell Leo to approach grendel in hopes of teaching him the same thing. didn't help?

Come on Leo, she's right ther-

Sigh. Gnaw, poke him or something so he knows you'r-

....oookay. So you guys are invisible to each other or something.

This continues on for quite some time-- Leo seems to be the more emotional one, complaining of loneliness regardless of whether or not Gnaw is right there. Gnaw occasionally complains of loneliness but is more likely to complain of boredom. She also seems to be directionally challenged as I caught her banging her head frantically into the wall in some attempt to approach me.

Alright, well at this point I decided to import the ettins, so I guided Icepaw back to the norn area so I could focus on the new pair without worrying that one of the grendels would suddenly learn how punchable norns were.

Cookie has an adorable little sprite defect in the form of a tail. I'm certainly not complaining; it's a bit charming! Unfortunately though, I am not very good at caring for ettins. They, quite unlike the norns and grendels, showed no affection at all for each other upon importing, and instead complained endlessly about boredom. And I tried everything. I gave them toys, I gave them gadgets, I gave them food! But it doesn't help that the stubborn things refuse to listen to what I have to say.

Within only seven minutes they had advanced to adolescence; I forget how fast these things grow! But after more attempts to cure their boredom to no avail, I went to check on the others again.

They're growing up so fast and getting along so well! And look! They even appreciate me. ;_;

Next time I'll redouble my efforts to make the ettins happy. Hopefully I can get them to pay attention! And the lonely grendels....I don't even know what I'm going to do with them. They're technically of breeding age now-- maybe I could convince them to produce a child?

At least the norns are happy and learning well!


  1. Awesome update! Gala and Icepaw are adorable, and seem to be quite inseparable. Nice to see that in the end, they showed a great deal of appreciation for you! I often find that after being pushed to the brink of frustration with certain creatures, a tiny sentence forgives most of the past! With these creatures particularly, it goes to show that they have learned to like/love you: It's nothing programmed in.

    I had a little laugh over Gnaw and Leo: Maybe loneliness stems from a need for a non-Grendel in them! Probably not possible, but it is odd that they're lonely when they have each other inches away. Definitely a plus that Icepaw suggested something he had learned: These are the moments that make us proud!

    I'm quite terrible with Ettins, as well. I liked the C2 variety because they always looked so helpless with their tongues sticking out. The C3/DS variety seemed so simple and a little on the boring side, at least to me. I find it difficult to get attached, but hopefully things will improve for Cookie and Spot!

  2. Have you tried using the Teaching Update from Creatures Heaven? (Under "Agents") It's hard to describe, but it lets you teach your norns what things in the world are the same as in C1, so you can name elevators as lifts and dispensers as vendors etc. Going through the vocabulary teaching process with a creature always makes me feel more attached to it.

    Part of the trouble with ettins is that their halflives are too long compared to their lifespan for chemicals to have much of an effect on them - they can grow to adolescence without even needing to eat, for example.

    Another trouble is that the agents in the ettin terrarium are boring - they don't give any stimulation for interacting with them. For creatures without instincts to guide them, this is especially grave, as they will receive no reward or punishment for experimenting with different genera. I'd recommend my Edible, Squishable Balloon Bug from Creatures Caves here: as it adds push, pull, eat and hit stims for your creatures.

    This is really interesting - do you have the original exports for these creatures? I'd love to duplicate this in my world.

  3. @Jessica -- I've always found it hard to get attached to ettins too.. the fact that there are so few interesting-looking ettin breeds out there doesn't help! I am really hoping Cookie and Spot will be able to change my mind about their species. I guess I'll find out!

    @Malkin -- I have used that learning update-- it's a lot of fun! But sadly it doesn't help with the countless (COUNTLESS, seriously there are SO MANY of them it seems) verbs and expressive words that they still have to be locked in the computer room to learn, which is the part I really don't like. I love being able to teach creatures words "in the field" as they are needed, but there's just no viable way (that I know of) to teach them "push" or etc without dragging them to a computer or cycling through a bunch of words in a portable learning agent. If there was an instant-learning device with just the verbs and expressions I would be all over that!

    I will need to seek out more interesting toys and things for the ettins. I've actually been thinking of setting them up with plants and toys in the aquatic area-- since they are both aquatic-looking breeds, just for the fun of it, but I'm not quite sure what I'll do yet.

    I don't have the original exports for these creatures, no, but I do have the edited genetics files, so I could certainly make practical clones of them for TCRing or whatnot <:

  4. Ooh, post them, please - Lily needs a mate! :D

    For a quick fix for your lonely grendels, try giving them some 'good critters' (not beasts or pests) to play with? Lily seems to find great solace in pushing critter.

  5. How are you finding their interactions with the new 'lifts' you created?

    I've always been frustrated by the few 'teleporters' that have been made by other breeders. There's something I don't like about all of them. I'd be tempted to try out your new ring system. I'd consider calling them 'portals' rather than lifts though. Just for my personal use.