Sunday, October 2, 2011

Stop sleeping!

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it frustrating when norns sleep a lot?

Especially when you're trying to train them to do something very specific, and they just decide to just plop down and take a nap, right there. Argh.

Well, even though I haven't bothered documenting the updates to my dabbles with my instinctless creatures, I have still learned much from that experience and have been slowly working to improve the genome as a whole.

While investigating the aformentioned lonely grendel problem, I discovered that grendels lacked the "found company" gene that reduces loneliness when approaching a member of the same species. Adding  the gene in fixed the problem quite simply.

Another problem I manged to fix was one with the sleep cycle. If you don't know, the creature sleep cycle works as such: A creature rests; as it rests it becomes less tired, but gets sleepy, and when it gets sleepy enough, it falls asleep. While sleeping, the creature's tiredness and sleepiness both decrease until it is well-rested and wakes up.

As most of you are aware, there is no "sleep" verb. A creature can decide to rest until it falls asleep, but it cannot just decide to sleep. (Nor can we!) The problem with this is that while creatures with instincts are pre-programmed to rest when sleepy, creatures without instincts cannot make the connection between resting and sleepiness reduction, because it isn't resting that directly reduces sleepiness, it's the sleeping that eventually results from the resting.

So to remedy this, I simply made resting appear to reduce sleepiness by tweaking the stimulus gene to first reduce sleepiness and then silently increase it, enough to both compensate for the reduction and bring it to a normal increase. And it worked! I was so proud to see my instinctless creatures suggesting that other sleepy creatures rest. I just love seeing evidence of creatures learning!

But, I still feel like the creatures sleep too much as a whole. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to do away with sleeping entirely, but it just feels like the frequency is a little high. So I've been tweaking the genetics a little here and there, too.

Meanwhile, I am really enjoying raising these little creatures and discovering how much impact a creature's upbringing can have on its behavior when it isn't being controlled by pre-programmed instincts. For example, I brought up a pair of norns together in an area with nearly no toys around. The norns took to pushing each other instead of toys to reduce boredom, and not only grew up to be great breeders, but very social. It was quite cute when a grendel wandered along complaining of boredom and one of them suggested he push norn!

I plan on tweaking the stimulus genes further to make traveling, pushing lifts, etc to have more of a boredom-reducing effect and see if creatures can be taught to wander around when bored.

Really, the more I play with these altered genomes, the more I wonder what the developers were thinking, putting in these instincts! Some of them I can understand being necessary, half-strength instinct trick for elevators and vendors and all, but as a whole it seems to strip the creatures of so much personality. I can't imagine going back to normal creatures now.

On a side note, I have been testing the elevines (improved "lift ring things" with beautiful sprites many thanks to mea!) in this world, I am finding them so wonderfully handy! Not only do they work great as lift-replacements, but they can also work as replacements for the boats/submarines as well. I'm still tweaking them here and there but hopefully they'll be ready for release soon.

Meanwhile, the DS server has been toying with my emotions, going up and getting my hopes up and then going down again. Oh well. I certainly have enough projects to keep me busy in the meantime.


  1. Wow, that sounds really fantastic. One of the reasons I didn't enjoy C3 as much was due to the Norns lacking personality. No matter how you raise them they still advise running from Grendels and playing with machines. Removing even some of their instincts would be great.

    You could definitely reduce how much they sleep. The main reason for sleep is to enforce instincts and reduce drives. Without the use of instincts they shouldn't need to sleep nearly as much.

    This is making me interested enough to consider picking up C3 again!

  2. WOW cool could you put them uo for download?
    i wold love ceatures with more personality:)

  3. These creatures sound pretty awesome, hope they'll be up for download.

  4. I'm also interested in playing around with these instinct-less norns! How reliant are they on the hand to get them going, though? For instance, I'm assuming it's not possible to do wolfling runs with them very successfully, right?