ADVANCED PLAY

This section is for players who want to know a bit more about the internal workings of the average Norn, and perhaps learn to understand some of those readouts a little better! If you're not interested in the more scientific side of the game, miss this chapter out.

The Genome and Creatures dDNA

All creatures, be they Norns, Grendels, Ettins have genetic information in the form of Creatures Digital DNA, or dDNA for short. This controls everything about the creature - its internal biochemistry, appearance, even behaviour. If you took a Grendel genome, and gave it to a Norn, the Norn would, quite simply, become a Grendel.

When an egg is laid in the game, a unique genome is created for that creature only. These are kept in the Docking Station /my worlds/name of world/genetics/ folder. If you look in there, you'll see some incredibly long filenames, such as 001-haze-t4bgg-dzwur-efsuf-a5yl3.gen. This is one of your living Norn's genomes, saved to your hard disk. Finding out which of your Norns owns this particular genome is simplicity itself. Use Agent Help on your Norns, and turn to the advanced information page. This is the last page of the Norn agent help. There you'll see that the Norn's moniker is displayed - this is the filename of its genome.

The genome of a Norn is also stored within the game- so if you switch the file names of the genomes of two of your Norns, you won't get them swapping all their characteristics. However, the genome files are used to make the Norn's offspring, so any babies will inherit the crazy mixed up genome you fiddled with!

As you may be aware, humans have 46 different lengths of DNA in their genome. These are called chromosomes, and are each packed to the brim with genes and various other useful stuff. Norns have just a single chromosome - one continuous length of DNA. When two Norns breed, the baby Norn's DNA is a mixture of the two parent's. This is achieved by a process called crossing over. The two parental chromosomes are laid out side by side, and then they switch sections of DNA, so that you end up with two mirror image chromosomes. One is thrown away, and the other is kept for the baby. What happens if one of these cross-over points is in the middle of a gene? Well, more often than not, the gene is changed in some tiny way - it is mutated.

This is why the genome of every Norn you breed is unique - the probability of a cross over appearing in exactly the same place twice, and causing the exact same mutation, is very small, and that's only with the exactly the same parents, anyway!