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Getting Started with the Genetics Kit

Tutorial Five

Instinct and Stimulus Genes: Making a Vulture Norn

Since instinct and stimulus genes look very similar, even if they don't have a very similar mode of operation, we'll consider them together. Both gene types tie a certain action to a particular set of emotions, for instance, there's an instinct to run away from other Norns if crowded. However, the two genes act upon the Norn's action in a very different way.

Stimulus genes specify exactly what happens internally in the Norn when a particular event takes place, whereas instinct genes are merely suggestions of possible actions in situations where the Norn has not had a chance to learn a good response.

The instinct genes don't make a Norn, for instance, push a lift call button when they're high up, but it makes this a more likely than random action if the Norn does not know what to do. Instincts are processed during sleep, like dreaming, which is why it's very important for your Norn in any creatures game to get its head down occasionally. In a way, stimulus and instinct genes are exact opposites - stimulus genes specify what happens after an action, while instincts specify what should lead to a particular action.

In this tutorial, we'll alter a Norn to make it able to eat and enjoy 'manky', or rotten food, and give it an instinct to search out rotten food when hungry.

  1. Start the genetics kit, and load the genome 'Norn.civet46.gen.brain.gen'.

  2. Rotten food is full of proteiney goodness, if you can stomach it, so we'll tie in eating carrion to the hunger for protein drive. Turn to the gene editor page, and find gene 453, the instinct to eat food when hungry for protein.

  3. Double click it to open the gene editing window.

  4. You'll see that at the top of the gene editing window, a series of circumstances can be set. These can be used to set up an imaginary situation in the Norn's dreams. Scroll through and take a look.

    The current set circumstance is the noun lobe reading ID 11. This corresponds to food. You can find out what the other game object's ID are by using the Brain in a Vat kit from the CDN. The ID for 'manky' is 9. So, change the box that says 'It is ID 11', to 'It is ID 9'. You'll notice that the rest of the editing window specifies how to reward given a certain response.

    Remember - this isn't what actually happens in your Norn when it eats, but what its instincts will tell it do when hungry. Find gene 454. This instinct gene teaches a Norn that eating fruit when hungry for protein is a good thing.

    The ID of fruit is 8. Change this, again, to 9. Now the new born Norn will search for rotten stuff when hungry for protein, not fruit. However, at the moment, it will still suffer ill effects from eating manky stuff.

  5. Find gene 506, the 'eaten manky' stimulus gene. This specifies which chemicals the Norn will get in its system from eating rotten foodstuffs. Double click on it to open it.

  6. You will see that you can set the stimulus being referred to, a possible response, and the chemicals the Norn receives as a result of performing this action.

    Set the chemicals and sliders as follows: Hunger for Protein, -0.202, Protein, 0.105, Unused, 0, Unused, 0. This means that eating rotten stuff will now reduce hunger for protein, and give the Norn some protein as well. It doesn't alter your Norn's ability to eat normal nornish foods, such as fruit and food. They're still just as good for this Norn as for others.

  7. Export and hatch your Norn. Teach it to talk, and then see its reaction when another Norn states that it is hungry for protein. There's bad advice if ever you heard it!


Tutorial 1

Tutorial 2

Tutorial 3

Tutorial 4

Tutorial 5

Tutorial 6

Tutorial 7

Tutorial 8

Tutorial 9

Tutorial 10

Tutorial 11

Tutorial 12