Hints & Frequently Asked Questions.

This section is under construction. Very, very under construction. Have a question though? Feel free to e-mail me and I'll do my best to answer it.

Hint #1
Read the manual/help files and visit the official creatures site for updates, Life Kits and COBs & agents that will make your life so much easier. Really, I can't stress this enough: download official COBs and updates, read the manual. Many questions you have about basic Norn care will be answered, many problems you have with any of the games will be fixed. (Note, I said many, not all).

Hint #2
Make copies of your favourite Norns. Export them, copy them to somewhere else on your computer or to save them to disc. Really. When your computer or game crashes, or a disease cuts through your Norn population reducing it to one Norn and a Grendel named Bargh, you will be thankful your favourite Norns are safe and sound.

Hint #3
Start off slowly. Hatch one Norn at first, learn to look after him or her for a little while, then hatch out another Norn. If you're an expert at Creatures then great, hatch out 25 Norns at a time and be happy, but if you are new to the game it pays to exercise restraint... at least till you know what you are doing. Once again, make copies of the first few Norns you hatch out, because those initial few Norn deaths can be devastating. If you've saved your Norns though, you won't feel like such a failure as a Norn parent when they starve/fall in the ocean/succumb to disease/get beaten up by Grendels.

Hint #4
"Push" means right and down and "pull" means left and up. I still forget this sometimes... do I type "pull elevator" or "push elevator"? Boats in Creatures 2 also confuse me occasionally. Actually most things confuse me. I am just an easily confused person.

Hint #5
Inject oestrogen to make any female of breeding age become fertile. Try injecting your females with oestrogen and sex drive and injecting the males with sex drive (male Norns are usually constantly fertile and thus don't need to be injected with testosterone) and telling your Creatures to "push norn". You will hopefully end up with lots of kiss-pops.

Hint #6
This is important. Do not, and I mean DO NOT listen Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata whilst playing Creatures. It makes everything seem so dramatic and when Norns die... oh, the tragedy! The tragedy of it all! If you only take one piece of my advice let it be this one.

Hints for Creatures 1.
Your biggest problems in the original Creatures game will be teaching your Norns to eat, getting them to breed & making sure they don’t succumb to illness. Fortunately, the Norns in C1 are much easier to teach than the original Norns in C2. My advice would be to download the third party COB (by Sparrow) the electric gate to keep your Creatures in certain areas, especially if one or more of your Norns are sick. Illness from bacteria spreads rapidly and can kill off many of your Norns if you’re not careful!

Encyclopaedia Nornica by Slink will be useful to teach your Norns words so you can then teach them to eat, sleep and breed, the official object packs and life kits for Creatures 1 are very useful too, and well worth downloading.

Once you get a nice-sized population of Norns you should find that they live and breed quite happily. It just might take a little effort to get to that stage of the game.

If you want to cross a Grendel and a Norn in C1, or indeed any two Norns, you can either go about it manually using the hatchery and gen files or with a program like Creatures GenMan. Due to the fact it means I have to write less about it, I would go with GenMan. Just look up what moniker the Norn you want to breed has (do this by opening the science kit) and use GenMan to cross it with the Grendel genome ("gren.gen") or with another Norn's genome.

Hints for Creatures 2.
Creatures 2 is interesting. The Norns that originally come with the game are a little (oh, just a little) bit frustrating because of their refusal to eat and sleep. You might be able to teach a baby Norn to eat and rest, but as it gets older you may find your Norn has become a recalcitrant little fainter, starving and tired but refusing to do anything about it. My first tip with Creatures 2: download some new Norns. Canny Norns, Nova Subterra or C256 Norns (this is the same genome that the Golden Desert Norns are and can be bred safely with the Norns you originally get in the game. Remember you should not crossbreed Canny Norns, Nova Subterra Norns and C256 Norns together otherwise you may get lots of fainting babies). You can check out the C2 adoption page here for some Norns of each genome.

Download the official updates and COB packs and Life Kits from the official Creatures site. Just don’t install the sleep update. I remember Lis Morris had a good reason why you shouldn’t on her site but, alas, the Palace of the Evil Shee is no more and I can’t remember what she wrote word for word. The gist of it was: the sleep update actually makes sleeping for your Norns less effective. Or something like that. The opposite effect of what it was meant to have in any case; I trust Lis Morris’ opinion on these matters, so my suggestion would be not to install the sleep update. All other updates are okay, I believe.

One of the other problems with Creatures 2 is finding the implements that activate the science kit, neuroscience kit, Ettin & Grendel selection and infinite scroll. The basic science kit should be easy to find, but with stubborn Norns and a large world, finding the others might be a chore. Which is why the Game Stat Activator that comes in one of the official COB packs is so great. You can use it to activate all the kits & such but it leaves the implements rotating in your world, just waiting for one of your Norns to find it and push it, thus not ruining the excitement of activating the power-ups.

I recommend also installing the puffer fish to help save drowning Norns. And, as for third party COBs, I really find the tasty mushroom patch useful as a permanent food source for all Creatures in one’s world.

You shouldn’t have too many problems with sickness caused by bacteria in Creatures 2, antigens rarely cause death in C2. Your Norns may get poisoned by toxic berries or “badplants” but with the advanced science kit you can cure all of the toxins and poisons your Norns may be exposed to. Here is a table taken from the original Norns of Our Albia, tweaked a little because I originally wrote it when I was 15 or some other silly young age when I typed ":)" too often.

Problems Possible Cures
Antigen X (where X = a number from 0 to 7) Antibody X, lots of tender loving care, etc. (Often the Creatures will have a fever as well. See Fever Toxin below.)
Heavy Metals (From radiation in Volcano Area) Causes on the Physical page of the science kit the Creature's bones to flash red.  EDTA 
Cyanide Sodium Thiosulphate
Glycotoxin Arnica and/or glycogen (the glycotoxin reacts with the glycogen to produce pain and coldness, glycogen reacts with arnica to produce nothing).
Too much Alcohol Dehydrogenase
Too much Carbon Dioxide Oxygen
Sleep Toxin Sleepiness Decrease
Fever Toxin (this is often caused/accompanied by another chemical, such as an antigen, so make sure you check). Just keep your Creature at a normal temperature (inject Hotness Decrease and Coldness Increase) and make sure that all his/her organs are healthy on the physical page in the science kit - inject Prostaglandin to help heal any flashing organs.
Creature has fainted
(Lack of ATP)
Inject ATP and perhaps Prostaglandin and Liquid Food. (If you don't have the Advanced Science kit just inject Defibrillant and Liquid food, with a shot of Metabolism Transplant). Make sure that all of the Creature's organs are healthy. Often caused by lack of food, sickness, or a genetic defect, etc.
Sneezing (caused by Histamine A) Should go away eventually by itself (it is often a result of some other illness, though).
Coughing (caused by Histamine B) See Sneezing.
Organs flashing Red in Science Kit. Inject ATP, Prostaglandin, Oxygen (esp. for the brain) for the Liver, Dehyrogenase (but make sure your Creature is injected with water as well), Liquid food if needed.
Suffocation Suffocation Decrease, oxygen. If there's lots of Carbon Dioxide in the Creature's system injecting some Ammonia will help decrease the amount. (Although this will result in the production of Urea, so don't inject too much).

Hints for Creatures 3.
You won't have any trouble getting C3 Norns to eat and sleep, but they may be killed by Grendels or disease. Grendels can be dealt with via agents or by placing the Grendels (and Ettin, too) eggs in water before they hatch.
Also, I highly recommend you download Docking Station - it's free, you get a new Norn breed and it has many improvements on Creatures 3. The HoverDoc agent is particularly useful for diagnosing and helping sick Norns.

Now, some Frequently Asked Questions.

How do I make COBs/agents?
COBs, or Creatures OBjects (for Creatures 1 and 2) & agents (for Creatures 3 and Docking Station) are little (or big!) objects that you can add to your world. They can be toys, food items, critters, machines, eggs, chemical injections for your Creatures and so on and so forth. Practically anything you can think of can be a possible COB or agent, if only someone would design the sprites and do the programming for it. Making COBs and agents is complicated, and I haven't done it for a very long time. Will I ever make any more COBs or agents? Probably not, I just don't have the time nor inclination to any more. If you want to have a go at it though I suggest you visit the Official Creatures site and follow the links to the Creatures Developer's Network (CDN). It has some wonderful articles on agent/COB making. Helen, also, has some easy to follow guides to making C2 COBs at the Bibble Directory. The Norn Underground used to have some excellent C1 COB making guides but that site, sadly, seems to have disappeared. I'll do some research and see if I can find some other places that help with COB and agent making. Watch this space then I suppose.

Will my Norns ever become fully independent?
Yes and no. Eventually you should be able to breed a population of Norns that reproduce enough to maintain the population or increase it. As long as you don't expect all Norns to live to a ripe old age (some will always die of disease, others may starve) then you can expect to end up with a collection of Norns that don't need your help in surviving. As long as you think of them as a group and not individuals. Individuals could always do with a little help (don't cut those apron strings just yet!) but as long as your Norns are breeding at the same rate or higher than they are dying, then you can pretty much leave them alone and let nature take its course.

Why is inbreeding not a problem with Creatures?
Inbreeding is only a problem when there are recessive genes that prove deleterious to the organism that possesses them. Norns, Ettins and Grendels are haploid organisms (as opposed to diploid like us). That is, they do not have recessive (or dominant for that matter) genes, so therefore inbreeding does not affect them like it would with most real animals. There are just no hidden nasty alleles to pop up and cause problems. If a Norn has a dodgy gene it won't be masked be another allele. Technically, the less related Norns you have in your population of Creatures the more genetic diversity you may have and that's always a good thing, but don't fret if you keep seeing brothers mate with sisters and cousins and parents. Overall, and generally speaking, your population of Norns won't be that much stronger or weaker because of it.