Abyss Dragon Woes and Hardman Norns

So, I officially began work on Abyss Dragons v2.0, starting with the Norn version. I'm going to make a Grendel version too for people who like Grendels (myself included). The Grendel version will be mostly the same as the Norn version only with the species references in its genome reversed. I might try to give the Norns and Grendels some unique traits but I haven't decided yet, and if so, what those might be. For now I'm just trying to get the basic Norn version working.

Detritus is presenting a problem. In the original version, I made them seek out critters for protein, bugs and pests for carbs, and food for fat. This worked fairly well, but with a couple of problems. First, there are less bugs and pests than I thought there were, because some things I thought were bugs are actually critters (such as the dragonflies in the Norn Terrarium). This isn't a huge deal, but it irked me. Secondly, since I fed them largely on Zander Fish and the two kinds of Stickletrout available in the Flooded Norn Terrarium, they tended to make huge piles of bones. Then they'd become curious about said bones and try to eat them, meaning there was a lot of glycotoxin poisoning going around. They usually didn't die of it, but it was still annoying.

So yesterday I was working on the V2.0 genome, and grumbling to myself about the lack of a specific 'ate a bug' stimulus - there's only 'ate an animal' which counts for both critters and bugs, meaning when they eat bugs they only get carbs if the bug or pest agent itself is set to give carbs when eaten, another problem with the bugs/pests for carbs design. It occurred to me that it might be a good idea to change them so they got starch/carbs from eating detritus and removing the glycotoxin, then giving them instincts to seek out and eat detritus when hungry for starch/carbs. That way they'd be able to eat the fish, then eat its skeleton. No mess, neat and clean.

Sounded great in theory, but in practice, it turns out not to work so well. It turns out that while they might occasionally experiment with detritus, often enough to get sick, they are not willing to eat it often enough to sustain themselves. It works better with stuff specifically designed for Toxic Norns, but the stuff that isn't seems to have some intrinsic punishment or disappointment effect that discourages them. Sigh. So I'm going to leave the detritus eating as an option for carbs, but scale back its importance and re-emphasize the seeking of bugs and pests. At least they'll be able to get carbs from multiple sources. I may also just go 'screw it' and change to a system that lets them get all three kinds of nutrition from eating animals. Haven't decided.

Feeling frustrated, after my last batch of testers died I decided to take a break and raise a pair of basic Norns. I spend almost all my play time messing with my own genetic creations, or with other people's creations, and very little with the official breeds. So, given that, I decided to raise a pair of Hardman Norns for a while just to take a break. I've never raised Hardmans before so this should be interesting.

I made them from the egg layer so I'm pretty sure they're just normal Hardmans, not CFF or anything, but they're fairly smart. Although, REALLY angry. Angrier than I see any real purpose for honestly. They're just constantly pissed off for no real reason. Still, they're fairly good at taking care of themselves and they seem to make better use of smells than some other breeds do. I've been able to allow them to roam the whole ship without worrying they'll get lost in some foodless corner and die. (Although I do have Norn Terrarium blocked off because it's flooded and they'd drown.)

They started in the Norn Meso, but left it to explore the rest of the ship, occasionally returning to grab some fruit or other edibles before heading out again. (I was impressed by their ability to do that, actually - even with the change to the Umbilical that makes it a door, not all Norns figure that one out so quickly.) Around adolescence, if I remember right, the female suddenly began thinking a lot about hitting grendels. She'd been hanging out in the bridge a lot, going back to the Meso for food when hungry, but then she just took off and headed to the Jungle. I took the male there too so they could be together. True to her word, the female has killed at least two or three grendels by the time I'm typing this, although not single-mindedly. They actually coexist fairly well until a Grendel throws a punch; once that happens, a real fight breaks out, and as often as not, Smash beats the Grendel to death.

Now Smash and Bash are just living in the Jungle, killing Grendels when they feel like it and browsing on the fungi and the akwood vines or whatever they're called. They even have a baby now, whom I named Boom. Boom seems obsessed with catching and eating Rocklice. I didn't think Hardman Norns had any carnivorous tendencies, but she seems pretty committed to this idea. I've seen her even pick one up and go through the motions of eating them. I'm not sure they're edible at all because the rocklice never disappear when she does this, but she's definitely doing her best to try. Weird. Makes me want to take a look at the Hardman genes and see what I can do to make the Dragons more into beast eating with such little consequence. Might not get them much nutrition but it'd be interesting.


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