Paradox Norns De-mystified Development TheSecond | 5/12/2013|| 3|
Toxic Creatures are fun and quirky, but lack diversity. This writeup takes a look at Paradox Norns, which are a breed meant to fix that.
So, you want to find a Creatures 3 Norn breed that can mingle with the Toxic Norns without having to worry about hatchling mortality. You search Google, Creatures Caves, and even go so far as to dig through the defunct websites on the Way Back Machine. Finally, just when you think you are going to come up empty handed, you stumble across the Paradox Norns. And they look beautiful.
According to the readme file, Paradox Norns should be able to survive both toxic and non-toxic worlds and breed happily with either toxic or non-toxic creatures; so you install them, hatch some eggs, and step away for an hour or two to let the C3 genetics work their magic. What you return to is a zombie apocalypse. What happened?
Paradox Norns are touted to be the perfect solution for those breeders who want to mix Toxic and non-toxic breeds, the truth, however, is that the Paradox are an inspired, but poorly conceived, genetic hack.
First off, let's look at how the Paradox manage the feat of successfully breeding with both toxic and non-toxic creatures.
The Paradox have a, what I like to call, back-up immune system. This is an organ which no other creature has and, in first generation creatures at least, this organ is either passed on to the offspring, or it is not. This means that the offspring of a Paradox Norn will either be able to live in a toxic environment, or it will not; there is no in-between since, as with the offspring of a Toxic and Non-Toxic Norn, an in-between state can cause the offspring to poison itself.
Now let's look at the Paradox' other qualities.
The problems begin with the Paradox' supposed immunity to toxins. The fact is, Paradox are not immune to toxins; rather Paradox Norns are just as likely to die from certain poisons as a Chichi Norn, the genetics upon which Paradox Norns are based.
Let's take a look at a fairly innocuous poison, Alcohol. In Chichi Norns, this poison causes a drunken gait. In Paradox Norns, it is handled exactly the same way.
But Alcohol is mostly harmless. What about a major poison, such as Cyanide. In Chichis, Cyanide causes the Mitochondrial functions to stop converting Energy into ATP. In Paradox, Cyanide causes the Mitochondrial functions to stop converting Energy into ATP.
Why does the Paradox have the exact same reaction to Cyanide as the Chichi? It has to do with the Paradox' ability to breed with non-toxic breeds; if the Paradox did not have this reaction, then any offspring of the Paradox would lack the reaction as well, potentially causing havoc with the offspring's vital systems. Toxic norns work because they carry, but do not express, this gene, and also include a gene which metabolizes Cyanide into helpful chemicals.
Paradox Norns are meant to survive poisons such as Cyanide, and they do, quite well, but not in the same fashion as Toxic Norns. Toxic Norns convert Cyanide into Energy at a rate of one Cyanide to one energy. Paradox Norns convert Cyanide into Energy and Air at a rate of four Cyanide to twelve Energy and 12 Air. This makes the Paradox four times as efficient at eliminating the toxin from their system, which is a necessity since they must rid themselves of the toxin before it can kill them.
Now let's look at a toxin which is just as deadly, but far more subtle. Antigen 4 attacks a Norn's Digestive system, causing damage and eventual death of the digestive organ if left untreated. A norn without a digestive organ will starve to death as it cannot process food into Glucose. Toxic Norns get around this because their digestive organ does not express a receptor for Antigen 4, the gene for the receptor is instead carried. A Paradox Norn, however, expresses this gene, meaning that a Paradox infected with Antigen 4 and left untreated, will have its' digestive system killed off. This will not, however, equal a dead Paradox Norn.
The Back-up Immune System that Paradox Norns possess saves them again. So long as the Paradox is also infected with ATP Decoupler, it will never die. This means that a Paradox with every one of its' organs infected and destroyed by toxins can survive just fine, though they may not be very interesting creatures to play with.
You see, Paradox Norns convert ATP Decoupler into ATP; but that's not all. They also use Antigen 5, another toxin which attacks the Digestive Organ, and Glycotoxin, which converts Glycogen into Glucose, to negate any Wounded chemical that may be in the Paradox' body. But wait, there's more! Paradox also convert Stress into Life, Glycotoxin into Glucose, use Sleep Toxin to reduce Sleepiness, Alcohol to reduce Boredom, and convert Wounded and Pain into Reward. Meaning that, once all of a Paradox's organs are killed off by infection, it is essentially immortal, and very hard to kill by slapping. A Paradox Norn in this state will tend to stand in one place endlessly, performing random actions. They do not eat, nor sleep, nor play, nor breed. In this state they are essentially zombies, living on unless you remove all toxins from their systems, at which point they die from lack of ATP.
While I understand, and to some extent admire, what the developer of this genome was trying to accomplish, I can't help but feel that the Paradox Norns are an aberration. Perhaps, one day, a genetic engineer with more talent and experience than myself will be able to save this breed from their curse.
Many, many thanks go to Feddlefew, without whom I would never have attempted to delve into the murky depths that are the Paradox Genome.
Thanks also to Grendel Man who provided tips and insight into some of the more quirky elements of Creatures Genetics.
Thanks to Rascii, the fine owner and developer of Creatures Caves, and the wacky, whimsical, Creatures Caves Community. Without this community, I probably would not have kept playing Creatures for long.
Lastly, thank you, the reader, for taking the time to read this writeup. I hope that some, small good may come of it.
This is honestly interesting, but scary to me haha!
Thanks for this article, it's really insightful!