Brain Utilities

Here are some utility programs I've written that interact with Creatures and display information about what is going on inside a norns head. Be warned that they assume a bit of knowledge about genetics and brain structure. See the tutorial pages for information and background on how to use the programs.

All the zip files for the programs contain a version for the standard Creatures 1 world, Albia, and the new Creatures 1 world, Terra Nornia. Terra Nornia uses a different object classification system so it required changes to the programs to display different descriptions when looking at the brain lobes. Just run the version of the program for whatever world you are currently using. Some of the programs also include a version that works with Creatures 2.

BrainViewer (Version 1.2 - 26KB - 22/8/98)
I've finally got around to doing a program that displays the dendrite wiring of a Norn. There is a lot of work to be done yet but this 'Version 1.0' program will allow you to load the .EXP file of an exported Norn and browse the state of the brain. You can view the output and state of every cell and all the dendrite links from each cell. The STW, LTW, and Strength of the dendrite link is displayed along with the cell that it is connected to in the other lobe. A brief description of how to use it is available. It's pretty rough around the edges but I plan to improve it in future versions. Let me know what you'd like to see!

This includes a version that works for Creatures 1 and Terra Nornia.

LobeStudy (Version 1.6 - 45KB - 9/9/98)
This is a small utility to test the example DDE code I wrote. It displays information about what is going on inside the various brain lobes of the currently selected creature. There is not much error checking so you must have Creatures running and a norn selected before using it. It turns out to be a useful program in it's own right. Especially for testing genetic modifications made to norns.

This includes a version that works for Creatures 1, Terra Nornia and Creatures 2.

BrainCellMonitor (Version 1.8 - 46KB - 20/9/98)
I wrote this utility specifically for testing new brain lobes that I added. I tidied it up to use for the tutorials when I write them. It allows monitoring of specific cells inside lobes of the norn brain. Whereas LobeStudy is limited to the normal brain of a norn this utility allows you to view any cell of any lobe. This list box allows displaying multiple lobes in one list. It also allows you to execute CAOS commands so you can view the effects on the brain lobes. See the tutorials for details. You must make sure that the norn you are viewing has the lobe and cells that you requested to view otherwise bad things will happen.

Note that the data displayed in the list box for the particular cell is the same as that returned by the CAOS 'dde: cell' command (output/state/number of dens of that type/total susceptibility/total STW/total LTW/total strength).

This includes a version that works for Creatures 1, Terra Nornia and Creatures 2.

BrainActivity (Version 1.6 - 27KB - 22/8/98)
This utility displays the results of the Creatures BrainActivity DDE topic. It updates the display every second so it misses brain activity that occurs within that second. There is lots of information displayed and the refresh of the list box is a little annoying but I'll work on that. What I do is get the norn doing something I want to monitor, connect, then disconnect to analyse the results.

The interesting thing about this program is it shows all the activity in the concept and perception lobes. It gives an idea as to what the mapping between concept, perception and decision is. The number displayed in brackets is the Output level of the brain cell. Note that this program will only work for norns with a standard brain mapping as I've hardcoded all the offsets.

Look at the brain activity of a sleeping norn using this program. It shows the instinct genes being processed. You see the actual cells that are fired, the descriptions, etc. It's quite interesting.

Many thanks to a news posting from Ben Campbell in where he replied to a request from me for information on the DDE BrainActivity topic. I couldn't have written this without his excellent answer. Thanks Ben!

This includes a version that works for Creatures 1 and Terra Nornia.

ChemMonitor (Version 1.4 - 35KB - 12/9/98)
This utility displays the values of the various chemicals inside a norn. Every half second or so it examines the chemicals inside a norn and displays the values of those chemicals that you select. CAOS commands can be executed using this program to adjust the levels of chemicals and the results will be displayed. This program is great for testing the effects of chemical reactions in genetically modified norns. You can view the required chemicals and see what the reaction is actually doing. It was written at the request of a couple of newsgroup readers. Hope this helps you in some manner! I actually wish I'd written it earlier - it's proven to be quite useful.

This includes a version that works for Creatures 1, Terra Nornia and Creatures 2.

Creatures Commander (Version 1.0 - 153KB - 28/11/1998)
This program was written by Ernest Julyan. It and some other great utilities are available from his own web page. It enables you to execute CAOS code and view the results. It was kindly provided by Ernest as an example of how to perform DDE connections to Creatures using Borland C++ Builder and the source code is available on the Developer Information page. Thank you Ernest.

MFC Dynamic Link Libraries (756KB)
The programs above need the Visual C++ V5.0 dynamic link libraries to run. You probably already have them. Just try running the programs and see what happens. If it complains about missing files you may need to download these DLL's. Unzip them in your windows system directory or in the directory where you installed the above programs.