What was new


The Creatures Developer Resource will be closing in the very near future. A New Zealand company wishes to use the domain name and I've agreed to pass it on. When this goes ahead this site will no longer be accessible.

My email address will also be changing for those that wish to reach me. I'll post a new address soon. I'm providing advance warning for those that might want to download files available at this site before it closes.


Some updates in a number of areas:

Updated the page describing the brain model differences between Creatures 1 and Creatures 2 to include some of the information I've found out since writing the page.

Added a page showing my latest understandings of all the state variable opcodes. This can be reached off the genetics page. It includes new information on the 'leak in' and 'leak out' opcodes along with some information on the forward propogation and back propogation state variable rules.

Updated the brain lobe genetic page to include the formula for calculating the STW, LTW and dendrite values of dendrites. It also includes an explanation of exactly what the 'susceptibility' and 'reinforcement' svrules are used for and how they affect the calculation of the value of the individual dendrites.

Coming up over the next week will be a more detailed explanation of how dendrites work using the current norn brain model as an example. I'll also be updating the genetics page to include Creatures 2 information where applicable.


Added the file format for the Creatures 1 and Creatures 2 .gno files. It can be reached from the Creatures 2 page under file formats.

While creating a new brain structure I managed to work out what the new Back prop and Forward prop state variable rules do in the Creatures 2 brain lobes. While working this out I also found out how the short term and long term weights in dendrites are calculated, along with how the susceptibility and reinforcement state variable rules work together. I'll be updating this site with these details over the coming week. I hope it will prove useful to those exploring the norn brains.


A new program I wrote called RewardTracker is available for download. It displays what learning is occuring in the norns neural net brain. The concepts and decisions that the norn made are displayed alongside notes indicating whether these were rewarded or punished. More information is on the RewardTracker page.


Added a text file containing a break down of the Creatures 2 .gen file format. This is the file that describes the DNA or genome of the creature. I hope it proves useful to those writing gene file manipulation tools (like genetics editors) or those who prefer to hex-edit norn genomes.

It's available on the Creatures 2 page in text format for viewing online or in a .zip file to download and keep for offline use.


Lis Morris has done some work on the Canny norn genome. Version 1.2 of the genome has an increased life span and tweaks to some of the brain settings for increased retention of knowledge. I've mirrored the new genome on the norn genome page.

Lis and I worked on the original Canny genome together. Some people seem to have an impression that I did all the work on the brain lobes of the genome but this is not true. Lis is a canny lass herself and much of the brain work was her invention and her implementation. I just thought it needed clearing up that it was very much a team effort in that area.


Updated the links on the links page for the Norn Adoption Clinic as it has moved again.

Alas, I've not made any other updates of note lately. There appears to be a small glitch in the Creatures 2 DDE interface that can be seen in the Scriptorium Browser I wrote. If you try to retrieve DDE data from Creatures that is greater than about 4,000 bytes then the Creatures program will crash. This only happens if you use the DDE inteface - the OLE interface works correctly.

As a result of this, I recommend developers use the OLE interface and I'll be slowly changing my programs to use this, starting with the Scriptorium Browser over the coming days. There are only a couple of scripts greater than 4,000 bytes that the browser has problems with but if you do get the odd Creatures crash, that is why it is happening.


Updated the links on the links page for the Norn Adoption Clinic as it has moved and a pointer to the site containing Sandra Linkletter's files now that Slinks Burrow Online no longer carries them.


Another update to the Scriptorium Browser to version 1.2. This fixes a problem where it would occasionally close down for no apparent reason. It was due to getting a DDE request from Creatures that it handled incorrectly. I also added a few more script descriptions for some of the halloween and christmas pack cobs.


I updated the Scriptorium Browser to version 1.1. Just a minor change so it displays an hour glass cursor when it performs the slow operation of reading and formatting the CAOS scripts.


I've added a new Creatures 2 utility called The Scriptorium Browser. It allows you to connect to the running Creatures 2 program and browse the contents of all the CAOS scripts in the world. So if you want to know what affects some Cobs have or how particular features of Creatures were implemented in CAOS then you may find this tool useful. More information is available on the Scriptorium page.

Many thanks to xOtix who came up with the idea for this program and encouraged me to write it :-)

If you have trouble downloading any of the larger files from this site I can recommend the program GetRight for Windows. It will automatically retry to download files that incompletely download and in most cases can continue from where it last left off. This 'resume' feature works for downloads from this site. It's saved me many hours of downloading! I'm not associated with GetRight in any way apart from being a satisfied customer.


Merry Christmas! A bit late but I've been busy celebrating :-)

I've added a description of the Sandrabellum (lobe 9) in Creatures 2 on the lobes page. The description of how this lobe worked was supplied by Lis Morris.

I'd also like to add a note about distribution, linking or using any of my utilities, genomes, etc. You are welcome to use the source code and utilities however you want. You have my permission to provide them for download at your sites as long as you mention where they originally came from so people can visit here for latest versions, etc.

In the case of the genomes (Canny norn) you are welcome to use these as the base genome for your own breeds of norns and make them available for distribution. There is no need to ask for permission first as both Lis and I are happy for them to be used as long as you give credit.


The Canny Norns are now available for download from here as well as The Palace of the Evil Shee. I updated the norns page to include these as well as the Creatures 1 eater norns.

I've also updated the main index page to describe what information is available from each link a little better.


Available from The Palace of the Evil Shee are some new genetically modified Creatures 2 norns that have three new brain lobes - all genetically created to enhance the norns intelligence.

Among other things, these new lobes should allow the norn to learn what objects satisfy particular needs and seek out those objects when that particular need is high. Some of the brain work was based on some of the things I tried in Creatures 1 described in the Papers and Discussion page.

For more details and the actual norns download the Canny Norns from the 'Things for Creatures 2' page of The Palace of the Evil Shee.

The Canny norns were a joint project between Lis Morris and me - it was quite exciting to be able to work on a joint project like that and to see such a beneficial effect on the norns behaviour. Thank you Lis for letting me be involved and putting up with my zillions of emails :-)


Added a new program, the Creatures Commander, written and kindly provided by Ernest Julyan as an example of how to write programs using DDE to talk to Creatures with the Borland C++ Builder product. Visit The Lair of the <unnamed> Norn for other great Creatures utilities and cobs.

The source code to the Creatures Commander was also provided by Ernest so other people using Borland C++ Builder can see how it was done.

Martha Brummett recently posted a script modification to which stops the norns from expressing their needs so much. This seems to make the norns more likely to continue with actions that they've decided to do rather than being interrupted so they can state their need. Overall you end up with a much more peaceful world with the norns going about their business in what seems to be a more intelligent manner. Check out the newsgroup for details, I can definitely recommend it.


Added a note on the Creatures 2 page explaining how to get MSVCP50.DLL and other files that some of my utilities require. I split out MSVCP50.DLL into a seperate download from the other MFC files as this seems to be the most requested missing file.

Not many updates have happned recently due to a variety of personal circumstances but some new utilities that I've written will be available for Creatures 2 real soon.


More developer information added to cover the Creatures 2 OLE interface. This interface should allow programming applications and kits for Creatures 2 a bit easier from some programming languages. It is certainly easier than the DDE interface in some cases and I think it is probably the only way to create true Creatures 2 kits (like the science kit, etc).

Currently only a quick sample C++ program showing how to use the type library I've generated is supplied but more will follow over the next week.


Changed the link to Eric Leifs web site on the Eater norn page. Thanks to PMNBreeder for pointing out the broken link.


Worked out how the Triptophan chemical causes the norn to see things that don't exist. It's tied into how the state variable rule in the stimulus source lobe works.

Added lobe 6 and lobe 7 (decision and attention) to the brain lobe description page.

Added images of book covers and the book 'Animal Learning and Cognition: A Neural Network Approach' to the books page.


Added a page describing the new features in the Creatures 2 brain lobes (new state variable rule opcodes, etc). Added lobes 4 and 5 to the brain lobe description page.


Added a page describing each brain lobe in Creatures 1 and Creatures 2 norns and what the function of the lobe is. The difference between Creatures 1 and Creatures 2 for the lobe is described if there are any. So far Lobes 1 through 3 are described in detail. The rest will follow over the next few days.


Added the C++ source code to the S16Viewer program to the Creatures 2 page. I've been a bit quiet with updates lately as I play Creatures 2 and learn more about it.

There are some advancements in the Creatures 2 engine that provide some scope for interesting brain modifications and I'm keen to do some exploring in this area. I haven't been able to do too much in this area due to the lack of a C2 genetics editor.

I plan to get 'back on track' and do some researching into the Creatures brain model and other aspects of genetics as soon as I have some tools to allow me to tinker in this area. In the meantime, I haven't forgotten about C1 and will continue to research and update information in this area as most of the C1 information applies to C2 as well.


Added GenomeInjector - a Creatures 2 program to allow injecting eggs containing a specified genetic moniker. It should be useful for people doing genetic engineering with Creatures 2.


The source code for the CobConverter utility is now available from the Creatures 2 page. Added a version of BrainCellMonitor that works with Creatures 2. Added a listing for the book Creatures 2 Official Strategies and Secrets on the books page.


Added a version of ChemMonitor that works with Creatures 2. It uses the Creatures 2 chemical list compiled by Martha Brummett that she posted recently to


Updated the sprite to s16 image converter to support the 555 image format as well as the 565 image format.


Added a version of LobeStudy that works with Creatures 2. It only shows the data from the first nine lobes as I haven't looked at what the 10th lobe does yet.


Moved the Creatures 2 programs onto their own page and documented the .s16 image file format with some sample C++ code on how to read in the images.


Updated S16Viewer to enable it to view the 5-5-5 image format. If you tried it previously and it only showed a blank window then your image files are in 5-5-5 format. This version should fix that problem.

6/9/98 - 3rd Update

A new program is available. It allows you to view files that are in the Creatures 2 image format (the ones with the .s16 extension). It's called S16Viewer.

6/9/98 - 2nd Update

Fixed a small bug in CobConverter (the time between injection field was 4 bytes, not 1 so in some cases a cob could end up with days between injections). Added the ability to have a removal script in the C2 cob.


I've written a program to convert Creatures 1 COB files into the format that the Creatures 2 object injector uses. This was made possible by the information that Sandra Linkletter posted to the newsgroup recently. It's called CobConverter and is about 100K to download. If you use this program you will probably also want to use spr2s16 which is also about 100K to download. This will enable you to use any third party C1 cob editor to create C2 cobs that can be injected using the C2 cob injector. See the readme file contained in the download for details.

The two third party COB editing tools I tested it with were BobCob and COE.


Creatures 2 is out, yahoo! I even managed to get on the EAP program. After I ordered Creatures 2 online of course, so now I've got two copies! Well, let's work on unlocking some of the Creatures 2 secrets...

I've written a Creatures 1 sprite converter for Creatures 2. It will convert the C1 image file format (.spr) to the C2 image file format (.s16). It's a test version at the moment but works for one particular C2 image file format (5-6-5 16bpp encoding) and I'm working on the other format later (5-5-5 16bpp encoding).

If you want to inject C1 cobs into C2 you'll need this program. It will convert your image files for you. It's called spr2s16 and it is about 100K in size to download. A readme file is included with the .zip file to explain how it works. You may need some DLL files to run it but they come with some versions of windows so try running the program first.

Any third party COB injector should allow you to inject C1 cobs into C2 as long as you have the image file converted from .SPR to .S16 using this utility. The C1 cobs will need to be changed for the new chemicals and stimulus, etc of the norns though so talk to your cobbler first!

I've also tidied up a few pages and trimmed the what's new page. Removed the table so it loads faster. Removed spatial localisation papers as they can be obtained from the original web site: The Artificial Intelligence Research Laboratory.


Updated the programs on the Brain Utilities page to include versions for the Terra Nornia world.

The programs have also been updated to display the 'eat' verb that the eater norns use and to display ettins and shees if you have these creatures in your world.


No real updates, just a note to tell everyone who visits to check out Terra Nornia, the new world developed by Lis Morris and Sandra Linkletter. You can get it at the Terra Nornia site or Slinks Burrow Online. It's definitely worth getting and trying out.

The new world changes some of the object classifications (meanings of cells in the noun, stimulus source and attention lobes. This means you will see strange things if you use LobeStudy to view your norns thoughts in Terra Nornia. It will show the wrong objects but will still work. I will have new versions of all my programs available on the weekend which will work with Terra Nornia and show the correct objects. Eventually I will generalise this so that lists of object classifications can be loaded then people who use new worlds can simply load a list of object classifications for that world. This should make it easier when Creatures 2 arrives as well.

Other things I'm working on but haven't completed are documenting the remaining genes in the genetics section and tidying up the code to provide DDE access to Creatures. I'll be providing this code in a manner that will allow it to be called from most Windows based development tools including Java, Visual Basic, Delphi, Python and Dylan. Mainly because these are the languages I tend to swap between.

And a completely unrelated plug for a program written by a fellow kiwi - if you are an IRC addict or want to visit IRC chatrooms, try out the IRC client called ObjIRC - written in 100% pure Java and can therefore run on any platform that can run Java. It's available at the ObjExcel web site.


Added a description of the instinct gene in the genetics section. Fixed various spelling mistakes on some of the pages.

Updated description of 'Mutually Exclusive' setting in brain lobes in the brain lobe description and in the perception lobe tutorial. Thank you to those that emailed me with details on this.

Updated Frimlins Kiwi Creatures link as Frimlin has moved to a new address.

Previous Whats New entries are available.