C2 Ecology in a Nutshell
First, there was the original Creatures game. This persisted for many years, but eventually was replaced by its bigger (badder?) cousin, Creatures Two. Those of you who were around at the time will remember that one of the features of C2 that the press releases drew attention to was the ecosystem- now your world could be truly different to anyone else's!
The original Creatures game had plants and animals, but only really as a backdrop to the Norns themselves - the plants did not grow or change, and the animals were, well, Norn toys. However, Creatures Labs released a very popular cob for C1 called the beelacanth. The beelacanth was a plant that did indeed grow, mature and flower. If the flowers were fertilised by bees, they produced fruit, too! The popularity of it made it clear that the Creatures community wanted more ecology in the next version of the game, and Creatures Labs obliged.
The plants and animals in Creatures two can be divided into two types: the 'permanent' residents, and the 'ecological' ones. The permanent species are those that remain no matter what- such as the spider in its web, or Pitz the dog. The ecological ones are those that live or die according to the conditions they are in, such as the tomato plants, or the butterflies. In C1, all animals and plants were of the permanent type. In C3, very few are, but in C2, there's about a 50/50 mix. If you've read the C3 ecology article, you'll probably be wondering why this article has no food web. There are two reasons. Firstly, the C2 ecosystem is much simpler- there are no long food chains, and secondly, there are just too many species to make a food web that would be even remotely readable! However, all the different relations between species are listed on the final page of this article.
So, what governs whether an ecological type plant or animal lives or dies? Well, for animals, it's pretty simple. They die if they don't get enough food. End of story. However, plants are far more complicated, and need just the right conditions to grow, such as heat or light. Every area of Albia is a little different and can change over time. These are the factors that are important:
- Air Pressure
- Organic Nutrients
- Inorganic Nutrients
The levels of any of these factors can vary from 0 to 255, where 255 is the highest it can be, and 0 is the lowest, in case you hadn't guessed. The temperature you see at the bottom of the game window is translated from this 0-255 format into either Fahrenheit or Centigrade by your pc, depending on where you live. Most of factors are pretty self-explanatory, but what about the last two, organic and inorganic nutrients?
These two factors form part of a great nutrient cycle in the world. Organic nutrients are given off by decaying or dead matter. For instance, a dead norn releases organic nutrients (yuck!). These are used up by the fungi and the deathcap. They release inorganic nutrients, which the green plants need to grow. Of course, when the green plants die, they release it all back into the soil as organic nutrients again. Therefore, if you add up the amount of inorganic and organic nutrients in an area, it should always be about the same amount. You can increase the amount of organic nutrient in an area fairly easily: try using the goldfish dispensor. Suffocated dead goldfish are a great source of fertiliser!
If you have Creatures 2 Deluxe, or you have bought the Diversity Kit online, you'll have a couple of cobs called the Nutrient plants. Most people find these a bit puzzling, but they are very useful for making plants grow in areas they wouldn't otherwise. For instance, go to the area beneath the gene splicer, where the ettins are born. If you look in the ecology kit, it has a low amount of organic nutrients, and no inorganic. Plant seven Nutrient Plant #1's there. Then check the ecology kit again. Now the amount of inorganic nutrient is raised significantly. You'll find that you can now grow tomatoes there, while you couldn't before. In the list below, you'll see all the requirements you need to get a particular plant growing just where you want it.
Using the Ecology Kit
Oddly enough, when studying C2 ecology, the ecology kit comes in very useful. It has two main functions: firstly, you can find out where your various plants and animals are growing at the moment, and secondly, you can see what the conditions are at any one point on the map at any time. On the map page, you can see exactly what the environment is like at any one point (provided your Norns have visited it). Red means a very high level of that factor, whereas blue or black means a very low level. Light, for instance, is high above ground, and low below ground. Pretty logical, really.
for a complete Creatures 2 Species List.