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The State of Things

Posted in: @Evolving_Art, Electric Shocktopus, General News, Gravity Simulator | October 18, 2016 | No Comments


Hello!  It’s a beautiful fall out in Boston, little Max is walking and talking, and I figure we’re long overdue for a report on the latest hap’s at TestTubeGames.  Let’s go!

 

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Gravity Simulator is on the move!

After making all sorts of updates to the Gravity Simulator – which you can read about here – I decided it was *finally* time to post the web version on a site other than my own.  So I brought it over to Newgrounds, excited to get some fresh eyes looking at the sim.  And I was not disappointed, the game made it to the front page, and has been played more than 20k times.  I’ve gotten some really helpful comments from people, and hope that we might see some creations from them in the forums.

I’ll be posting the simulator to other games portals now that I’ve shaken out a few new bugs, though am contemplating posting it on Steam Greenlight, too.  Which brings me to…

 

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The Electric Shocktopus is coming to Steam!

After sitting around in Greenlight purgatory for a while, The Electric Shocktopus made it through, and is going to be up on Steam soon!  (I’ll be announcing the release date shortly.)  I’ve been spending a bunch of time trying to learn all the ins and outs of Steam – and feel a bit like an out-of-touch person trying to understand what the kids are into these days WHICH I AM CERTAINLY NOT.  Trading cards, badges, achievements, all sorts of bells and whistles to connect in to the game.  So there’s a fair amount of research and work on my plate to prepare for the Steam release.  (I’ll remind you that TES is already out, and you can download it, as always, here.)  And speaking of storefronts…

 

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Upcoming release on TeacherGaming Store!

I’ve been working with TeacherGaming, a teacher-facing games website, to get my projects posted on their site.  The site is run by the fine folks that brought the world Minecraft EDU, among other educational projects.  They are building a site that gets games into the hands of teachers, and provides them with some lesson plans connected to the game, to boot.  They’ll be selling both The Electric Shocktopus and Gravity Simulator, with a release date within the next couple weeks.

 

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Our Site Revamped

I went through, this past week, and cleaned up the TestTubeGames website, which, having grown organically, had some weeds in it.  New fonts, new images, an updated footer, and fresh images for sharing to Facebook.  (The default images that would pop up before when you shared a link were… not good.)  I’m pretty pleased with how much fresher the site looks — and, as luck would have it — it got a test drive its first day out, when someone shared Velocity Raptor on reddit.  Let’s put those new share-images to work!

 

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Little Entropy Project

I worked on a fun little project recently, based on a puzzle posted over at Quanta Magazine.  (A great site to check out for in-depth science news.)  In their puzzle column, Pradeep Mutalik described a simple model of a universe, with finite states, and challenged the readers to answer some statistics questions about the entropy and evolution of such a world.  Entropy is one of those topics I’ve been batting around, never really finding a great idea for, so I figured I’d go ahead and build a simulation of the world they described.  You can read the puzzle here, and test out the model universe here.

 

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@Evolving_Art on hiatus

I didn’t end up getting enough people interested in the art simulation on Twitter, so I’ve put it on the back burner for now.  I might change it a bit and bring it to a web portal like Newgrounds — since, after all, the project only really works if we’ve got a lot of people contributing their opinions.  But, with all that I’ve got on my plate (as well as a bit of contract work here and there), this won’t be happening anytime soon.

So, there you go, that’s what’s been keeping me busy lately.  And kudos to you for making it through that uncharacteristically long post!  As a reward, go play Quantum Marble Maze – a rad game by Crispin Cooper.

-Andy

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@Evolving_Art

Posted in: @Evolving_Art | June 14, 2016 | No Comments


I have a new project to unveil: @Evolving_Art – a Twitter Bot that evolves art.

Huh?

Long story short, go here and check it out!

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Short story long:

For a while, I’ve been trying to figure out an interesting way to showcase evolution.  The closest I got was in the creature-walking simulator The Fittest (check out that prototype here).  It’s fun to watch, and I find it really compelling – but it’s not terribly interactive.  And of course it isn’t.  Evolution is all about letting things run their course.  Creatures are born.  The ‘best’ creature reproduces.  And, over time, the creatures tend to get better.

In the back of my mind I’ve been brainstorming other projects that could balance the interaction and the lack-of-interaction a bit better.

And a few weeks ago one of those ideas bubbled up to the top: why not let people be the selective force of evolution?  Instead of picking winning creatures based on how far/fast they run… people could just vote on their favorites.  It could be something as human as “which work of art is the prettiest?”

A Twitter Bot felt like a great fit.  A couple times a day, the bot could post the latest generation of creatures (works of art, in this case) up on its Twitter feed, and whoever wants to can vote.  After 12 hours or so, votes are tallied, and the winner makes some similar – but mutated – ‘offspring.’

It makes people a core part of the project, while at the same time involving them only very little.  You don’t stare at creatures evolving for hours on end… you just send a tweet and get on with your day.  And, slowly but surely, over time, the art will evolve.

Into what?  I have no idea.  Maybe it will make something beautiful!  Maybe it will just be random.  Maybe we’ll find out that people seem to prefer the color green?

There’s only one way to find out… keep an eye on @Evolving_Art, and if you are so moved, feel free to join in and vote!

-Andy

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