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Evolution continues to… develop.

Posted in: Evolution Simulation, Wednesday Update | December 19, 2012 | 5 Comments


Another Wednesday, another in-depth update on what’s happening behind the scenes here at TestTubeGames.  Or, at least as in-depth as what you’d want.  (Fine, fine… I had a ham sandwich for lunch.)  This week has been a bit busy with non-TTG related activities.  What with building Tesla coils and getting sick  — unrelated I promise — but there is still plenty to report.

First off, the winter (for me) solstice is coming up.  Make sure to equip your Pocket Sundial to see some very long noon-time shadows.  And also to zoom ahead in time to watch the days getting longer.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have that in real life?

Just like last week, I tried to keep myself mainly focused on the evolution simulator.  I mainly dealt with a lot of nuts and bolts.  Fixing my code, hunting down bugs, putting in small features.  Things like a locking mechanism on the options (always listen to Muldoon).  That way, when people start, they won’t able to access (and be confused by) the whole simulation.  I’m hoping it’ll be more approachable if I parse it out slowly.  And I worked a bunch on the menu screens.  I’m always surprised how long it takes to make menus… and also how boring it is to talk about menu design – so moving on…

I added different tracks for the creatures to race on.  Some are bumpy, some are cluttered with objects, some have deadly pits.  Just as real creatures occupy specific niches, the virtual creatures you’re evolving will generally work best on one of the tracks.  I found the level with pits fun to watch.  The creatures (so far) that have done best find a very neat and mechanical-looking way to fling one limb across the pit, then slowly and carefully slide themselves over.  It looks like it taking a lot of mental effort, but of course, they are just mindless algorithms.  (Or are they?) (Yes… yes they are.)  I’m pleased with the extra tracks so far, and they seem to be giving a nice depth to the simulation.

I’ve also got an idea I’m batting around for an evolution-themed game.  (I’ve been mentioning some game-like-elements to this simulation, of having creatures compete with each other. Sure. But to it is certainly still mainly a sit-back-and-watch simulation.)  Basically, it’ll put you on the other side of the contest.  Creatures will be racing towards you, and you’ll need to stop them (instead of root for them).  I’m pretty excited about the possible directions this game could take… but no more of that for now: the simulation comes first!

 

-Andy



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5 Comments

  1. By Steve

    Posted December 21, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I am looking forward to trying the simulation! Turning it into a game sounds like the challenging part. Are you looking for some ideas?

    • By TestTubeGames

      Posted December 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Sure! I’d certainly be interested to hear/discuss ideas.

      I’ll fill you in on my thoughts: At the moment, I’m imagining a defend-your-castle style game (like http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/games/castle). Wave after wave of enemies that you need to deal with. The catch would be that the ‘best’ enemy each round became the parent of the next round. So each round would be more challenging. *And* they’d become resistant to your attacks. If you kill off tall ones easily, they’ll start getting shorter, that kind of thing.

      • By Steve

        Posted January 4, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        Hi Andy, sorry for the delay in replying. I was away over the holidays. Defend-your-castle is a clever idea. How would you describe the movement of your creatures? If it is a biased random walk that would make the simulation/game more biologically relevant.

        • By TestTubeGames

          Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          No worries – As you can tell from my lack of updates, it’s been busy over here, too!

          The way I have the creatures moving (in both the simulation, and in the game I’m envisioning) is very mechanically. The creatures are sticks with motors, really. They evolve to have different length sticks, different speed motors, and different designs, which help them move or not. I’ll post a video with tomorrow’s update to show where things are.

          You mention a biased random walk. Like amoebas floating around, being attracted to or repelled from food? It kind of reminds me a flocking simulator I prototyped a while back, where each creature had certain pressures towards or away from other objects. I’d be curious any further insights you have – I’d hate to miss something that would make biologists go ‘cool’

  2. By SnuwWulfie

    Posted October 20, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Hey, this seems like a nice game and I love how your updates are writen ^-^ But if you make this into a game maybe you should consider variables like a creature climbs a mountain and slides down. That’s pretty much what would happen currently right? But what if they are evolved in a way that when there’s a steep slope they use wings and continue gliding or flying? maybe if they don’t they’ll get hurt of fall damage? What if you added water and they could either float or swim (or crawl over the bottom( slower maybe?)) with water breathing.. or suffocate without it hehe. And maybe they will evolve in a way so that they will be able to jump or dive in flight to dodge your defences of a castle (if you make it into that) and then you’d have to upgrade your defences to be able to keep up. Things like that? :3

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