Dizziness and Mimicking Nature
Sorry this update is coming in later than usual. I had a long-distance move this month, and also my first wedding anniversary. My wife and I didn’t have a honeymoon when we got married, so for the anniversary we took a trip to Taiwan and Japan, which we had never been to before. A few photos follow:
Back to the development part of the development blog! I’ve tried to continue work in bits and pieces when I could. There were a few miscellaneous changes: one was that I have introduced a ‘dizziness’ penalty for creatures. Many of them would have a tendency to gradually rotate while they swim. It wasn’t rare to see creatures swimming around upside down or at all sorts of strange angles, because according to the rules of the universe they lived in, there wasn’t really any reason not to. The dizziness penalty actually fixed this quite nicely with no side effects. It also seemed to increase the prevalence of symmetry, but not completely so that issue remains partially open, though I’m chipping away at it.
Additionally, Wick, who is developing the excellent Crescent Loom, suggested reducing the drag on creatures to more closely mimic real life fish, who are much more economical with their swimming motions. I’d experimented with drag values earlier in the project, but enough has changed since then that it was possible to reduce the drag by a factor of four, which resulted in faster moving creatures (since they can more effectively build up speed) and, seemingly, creatures with more body parts (possibly because the ‘cost’ in drag of such parts was reduced).
I’ve also been working on translating the creature evolution to something that more closely mimics nature. At present, a species of creatures has a fixed population size; while living out their lives, each creature is awarded a fitness score, and the 20% of creatures that score the highest in the species survive into the next generation and reproduce, filling in the rest of the available slots. I hope to shift this over to a system without the ‘species’ being fixed and hard-coded in. Creatures would still have energy needs that must be fulfilled to survive and reproduce, but without fixed population sizes or percentage-based rating systems. This should allow for much more interesting interactions in the ecosystems, with species growing, shrinking, going extinct, or splitting into multiple distinct species with a common ancestor. The total count of all creatures will be limited by the total food supply to prevent the game making so many creatures that the CPU can’t handle it. This is in progress now but I hope to finish it very soon in the hopes of getting Ecosystem into a playable game quickly.
Thanks for reading!