Demo, Publisher, and Forum

Published by Tom on

I’ve got a lot of big news for this update, so I’ll jump right in. Firstly, I am happy to be able to finally release an early playable demo of Ecosystem!

It is a bit short and simple at the moment: there is still a long way to go in development, so the demo is just a small thing to play around with, which gives you an idea of some of the basic systems. Nonetheless, I hope that you enjoy it and that it lives up to your expectations. If you like it, please consider adding it to your wishlist on Steam.

There’s an in-game tutorial, but you are welcome to ask about anything that’s unclear in the new Ecosystem forum. I would be keen to hear what you think of the game, anything that you would like to see added or that would make the game better, or just talk about speculative evolution in general.

In further good news, Ecosystem has found a publisher to help support its further development! A fellow independent developer, Slug Disco Studios, who created Empires of the Undergrowth, will be helping to fund my further work on Ecosystem. I’m especially happy about this because I have a lot of trust in their creative sense and have chatted with them personally several times over the past year.

Thanks for reading!

Tom Johnson

Categories: Releases


Alex · October 14, 2019 at 8:44 pm

This game is amazing to me. This is what I think I wanted Spore to be for me all those years ago. Having a blast with the demo. Take your time, this is a one of a kind game and I’m loving it.

    Tom · October 18, 2019 at 12:51 am

    Thank you! I remember being really excited for Spore too. Ecosystem has been a lot of fun to work on; it’s such an unexplored genre that I feel like I actually get to discover new things. I was genuinely excited when the first creatures started evolving to swim. I appreciate your encouragement. It really helps. 🙂

      Matt · March 14, 2021 at 2:01 pm

      Is there any intention to introduce more symmetry into the creatures as they evolve? Absolutely everything is an asymmetrical horror. XD

Cooper · December 20, 2019 at 4:36 pm

Fantastic game. I have pumped 20 hours into the demo and keep coming back for more. Unlike other evolution simulators like Species, the fact that your fish actually need to learn how to swim correctly gives them a much more “real” feel. When one of your lazy herbivores start to learn how to swim, I feel GOOD for them. I can only imagine the complexity that the full game will add.

A small nitpick: The “specialized” foods should not be forced to be chosen by the player. We should have the option for it to be randomized and up for evolution to change.

    Tom · December 22, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you, I’m really glad to hear that; that’s exactly what I was going for. I’m planning to add a lot more depth to the lives of the creatures and how they interact with each other and the environment – I’ve been reading up on the everyday lives of fish in nature. I am hoping that will help it feel like a real environment. I’ll look into adding an option for allowing creatures to adapt to different food sources instead of having it be fixed by the player. While I can’t promise it, someone else asked about it as well and it’s definitely something I’m interested in.

      Cooper · January 28, 2020 at 5:25 pm

      Sorry for the late reply. There are a few different ways you might be able to go about this. You could hard-code odd differences between certain foods, like how quickly they grow, how much sustenance they give, if they slowly move around the map, etc, and allow the fish to figure it out. A few foods could damage, sting, or poison some fish that come into contact based on physical traits, time of day, or other odd factors. Maybe a poison immunity costs you more energy. It’s a good idea to make plants feel somewhat part of the environment instead of some stat table. Screw it, you could make the plants an automatically generated species too to add another layer of complexity. Just some ideas I wanted to throw out,

        Tom · February 29, 2020 at 12:16 am

        I like this idea. I’m currently working on making the vegetation more dynamic, so that plant species have different tolerance levels for soil types, sunlight, nutrients, and crowding and spread realistically in the environment. I think that would fit into this quite nicely. Providing different amounts of energy and nutrients, or being able to sting / poison (which could also allow venom-immune fish to use them as refuge from predators, like the clownfish and the anemone) could add a lot of depth. Thanks for the suggestion.

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