0.8.0 Hotfix 1

Nothing ever goes perfectly. You build an orbital superweapon, it gains sentience and decides it doesn’t want to work for you. You release horrifying biological abominations on an unsuspecting populous, turns out they were totally expecting it.

And you release a game update, and it immediately needs fixing. Oh well, we can do that one at least.

Full Download: Species ALRE 0.8.0 (Alpha)
Hotfix Only: Species ALRE 0.8.0 Hotfix 1 (patch)

· Added Berserk Behavior
· Fixed Anger >> Drive Off Target behavior loop
· Fixed compressive stress energy loss being doubly-exponential, which was causing sticklegs
· Fixed Middle Limb Droop no longer influenced by Torso Width
· Fixed creatures hunting newborns on other side of map
· Fixed extinct species clade not being revived when species is
· Changed creature sprite to show legs in neutral position
· Changed Water Height Display to round to 2 decimal places instead of 1

To install the hotfix, if you’ve already installed the game:

– download the zip file
– extract the files with winzip or similar
– copy them into your Species ALRE 0.8.0 folder, overwriting the existing files
– play

This hotfix should be compatible with your existing 0.8.0 saved games and exported creatures.

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0.8.0 Released!

Go forth my abominations! Deorbit and seize this world from it’s puny inhabitants!

And while they’re having fun, everyone else can download Species 0.8.0 over here on the download page!


Here’s the changelog! The following is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you a good idea of the main things.

Behavior-tree AI. The big one.
Emotions. Hunger, fatigue, anger, fear, discomfort (temperature) and amorousness are represented, each with a course of action creatures can take to address them.
Personality. With mutable genes affecting how easily each emotion increases, as well as slightly more complex traits like empathy and motivation affecting their food seeking behavior.
Rationality. Creatures will (attempt to) logically determine the best method to find food, based on their personality, diet and circumstance. They may choose to graze, browse, hunt or
Perception. Creature's can now see, hear and smell with the appropriate sense organs (though smell's a freebie).
Sleep. The "Energy" bar is now strictly for pre-digested food. All energy losses now come out of health, and a creature can sleep to restore health from energy.
Pregnancy. Creatures will now carry a child for a short period of time before spawning it, during which they will experience rapid health loss (as the energy is transferred to the fetus).
Double the number of music tracks. Special thanks to Brain Sugar, who bowed out of the project some time back, but left us with a few awesome extra tracks to use.
Separate Run/Walk speed Although it's not hugely noticeable at this stage, they run when hunting or fleeing other creatures.
Weather particles. Ice, smoke, splashes and delicious firey burningness.
Sea Ice. Strong enough to walk/drive on at that.
Creatures explode when they die. Most. Important. Feature.
Cliffs. They're cliffs. I got nothing.
World Settings editable in-game. About time!
Random Generation World Seed. Seed 58 is a pretty cool 2-island map. Try combining it with a longitudinal temperature map for a cold island and a hot one!
Stability improvements. Lots of bug fixes and tweaks.
Long term simulation tweaks. The simulation's fidelity as a whole is looking a lot better. Significantly fewer exploits and broken survival strategies mean a far more interesting world.


Initiate Countdown Sequence

0.8.0 official release in 10 hours.

"If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious shit."

“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour… you’re gonna see some serious shit.”


1 week to go

Still on schedule to release on Friday the 24th of April. Playtesting has been going well: I’m mostly fixing minor bugs and making tweaks at this point.

It’ll be good to get this new version out there: the new AI really makes a difference to the feel and quality of the game.

… and I don’t really have anything else to say at this point. Here, have a silly image macro:


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Revenge of the Cliff Zombies

Things are going well. We’re well ahead of schedule as far as playtesting goes (despite a few bugs, this has easily been one of the most stable releases so far, making it somewhat ironic that I put aside more time for playtesting this one than I have previously).

And on top of that, a last-minute feature has managed to sneak in!



Well, I say “new”: species 0.4.0 had cliffs, as you can see below. But they got removed for 0.5.0 as a result of rejiggering the biome system. And by “rejiggering” I mean creating.

Cliffs in 0.4.0! Disregard the giant rubber corpses.

Cliffs in 0.4.0. Disregard the giant rubber corpses.

The new cliffs are actually made from scratch, by abusing the biome system somewhat. I couldn’t resurrect the old normal-based cliffs. Sadly, necromancy is not real, and is also fake. Magical zombies are impossible to create.

Quite unlike scientific zombies, which we seem to accidentally create every few weeks! That’s actually why I’m having May post this from inside the barricaded control center of the Orbital EMP Cannon while my minions fight off the ravenous corpses of their former colleagues outside. If you listen carefully you can hear the fight in the background.

“Die you bastards, die!”
“Oh god, is that Dave?”
“Not anymore it isn’t.”

I won’t go into the detail. It’s a long story. Suffice it to say, it’s totally not my fault.

“This is totally the bosses fault!”

Anyway, they’re not perfect. The cliffs that is, not the zombies. They don’t affect what tree’s grow in that location, creature’s can still graze on the biome beneath them, and they don’t actually affect creature’s movement in any way, buuuuut…

Well, they look cool. Isn’t that enough reason?



Cheers from zombie-infested space!

“Remind me again how lucky we are to work in a space station! I KEEP FORGETTING!”

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Another Bug Post

I was originally going to post this as a forum post, because it’s basically just an enormous wall-o-text, but I decided what the hell you only live once. And then you die. Like everyone else. So before you die, you might as well waste a few minutes you can never get back reading this wall-o-text.

Playtesting 0.8.0 has revealed some bugs: thankfully not major, crash-inducing ones. They’re mostly problems with longer-term simulations.

I tried tracking down the two major ones this morning (over-reliance on carnivory and species-count becoming desynchonised from the creatures) and failed miserably. Couldn’t reproduce the latter at all, and the former is just plain odd.

It doesn’t seem to be an energy leak bug: creature’s can’t survive if you kill *all* the plant matter, which is a good sign. But they *can* survive extraordinarily well on a very small amount of food.

I think I’ve got an idea, though: I’m starting to think this might be a recycling issue related to the way biomass is handled.

When a creature eats a plant, the amount of energy it consumes is constant, but then other factors kick in (the creature’s diet, the plants efficiency, global efficiency if it worked properly, etc) to reduce the amount of usable energy that is actually added to the energy bar.

The unusable energy is added to the creature’s biomass value, which is little more than a storage space, keeping track of the energy that the creature has consumed during it’s lifetime. When it dies, biomass (along with any leftover health or energy) becomes delicious meat.

Meat is a more efficient food source. You might be able to see where I’m going with this.

Whether a herbivore or a carnivore eats the plant, the same amount of energy is introduced to the population. Even a near-carnivore will eat plants in an emergency, and even though the individual might not be able to make use of the biomass it picks up, it’s pure-carnivore siblings can when it dies. So the population ends up relying on these omnivorous mutants to bring energy into the system. And of course, unlike a herbivorous population, when each of these carnivores dies they can be fed on in turn by their siblings, resulting in an incredibly efficient survival strategy that requires far less energy input overall. It’s quite elegant, actually.

Alright, that’s enough admiring the enemy, what can we do about it (assuming that huge steaming pile of extrapolation was at all accurate)?

My first inclination is to reduce the meat efficiency. But that doesn’t actually stop the energy from being introduced to the population: it just means it has to go through more creatures to be usable. Plus it makes carnivory less likely. The problem isn’t carnivory so much as so efficiently recycling the incoming energy.

The large total plant energy is what caused the problem in the first place, so I could reduce that. I’d need to increase the efficiency of herbivory to compensate: the end result would be that eating plants would add substantially less biomass.

Or efficiency could actually influence the total amount of energy that’s added: rather than having a constant increase and divvying it up between biomass and energy. But functionally, that’s pretty much the same as reducing planet energy content as mentioned above, since they’re the things with the low efficiency.

Or… well, I could finally accept the fact that the biomass value isn’t hammerspace and rework it somewhat.

Honestly, I’ve been treating biomass wrong for a long time. It was originally a way to ensure the conservation of energy, but a potential storage of infinite meat on every creature is quite frankly rediculous and unrealistic.

So, how to fix?

In real life, edible biomass *isn’t* simply unused energy: that only applies to fat stores, and those are just a tiny fraction of the creature’s edible meatiness. It’s structural: muscles, flesh, etc. It’s correlated with mass. And unused or unusable food isn’t stored forever as fat stores, either: it’s expelled.

So, the sensible way to fix this might actually be a deliberately introduced energy leak. Sort of like Decay, only happening while creatures are alive. It’d work something like this:

Creatures gain biomass normally up to a set point (perhaps their childhoodCost (to represent structural biomass) plus a percentage of their mass (fat stores)), after which it leaks out over time (possibly even providing a minor energy boost as it does so). It would have to leak exponentially faster the higher it went, to prevent a creature capable of rapid consumption from outpacing the energy leak indefinately simply by gathering food.

This would put a limit on the amount of meat a single creature could provide, meaning that carnivores eating a particularly bountiful meat pile would get a much smaller meal: enough to produce one or two children, rather than dozens.

Hopefully, that should put a spanner in the works of the current dominant survival strategy.

We’ll see…



Happy Easter: Let the playtesting commence!

It’s the most occult time of year again!

Religious leaders rise from the grave! Otherwise kind parents force their children to hunt in the grass for their food! Small mammals in the family Leporidae give birth to sterile brown eggs for occult reasons!

And evil game developers laugh manically while unleashing swarms of horrifying bugs on innocent playtesters!

Okay, that’s not a tradition, but maybe it should be? I dunno.

Anyway, if you wish to be consumed by my genetically modified insects and/or playtest the latest (unstable and full of bugs) version of Species, come join us in the forums where 0.8.0 has just entered the community playtesting stage prior to the release date on the 24th April!

That’s only 3 weeks away!

Prior warning: you may have to brave the dark, malevolent aura that drives the strongest willed men to gibbering madness and actually join the forums to see the playtesting board. Don’t worry though, despite the aura it’s not actual madness. It’s more like substitute madness. “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Madness”.

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