Design! From the Past!

aka. Requiem of a crappy blogger.

Geez, I really suck at this “blogging” thing don’t I? “You’re supposed to leave something here more than once a month, dumbass!”

Okay, rivival time. I’ll throw up another cheatpost-from-the-past for today and work on having something actually worth reading here for every weekend from now on with more links and maybe something else, at least until the world ends in 2012. No promises, though: I have it on good authority that the world might definately totally end in October, this time for realz, and if that happens I won’t be able to keep up the once-a-week schedule until the world ends in 2012. In fact, the schedule is already on thin ice, what with the world ending two months ago in May and what-not. But I’ll try to keep up with it anyway.

In the meantime, enjoy your cheatpost:

Written September 2008, prior to the billboard vegetation system

The next step will be vegetation. Trees in species will be edible to creatures with herbivorous and omnivorous mouths: how much energy they get out of it will depend on the type of tree and their (mutable) digestive system.

One of the major features of Species will be the mutability of the organisms, and the complex effects of natural selection that result. As an example, the tree-nutrition system (as currently envisaged) will work like this: Each tree type has an nutrient value, and a digestibility value, and each species has an acid value. High acid levels would allow the creature to digest the indigestible, like bark or cacti, but would mean fewer nutrients could be converted to energy. In comparison, low acid would make it only able to survive on easily digestible vegetation, like fruit or green grass, but the creature would be able to take full advantage of the nutrients.

[Present me says: Okay, this requires comment. This sort of complexity does not exist in the vegetation or digestion systems. It was planned, but like many similar features, it was removed from the design prior to being implemented. The primary reason for this is extremely simple: Species is about seeing evolution happen. Features like this are invisible. End of story]

This level of complexity applies to all the organisms traits, but I’m trying to make it intuitive and visible. For example, Shoulder muscle, Arm muscle, Arm length, Hand type and hand size would all affect that arms damage levels (which is complex), but in an intuitive manner: if you see a huge creature with massive, muscular arms and giant claws, you can instantly identify that it’s dangerous. In addition, since it will have formed by natural selection, you can make other conclusions: the species has to fight fairly often with its arms in order to reproduce. If this conclusion turns out to be right, I’ll know I’ll have set up the statistics system properly.

[Present me says: this is still mostly accurate, with one exception: combat is no longer limb-specific. It was getting too confusing and arbitrary to have creatures with 5 different damage values depending on what limb they used to attack (for example, a big muscley creature with spikes and claws and teeth could be killed by a far inferior opponent if it decided to attack said opponent with it’s tail), so this has been streamlined into a single value which takes modifiers from the limbs, head, tail and features]

It’s not only the physical traits that will be mutable – behaviour will also be dictated by natural selection. All creatures will have one or two fixed behaviours (eat and mate are the obvious ones), but other behaviour will be dictated by a special AI system. Of course, these behavioral traits will be genetic (instinct): I had considered making individuals capable of ‘learning’ behaviours, but I suspect that would be both rediculously complex and entirely useless: individual creatures don’t live very long, so learning wouldn’t do them much good. The species can learn, but not the individual. A larger brain size would allow more instinctual behaviours.

[Present me says: That wasn’t so bad. I was expecting a whole load of completely wrong detail on the behavioral system, but it’s vague enough to be fairly… well, vague. And eat and mate have been made mutable since then too!]

I could keep going on and on, but I won’t. You get the idea. I don’t really expect to appeal to a wide audience with this project, but it’s captured my imagination and I fully intend to follow it through. I’ll try to keep this blog up to date.

[Present me says: Hah! I said that back then too? I really wasn’t kidding when I said I suck at this blogging stuff, was I?]

… [/end cheatpost]

Please excuse me while I murder “Present Qu”s face until he gives me my job back. Thank you for you continuing patience.
Qu

PS: [Present me says: OW! AAARRRGH! NOT THE FACE, NOT THE FACE! OKAY OKAY NO MORE CHEATPOSTS, I PROMISE! PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS SHINY, STOP DOING THAT!]

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  1. #1 by Scott E. Stratton on February 12, 2016 - 12:21 am

    Old post I know, but just catching up. Love it!

  2. #2 by Scott E. Stratton on February 12, 2016 - 12:24 am

    LOL. Just noticed the tags. Humor AND my favorite nerd subject in the entire world forever anon. My contribution to the local economy today will be zero as I get this software and catch up. Which may be an improvement for the local economy.

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