Red in Tooth and Claw

You know how certain individuals accuse video games of causing violence? They’re wrong. In reality, violence causes video games, possibly through some sort of mitosis. A bunch of experts-I-can’t-give-you-valid-references-for did a survey-I-can’t-show-you-the-parameters-of which said so! I also read it on the internet, at a totally reputable website! It clearly must be true!

So, in order to further outrage the moral guardians and do my part in bringing about the video game apocalypse, where obese brainwashed teenage nerd zombies roam the earth killing the remaining survivors to sate their never ending hunger for cheeto’s and diet-coke, in Species there will of course be blood and death and meat and violence and gore. Seriously, it’s gonna be like Prototype or Left 4 Dead or a halloween episode of the Simpsons in there. Blood everywhere!

On a slightly Serious Note, Video Games. Have. Ratings. If you’re letting a 10 year old watch Saw (pick one), you’re being negligent. If you’re letting a 10 year old play Grand Theft Auto (pick one again. Haha, you’re doing my work for me!), you’re being equally negligent. So please stop attacking mature games on the basis that they’re aimed at mature people. It says MA15+ for a reason, people!

Back to Species. Where were we? Oh, right… Gore! Blood! Death! Gory Bloody Death!

All your descendants are now mentally scarred for life. Even the ones you haven't had yet. <i>Especially</i> the ones you haven't had yet. You're welcome.

Before corpsing was implemented, creatures simply vanished mysteriously when they died. Now that it is implemented, they turn into the horrible red mess above. All their remaining energy is piled into a single stat (eloquently called ‘meatEnergy’) and they become a food source/meat pile for any other creatures in the area, at least until they decay completely and return to the ether (aka the Creature Queue).

Speaking of food sources, this implementation lead to the introduction of a ‘diet’ variable, which lead to the possibility of carnivorous creatures. Creatures with a diet variable of -1 are herbivores, and get a 1:1 ratio of energy transfer when eating plants. This interpolates to purely carnivorous at +1, with omnivores getting less energy from either source but being able to eat both.

At this point in the saga, all of the fundamentals of an ecosystem are implemented. Creatures are born, live, grow, die, and their energy is returned to the ecosystem. The cycle is complete. So what remains?

That’s simple: selection pressure. A creature’s mutations need to affect it’s statistics and abilities, and thus it’s ability to survive.

But I’ll leave that for next week, because I’m writing todays post at the last minute and don’t have as much time to invest as I’d like. If only there was a way to write posts ahead of time and only submit them when I’m ready…

“Buffer”? No that’s alright, I have nothing I need to buff.

I think I’ll add a bit to my Serious Note here. It goes without saying that video games should not be restricted by draconian legalising, but that doesn’t mean anything goes and we should throw bloody dismemberment into everything, either. Even many mature games don’t need it. For instance: the first Assassins Creed had a particular scene where the doctor you were sent to assassinate had one of his goons break both of a patients legs. There was no red stuff in the scene, but it was far more horrifying than anything I’d encountered in far more explicit games like Prototype, and made me want to stab the guy.

Take away message for video game developers: “use gore only when appropriate”. If you can achieve the right atmosphere and gameplay without it, it’s not necessary and is quite possibly superfluous.

The true danger in the video game apocalypse won’t be the zombies, it’ll be the walking robot shrines to World Of Warcraft characters.

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