The time has finally come: the creature’s artificial stupidity has been affecting the results of natural selection since 0.4.0, and it’s finally time to change that. We will at last be upgrading the creature’s brainz.
– Perception – Will be simplified and streamlined into a more reactive, less proactive, system, which should be both easier on the computer and more responsive when it counts (such as responding to attacks and seeking food). The system will be based on hearing and smell: the idea being that’s it’s the responsibility of the entity being detected to emit a noise/scent that creatures in the vicinity can detect and act upon.
– Stimuli – Creatures will become more responsive: stimuli like pain, temperature, starvation, sexiness and being attacked by enormous scary things will prompt actual responses from them.
– Emotions – Each creature will have a suite of emotions: the strongest will determine what task they attempt to perform next. At this stage I plan to include hunger, fear, anger, amorousness, and discomfort, as well as make the emotional system easily extensible for additional future requirements.
– Forethought – When a creature has decided to do something, they will need to plan out a series of actions. Fixing hunger doesn’t just involve moving to the nearest object and sucking on it: creatures will identify the best form of food for themselves, seek it out, kill it (if necessary) and then eat. This will be done through a Behavior Tree, allowing for complex fallback plans in the event the initial attempt fails, easy extensibility, and possibly even opening up the possibilities of modding.
All of this will hopefully lead to interesting creatures: not just on a population level, but on an individual level. The plan is that when this is done, an individual creature’s struggle for survival will be a lot less random and a lot more interesting to observe.
Additionally, this should give make creatures in general much more capable of survival, allowing me to reduce the number of trees and food available.
I had originally intended to release an additional second set of features with 0.8.0, focused around making some overdue improvements to the gameplay cycle, but have since decided against it: if I focus solely on the AI, the update will be out quicker and I’ll be less likely to get distracted. We won’t be addressing anything else this update: the AI deservedly takes center stage.