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A model of an ecosystem


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#1 IanW   Members   -  Reputation: 123

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 06:02 AM

Ive been thinking about a procedurally designed ecosystem, and going back to the old Game of Life (which isnt a game - its a set of defined decision-free rules that allow a system to develop from an initial state),

Briefly, imagine a series of connected tiles - 2D or 3D, doesnt matter.

Tiles can randomly spawn either energy, or mobile units, or - most of the time - nothing.

Mobile units can either be collectors or transformers. All units have limited vision.

Collectors wander around randomly until they find a single unit of stuff, They then pick it up, and look for the biggest pile of the same sort of stuff they can see. If they dont see one, they keep wandering. When they do, they drop their unit of stuff on the pile, and then go back to wandering.

Transformers wander around, looking for piles of stuff. If the piles are big enough, they turn it into a unit of the next order of stuff. If it isnt, keep wandering.

Im thinking the first level of stuff is energy, the second order is craftables, the third order is rare craftables and the fourth order is teleporters to interesting areas.

My thinking is that players never see the collectors, the transofrmers or the energy. They *can* see, and collect and use, craftables, rare craftables and teleporters.

I'd appreciate thoughts.

Edited by IanW, 19 October 2012 - 07:50 AM.


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#2 TomVD   Members   -  Reputation: 186

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 08:53 AM

It's rather abstract... so if I understand right, you let the world evolve while the player is playing it? Not like the usual world generator where the world is generated once at the start, but after that it's only the player changing the world.

It might be interesting to see the ecosystem behave in a reaction to what the player does. Perhaps the player is not seeing the tier 1 resource you call "energy", but his actions could alter it?
Also, do you have a goal or story in mind? There is an ecosystem, but that alone doesn't sound like a "game".

#3 IanW   Members   -  Reputation: 123

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 08:59 AM

It's rather abstract... so if I understand right, you let the world evolve while the player is playing it? Not like the usual world generator where the world is generated once at the start, but after that it's only the player changing the world.

It might be interesting to see the ecosystem behave in a reaction to what the player does. Perhaps the player is not seeing the tier 1 resource you call "energy", but his actions could alter it?
Also, do you have a goal or story in mind? There is an ecosystem, but that alone doesn't sound like a "game".


The world rolls on and does what it does - yes, this isnt a game, this is the infrastructure for a game, that does what it does as the player, or players, does whateve (including possibly spawning fancy graphics, or maybe tier 4 is mobs, or whatever).

Note that as a player grabs craftables etc, then they arent there for transformers to transform into other things - so while Our Heroes cant alter tier 1 energy, under this design they can alter tier 2 and so on.

#4 Telcontar   Members   -  Reputation: 893

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 09:10 AM

As an ecosystem should be self-balancing and perpetual, I imagine you will need balancing forces for the collectors. If they are constantly piling up units of stuff and nothing is spreading them out again, before long you'll have piles so massive the player won't need to find any other sources. Too, the scheme should be circular. Energy becomes craftables becomes rares becomes teleporters becomes energy again.

I'm also curious as to what the player would do with these anyway. The generaly setup of the "ecosystem" as you call it may well be sound, but it is hard to determine if it fits your goals for the game/simulation unless you tell us more about it. If this is a case of you having dreamt up a neat mechanic before the game, then you need to dream up what the mechanic will go with.

Edited by Telcontar, 19 October 2012 - 09:11 AM.

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#5 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 18575

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 12:14 AM

Sounds like there's some potential, but it would probably require quite a lot of balancing to get something fun and interesting -- I'd say this is something that needs a playable prototype to experiment with.

Would players be given some sort of goal, or would this be more of a toy with no objectives?




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