Joel's Creations: the first generation

The first few creatures were really test creatures. These ones don't use the armour or antennae attributes, they don't use the data segment, and they only grow the bare minimum of legs and claws. Even with these restrictions there seems to be a variety of interesting strategies.

Sweeper

The very first working biomass creature I coded. I used this when testing and debugging the biomass code.

The "standard" vivarium

Operating in a "standard" vivarium (ie size 101x101, food quanta 20, flux rate 4.0) this beast forages by growing lots of eyes and looking left then right for food before moving forward. It reproduces once it has enough energy, and then runs away from its offspring. Left to itself, the biomass will fluctuate between 10-30 %. Hmm, I wonder if by playing with the flux parameter you can get stable, periodic and chaotic population cycles ?


Wave

The wave in growth phase, and near equilibrium.

The second creature I coded, simpler than the sweeper: it simply grows eyes and looks ahead until it sees food, when it moves forward. It reproduces offspring into the cell to its right. Seems to stabilise its population at about 55% of system biomass.


Mould

The mould in growth phase and domination phase.

The first sessile creature written, also first creature designed to live in a colony. When I was working out how the vivarium should behave in special cases (such as when food falls onto a creature or a creature spawns into an occupied cell), I realized that a species need not move to colonise the vivarium - spawning is in effect a form of movement.

The first version of the mould was riotously successful, since at that stage spawning had no associated energy cost. All the energy collected by the mould was simply shuffled around, and the mould re-generated from damage at a frightening rate. The sweeper and the wave failed in a mould-dominated environment because they kept spawning into mould-occupied cells. Anyway, I decided that spawning should really have some associated cost, which was a pity because the mould was a facinating creature.

That wasn't the end of the story, though. After the change, the sweeper and wave still didn't make much headway. Since spawning now leaks energy, the mould radiates away energy, leaving each mould cell with a single unit of energy. Now a herbivore like the sweeper can't gain energy by grazing on mould, since it uses at much energy as it gains just by moving. Not a bad defense mechanism: don't be worth eating.

Growing mould

To grow a "standard" mould-dominated vivarium, run a standard vivarium without any creatures for 30,000 cycles. This should fill the vivarium up with about 120,000 units of food. Drop in one or more mould colonies and run for at least 2000 cycles.


Weevil

The weevil operating in a mould-dominated vivarium.

It should be possible to create a creature that can graze systematically in a mould-dominated environment, and that is in fact what the weevil does. The weevil crawls around an empty space/mould boundary, taking advantage of occasionally enriched mould.


I stopped at this point because I remembered I had other things to do, but I do think that there's potential for design and counter-design left in the games.