Welcome everyone on this fine Autumn day; a major update to the Ecosystem demo has just been released! This coincides with the Steam Autumn Game Festival kicking off later on but the update is live now, so let's talk about all the changes.
From @Tom Johnson :
From @Tom Johnson :
Tom Johnson said:"My overall goal with these changes is to make the game feel more like a living system so that every aspect of it is connected to all the others, giving the creatures a lot to work with when it comes to evolving adaptations to their environments. For example, in the previous demo, creating a nursery was artificial in the sense that any 'U' shape was as good as any other, but now a cove really does catch eggs and plant seeds and can be affected by how water is funneled through your landscape; each one is distinct and they are all connected to the overall system. Creatures are both more interesting and a lot faster, and now that plants spread and can be depleted in locations, foragers will need to migrate to follow them with predators following close behind. In this way, populations are more mobile and interact in varied ways, and a lot of work has gone into keeping a large amount of species diversity in the environment."
- Creatures are now much more likely to evolve symmetric body shapes
- Creatures are able to swim dramatically more quickly
- Reworked soft-body simulation on creatures so they are a little less rigid
- It is now possible to make large kelp forests, and now corals will build reefs themselves over several generations
- Each species of plant or coral has an accurate representation of its tolerances for nitrogen and phosphorus as well as sunlight, floor substrate, and crowding
- Healthy plants now release seeds that are carried elsewhere on the current - unhealthy ones die off. Foragers now need to follow the food, leaving behind barren or depleted areas and seeking out fresh growths. In general, this results in much more species intermixing
- It is now possible to maintain a variety of different species without them driving each other to extinction
- It is now possible to keep predator-prey populations steady, including up multiple trophic levels, ie apex predators who eat smaller predators who eat herbivores
- Population counts roughly fit the Lotka–Volterra equations used to model predation in nature
- Players no longer build fixed nurseries: creatures can spawn anywhere
- Players no longer build fixed mating grounds: creatures decide how to mate themselves
- Substantially increased life points and nutrient points
- Used a Lattice Boltzmann method to simulate current flows around the terrain as the player shapes it. Currents transport plankton, eggs, nutrients, and seeds around the environment
- Creatures must now explore their environment to learn about it rather than having all information available to them immediately
- To detect a mate, prey, or predator, creatures must pass a vision check based on light level, motion and a comparison of the creature’s skin color to whatever is behind it, allowing creatures to evolve to lurk in dark caves or camouflage amongst plants, corals, etc
- Alternate mating strategies: pairing up into mutually-compatible couples, promiscuously seeking out the most attractive partner, or gathering en masse at a central mating grounds
- Creatures emote when they are happy, sad, or in love
- Creatures can lunge at a target in addition to swimming at a steady pace
- Creatures can now make their way through cave systems and around nooks and crannies
- Added a fully-functional editor that allows players to design a creature's body directly and let it loose in the environment; it will evolve a brain
- Added a fully-functional editor that allows adjusting large scale parameters of the landscape to easily and quickly create beaches, reefs, lakes, cliffs, or various alien-looking oceans
- Reskinned menus
- Added menus for audio, graphics settings, and key bindings
- When the player selects a creature, they also get a small picture-in-picture view of what the creature is seeing
- Reworked tutorial to reflect changes to gameplay
- Reworked food source menu so that it's clear there are fifty plants and corals and not just twelv
- Finished score
- Added several sound effects
- Fix: selecting creatures with a mouse click would get thrown off due to the underwater refraction effect.
- Fix: creatures could block the camera from moving.
- Fix: blurriness in text that would appear over creatures.
- Many more