Segmented creatures

Serafine

Queen
Backer
Beta Tester
Ecosystem Beta Tester
#1
Someone in Discord was asking if the game gets Arthropods and this got me thinking...

The current "blobfish" we have in the game are basically a singular central body part (containing eyes, mouth, etc.) with random fins (or lumps of flesh) attached.
This seriously limits their ability to mutate and evolve and prevents them from ever becoming something very different - whatever happens to them, they will never become anything other than more or less weird blobfish.


Arthropods - or any other segmented creatures like annelids (ringworms) or even mammals (yes, humans are segmented creatures) - consist of a head segment and multiple body segments - these body segments can carry fins, legs, lumps of flesh, spikes, gills, genitals and pretty much anything a creature needs to survive and multiply.

The trick with segmented creatures is that segments can simply be added or removed via random mutation and if segments are added they will carry all features of the segment they derived from. So if your creature has 3 segments (a head segment, a body segment and a tail segment) and the body segment has a pair of fins, if this body segment gets copied you'll end up with a creature with 4 segments (1 head, 2 body, 1 tail) and 2 pairs of fins.
These segments can specialize, so the 2nd segment could over time develop smaller fins (or gills, or poison glands, or electric dischargers, or ink glands, or armor plates, or long spikes that damage predators trying to eat them, etc.) and if this segment gets copied you'll end up with a creature of 5 segments - 1 head, 1 body with large fins, 2 bodies with small fins and 1 tail.

Technically the tail segment is also just a specialized body segment, so your minimal creature size would be a head segment (of random length & with a random number of eyes, a mouth, etc. and (for game purposes) reproductive organs) and 1 body segment (of random length) with any number of random protrusions (0-whatever can be physically attached to the segment)

Segmented creatures are a very interesting type of entity and would be absolutely doable but require a very different approach than the current creatures do. I think coding them would be fairly easy though as the rules that govern their evolution are not very complicated.

The benefit of having segmentation is that creatures can very quickly develop into a vast range of extremely different organisms that look nothing alike at all.




Here's an example of what segmented creature evolution can look like
Mechanics used are:
- Add/delete a segment (added segments are copies of an existing segment)
- Mutations that apply to 1 Segment (like adding a new fin or adding a inverted copy of an existing fin)
- Mutations that apply to all Segments (like removing a specific fin from all segments or adding spikes too all segments)


Mechanics not used (but that could potentially be useful):
- Timers for embryogenesis (like a creature produces 1 Segment per tick while it develops from egg to creature, the faster the timer runs the more segments a newborn creature will have - this is how snakes get all their many vertebra)
- Timers for living creatures (like adding segments during lifetime, when a creature grows it adds 1 Segment of type X per Y time units, this is what many non-metamorphosizing insects like roaches do)
 
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person111

Soldier
Ecosystem Beta Tester
#2
Also some mechanics could be evolution through the presence of other types of fish? Like if a predator goes for too long without any signs of preys they develop some type of segments that help them process vegetables and then they switch their diets, or when prey is not in the presence of predators they lose segments that help them avoid them when they have to flee (Like some fins or the shape of the fins change, which affects the speed of the fish itself. And the embryogenesis could be useful potentially but if there’s too many ticks, which means too many segments the creature would probably not be able to exist at all. Since the way the blobfishes swim is sometimes game-breaking, then having a creature with say, 12 segments would probably cause a spike in data usage and the extinction of the species since the amount of muscles it is controlling at once and that anything game breaking would have Genetic Disease. And for creatures growing segments while they grow up maybe there could be a mechanic used where the newborns, or the ones with the least segments would stay together somewhere and go somewhere else when they have more segments, such as to mate, much like eels do.
 

Serafine

Queen
Backer
Beta Tester
Ecosystem Beta Tester
#3
Also some mechanics could be evolution through the presence of other types of fish? Like if a predator goes for too long without any signs of preys they develop some type of segments that help them process vegetables and then they switch their diets, or when prey is not in the presence of predators they lose segments that help them avoid them when they have to flee (Like some fins or the shape of the fins change, which affects the speed of the fish itself.
I think as of right now diet is basically hardcoded into the creatures but it would be a cool thing if this could actually mutate - like in a way where fish could unlock access to other food sources but would get less energy from it as they're not equipped to digest stuff. This could be displayed like [herbivore 100%, carnivore 20%, hypercarnivore (apex predator) 0%, filter feeder 0%] or so.
That way a predator had at least a chance be able to somehow survive when there's no prey and depending on the situation the ability could spread through the genepool and improve over time.

Remember that evolution doesn't really "aim" for something, it's more like things accidentally happen to be beneficial and then spread as they increase survivability and mutations making the ability even better increase survivability even more and that way the species gets better at it over time. Like when there was a random wolf that had the ability to sort of pull nutrients out of grains and it turned out that this was a survivability boost when living with humans (as those tend to have access to a lot of grains and veggies) and as a result today's dogs can at least to some degree digest grains and fruits. The price for this was payed by their more specialized meat-eating ancestors that died out and didn't pass on their genes.

Apex predators are a thing i'm not that fond of, I think it would be more fitting to allow carnivores to eat each other (they be made so they prioritize herbivores and take damage when they try to eat other carnivores). Cannibalism could be an unlockable trait as well (this would mostly apply to adult predators eating younglings of their own species). If you still need apex predators for balancing reason they could just be a species that automatically starts with the "trait" of eating other carnivores at 100%.

And the embryogenesis could be useful potentially but if there’s too many ticks, which means too many segments the creature would probably not be able to exist at all. Since the way the blobfishes swim is sometimes game-breaking, then having a creature with say, 12 segments would probably cause a spike in data usage and the extinction of the species since the amount of muscles it is controlling at once and that anything game breaking would have Genetic Disease.
Yes, this would definitely require a check process to make sure newborn multi-segment creatures don't break the engine. We might need that check process anyway though as blobfish can already cause serious performance issues.

And for creatures growing segments while they grow up maybe there could be a mechanic used where the newborns, or the ones with the least segments would stay together somewhere and go somewhere else when they have more segments, such as to mate, much like eels do.
That would be interesting. I've suggested before having specific mating types (which could lead to surface feeders swimming down to the ocean floor to mate there) creatures filling multiple niches would basically be an extension of that. Like the younglings stay in cover around plants and the adults swim in the open ocean. Not sure what a nightmare it would be to set up the code that could make this possible (fish would basically get "life stages" in which they can exhibit different behavior specific to a certain life stage and this would be passed on to future generations via their digital DNA).
 
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Vascan023

Larva
Ecosystem Beta Tester
#4
Someone in Discord was asking if the game gets Arthropods and this got me thinking...

The current "blobfish" we have in the game are basically a singular central body part (containing eyes, mouth, etc.) with random fins (or lumps of flesh) attached.
This seriously limits their ability to mutate and evolve and prevents them from ever becoming something very different - whatever happens to them, they will never become anything other than more or less weird blobfish.


Arthropods - or any other segmented creatures like annelids (ringworms) or even mammals (yes, humans are segmented creatures) - consist of a head segment and multiple body segments - these body segments can carry fins, legs, lumps of flesh, spikes, gills, genitals and pretty much anything a creature needs to survive and multiply.

The trick with segmented creatures is that segments can simply be added or removed via random mutation and if segments are added they will carry all features of the segment they derived from. So if your creature has 3 segments (a head segment, a body segment and a tail segment) and the body segment has a pair of fins, if this body segment gets copied you'll end up with a creature with 4 segments (1 head, 2 body, 1 tail) and 2 pairs of fins.
These segments can specialize, so the 2nd segment could over time develop smaller fins (or gills, or poison glands, or electric dischargers, or ink glands, or armor plates, or long spikes that damage predators trying to eat them, etc.) and if this segment gets copied you'll end up with a creature of 5 segments - 1 head, 1 body with large fins, 2 bodies with small fins and 1 tail.

Technically the tail segment is also just a specialized body segment, so your minimal creature size would be a head segment (of random length & with a random number of eyes, a mouth, etc. and (for game purposes) reproductive organs) and 1 body segment (of random length) with any number of random protrusions (0-whatever can be physically attached to the segment)

Segmented creatures are a very interesting type of entity and would be absolutely doable but require a very different approach than the current creatures do. I think coding them would be fairly easy though as the rules that govern their evolution are not very complicated.

The benefit of having segmentation is that creatures can very quickly develop into a vast range of extremely different organisms that look nothing alike at all.




Here's an example of what segmented creature evolution can look like
Mechanics used are:
- Add/delete a segment (added segments are copies of an existing segment)
- Mutations that apply to 1 Segment (like adding a new fin or adding a inverted copy of an existing fin)
- Mutations that apply to all Segments (like removing a specific fin from all segments or adding spikes too all segments)


Mechanics not used (but that could potentially be useful):
- Timers for embryogenesis (like a creature produces 1 Segment per tick while it develops from egg to creature, the faster the timer runs the more segments a newborn creature will have - this is how snakes get all their many vertebra)
- Timers for living creatures (like adding segments during lifetime, when a creature grows it adds 1 Segment of type X per Y time units, this is what many non-metamorphosizing insects like roaches do)
Interesting!
 

Serafine

Queen
Backer
Beta Tester
Ecosystem Beta Tester
#5
Here's a good video about arthropods and other segmented creatures like annelides and cordates.
It covers other stuff as well and since it's about potential alien life it's more about the core concept of segmentation rather than arthropods specifically which probably makes it more useful in terms of game design.


I have absolutely no idea in which way segmented creatures would evolve in the game and I guess there's no way to predict that.
Testing would probably be the only way to find out.
 

Vascan023

Larva
Ecosystem Beta Tester
#6
Here's a good video about arthropods and other segmented creatures like annelides and cordates.
It covers other stuff as well and since it's about potential alien life it's more about the core concept of segmentation rather than arthropods specifically which probably makes it more useful in terms of game design.


I have absolutely no idea in which way segmented creatures would evolve in the game and I guess there's no way to predict that.
Testing would probably be the only way to find out.
Thank you very much. I like theEOTU arthropod bug animations.
 

Serafine

Queen
Backer
Beta Tester
Ecosystem Beta Tester
#8
EotU has fixed creature animations and doesn't have to deal with shapes of models randomly changing. Most of Ecosystem's segemented creatures would very likely not look like bettles or insects or even shrimp at all, at least not for quite some time. They're likely to look more like swimming caterpillars, annelid worms or weird fish. And nobody can tell into which shapes they would evolve in the long run.
 
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