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 My Evolution System Concept

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Smothmoth
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PostSubject: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:31 am

Hello everyone, this will be my first of many concept posts. Sorry if anything is confusing, I can be bad at explaining things sometimes. If you have any questions about anything, feel free to ask.

Now, I know most people here want the game to be realistic, but realism is going to have to fall to the side in this case. Having any kind of realistic random evolution is going to be overly complex, and really just won’t be any fun. If you don’t have control over the way your creatures evolve, how can anything turn out the way you like? How can you guarantee you would ever even make it to sentience?

The following system would give the player total control of their species’ evolution, while simulating random evolution in the non-player creatures. It does sacrifice realism though, something I think we are going to have to do. Anyway, here is my concept for an Evolution system.
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PostSubject: The System   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:32 am

The System:

This system will center on what is basically a “Tech Tree” for your species, called the Evolution Tree, it will be a list of mutations that you can purchase using Mutation Points at the end of each Generation. The passage of time steadily becomes slower as you move up the Tree, meaning in the early game Evolution will move much faster while it will slow down later on. Mutation points will function like currency that you will use to purchase mutations, the total amount available will be based on the population of your species. You can also spend MP to make minor changes in the Microbe/Organism Editor. You could also sell off old mutations and regain part of the cost, the amount regained decreasing ever Generation. After you spend as many MP as you wish, you continue play as an adolescent of your species many years down the line, the total amount based on the complexity of the changes and mutations.

First Revision:December 29, 2010
Instead of using Mutation Points, displayed with the Evolution Tree would be a Genetic Diversity bar. Mutations have a GD requirement to acquire, steadily increasing as you move up the tree. GD increases every time a member of the species reproduces, be it your controlled creature or an NPC. Total population of a species will also be a factor.


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PostSubject: The Evolution Tree   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:34 am

The Evolution Tree:

!!WARNING!! This section is mostly vague ideas, not hard concepts. !!PROCEED WITH CAUTION!!


From what I’ve read of current stage concepts, the idea is for all of the stages to be “seamless”. While I can see this being possible in the later stages, I just don’t see it working at all early on. Unless people feel like playing several billion years of Microbe evolution, several hundred million years of simple organisms, and another hundred million or so as a fish. I would prefer the early stages not be so “seamless”, for the sake of gameplay. My following Evolution Tree assumes this, my apologies if you don’t agree.

Microbe Stage:
The Tree starts off simple, you acquire more Organelles as you progress and the microbe increases in complexity. At the end of the Microbe line, the Tree branches off into multiple lines for different types of animals. I think these six cover everything; Aquatic, Reptilian, Avian, Mammalian, and Insectiod. You pick one of these, and progress to the Organism Stage.

Organism Stage:
The Tree then becomes much more complex, branching off in many directions. It would have several base categories, for now I’m thinking; General, Defensive, Social, Mental, and Environmental.
General mutations would increase the overall complexity of your creature, and give you access to more parts in the editor. Defensive mutations would include anything that help your creature survive attacks, be it sharp claws or armor-like plates. Social mutations increase the ability to interact with other members of your species, which could lead to packs. Mental mutations increase mental ability, this is the main path to Sentience.

Sentience and Beyond:
After gaining sentience the Evolution Tree will not come into play as much, but you will still gain MP at a greatly reduced rate. You will mostly use these in keep increasing intelligence, which could speed up research speed.
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PostSubject: Generations   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:35 am

Generations:

You begin each Generation as an adolescent of the species, which has acquired the mutations you purchased before. You will then play through this individual’s life cycle, once you are fully grown you can attempt to reproduce, and pass the mutations to the next generation. The Generation ends after you spend MP, if you want to continue in the current Generation longer you may.
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PostSubject: Reproduction and Breeding Grounds   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:36 am

Reproduction and Breeding Grounds:

Reproduction in the Microbe stage will be simple, collect enough energy and multiply. More complex creatures will need to find and compete for a mate, and this will be done in breeding grounds. Breeding grounds where creatures mate, only ones suited for your species needs will be available to use. The range of breeding grounds available can be increased by mutating to adapt. You species must maintain control over the BG in order to use it; other species can muscle their way in and drive you out, and you can do the same. The main goal of the organism stage will be to acquire breeding grounds, the more you control the faster your species will be able to evolve. You can go to one of your breeding grounds at any time during adulthood and attempt to find a mate. If you succeed, you pass the current mutations to the next Generation. You will also be asked to spend your MP, the current Generation ends when this is done.

First Revision:December 29, 2010

Genetic Diversity is increased every time a member of the species reproduces, both player creatures and NPCs.


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PostSubject: Sentience   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:36 am

Sentience:

The farther up the Evolution Tree you go, mutations will become more and more expensive. Eventually, you will reach Sentience, which will be one of the final mutations you will buy will be. While you can continue to spend mutation points in later stages, the rate at which you acquire MP will be drastically reduced, as the game will now be moving at a much slower pace. Once you purchase Sentience, your creature will unlock new ways to interact with the environment. They will be able to use simple tools, and from there research takes over further development of your species.
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PostSubject: NPC Evolution   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:38 am

NPC Evolution:
!!WARNING!! This section is mostly vague ideas, not hard concepts. !!PROCEED WITH CAUTION!!

While you are controlling the evolution of your own species, the other species around you will be randomly evolving. At the end of each of your Generations, any MP they have will be spent on mutations randomly, with physical changes following what mutations they get. The only problem would be failure to adapt to the environment, and most of the other creatures quickly going extinct. That is partially realistic however, over 90% of the species that ever lived on Earth are long extinct now. One solution would be to give control over to the AI, but this would reduce randomness.
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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:41 am

And there we are, my concept for a non-random evolution system.

Feedback and criticism would be great, and help me decide how to handle my later concepts.
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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:41 am

I'm rather confused on what to say so this will be short and vague. (And there's another reason why I haven't been posting.)

First off, I'm pretty sure it's set in stone: we aren't going to have any "points" to "purchase" mutations. As a matter of fact, I think this idea has been brought up by a few other people. And also Spore. Which is why this project exists.

There are a few more problems that I can't put my finger on at the moment, however, but that seems like the biggest one.

But, due to technical difficulties our main programmer that's blocked the progress of the game engine, I think we may have to resort to something along the lines of this, basically, player-controlled evolution
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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:51 am

Well, I lurked around for a good while and never saw anything mentioned as "Set in Stone", or have I seen any ideas similar to this.

Even if it was set in stone though, what alternatives are there? In this Thread all forms of Auto-Evolution were shot down as too complex or resource intensive.
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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:58 am

Exactly,
exactly and
exactly.

I knew I'd get something wrong.
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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:02 am

Yes, because of programing limitations we are most likely going to have to settle for some kind of player controlled Evolution.

Now with that thought, what criticism could you give the concept I wrote out?
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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:41 am

I think that simpler and more effective solution for player-controlled evolution would be just giving them ability to use Organism editor when they want and allowing them to do limited changes, with the limitation getting lower when the editor is not used in a while.
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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:53 am

Commander Keen wrote:
I think that simpler and more effective solution for player-controlled evolution would be just giving them ability to use Organism editor when they want and allowing them to do limited changes, with the limitation getting lower when the editor is not used in a while.

Well thats exactly how evolution in Spore worked, only with no limits. The only reason that worked at all in Spore was the simplicity of the game and how it handled the stages. Thrive is striving to be much more complicated with and the stages are much different, so I don't think this would work.

How would we determine when the species becomes sentient, or how it behaves?
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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:42 am

How would you evolve as a insectoid race, to go from single individual to working as a hive?

I guess that would be social, but my question needs information about what causes them to reproduce at such a high speed?

How would you evolve that?
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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:46 pm

Hey, awesome work here. I'm glad we have another person with great ideas, and this is really good as a concept for evolution in a game. However, I do have a few criticisms.

1) It seems you haven't read the current concept for our Organism Editor (or you did and didn't pick up on everything). That's OK, you'll just have to go through it, because a few things (like choosing a phylum and starting as an adolescent) won't work with our OE.

2) The Idea of spending currency on mutations is cool, but I'm generaly opposed to a currency system in organism gameplay before civilization- it seems like a gimmick, I'd rather go with direct edits limited by complexity.

3) The breeding grunds idea is really cool, and I think we should incorporate breeding grounds as an early type of SC (society center - see the Abbreviations Dictionary in the "other" section when you don't know what someone is talking about) so you can go into strat mode when your species congregates there. However, not all species use breeding grounds, especially carnivorous species, since they generally aren't as social.

4) generations is good, except for the fact that you shouldn't be forced to start play as an adolescent- some animals are sedentary when fully grown, but can move about as young.

5) We've played with the idea of something like an Evolution tree, but the thing is that just doesn't allow for enough differentiation, and it leads to a sort of "compartmentalization" of the OE, ehwere we have chains of parts instead of the fluid system we have now.

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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:54 pm

~sciocont wrote:
The Idea of spending currency on mutations is cool, but I'm generaly opposed to a currency system in organism gameplay before civilization- it seems like a gimmick, I'd rather go with direct edits limited by complexity.

I don't want DNA points in thrive!
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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:09 pm

caekdaemon wrote:
How would you evolve as a insectoid race, to go from single individual to working as a hive?

I guess that would be social, but my question needs information about what causes them to reproduce at such a high speed?

How would you evolve that?

I guess I should have explained my ideas for the phyla better, each phylum has its own unique gameplay. Insectoid species start with a hive, and will reproduce in a different manner that incredibly quick. However, because of the limited gene pool, they mutate and evolve much slower that others. In the end they would have two methods of gaining sentience, "Sentient Hive" and "Individual Sentience". They hive method with be much easier than the individual one.

~sciocont wrote:
Hey, awesome work here. I'm glad we have another person with great ideas, and this is really good as a concept for evolution in a game. However, I do have a few criticisms.

1) It seems you haven't read the current concept for our Organism Editor (or you did and didn't pick up on everything). That's OK, you'll just have to go through it, because a few things (like choosing a phylum and starting as an adolescent) won't work with our OE.

I have read through all of your current concepts, including the Organism Editor, and I couldn't see any reason either of these wouldn't work. As I explained above, the phylum you choose determines what kind of gameplay experience you have. It wouldn't limit you in anyway editor wise, except for any physical requirements mutations would have. Like a creature would actually be capable of flight before they can buy the flight mutation. As for adolescents, I think you misunderstand what I meant. An adolescent isn't a child, it is a stage past puberty but before adulthood. You would be playing a basically fully grown creature, but it hasn't proven itself yet.

Also, the OE concept post said there would be support for different castes and sexes, why not represent young as well?

~sciocont wrote:

2) The Idea of spending currency on mutations is cool, but I'm generaly opposed to a currency system in organism gameplay before civilization- it seems like a gimmick, I'd rather go with direct edits limited by complexity.

Sorry, I'm always thinking in terms of game mechanics. While Mutation Points function like a currency, it isn't really one. They represent the chances of mutations happening, which is why MP increases as your population increases. Calling it a currency was poor word choice, I'll try to avoid using terms like this in the future.

Edits limited by complexity is EXACTLY what Spore did, only you could break the complexity bar by removing parts. I already stated why I think this wouldn't work for Thrive in an earlier post.

~sciocont wrote:

3) The breeding grunds idea is really cool, and I think we should incorporate breeding grounds as an early type of SC (society center - see the Abbreviations Dictionary in the "other" section when you don't know what someone is talking about) so you can go into strat mode when your species congregates there. However, not all species use breeding grounds, especially carnivorous species, since they generally aren't as social.

Breeding Grounds would act as different things for every species, universally its just a safe place where the young are born and raised. More social species would use them as gathering places, while for others it would simply be the place you lay an egg and leave. Maybe they could become the sites of the first tribes once you gain sentience?

~sciocont wrote:

4) generations is good, except for the fact that you shouldn't be forced to start play as an adolescent- some animals are sedentary when fully grown, but can move about as young.

Already explained what I meant by adolescents above, in case there was a misunderstanding. Being force to play a young every generation would suck.

~sciocont wrote:

5) We've played with the idea of something like an Evolution tree, but the thing is that just doesn't allow for enough differentiation, and it leads to a sort of "compartmentalization" of the OE, ehwere we have chains of parts instead of the fluid system we have now.

From what I've read, you don't really have any system right now. The Evolution Tree, if implemented properly, would allow for plenty of differentiation. Based on your current Research Tree draft, you are thinking in terms of a Civilization-like linear tree. This is not the only kind of development tree there is, and I'll elaborate on this more in the future.

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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:20 pm

instead of mp ,gd(genetic diversity) represented as a bar in the"evolution tree"
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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:32 pm

kaosrain wrote:
instead of mp ,gd(genetic diversity) represented as a bar in the"evolution tree"

Yeah, Genetic Diversity sounds much better, Thanks. Representing it as a bar would probably work better too, how does this sound to everyone?
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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:33 pm

Okay, I understand this a lot better now. MPs seem pretty solid, but I'd rather they be spent on direct editing that something with an evolution tree, because it just gives you more freedom.

As for differentiation of gameplay according to phyla: in my understanding these "phyla" pertain to behavior, not the actual organisms' shape and composition (meaning you could play as a hive of squirrels) Now we can do a system like this, but I think it limits a bit too much- between Org gameplay and Strat gameplay, you'll be able to do just about anything you'd need to. I'd imagine your "hive" concept there would be dealing with mostly strategy gameplay, whereas if you played as, say, a shark, it would be pretty much all org mode. I don't think players should choose these archetypes from a list, I think they should be defined within the OE and the OE's AI editor. Early multicellular life would probably focus on Org mode gameplay anyway.

I still like these "breeding grounds" but I don't think they should be used for every creature. Many creatures don't care for their young, and others may not reproduce sexually. Breeding grounds should come up at any place where offspring are being actively reared, and act as an SC

As for generations, I think you should be able to start at any point in the life cycle. I realize your desire to play af an able-bodied organism, but young organisms could have different roles in life than fully grown ones. Some cnidarians can move ebout as young, but then cannot move about when they reach maturity. Therefore, the only fun you'd have playing as one would be as a young which has not yet reached adolescence. So the player should choose what stage of life they are put into.

The "system" I was referring to was the system of the OE, sorry, I should have made that clearer.


I approve of the GD bar.

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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:40 pm

Spending MPs on editing in OE is direct OE editing with limitations.
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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:45 pm

Commander Keen wrote:
Spending MPs on editing in OE is direct OE editing with limitations.
Yeah, i see that now. Go on chat, everybody.

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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:45 pm

lets say im an insectoid and i spend gd to reach a square that says aerodynamics:i just unloced the parts to make diferent kinds of wings or maybe even sails. i guess thats what he meant
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PostSubject: Re: My Evolution System Concept   Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:48 pm

kaosrain wrote:
lets say im an insectoid and i spend gd to reach a square that says aerodynamics:i just unloced the parts to make diferent kinds of wings or maybe even sails. i guess thats what he meant
But in the OE, "parts" don't get locked or unlocked. One of the reasons I created the New OE was to use as few "parts" as possible.

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