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Project WILDS   
Moghopper

Moghopper



  3/31/2022  2

When Creatures 3 and Docking Station were released they were great games, and they still are to this day. No other artificial life game has ever really come close to matching them in terms of depth, style, or engagement.

Both games, however, show their age. With Creatures 3 being released in 1999 and Docking station releasing in 2001 neither are what you could consider modern and are very obviously limited in their scope. The rooms are too small for any decent population, the wildlife is virtually inconsequential, and the total world size is simply not enough to permit any kind of adaptation or unique populations.

This is what "Project Wilds" seeks to rectify. The goal of the project is to breathe some
much needed life into C3/DS and allow them to achieve their full potential.

To accomplish this, a series of large metarooms will be created, far larger than any previously done before. Each is to be its own unique biome and filled with unique flora and fauna (Including deadly predators and toxic plant life) as well as underground cave networks. These will include biomes such as deserts, jungle swamps, jagged foothills, and others.

When completed, the large and varied metarooms will allow for much greater opportunities for evolution and development. Populations will be able to become specialized in their environment, even becoming isolated from others and growing in their own unique ways. Actual threats will force norns to adapt in order to deal with them, and more hostile or unforgiving biomes make norns more suited to that particular place at the cost of overspecializing. Essentially putting norn evolution into overdrive.

What's needed to make this a reality is people. Artists, coders, sound designers, all are needed.

If you love the creatures series and want to see it grow, then please consider helping out.


ALWAYS have a Plan B
 
Lacota

Lacota



  3/31/2022

As a note, C12DS is about as big as a metaroom can get before the problems become unbearable. C2toDS squeaks by, but with proper CA links you're looking at severe slowdown.

Unfortunately the engine is single-threaded and 21+ years old.

 
Papriko
Peppery One

Papriko
Germany  


  3/31/2022

Can you squeeze out some extra space if you ditch the default rooms? It could be more of a replacement/rework rather than an add-on.

Lets play plants! Photosynthesis... Photosynthesis... Photosynthesis...
 
Moghopper

Moghopper



  3/31/2022

Lacota wrote:
As a note, C12DS is about as big as a metaroom can get before the problems become unbearable. C2toDS squeaks by, but with proper CA links you're looking at severe slowdown.

Unfortunately the engine is single-threaded and 21+ years old.



That has been mentioned to me before, though we did not know what specific sizes would work.

Fortunately, I have a plan B that should rectify the issue.

Since I want to keep the individual metarooms horizontally large, we can make each metaroom in slices. So ground level would be roughly as long as possible (and with a decent height), and then simply have connections going up or down for higher sections.

For example, a forest would have the main surface level with everything that entails (including some underground and above ground features) and then several exits would be placed to allow for norns to move to the biomes next slice. Like a norn using a door that looks like a ladder to move to a treetop section of the biome.

Should allow for decently large chunks without killing the performance.

If the above doesn't work, then I DO have a plan C, but it involves making a new game entirely (Think creatures, but as a top down roguelike style).


ALWAYS have a Plan B
 
Allekha

Allekha
United States  

 visit Allekha's website: Hello, Robotto blog
  3/31/2022  2

The engine also has a limitation to how many rooms it can support - IIRC the limit is around 2000 before it stops being able to add more. You run into errors if you try to inject too many big metarooms. Of course, you can use fewer larger rooms, but with too few, creatures won't be able to use CAs properly. Making it a new world that ditches the default rooms like Papriko mentioned would help.

To be frank, while many of us would love to play the result, you will have a difficult time recruiting people to such an ambitious project unless you have enough to show to make people want to join without feeling like they're wasting their time on something that will never get finished. Detailed plans at the least, better if you can bring together an alpha version showing the bones of what you want to accomplish, even if it's buggy and the art isn't great.

 
Moghopper

Moghopper



  3/31/2022

Allekha wrote:
The engine also has a limitation to how many rooms it can support - IIRC the limit is around 2000 before it stops being able to add more. You run into errors if you try to inject too many big metarooms. Of course, you can use fewer larger rooms, but with too few, creatures won't be able to use CAs properly. Making it a new world that ditches the default rooms like Papriko mentioned would help.

To be frank, while many of us would love to play the result, you will have a difficult time recruiting people to such an ambitious project unless you have enough to show to make people want to join without feeling like they're wasting their time on something that will never get finished. Detailed plans at the least, better if you can bring together an alpha version showing the bones of what you want to accomplish, even if it's buggy and the art isn't great.



I do have some fairly detailed plans and I can start detailing thing in the opening post if people wish.

As for number of rooms, its not going be a huge number. While large enough to require some division they won't exceed 110. I know that sounds like a lot, but given some elbow grease its perfectly doable.

If no one want to do that, then would anyone be interested in a roguelike style game? (Either side view or top down)


ALWAYS have a Plan B
 
Allekha

Allekha
United States  

 visit Allekha's website: Hello, Robotto blog
  3/31/2022

By 'rooms', I mean these. The Meso has 73 of them. Even the small Corridor has 18. Larger metarooms can have hundreds, especially if they have uneven terrain.

Have you made a metaroom before? Starting with one metaroom as a proof of concept would make things easier and would let you test your plans and show them off on a smaller scale. You can always add more metarooms later.

 
Moghopper

Moghopper



  3/31/2022

That changes things quite a bit. Given the sizes I had planned it would likely be impossible to accomplish my goal.

I will consult with the others on plan c (the roguelike).


ALWAYS have a Plan B
 
cyborg

cyborg



  3/31/2022

You're making a lot of assumptions here.

You don't need a large area for interesting evolutions to happen see: the absolute nonsensical animals that evolve on islands.

Animals that reproduce and die fast allow for faster adaptions to changing environments. If the environment is static, there's no need to evolve.

As for a large metaroom with dangers, see the KT metaroom.

The evolutionary possibilities with Creatures is restricted due to limitations which Steve Grand's new WIP game Grandroids seeks to resolve. Limitations include the lack of possible mutation of limb shape, creatures don't actually have vision etc.

What current metarooms don't have is a functioning seasons cycle, there's so much adaptions real life animals have in respond to seasons like hibernation, seasonal coats, hoarding.

 
Papriko
Peppery One

Papriko
Germany  


  3/31/2022

And if you really want to make a giant world, you could make each biome it's own playable world and then stitch them together with something like the albian warp project. That would also resolve the multithreading issue, at least partially.
Not the most elegant solution, but as stated before, we're working with 20 year old games.


Lets play plants! Photosynthesis... Photosynthesis... Photosynthesis...
 
nulitor

nulitor



  4/1/2022  1

cyborg wrote:

The evolutionary possibilities with Creatures is restricted due to limitations which Steve Grand's new WIP game Grandroids seeks to resolve. Limitations include the lack of possible mutation of limb shape, creatures don't actually have vision etc.

What current metarooms don't have is a functioning seasons cycle, there's so much adaptions real life animals have in respond to seasons like hibernation, seasonal coats, hoarding.


With the borked evolution system it is more likely for a norn to gain the ability to get nutrition and heat from pushing norns than for the norn to get the behaviour to accumulate fat then hibernate and hoarding is an extremely bad idea with the current game system where if a creature was to hoard food another could go and gobble all the 10 food items the creature stacked over 10 minutes in 5 seconds and again hoarding is a mutation less likely than the mutation to gain nutrition from sneezing and having a low sneeze treshold(which is unlikely but still way less than getting a complicated behaviour that can not be obtained with three single point mutations)

 
Moghopper

Moghopper



  4/1/2022

How well would the multiple worlds solution work though? I have a feeling that more issues would pop up to take the place of those solved.

Would anyone be opposed to a top down rougelike though? It may give more flexibility in evolution and environments. Z-levels could additionally be made more distinct and complex as well.

As for the aforementioned borked evolution, if the whole thing was redone it might become a lot more feasible to get things like hibernation and more complex behaviours.

Edit: I do want to elaborate on what kind of biomes I wanted to included. Even if we did a roguelike they would remain the same.

River Valley- The starting zone. Temperate, with little danger and plentiful food. Serves as a sort of safe zone, though some predators and poisonous plants would exist.

Jungle- Think a green hell. It would be hot and wet constantly with diseases and parasites practically everywhere. Food would be plentiful but much of it would be slightly toxic and other plants would have either beneficial or harmful effects. Lots of hazards and deadly predators.

Fetid Swamp- The jungle on steroids, but with lots of water hazards and even more disease.

Cloud Forest- A misty semi-jungle that is safer the jungle and swamp. A little cooler and a bit more open, predators would be the more pressing threat here.

Mountain Steppes- Rocky, with sparse vegetation and hardy fauna. Fall hazards abound and little food plus the cold make it harder to live in, but not impossible.

Snow Drifts- A cold plateau with some pine woods and icy waters. Plant based food would be difficult to come by, but eating critters would provide lots of food. Predators would be rare, with the freezing cold be the biggest threat.

Glacier- A frozen wasteland with almost no food at all. Survival would be nigh impossible without extreme adaptations.

Mangrove Swamp- A hot and wet tropical zone with lots of unique flora and fauna. Most predators would be aquatic and most of the food would be too. Not as disease ridden and the jungle or swamp, but still an issue.

Lake- A large freshwater body of water. Everything is split between the shore/shallows and the deep water. Not very demanding for survival, but being able to use both the shallows and depths would be a huge boon.

Grasslands- Long, flat plains with a warm temperature. Most animals would be large and travel in herds, and predators are fast and powerful.

Foothills- Similar to the mountain steppe but far less desolate. Has geothermal springs to help creatures stay warm and grows plants.

Volcano- Hellish. You can imagine that almost nothing would live here.

Desert- Think the Atacama desert. A dry sea of sand with virutally no food or water. Anything trying to live here would have a terrible time.

The Ocean- Exactly what you think. The beach covers a small section, but 85% would be underwater. Covers the surface to abyssal zone.

Caves- Separated into four distinct layers which consist of the own biomes.
-Layer 1 would be dependent on whatever biome is above it, sharing some of the flora and fauna with the surface while having a bit of its own.

-Layer 2 is known as the "Cave Wilds". Think an underground fungus forest with unique plants and animals.

-Layer 3 is the deep caverns. Dark and rocky with little life. hard to live in, but can be done.

-Layer 4 "The Abyss". Weird, shadowy, and hostile. Think a mix between a boneyard, and primitive cave forest, and a pitch black hole.


ALWAYS have a Plan B
 
Kazooo

Kazooo
Canada  


  4/1/2022

This all sounds interesting but idk how any of this would work.
As for a top down roguelike you'd need an entirely new engine, probably

 
Moghopper

Moghopper



  4/1/2022

Kazooo wrote:
This all sounds interesting but idk how any of this would work.
As for a top down roguelike you'd need an entirely new engine, probably



That it will.


ALWAYS have a Plan B
 
Pilla
Fuzzy Dragonhat

Pilla
Belgium  

 visit Pilla's website: Pilla's DS Agents
  4/2/2022  1

cyborg wrote:

What current metarooms don't have is a functioning seasons cycle, there's so much adaptions real life animals have in respond to seasons like hibernation, seasonal coats, hoarding.



May I jump in here and say that the Betaship has a kinda sorta functioning season cycle? The background doesn't change but according to the seasons the temperatures and the location of foodstuff does change. :P
Sorry for going offtopic.


I might be interested in helping to code!


Visit my Creatures blog/website - Pilla's DS Agents
Join us on Discord - Caos Coding Cave
Visit/contribute to the Creatures Wiki

 
Liil

Liil
Germany  


  4/2/2022  2

As someone that already made a large metaroom I can tell you something about the issues:

The creature limit.
The problem is that Norns, Ettins, Grendels and Geats share the same population limit. That means that finally only one species will survive, because the others get overbed by the dominat reproducing species. There must be a patch for this, that makes it possible to set the breeding limit for all 4 species separately.

Large rooms require more population to ensure mating.
If you have a very large world, Norns can easily get lost and don’t met anymore to breed.

Clustering of creatures.
This problem is the opposite to the previous one. Norns tend so build clusters in the corners of a world without Norn Home. If Norn Home smell is present, they will likely cluster at this point and don’t move much around anymore. They like to stay home and don’t use the giant space.

No support for modern PCs.
The game runs very slow, if you are using more than 16 Creatures. I don’t get it to populate more than 1 large Room in the Evo Ship without getting massive lags. Too many agents, it will lag. But real ecology involves overpopulation of some species and also things like plants, just image how many grass is out there, or ants, or flies! ;)

Nice ideas, but they fail in practice and create problems.
Volcanoes, hot deserts and icy plains may sound cool and interesting, but in reality they are nothing more than a useless wasteland where creatures get lost and die, similar to the large tech areas in the Shee Ship in Creatures 3. Water sources that are accessible, are one of the main sources for early death. There is no agent that stops creatures from entering water areas. It would be cool of something like the C2 cliffs would exist for C3/Ds like “shore” or “edge” that creates fear and stops the Norns from entering.

Overall Creatures3/DS is sadly made for small, connected environments and not large scaled areas.
I personally like larger areas much more too and also your ideas.

 
Lacota

Lacota



  4/2/2022  1

Liil makes a lot of good points. My room C12DS suffers from many of these problems.

It's really unfortunate but hostile rooms outside of genetic gimmicks (toxic norns, magma norns and heat) tend to remain unused.

There's not enough granularity with genetics to evolve with the environment like you're hoping for. It's not possible (realistically) for norns to build a resistance to something without god-like intervention.

 
cyborg

cyborg



  4/2/2022

Evolution also is a fuss.

Let me explain:
1) e. coli bacteria can reproduce every 20 minutes.
2) a lab is running an evolution experiment using e. coli.
3) it took 20 years for the e.coli to evolve the ability to digest citrate in air containing oxygen.

Bacteria are able to adapt rapidly in the wild due to horizontal gene transfer, which is basically taking genes from neighbouring bacteria.

Evolution based games like Spore or The Eternal Cylinder are just a ridiculous ton of horizontal gene transfers, instead of evolving new traits by themselves.

And it sounds like you want to make a evolution based game that is more game than simulation.

 
MuppetBoy

MuppetBoy
United Kingdom  

 visit MuppetBoy's website: Geatville
  4/3/2022  2

Just to add my two pence, i'd be interested if a working family tree building feature could be implemented, not just the link process that comes as default.

Otherwise I would be interested in helping with planning the ecology, I have some knowledge of foodwebs and suchlike.

No promises as i'm already pretty busy with other projects.

 
Moghopper

Moghopper



  4/6/2022

Hey. Sorry I hadn't replied in a while. Just had to deal with some work related stuff.

ALWAYS have a Plan B
 
nulitor

nulitor



  4/12/2022

What makes metarooms lack norns is generally low amounts of agents the norns likes and/or lack of CA links to smell the agents between metarooms.
 
Moghopper

Moghopper



  4/13/2022

nulitor wrote:
What makes metarooms lack norns is generally low amounts of agents the norns likes and/or lack of CA links to smell the agents between metarooms.



The smell thing always bothered me.

That aside, me and my teamate are working on a room about the size of c1 to ds, though with a bit more height to it.

If anyone would like to help with the artwork it would be GREATLY appreciated.


ALWAYS have a Plan B
 
Lacota

Lacota



  4/13/2022

Keep in mind, that C12DS is actually almost double in length to allow for the world wrap.

I'd need to see more before i could devote art time to the project. feel free to hit me up on Discord, EemFoo#2014!

 
Moghopper

Moghopper



  4/14/2022  1

Lacota wrote:
Keep in mind, that C12DS is actually almost double in length to allow for the world wrap.

I'd need to see more before i could devote art time to the project. feel free to hit me up on Discord, EemFoo#2014!



That actually bodes well then, since we aren't doing the wraparound. More space for us!

That said I will try and hit you up sometime. I'm doing a very rough layout of the first area (River Valley) and I will show you once its done.


ALWAYS have a Plan B
 
Moghopper

Moghopper



  4/19/2022

https://ibb.co/6YJfYsf

A link to the rough draft of the first metaroom. Size wise its the same length as C1, but about 50% taller.


ALWAYS have a Plan B
 
Lacota

Lacota



  4/19/2022  1

the rooms with steep sloped floors may not be walkable by norns. gentle slopes are required for navigation. CA links over that many elevators will also degrade game performance quickly.
 
Moghopper

Moghopper



  4/20/2022

Lacota wrote:
the rooms with steep sloped floors may not be walkable by norns. gentle slopes are required for navigation. CA links over that many elevators will also degrade game performance quickly.



Well, its just a first pass. I will be adjusting the map design to better accommodate engine limitations.

What does everyone think of the overall design though?


ALWAYS have a Plan B
 
SpaceShipRat

SpaceShipRat
Italy  


  4/26/2022

Can you actually do either art or code? Everyone can do ideas.

If I had a dollar for everyone who was like "I have a really good idea, i just need artists to draw it and coders to code it!" I'd have, well, I might have enough money to pay artists and coders to make my ideas :P

The design is completely unworkable, nearly all the slopes are too steep for norns to walk, the river's a deathtrap, two elevators are probably so close that norns won't be able to distinguish their CA's, there's so much dead space in the center, and norns will fall to their death from those branches. :(

 
Merboy

Merboy
United States  


  5/6/2022

@moghopper The initial design looks great! I think SpaceShipRat and others may have some suggestions that may (or may not) help, but don't let that feedback deter you. Keep going!

The Lantern Light.com
 
Malkin

Malkin
Australia  
Manager


 visit Malkin's website: Malkin's page at CWiki
  5/6/2022  1

It looks stunning, the layout sort of gives me C2 waterfall vibes. I would be concerned about the amount of open water, as my preference is for safer rooms that don't have these kinds of unfair, imperceptible hazards. I would also be concerned about having a lift with four stops, as seems to occur near the left tree, as that seems to stuff creatures up in the Grendel Jungle quite a bit. I hope this doesn't discourage you, because it looks great!

My TCR Norns
 
cyborg

cyborg



  5/7/2022

IMO, your scope is too big. Is this your first fan project for C3/DS? Start with a small project like making a new food agent.

The problem with big projects is that it's really easier to get burned out. I suggest breaking up the big thing into smaller easier things.

 


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Malkin
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