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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsPond Water - A visually rich artificial life simulation game
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Author Topic: Pond Water - A visually rich artificial life simulation game  (Read 9759 times)
Zireael
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« Reply #40 on: December 27, 2018, 11:49:26 PM »

I think the move to 3D was a good one, it looks beaautiful!
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miketucker
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« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2019, 08:53:15 PM »

looks so good!! finally spiritual successors to Sim Life and Sim Earth.
are you sharing any recent builds? looking forward to giving it a shot.
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« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2019, 12:54:12 PM »

A loooong overdue update:

looks so good!! finally spiritual successors to Sim Life and Sim Earth.
are you sharing any recent builds? looking forward to giving it a shot.


Thank you! I included a link to a recent build at the end of this post.

I think the move to 3D was a good one, it looks beaautiful!

Thanks!

Quote
while the graphics are 3D, the core simulation itself is still purely 2D.

so why did you decide to go 3D for the graphics? i mean you clearly have a lot of know-how for visuals, so I'm just wondering, because I thought 2D would offer far more resources to achieve some fanciful visual effects, and the game doesn't seem to require 3D for gameplay purposes...

3D allows for a perspective camera and better expression of depth among other things, but mostly I liked the initial experimental results of it so I kept it in. Also, I think it's a bit more unique-looking and can help it stand out visually from other games with clean colorful 2D look.
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The project is still going!

In the time since my last post, I've been struggling to define the direction, focus, and identity of the game. The core gameplay loop has been and continues to be a constant source of worry for me, and I've been trying to find a satisfying balance between Player agency and the simulation itself.

At the beginning of this year, I started more heavily researching real-world Ecology principles to see what lessons I could learn there about simulation dynamics. I also have been trying to put more focus on exposing information about the underlying simulation to the Player, as well as breaking it up into smaller modular pieces.

Last week I was fortunate enough to be able to exhibit a playable build of the game at a local event and get some direct feedback from players.

Currently, I'm organizing and processing that feedback as I work to define the core gameplay (what exactly is the player's role) focus going forward so I can really tighten up the design and get a 'finished' product out as fast as reasonably possible.
My next post should lay out my plan for the identity of the game going forward.

In the meantime, I've included a link to the Build that I showed at the event last week if anyone is interested in checking it out:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1IlTjL-sOKmepJDyUFDTaD2p2UVIv6zww


And some more current game footage:


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bakelord
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« Reply #43 on: May 14, 2019, 06:17:53 AM »

This looks awesome! I adore the painterly visuals going on - I liked the big brush splats of the earlier 3D versions, but I think this more refined look is excellent. The water surface is really convincing too!

Stu
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #44 on: May 14, 2019, 07:45:25 AM »

Once there's time for polish you could probably bring a lot of the 2D charm back with the right fragment shaders and some particle effect, while keeping all the 3D benefits Smiley
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« Reply #45 on: June 28, 2019, 01:04:44 PM »


This looks awesome! I adore the painterly visuals going on - I liked the big brush splats of the earlier 3D versions, but I think this more refined look is excellent. The water surface is really convincing too!

Stu
Once there's time for polish you could probably bring a lot of the 2D charm back with the right fragment shaders and some particle effect, while keeping all the 3D benefits Smiley

Thank you!


Development ongoing, although a bit slow -- partially because I got a dog! He's doing well but can be a bit distracting : )

I'm working on redefining the project to focus on the theme of "Painting A World" - The player will interact with the simulated world primarily through brushes --> adding, removing, and modifying elements.

Here's some condensed game footage showing an early implementation of these tools, demonstrating Terrain manipulation (Landscaping, essentially), and a placeholder Decomposers layer that grows based on a Reaction-Diffusion algorithm.
Eventually, the other simulation layers (algae, plants, creatures) will also be created/removed using this kind of brush system:





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RichSG
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« Reply #46 on: June 30, 2019, 02:32:28 AM »

This looks amazing! Great visual style, and the idea itself sounds really interesting too.

Sounds like you've got a few ideas about which direction to take this. Personally what sounds cool to me is having your own 'aquarium'-like environment that you can either leave to let things get on with or you can make direct changes to influence things and see how it plays out. Maybe player goals can be defined by a goal for variety of species in the system, or something like that?

If you got it working I also think it'd make a great teaching tool for schools to show kids the effects of altering ecosystems. For example if players could have the option to eliminate one species from the simulation instantaneously, how would that affect everything else.. etc.

But looks great, look forward to seeing more of this!
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #47 on: July 02, 2019, 08:17:54 AM »

Wow, I love where you're taking this! It looks like a really fun sandbox to play with already!
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a Reaction-Diffusion algorithm

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« Reply #48 on: July 07, 2019, 11:53:59 AM »

This looks amazing! Great visual style, and the idea itself sounds really interesting too.

Sounds like you've got a few ideas about which direction to take this. Personally what sounds cool to me is having your own 'aquarium'-like environment that you can either leave to let things get on with or you can make direct changes to influence things and see how it plays out. Maybe player goals can be defined by a goal for variety of species in the system, or something like that?

If you got it working I also think it'd make a great teaching tool for schools to show kids the effects of altering ecosystems. For example if players could have the option to eliminate one species from the simulation instantaneously, how would that affect everything else.. etc.

But looks great, look forward to seeing more of this!

Thanks! I'm still working out longer-term goals for the player but for now I'm trying to focus on this core mechanic (brush on/off + edit/mutate each layer) and really solidify it so I can have a solid foundation and stick to it (enough feature-creep, it's time to wrap it up).

Wow, I love where you're taking this! It looks like a really fun sandbox to play with already!
Quote
a Reaction-Diffusion algorithm

Hand Thumbs Up Right

Thanks! Glad someone else likes reaction-diffusion patterns -- totally impractical but so cool.



Working on hooking up all the simulation layers to the brush system, and modifying the UI to better match the new mechanic:


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« Reply #49 on: July 13, 2019, 10:38:48 PM »

Started working on the system for modifying and customizing layers.

The player will be able to modify the attributes (color etc.) of each layer through iterative mutations.



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« Reply #50 on: August 04, 2019, 09:09:30 AM »






Work has primarily focused on updating the underlying simulation to fit better with the new player Brush mechanics.

Previously, simulation resources like nutrients, waste, and decomposers were a single global value. This has been changed to a field for each, so they can vary in concentration across the map. Now that resources have a position, they can be painted on/off at will by the player.

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JobLeonard
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« Reply #51 on: August 05, 2019, 03:37:17 AM »

Mesmerizing as always  Kiss

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« Reply #52 on: August 10, 2019, 06:46:29 PM »

Mesmerizing as always  Kiss



Thank you!

--------------------------

Still working out the kinks of the underlying simulation code, and trying to implement a working version of the Mutations system.



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« Reply #53 on: August 18, 2019, 09:24:39 PM »

Small update, turning attention back to visuals, with the intention of better conveying information about the current state of the environment through visual feedback:



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JobLeonard
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« Reply #54 on: August 18, 2019, 11:03:57 PM »

It looks great, but I'm not sure what you changed? That might be a good sign though - could mean it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb.

Is it the coloring in the water? That actually made me think: I'm partially color-blind. Could that mean I'm at a disadvantage when reading the game state?

Maybe you could add support for the color-blind friendly color maps from SciPy like Viridis/Cividis? Wink





https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0199239

... or if you use a shader for all of this, add an optional crosshatching shader?
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