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Programmer, swimmer, photographer, indie game creator.

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Symbiosis

grinliz Blog
sym·bi·o·sis
simbīˈōsəs,ˌsimbēˈōsəs/
noun
BIOLOGY
interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.
I've been testing world generation in Altera Orbis fairly frequently over the past month or so. It's a good way to quickly test many parts of the system, root out rare crashers, and see what state the game starts in. I expected the game to start in essentially the same state every time, with the details of rock layout and shape changing. But I wasn't expecting wide variations in the starting conditions.

But there are significant variations, and I'm intrigued by what is happening. There are at least 2 common states that aren't a "mostly random world": I call them "green world" and "fire world". Part of the point of the game is to see complex behaviors build up from relatively simple components, and simulated symbiosis is certainly fascinating.

I first noticed symbiosis in the game between the kamakiri and the green mantis. Since they are friendly to each other, when green mantis hang out kamakirian domains, they are effectively one army and the power of both groups is bolstered. So much so that I've had to dial back the numbers of the kamakiri, since their effective power was much higher than their numbers. And when playing the game, you have to be cognizant of attacking kamakiri domains because they can be much stronger than they appear. The mantis + kamakiri domains spread and dominate the map and the "green world" scenario occurs.

With the "green world" balanced somewhat, another condition comes into play: "fire world". When groups with fire attacks (and immunity) get an edge, they tend to suppress everything without fire immunity. This state results in lots of red mantis and fire cyclops. They don't cooperate, and in fact will attack each other, but the powerful and long reach of the fire weapons still seem to suppress the MOBs that are affected by fire. (I'm curious, but haven't tested yet, if fire-resistant plants are more common in the "fire world" scenario as well.)

One gameplay bug on my list to address is the trilobytes - they rarely gather enough numbers to be significant. Small groups of them just get wiped out. But I could introduce a new greater monster that is symbiotic with the trilobytes. That may make at least some herds strong enough to hold a domain, and hopefully introduce another interesting world state.

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Grinning Lizard Software

Grinning Lizard Software

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Indie game and open source development. Makers of Xenowar, Altera, TinyXML-2, and MicroPather.

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