Saturday, 12th November 2011
Cell evolution game - basic interface
Today I started to make a game that I've been thinking about for a quite a while now (I mention it here). The general idea is that you play as a single-celled microbe which evolves ever more complex metabolic and regulatory systems as it moves to ever more challenging environments. It's related to my cell simulation, but you get to choose how the cell evolves (so it's not really evolution). I imagine it to be a bit like the cell level in Spore, but I've not actually played it.
What I made today (shown in the video) is a very simple "game" in which you are a cell (a white circle at the moment) that can move about a pool of water which contains other floating circles. I'm quite pleased with the general nature of the movement already. The system of adding new object as you uncover new regions doesn't quite work, but it gives does a reasonable job of providing fresh objects while giving some sense of permanence (objects aren't removed immediately after leaving the screen so you can go back and find them).
Despite it being very simple, it seems to flow in quite a realistic way. I hope to add more complex flows and eddies. I also would like to add larger, "lower" objects that flow at a slower rate to give a parallax effect. In fact, I've probably spent too much time thinking about the visuals. I'm hoping to make the cell more fluid using my particle simulation, and spent a long time working out how to add a ripple effect (which isn't quite finished yet).
I've made a bit more progress with my game as you can see in this video:
The biggest change is that food and debris particles now bounce off one another, which was relatively easy do implement as I already have the relevant code. I've also added an effect so that when the cell encounters food, it obliterates it in a circle of green, which was quite fun to create.
I've improved the visuals slightly, so the food is now a simple sprite, which I will replace at some point. I've also added some weird purple murk in the background with a bit of a parallax effect, but it needs improving. There's also a slight problem that it tends to form in clumps, although I've improved the system from the previous video where new particles were only ever created in the corners.
At least now there is some sort of game element - you have to chase the food. If I added a counter it would probably count as being a real game. It's even has a bit of challenge since the momentum system makes it easy to overshoot food. It's made harder by the fact that I can't get Pygame to deal with having two buttons pressed at the same time. But it's beginning to take shape.