Mimicking Biology in Game Design
Something I’ll be getting into tomorrow once work is over is trying to mimic some of the simpler concepts of evolution in a game project of mine. It’s one of those things that I’m surprised isn’t touched on more in gaming. I realize that Mewgenics will come out sometime between now and the heat death of the universe but in general it feels like a woefully under utilized mechanism for progress.
Games like Rogue Legacy sort of poke at it jokingly. Providing you with some arbitrary connection to your ancestor. But games so rarely seem, if ever, to take into account the special properties of the parents. Pokemon I suppose does this to some light degree with their IV/EV system, I forget which being the value you inherit from your parents. But even there beyond the moveset and the base stats you don’t really see anything special. The parents don’t perhaps have a shorter left ear which leads their child to having a higher likelihood of having a shorter left ear, things like that.
Spinda is easily one of the most interesting Pokemon in the series to me. There are something like 4 billion + different ways a Spinda could look. When you catch one there is a high chance that that is the only Spinda that has looked like that >ever<. So neat! That kind of personalization and personality in a game really speaks to me and it is something I want to try and capture. Obviously you need to start with something fairly rudimentary. Size, perhaps width, a simple trait or two that can be randomized, and color. These will likely be my first pass on the idea. Little things like hunger and activity can be tapped into as well. At it's heart the mechanisms behind evolution are pretty simple. Albeit I'm going to be missing the "natural selection" part but I'll allow the user to selectively breed just like we've done with pets. If someone wants to have a bunch of hyperactive creatures in their game, with a bit of patience and a tiny bit of luck they can! Perhaps a rare color will spawn from a litter that you'll want to keep going. Stuff like that. The randomness of it should make for an interesting experience while still ultimately being something that people can control. I don't want to set myself up for failure but my goal is to have something relatively tangible by the end of this upcoming vacation. It'll be a lot less effort than writing a book, lemme tell you that. So yeah, just some thoughts on my mind.