Friday, April 06, 2007

Second Life Ants

This video shows a cool demonstration of programmed ants in SL developed by a student (Tectonic Nabob) who was inspired by a simulation of biology class (via NWN). The ants are in various states like search, recruit, or food retrieval. Ants that are in search mode look for food. When they find it, they switch to recruit mode, leaving a trail of pheromones behind in order to recruit other ants to the task of gathering the food for the nearby ant hill (does the first ant get a claim to the stake? a finders fee? is he/she promoted to lieutenant?).

I was struck by how similar this video was to a game of Warcraft. In Warcraft, the Orcs have peons which continuously gather gold from a nearby gold pile until it is exhausted (unfortunately they're not smart enough to go find a new gold pile).

This video suggests the possibility of a new RTS game (Insect Wars!). I've always wanted to see an RTS based more on natural phenomena rather than the typical tanks/planes/infantry. A game wherein you do not control the individual, but instead control global states (find food, gather food, reproduce, expand, find new ant hill, etc.). Ants vs. bees? Ants vs. grasshoppers? Ants and aphids vs. caterpillars and butterflies?

Fascinating.

2 comments:

Overman said...

I'd buy that game, big time.

I assume you're aware of Will Wright's "Spore"? Could scratch some of that itch, albeit not the RTS side.

bllius said...

Well aware.

Didn't you see my comment on most anticipated games for machinima? I said Spore (half jokingly).

I really hope Spore lives up to expectations because I've been sorely disappointed with some of the recent releases.

Although you're right, it is not an RTS. I think Relic released a game awhile back that had insects, but it did not do well (Impossible Creatures - played the demo and was not impressed).