A Virtual Living World Game
Subject: ARTIFICIAL LIFE…
Benjamin Fielding Journal
Entry 410: FOUNTELLION in THE SPIRAL
Subject: ARTIFICIAL LIFE
‘At first, (and since then) we continually focused on the flora and fauna, and the model which we would use to simulate their inter-relationships. The objective, ultimately, was the stabilization, simply at first, of a model for a balanced ecosystem which simulates a real-world northerly biome. We wanted to make it as real as possible, so we had to implement artificial life algorithms.
Many types of adapted virtual organisms will be born into a framework mathematically, evolve, reproduce and pass on their code to future generations. Or they will die out. The level of genetic mutation closely matches Source (IRL) time, rendering Fountellion not only a persistent world, but a persistently evolving fabric. It’s just like the Game of Being only far more detailed. And it is almost overwhelmingly complex. There are continual adjustments going on even as players are present in the open beta of the world. However, we’re getting closer to taking our hands off the wheel, completely. We know it will happen, and may mark something of a sad farewell to the early version of the fabric, the beta stage, as it passes into the hands of its players.
Then there is the plant life, which we had to develop with soil type. Players can grow their own secret gardens on the island, and go there just to enjoy a simulation of real gardening.
Fountellion is simply the sort of vision we had to go ‘full-on’ with, over a sustained period of time, for it to work. To really capture ‘freedom’ with survival, in a ‘natural’ world. They were not even called ‘NEWorlds’ yet (Naturally-Evolving Worlds), but we had a potential metaverse in mind for the future.
The island is the big thing, the big boss; the character. And yet there is also another, the human ‘boss’ within us all, if you will… And only by playing the game will people really arrive at understanding something about this nature.
The time spent on the Fabric was the experimental project with huge long-term interest and potential and one we only reckoned to be technologically possible thanks to other, smaller simulations. Putting them altogether — integrating them with a game engine — on such a scale was a risk, but one we would pull off, one way or another, with intensive testing, and actual modification and development of the game engine itself.
It’s now become a scientific endeavor, plus a game, for many people. And this was always the intention.
And it won’t end there for ‘green garden’ games. We still have so many plans for updates to come, for a green metaverse, not just ‘breeding’ unique A-Life but introducing increased amounts of life. There is a slight risk in that such introductions could affect the overall balance but we have limits imposed in the settings in case something gets too successful in the chain.
As for ourselves, we are a collaborative, co-operative species. There is a place for us in Fountellion too, within some limits which do not exist in reality.
But I will say this. The greatest experience and elation a player may feel, in Fountellion, besides escaping attacks from the Stokermen, will come from forming friendships with other players and by belonging in the native tribe. This can be done by overcoming challenges centred on survival and cooperation. These form some of the many ‘games within the game’ — or mini-games — that will aid the progress of the player.
Older players may not be so interested in the main path of the game, and may wander off into the forests. They may find themselves intrigued back into progression. Either way, they will need to keep their wits about them, if they are to find a place and belong in Fountellion also.
It may be ‘just’ a simulation, but it can be an all-consuming one. And like the Taiga itself, it’s certainly not kind, even with the extra powers at player’s disposal.’
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