Author Topic: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)  (Read 8892 times)

Mandle

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Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« on: 25 Jul 2016, 14:02 »
PREDATORS PREY FOR PLANTS




Extra Screenie:
Spoiler: ShowHide


G'day,

This game was created by Ross Kevin Moffat (AKA Mandle) for the July 2016 Monthly Adventure Game Studio (MAGS) contest.

The game is a simple simulation of the predators/prey/plants relationship.

At the moment there is no way to either "win" or "lose"...It's basically just a sandbox where you can explore the various interactions of wild animal and plant populations.

Observing the fluctuations of the different populations should give you some first-hand experience with the concepts of dwindling resources, boom-and-bust in plant and animal populations, and even extinction in extreme cases.

BROWN pixels are DIRT: All animals and plants CAN spread into DIRT areas.
BLUE pixels are WATER: All animals and plants CANNOT spread into WATER areas.
GREEN pixels are PLANTS: PREY need PLANTS to survive and spread. PREDATORS can also spread into PLANT areas.
YELLOW pixels are PREY: Herbivores...PREDATORS need PREY to survive and spread.
RED pixels are PREDATORS: Carnivores...Top of the food chain but will soon die without herbivores to prey on.


The panel controls are:

S or f5 to open the Save Map window.
L,R, or f7 to open the Load Map window.
Q,Ctrl-Q, or ESC to open the Quit Game (or continue) window.


The in-game controls are:

Left Mouse Click to draw on the map.
Right Mouse Click to change the draw cursor's colour.
Scroll Wheel Up/Down to change cursor size from 1-10 pixels.


The TITLE SCREEN at the start of the game is an actively running map. To change to a different map and start playing it you will need to either delete the TITLE SCREEN map bit by bit (yawn) or hit L or f7 to open the Load Map Screen where you will find a few sample maps as well as an ALL BROWN map, an ALL GREEN map, and an ALL BLUE map to start drawing on.

IMPORTANT: NEVER, EVER DELETE THE AGSSAVE.998 FROM THE SAVED MAPS FOLDER!!! THIS IS THE TITLE SCREEN AND IF YOU DELETE IT THE GAME WILL HAVE NO TITLE SCREEN ON START-UP AND MAY CRASH!!!

The game cannot be paused while running and you can draw on the screen at any time regardless of the scanning progression of the calculations.

You can pause the game if you need to step away from it for a moment by opening the save game, load game, or quit/confirm window, and then hitting the CANCEL or PLAY button when you are ready to continue.

If you leave the game running it will run forever. You can come back an hour, day, week, month, or year later and it will still be running your map.

As this game was made fast and rough in only a few sittings it is lacking many features that one would probably expect, such as population counters, graphs of growth and decline, etc etc. but even in this crude state I feel it could be useful in a classroom situation where cycles of boom-and-bust in nature, and/or extinction are being studied, or even just for your own personal study of such.

The game is 100% FREEWARE and was created on the also free ADVENTURE GAME STUDIO engine, which was created by Chris Jones.

I, Ross Kevin Moffat (AKA Mandle), give full permission to you to freely (but only for free) redistribute this game as you see fit.

I hope you have a fun, interesting, and/or learning experience.

Cheers!


EDIT:

The issues with the crash on loading for some users seems to have been fixed thanks to Crimson Wizard's deep knowledge of the engine and CaptainD's ability to crash the game on loading no matter what, and yet not want to give up on it, and test it until it worked finally...

If the normal donwload version does not work for anyone then please try the mirror link, which is the original version...

Any feedback from either version concerning fun had, or issues experienced, is appreciated...
« Last Edit: 03 Sep 2016, 11:37 by Mandle »

Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #1 on: 25 Jul 2016, 17:57 »
Looks interesting!  I remember the of "Game of Life" on the ST (I assume that was a relatively faithful rendition of the original version).  I like the new twist you've added to the concept.
 

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #2 on: 25 Jul 2016, 19:17 »
This is super cool! It's really interesting to create little biomes and then see them interact with each other. Lovely way to play with the concept, thanks a lot for this!

PS: Hooray for Australia! :D

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #3 on: 25 Jul 2016, 19:30 »
You're in the 'Super Cool' league now Mandle (laugh)

will try it out soon (nod)

slasher

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #4 on: 25 Jul 2016, 23:53 »
Looks interesting!  I remember the of "Game of Life" on the ST (I assume that was a relatively faithful rendition of the original version).  I like the new twist you've added to the concept.

Cheers! Yeah, the idea came from those cellular games where simple algorithms end up in complex and unexpected behavior. I've always loved playing with those, but I decided to start from scratch and make up my own set of algorithms to dictate how three species might interact. Sounds easy enough right? 10+ hours of tweaking dozens of values 1-2% later, and I have a new respect for just how difficult getting such a "simple" simulation working really is...And also a new respect for how delicately balanced such dependancy systems are. My game is not an accurate scientific model of real-life natural systems by any means, but I think it reflects the basics of such systems quite well, and it was scary to see how a 1% shift in, say, a species' survivability without immediate food, could tip their fate over into inevitable extinction, or the fate of a different species, or of all species. I plan on a future version of the game where the player has some control over those variables and can see for themself.

This is super cool! It's really interesting to create little biomes and then see them interact with each other. Lovely way to play with the concept, thanks a lot for this!

PS: Hooray for Australia! :D

Thanks mate! To get a comment like this for my little game from a bloke who works professionally on games has just made my entire year! But, I promised myself I wouldn't fan-gush so... Yeah, playing with little biomes was a lot of fun for me as well during the seemingly endless testing/tweaking process. The first moment when I saw the species interacting as I expected them to was a truly magical one: a feeling of having created my own tiny living world, a mini-God-complex-rush! To see the massive deforestation disaster that occurs when there are no carnivores around to cull the herbivores...To see the herbivores boom and then bust as their food runs out, and the last few of them are struggling to survive on the last few trees...And then to see the sudden, healthy effect the introduction of carnivores has on the entire ecosystem: The way they cull the herbivores and give plantlife a breathing space to gain back a foothold...Seeing all that, and realizing that healthy forests and jungles often really depend on their predators to keep the balance and vice versa (Which is where the title of the game comes from...)

By the way (from one Aussie to another)... While watching the maps run I realized I was starting to get the munchies, and then I realized why: Is it just me or do they sometimes look a bit like the topping on Barbeque Shapes? :-D

As for Australia: CHEERS! As it is my home continent it's the only one I can draw from heart without need for a reference map, and I did not have the time to look up others. It's a pretty dodgy effort mind you, I drew it in about 2 minutes, but at least I showed the map of Tassie, eh? ;)

Hopefully players create more real-life or even fantasy or sci-fi maps. As they are just AGS save games they are easy to share with others as well. If anyone does create Africa, Britain, a full world map, or even Middle Earth, Neverland, Skull Island, or whatever, please feel free to share them publicly in this thread or elsewhere...

Thanks again for the comment...Now I go off to take a screenie of it and get it framed... :-[

(P.S: That comment would also look super-cool on the game's AGS database page... ;) )

You're in the 'Super Cool' league now Mandle (laugh)

I finally caught up with you then I guess, matey! :P
« Last Edit: 26 Jul 2016, 00:07 by Mandle »

Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #5 on: 26 Jul 2016, 22:14 »
I've tried different configurations but I always get this error when trying to run the game:

Error: RunAGSGame: unable to load new game file 'PREDAT~1.EXE'

Did you rename something in the game but not the filename (or vice-versa)?
 

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #6 on: 26 Jul 2016, 23:30 »
Seems to run fine on my computer. No problems here.
Try running winsetup.
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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #7 on: 27 Jul 2016, 09:18 »
I get that message whether trying to launch the game directly or from winsetup ??????  I'll try re-downloading, re-installing and see what happens.
 

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #8 on: 27 Jul 2016, 10:28 »
Cool stuff there Mandle. Interesting to watch this evolve. Did let it run over night, in the end nature seems to win, at least there is more green than  yellow or red, but still no only green areas :)

Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #9 on: 29 Jul 2016, 19:42 »
Waaaaaah! I dropped my strawberry-pistachio ice cream in the sand :~(

Not easy to draw. These frigging predators keep eating the cone.
« Last Edit: 29 Jul 2016, 21:21 by Creamy »
 

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #10 on: 30 Jul 2016, 11:19 »
It looks more like a carrot than a strawberry-pistachio ice cream in the sand. :-\

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #11 on: 31 Jul 2016, 12:27 »
I get that message whether trying to launch the game directly or from winsetup ??????  I'll try re-downloading, re-installing and see what happens.

Are you by any chance running on Vista? I do remember reading somewhere that the saving system I'm using could cause problems in Vista.

Did you ever get it running?

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #12 on: 01 Aug 2016, 00:25 »
I have spoken with CaptainD through PMs and it seems he is running Windows 10...

Has anybody else on Windows 10 had this same problem? Or does anyone tech savvy know what might be causing this problem?

Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #13 on: 01 Aug 2016, 02:40 »
I'm using Win10 and it works fine

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #14 on: 01 Aug 2016, 03:35 »
I'm using Win10 and it works fine

Thank you...I'm very relieved to hear that!

Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #15 on: 01 Aug 2016, 08:54 »
I'm using Win10 and it works fine

Thank you...I'm very relieved to hear that!

I'm just special!! 8-0
 

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #16 on: 01 Aug 2016, 11:53 »
I'm just special!! 8-0

I was special too. For me the game started working after I moved it from my desktop to C:\Predators Prey For Plants\
Might be something to do with the paths to the files getting too long for AGS to handle or something ever more cryptic than that? Not sure, really, but got it running now! ^^
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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #17 on: 01 Aug 2016, 12:19 »
I was special too. For me the game started working after I moved it from my desktop to C:\Predators Prey For Plants\
Might be something to do with the paths to the files getting too long for AGS to handle or something ever more cryptic than that? Not sure, really, but got it running now! ^^

You could be onto something there (although I have it in the same directory as a load of other AGS games, but maybe it's one over the limit or something?) - I'll try sticking it in the root directory.
 

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #18 on: 02 Aug 2016, 00:38 »
For me the game started working after I moved it from my desktop to C:\Predators Prey For Plants\

That has actually happened to me several times with other AGS games, but I don't remember if the error message was the same as the one CaptainD got.

Maybe CW knows something about this or it's something to look into?

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #19 on: 04 Aug 2016, 21:18 »
I also had problems starting the game. It only worked after I moved it from my AGS games folder on D drive to C:\temp. This is very weird, I never had this problem with an AGS game before.

Edit: Amazing simulation! And with the gentle music it is so relaxing to just watch it and place a colored dot on an island from time to time.
« Last Edit: 04 Aug 2016, 21:44 by cat »

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #20 on: 04 Aug 2016, 23:49 »
Cheers to all for the positive comments so far, and for the helpful info on the startup issues. I think I might know what the issue is. I will ask about it in the tech forum for further details.

Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #21 on: 05 Aug 2016, 00:23 »
I had a go on this. No start up issues for me (though it did seem to take a bit longer than usual to bring up the main screen).

Fun stuff. Quite therapeutic to see it run. I keep thinking of other things you could add, meteor strikes, bushfires, the impact of humans etc. That could get very complicated very quickly but would be fun to play.

Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #22 on: 05 Aug 2016, 22:23 »
Cheers to all for the positive comments so far, and for the helpful info on the startup issues. I think I might know what the issue is. I will ask about it in the tech forum for further details.

I hope so, because I've tried all sorts of things - putting them on the C drive, in another folder, in and out of folder, re-downloading and re-installing, and nothing works.

Just in case it's relevant I'm running Windows 10 (32-bit) and my cheapo desktop PC only has a graphics card that's actually designed for laptops.
 

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #23 on: 06 Aug 2016, 10:09 »
This is simply amazing! One of the most relaxing things I've ever seen done with AGS. I couldn't stop watching the pixels spread, die and spread again last night. I was completely fascinated. At first i thought getting a balance on a small island would be hard to achieve but your algorhithm is really sophisticated, it's as if nature itself readjusts the balance.

At the moment I am waiting for the carnivores to get over a small path to an island where herbivores are eating the plants but never get to fully let them extinct. This invasion seems to take a lot of cycles.

Here are some features I would love to have (but very likely never get :P):

- option to speed up and slow down time. maybe also revert time ;)
- data, data, data. I want population numbers, scales, balance diagrams :D
- I thought about temperature changes and how the animals could get over water in very cold moments of the simulation and die out in very hot moments, that could also shrink the water areas.
- someone mentioned human influence. That would be amazing to watch small groups of modern people spread out with a click from the maps edges, hack down plants, hunt both animal kinds and build big areas of concrete (cities), change the water lines and so on :D


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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #24 on: 06 Aug 2016, 10:34 »
At first i thought getting a balance on a small island would be hard to achieve but your algorhithm is really sophisticated, it's as if nature itself readjusts the balance.

At the moment I am waiting for the carnivores to get over a small path to an island where herbivores are eating the plants but never get to fully let them extinct. This invasion seems to take a lot of cycles.

The sim is all about boom and bust: When any species has a lot of food they eat it all up like there's no tomorrow and breed, and there actually isn't a tomorrow for them when they run out. Then comes the bust, where they die out from starvation and their food source has a chance to regain a foothold. And then they do this dance until a kind of balance is reached...

But, if you play with the game a bit, you might notice that it's impossible to reach a satisfying balance between just two species: Herbivores will always overpopulate and destroy the forests until they are only barely able to cling on for life from the last few remaining trees.

This is where the carnivores are needed to complete the circle triangle of life where they cull the herbivores enough to allow the plantlife to regain its foothold (and at the same time booming and busting themselves)...

Hence the name of the game, bad pun as it is: Predators need plantlife to be in supply so that their prey is in abundance, but plantlife also needs predators to cull the herbivores enough to have a chance to grow back...

So...the next time you hear about Great White Sharks dying out and think "Maybe it's safe to go back to the water..."...Think again! That's a more widespread extinction in progress...

Matti

Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #25 on: 31 Aug 2016, 16:16 »
Nice simulation there, Mandle, better than I expected! I also agree to everything kumpel wrote!

Speeding up the time and some data are features I definitely missed.

Mandle

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #26 on: 03 Sep 2016, 11:26 »
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!

I think I can now semi-confidently announce that any issues with the game crashing on initial loading are probably mostly maybe fixed!!!

Thanks so much to Crimson Wizard for his deep knowledge of the AGS engine and his patience with my noobish questioning...

Thanks also to CaptainD for being the one that broke it the worst and then continued to test it the best...

The main download link now goes to the newest "fixed" version, but the mirror is still the original version just in case the new version is broken for anyone...

Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #27 on: 03 Sep 2016, 12:56 »
Interesting stuff.  Now that your game isn't broken (for me), I played the Australia map and think I broke Australia (laugh) (I attempted to replicate the real life introduction of cane toads.)
 

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Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #28 on: 03 Sep 2016, 13:13 »
Interesting stuff.  Now that your game isn't broken (for me), I played the Australia map and think I broke Australia (laugh) (I attempted to replicate the real life introduction of cane toads.)

No...that's par for the course:

The introduction of cane toads broke Australia in real life...

So...My simulation rocks!!!

(As a young child I had the delightful experience of watching my grandmother hit a cane toad she had trapped in a cage over her back fence with a cricket bat...Well...what was left of the toad after the bat made impact...)

Re: Predators Prey For Plants (July 2016 MAGS)
« Reply #29 on: 03 Sep 2016, 14:33 »
Well, that fixed the crash itself, but the root of the problem is still not clear...