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color cycle (slow)

Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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Cool Software Things, and tomorrow
color cycle (slow)
Darwin Pond is one of the coolest pieces of software out there. Even better, it's totally free.

What you've got is this randomized population of "Swimmers" in the "Garden of Eden" (using standard settings, anyway): a bunch of randomly generated things in this puddle, right in the middle of a dense splotch of food. But they eat the food, and it "respawns" farther away. End result? The only swimmers who live- and breed- are the ones that can actually almost swim.

It takes patience. Set it up with whatever looks interesting, then go and leave it. Let it run overnight, or just while doing something else.

Remember at the start of it how badly the population "swam;" perhaps "swim" is too kind a word when "flailed around aimlessly" would do better. Then at time one million ticks (about four hours, on my computer), look at what you've got.

What's interesting is the wide variety of designs that work. There's one really weird three-legged population, mostly green, currently going that does an effective job of "crawling" through the water. There is a much larger population of orange Hyper Sperm. (Anything one-legged that moves that frenetically can only be called Hyper Sperm.) Currently going extinct is the yellow population of Lazy Bastards- they evolved to conserve energy, so they don't mvoe much. Problem is, the Hyper Sperm just ate all the food near them, and they can't move quickly enough to get to food before starving- bye by, Lazy Bastards...

It's a lot of fun to watch. What's really cool is how it's all random- these effective and realistic swimming actions happen because and only because they propogate to the next generation. It's a very good demonstration of evolution.

And lest you worry that you miss it all when you get it going and go to bed, you can make it write a time-lapse file so you can watch the swarms move when you wake up.

Anyway, tomorrow should be interesting- I'll be moving back to campus...

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Orange Hyper Sperm? Lazy Bastards? Did you give those names to the groups in this game?


If you saw them, you would realize that there are no other possible names...

That is interesting... things haven't progressed that far yet in my simulation, but there's a number of rather elegant designs which nevertheless are fairly useless - there's one two-legged one that swam really well... in a straight line, but was virtually incapable of turning. A variant swam well and turned, but its head kept lolling about, and so far it still hasn't found a mate.

Currently it's differentiated into a population of mostly two-legged orange things, which are all madly trying to mate with the four-legged one and will probably end up killing it, a smaller number of two-legged yellow things which might go extinct, and a small number of multicoloured Hyper Sperm.

Much the same here. Two legged orange swimmers run the show here too.

Actually, the head direction of anything always points whichever way it wants to go- so if that doesn't match its direction of travel, it's got a bit of a dilemma...

I let mine run for 8 hours (700k+ ticks), and ended up with some beautiful 4-legged green and yellow ones that swim by "waving" like a hand would - all four legs parallel and undulating. But those are greatly outnumbered by two-leggers of various colorations. Most of the two-leggers have only two colors in them - mostly reds, blues, and violets, actually.

Pity I can't get the screensaver to work. I'd let it run and just stare at it... watching the program itself isn't quite as cool, because it forces 648x480, which drives me crazy because the menu is so huge.

One of the menus has "Fullscreen" somewhere- that turns off the menu bar. You can turn "Autotracking" on below that to have the camera follow whatever the computer thinks is interesting, although you might want to set the autotracking zoom level to be a bit further out than the default.

Screensaver would be cool, I agree. Oh well.

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