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Biome Mod

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:20 pm
by AnarchCassius
This is a mod for Species, the first I think. It contains 2 new biomes, Scrub and Tropical Forest (note the lack of Rain- prefix).

Scrub occurs between deserts and grass and savanna as well as near tundra. Here the soil is depleted and moisture is scare enough that grass and large plants are both very rare but can grow. Most plants take the form of shrubs and bushes. The soil is rocky and mixed, having lost some topsoil but not been ground down to sand. Mechanically it's a less abrupt shift and tends to make die-offs less extreme. The Scrub supports grazing but not nearly as well as Savanna or Grassland, so animals won't always starve but can't breed well here. Plants (the ones just called Plant) will take residence here, maintaining the biome and occasionally upgrading it or re fertilizing nearby deserts. Interestingly the can live in Grassland but not many of the other neighboring biomes so they sometimes make things unsuitable for themselves.

Tropical Dry Forest occurs when the fertility humidity is high but the temperature prevents the water from being used as well as in rain forests. This is a rare biome often only appearing on extremely hot worlds. As such I haven't tested it too much but it should be similair to other forests. Conifers can grow here but it's not as active rainforest.

Image

The beachline is smaller on freshwater maps than usual, which is probably reasonable. On salt water maps Swamp now appears instead of beach in the hottest wettest places. All biomes appear in freshwater and all but salt waste appear in salt water (since it's mapped the same as ocean then).

I reskinned the rainforests also. I am not happy with the current Scrub skin. It just doesn't look like a good transistion from the other biomes and looks far too close to Salt at a glance. The grass billboard I found works well though.

Oh, both biomes appear black on the preview in the game setup. This is because I don't have a means to rebuild a new preview color map but I think it can be done with a little help from Quasar. It is a totally minor cosmetic thing you will only see for a few seconds anyway. They can't be next to each other so you should be able to guess which is which.

I've got room for one more biome in the color mapping (assuming the 26th slot (slot 25 counting from 0) doesn't make the grass sprite sheet flip out. Could be Mire, but right now the Swamps aren't even supporting trees anyway so the distinction is meaningless. Could be another extremophile biome like Salt, Lava or Sulphur but not sure what or where. Nothing can really use the existing ones yet anyway. Thoughts?

Upload attachment does not work. The forum pages completely reloads with no text or attachment when it's done.

http://www.mediafire.com/?p1ah9u5z1e33kyr

Re: Biome Mod

Posted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:21 am
by Quasar
Our first mod! Neeaaat. :D

Should I bring back the modding forum to celebrate? It might encourage other people to contribute... or it might just go unused again like last time. What do you guys reckon?
Oh, both biomes appear black on the preview in the game setup. This is because I don't have a means to rebuild a new preview color map but I think it can be done with a little help from Quasar. It is a totally minor cosmetic thing you will only see for a few seconds anyway. They can't be next to each other so you should be able to guess which is which.
Hmm, it should be possible to read the biome colours in from a library, or better yet from the data files in the biome themselves. I'll see about arranging that for the next update.

Odd that upload attachment didn't work, I unlocked zip files deliberately for this sort of use. I'll have to play with it when I get the time...

Re: Biome Mod

Posted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 3:12 pm
by sylverone
Quasar wrote: Our first mod! Neeaaat. :D

Should I bring back the modding forum to celebrate? It might encourage other people to contribute... or it might just go unused again like last time. What do you guys reckon?
I reckon you've got a mod, so you may as well have a mod forum. Even if this is the only mod for a while, at least folks'll know where to find it.

Re: Biome Mod

Posted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:17 pm
by AnarchCassius
Actually I was thinking each biome could get an HSV code.

Then creatures could be more easily noticed if their HSV code was far off from their biomes.

This would actually create a simple camoufalage mechanic with color pressure giving us polar bears and green jungle lizards. It also would also put preassure on things that want to hide from vision, so we'd still see lots of drift. Heck things may even try to stand out for potential mates like in real life.

Re: Biome Mod

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:36 pm
by AnarchCassius
Okay so I'm thinking about that 4th slot and I found another cool take on Biomes here:

http://www.marietta.edu/~biol/biomes/biome_main.htm

As for that last slot, I'm eyeing 3 candidates right now. Let me know if anybody has any ideas:

Mire (treeless Swamp)
Alpine
Woodland (seperated from Forest, a cooler Savanna with Scrub like traits)

More possibilities would emerge with finer references salinity, seasonal water and altitude but a lot does come down to temperature and precipitation.

I think the absolute factors are temperature, atmospheric pressure (which together imply altitude), precipitation, and soil content (salinity choice in Species but actually more complex). You could argue sunlight but that should really be guessable from precipitation, temperature and atmospheric pressure, at least for a given planet.

Also regarding the biome plant choices: My thought is that even with modular plants each plant will have a root type (like the head type) that basically matches to one of the biome choices (this root matches Tree Palm for what biomes it can live in and how densely, it then competes with all other Tree Palm type plants for that space). So while these define plant species caps now I hope that one day they might define niches in the biome for sessile autotrophs. This may make something important like sunlight/canopy checking easily abstractable and go a long way to making modular plants not a total system drain.

Re: Biome Mod

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:19 pm
by AnarchCassius
For the record this is the current biome map (in human friendly colors) for my mod:
biomeMap_old.png
biomeMap_old.png (3.37 KiB) Viewed 12320 times
After some more testing looking at this chart:
whittaker.jpg
whittaker.jpg (132.79 KiB) Viewed 12320 times
The next version will be be mapped like this:
biomeMap_current.png
biomeMap_current.png (3.38 KiB) Viewed 12320 times

Re: Biome Mod

Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:03 am
by sylverone
Cool, it'll be interesting to see the results. Any luck finding another scrub texture?

Re: Biome Mod

Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:31 am
by AnarchCassius
Yes, much better one. Less grey, and it looks appropriate.
df_SShot.jpg
df_SShot.jpg (205.78 KiB) Viewed 12301 times
Any thoughts on the last biome? I'm trying to get a good rounded set.

Re: Biome Mod

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:34 pm
by AnarchCassius
Can't do poll but anybody interested please list your favorite:

Steppe Tundra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammoth_steppe) Colder Scrub
Mire (treeless Swamp)
Alpine (Montane has replaced Conifer Forest and Taiga IS Boreal Forest, I'm also allowing temperate forests to be broadleaf conifer or mixed (this distinction is too Earth and era centric), but Alpine regions are even colder than Taiga)
Woodland (seperated from Forest, a cooler Savanna with Scrub like traits)
Kelp Forest

I can't do a Mediterranean or Steppe as distinct from Woodland or Grassland since these are based on seasonal properties which are not modeled. With seasons there'd be a call for about 20% more biomes that there aren't even slots for.

Part of this comes down to deciding what's a biome category and what's a matter of the specific area. Ideally the plants and animals in a specific biome should account for the remaining flavor and detail that can't be gotten with a simple 2 axis grid.

Re: Biome Mod

Posted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:02 pm
by sylverone
It would be handy to have a copy of Quasar's labeled image showing the defaults to compare. Although I saw it a while back I'm not managing to find it after multiple searches of the forum and blog. I must not be thinking of something.