Psychology addition

Suggest a beneficial feature, or idea's for the future.
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Psychology addition

Post by Icefire » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:18 pm

In addition to amorousness, there should be another trait, I don't have a name for it. Amorousness is between it and it's own species; we would see alot more diversity in the all of the species as a whole if they could mate between species.

Plain and simple, my suggestion is to allow inter-species mating.

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Re: Psychology addition

Post by Quasar » Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:09 am

Heh, this is actually something I've spent a very long time thinking about. Cue the floodgates.

See, the game engine not only supports this: it's practically designed for it. 'Splicing' unrelated creatures together was the way I tested the mating code when I first implemented it.

But... because of the nature of evolution, 'species' is a semantic nightmare. There's loads of different definitions that change depending on which species we're talking about, whether we're scientists or laymen, what phase of the moon it is, and so on, all as a result of the English language (and thus English taxonomy) having far more historical baggage than it should. But the game doesn't care for nuance like that: It needs a hard, well defined way to define what is and isn't a 'species'.

Eventually I settled on the following definition: "two creatures belong to the same species if a genetic 'bridge' can be drawn between them using compatible creatures." So if Creature A can mate with Creature B, and Creature B can mate with Creature C, then A, B and C are all members of the same species even though A and C can't mate. (Please excuse the cutesy graphics)
Speciation1.png (20.19 KiB) Viewed 1934 times
The result is that the moment B dies, A and C will speciate into two distinct species.
Speciation2.png (25.07 KiB) Viewed 1934 times
Of course, the downshot to all this is that the size of any creatures mating pool is inversely related to how often speciation occurs. Increase the genetic range, and you'll see more mating but less speciation. Decrease it, and you'll see the inverse. You can increase or decrease the genetic range on the New World screen, if you want to try it out.

I have toyed with the idea of making the 'mating' genetic range larger than the 'speciation' genetic range (which would allow creatures A and C to mate, but still make them speciate when B dies), but then we're suddenly dealing with an arbitrary definition of 'species'. I don't want anything in the game to be arbitrary.

I suppose it couldn't hurt to expose it though: allow the player to choose whether they want to use the 'hard science' definition of species, or the softer, less well defined version that increases the frequency and effectiveness of mating. I'll see if I can do that for 0.4.1...

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