Second Life: build your own ecosystem

Holy shit. One of the developers of Black and White has bought an island in SL and has turned it into a self-sustaining ecosystem. This is fucking nuts. Check it out: there are scripted clouds that blow across the island. Occasionally they rain down onto the ground, which is scripted to absorb a certain percentage of the moisture based on the kind of earth and the angle it’s at. There are trees and flowers in the earth that are scripted to react to sunlight (taking into account the time of day and current amount of cloud cover), and to react to the amount of water in the earth and grow, flower and produce pollen. Then there are bees. Motherfucking bees that go from flower to flower distributing pollen. Then the flowers generate seeds — with genetic traits from both parents — which blow on the wind and have a certain percentage chance to implant depending on what kind of earth they land on and what species they are. Unless the seeds get eaten by the fucking birds that fly around the island!

Everything is interdependant, so changing the number of bees will change the rate at which flowers get pollinated, and so on. From the article:

“It’s very sensitive to very small changes,” [creator Laukosargas Svarog] says, “like if a gene emerges which gives a plant an extra seed in its lifetime, that can cause huge growth in its locale. And the opposite of course, one less causes thinning growth. I’ve also seen the same color become a dominant gene so all the meadow cup plants became blue once. Simple things like that emerge quite often.”

This blows my mind! Check it out on Wagner James Au’s blog.

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