Creatures on the Web

Damir Marusic, The American Interest’s associate publisher and general web wizard, has created a Javascript version of my program Creatures.

Published on: August 13, 2013
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  • JDW

    Without having looked at the code, I imagine one problem for creatures caught, hungry, between two bits of food is that all bits have the same food value. Also, if bits’ respective food value and distance are known directly and exactly — if there’s no difference between the beautiful and the good — then there’s no opportunity for misperception to break a tie between identical goods. Thank heavens for the ability to irrationally prefer one or the other of two identical goods!

  • I was looking at other Creatures-like (Conway’s Game of Life-style) games, and found this fascinating step-by-step interactive walkthrough of building such a world in JavaScript:

    This jumped out at me as a possible improvement to make Creatures behave a bit more realistically:

    One approach would be to reduce the randomness of its movement. By always picking a random direction, it will often move back and forth without getting anywhere. By remembering the last direction it went, and preferring that direction, the eater will waste less time, and find food faster.

    A quick scan through the Creatures source made me think this hasn’t been implemented:

    // scan for food
    // found food; move towards it
    // hasn’t found anything; randomly change direction

    So perhaps, if equidistant from two food sources, the Creature might prefer the food source in front of it. Overall, however, it might, destroy that neat clustering behavior you sometimes see, with the Creatures just cascading across the world in long streams.

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