The Game of Evolution: Game Rules

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The Game of Evolution was designed to study evolution and the laws of "survival of the fittest".


The game starts off with four animals - two carnivores and two herbivores. These animals each make their move in turn and try to survive and reproduce in this harsh world. The animals decide which move to make each turn according to their genome. It is interesting to see which genomes manage to survive and prosper and which die out.

The World

The world is made up of a 10 by 10 grid. Each element in the grid can hold up to one animal. Each element can also either contain vegetation or can be dry. In each turn the vegetation in the world grows and places that were dry in the previous round can become vegetated.

The Animals

Each animal begins with an initial amount of energy. Actions performed in the world can either cost energy or give energy. For example - eating and sleeping give energy, whereas moving, reproducing and even living for a turn costs energy. An animal that does not have sufficient energy to finish a turn dies. There is also a maximum to the amount of energy an animal can have. The animals in the world belong to two species: herbivores and carnivores. Herbivores eat vegetation, start off with less energy, and need less energy to move around. Carnivores eat herbivores, start off with more energy, and need more energy to reproduce.

Animal Moves

Each animal in turn must decide which move to make. There are a limited number of possibilities:

When a herbivore moves onto a space with vegetation, it automatically eats the vegetation there. When a carnivore moves onto a space with a herbivore, it automatically eats the herbivore and that herbivore dies.

The Genome

Each animal has a "genome" according to which all its decisions are made. In each turn the animal extracts the next action from its genome. The genome contains numbers representing the different possible actions. To make things more complicated, each action can take any number of parameters. These parameters are also taken from the genome.

Each species has a genome of a different length. Herbivores have a genome containing 10 numbers. Carnivores have a genome containing 20 numbers. Numbers are read from the genome for each action that the animal performs. When the end of the genome is reached - numbers are read again from the beginning over and over again.

Game Settings

Clicking the "Show Game Settings" button will display a list of game settings that can be manipulated by the user. These parameters determine the characteristics of the world in which the animals must survive. They have a huge effect on which genomes are "fittest". For example: increasing the amount of energy gained by sleeping will give an advantage to genomes which cause the animal to sleep often.

Clicking the "Hide Game Settings" button will apply the new settings on the world (even in mid-play). Note that until "Hide Game Settings" is clicked, the edited settings will not be applied. If any of the settings is invalid, the settings will remnain unchanged.