Hi everyone, sorry for the silence, we’re busy fixing the bugs and making the game ready for the alpha release. Meanwhile I’m preparing a video that shows the gameplay of Lifecraft. Here’s a sneak peek of it!
Chemical reactions play a crucial role inside cells, likewise in Lifecraft. Many biological reactions would require a lot of time to take place naturally, that’s why enzymes are required to catalyze reactions.
This translates into a simple gameplay mechanics: a special building called catalyzer is a special intracellular building that accepts and enzyme which will define which reactions the building will be able to perform.
Reactions can have multiple input, multiple outputs and even different steps, each reaction will be different! You can see a prototype of a (simplified) glycolysis reaction which will produce energy inside cells!
One of the main aspects of the game is expanding and building structures outside cells.
This can be done through dispatcher which can deliver materials directly to growing zones or to extracellular structures.
In this example we’re building some collagen helices with ribosomes, which are then assembled into collagen flooring and delivered outside (that’s that floating bubble!).
It’s hard to find some bugs when there are fast items which are moving in a tile map, possibly locking some states to prevent other items from moving into same tiles or allowing routing when multiple choices can be made.
To our rescue, it’s possible to slow down time to track down what’s exactly happening under the hood. This, together with some visual hints, helps the whole process.
The cyan tile represents the busy state while the string over the item tells the direction which the item is moving toward and its internal state relative to the current tile.
Living cells are all about producing proteins for all kind of purposes, joining amino acids which are the building block of all the proteins.
Even the structure which gives the shape to the cell (and has a lot of other functions), the cytoskeleton, is made by proteins.
Proteins are usually synthesized in ribosomes and then they assemble in complex structures.
This is what it’s happening right here in the animation! This small network is producing microtubules, which are used to route items on the ground of the cell, in two steps:
- first simple amino acids (round spheres) are crafted into tubulin in ribosomes
- then a red tubulin and a green tubulin are assembled into a finished microtubule
Here I’m trying today’s new graphics by filtering and stocking items by color. Seems to work well and gives a lot of creative possibilities!
Here’s the graphics of the membrane items I worked on today. Not sure on the final colors but we’ll see!
I must say that pathfinding has always fascinated me, because it’s a class of algorithms which produce visible and elegant output.
Broadly speaking, it’s a sort of procedural way of generating graphics.
I’m investigating different approaches to computing all the necessary graphs, trying to optimize paths when possible according to the geometry but this is not easy.
Underneath a classic A* algorithm is used, but procedurally placing the nodes ot the graph is proving itself harder than I though!
Some proteins can be assembled also by directly dropping one onto the other. This is useful because you don’t require any specific building to do so!
Of course this is only available for simple reactions, but it can be handy, especially at beginning when your organism doesn’t have much automation.
Since there’s no way to let a microtubule decide the direction of an item, it will continue on it’s direction unless a kicker changes it! There is only a specific circumstance in which it’s possible to determine which direction should an item go and that’s when it’s dropped on a microtubule end, in that scenario there’s only one direction to choose from.