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1. a class of individuals having some common characteristics of qualities

2. the major subdivision of a genus or subgenus, regarded as the basic category of biological classification, composed of related individuals that resemble one another, are able to breed among themselves, but are not able to breed with members of another species.

[ 1545-55; species: appearance, form, sort, kind, equiv. to spec(ere) - to look, regard ]

about This project deals with so called "artificial life".

Much of it is inspired by ealier works such as PolyWorld by Larry Yaeger and Karl Sims Virtual Creatures, and of course by Genetic Algorithms in general and the Genetic Programming paradigm in particular, which I studied extensively during my time at the University of Dortmund and during my diploma thesis.

Virtual lifeforms - so called "creatures" - life in a simulated ecosystem.
Their lifes are short, but there's hope: the better they perform during their lifespan in this simulated world the higher are their chances to promote their genetic code to the next generation.

The ecosystem is populated by several independend species of creatures. The species can either ignore each other, be friendly to each other or they may evolve into predator and prey constellations - it is not on us to decide..

The genetic code of a creature defines two fundamental properties: its behaviour and its morphology.
Both traits can be promoted to the following generations. The probability of promoting is proportional to the grade of success of the creature to stay alive as long as possible in the ecosystem.

And it's a harsh world.. they have to find something to eat, else they will soon starve. Starting as herbivores most of them will initially start for the few plants growing in the ecosystem. But as there is not enough food for an arbitrary number of herbivores and eating other creatures provides more energy than eating a plant, some of them may decide to switch over to the carnivore business .. again: we're just the observer and it is to be seen which strategies will guarantee a better chance of survival.

The system will provide several "features" to encourage arbitrary complex behaviours to emerge: obstacles can be set up behind which creatures can hide, members of a species will have the means to communicate with each other and even simple, democratic decisions will be possible.

Following the darwinian principle of the survival of the fittest we may see specialized species emerge, constellations of predator/prey species or even a food chain of ever bigger predators hunting the smaller ones.. who knows.

If you want to know what'll happen in the species ecosystem be sure to check back soon for more information, movie clips from the species universe and the latest news...

status Current project status:

Phase I - Genesis

downloadsInterested in an early beta of the virtual ecosystem ?

Preview 0.7 (05/2005)

Requires Mac OS X 10.2, includes some short instructions

support You might want to support the project by donating one of these to allow the ecosystem to flourish .. ?

A refurbished one would do.. :-)

contact If you have any questions, contact the carbon-based lifeform coding the virtual ecosystem:

reveal email address

guestbookFeel free to leave a comment:

enter guestbook


This ecosystem is provided "as is".

The carbon-based creator disclaims all warranties with regard to this virtual world including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of survivability for a particular virtual creature having to cope with this virtual ecosystem. Under no circumstances shall the creator be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or the death of any inhabitants of the virtual ecosystem.

Last Changes:  Fri, Sep 18, 2009