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Evolving Games: CS 404 / Biol 404. Editing is restricted to course members.

"Every great idea borders on the stupid."

IN THIS COURSE, STUDENTS FROM COMPUTER SCIENCE AND THE LIFE SCIENCES WILL COLLABORATE TO CREATE A PLAYABLE SIMULATION OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY. STUDENTS AND FACULTY WILL COLLABORATE IN INTERDISCIPLINARY TEAMS TO CREATE:

  • A FUN AND ENGAGING VIDEO GAME
  • AN EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE THAT CAN BE USED TO TEACH
  • A RIGOROUS SIMULATION THAT CAN BE USED FOR RESEARCH

The course syllabus can be found by visiting the course mechanics page.

The record of course activities, discussions, and assignments can be found on the individual course pages.

CS/BIO 404 SPRING 2015 page.
CS/BIO 404 SPRING 2016 page.
CS 504 SPRING 2016page.

The GitHub repository should have all work pushed to feature branches nightly. See Git Best Practices for everything you need to know about Git.

An EvolveTD subreddit has been set up to facilitate cross-team communication.

You will need to set up a Reddit account in order to access it, as it has been restricted to the members of the development team. Please email Pwngwn with your username so she can add you to the list of approved submitters.


caption This is one of the Fliers used to advertise the Biol404/CS 404 class.


EvolveTD

Overview

EvolveTD is a Tower Defense game[1] in which the player must mine resources while defending against a protean swarm - organisms that seek to consume the bioreactor that power's the player's ship. Like a traditional tower defense game, the player must continually upgrade their defensive capabilities in order to stop waves of attackers. Unlike any game before, however, the attackers EVOLVE in response to the defensive decisions of the player and the constraints imposed by the environment. The swarm is comprised of sexually reproducing, diploid organisms. Their Genome encodes a wide variety of traits, and mutation creates genetic variation. The most successful individuals in the swarm produce the most offspring, and thus subsequent generations are better suited to circumventing the player's defenses.

By incorporating the principles of biological evolution, the game becomes infinitely replayable. Even if two players build the exact same defenses, the random nature of mutation [2] and genetic drift [3] make the evolved solutions to these defenses highly different.

For more information on evolution harnessed in computer models, see Evolutionary Computation

For more detailed information on EvolveTD, please refer to the following pages

EVOLVETD

Design Options - This is a list of broad design questions we should address fairly early in the process.

code overview

Known issues

Media:TowerDefenseV0.zip

EducationTD

Overview

The secret goal of EvolveTD is to educate players about the concepts of biological evolution. We still place a great deal of emphasis on gameplay and game design, because if nobody wants to play the game, then our educational goals remain unmet.

For more detailed information on the educational components of EvolveTD, please refer to the following pages.

EDUCATION AND TEACHING WITH EVOLVE TD

ResearchTD

Overview

We aspire to make EvolveTD a rigorous simulation that produces data suitable for hypothesis testing.

For more detailed information on the research components of EvolveTD, please refer to the following pages.

CONDUCTING RESEARCH WITH EVOLVE TD

Contributors

EvolveTD is a collaborative effort involving many people. Please note that FERPA regulations specify that we cannot publish student information. Thus student contributors may be using avatars or pseudonyms.

Faculty

Dr. Barrie Robison, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Idaho.

Dr. Terry Soule, Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Idaho.

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Researchers

Course Participants

Getting started

Consult the User's Guide for information on using the wiki software.