Without access to the inner workings of the code, it definitely does seem
like starvation is the only regulator. In the original design, before I
released the first beta, there were 2 major factors that limited species
besides food. Oxygen consumption forced your dome population to stay at a
level matching the vegetation, so if you made more trees you would be able to
support more living animals. Since predators are larger, they required more
oxygen and would begin dying out sooner than smaller animals should the
population reach the O2 limit. This became a nightmare to balance, so I
completely removed it to make the game more entertaining. It is a case of
bending reality to improve game play.
The second regulator is animal age. The game simulated the fact that
animals would become slower and weaker with age, plus they should hit a
species-specific maximum age and die no matter how much food was around. Once
again, while it mimicked real life really well, it was just too complicated to
balance in the game. I was already sad about removing all my oxygen related
code, so instead of simply tearing out all of the aging code, I heavily
modified it to relax its impact up on the game. The way it stands now, animals
do age and become weaker, but there is no true maximum that would force them to
die regardless of food. Weaker animals are simulated by having them burn
through calories faster than their younger counterparts, meaning they can't
survive as long while they wait for their next meal. When food begins to get
scarce, the old animals are the very first to die out. This code change was
another alteration on how things really work, but
it made the game more entertaining.
I suppose the point to explaining these changes is just to let you know how
the regulations had been removed or changed before the game released. I really
wanted to have Lunimals simulate real life as close as possible, but as you can
see, I desperately tried but ended up having to twist things to improve game
play. Oh well, that's just how games work I suppose. It may set your mind at
ease to know, there were! sweet spots in the original design, lol. Of course I
only had 4 species at the time, but they could reach a perfect balance where
their numbers remained fairly steady without any regulation needed by the user.
I loved your description of mission 9, a cast iron female dog. ROFL! I'm
anxious to hear your thoughts on the final mission, once you reach it.
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