Grandroids is a new project of Steve Grand's.
Steve Grand, programmer of the Creatures artifical life engine, has been continuing his own research independently. His latest game expands on his philosophy of creating artificial life; "“I mean genuine artificial life. I mean virtual creatures constructed from complex networks of virtual brain cells and biochemical reactions and genes. They’ll learn things for themselves and have their own thoughts". More details can be found in this interview on his new artificial life game
To stay true to his design principles, Steve is currently securing funding through the community via Kickstarter, rather than turn to a corporate developer. Steve's Grandroids Kickstarter project contains a video detailing some of his design principles and work over the last fifteen years. More details can also be found in the game's pre-alpha FAQ hosted on the Steve Grand blog..
"I’ve been working on the theory behind a new breed of artificial life for years, now, and recently had what I hope is the scientific breakthrough I’ve been looking for. So I’ve started work on a new game.
I don’t know what the scenario will be yet or what the final creatures will look like, but it’s basically the same concept as Creatures, except this time in 3D, with real physics and with vastly better biology and brains. Ever since C1 I’ve been trying to understand how the mammalian brain gives rise to imagination and mental imagery, and I think I’m really onto something now that can be implemented in real time on a PC (after all, computers are at least a thousand times more powerful than they were when I started writing C1). I think I have the key to an artificial life form that can actually think. Norns could react but they couldn’t think – they couldn’t make plans, have hopes or intentions, dream dreams, learn physical skills, etc. Higher consciousness can’t exist without an imagination either. It remains to be seen how smart they actually prove to be but they’ll certainly be much more realistic than the norns in lots of ways and hopefully a lot more fun to look after.
There’ll be an API for community extensions and tools, too, of course, and a lot more to learn about their physiology and behavior. I’m thinking in terms of creatures somewhat like orangutans in character, but we’ll see. Hopefully there will be several species. First I have to build their brains, and until a few weeks ago I was stuck on a really tricky problem in the layers of their brain that learn to recognize and classify things. But I think I’ve solved that now and I’m ready to get back to coding this week. .. I’m really excited about it potentially starting up again at long last."
Gloop is the latest and most advanced test creature in Grandroids. Gloop's capabilities in the first demo's (up to v0.1.2) released for backers of the project are running, walking, balance and attention. It's expected that the next version will demonstrate navigation, object avoidance and object recognition.
Gollum is a test creature in Grandroids, who has two eyes, two arms and two legs, and who looks somewhat like an orangutan. He is named after the character from J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" series.
Quad is a test creature in Grandroids.
Spot is a grey canine-like creature who was designed sometime after gollum to test out quapedal walking.