Bubbles have be in one of four states at any given time:
Embryo State - A bubble starts its life in the embryo state, marked by a green outer membrane. The bubble starts off as a single point and slowly grows in diameter until it reaches its adult size (determined by its genes). At that point it changes to the adult state. Bubbles in embryo mode do not consume food, expend metabolic energy, react to stimuli, or reproduce. Bubbles in embryo mode don't start out with any velocity and must have other bubbles bounce into them to get them moving.
Adult State - A bubble in the adult state is marked by a blue outer membrane. Adult state bubbles can consume food, expend metabolic energy, react to stimuli, and reproduce asexually (if they have the gene trait for that). If a bubble in the adult state has the sexual reproduction gene trait and reaches it's metabolic energy threshold, it changes to the sexual reproduction state. If a bubble in the adult state reaches zero metabolic energy or if it has reached the end of its lifespan, it changes to the dying state.
Sexual Reproduction State - A bubble in the sexual reproduction state is marked by its red outer membrane. Bubbles in this mode can consume food, expend metabolic energy, react to stimuli, and reproduce asexually (if they have the gene trait for that). If the bubble collides with another bubble in the sexual reproduction state, they produce a child bubble that shares their genetic traits. Both bubbles that sexually reproduce a child invest a certain amount of metabolic energy in the child bubble. If a bubble in sexual reproduction state expends metabolic energy past its sexual reproduction threshold, it reverts back to its adult state.
Dying State - That last stage of a bubble's life is the dying state, which is marked by its grey outer membrane. Bubbles reach this state when they run out of metabolic energy or are at the end of their maximum lifespan. Dying bubbles slowly whither down to a single point then disappear, leaving a single bit of carrion food in their place. Bubbles in the dying state do not consume food, expend metabolic energy, react to stimuli, or reproduce.
There are three types of food bits in the pond:
Drop Food - Drop food are food bits that are dropped in from outside of the pond and are represented as small green dots. The simulation starts with a certain amount of drop food randomly distributed in the pond, and an additional bit of drop food is dropped in the pond at a random location every second.
Carrion Food - A carrion food bit is left behind after a bubble dies and is represented as a small red dot.
Dung Food - A dung food bit is excreted by a bubble after a consumed bit of food passes through its digestive tract. The dung bit will have a remaining amount of food energy based on how efficient the bubble's digestive tract was at extracting energy from its consumed food bit. A dung food bit is represented as a small brown dot. The lighter the shade of brown it is, the more food energy it has.
Each bubble has a digestive tract that can digest food over a period of five seconds, after which any remaining energy left in the food will be excreted from the bubble as dung. The ability to consume and digestive efficiency of the tract for each of the three types of food in the pond is based on the bubble's gene traits.
The bubble's digestive capabilities are displayed by three arcs inside the membrane that are the same color as the food they can digest:
If a bubble displays the arc for a particular type of food, it is capable of consuming that type of food. The length of the arc indicates the efficiency of the bubble's digestive tract for that type of food. A more efficient digestive tract can extract more of the food bit's energy before excreting it as dung. It's possible for a bubble to be unable to consume any type of food, but that bubble will die of starvation soon after reaching adulthood.
A bubble may have the ability to reproduce asexually or sexually, depending on its gene traits.
Asexual Reproduction - A bubble that can reproduce asexually has a metabolic energy threshold that, when reached, will cause the bubble to reproduce. This threshold level is determined by its gene trait. Another gene trait determines how much of the bubble's metabolic energy will be given to the resulting child. A child with more starting energy will survive longer before eating food when it reaches adulthood. A child produced by asexual reproduction will share the same gene values as its parent (with some genetic mutation).
A bubble capable of asexual reproduction has a purple indicator arc on its right side. The lighter purple color represents the bubble's metabolic energy in proportion to its asexual reproduction threshold. If the lighter purple color reaches the top of the arc, the bubble reproduces asexually.
Sexual Reproduction - a bubble that can reproduce sexually has a metabolic energy threshold that, when reached, will change the bubble to the sexual reproduction state. The bubble will remain in that state until its metabolic energy becomes less than the threshold. If a bubble in sexual reproduction state collides with another bubble in sexual reproduction state, they will produce a child bubble that will share its two parents averaged gene values (with some genetic mutation). Each parent provides a certain amount of their metabolic energy (determined by a gene trait) to the child. A child with more starting energy will survive longer before eating food when it reaches adulthood.
A bubble capable of sexual reproduction has a pink indicator arc on its left side. The lighter pink color represents the bubble's metabolic energy in proportion to its sexual reproduction threshold. If the lighter pink color reaches the top of the arc, the bubble changes to the sexual reproduction state.
A individiual bubble may of neither, one, or both reproduction capabilities depending on its genes.
Each bubble has internal metabolic energy which is gained from digesting food and is expended by the bubble's activity. A bubble starts with the energy provided by its parent(s) but must consume food to gain more energy. Metabolic energy is expended over time at a rate depending on the bubble's condition and activity. The rate of energy expenditure is based on the following factors:
A bubble's metabolic energy is indicated by the color of its inner-most circle. A bubble with lots of energy has a bright yellow circle, with less energy indicated by a darker shade of yellow. A bubble with no metabolic energy has a black inner circle.
A bubble reacts to other things within its sensory range by expanding or contracting. A bubble's sensory range is a genetic trait and extends out past it's outer membrane. The wider the sensory range, the more the bubble can sense around it, but the faster the bubble expends metabolic energy. Bubble's can react to the pond wall, other bubbles, or food bits. The reaction of the bubble to particular types of things, by expanding or contracting, is based on genetic traits.
The bubble's sensory range is indicated by a faint ring around it's outer membrane.
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Copyright (C) Scott Davis 2009