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Watching this video about Kangaroo Rats made me wonder about ecosystems in gaming. Have games ever constructed an environment where such different creatures display interesting behaviours?

This is the level of fleshed out detail that would be ideal for a fantasy game, anything with an original world or even a real world game.

I have heard many a good thing about Beyond Good & Evil along these lines, and I have no idea how well the Playstation 3 title Africa did it.

Naturally, the game that has the most potential for an ecosystem…System – is Pokémon. Imagine being able to see every single creature in the wild, whether in the grass or the water or the air.

All those useless details in the Pokédex could be programmed for part of a complex behaviour system, ecology and interaction.

For example, let’s take some Pokédex entries, from Bulbapedia, about everybody’s least favourite forest-dweller – Pikachu.

  • This intelligent Pokémon roasts hard berries with electricity to make them tender enough to eat.
  • It raises its tail to check its surroundings. The tail is sometimes struck by lightning in this pose.
  • When it is angered, it immediately discharges the energy stored in the pouches in its cheeks.
  • Whenever Pikachu comes across something new, it blasts it with a jolt of electricity. If you come across a blackened berry, it’s evidence that this Pokémon mistook the intensity of its charge.
  • This Pokémon has electricity-storing pouches on its cheeks. These appear to become electrically charged during the night while Pikachu sleeps. It occasionally discharges electricity when it is dozy after waking up.
  • It occasionally uses an electric shock to recharge a fellow Pikachu that is in a weakened state.

Now imagine if you could actually observe these complex reactionary behaviours in-game – with each of the 150 or so Pokémon. It would really make the whole world feel unique and alive. (Maybe if they do a console game with Bioware)

Have you encountered any games with interesting ecosystems?

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