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NESLife VI

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Lord_Iggy, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Messages:
    24,497
    Location:
    Yukon

    Lambda Ignaceae is a large, cold and rocky moon. It is a mottled dull brown when viewed from orbit, with a thin frosting of white clouds making it resemble nothing so much as a chocolate confection in space.

    The moon is roughly twenty thousand kilometers in diameter, and lies in a stable orbit along with eleven sister moons around a blue and white banded pearl of a gas giant world known as Thor. This brilliant and stormy world is nearly eight times wider than Lambda, and has over five hundred times the volume.

    Thor, and its small garden of moons orbit roughly three astronomical units out from a sun-like star. They have done with little so for the better part of the last three billion years, and in all likelihood they will continue to do so for several billion more, at least until their sun has exhausted its nuclear fuel, and the heat death of the universe descends to bring final closure to the cosmic dance.

    However, that is far, far off in the future. In the present matters of great interest are beginning to unfold in the alkaline oceans of Lambda. Life, in the form of self-replicating clusters of cells, has thrived for roughly a billion years. However, it is only now that the first complex, multicellular life is beginning to develop. The moon is on the verge of an explosion of life- where this may lead, none yet can tell.



    Introduction

    This is a NESLife, so many of you will already know the basics. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, I will provide a brief overview. Players in this NES serve as ‘agents’ of evolution, prodding the development of life in various directions. You play by submitting evolutions, which are variations on existing species. You are the archons of branching, mutation and diversification. I, the moderator, am responsible for upholding the harsh, brutal, mighty and inexorable forces of nature. Lineages who have thrived for millions of years may go extinct in a geological blink of an eye if they are unable to cope with changing conditions. Natural disasters may threaten to extinguish all complex life on Lambda. You may propose an evolution that just doesn’t work, and never comes to be at all.

    Yet, despite all of this, some life will make it through the filters of competition. Some life will thrive, and their descendants will diversify, spreading into countless unique forms, occupying a vast array of different niches in the vast tapestry of ecology. It will not necessarily be the largest, nor the strongest, nor the smartest, but those which are most able to pass their genes on to the next generation, by whatever means necessary. Together, we shall build up a strange and beautiful new world- a world that has never existed, but one that could exist.

    With that said, I welcome you most cheerily to the sixth iteration of NESLife! :D

    TuxLife has been created by Tuxedohamm, while NESLifes I through V have all been run by the inimitable Daftpanzer, and I believe I am correct in understanding that I have his blessing in calling this NES the sixth of the series.

    In previous NESLife games, we have typically used what is sometimes called ‘Lego Genetics’. Players added genes to each new evolution, such as adding on ‘+1 Walking, +1 Poison’. While this worked as a game, I felt that this was a somewhat clumsy and inflexible system that encouraged people to view their evolutions as collections of statistics, rather than as holistic organisms. The game became a race to have the highest carnivory rating, or the highest intelligence rating, and many players would present their evolutions with long-term plans in mind. This second fact bothered me quite a bit, as my education in biology has led me to understand that macroevolution is really just the accumulation, over millions of years, of a series of short-term evolved solutions. In this regime, proper long-term planning is effectively impossible- thus, in real life you wind up with all sorts of interesting leftovers, such as human beings and our astoundingly poor ability to give birth, our inefficient bipedal gait, and our humourously redundant digestive organs (here’s looking at you, appendix). All of these are things that any NESer with a half-decent sense of forward thinking would be careful to avoid.

    But I want to keep that stuff in the NES. I want to make an earnest attempt to simulate the evolution of all multicellular life on this world. To do that, I am going to attempt to abolish the old building block and statistical genetic system we have used in previous games, replacing it with a more qualitative descriptive system. As organisms get more complex, I am going to begin using ‘templates’ as abbreviations. As a real-life example, I could do a template for mammals, so that I would not have to re-describe the same system repeating in goats, bears, bats, whales, guinea pigs and elephants. This will become more clear as the NES progresses.

    And while I’m on that topic, I’ll note that the resolution of this NES will be roughly at the level of families. Some well-known examples of families are Dolphins, Pine Trees, and Bees. Thus, each evolution you create can be assumed to contain a variety of individual genera and species.


    Rules

    I will record successful organisms using the following system:

    I may add further lines, such as an organism’s distribution, when it becomes relevant.

    When you post an evolution, please use the following template:

    Does any of this seem confusing or otherwise non-straightforward? If you have a question about the game, don’t hesitate to ask me. If you have a question about evolution, I’ve compiled this handy guide for your perusal:


    Iggy Explains Evolution

    Organisms are defined by their genome. A genome is a collection of genes. Genes are units of genetic information, which are carried in DNA. Genes control the traits expressed by an organism.

    Organisms reproduce. Their offspring are similar to their parents, as they possess the genes of their parents, but they are not always identical. Sometimes, errors happen when genes are passed on to children, creating new traits. This is mutation.

    Offspring compete to reproduce. Those which have the traits that best allow them to survive are more likely to have more children. Their children have a chance of inheriting the features that made their parents successful, thus further propagating the genes. This is natural selection.

    Due to random chance, some genes might get passed on more than others. Eventually, this can cause one single population to turn into multiple distinct populations. This is genetic drift.

    On average, over millions of years, positive mutations will tend to propagate throughout a species. Random genetic drift will also contribute to these changes. The accumulation of changes can make a species distinctly different from its ancestors. This is evolution.


    Biochemistry Notes

    The following is not necessary knowledge for participation in the NES. The principles of evolution will operate the same as long as life reproduces and has imperfectly heritable traits. However, for those of you who really want to know, Lambda is not a world like our own, or like those of several previous NESLifes. The air is a mixture of nitrogen, hydrogen and methane, with clouds composed of wispy traces of ice crystals. The oceans are a slurry of ammonia and water, with the vast majority of the water locked away as solid ice, as the temperatures are far below the freezing point of water. Ammonia, however, is almost always present in liquid form, due to the relatively high pressure of the atmosphere on this planet. Gravity is stronger than that on earth, but the thicker atmosphere makes buoyancy-aided flight much more practical than on our own world.

    For a brief summary of the differences between the water-solvated system on Earth, and the ammonia-solvated system on Lambda, I have written this:

    On Earth, our cells are a carbohydrates in aqueous solution. Life absorbs oxygen to break down sugars, releasing carbon dioxide and water. Solar energy enters the system by converting carbon dioxide and water into sugars through photosynthesis.
    Atmosphere: nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide
    Solvent: water

    On Lambda, cells are carbohydrates in ammoniac solution. Life absorbs hydrogen to break down nitrogenous sugar analogues into methane and ammonia. Solar energy enters the system by converting methane and ammonia into nitrogenous sugar-analogues through photosynthesis.
    Atmosphere: nitrogen, hydrogen, methane
    Solvent: ammonia, water


    Finally, the TL;DR Version

    Fill out this thing to play:


    History

    Epoch 0: The Filtratious Epoch
    Epoch I: The Floaterian Epoch
    Epoch II: The Towerian Epoch
    Epoch III: The Hitcheric Epoch
    Epoch IV: The Sundering Epoch - breakdown 1, breakdown 2, map, tectonics
    {Epoch V: The Masada, You Asked For It Epoch}
    Epoch V: The Graderian Epoch - breakdown, map
    Epoch VI: The Hobonian Epoch - breakdown
    Epoch VII: The Ankunian Epoch - breakdown, map, Lambda and Thor
    Epoch VIII: The Harvestrian Epoch
    Epoch IX: The Arboreal Epoch
    Epoch X: The Oratan Epoch
    Epoch XI: The Haerentian Epoch
    Epoch XII: The Skydust Epoch
    Epoch XIII: The Scouring Epoch
     
  2. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Yukon
    Epoch 0: The Filtratious Epoch

    The primordial seas teem with life, much of it single-celled and microscopic. However, over the last few tens of millions of years, three different lineages have independently developed multicellularity.

    Vast fields of Filters litter the ocean floors. These simple organisms enjoy a good life. Loosely attached clusters of cells are organized into a spongy tissue which captures various single-celled organisms and other miscellaneous biological flotsam. Filters reproduce by simple budding, breaking apart into two smaller organisms as they grow. Carried and fed the Lambda’s oceanic currents, Filters will someday be fossilized into vast, lumpy structures of obvious biological origins, marking some of the first confirmed multicellular fossils on record, and giving their name to the Epoch.

    Another prominent lineage is that of the Sunfeeders. On an individual level, these organisms are little different from single-celled photosynthesizers, but Sunfeeder cells live in vast colonies, all attached to one another. Key to this lineage’s success has been the differentiation of several reproductive tissues. By dedicating several masses of cells to nothing but reproduction, Sunfeeders have managed to outgrow less specialized counterparts, regularly emitting miniature new colonies into the open seas.

    The third, and most recent lineage to achieve multicellularity has been the Feaster. While resembling little more than a small orange worm, Feasters are apex predators. Simple muscles allow them to twitch and move, pulling their bodies towards the great fields of Filters and Sunfeeders. Upon making contact with one of these organisms, the Feasters release a digestive enzyme onto their prey’s surface, gorging themselves upon their helpless meals. However, there is really no such thing as a free meal, for some species of the Feaster family have evolved specifically to hunt their own kindred, triggering a rapidly escalating evolutionary conflict within the lineage.



    Spoiler Extant Organisms :
    Organism: Filter
    Description: An unspecialized cluster of spongey cells.
    Niche: Passive, stationary filter feeder.

    Organism: Sunfeeder
    Description: An flat mass of photosynthetic cells with specialized reproductive cells.
    Niche: Stationary primary producer

    Organism: Feaster
    Description: A motile, predatory filament of cells.
    Niche: Crawling Predator


    You have my permission to post! :)
     
  3. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
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    6,431
    Gender:
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    Location:
    Portsmouth, England, UK
    :D

    Organism: Spire
    Ancestor: Filter
    Selective Pressure: Predation (and competition for the best plankton-catching sites?)
    Mutation: an anchored, tubular shell. Cells in contact with the ground now morph to specialise in producing a mineralised outer coating, an adaptation of the Filter's natural waste-disposal mechanism. Over time, this results in a raised cap of feeding cells being protected by a smooth, acid-resistant tube of mineralised material.

    Let us embrace this abomination that is Ammonia-based life :) And we are going to have a NES-off Iggy (Evolution-off?) because I am still continually meaning to update NESLife V.
     
  4. erez87

    erez87 Persona non grata

    Joined:
    May 16, 2002
    Messages:
    13,430
    Location:
    Lod, Israel
    Organism: Muscelo
    Ancestor: Feaster
    Selective Pressure: Competition over prey in large areas
    Mutation: Stronger and more organized muscles that allow the Muscelo to move faster and in better ways to find prey, and obviously to cover more ground. Also make it stronger to eat weaker predators.
     
  5. Lord_Herobrine

    Lord_Herobrine Procrastinating

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,126
    Location:
    Da Yoop
    Organism: Spinelo
    Ancestor: Feaster
    Selective Pressure: Competition and threat of death from its own kind has led to an mutation in the Genes of the Feaster organism to allow for a longer tail that is used to propel itself faster than that of the feaster.
    Mutation: Has developed a longer tail with slight fins sticking vertically out of the rearmost section of the tail that aide in propulsion and manuverability.
     
  6. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Messages:
    12,462
    Location:
    Osaka
    Organism: Indigestible Sunfeeder
    Ancestor: Sunfeeder
    Selective pressure: Predation by anything that can move!
    Mutation: a tweak to its chemical composition that makes it all-but indigestible without more specialized hardware. Unable to escape, the Great Wera Gods' favored Sunfeeders that couldn't be eaten. Over time, this forced specialization in its potential predators, the majority of whom were more concerned about eating moving things anyways.
     
  7. SouthernKing

    SouthernKing Secret Keeper

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2010
    Messages:
    6,781
    Location:
    Nashville
    Ammonia-based life...I think this is the first time I have ever seen that. Interesting.

    Organism: Sunshield
    Ancestor: Sunfeeder
    Selective Pressure: Predation
    Mutation: A flexible protein coating around the membrane of the outer cells in the organism, resistant to the Feaster's digestive enzyme. If the organism needs to split (in order to reproduce), then the coating can be split and reconstructed.
     
  8. Arrow Gamer

    Arrow Gamer America's Dictator

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    Messages:
    2,057
    Location:
    The Business Plot
    Organism: Lightcatcher
    Ancestor: Sunfeeder
    Selective Pressure: Predation by Feasters
    Mutation: A hard set of scales along its bottom and sides.
     
  9. tuxedohamm

    tuxedohamm Disguised as crow.

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    894
    Location:
    With a murder
    Organism: Spawner
    Ancestor: Filter
    Selective Pressure: Predation
    Mutation: Adhesive Spawn. When a Spawner is preyed upon, it releases quick bursts of new spawn that bind (hopefully) to the bodies of its predators. This could allow Spawner to spread greater distances, or it could slow/weaken the attacker and make it an easier target.

    It begins. :)
     
  10. Lord_Herobrine

    Lord_Herobrine Procrastinating

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    1,126
    Location:
    Da Yoop
    So many shielded sunfeeders... ;)
     
  11. Terrance888

    Terrance888 Discord Reigns

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Messages:
    13,559
    Location:
    Homework Workshop
    Organism: Solar Vagina Sporer
    Ancestor: Sunfeeder
    Selective Pressure: Competition and Predation
    Mutation: Massive massive massive massive massive rates of reproduction. At any given moment in time, thousands of cells are created, some branched off almost immediately into new reproductive-based colonies and others bundled around sugar analogues as "spores" which will grow once they float to a place with breathing room.

    "Spores" is OK too. However, they are not armored (that'll be too much :3): spores focuses on appearing dead until sensing an opportune environment for growth.

    I hope this will outproduce any issues and suffocate rivals and predators alike.
     
  12. Lord_Herobrine

    Lord_Herobrine Procrastinating

    Joined:
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    1,126
    Location:
    Da Yoop
    OR it will just create a food factory for all of us feasters ;) :yumyum:
     
  13. Omega124

    Omega124 Challenging Fate

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Messages:
    6,895
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Albany, New York
    Organism: Crawler
    Ancestor:
    Selective Pressure: To more readily and easily hunt organisms on the ocean floor; to preserve energy by finding a less-strenuous way of movement
    Mutation: A large amount of small, stubby "legs" have developed (About 2 pairs of 25 legs, or 50 total), allowing the Crawler to crawl on the ocean floor. Crawling doesn't take as much energy as swimming does, and is more stealthy for hunting purposes. However, it isn't as fast or covers the same amount of distance, so swimming must also compliment its way of life.
     
  14. Terrance888

    Terrance888 Discord Reigns

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    13,559
    Location:
    Homework Workshop
    YES eat eat!

    Once you are full and lethargic, you will notice that you are feeling rather tight. It is getting dark. You are now surrounded by plant matter. You are scared, you are getting tighter. You shove more matter in your mouth, hoping to break free, but no luck. You are now immobilized, their walls pressing against your flesh. Burping one last bubble of acid, you implode, destroyed by the inexorable reproduction of your food.

    EDIT: @ Iggy, is there a limit you would like to hold on the number of evolutions? Are you OK if I advertise this at the IOT forum?
     
  15. bestshot9

    bestshot9 Monkey Sharpshooter

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,107
    Location:
    600m Away
    Organism: Floater
    Ancestor: Filter
    Selective Pressure: Stationary prey is easy prey
    Mutation: This is a new species in the Filter family which has evolved to form clusters which now float along on the ocean's currents, as opposed to anchoring entire colonies down to the ocean's floor. This makes it less likely for a group of Feasters to tear through the colony, as the Floaters are constantly moving thanks to the ocean's currents.
     
  16. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    8,799
    Location:
    Ft. Lauderdale
    Organism: Grower
    Ancestor: Sunfeeder
    Selective Pressure: Predation
    Mutation: the Grower mutation of the Sunfeeder is a result of the predation. By being larger than can be consumed by the feaster, the Grower is able to minimize being eaten. It is a happy accident that there is now a larger surface area exposed to the sun.
     
  17. merciary

    merciary No idea what I'm doing

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2006
    Messages:
    1,541
    Location:
    OSU
    Organism: Thick Feaster
    Ancestor: Feaster
    Selective Pressure: Predation from other Feasters
    Mutation: As Feasters begin targeting their own kind for food some have developed a hardened skin to make consuming them as difficult as possible.
     
  18. Eltain

    Eltain Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,975
    Location:
    ROC, NY, US
    Organism: Jetter
    Ancestor: Feaster
    Selective pressure: Competition from other Feasters, bestshot9's "Floaters"
    Mutation: Jetters do not jet, per se, but instead have developped simple film-like "wings", which allow them to propel themselves through the water, albeit for a few seconds at a time. This has allowed them to both escape other Feasters and also on occasion land on Floaters, devouring entire colonies slowly and propogating this way.
     
  19. J.K. Stockholme

    J.K. Stockholme Architect

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,057
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Canada
    Organism: Vertical Filter
    Ancestor: Filter
    Selective Pressure: Competition over Feaster flotsam.
    Mutation: The Vertical Filter is a homogenized cluster of filters, which have adapted to rise higher in the ocean to consume the remains of Feasters before their ocean floor counterparts have the opportunity.
     
  20. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    24,497
    Location:
    Yukon
    Terrance, you are free to advertise this as you wish. :)
     

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