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Cell Biology Game

Introduction

The player takes control of a number of stem cells given to them as an initial colony, and differentiates or divides them into a larger or more interesting colony of cells.  In an environment conducive to the passive support of life in the cells themselves, collection of resources and defense of the colony against other procedurally generated colonies or organisms.  Using real cellular biology concept to underpin the basic elements of the game, it will serve as both an education and entertaining casual game.

Background 

I am a graduate of Portland State University with a BS in Computer Science.  While studying there I took a biology class which introduced cellular biology at a deeper level than I had previously seen, and I immediately saw the connection and novelty that could be produced from implementing the same concepts in a computer environment, where they could be played with at will and dynamic interactions might be capable of taking place.  Elements of cell biology translate directly into expressible game concepts such as ATP being an energy resource, cells having components both inside (such as Mitochondria and Nuclei  which drive energy generation and cell reproduction) and outside (such as Microvilli or Flagella, which assist the absorption of resources and stimulate movement), as well as constructional elements (Cell Wall and Desmosomes, providing basic protection and anchoring between cells) come together and lend themselves towards easily understandable mechanics.  

Points of Interest

The player will be able to control every level of cellular interaction in their colony.  From the direction a stem cell differentiates; be it to an Osteocyte to produce bone matrix for protection, Muscle Cells (Myocyte) to manipulate the structure of the colony, Neurons that can direct complex mechanisms and relay control signals to to all parts of the colony, or many other cells.  The player simply selects a cell, and indicates what sort of progression to take.

The primary resources will be in the form of ATP, generated by nearly every cell at a regular interval and expendable on cell actions, such as reproduction or activation of cellular structures.  Minerals, which will be expended in the formation of non-living cellular matrix such as bone produced by Osteocytes, and cell components, absorbed or repurposed pieces of other cells that have been disassembled in or by your colony.

 The game will have tooltips that not only denote simple explanations of the cellular components' real-world functions, but are directly interpretable into game-level working-knowledge that can be leveraged to form complex systems and interactions. 

 Procedural generation of other cellular organisms and/or colonies that will occupy the surrounding area will provide insight into algorithmically generated structures and self-organized colonies, and will challenge the player to compete for resources. 

Features  

Mouse or Touch input, featuring radial menues on cells to facilitate easy navigation regardless of input method.

Local area zoom and pan to allow micro and macro views of the local environment and colony.

AI and Learning algorithms implemented with unique weights and algorithms provided to non-player colonies with regard to procedural construction of organisms. 

Potentially networked connection to other local players to play competitively colony vs colony. 

A fully linked and fact-checked biological reference built-in to be used as both guideline for building and educational material throughout the body of play.


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