Anybody else ever played around with this game/simulation?
It's basically a simulation of "swimmers" in a petrie dish. They have to swim around and get food and swim around to make contact with each other to mate. They 'like' mating with swimmers of similar colour to themselves. Those that can swim well end up being able to get to the food and mates, and they produce an egg. Their offspring will have similar characteristics to them, but slightly different. Usually there ends up being just one 'species' of swimmer left. It's quite interesting as a simple demonstration of replication, mutation and selection though. Another interesting thing you can do is save the dna of your most successful swimmers and then have an evolve-off with anybody else who happens to have saved a dna file of their swimmers, by loading your swimmer's dna and theirs into a new petrie dish.
Here's the sales pitch (it is free) from the website:
Darwin Pond is an imaginary gene pool, a primordial puddle of genetic surprises. More technically, Darwin Pond is an Artificial Life Simulation: a virtual world exhibiting the emergence of life-like behaviors. But it's more than just a fun and informative thing to watch, you can participate in this artificial life simulation by building scenarios and setting up experiments.
Darwin Pond is inhabited by hundreds of wiggly things called "swimmers". In a way, you could say these swimmers perform tiny histories of the evolution of swimming in the earth's waters by genetically "discovering" ways to get around. They do this by evolving their anatomies and motions over many generations. This is why this imaginary body of water is named "Darwin Pond", named in honor of Charles Darwin, whose scientific work and eloquence in explaining the origin of species created a revolution.
Darwin Pond sounds a little bit like Walden Pond. That's on purpose - Henry David Thoreau's Walden was an influence on me at a young age, when I was learning to watch, wonder, and learn from nature. Darwin Pond is for nature lovers, who spend countless hours (or a lifetime) meditating on the wonders and intricacies of life unfolding.
Here's the link: http://www.ventrella.com/Darwin/darwin.html
and here's a picture of the swimmers: