Laws of the Jungle

The hunt

Prey caught

Dinner time
Today, my friend brought over some very interesting video footage taken by her father who is a wildlife expert. It sometimes takes months to get this kind of footage, so I was very excited to have the opportunity to watch it. One clip was of a beautiful snow leopard chasing his prey down a mountainside; the other showed how glow worms in New Zealand set up traps for food. The glow in their tail isn’t just a pretty light—it’s a trap to attract other insects. I was so intrigued by these predator-prey relationships that I wanted to find out more. I couldn’t help wondering if those types of relationships could be created in a game.

After my friend left, I searched the Internet to find more examples of predators and their prey. I came across quite a variety: lion and zebra, fox and rabbit, polar bear and seal, to name a few. Some of the animals lived only in specific regions, such as the tropical rainforests, while others lived all over the world. I also learned about how predators and their prey adapt to their environment in order to eat better or avoid being eaten. For example, preda- tors might develop abilities such as speed or smell that would help them find their prey, while prey might develop the ability to use camouflage to hide from the predator.

I decided predators and their prey was a cool idea to explore as a game. I wanted to see how I could recreate different predator- prey relationships in Gamestar Mechanic with the variety of avatars and enemies available. I started my experimentation by testing out different combinations of enemies and avatars, based on the videos I had seen. Then I changed the speed and units of health of the avatar in relation to the speed, health, and units of damage of the enemies. I also tried to simulate the concept of adaptation by changing the sprites’ parameters as the levels progressed, mak- ing my predators and prey more efficient and intelligent. I was on my way to becoming quite an animal expert! However, I do think that this game is only the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to be explored and discovered, both in the outside world and the world of Gamestar.