Weave neural circuits to create primitive creatures and explore an alien world.
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Crescent Loom is Kerbal Space Program crossed with the cell stage of Spore; you wire up neurons into circuits to control your little wriggling beastie and explore an alien world.
Body: The first step to playing Crescent Loom will be to make a body, similar to the cell stage in Spore or rocket-building in Kerbal Space Program. It will be a simple 2D drag-and-snap editor where you place the muscles and senses for your creature. Since the functions and movement of your creature depend on the forces exerted by these organs, their placement matters.
Brain: After your body is created, the next step is to weave the nervous system of your creature in order to control it. The inputs and outputs of this circuit correspond to the sensors and muscles of the body. This may be as simple as connecting a keyboard button to a muscle: “when space is pressed, pull”!
Many of the simulated details (such as membrane potentials and neurotransmitters) will be initially hidden, only to be gradually uncovered and explained as they become relevant. My focus will be on building an editor where it is easy to make simple circuits, but will also be possible to go under-the-hood and modify more advanced properties. I’ll be looking at SpaceChem and LogiSim for the general interface.
Explore: After your creature is created and its brain woven, it is time to explore an alien ocean. The world is open-ended, but you will always have some number of available objectives, e.g. to reach a new area, retrieve an artifact, bring scientific monitoring equipment to a location, or capture a native creature.
Completing objectives unlocks more body parts and types of neurons, which allow more elaborate creations and fulfillment of harder missions. The mission-select screen in Cortex command, the varied environments of Aquaria, and the physics-based swimmers of Darwin Pond will be inspirations for this mode.