By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: August 17th, 2009


I should have seen this on either Heather or Renaud‘s blog, but of course I saw it on ’ll never get away with this, Offworld!">Offworld.

Stimergy is a game by Kokoromi‘s Heather Kelley and ’s Site">Polytron’s Renaud Bédard (Team EMERGENCY HAMMER), created in under 36 hours for the Bivouac Urbain game jam in Quebec. In the game you must guide ants toward a picnic blanket using attractive and repulsive pheromones. According to Renaud:

"The game was made from scratch in C# 3.0 using the Truevision3D engine with no prior design, graphics or sound work. All the graphics in the game are procedural, and the gameplay itself is based on AI rules, basically a cellular automaton plus the notion of “stigmergy” from the insect world."

You can find Stimergy here, along with a postmortem and time-lapse video of the creation of the game. And on the forums Renaud was kind enough to post a link to the rest of the Bivouac Urbain games, which includes entries by Anna and Messhof, among others. Pictures of the event can be found here.

  • John Evans

    This is interesting because “YOU must guide ants”…i.e. there’s a central intelligence behind the action, which is actually completely the *opposite* of stigmergy.

    Still, I suppose there’s nothing wrong with using the concept for “inspiration”. ;)

  • Renaud

    Heh… good point.
    We originally intended the ant trails to affect the behavior of other ants, which would have made more sense, but we never got to that point in 36 hours. So inspiration it remained.

    Also, I invite you to check out the winning entries and the other 20-something games made at the Bivouac. Ours is not especially remarkable compared to what other teams did in the same amount of time!

  • AClarkFS

    made from scratch using an engine? hahaha

  • nik

    “All the graphics in the game are procedural”
    the picknick carpet isn’t (and its very simple to make it so) , and 3 days in my book <> 36 hours , i suspect i’m so picky because the game didn’t work at all, i had to help myself with the video..

    im guessing the shaders did it :)

  • Renaud

    Not sure why I need to defend my claims here… or if I should… but here goes.

    The picnic cloth, as with everything else except text, is made of offset colored planes, not a texture. You probably saw me play with a picnic cloth in Photoshop, I only sampled colors and wanted to imitate the dithered pattern.
    I released the code and content anywhere, see for yourself.

    And the competition was 36 hours for everyone, spanned over three days, but we had at most 36hrs of access to computers.

  • Akash

    I didn’t know you could do 2D game with Truevision3D… Must be hell a lot of power for such purpose.

  • Rostiger

    Aw man, I’ve always wanted to make an ant simulation where your only control possibility was to set different types of pheromones. Now those cool Kokotron (or is that Polyromi?) have left their patent marks on it.. (not that it’s their fault that I can’t get my ass up to learn some real coding)

  • Jotaf

    Freaking shaders!! Argh.

  • drugon

    If you will press left and right button at the same time, you will recieve endless repulsive pheromone.