"Puddle of Life" is an educational multi-touch installation that was designed for Coimbra's Science Museum (Darwin exhibit), demonstrating the theory of natural selection, as part of Darwin's 200th anniversary.
The installation is composed of a round multi-touch table whose surface represents a virtual environment where 4 species of creatures live in. Each of these little creatures have different physical characteristics visually expressed by it's quantity and/or size: Vision, Locomotion and Fur.

The player interacts with the game by touching the surface. He has to maintain full awareness of his creatures emotions (visually represented by a cartoon like ballon) and using this information to properly choose the mating partners on the control console. This console also allows the user to select the most appropriate descendent from 4 possible mutations, resulting from the reproduction.

The player's objective is to help the species he controls achieve the highest number of creatures of its kind. Since this world suffers from climate change the player must assure that his creatures are well adapted to this ever-changing environment by choosing the best balance between mating partners and descendants.

The species move in a swarm, but they split when the predator is near. When a creature sees food it warns the nearby siblings and they all run towards it. Of course only the ones who have best locomotion reach it. The vision gives them the ability to see the predator sooner and the ability to see the food further ahead too. The fur is useful to them when the temperature is low but harmful when it's hot, leading the creature to a shorter lifespan.

The player wins when they reach about 18 living creatures and loses when all of it's creatures die from cold/hot, predation, famine or old age.

Photos: flickr.com/photos/tserra/sets/72157619458503007/with/3619335559/

Technical Specs:

LLP multi-touch table
CCV tracker - nuicode.com/projects/tbeta
pyMT framework - code.google.com/p/pymt/
Cython - cython.org/
Rabbyt sprite library for pyglet - matthewmarshall.org/projects/rabbyt/
Animation and artwork: Adobe's AE, Ai and PS with Fasticon.com icons

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