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Merlin Evolution is MR4 (or MR4 as it stood back in Oct 2011) with a map that is generated on the principles of evolution.
How it works
At first ten random maps are generated. Maps score points for how much the player explores. The theory is that the more a player explores, the more fun they are having.
Each map has to be played at least once (though as they evolve maps my demand to be played more than once, for a fair hearing). Once all ten maps have been played, the game selects the best map based on it's average score (score/plays).
This map is then copied ten times, but like evolution, the copy is imperfect and some features of the map change. These new ten maps are the next generation. A perfect copy of the best map is also placed into the next generation just in case all of the copies are acutally worse than the original.
Once all eleven have been played the best one is taken and the process starts again. That's evolution baby!
Each tile on each layer of the map is represented by a 'gene' not a real gene of course, just some code I made. Each gene contains it's current value plus rules about which values it's valid for it to contain, plus a value that represents it's chance of mutating (being copied incorrectly). Because the mutation rates of genes can themselves mutate, this allows the possibility for parts of the map to become more stable while other parts can be still in flux.
So will any of this actually work? There only one way to find out...
The more we play, the better it should get. But don't expect miracles straight away.
To try to recognise the effort that people put into to playing the game I put in a feature where it records who did what so at least I can thank you for playing it.
Unfortunately that feature isn't working currently. I will fix it as soon as I can of course.
I have played enough maps myself so that Merlin at least appears! I will continue to play whenever I can to try to move things along but the more of us join in, the faster things should get better.
I will do a write up of how the evolution part works in more detail, and probably publish the relevant code. I want this idea to be taken and used by as many people as possible.
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