Friday, September 28, 2007

Bugs That Eat Your Desktop (Screensaver)

A screensaver that consists of little bugs that eat your desktop, have offspring and complete to survive.

Following disney's rules the bugs would be cute and made of a simple circle with big eyes and when moving they would bend their shape slightly. When in heat they would pulsate and as they got older their color would get darker. While sleeping they could close their eyes and ever so slightly "breath".

When the screensaver starts a set of bugs are randomly generated. They start out very small (~1px) and as they eat food (colors) they can grow in size, mate, and have offspring. As the desktop colors are eaten they slowly grow back as though the desktop was grass. The bugs movements would be controlled via a gnome and a genetic algorithm would be at the heart of the screensaver.

Each bug has a set of parameters that determine its attributes:

- What color is the bug itself?
- How fast it can move?
- How much does it cost to move?
- How big it can grow (i.e. how much energy can it store)?
- What colors it can eat?
- How far can it see and what can it see?
- How much it sleeps (does it sleep?)
- Does it reproduce sexually or asexually?
- Max time it it can live before expiring.
- How much extra energy it needs to reproduce.

The interesting aspect of the screensaver is that because it is based upon whatever is on your screen at the time that the screensaver starts different bugs will emerge every time it is run. A little bug that only walks the black border of all the windows, a big fat one that eats a green webpage and a tiny parasite bug that nibbles on bigger bugs.

Update (Nov 14th 2007): Check out this super cool video on PolyWorld.