After a flurry of activity over the two weeks leading up to GDC, the Ant Experiment is now live on Kickstarter. While the concept is simple, it embodies a lot of my thinking about games, the Internet, and us.
Ants appear at first glance to be pretty simple creatures. They apparently have somewhere between 10-20 core behaviours, and yet from these, they are able to express themselves in highly interconnected and complex ways. They are what is referred to as a bottom up organization or a self-organizing system. On its own, a single ant cannot survive but as a colony, they display a form of intelligence that is incredible and maybe a bit scary.
If you look at ants more closely, many of their societal and behavioural characteristics resemble primitive human society. Think about it: depending on the species, ants work together to build elaborate ‘cities'; their colonies are a self-organizing systems that follow strict social hierarchies made up of queens, workers, soldiers, slaves, etc.; they are capable of hunting in groups; they go to war with other colonies to protect their territory, to find food, or to take captives to use as slaves; one species in particular, the leafcutter ant, has even evolved to be able to cultivate its own food source! These are just some of their more sophisticated attributes, but it’s clear there’s more to these creatures than what might appear.
What we want to do with the Ant Experiment is to revolutionize the framework of most MMOs where the player takes on the role of human or human-form characters. This game will let the player be the ant, giving them an authentic ant experience by challenging them to work cooperatively to solve problems, build a massive colony, and grow their colony’s influence in this online ant world. We see it as ‘Minecraft’ meets ‘Warcraft’.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be blogging about how we see the evolution of this game, provide some concept art, and give more details on what The Ant Experiment is going to be all about. Our goal is to raise $300 000USD for this project, which we know is a pretty small amount when it comes to MMOs but a hefty amount for Kickstarter for sure. We’ve developed a whole lot of the technology and know-how through over four years of working with the Unity3D engine, and I know our team can accomplish this. So help us help you find your inner ant. Contribute to the Kickstarter campaign today. Thank you!