My friend's brother, his Sea Monkeys built a castle and everything!
May 19, 2020 4:53 AM   Subscribe


Manage a virtual aquatic ecosystem. Get inspired to do the real thing. Prove the haters wrong.

Artist/developer Max Bittker is at it again with this followup to his 2018 timewaster classic 𝖘𝖆𝖓𝖉𝖘𝖕𝖎𝖊𝖑.

For more about his game design philosophy, Max wrote about his previous game here and spoke about it here.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs (16 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Love this. Reminds me a bit of old 90s Maxis games.
posted by Wretch729 at 5:16 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]

That was unexpectedly enjoyable. Thank you!
posted by mistersquid at 6:30 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]

Cool! (If anyone's having a hard time with the special characters, the above-the-fold text reads "Orb Farm" and the timewaster classic mentioned below the fold is "Sandspiel".)
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:05 AM on May 19 [3 favorites]

I'm really bad at this. Is there a recipe for a good starting ecosphere?
posted by codacorolla at 8:12 AM on May 19

I'm really bad at this. Is there a recipe for a good starting ecosphere?

Plants and algae make oxygen; daphnia eat plants; fish eat daphnia; bacteria things? It sounds like fish eat bacteria too. So, fish control daphnia so they don't eat all the plants; daphnia control the algae so it doesn't take over. Mine looks pretty stable but goes into the CO2 red overnight. (the "info" button has some general explanation of how it works if you expand the 'Elements' and 'Diagram' trees)
posted by AzraelBrown at 8:22 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]

posted by Space Coyote at 8:36 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]

Mine looks pretty stable but goes into the CO2 red overnight.

Yeah, I think the photo synthesizers are using sunlight as a component when transforming co2 to o2. So a system that's stable during the day will decline over night... So one needs an o2 excess during the day to consume through the night. Static equilibrium will fail. That's really cool!
posted by kaibutsu at 9:17 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]

I've tried one setup, and then had to reset it and tried again. And noticed a couple of weird extra elements not covered in the menu - first time around, suddenly jack appeared as an option for something I could add to the tank. I had the option of "discarding" it when I clicked on it. Then the second time around, the sudden-surprise object was a cherry. Both times I added them to my tank but they didn't seem to do anything other than just sit there. What's up with that?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:25 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]

I found out that you can break the glass
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:20 AM on May 19 [3 favorites]

My goldfish are doing great, but my regular fish keep disappearing.

Also, I keep needing to give the tank a bacterial booster, or dead algae starts piling up!
posted by fnerg at 11:12 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]

I got something relatively stable, o2 is good, carrying capacity is about 5-6 normal fish:

The long columns on the sides are just bacteria farms. No daphnia, just algae and bacteria to produce nitrogen.

I found that keeping the middle area clear for sunlight works the best. Anything else shades the grass too much, and doesn't give algae enough space to grow.
posted by fnerg at 2:24 PM on May 19

I think I'm getting some pretty classic semi-stable predator-prey dynamics... The fish populations boom, causing a crash in the daphine pop, causing a crash in the fish pop ulation, allowing the daphines to boom, etc.

I also didn't realize that the orb was just the glass material, and you can accidentally 'clear' it. I spent a while dropping stone on the orb to see if I could 'break' it that way.

Also, my orb has a decorative pokeball.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:30 PM on May 19

I have somehow stumbled into a reasonably stable system without any daphnia at all. I have some big grass that goes all the way to the water top, with algae growing in between and trickling down. Around a dozen goldfish (plus or minus a few) that dart all over, enough detritus coming down to keep the bacteria population on the sand stable, and it all just keeps going round and round. There is a daily O2/CO2 oscillation from the sunlight, but also a longer oscillation due to goldfish pop. The seem to breed when the O2 gets high, and die off when it gets low, so it has been self regulating for a long time.
posted by notoriety public at 3:09 PM on May 19

My tank's fish population died after about an hour on fast forward. The daphnia population couldn't keep up, and eventually the fish just crashed.
posted by fnerg at 4:03 PM on May 19

Why are my daphnia just falling to the floor? Story of my life.
posted by away for regrooving at 12:42 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]

Thanks to fnerd's advice I can also get a stable eco-orb. Having algae protected by glass on the sides helps. Then I also put a glass floor on top and grow grass there--high up so it gets unblocked sunlight. Put a hole in the middle of the glass floor so some sunlight gets down to some grass below too.

Interesting things seem to happen when you wait longer. The grass grows in interesting organic shapes. Some algae seem to die and sink down, and then bacteria--does it help when mixed with sand?--seems to help to decompose it.
posted by Schmucko at 8:02 AM on May 20

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