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Ecolibrium For PS3, A Virtual World of Semi-Intelligent Aliens, Outed?

May 5, 2012 Written by Sebastian Moss

The long term future of the games industry might suck, but the rest of this gen still looks to be exciting, with Sony working on a ton of PS3 exclusives, many of which may see an E3 reveal. We’ve uncovered a possible upcoming PS3 exclusive that aims to be a little different.

Filed last year and registered this February, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe trademarkedEcolibrium“, which is, coincidentally, also the name of a Futurelab (not FuturLab) game project that is seeking funding for further development. So, if Sony’s Ecolibrium is Futurelab’s Ecolibrium, what is the game about? Here’s what the developer’s site says:

Ecolibrium (formerly Create-a-Creature) is a vast internet-based virtual world containing an ecosystem of thousands of semi-intelligent artificial life forms. Children can create their own creatures and release them into the world to observe their creature’s behaviour and success within the ecosystem. The project is aimed at worldwide school and home use, and investigates cross-curricular activity.

Continuing:

Technology

Simulation engine capable of real-time modelling of large creature populations.

Distributed network architecture which supports:

  • each organisation hosting their own region of the world
  • perception and movement of creatures between regions in the wild
  • a security model which allows autonomous organisations to safely share their resources.

Extensible rendering architecture which provides:

  • real-time high quality 3D views of individual creatures and the dynamics of creature populations
  • the ability to view creatures on a variety of devices including mobile phones and handhelds.

Comprehensive toolset including:

  • a ‘sandbox’ to allow private experimentation with creatures before releasing them into the wild
  • beginner and expert tools for building your own creatures
  • the ability to ‘view source’ to enable people to see how any creature in the world is made.

The flyer adds:

The Ecolibrium concept is a large-scale educational software application for schools. The idea is to construct a vast, internet-based virtual world containing an ecosystem of thousands of semiintelligent artificial life forms. Children will be able to create their own creatures and let them loose in this world. They can study their creature’s progress in order to learn about ecology, creature behaviour and other biological topics, while at the same time strengthening their ability to reason scientifically and gaining experience in modern ‘systems’ concepts such as Complexity and Chaos.

Perhaps the most interesting news about the project is that Creatures creator Steve Grand is listed as working on the project. Grand is known as a leader in the AI field, having created things like ‘Lucy’ (shown up top). A video for one of his current projects, Grandroids, explains his achievements:

If Sony is funding a Steve Grand developed FutureLab project called Ecolibrium – and, as a rumor, this is a big if – it’s also important to note that this won’t be an ordinary game. FutureLab is “an independent not-for-profit organization committed to developing creative and innovative approaches to education, teaching and learning”, rather than a standard studio.

Would you be interested in what sounds like an educational mix between LittleBigPlanet and Spore? Share your thoughts in the comments below.