Cult is a world building game that is designed to be self-generative. Rather than the player having any active involvement on the environment, the minions in the world are given the power to build as they see fit. The minions are given a number of rules that they must comply to, but then they are free to move throughout their world as they see fit.
Within the world there are 4 minion classes:
Builder – There is only one builder spawned per civilization. They have the ability to build houses, farms and temples determined by demand.
Farmer – Farmers appear once a farm has been built. The farmer explores the region looking for trees which he can harvest. Once the farmer has gathered sufficient resources, he takes his haul back to the nearest farm (that isn’t full) from his location. The farmer deposits the food he gathered on his journey, if he didn’t manage to find any trees then the farm remains empty.
Priest – The priest walks the land looking for tombstones to bless. Once he blesses a tombstone it turns into a tree, which the farmers can then harvest for food. Enabling the cycle of life and death.
Citizen – The citizens have no active role in the world, their objective is merely surviving. Each citizen has a tiredness, hunger and faith meter. To survive and remain happy, each citizen must have access to a house to sleep in and a reliable food source. Interaction with death and tombstones reduces faith, whereas interaction with temples builds faith. Faith determines how likely they are to either become hostile or breed when interacting with other minions.
A key part of building the population within the game is getting each citizen breeding with the opposite sex. If a male and a female bump into each other, and their faith is high, there is a random chance that they will have a child, however, if two citizens of the same gender bump into each other and they both have very little faith, there is a small chance one of them will murder the other.
The agent type that the artificial intelligence within our game uses is a Simple Reflex Agent. While there are a lot of complex algorithms within the game that means there are lots of tasks that the citizens must carry out, they still aren’t learning from the environment. Instead, the minions are basing all their decisions on the conditions that we initially placed on them.
We found this project to be a lot more in-depth than we initially imagined. It was fairly easy to add more and more rules to the game, which in turn, affected how the minions interacted with each other. Once we had our basic rules set up, we could add more unique conditions which changed how each civilization played out. It was interesting seeing how the minions would cluster in areas that everyone else was in, even if they had no set function to do so. The minions naturally bunched together, causing that particular area to run out of resources while the rest of the city would start to become over-run with trees.