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I'm creating the world's most advanced artificial creatures, for people to look after, interact with and study.
I'm creating the world's most advanced artificial creatures, for people to look after, interact with and study.
579 backers pledged $56,818 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates


I've been biting my nails all morning. Then it shows up on slashdot and all the world's geeks start to leave GDC with their iPhones in their hands... and WHOOOOSH!

Thank you all SO MUCH for making this happen. I'm trying not to be too effusive here but I'm completely overwhelmed. We crossed the line. The project is funded!

Don't stop now :-) No, seriously, I'm not a greedy man but the more funding I can get the better I can do. I'll be able to buy the necessary kit for ports, etc. and take a little longer to do a good job.

This is my life's work, you guys. You just saved my life's work. I think I can promise you something rather unique in return.

Thank you all. And a special thanks to Tyler for doubling his pledge to push us over the line.

I think I need to go lie down for a bit. More news later...

Getting there!

I know I said I wouldn't spam you today but I lied. We've gone over $23,000 now, so I couldn't contain myself. I mostly wanted to say a big thank you to all the new sponsors, I really appreciate every one of you and look forward to getting to know some of you better over the next year or so. 

Things have slowed today but then they pretty much had to, after the rocket start you gave this project! Mashable published a short interview with me this morning ( and in less than an hour it had been tweeted over 600 times, so if there are more supporters out there I think there's a fair chance we'll find them eventually. Just $4,000 more is needed to make this happen. You can still make thousand dollar pledges, of course :-) Obviously I had to limit the number of lunch dates as I'm supposed to be working. I really didn't expect to get any, but we'd only need four more of those. And I see we're still getting $500 pledges, which is absolutely amazing - thank you so much! Eight more will do it. Or 40 x $100 pledges. Or of course 4,000 x $1, but I don't really want to think about that.

Hey, Kickstarter, when are you going to put us on the front page? I see there's a movie about synthetic biology on the home page now. This is actual synthetic biology, you know? Well, virtual synthetic biology anyway. I'm just kidding - you know what you're doing. We're only five days into the project, after all.

Okay, sorry to disturb you all. I'm just excited. Back to work.


If you get this by RSS then I'm sorry to spam you three days in a row, but things are happening so quickly! I've had a lot of questions from people and it's not possible to reply individually on the comments section here, so I thought I'd answer the most common ones as a project update. I'll also put it on my blog at and I can add new FAQs there to cut down on the spam. For quickie questions/comments, tweet me at @enchantedloom.

1. Several people have asked if I'm going to support Linux. I'm committed to using Unity3D as my graphics engine (I chose it very carefully, and I really don't think I could make this project happen without Unity). At the moment Unity doesn't support Linux. It does support Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android, X-Box and Wii, so it's certainly not impossible they'll support Linux eventually too. In fact the underlying framework is already very Linux-friendly, so it shouldn't be too difficult if they think there's a market. A number of Unity developers have asked for it. However, it's not something I have any control over. If Unity offers Linux support then I'll definitely port the game to Linux too, but I can't do anything until/unless that happens. 

2. Collaboration. Several people have offered to help with the project in various ways, which I'm very flattered by. Thank you. The situation is this: As far as the core engine is concerned, I have to work alone. The computational neuroscience and biology involved is very, very complex and unique, and it has an impact on almost every aspect of the code (and even the graphics). There's no way I could do this stuff in a collaborative environment. I have to keep everything inside my head, because I'm inventing completely new things as I go, and every time one part of it changes, it has knock-on effects throughout the system. So I'm just not in a position to share the core programming with anyone. Sorry.

Having said that, I'm writing an engine, at both the computing and biological levels. It will have an open API and an open genetics, so everyone is free to write new tools, create new objects and scenes, manipulate genes, create new species, etc. and I'd be delighted if you would do that. This is my living, so I need to retain some of the action, but if you had any connection to Creatures you'll know that I design things in such a way that people can contribute. This project will be more open than Creatures was, because the technology for it has come a long way since then. Some of this may take a while to roll out, but I'll be publishing updates as time goes on.

3. Is it for real? Sure it's for real! But before anyone who's not familiar with my work gets the wrong idea, I should point out that these creatures are not going to win Jeopardy! The field I work in is biologically-inspired AI, and I make complex, realistic living organisms. Think rabbits and dogs, not Terminator or Data. Most people don't really question the nature of intelligence much, but I can tell you, winning a game of chess is easy peasy compared to recognizing the difference between a pawn and a bishop, or picking up the chess pieces. Just because we find something easy now, after years of infant practice, it doesn't mean it IS easy. Most AI is not real intelligence at all. Especially game AI, which is to intelligence what a portrait is to a person - a shallow imitation of the real thing. What I'm interested in is real, learned intelligence and hopefully the first glimmerings of a real mind, with desires and fears and intentions. It's much more exciting than a pseudo-HAL.

4. Timing, features, etc. I'm banking on this taking about another year. Hopefully I'll get enough money to go on a little longer than that and do a better job. I don't know how long until I have alphas, betas, etc. There's a lot of very new stuff in this project so I don't have a precedent. I don't know what I'll actually be able to achieve either. I've found that the key is to get the biology right. Biology is an incredibly powerful toolkit, and very flexible. Get that core right and lots of happy things will fall out of it. So I don't work in the normal way, with specifications and schedules and milestones. It cramps my style. My job is to be a good biologist and let the creatures emerge. This is all about emergence.

5. Some of you have said you don't have any money but you'll spread the word. Great! Thank you! I don't have any money either, so I quite understand. I appreciate all tweets, posts, articles, submissions, reviews... anything. Well, perhaps not holding a knife to someone and stealing their wallet, but most things. I appreciate all kinds of support, even if just good wishes. Oh, and I read every single comment, etc., so I notice and care, even if I don't get a chance to reply personally.

Okay, I think those are the main things people have asked about. We've made it over the $20,000 point already! And it's still officially just the end of Day Three! I'm so excited! Thank you everyone!

Oh man!

It's still officially Day Two. Yesterday I was keeping my fingers crossed we might get to $8,000 by the end of the day. When I went to bed it had reached $11,000. I woke this morning to find we've passed $16,000 already! More than Half way! Still Day Two!

Words fail me. Thank you all so much. People I don't even know (yet) have pledged more than I'd expect from a billionaire. Maybe they're billionaires, although somehow I really doubt that. I'll find out who they are when I meet some of them for lunch. I wish I could meet all of you.

And thank you for the lovely comments, too (to which I'll reply shortly). Over the years quite a few people have written to me to say that Creatures influenced them in some way. Many took up university majors or even research careers in the biological or computing sciences because of things they'd discovered for themselves (or maybe even about themselves) by playing Creatures. When I was writing that game, the marketing people at one of the potential publishers told me to "bury the science." "People aren't interested in that sort of thing." Well, I have to tell them they were wrong: some people were interested. 

Anyway, I don't know what to say. Thank you seems too feeble. I'm just kind of sitting here with my mouth open...

I'm a nervous wreck already

Less than 24 hours into this and I'm already nearly a third of the way to my goal! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've had some heart-stoppingly generous pledges to get this far so quickly, but I'm deeply grateful for every single show of support, from the smallest widow's mite upwards. Every penny really counts.

I'll tell you a secret. I'm not the most positive thinker on the planet, so I kind of go into things expecting it all to go wrong. That makes me a good programmer, as it happens, because programming is all about anticipating ways in which things might go wrong. It also makes me a good computational neuroscientist, because there's a huge difference between what looks like a decent theory on paper and what actually works in the real world, although at the same time I have to say I tend to be pretty bold about what I think I can achieve in this area, which is also a good thing. But it makes me really lousy at getting support for my work. So a lot of nails were bitten before I dared click the button to publish this project on Kickstarter. I kind of expected a big zero to be staring at me for days. So you have no idea how thrilled I am to see that this might actually work out. Thanks again to everyone who's given my project such a fantastic head-start.

- Steve