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Swim around as a Microbe, trying to survive in an evolving world in this science inspired video game. For PC, Linux, and Mac. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on March 23, 2012.

Swim around as a Microbe, trying to survive in an evolving world in this science inspired video game. For PC, Linux, and Mac.

About this project

Want to see a video more focused on Game play?

I gave a preview to Slushy, a friend of mine who does this stuff better than I can. He spent part of his weekend playing the game and gave a pretty good preview/review. He's not a scientist, but from how fast he picked up concepts in the game, I can tell he's a pretty smart guy. You can check out his website here.

     ~~~<=>    The Story

Back in 2008 I wanted my own dinosaur. But I didn't want just any dinosaur, I wanted my own customarily evolved dinosaur which was unique to me. Genetic Engineering would take years, and a lot of other repercussions. I thought a better Idea was that there should be a video game for this. So I taught myself how to program an created my own video game.

The initial attempt I titled Evolve and tried to encompass all of evolution, but I soon found out Evolution was too big of a concept for one video game to handle. So breaking it up to highlight the features in each subject in biology has to offer would be better. Bacillus is the first step - representing microbial life. This game is meant to highlight the diversity, variety, and uniqueness of the Prokaryotes (Bacteria and Archaea)

In Bacillus, you control a population of bacteria. Your goal : Survive.

Here's a list of key features :

  • A large open world to explore with 20+ unique micro-environments and hidden features
  • A wide variety of upgrades to customize your bacteria
  • A bunch of different nutrients to eat and custom design your metabolism with. (Did you know that some bacteria can gain energy from Uranium? In this game you can do that)
  • Play against hundreds of different species of bacteria - each uniquely evolved for your game
  • Evolution! The game evolves as you play. Every species in the game has a genome which realistically changes over time.
  • A unique ecosystem forms each time you play based on the evolutionary history generated when you start the game.
  • Genetics!- Each bacteria in the game has its own genome for which its traits are based on.
  • A changing world with events to change how you play, and seasonal/daily/monthly/yearly effects.
  • Play with your friends to survive with multi-player support.
  • For the PC, Linux and Mac.

Here's a list of Scientific Concepts in the Game

  • Genetics - Each bacteria has a genome, composed of genes, composed of nucleotides (A's, T's, C's and G's). The traits of the bacteria are based on reading these genes
  • Evolution - These genomes mutate over time, mixed in with a selection system (both natural and artificial), and BAM evolution
  • Quorum Sensing - A way bacteria communicate with each other in the natural world is in the game allowing you to communicate with bacteria.
  • Chemotaxis - Is a way bacteria move to find nutrients and defines how you move in the game
  • Soil Types - There isn't just Dirt in the game, but different kinds of soil based on Clay, Silt and Sand composition in the area.
  • Redox Metabolism - A way of understanding how bacteria obtain energy has been translated into a powerful tool in the game allowing you to create endless combinations in how you get your energy (Did I mention you could eat Uranium - well how about also Gold, Iron or Lead  - Note : Bacteria do not use Gold or Lead to obtain energy in real life, but you can in the game, for fun).
  • Enzymes - Bacteria naturally secrete enzymes to favorably modify their environment - so why shouldn't you be able to do that in the game.

So I bet you're thinking : awe dang, I have to know all this science stuff to play the game...  WRONG, you don't have to know any of it. The game is designed so a person who doesn't even know what a bacteria is can start playing. BUT be warned, over time you will slowly learn and become familiar with the topics, as they help your survival. So there might be some learning involved.

My goal in creating Bacillus is to create something completely unique and share bacteriology with people who normally don't think about these things. Now that it's almost done I need one final push to get it to the quality I want.

So here's what your money is going towards :

  • Polishing up the game
  • Research (can never have too much science in a science game)
  • Animations
  • making me warm and fuzzy inside
  • Legal junk
  • Some recording equipment for sound music
  • Miscellaneous (just cause I can't think of everything at the moment)

More funding will allow me to create a better game overall. Heck, if this gets funded enough, I might just start making a sequel immediately.

More Money = Better Game

I also put this project up on kickstarter because I want you to be able to put your creativity into the game, hence the rewards....

     <=>~~~~ REWARD GUIDELINES ~~~<=>

General Guideline: nothing inappropriate, no profanity, and no copyright/trademark violations (duh).

Species Naming (Binomial Nomenclature) :

When submitting a name for a bacteria I'm fine with pretty much anything just don't break the general guidelines written above.Oh - and I wouldn't recommend using a Bacteria name that already exist, because I already added most of them.

What goes into the name? Each name consists of two parts : Genus and species. An example from a famous bacteria : Escherichia coli (or E. coli). Genus = Escherichia Species = coli. You might be aware of the scientific name of Humas as Homo sapiens. Homo = genus sapiens=species.

I'd like for most of the names to sound 'sciencey' to fit with the game. A simple trick is that most bacteria names end in one of these common endings

  • ia
  • i
  • ii
  • ae
  • a
  • us
  • u
  • s
  • es
  • um
  • os

Here's an example : My last name is Halter - the scientific name I made out of it "Haltera". My full name could be Haltera johnii


I have multiple designs for shirts and you can pick your favorite. In addition to that, I can make the bacteria on the shirt any color you want. So- Full customization for your own personal shirt.

Designing a Bacteria

In the game, there are two functional bacteria designs. One is for the player (playable design), the other is for all other bacteria in the game (NPC). Here's a breakdown of the features each entails...

Playable Bacteria = a design a player can use

  • When playing the game you can play as your design.
  • The design comes in two parts - an outer (membrane) design and inner (cytoplasm) design.
  • Designs are limited to the Bacillus (rod) shape
  • Basically, you are limited in design to a rod shape, but you get to play as this bacteria

NPC = a design the other bacteria can use

  • Your design will be randomly assigned to a Bacteria species for the game
  • Shapes are not limited just Bacillus (rod) shape
  • Basically, you get to be more creative with the design, but will only see this design on enemy bacteria.

For Both

  • The designs will be featured in all versions of the game.
  • The design must work with the aesthetics of the game, I will work with you on that, and can easy design if for you following your lead.
  • Follow the General Guideline rule

Geological Features Naming

When naming a geological feature the general guideline (see above) applies.

The second rule for naming is what it is has to be in the name. Ex. Mt. Everest is a mountain, Mississippi River is a river, Lake Ontario is a lake.


The same general Guidelines apply here. For this reward you don't have to be a business, but here's what you get. Two images which are shown in the game.

The first - a small logo to be shown in the credits. (200 X 200 pixels png file).

The second - a large image shown while the game is loading (1200 X 1200 pixels png file). Somewhere on the image it should say something along the lines of you helping this video game being made - " Bacillus was supported by ... ", "the game brought to you by ...." or any other thing you want to say. The rest of the image is up to you. This image will be posted when the game is loaded.


  • PC (32 and 64 bit), Linux, and Mac.

    Last updated:
  • I wrote an article about this on my blog, because there are a lot of differences. Here's the link.

    Last updated:
  • The game you will receive will be labeled as beta because the one thing it is missing is your valuable feedback. You will get the option to tell me what you like about the game, what you didn't like, and I will aggregate everyone's opinion and make some (few) tweaks.

    The game you get will be at the quality and level I think it deserves. But I will still take your input to tweak the game a bit.

    If you buy the beta, you do not need to purchase a full copy. Purchasing the beta will cover all updates/improvements I put into the game.

    Last updated:


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    25 backers

    #1. Your name will go into the CREDITS of the game. PLUS - I'll answer any microbiology/genetics/cell biology related question you ask.

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    192 backers

    #2. A COPY OF THE GAME (in Beta) before anyone else + #1

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    64 backers

    #3. You can name a bacteria species in the game. See naming guidelines below.

    + #1 + #2

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    4 backers

    A Bacillus T-Shirt!!! Plus 1-3 of course. And any reward above this value gets a T-shirt. (International shipping add $10)

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    8 backers Limited (17 left of 25)

    #5.You can design a bacteria (NPC) in the game + Rewards #1,2,3

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    2 backers Limited (23 left of 25)

    #4. You can design a playable bacteria design. See below for guidelines +#1,2,3

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    2 backers All gone!

    You can name one of the two MOUNTAINS in the game. See naming guidelines below. + Rewards # 1-3, and your choice of 4 or 5.

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    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    You can name one of the two OCEANS in the game. See naming guidelines below. + Rewards # 1-3, and your choice of 4 or 5.

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    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    You can name one of the two LAKES in the game. See naming guidelines below. + Rewards # 1-3, and your choice of 4 or 5.

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    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    Business Backer - Your companies Logo/Name can appear on the opening and loading screen of the game. Saying "Brought to you by ....'

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Funding period

- (23 days)