I mentioned previously that I had thought of working on a pollution-based ecological system, and today I have taken a few steps in that direction, at least to the extent of setting up a few of the basic elements.
First of all I bought some land, which is rather useful to have for such things. I certainly couldn't do this sort of potentially hazardous thing in Caledon. A 4,096 square metre area seemed sufficient (if not over-sufficient) and I scoured the land sales listings for such, eventually finding a spot in the corner of a mainland sim that seemed to be relatively free of clubs, camping chairs and other simlaggy enterprises, as well as free of banlines. Incidentally, this will cost me to maintain, thus I would like to make a quick commercial announcement: BUY MY STUFF. Thank you.
As an aside, during conversation with a couple of compatriots it was noted that there was an area containing various advertisements involving unclothed ladies, and though this is not Caledon, clearly there are standards to be upheld in a PG sim, both social and aesthetic quite frankly. A few reports were made to the Lindens of the matter and within mere minutes, Coffee Linden was present, recording evidence and removing the offending items! Most prompt.
Whilst this was taking place I did note some confusion on the part of the advertiser, specifically concerned one piece portraying two ladies (clearly close friends) enjoying the great outdoors but seemingly bereft of clothing, with the caption "BUY THIS WOMAN". Quite apart from the illegal and improper nature of the entreaty, and unlikelihood of the purchaser actually receiving a lady of any sort beyond the purely pixellated and inanimate, which woman? And surely that would leave her friend without company, though perhaps she would then have the funds to purchase some clothing, perhaps a nice summer hat and a frock. Really - producers of pornographic advertisements, be aware that a strong narrative should be considered a necessity.
In any case, back to the experiments. The plot now has a central observation tower where one may rest in safety, with the surrounding terrain both dangerous and without flight, though this is not actually significant at the moment as there is nothing more lethal than a few purple slugs. At the base of this is an outlet pipe from which are emitted small containers of the toxic effluvium that is a waste product of some of my less environmentally-sensitive machines, carefully packaged to avoid accidental poisoning but a potential source of energy for some of the creatures residing there.
The first step was to create a basic form of life that would be able to process this waste, the first link of the food chain as it were, and... well, I will let a brief portion of my notes speak for themselves there, if you would be so kind as to read on.
Food Scripted temporary physical block, generated by a pollution emitter. Gives energy points fron 1 to 10 when eaten, fixed on rez by a parameter passed to the food item. Listens on channel X for the message "<key>/eat". If <key> is equal to its key, responds on the action channel with "<key>/feed/<energy>" to feed <key> with <energy> and then dies. Scavenger slugs Behaviour: Scavengers scan for food at a rate determined by their metabolism. They move towards the nearest sensed food object if it is within (speed * metabolism * (11 - caution)) metres. Statistics: Scavengers have... - an energy counter; when <= 0, the scavenger dies. The scavenger's scale is set to (energy / 200). Maximum energy is 1000 and initial energy is 50. - a metabolism score, equal to the number of seconds between scans, initialised randomly from 1 to 10. Low numbers thus indicate a fast metabolism, rather counter-intuitively. - a speed score which is their speed in m/s, initialised to (5/metabolism)^0.5 - this variation was done to give low metabolism slugs a chance as otherwise they use up far too much energy getting to their target. Maybe should reduce the amount of energy per move for them instead, as being faster gives them an advantage... something to tweak. - an age, the number of hours they've been alive - slugs lose 1 energy per hour even if they don't do anything, so a completely inactive slug will die in a couple of days. Might increase this energy loss rate. - caution, determining the maximum distance from food they will try to move at (see above) Movement: Scavengers move nonphysically at intervals based on their metabolism score. Each move is therefore of a maximum distance of (speed * metabolism). Each move costs 1 energy point. Feeding: Scavengers can eat food objects if the distance to them is equal to (their scale dimension / 2) + 0.2. They do this immediately after a move if it takes them close enough. Reproduction: As of this time, none. Plans are to have slugs divide into two smaller versions when they reach a certain energy level, each with the same metabolism and caution as their parent (plus a mutation factor?). Self-replication should be okay here as the food supply is very limited - they won't just divide forever and they only move towards food items anyway. Will test with safeguards on anyway though.
Bear in mind that this is all in an extremely early stage - I have been working for merely hours - and will likely change. After the reproduction of the slugs is taken care of, I believe that creatures taking advantage of them will be necessary, and it is at that point that visitors would be advised to carry the tranquiliser gun that I have designed at all times.