You enjoyed SimCity but by now you think that a city is just not large enough anymore? Well, then you should have a look at Sim Earth. This is also a simulator but instead of looking at a cute little city, you'll have full control over a whole planet! And I'm not talking about making sure that humans can build up a civilization, no… Sim Earth puts you in control of the planet itself… the geosphere, atmosphere, the evolution of simple microbes into fish, birds, reptiles, mammals and finally intelligent life - evolved out of apes, dolphins, or dinosaurs; this game covers a time-span of billions of years.
Sim Earth: The Living Planet was designed by Will Wright and published in 1990 by Maxis. The program uses the Gaia theory from James Lovelock (for an nice introduction about his theory read ‘Gaia: an new Look at Life on Earth' by James Lovelock). The planet itself, including all vegetation and animals, lives as one big organism. And if something changes, either the physics or the biology, everything changes a bit to regain the balance.
Basically, you control the atmosphere (such as sun power and cloud formation), the geosphere (volcanic activity, erosion, and continental drift), biosphere (reproduction rate, mutation rate and split rate) and the likes. Besides, you can place vegetation, add, move or remove different life forms and enjoy watching them evolve. Of course, you are free to intervene if you don't like where it is all going. A respectable number of graphs are available to give you a good idea about what your changes are leading to.
Since this simulator deals with such a huge diversity, it's also a bit more crude than, say, SimCity. That is, for instance, once intelligent life is evolved one can put complete cities at the world. There are no clear goals; just the challenge of evolving intelligent life. Although there is a game-mode, that's not what this game - excuse me… this program is about. Sim Earth is a simulation for hardcore sim players. It's a program with a steep learning curve and a somewhat dry gameplay. But in my opinion, this could not really be prevented without keeping the complexity. If you have some or more interest in science, or just want to play around, and see what happens if the planet would for instance be much warmer, this is a program for you.
To shortly resume SimEarth: The Living Planet (also known as SimEarth: Der lebende Planet, Sim Earth), it's about educational, simulation and ecology / nature. It was done by Maxis Software, Inc. in 1990. Feel free to download and try it!
This more ambitious follow-up to SimCity lets you play God-- take charge of an entire planet from its birth to its death--10 billion years later. Guide life from its inception as single-celled microbes to a civilization that can reach for the stars. Inspired by James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis, SimEarth simulates the Earth as one interrelated living organism. It's a solid simulation that unfortunately suffers a bit from the too-dry gameplay and steep learning curve.
A wonderful game! The follow-up to Sim City - Sim Earth. This time you don't control a city, but a whole planet. The center of the game is the process of evolution. You aren't only able to place several lifeforms, you can also control a high number of variables like the continental drift or the split rate of lifeforms. While not having a real goal it's a great feeling to see "your" creatures growing and evolving. It's a long way from the single-cell-state to a prospering civilization that finally makes its way into space. Every game is different - and of course not only the monkeys can evolve to an intelligent species - you can also have intelligence in the oceans or a lizard-folk or many other things.
In my opinion this is not only the best game in the Sim-Series - it's also one of the best simulations ever made. The game was created after real scientific models, it's far more than "just a game" - it is simulation of the process of evolution - both of lifeforms as well as of a planet.
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