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Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Version 7 of my game Cultivation is available as a free download.

Cultivation explores the social interactions within a gardening community. You lead one family of gardeners, starting with a single individual, and wise choices can keep your genetic line from extinction. While breeding plants, eating, and mating, your actions impact your neighbors, and the social balance sways between conflict and compromise.

Cultivation features dynamic graphics that are procedurally-generated using genetic representations and cross-breeding. In other words, game objects are "grown" in real-time instead of being hand-painted or hard-coded. Each plant and gardener in the game is unique in terms of both its appearance and behavior.

For those of you who have found Cultivation to be confusing in the past, the game now includes an extensive in-game tutorial. The user interface has also been polished quite a bit, and one crash has been fixed. This is the version that I will be screening at Slamdance this coming weekend, so it counts as a "final" version.

Cultivation is certainly an unusual game, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's good. From my experience, some people absolutely love it, while others absolutely hate it. I'm pretty happy with this reaction (much better, I suppose, than everyone simply agreeing to shrug their shoulders about it). It's intended to be an "art game," after all, and mixed reactions go with that territory.

This seems like an appropriate time to explain a bit about what I was trying to do with Cultivation. You can read the full article at Arthouse Games.

Name: Cultivation
Developer: Jason Rohrer
Category: Social gardening strategy
Type: Freeware
Size: 426 KB