Summer campers enrolled in MAJ Edsel Baker’s math class and MAJ Keith Morgan’s business classes discussed a free online program called Swarm Simulator in room 214 during block 4 of the academic day July 1.
Seventh grader Robert Abbott and ninth grader Christian Ng took the floor while ninth grader Brents Feron ran the PowerPoint projector. The group project, an extra credit report, re-enforced critical thinking skills, requiring students to work together to draft an explanation of the program. Cadets were tasked with researching the program, documenting their findings, presenting their findings and debating their strategy with classmates.
(To explore Swarm Simulator, click here.)
WHAT IS SWARM SIMULATOR?
Ng and Abbott began by explaining the difference between a video game and a simulator.
The program, they explained, consists of watching and clicking — unlike a video game, simulators are endless. Another difference between the two, Ng explained, is player interaction. The simulator requires little input from the player and offers no visuals, only words.
“When you close [your laptop], it still goes on,” Ng said. “Overnight you produce as well. … But after two days if you don’t check it, it restarts.”
There are ten bugs or processors in this simulator. The ten types are drone, queen, nest, greater queen, hive, hive queen, hive empress, neuroprophet, hive neuron and neural cluster.
The objective of this simulator is to make a neural cluster. All you do is hatch eggs, make a higher tier processor and get more territory. The simulator is endless after you get a neural cluster.
Each player begins with drones that you can hatch. The drones are basically your honeybees. Honeybees collect honey, but in this simulator the drones collect meat. With a certain amount of drones, you can either upgrade the amount of drones you produce or you can save up your drones to make one queen. And one queen makes more drones. (PowerPoint)
“You start out with a certain amount of meat and a couple drones. …And once you get enough drones, you can get a queen,” Abbott said. “Once you get a queen you can get a nest, and so on and so on and so on. It’s basically endless. … The numbers just keep getting bigger. There’s no end to the game. You can’t really win.”
ENERGY & UPGRADES
Energy is a part of the simulator that gives you spells, like instant hatching. Energy also speeds up meat production. You must use your energy wisely because it takes a very long time to regenerate. (PowerPoint)
“It takes a very long time to produce it,” Abbott said. “So if you do start playing this you need to use your energy wisely!”
Upgrades purchased with energy include faster bugs which gather more territory and produce more meat. Bugs can be also combined to create other insect species.
“When you make your first hive it takes a very long time,” Abbott said. “I accidentally used one of my hives, the only one hive that I had … on an upgrade that didn’t even really do anything!”
The territory is what you explore. You have bugs that you can produce with meat and larva. We do not know how many bugs there are that explore territory, but what we do know is how many we have so far. In total we have eleven territory bugs so far: swarmlings, stingers, arachnomorphs, culicimorph, locust roach, giant arachnomorph, chilopodomorph, wasp, devourera, goon and swarmling II. Swarmling II is an upgraded version of swarmling. The swarmling II so far is the best at getting territory and the stinger is the worst at getting territory. (PowerPoint)
Every second produces 0.5 unit of energy, thus every two seconds creates one unit of energy.
Creating one hive costs 100 thousand greater queens.
Bug totals range from thousands to billions to undecillions and beyond.