XenoBloom is part game, part digital toy, part science experiment, with a dash of "life-long-ambition-to-make-a-true-game-out-of-Conway's-game-of-life". In XenoBloom, you are tasked with tending the emerging ecosystem on an alien world. You do this in a fairly novel way...
But wait. What is the game of life? Also referred to as "Cellular Automata", it is basically a very simple set of rules that can quickly evolve some amazingly complex behaviors.
In the example above, the only process at work is this: If a cell has 2 or 3 neighbors, it will survive, and if a dead (empty) cell has exactly 3 neighbors, it will become "alive".
XenoBloom applies these rules as a way of allowing the player some degree of control over the environment, while adding a healthy and challenging amount of uncertainty. Here is a short video showing what happens when you play with the different rules governing the cellular automata states:
But what is the POINT?! In XenoBloom, you grow plants. Yep, that's it. But it's a surprisingly deep experience. It's very easy to become engrossed in all the little interactions, trying to evolve new life, and getting it to grow how you see it in your mind's eye.
And where are the plants? Here is a late-game example of some of the things you can evolve:
So what does cellular automata have to do with plants? It's simple. Plants grow under living cells. Of course, your plants have lots of other characteristics governing their growth, such as desired elevation, whether they grow on or under the ground, and whether they prefer to be with other plants or need to be alone to thrive.