go to www.ventrella.com

A FREE Software Download
Darwin Pond
by Jeffrey Ventrella and Brian Dodd
(and the crew at Rocket Science Games)

logo Darwin Pond is an imaginary gene pool, a primordial puddle of genetic surprises. More technically, Darwin Pond is an Artificial Life Simulation: a virtual world exhibiting the emergence of life-like behaviors. But it's more than just a fun and informative thing to watch, you can participate in this artificial life simulation by building scenarios and setting up experiments. Darwin Pond is inhabited by hundreds of wiggly things called "swimmers". In a way, you could say these swimmers perform tiny histories of the evolution of swimming in the earth's waters by genetically "discovering" ways to get around. They do this by evolving their anatomies and motions over many generations. This is why this imaginary body of water is named "Darwin Pond", named in honor of Charles Darwin, whose scientific work and eloquence in explaining the origin of species created a revolution. Darwin Pond sounds a little bit like Walden Pond. That's on purpose - Henry David Thoreau's Walden was an influence on me at a young age, when I was learning to watch, wonder, and learn from nature. Darwin Pond is for nature lovers, who spend countless hours (or a lifetime) meditating on the wonders and intricacies of life unfolding.

the quick and simple version
small download

the compressed version, with sound effects, help text, DNA files, and manual
big download
extract these files
Yo: put all the extracted files into a folder called "Darwin Pond".

Darwin Pond 2005
(updated for better graphics performance on modern PC's, and an option to switch between FullScreen and Window-mode
big download
extract these files

The History of Darwin Pond
Darwin Pond was created at Rocket Science Games, Inc., in 1996, initially as an artificial life research project. It was later developed into a product in '97. After difficult legal battles between the producers and the publishers, while Rocket Science was nearing its end as a company, Darwin Pond was set free from the binds of legal and corporate snags, although it never became a commercial product. In the aftermath, I chose to offer it over the internet as free software. Now anyone (with a PC) can enjoy it, free of charge. My compensation is your appreciation.

All the little wiggling swimmers appreciate your using Darwin Pond as well. They even are OK with being killed - as long as you enjoy them when they're alive, and come to appreciate the wonder and magic of evolution on Earth. Well, actually, they may not (like) being killed, but you may like it, because you just might be like that, in which case, have fun! You'll soon discover that the magic of evolution (which requires both birth and death) is what it's all about.
Who Made it?
Darwin Pond was conceived of and designed by Jeffrey Ventrella, who did the initial engineering of physics, genetics, and interaction. Brian Dodd designed extra features and served as the Lead Engineer on the project, adapting the original SGI code and developing it into a Windows application. Darren Atherton was the Producer on the Project and managed the acquisition of original music by Ambient Artist Jonah Sharp (which is only available on the CD). Bill Davis was the Creative Director at Rocket Science at the time, and was integral for his creative vision and persistence in helping to make Darwin Pond a reality. Kev Ashley was the Engineering Consultant. Robert Gagnon did Graphic Design for packaging and marketing. Tom Hays directed the audio. Bryan Galdrikian helped with some physics consulting. Many thanks goes to all the talented people involved, including Evan Robinson, Ron Cobb, and Aaron Holly. Steve Blank initiated the business end, enabling it to become an official software title at Rocket Science Games. Scott Kim offered interface suggestions. And finally, thanks to Elvis, who inspired the name of one of the DNA files

Just Download the Manual
(26 clearly illustrated pages, which explain Darwin Pond in detail, how it works, and how to use it)
(click here to download the WINZIPPED version of the Manual)

Questions Comments? ... Info@Ventrella.com
To show your appreciation for the hard work these swimmers do, please make a $1 donation towards maintenence, and development of a future version(using paypal). Thank you!

stays wiggly, even in milk!