SimEarth - Help
Help for SimEarth
The Living Planet
This ain't the whole manual, to write down almost 250
pages is to much, but this is what you need to get
started. If you don't get the point after this, you
should probably go to the shop and buy yourself your
own manual. There's a lot of interesting infos about
the earth, the planet system etc.
WHAT IS SIMEARTH?
SimEarth is a planet simulator - a model of a planet. It is a game, an
educational toy, and an enjoyable tool. With SimEarth you can take over
many included planets, or design and create your own.
SimEarth is based on the Gaia theroy by James Lovelock, which suggests that we
look at our planet and the life on it as a whole, and not as separate areas of
SimEarth treats the planet as a whole: life climate the atmosphere, and the
planet itself - from dirt and rock to the molton core - all affect on each
You will see your planet as a whole - from a satellite's point of view, at two
levels of magnification.
SimEarth can be played in two modes: game and experimental. In game mode, you
will try to develop, manage, and preserve your planet within allotted energy
In experimental mode, you are given enlimited energy to mold your planet. This
allows you to set up any stage of development, and then introduce any new
factors you want and see what happens. In this mode SimEarth is a "planetary
Your SimEarth planets will be poulates by electronic life-forms called
SimEarthlings - cousins of the Sims who populate SimCity (tm) (another fine
product from Maxis <grin, TP>). Sim Earthlings range from single-celled plants
and animals to intellegent species.
Intellegent Simearthlings are not limited to Humans - or even Mammals. There
can be intellegent Dinosaur SimEarthlings, intellegent Mollusk SimEarthlings,
even intellegent Insects SimEarthlings - but only one intellegent life-form at
a time. A single planet can be populated by billions of SimEarthling. Their
welfare is in your hands.
GOALS OF SIMEARTH
Each of the seven included scenario planets is actually a game in itself that
can be played at three levels of difficulty or in experimental mode. Eaxh
scenario will present you with different challenges in planet management.
Testing the GAIA hypothesis - DAISYWORLD
One of the main tenets of the Gaia hypothesis is that life itself regulates
the conditions on Earth that supports life, including temperature and
One of the scenarios, Daisyworld, is a simplified simulation with only eight
lifeforms: differently shaded daisies. This scenario is based on te original
Daisyworld computer model James Lovelock designed to explain the Gaia
Experimenting with the Daisyworld will give you a visual demonstration of the
concept of Gaia and of Line on Earth as a self-regulating whole.
Taking on the role of Gaia
If you can play any of the scenarios or random planets at the most difficult
level, all Gaian self regulation will be disabled. You will have to constantly
monitor and adjust everything on the planet to kepp life in existence.
Your own planets
Besides the scenarios, you can create an unlimited number of different
planets, at various levels of difficulty.
Fun and challenge
Running a planet is a real challenge for even an experienced gamer.
Design, modify, manage and nurture a planet from creation through formation of
the oceans, to the appearance and technology, to the point where your
SimEarthlings can reach for the stars.
Set up a planetary situation and just watch what happens.
Choose and help a paricular species gain mastery of the planet.
Influence the life to keep it from destroying itself and the planet.
PErhaps the ultimate goal of SimEarth is for you to design, manage and
maintain the planet of your dreams. Your ideal planet may be a high-tech
society of inetllegent humans (or intellegen dinosaurs) or a
limited-technology planet where the biosphere is never endangered.
Your own goals
It's your toy - you make the rules. You don't need a goal if you don't want
one. Just play.
Select BEW PLANET from the FILE MENU.
You will now be asked a question. The answer of the question will be found
in SIMEARTH.ZIP - Codes for SIMEARTH, typed by myself two weeks ago. Type in
the answer, and hit return.
You will see the NEW PLANET WINDOW.
At the top of this window, you select whether you want to play an easy,
average or hard game. You can also select experimental mode, which gives you
an unlimited energy budget.
The bottom of the window gives you choices of planets. There are seven
scenarios - pre-set planets - that you can load, or you can create a random
Let's create a random planet in easy game mode. Click on EASY GAME in the top
section of the window, and click on the planet name that says RANDOM PLANET.
Now you will see a dialog box asking you to name your planet and select the
There are four Time Scales in SimEarth; each simulates different aspects of
Click in the box next to GEOLOGIC (it may already be selected), then type in a
name for your planet - try GEOWORLD - and click BEGIN button.
A new planet is born. Select the EDIT option in the WINDOWS MENU and look at
the EDIT WINDOW. In the TITLE BAR, along with the planet's name, is the
date - the elapsed ime since the planet was created. In the SPEED MENU you can
change the format of the date between RELATIVE DATE (time elapsed since the
creation of the planet). Since this planet is in the first Time Scale, the two
are the same.
There will be no oceanse for a while, and there is no atmosphere to burn up
Sit back for a couple of minutes and watch, switching betwen the EDIT and MAP
WINDOWS. You will witness events: meteor strikes, volcanos, and earthquakes.
Soon oceans will form and life will form in the oceans.
Bring the EDT WINDOW to the front, and make it as big as you can. Scroll
around the planet and go sightseeing for a few minutes.
A lot is going on: time is pasing very fast in the Time Scale. You can se the
continents drifting. Single-celled life is spreading. Meteors hit the land and
make craters that become lakes or hit the ocean and cause tidal waves.
Look at the EDIT WINDOW CONTROL PANEL. At the top-left of the panel are six
icons. Click on these icons to activate tools for changing the planet. Below
that is the CURRENT TOOL DISPLAY. It shows which tool is beeing used and the
cost in energy to use it.
Click on each icon. The Three on the left have submenus. Click and hold to see
them. Keep the mouse button dowm, and slide the pointer to an option an the
submenu to select it.
To get an explanation of what an icons doeas hold down the SHIFT KEY and click
on the icon. The HELP WINDOW will explain what it doeas and how to use it.
Below the icons are the DATA LAYER BUTTONS - five buttons that let you decide
what information about the planet will be displayed. You can have any, all, or
none of these on at once.
You can also get HELP WINDOW messages about these buttons.
Click on these and play with them. When you turn off the display of the oceans
you can see the elevation of the ocean floor. This doesn't make the ocean go
away, it just makes it invisible. Depending on how fast you read, and how fast
your computer is, you may or may not have life or biomes to turn on and off at
Below the DATA LAYER BUTTONS ar the CLIMATE OVERLAY BUTTONS - six buttons that
let you turn on and off displayed of climatic information. Only one of these
can be on at a time.
You can also get HELP WINDOW messages about these buttons.
Go ahead and play with these for a while.
At the bottom of the EDIT WINDOW CONTROL PANEL is the AVAILABLE ENERGY
DISPLAY. In SimEarth, the price you pay to manipulate the planet is energy.
This little box tells you how much you have left. As time passes, your energy
supply will slowly build back up, but it will never exceed 5000 in an easy
game, or 2000 in an average or hard game. In experimental mode, you have
Altidude tool (the one with one arrow pointing upwards, and one pointing down)
This tool has two modes: RAISE and LOWER. Click once on the SET ALTIDUDE icon.
The icon will be highlighted. In the CURRENT TOOL DISPLAY, you will see the
SET ALTITUDE icon, but with only an up arrow along with the cost to use it:
50 ê (energy units).
Only the up arrow is shown to indicate that this tool is in RAISE mode.
Scroll the EDIT WINDOW to a place on the planet that is mostly water (make
sure the display of oceans is on). Point to the water and click and hold for a
few seconds. You've just built an island. If you watch for a while, you'll
notice that the island moves and changes. This is because time is moving so
fast in the Time Scale that you can see the continents moving (continental
Now click on the SET ALTITUDE ican again. The icon in the CURRENT TOOL DISPLAY
shows only a down arrow to indicate that the tool is in LOWER mode. The price
to lower altitude is also 50 energy units.
Scroll over to a landmass, click and hold for a few seconds. You've just dug a
THE GAIA WINDOW: Gives you constant feedback on your planetary management.
Please don't poke it in the eye.