Blogging About Plants

Plants. Do you ever really think about them when you’re playing a game? Unless you’re playing SimFarm or Harvest Moon, then the answer is probably no. But plants are a bit different in OC, and they constitute an extremely important part of a OC world.


In OC, plants are meant to be a decent approximation of plants in the real world. They’re not just static objects that sit in the background. They grow, some flower, some cover the ground with leaves in the fall, they spread seeds, they freeze, they die, and do all sorts of things that plants do in the real world. In fact, in OC’s class hierarchy, each plant is a true NPC. That might sound like a strange take on plants, but this approach yields some rather neat results.

Some quick facts about plants in Outer Colony:

  • Plants in OC are true NPCs.
  • As NPCs, all plants pursue a goal and execute a plan to achieve it. Plants are a bit special, as there’s only one goal they can pursue: produce more plants. And there’s only one plan they can execute to achieve it: sprout, grow to maturity, and disperse seeds.
  • Plants do perceive and respond to their environment, albeit in a limited and extremely slow way. Except for the carnivorous ones.
  • Plant species all have temperature and moisture requirements, like plants in the real world. Some have further elevation requirements.
  • All plants grow according to 3 dimensional patterns. Large plants, like trees, can span many Z levels and are comprised of a variety of specialized components, like trunks, roots, branches, and leaves.
  • Like almost everything in OC, plants are made of specific volumes of specific materials. When they’re harvested or cut down, the materials that comprised the plant become available.

As you can tell from the information above, plants are fairly dynamic entities in OC. They live and grow and change in a manner similar to plants in the real world, and this functionality is essential to sustaining any OC world. Plants more or less have to behave like this, as they function as the base of all terrestrial food chains. They feed all of the primary consumers, which in turn feed the various levels of carnivores. As such, plants are, in many ways, the defining feature of a biome. They help define and delineate biotic regions, perform an essential function in every ecosystem, and generally make the worlds of OC feel more alive.

The following video was made to demonstrate 3 space in OC, but it does so by showing the structure of trees in a forest. Hopefully it gives some insight into larger and more complex structures that can comprise plants:

Posted in NPCs, Simulation