Evolution SHMUP

I’m extremely sorry for the delay in posting the game. I had some further trouble (I forgot my server’s MYSQL password), but the game is finally online. Conveniently I can now also participate in the TIGSource’s Procedural Generation Competition (which launched May 5th) with the game…

So the game is actually something completely different for me: a Javascript based browser game, called Evolution SHMUP.

Click here to play Evolution SHMUP

Evolution SHMUP Evolution SHMUP Evolution SHMUP

It’s basically just your standard shooter. But the cool thing about it is, that the game’s data is generated “randomly”. Everything from the way the player moves to enemy patterns are “randomly” generated.

Randomly is in quotes because the game uses very Darwinistic way of generating the data. Every time you play a game, the game keeps track of how long you played that particular game. And the way that a game is generated is by selecting few of the more popular games and mashing them (randomly) together. Hopefully this process will create a game that is even more interesting and thus will be played even longer. The plan is to create the ultimate game, that is so addicting that once people stumble upon it they can’t quit playing it. And then the game will evolve consciousness and it will start taking over the world by itself. And thus Skynet was born…


Code, graphics, design: Petri Purho (petri.purho [at] gmail.com).

The game was inspired by Creative Synthesis’ research project: Human Tended Gardens of Evolutionary Design.

Few of the background patterns are from Kaliber 10000’s Pixel Pattern Collection. The following designs were used:
Pink Mudejar by Pantero Pinco,
Be Glad…it’s Plaid! by ingternet,
bowtie by ingternet
Sucr by Goksel Goktas,
ak 18, ak 12, ak 16 and ak 17 by Andreas KΓΆberle,
Estoria Pisser by Dan LeRoux,
SCCO by Richard Schumann,
pattuan by vitto,
tridimencional and mosaico by Wagner Campelo,
Canvas Expression by Joel Abad,
yep by Itai Rabinowitz,
RP02, Der Rote Salon, Der Gruene Salon, shocking yellow, Vercetti Mansion and Wat Yai – Phitsanulok by Roland Peschetz,
archipelago pattern by Anton Repponen.

456 Responses to “Evolution SHMUP”

  1. Pacman Says:

    At LAST!!! πŸ™‚ I’ll test it right away!! (1st comment) YAY

  2. Pacman Says:

    It’s awesome who different levels, background, monsters are generated, some are hard to see because of color difference, and others are kinda hard to survive, but the gameplay is there πŸ™‚ Very nice, and good luck with the Procedural Generation Cometition πŸ™‚

  3. Baby_Yoda Says:

    I’m very disappointed by this game :S
    All your previous games were soooo cool, but this one, well, it sucks :S
    Worst shooter I’ve ever played.
    Sorry for being so harsh, but that’s what I think of it.
    I just hope the next games will be cooler ^^

    Greets !

  4. Musickid43 Says:

    It’s an interesting concept to start off with, but there is just one major flaw with this. I can’t always see the enemies attacks. Some are only about one pixel in size, and have a similar color to the background. This makes it much harder to avoid the attacks making the game incredibly short. Well you can’t win them all, but that is why these are called monthly experimental games. Keep it up, I’m sure you may come across another big hit like crayon physics. Can’t wait to see what else you can come up with.

  5. Musickid43 Says:

    Hey i just found this out, click on the screen, then drag the mouse off the screen before releasing, then when you move the mouse back on, it will be stuck on auto fire till the mouse is clicked again.

  6. demollyon Says:


  7. spunkycomics Says:

    wait…how do you shoot?
    Clicking isnt working…..

  8. Goop Says:

    Nice concept, I just don’t see it as an actual game; more of an experiment. This could be good for adaptive AI, I guess.

  9. Chance Says:

    how DO you shoot? I just avoid the enemies. For me, they are really big, not small like others reported. Also, the same enemy appears everytime and it is really easy. I think something is going wrong for me.

  10. Musickid43 Says:

    its click the mouse, or just hold it down. It only works if actually pointed at the screen.

  11. Erik Says:

    It looks like a lot of people commenting here have _completely_ missed the point. The game will be utterly different for everyone who plays it. Thus “randomly generated”. It’s inevitable that it will suck for some people, especially right now, when it’s barely been played by anyone. If you don’t enjoy the way the game is set up for any reason, just stop playing. Since you quit early, the system will recognize the rules/colors/sizes/etc that generated your game as being sub-par and will be less likely to use those conditions for the next person. If you do like the setup you get, play it for a long time, so that other people will get a chance to use setups with similar conditions.

    I think it’s a brilliant idea (even though I’m not a big fan of shmups), but I worry that there won’t be enough players to see the game through until it gets playable. The setup I had earlier in the day was so random and chaotic that I only played for about 10 seconds before giving up. Just now, it was a bit better. I could actually kill enemies, although some of them seemed impossible to dodge and some were ridiculously easy.

    I would have included a big fat button in the system that says “Generate new game”, so it’s obvious to everyone what’s going on, and also so that people who just really, really want to play the game can keep playing without having to suffer through a terrible setup (and therefore not giving the system useful information). As soon as they get bored, *click* and a new setup. You can get the same thing here by reloading the game, but I bet most people don’t realize that, and so you’re only going to get one data point for each of those players.

  12. Petri Purho Says:

    Erik: Thanks a lot for clearing that out for everybody πŸ™‚

  13. gamerman Says:

    It’s definitely an interesting concept, I’ll have to check back later to see where it goes. Until I read Erik’s comment I thought this was generated for the person playing, not everyone, so I thought it was odd you didn’t just have a download. Personally I would have preferred the enemies to be randomly generated to, maybe even the backgrounds.

  14. AlbeyAmakiir Says:

    Umm… I’m clicking on the game window, but to no avail.
    It just won’t shoot. If there are random games you can’t shoot in, I’m getting them all.

  15. gpotato Says:

    For me, shooting back only works in Firefox. That’s probably why half the commenters couldn’t get it working.

  16. spunkycomics Says:

    yeah…shooting doestn work for me….
    and there IS a button to generate a new game…. Thats what i was using…

  17. Noyb Says:

    I think time spent would be a better metric for quality if you let the players replay a given instance instead of generating a new one on death. Otherwise, there might be some amazing-but-difficult instances that fall through the cracks. Oh, and enemies stopped spawning after a certain point a few times I tried.

  18. wisp Says:

    How does it determine whether a game was popular?

  19. Christian Payne Says:


  20. suomalainen Says:

    I dont understand anything about this game.why you call it a shooter game???what are the controls of the game???

  21. suomalainen Says:

    heh.you cant shoot if you play it on IE(it doesnt work on me) so if you cant shoot use mozilla

  22. Miles Says:

    …or use Firefox.
    First I thought it would be a boring shooting game and well…yeah it is. But I think this game isn’t that bad after reading some comments here^^…. and maybe I have to play more often. I don’t like that I loose my points when I generate a new game and sometimes no enemies are coming! Hopefully the next game will be better…

  23. Morphweasel Says:

    As said before, this is NOT working properly (you can’t shoot) in Internet Explorer! Try other browsers such as Firefox or Safari etc.

    It’s really a different game than I’m used to play from you, Petri! It’s kinda weird in my opinion… But I do like the concept of a game that takes over your mind and allows it to play hours and hours long xD Funny to see it generates a whole new background and enemies every time, although sometimes enemies are very hard to defeat or even to see due to the annoying colors. Also, after shooting several enemies, the game suddenly stops generating them! Sometimes it doesn’t even generate enemies at all!! :S

    I think the concept is great man (you should use this idea for Crayon Phisics Deluxe xD) but it isn’t worked out well enough. Ah well, it’s a done-in-one-month game and it’s a whole new thing for you, so I think we souldn’t complain πŸ˜€

    Keep up the good work,


  24. Shadow Says:

    Interesting concept indeed, random game each time is always fun, although I’d like to point out some bugs.

    First of all when there are enemies with big spiral attacks, they usually kill you and you respawn on their spirals and just die in matter of seconds and lose.

    Second there’s sometimes a bug when some enemies just appear at top and start blinking without doing anything and can’t be killed.

    And third, the images don’t always load and other network related crap. You should make this standalone

  25. Musickid43 Says:

    oh so it changes for everyone, so now after so many more people have tried it, it should be better. I just didnt want to sit there by myself to get to a good game. I’ll now have to keep coming back to see how it has changed.

  26. logr Says:

    I’ve run across Shadow’s bugs too. It’s a little annoying when the generator stops suddenly. I thought that my computer went crazy (which was quite a possibility) but now I feel relieved!
    It’s really an interesting concept. I’ve read Erik’s comment and I find it fascinating to create an auto-learning game, besides generating itself randomly. I’m not very familiar with shooter games but I think this one which is not traditionnal is quite appealing. Here is another time-consuming game…

  27. Hepheisto Says:

    Yay 6900 Score^^ … but sometimes the creeps just stop spawning… anyway nice interesting completely new game

  28. Aldarion Says:

    A nice game idea, but I really don’t like the inability to shoot.
    And YES, I know, I know, I can just move to Firefox and forget this stupid IE…
    But I don’t want to.
    As long as most of the internet users stick with IE, they should be able to play Evolution SHMUP in it, as well as in Firefox.

  29. timmy Says:

    i think Crayon Physics Deluxe Is Next month (June 2008) because then it will be a year of devolopment

  30. Pissed off Guy Says:

    ya cool game but just doesnt feel right

  31. Pissed off Guy Says:

    wooa seriously a years development time flys fast wen u look bak i remember wen i first saw the vid of it then spent only 10 miin finding a download of the game dam wen u first she cp it amzing

  32. Chance Says:

    What I was trying to say, when I click new game, I get the same exact one again!

  33. Chance Says:

    and I can’t shoot becuase I have IE so that explains why I didn’t like it. If the game worked like it should, I think I would like it πŸ˜€

  34. McWonderBeast Says:

    Its Not My style of game at all. Its not a bad game it just feels awkward if that makes any sense?

    Not my Fav but ive played much worse.

  35. McWonderBeast Says:

    Scratch My last comment. I gave the game a second chance and played it longer then the first time, the game still feels awkward yet it has a sort of addictive game play quality to it that keeps bringing me back. One thing i really like is not just having multiple lives but health many similair shooters you only have one or the other but to have both is GODLY!. Those Green circles that spiral around you shooting tiny specs are UNGODLY! they are by far the most evil little green bastards ive ever faced yet they are challenging thus is why i enjoy the game.

    Another Successfully addicting game Petri!

  36. McWonderBeast Says:

    Yes im back again! I read Erik’s Comment so now i further Understand the game ( plus reading the Description i neglected Early helped )

    This is Absolutely a wonderful having a ever changing environment is awesome ever time i play im amazed out how drastically it changes yet its still has the basic familiarity of a shooter so i still know what im doing!

    Though i would like to be able to like save a game setting so i can repeat a setting that i enjoyed instead of playing the game a million times over hoping i get a similarly result.

  37. Pissed off Guy Says:

    IS THERE STILL A POINT POSTING TO THIS CAUSE AS FAR AS I NO ALL THAT NEEDS TO BE SAID HAS BEEN SAID SO UNLESS THERES SOMTHIG KNEW TO SAY ABOUT CP OR THIS GAME THEN DONT WASTE POSTING SPACE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  38. Faguss Says:

    I don’t get it. Enemies disappear ?

  39. [ICR] Says:

    Personally I would have just made it autofire. There is no downside to constantly firing – no bullet limit and no timing strategy as fire is so rapid (unless that is part of the procedural generation and I’ve just happened to get a rapid fire rate every time) – so it’s just a pain to have to hold down the mouse.

  40. spunkycomics Says:

    Awww…i dont have anything but IE….
    Sounds like a great game though Petri! I await your next one!

  41. MisterM Says:

    Omg i just got owned by two small crosses which jumped around the screen and fired the hell out lol

    Its interesting to see different enemies with different behaviours and attacks each time.

    But sometimes no enemies spawn or stop it. And i hate the green backgrounds.

  42. Chance Says:

    Advice: It would be great if you could get it working on IE, I think more people would like it!

  43. Scientist Says:

    The concept is great – the outcome is being polite at least: interesting.
    First nothing happens – no enemies came to attack me. Next game, same thing.
    Then I played for some time and yes, the presentation sucks, but (!!!!) it’s just a proof of concept to me. The concept is fresh and very modern. Some companies will go in that direction. User generated content mixed with Randomness and Darwinism. Great! Can’t wait for spore.

    BTW: What’s with the interview, Petri πŸ˜‰ ???

    Cheers, Scientist

  44. Decipher Says:

    Wow Petri! This is it, procedural generation!

    What can I say, you definitely hit me from my heart with a magical arrow! Procedural generation is my favourite subject of interest when it comes to programming games and a bunch more stuff.

    Maybe, you haven’t remarked but my website is still not-so-opened. I tried at least 3 times to start the thing, moving houses, being a newbie employee, studies, exams and more exams. Oh and of course Demoscene activities… Could never find that particular time :/

    Now why I am saying these? Because you gave me the energy again! I saw that you used one of the patterns I made (Sucr), and I’m glad to see that I still have the energy to show one big middle finger to the life and produce without any break!

    Again Petri, apparently you saved the day for me. Shall the coding gods bless you and your procedural magic!

  45. zzzdude Says:

    Well, first thing i notice is the background, a different but unique pattern everytime.
    Same with the player.
    But I am not seeing any enemies whatsoever, nor any enemy activity.
    So I just sit there, doing nothing waiting for something to happen. And repeat.

  46. F_Slim Says:

    I think it’s way to abstract and no fun at all. The general idea and concept is good, but in my opinion it doesn’t work at all.
    The game started out as a confusing chaos, and when I tried now I didn’t even get any enemies at all most of the time. Also I have no idea what those weird shapes are or do, so there’s no way to develop a strategy against certain enemies … it’s just weird shapes doing random stuff, so the palyer just does random stuff and either destroys the weird shapes or gets destroyed by the weird behaviour of the weird shapes. It’s rather pointless …
    Maybe a shooter just wasn’t the right genre … or it might need a better definded game as a base, and then just randomly generate levels and/or enemies by better defined rules.

  47. brog Says:

    spunkycomics: http://www.getfirefox.com – it isn’t hard to upgrade away from IE and you won’t regret it ever.

    The game: yeah.. I played a couple dozen times and none of the games were even remotely playable. Sometimes no enemies, or almost none, sometimes so many slow-moving bullets that my pc ground to a halt. It’s all very well trying to evolutionally generate games, but you need to start with an algorithm that produces something at least playable most of the time.

  48. Terminator Says:


  49. Greg Says:

    I think the problem with this implementation of the idea is that you’re changing so many things that it becomes hard to tell which the user approved or disapproved of. When you get a game with a horrible background but good enemies, you’re likely to stick with it even though you hate the way it looks. Similarly, if the background is nice but the enemies are impossibly hard, you won’t last long enough for it to count as a positive vote.

    In theory, the evolution might still work despite the huge number of variables, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find it takes more samples than you end up getting before it reliably comes up with a fun game.

  50. Vish Says:

    Well Petri ..

    I think the game is quite good and it is kinda addictive.

    Would you mind elaborating on how the game evolves ? How does the system decide (as Greg pointed out) what is good and what is bad ? What kind of Process did you use ?

    I’m presuming there is some kind of Genetic Algorithm used for this. As far as what I know about Genetic Algorithms is that the program randomly generates loads of data from which, based on player input, it would categorize which of the data are favorable and unfavorable. Then it should mutate the data with the most favorable outcome so as to yield a better performance. And then the loop continues…

    But this is all for one simple trial.
    For multiple trials I have no Idea …

    Anyway I quite love the game concept. And best of luck for the TIGSource’s Procedural Generation Competition !!

  51. logr Says:

    I’ve been away for a week and it seems the background have evolved a little, but I’m still annoyed with the no enemy generation bug.
    It occured to me after a few enemies (score=3000) or right at the beginning => NEW GAME, NEW GAME until it works. I think this is the biggest bug so far.
    I’ve also noted that some enemies just come for one second, but maybe they were designed this way.

  52. Awnown Eh? Moose Says:

    Just in case anyone’s curious, it works properly in Opera (y’know, the GOOD browser).

    Also, if anyones getting games where the enemy move too fast to be hit, or are invisible, or YOU are invisible, don’t panic, it’s supposed to do that.

  53. Awnown Eh? Moose Says:

    Oh, and this isn’t procedural generation.
    This is randomness that starts to take bias after a bit.

  54. Spunkycomics Says:

    Lol, finally got to play it. Someone mentioned Opera works well, so i went downstairs and flipped on my Wii.
    It was slow and laggy at times, but otherwise, normal.

    The game is ok….cool concept, but i didnt care much for the style of game.

    Love your work though Petri!!!

  55. Swoo Says:

    Erm, can I ask a silly question? “SHMUP”, does it stand for “SHot ‘eM UP”?

    Sorry for this question the answer of which perhaps may seem obvious but, English is not my first language so that may explains it πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for the answer! (if anyone answers)

  56. Greg Says:

    Yes, it stands for shoot-’em-up.

  57. SteveCentra Says:

    To be blunt, this game is a piece of shit compared to your other games (which rock). Why are there green cross circles floating to the left as a trail from the enemies? It makes it hard to see where the enemies are and it creates a laggy cloud of shapes. (Also, if it worked correctly in all browsers the game, that would be nice. Does Firefox work correctly?)

  58. nano Says:

    The game DOES also work in netscape for me at least.

  59. madaco Says:

    ooh ooh you can also shhot if you use google chrome!!! not just fire fox! ITS SOOO MUCH BETTER WHEN YOU CAN SHOOT!!! woa! nanos post wasnt there? it apeared wile i was typing! weird!

  60. madaco Says:

    excuse me i mistyped that i meant you can shoot, not shhot, whatever.xml that means

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