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Evolution for Windows

What it does

Evolution for Windows is my piece de resistance. It is an artificial life simulator that models the behaviour of little creatures and their artificial genes.

The animals are pretty life-like, they appear to have a will of their own as they busy about looking for food and mates. They catch diseases and the more sophisticated ones take care of their children, threaten rivals and run away from danger. In fact, they are chunks of computer memory. Each one has a set of artificial genes that govern the animal's appearance and behaviour. You could view these genes as machine instructions that combine to form a mini computer program inside each animal.

The animals can reproduce either asexually like most bacteria, sexually like most vertebrates or by a combination of both like green fly. When the animals reproduce, they pass their genes onto their offspring. Random mistakes can occur during the copying process, just as they do in real life organisms. Through these mistakes, new and different genes and thus new and different animals arise.

The viruses are extremely simple organisms that sap the energy reserves of their hosts. They reproduce and evolve but share no common line of descent with the animals.

I have tried to predetermine as little as possible, whilst at the same time working under the constraints of a typical home computer. My goal has been to leave as much as possible to the creatures.

I've supplied a very simple Terraformer that allows you to design your own environments and tons of tools to influence the course of artificial evolution. I've also added many tools for examining and manipulating the course of evolution. These include tools to:

  • Create, kill or infect animals.
  • Change the settings that control the survival processes.
  • Create new worlds with the Terraformer.
  • Control the animals colours to represent almost every conceivable permutation of genes.
  • Examine the genetic constitution and food reserves of the creatures.
  • Modify the food resources in each biome.
  • Graphically monitor the rise and fall of populations.
  • The end result is a colourful and rather absorbing program.

    Techy Stuff

    I wrote this originally in 1993 and 1994 in Borland C++ version 3.1. At the time, my old Intel 386 home computer had a clock speed of 20MHz and life ran quite slowly then. Modern computers are very much faster than that and life really races along. This allows you to build bigger worlds.


    Click the image below to download a compressed file called which is 887 Kb.

    1. Create a directory on your hard disk, for example C:\evolve.
    2. Extract all the files from the zip file into this directory.
    3. Double-click the file called wpevolve.exe to start the program.
    4. If you have Windows 95, 98, NT or 2000 you can create a shortcut to wpevolve.exe by dragging the file onto your desktop and selecting "Create Shortcut Here".

    To uninstall, simply delete the entire C:\evolve directory (or whatever you called it). Evolution for windows doesn't write files anywhere else unless you ask it to.

    Download Evolution for Windows

    Cautions and Pointers

    This program has been checked with a recent version of Norton Anti-Virus. However I do not accept any responsibility for its failure to run nor its suitability for any particular purpose. In no event shall I be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages.

    When saving files, remember to use the old 8,3 DOS format. In the Terraformer, make sure that all files end with .ter and, when saving the state of life in the main program, make sure that the files are suffixed with .lfe

    Have fun and don't forget to give something to the charities named at

    The program seems to crash under some conditions in Windows Millenium. I'm trying to work out a fix for this.

    The help file is only half-written. I apologise for that but feel free to ask me any questions you like.

    Mail me at if you need any help.