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Knit bones, stitch muscles, and weave neurons into biologically-realistic underwater lifeforms.

It's like Spore, but with actual science.


Liked the cell stage of Spore, but wanted more depth? Gotten merrily lost in the graphical programming puzzles of SpaceChem? Love the "can I manage to build this...?" creativity of Kerbal Space Program

Crescent Loom is the very first biologically-realistic nervous system simulation game. It lets you — in a hands-on, mad-scientist way — tinker with everything from neurotransmitter to the ecological niche of an animal.

So dive in and maybe — just maybe — by poking around with these simple creatures you'll figure something out about how your own body ticks.

[ More Info | Play Online Free ]


Crescent Loom is in open development; expect major bugs, crashes, changes, and additions as I work on it over the next few years.

The best way to keep an eye on this is by subscribing to wickletter.

You can share creatures you create on the reddit.

The "play online free" link above brings you to the HTML5 version that runs in-browser. Paying for Crescent Loom gives you access to the version that runs natively on PC/Mac/Linux. The only differences are the technical constraints; HTML5 has no saving/loading locally, runs slower, and is locked to a 1024x768 resolution.

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Get this game and 1 more for $24.64 USD
View bundle
Buy Now
On Sale!
15% Off
$19.00 $16.15 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $16.15 USD. You will get access to the following files:

crescent-loom-windows-beta.zip 25 MB
Version 33
crescent-loom-osx-beta.zip 23 MB
Version 11
crescent-loom-linux-beta.zip 23 MB
Version 7

Download demo

Download
crescent-loom-html5.zip 22 MB
Version 22

Development log

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Comments

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I installed this game on my external drive on windows 10. I don't think it likes that very much...it keeps randomly closing on me! No error message or anything. I did make a little fish/worm thing and swam it around a bit though.

At first I thought maybe it was because I was spamming right click to get rid of muscles that I'd misplaced, and somehow accidentally exited the game that way, but then it closed on me abruptly again while I was trying to decide which mouth to put on my creature and I wasn't clicking anything.

Good to know, thanks for the report! It seems to be having trouble with crashing on a lot of people's machines, it's probably not anything you did. This is the worst kind of bug because it's random & nearly impossible for me to reproduce, especially because I'm not seeing on my computer. x_x

 I'll keep trying to track it down. I've heard that it tends to be a little more stable in fullscreen & with shaders off (which is the default), if that helps?

Have you tried running the game off of an external drive, in case that makes the bug more likely? It's probably some...hardware dependent nightmare bug or something so trying shenanigans to get it to happen might be a good idea?

Ah, that's a good idea! I'll try it.

Oh! I remember seeing and trying this a long time ago now. Looking forward to seeing what's happened since then, it's such a neat concept :)

^_^

Hey Olive, I'm super excited with the direction you're taking this project. I sent you a dm on twitter (I'm not very active there myself but it seemed better than an email). I hope to talk more soon!

Replied! Let's chat. ;)

This is really really awesome, and I'm so excited to see where this goes! (I played with my 7 year old brother watching. He was disappointed when his attempt at a human typed creation failed, but is also very eager to see what future updates bring!)

Aww, that's a nice comment. ^_^

Ya turns out you need more than like a dozen neurons to make a human brain, and our body type doesn't do great underwater. Good info to hear that that's a first instinct for people to try though. 🤔 Was there anything in particular he tried that really should have worked, do you think?

(one of my goals is to make things that people want to do naturally be things that end up being interesting, at the very least)

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No, as far as I could tell, it all seemed to work fine. It wasn't a matter of bugs, and all of the other types of neurons and things are totally understandable based off the little bit of information given. It's really good. My questions and stuff fell more into "How many muscles can i attach to a neuron? If I have two limbs, should I have a neuron for each arm and the muscles there? Can I make something like a frog?" (I'm still working on that frog thing, but I might be overdoing the muscle system since this is obviously a lot more simplistic.) This is great and works well!

This is great, but it desperately needs UI scaling. I need a magnifier to read anything.

Thanks for the feedback, hmm... the smallest font size in the game is 14pt which makes me think we might be seeing different things. Do you have a particularly high-resolution display?

UI scaling added to the to-do list.

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It's a 13in 4k screen.

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I absolutely love this, haven't been able to get too far, I don't think it agrees with my laptop. I've come to be a very amateur neurochemistry nerd through running the gamut of psychiatric medications, and this kind of practical logic gate problem solving feels super good, especially as someone who never got very far with science or academia. I like the idea of being able to figure things out and learn and feel like not-an-idiot! I have signed up to your newsletter and look forward to following your progress!

Hey, thanks! It's good to hear that. 🌺 I really really love the logic-gate-esque aspects of neurobiology and am glad I get to share it like this.

Re: not agreeing with your laptop, how so exactly? I'm still ironing out a lot of technical problems. Crashes or running slow or...?

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Crashing - I use a Surface with windows 10, and it's always seemed super janky and buggy. I think there is something super wrong with the install and maybe the machine to be honest so probably not worth you worrying about. I hate windows 10 and I hate this awful baby-computer attempt to splice a 'tablet' with a PC. I'm more motivated to get round to replacing it now so I can play this!

Hi, the update completely resolved my crashing issue! And I love the new manual-style tutorial, it's super cute and effective. Thank you!! I am clumsily and enjoyably figuring things out.

Yesss, I am very glad to hear that. Now to figure out, y'know, why windowed/shaders were making it crash. 😅

+1 for the feedback on the manuals. Like I said in the newsletter, I'm pretty optimistic about this approach. Yay field testing!

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I really love this--this is what Spore should have been! Detailed creature creation that requires a lot of trial and error (and critical thinking).

I'll admit I haven't played long, but I have a few suggestions: More in-depth tutorial (to explain the advantages of certain bones, organs, etc), adding things to stimulate a sensor (like food or rocks),  a way to 'pivot' pieces after you've placed them, keeping the point of contact the same, but adjusting the angle, and a more intuitive menu while in-game (for some reason, I can only seem to find the volume options from the main menu). 

I love the direction this is going and I will definitely continue playing!

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Cool, thanks for the suggestions!

I've wrestled with the problem of how to teach the game a LOT. I've tried the voiced intro tutorial, a series of zachtronics-style levels, in-game contextual help menus, real-world manuals, and now the lego-style guides. Did you see those guides? They're very new, and I'd love to hear what does and doesn't work about them.

✔️ re: sensors that react to different objects. I also want to give people more control over tuning things like range and sensitivity.

You're the first to mention wanting to pivot pieces after placing them..... what do you think would be a good UI for that? People are already holding the mouse down when they're modifying a limb. Maybe if they drag an existing limb while holding down shift or something?

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What if you do it like spore with a circle popping up around the limb to show the angle relative to the part it's joined to, and allow a "selected" limb to be rotated by clicking and dragging the circle?

A great idea and a very promising game! Though I have a question: so you can make multiple sections of the brain and drag neurons between them, but is there no way to connect neurons in different sections (or at least have the same neuron show up in multiple sections)?  This, along with the inability to distinguish between stimuli (food/obstacle at least) seem like the biggest stumbling blocks to me.

Thanks, and agree! Both those things are on my list. I talked about the design for connecting different brain sections in the last wicklog.

I purchased this game in the social justice bundle, how do I download it? itch doesn't seem to realize that I did...

Huh, I hadn't tried downloading any games from the bundle through the site yet either. This is the only path I could find that worked for me via the site (you should have also gotten an email with the link to it).

My Library > My Purchases > Bundles > Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality > Search by title

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Have to go to the bundle:  Go to Your Library, then in the left panel go to my purchases, bundles and then click the link of the bundle, there You can search by name or navigate through the 57 pages of content .

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I noticed an issue trying to run Crescent Loom on Manjaro Linux. Crescent Loom asks for libcurl-nss specifically, and unfortunately, this seems to be something that only exists on the Ubuntu ecosystem. Any suggestions? 

Goooood question. Libraries and dependencies aren't my strength. I'm currently compiling linux on a mint distro.

The Cerberus X forums imply there might've been an update to how curl is used in the most recent compiler — I'll try updating to see if that changes anything & let you know when I've uploaded that version, but I don't think I can commit to supporting all flavors of linux.

More than understandable, with how many of them there are. I'll check back later and let you know if it works, thank you.

I don't know if it would be possible under your current workflow or not since I've never used Cerberus X, but have you looked into bundling an appimage? It would be a little bigger, but should be capable of running just about anywhere.

Is the patch for OSX coming out today?

(+1)

Yep. Putting up the finishing touches on it now. Getting my ducks in a row for each platform takes a while though, so it won't be up until later tonight.

Can't wait!

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Build 0.7.1 is up. I double-checked the mac build by re-downloading from itch.io and it looked like it worked (though I had to drag it out of the downloads folder).

Bedtime for me. Let me know if you have any problems!

It works perfectly! The only issue I've noticed is that the icon for the game is non-existant. This may be because I don't have the itch launcher and am using the direct download. It doesn't make a difference to me because I know how to change the icon, but I just thought that you might want to know. I'll let you know if I run into any issues while playing!

Glad to hear it! Ya, changing the icon was the thing that made the first build not work. I'll figure out how to get it back... someday.

I am so excited to dive headfirst into this game as soon as I am able to download the itch.io launcher

You don't need the launcher to download games. Scroll to the top of the page and press download.

(+1)

This game looks fascinating, and I'm looking forward to poking around in it more! I just wanted to write this to note that I was having crash issues on Windows 10, but I turned off the shaders as widget77 noted and I haven't seen any problems since. Hopefully this helps you track down the issue!

of all the games in the bundle, this is definitely one of my favorites. it's everything I wanted from spore and more!! one request, can you add a screen that tells you when you're about to save over an existing creature? I totally didn't accidentally replace two days of tinkering with an empty brain what are you talking about ahahaaaaaaaaaa

still though, im gonna be playing this for a long while, I can tell

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Dang I'm sorry it didn't warn you! I'll definitely add that to the to-do for today's release. :)
Edit: best I can do as a quick-fix is to show a warning if the creature name already exists, so that's what I'll do for now.


aa wonderful! RIP pusherwiggly, your legacy will live on  :')

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this is actually wonderful and really really exciting??  ive spent the past decade complaining that spore couldve been so much more even just in the cell stage and this is EXACTLY what i meant. the accolades!! the game awards!!! the respect!!!! may you be eternally blessed with the excitement and motivation and willpower to continue to work and expand on this. thank you for contributing to this bundle supporting what matters and happy pride month!!!!!

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(also, the wiggler presets crash the game even with the changes widget77 mentioned below if you didn't know yet) (aLSO i noticed that theres a subreddit for this in the readme.txt. would it be too much to ask for the link on this page? i really want to see what other people create with this and thought that might be a good way to start!!)

(+3)

Haha, I'd kinda forgotten about the reddit. It was more active back when I was running the Kickstarter. Here it is, I'll add a link to the game description.

Ran into the wiggler crash today. When I make a new release it often breaks a lot of the old creatures, and I don't always catch them. I spent today re-making the stock creatures and removing the crashing ones.

Happy pride month ~ 🌺

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I keep getting crashes. No sound and some stuff doesn't appear to work properly. Was really interesting though I hope issues can be sorted. :

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Me tooo. Aiming to release a major fix on tuesday.

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I just started and it seems great! Is there anywhere I can find the full tutorial? I ran into an issue where I couldn't get it to progress past the first neurons.

(+1)

I'm also having this issue. Is there anything past when you simulate your first simple creature?

So you've hooked up the pacemakers to the muscles like this, yes?

There's no content past that point yet. Part of the release I'm planning for tuesday will include some more manuals-a-la-lego-instruction-booklets, but the game is still mostly a sandbox.

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I misunderstood some of the wording in the tutorial and accidentally hooked up one pacemaker to two different muscles. I feel the instructions could be clearer about this part. Other than that love the game so far, such a cool idea and I'm a big fan of the execution!

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Just a heads up, that when I first ran this on my Windows 10, i5(I think), it crashed a couple times when messing with the tutorial.

I went an turned the sound down, turned the shaders off and turned full screen on and things have been going smooth since.  I love this "game" man and its sweet to see someone picking up where Spore left off.  I love when you are doing with the brain area.  I love you can add a couple brains.

I have to get back to it and create me some death eaters.  Thanks again.  =)

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Ah! That's really helpful troubleshooting! I've been saying "I'll try to figure out why it's crashing so much for y'all" a lot the last few days but had very few actual leads. Thank you!! 🌺

I really like what I saw, but it kept crashing! Also, it didn't have any sound?

But I'm really excited for this!

Thanks for the encouragement! ^^ Working on a bunch of bug fixes this weekend.

Re: sound, there definitely should be sound. What OS are you using?

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I'm also getting no sound. I'm using the Windows version, on Windows 10. I can hear sound fine on the "Play Online Free" html5 version, although I can't get the local html5 version to work, it just gives me a blank screen.

Here's the internal log, if it helps any: https://pastebin.com/StrT1S0s

This line might be relevant, not sure:

"ERROR: 'frankenstein_ifeelmyheart' in set 'passage' failed to play. Check name/did you buffer it?"

Thanks for the report & log. I think the sound issue is something to do with DLLs. Will investigate.

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Ach, I so badly want to play this. I intend to major in microbiology and I find the concepts of this game absolutely fascinating, but I can't get it to run for more than a couple of minutes at a time without crashing ;(

Log files here, I really hope this becomes functional soon! I am running on a Windows 8 PC.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1i9NKILT3GraxqtqybMberHOwkoRteLQp/view?usp=shari...

Dang! Working on a fix, thanks for the info. In the meantime, there's also an in-browser version you might have more luck with.

Crashed in seconds and can't get it to run again. Running Windows 10.
I've read the other comments, and I don't have an /internal/log directory at all.

Thanks for the report, sorry you're having trouble. I'll see if I can track down what's going on this weekend.

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The mac download for this game simply DOESN'T work. I was really excited to play this game, so I was wondering when this is going to be fixed. *edit* just saw those comments on the issue below!

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Just figured it out! OSX apparently freaks out if I change the icon + app name, but only after I move the app. So the version I tested worked fine, but after bundling it up to itch.io it's like AH SOMETHING CHANGED. 😱

I'm aiming to get a new build out this next tuesday. Thanks for your patience!!

(+1)

I'm glad you figured it out! Can't wait to try it!

This game could easily become my favorite game, it just needs a bit of work done, the only two complaints I have is that theres no way to make pacemaker neurons alternate and that the game crashes after 45-60 minutes, otherwise a wonderful game!

Let me introduce you to the wonderful technique of reciprocal inhibition:

It even works with multiple pacemakers!

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Well thanks! :)

I would really like to read through the information window that pops up when you double click on the muscles, but trying to click on another tab in that menu just closes the window. As far as I can tell there isn't another way to access that window either. Otherwise I love this concept, I'm interested to learn how to program with neurons, its just not being able to read the information in game makes it hard.

Ach, I've been struggling with the problem of how to teach the game for years now. That information panel was one approach, but I haven't done a good job maintaining it. I think it would live better in a standalone website. I'll try to get that up this weekend along with all these bug fixes.

Thanks for the feekback, I appreciate it!

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I've been having difficulties with the tutorial not completing on the web version and thought downloading the game locally would help me make it through the tutorial so I could figure out how to play, since it looks super cool. However, the MacOS file won't open, saying the application is damaged or incomplete.

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Yikes! Thanks for the heads up. I'm seeing that with the most recent mac version too. I'll let you know when it's fixed. (forum post)

New mac build is up. It should work (I had to move it out of the downloads folder because of some mac security thing). Let me know if you run into any more problems! ^_^

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Playing on windows; looks pretty cool, but crashes reliably after a couple minutes of playing, seemingly no matter what I'm doing. Doesn't seem to be generating any logs either...

🤔🤔🤔 That's upsetting. Thanks for the report.

To confirm, you see the Crescent Loom/internal/logs/ folder but it's empty?

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That's correct.

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I have the same problem, except mine is generating a crash report everytime. I have tried launching the exe in admin mode but it didn't help. I have also noticed there is no sound from the game what so ever. Would you like the crashlogs? I really want to play...

I would love the crashlogs, you can send them to contact@wick.works. Thanks. What version of windows?

Until I get the desktop version sorted out (there's so many people here suddenly! <3 for getting the racial justice bundle) you might have more luck with the in-browser version.

Ok, they should be sent. I have definitely had better luck in the browser version, thanks!

Hi! This seems like a really cool idea! But the UI is so small, I can't read anything or tell what I'm clicking. And when I tried to start something in the main game instead of the tutorial, the program crashed. :c (Windows version)

Thanks for the report. I clicked through all the game modes on Windows but wasn't able to replicate. (the ruby ridge levels are definitely buggy, but don't crash for me.... I should probably remove them for the time being).

Could you possibly send the crashlog to contact@wick.works? It's in Crescent Loom/internal/logs/

Re: small UI, thanks for flagging that. I'll add a to-do to increase the default font size and contrast.

Sure thing!

And I'll check back in on the game later then, cuz I really am interested in it. c:

why does it say "downloadable demo" but when i click on it it brings me back here?! also the online one keeps crashing, idunno why, but as far as i know, this game is great!! just not the website.

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I just made the HTML5 version (same as the online demo) downloadable. Hopefully you'll have more luck with that than the online version? This is still very early-access so crashes are expected tho. Are you seeing any error messages?

Re: the PC/Mac downloadable demo, they're for sale on this page.

For some reason, I can't play the game online ... i'm not sure what's wrong, but both of my computers can't load the page.

My web hosting service is flaky & sometimes can go down for up to an hour. Is it still not working for you?

Yeah...

I've tried way too many things to get it to work...

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– edit –

Me being stupid, I didn’t read that Crescent wasn’t available on Windows and by coincidence I just happened to be using my Windows machine which I almost never do. The message I wrote is thus irrelevant.

Original message below


Any chance you’d make the game discoverable by the itch app? From the app, I only get “open page”. I can download Crescent Loom from the website, but I like using the app to keep things nice n tidy.

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Huh, interesting. I wonder why that is? I'll look into it. Thanks for the heads up.

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I think if you use Butler it should directly pick the executable. If you manually upload, there may be some convention to how you should do things, not sure (I’ve only used Butler).

The game seems super interesting, but I haven’t installed it for that reason yet. It’s really petty of me, but bypassing the app makes my launcher also not pick it up, which makes it not listed in my “games to try” list, etc.

I’m not saying that to put pressure on you to fix it, I’m saying that to give context as to why I am not giving you any feedback on the game proper. I’ll keep checking for a few times and if you haven’t had time to fix it, I’ll install Crescent manually, it’s totally ok, no sweat.

I am using Butler as well. Hrm.

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Hmmm sorry it was me being stupid. The game isn’t available for Windows! I noticed the “Install” button appeared on my Linux box.

That’s even better and a great surprise, I’m just so not used to games being available on Linux and not Windows that it didn’t occur to me to check before now.

Sorry for the worry!

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Ah! That's it! Nay, it was I who foolish. I somehow missed checking this box for windows, but had it checked correctly for the linux version. It should be fixed now.

how different is the demo from the main game?

never mind i think i fixed it

so i found all that out on my own but i see in a lot of your screenshots and stuff there is like a mode with a bunch of other creatures and stuff in it but i dont see this in my game could you tell me whats up with that? is it not added yet? am i in the wrong version?

Hi! The only differences between the online & downloaded versions are technical constraints — the web version can't save files locally and runs a bit slower. And actually now that I think of it, I'm usually a little better at updating the web version so it might have bug fixes that the downloaded one doesn't.

Re: other creatures: there's a few others in Sewee Bay you can interact with. But there's not currently a mode with, like, a bunch of other creatures. As the game updates, save files sometimes get obsoleted so it's lost some modes in the screenshots.


aw this looks awesome!! i hate so much that i cant buy it

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Did you see that there's a free in-browser version? It's as identical as I can make it given the tech constraints — just runs a little slower and you can't save locally.

yo i... adore this, and my friends adore this, and any effort to do anything like spore but good is an incredibly noble one. i'm not sure if this is the correct method/place for bug reporting but the tutorial stops responding after the part where you're told to push the play button, and it looks like there's a lot more tutorial to go judging by the greyed-out levels next to it. is this intentional? again, thank you thank you thank you for wonderful game.

Hi Mabelmabel,

Glad to hear you're enjoying it! Alas, the tutorial does end after you press play; the greyed-out levels are works-in-progress that aren't in-game yet. I could definitely do a better job making that clear.

I'm currently trying to get more funding to keep working on the game and add more levels. Following the game here or joining the mailing list will letcha know when I update it.

I'd love to hear any other feedback you have about the game, so don't hesitate to give me a shout. :)