i had a hard time
A downloadable game for Windows, macOS, and Linux
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 lets you download a version that runs natively. The only differences are the technical constraints; HTML5 has no saving/loading locally, runs slower, and is locked to a 1024x768 resolution.
Note for educators: I'm enthusiastic about getting this used for teaching biology. If you want to use Crescent Loom in any kind of educational capacity (e.g. class or afterschool program), send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll get you as many download keys as you need for free.
|Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux|
|Made with||Inkscape, Box2D, Paint.net|
|Tags||2D, artificial-intelligence, biology, Exploration, Moddable, nature, Non violent, Relaxing, underwater|
|Average session||About a half-hour|
|Links||Homepage, Community, Twitter, Steam Greenlight, Kickstarter|
In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $19 USD. You will get access to the following files:
- Changelog (html5) — January 19, 202144 days ago
- Small bugfix for Seewee Bay71 days ago
- Wicklog 31: Connectome Explorer for remote classesNov 23, 2020
- Changelog (all platforms) — November 23, 2020Nov 23, 2020
- Wrist injury; update delayedJul 31, 2020
- Wicklog 30: Racial Justice & The Empowerment Of ManualsJun 28, 2020
- Changelog (all platforms) — June 16, 2020Jun 17, 2020
- Wicklog 29: (Galaxy) Brain ExpansionApr 15, 2020
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aaaa this is so interesting! after following the instructions for the four basic creatures i made my own predatory creature and then it got Eaten Immediately, great stuff
i made a playthrough
this game is amazing!! i was playing the web version and i was blown away by the details! ive played a couple of 'brain making sims' before but they were janky and unreliable, so i was really impressed to see how well this works!!
at first i was pretty confused on how all the different things in the brain worked and was hesitant to try and make a creature from scratch because i honestly had no idea what most of those things meant, but after some trial and error i actually managed to figure out some bits and managed to make a controllable creature! so points to you for making it simple enough that even i could understand it :D
oh and once i figured it out i spent so long making a creature! i really love the variety of shapes you can make them out of (and how the different shapes have different functions too!) and i absolutely love the inclusion of bioluminescence (i definitely overused that feature,,,no regrets). unfortunately before i could upload it the game froze while i was taking it for one last spin so i had to reload and lost my little creature :c (farewell lil guy, you looked super cool before u were eaten by the void u_u). though of course this is in development so im not that upset!! i just figured it may be worth mentioning in case you're looking for bugs to squish c:
but yeah overall im absolutely loving this game! the visuals are lovely to look at as well and the internal mechanics are genuinely so impressive so good job!!!! i am completely broke but just know that if i had the money i would absolutely buy this game :D (wow this is a long comment O_O)
Yay! I'm glad you were able to figure things out by poking around! Yeah it's really important to me to have this be simple & fun enough to not scare people away with the word ~ neuroscience ~.
Thanks for the really positive comment. :) I've been having a rough time getting myself to work on this recently so it's much appreciated. Sorry you lost your little buddy!
I really appreciate you for making this game! I got this game in the racial justice bundle and honestly glad I've gotten to experience this even though my ecosystems aren't the best I still try (they are all loved : ) I wanted to use this since we have a upcoming project in zoology and I found the perfect chance to not only get better at this but to show my other classmates about this game as well!! I know some kids may not be interested and I understand that but this is such a neat little game it's hard for me not to show it off. I also talked to my teacher about it, I hope he remembers to check it out it could, he could teach so much more things with this program, and not only that it would be interactive with students, we wouldn't have to sit in a lecture about invertebrate because we could make them ourselves! I'm rambling right now but I just had to show my appreciation, thank you! : )
So I've recently been experimenting with making ecosystem chains, and sometimes the ecosystem does not interact the way I want to because of creatures of the same species gobbling each other up.(Though it still is fun to take control of my own creature and join in on the gobbling!) Also, could you implement a healing sort of mechanism where creatures that were injured from predators can grow back parts once they get enough nutrients?
Whoa, I'm surprised that you've managed to do almost any ecosystem interactions! I've done almost no work on those systems. In particular, I want the basic follow-hunt-eat loop for a creature to work, and it's still pretty far off using the out-of-the-box pieces.
I like the healing idea. Work on that is going to be a ways off because I'm currently aimed more at use-in-neurobiology-classrooms than the fishtank aspect due to increased interest for remote neurobiology activities in the wake of the pandemic. But I'll get there someday! 🤞
Oh I also noticed on the front page that there are harpoons in the game now, is it part of a newer version? If so, is there a way to update my game without losing all of my saved creations?
Harpoons are still in development; I haven't been able to release an update with them yet since I injured my wrist and have had to take it easy re: computers. If you have CL installed using the Itch client, it should update the game & preserve your creatures seamlessly. Otherwise you'll have to transfer the saved creature files over manually to the new version you download; they're in internal\creatures
hey do you have discord?
and if so can i friend you?
also the demo version is vary laggy and i want to by the game but dose it work on cromebooks and ipads?
Hi! There's no discord for the game yet; this is the best place to comment. You can also send me emails at email@example.com.
The only way I've tested chromebooks is with the html5 version (the "demo" version), which sounds like you've already tried? Buying the game just gets you access to PC/Mac/Linux downloads, so it won't help with chromebooks.
I really do want to make sure the html5 version works on chromebooks... could you describe the lag a little more? Does it start fine and get slower? If you hold down the comma key, you can see the framerate in the lower-left. What rates are you getting?
Oh, also, I don't have an ipad so haven't been able to test it there at all. It really wants a mouse & keyboard though, so I wouldn't count on it working well.
i have a ipd and i played for a wile but i have a vary hard time placeing body parts and i cant dealet them. also it kiked me out of the game and was laggy. same thing as the cromebook
Cool, thanks for the report! I think I gotta say that I can't support fixing the iPad (it would require an overhaul of the UI to figure out how to make the controls work without a mouse) but the fact that it's not running well on chromebook is concerning.
I'm adding the slowdown to my to-do list for the next update. It's been a problem for years but has been getting worse..... definitely one of those maddingly-hard-to-track-down bugs. 😅
it starts out grate but soon gets worse and worse and if i speed up the time it gets worse even faster when i send it back to 100% speed
also ive reticently made several vary complex fish that have jaws and avoid obstetricals and are relatively fast. a small one who is still vary big compared to othere things. a larger one whos only slightly bigger and was more of a exparament. and today i whent complacently over bord and made a giant fish and its super fast and can kill everything that i put infront of it. but you see the problem is i cant save my fish and i really dont want to lose my latest monstrosity. can you help? when i try to save it just said name is unavailable no matter what i do. btw amma post my maga fish on the sub reddit
Congrats on the monstrosity! Hm. That's the first time I've heard of not being able to save because no names are available. You can't overwrite existing creatures on the server (because then you could delete other people's) — to confirm, you've tried a number of different names?
Anything pro-maga is not allowed and will be removed. You're welcome to name it something else though. :)
i gave it several uneape names that no one else had. i dident try to over right anything but it still said the same thing over and over agen. i tryed everything. mabey its a bug or something
Yeah sounds like it. OK, if you still have it up here's a last-ditch way to save a creature on HTML5: if you press F2 it'll print out the creature's save file in the text console below the game. If you grab that & then email it to me, I'll manually put it in the database.
Uploaded to the server as "LEVI". What an absolute beauty. 😍
It reminds me of the ghost leviathan from subnautica.
I'm still not sure why the server was telling you that the name was taken — it happened for me too. I suspect that it has something to do with the sheer filesize of this sheila. I've added it to the buglist, but as per my last update it might take a while to get around to.
Just a quick question: I noticed that there don't seem to be any more muscle spots on the carnivorous jaws, just curious if it's a glitch or it's on purpose?
On purpose — there used to be & with the intention that you'd have to snap them closed with muscles to do damage, but in the interest of swinging the pendulum away from oversimulation and towards "things are functional & just work without additional setup" I removed the muscle and made them just generally dangerous to touch.
I'm open to suggestions for how to find a balances between complexity/usuable for it.
Just wanted to say I've had a lot of fun with this game, and I see how it could have HUGE potential as a learning tool besides that.
I can count few occasions where I felt as accomplished as when I finally made a little organism that could reliably navigate without constantly braining itself.
I have had some trouble, though. The version I downloaded for Windows (crescent-loom-windows-beta.zip) doesn't seem to want to connect? I can save and load creatures from disc but it won't go online. Is that normal, do I have to play the browser or another version to access the online functions/designs?
Thanks Andaeus! It's great to hear you made something that could navigate -- it's no mean feat.
The online functionality has always been pretty moody, but I thought it was working for this set of desktop builds. Hm. I'll take a look & fix it if I can for the next release (it's going to be a little while though -- I'm currently dealing with a wrist injury).
I'd love to see what you've made. More motivation to get it working again, I guess. ;)
Oh dear! Well, I hope your wrist feels better soon. Take your time, obviously, I know the game is still developing so I just thought I would point out the issue. With luck your right and it's just being moody for now.
Concept is absolutely fascinating, I was reading your devlog and I'm excited for the features you're working on, can't wait for new updates.
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?
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!
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)
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.
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...?
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!
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!
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?
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.
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
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 .
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?
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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!!!!!
(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!!)
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 ~ 🌺
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. :
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.
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.
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!
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. =)
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?
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?"
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.
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.
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!
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!!
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!
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!
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.
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?
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...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org? 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.
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.
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.