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Author Topic: InfiniCave - A weird thing I thought up yesterday  (Read 724 times)

KittyTac

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InfiniCave - A weird thing I thought up yesterday
« on: October 11, 2017, 09:14:20 am »

This place is an infinite mass of dirt, mud, and occassionally rocks that seem to be unaffected by pressure. Glowing streams of nutrient mixed with water flow from entire oceans of nutrient. On average, the streams are half a meter in diameter and occassionally form caves along their path. The caves are inhabited by ecosystems of bugs and fungi. Caves come in five sizes: Tiny (10 cm tall,  30 cm wide to both sides of the stream), Small (30 cm tall, 50 cm wide to both sides of the stream, Medium (2 m tall, 5 m to both sides of the stream, Large (5 m tall, 10 m to both sides), and Huge (10 m tall, whopping 100 m to both sides of the stream). The length of the caves varies. The streams are pumped upwards by special creatures, the Archimedean Anemones, that pump water upwards and feed on the organic flotsam in it. Now what produces the flotsam? It's time for a list!

Normal Bugs:

General information: They feed on fungi (in the next section), and lay eggs either into the cave, or into a stream so they drift into another cave. They can be split into a lot of categories, but the main 3 are: Carnivore, Herbivore, and Detrivore. Carnivores and Herbivores don't need explaining, but Detrivores might not be familiar to people not familiar with biology, they feed on dead animal matter. The types can be combined.

Plain beetle: Herbivore. It is 2 cm long. It has no special features, tends to be among the only insects, besides the occassional wayward worm, that inhabit Tiny caves.

Worm: Special. Literally an earthworm from Earth Prime. Can dig. Doesn't eat fungi (more on those in the next section), instead absorbs nutrients and water from the soil. The tunnels it digs tend to turn into small streams, that occassionally expand into caves.

Circular saw beetle: Carnivore. It is 4 cm long. Yep. Its mandibles are too weak to kill a moving, struggling target, but it is split into 2 parts, conneced with a thick tube of muscle, that has a bone blade attached to it. Yes, it's very sharp. The blade WILL cut anything it hits into small pieces. Its drawback is that the blade consumes a lot of nutrition while it is spinning, and if it bumps into anything hard while the blade is spinning, it will bisect the poor thing and make the blade fly off and probably get stuck in a wall.

Bombardier beetle: Carnivore. It's the same as the real-world one, i.e it can fire hot fumes at a target, killing or heavily injuring it. Drawback: if the reagent-emitting glands are injured and the chambers are made interconnected by the injury, the bug can explode rather violently.

Meteor beetle: Omnivore. A mutation of the Bombardier Beetle. It's colored in a dashing red color, and fires a jet of fire as a form of defence. Drawback: Wildfires.

Moldhopper: Herbivore. It can hop large distances to escape from predators. Can't feed on mushrooms.

Slayer beetle: Carnivore. A mutation of either the Moldhopper, or the Circular Saw Beetle. Like the Circular Saw Beetle, it can't kill living targets with its mandibles and has to rely on its blade. the blade is attached to the front and spins slowly, vertically, and at a limited arc, so it can't hack up targets like the Circular Saw Beetle. However, it can jump like the Moldhopper, impaling its targets with its blade, and riding that way until the victim bleeds out and can be eaten.

Parasite Worm: Special. About 3 mm long. It crawls or drops onto a bug from behind, burrows into it, and makes its home there. It reproduces there, inflating the bug, before the host explodes, spewing vile-smelling gas and worms everywhere. They can survive water.

Ants: Omnivore. They're like Earth Prime ants, but some of them attain sentience. They cultivate fungi and bugs and use their special properties for their benefit.

Millipede: Herbivore. They're long (10 cm), and can climb slopes. Drawback: Can't self-right if flipped belly-up.

Lumberjack bug: Herbivore. It has a blade with a limited rotation like the Slayer bug, but it's horizontal and spins faster. They digest mushroom caps better than other bugs.

Locust: Herbivore. Can fly. The plain flying herbivore.

Bee: Special. Can fly. They build hives on ledges and on cave walls. They eat spores. They have three castes: Queens, who are the only ones capable of reproducing, Drones, who collect spores to feed the Queen and Hornets, who protect the hive.

Big Worm: Special. Large worms that also feed on nutrients like their smaller counterparts. They tend to create the vast majority of the streams because their tunnels are long and wide.

Cuccu Bee, a bug that has evolved to mimic a drone bee, but is actually more closely related to ants. It largely plays along like a real bee, but steals some of their resources for itself. A bit stronger than a real drone, it won't hesitate to try to eat them when alone with one. Their eggs, too, if it can get at any. (by Maximum Spin)

Curling worm: Not actually a worm, but a highly reduced neotenous grub; in rare cases it can still be induced to molt into a beetle, but it doesn't do this naturally. Small with very permeable skin, they're usually content to drift through the water passively absorbing nutrients. They're very durable, however, and occasionally become facultative parasites if a larger bug drinks one (although the unlucky ones just get digested). They are not harmful in any particularly exciting way, but, because a typical bug contains so much nutrition to absorb, they can easily reproduce out of control as a parasite and cripple the host from malnutrition. Of course, if the host dies outside of water, the worms will desiccate within minutes, and, even if it dies in water, the competition for nutrients will tend to kill off all but a very few - their long-term-sustainable population density in all but the most nutrient-rich streams is perhaps eight to a cubic foot or so. They're named for the peculiar twisting way they move in order to produce microcurrents to carry fresh nutrients toward them. (by MaximumSpin)

Giant Slug: Omnivore. Green. Huge slugs, even by Earth Prime standards. Over 2 meters long and about 1 meter tall. Skids along caves, eating everything in its path, sweeping anthills and crumpling flowers. Drawback: Flammable. If anything over 60C hits it, it'll burn for a while, and if it fails to douse itself in water, it EXPLODES, with a large fireball. Can also fall to repeated ant bites. Will be expanded in another update.

Bumblebee: Special. A mutation of the Bee, most likely. They lack caste differentiation, are defenceless, and their colonies are small, up to 50 individuals, nesting in Mushbushes. They eat spores and rely on Mushbush protection to defend their colony. They make new Mushbushes intentionally as protection.

More bugs will be added as you suggest them!

Normal Fungi:

General information: They feed on water and nutrient, occassionally feeding on bugs. The roots can grow along a vast horizontal distance, but to spread vertically or along steep slopes, they rely on flowers that emit spores that grow into more roots.

Gray mold: Nutrivore. The basic mold. Ant philosophers argue on whether it should be "gray" or "grey" mold.

Volcano pod: Nutrivore. Red color. Its flowers are marge and cone-shaped. They accumulate air inside before launching spores, causing the spores to shoot upwards, spreading onto ledges.

Swinging maw: Carnivore. Purple color. Its flowers are large and have a maw on a stalk on them that can snatch at bugs then eat them. Doesn't spread by roots, releases spores when bug is digested.

Mesh mold: Nutrivore. Grayish green color. Has a mesh-like microstructure, so it can transfer nutrients to the whole colony. No flowers, so it thrives in flat spaces.

Mushroom: Nutrivore. Blue color. Exactly what it says on the tin. Unlike Earth Prime mushrooms, they're tall and thin. Spores spread outwards from the cap.

Hunter Mold: Omnivore. Orange color. Can't spread using roots, and can feed on both nutrient and bugs. There are 2 different flower types: Brain flowers that are basically the brains of the colony and coordinate where to shoot with Hunter flowers, which are sacs of poisonous spores that can shoot at either the ground to reproduce, or bugs, to poison them and make them die within 3 seconds. Note that when a bug dies, it has to be ON the mold's roots for the fungus to drain it of juice.

Wind Stalk: Nutrivore-Special. Can't spread using roots, is a large cluster of stalks that can grow taller than 3 meters! Spores can only be loosened by flying insects stuck in the stalks.

Bursting Sickness (Parasitic fungus): The fine spores of this pale gray fungus are inert until consumed by a bug. When they are eaten, however, they take root in the bug's body, generating spores and small amounts of gas over time. Eventually, the gas builds up to the point where the exoskeleton ruptures, spreading the spores widely across the surrounding area, where they anchor onto whatever surface they hit. If they happen to hit a bug, they lie dormant on its shell instead of immediately germinating. Spores inside a bug's body or released due to injury tend to be less virulent than those spread by bursting, but could infect unwary, unfortunate, or predatory bugs. (By XXXXYYYY)

Infestioshrooms: A strange, parasitic shroom that aggressively spits out spores which grow and create more shrooms. If one of the spores hits an animal, said animal becomes a host for the infestation, getting limbs and exoskeleton parts overgrown, and eventually, the spores dig into the brain and overtake the poor creature's mind, making it serve only to expand the infestation, by laying spore-filled eggs, which hatch into infestioshroom-creature hybrids, and dropping spores which fall off passively and whenever said creature breathes.

Should anything penetrate a shroom, the mushroom spews out spores in that direction, causing the idiotic animal that tries to eat one of these mushrooms to get the Infestation.

There are 3 main types of infestioshrooms:

Necro Strand: A strand that takes over corpses's inactive neural system, and zombifies them. Spores leak out of the corpse's "flesh", spreading the infestation. Has trouble drilling into a living creature's flesh.

Plate strand: A hard strand that acts like chitin. This comes with the drawback of being less flexible, but if it does get pierced, it regrows fast, permanently locking the piercing part inside the plate strand fungus, or at least until the struggling creature manages to get the part out.

Generic strand: No noteworthy abilities.

The infestioshrooms are mostly pale green, hot pink, cyan, and dark yellow in color. (by 0cra_tr0per)

Pumpkin pod: Nutrivore. Orange with a small green stalk on top. Can't spread using roots. Can grow on top of other fungi due to deep roots. Spores are contained inside, and when a bug eats it, they stay there, hopefully undigested, then leave with bug droppings. Since they can grow on top of other fungi, its population is very stable. Also, (probably late) Spooky Halloween to you!

Mushbush: Special. Looks like a bush of small mushrooms with a cavity inside. Bumblebees nest inside the cavity and feed it with nectar, the only way it can feed. It can also spray toxins from its caps to defend the bumblebee colony.

Suggestions welcome!

Special ecosystems:

In addition to the ecosystem I described above, there's a few special ones that arise from a specific set of conditions. They usually have two sources: An enviromental condition like fewer nutrients in the stream, and a bug or fungus that adapts to the condition and changes the enviroment. Other bugs or fungi may adapt to the environment.

Warm ecosystem:

The abundance of nutrients in the stream fueling this cave has caused the yellow-colored Heat Mold to release the excess energy as heat, heating up the cave. Other lifeforms:

  Warm fungi:
  Scorching mold: Omnivore. Yellowish-red color. A mutation of the Heat Mold, focusing the temperature into a single long stalk it uses to burn bugs to death.

Lava mold, a Warm fungus that has developed the ability to expand and contract its tissues by pumping hot fluid around internally. It uses this to move around slowly by detaching from its substrate on one side while expanding on the other, then reattaching on that side before contracting again. As it moves it seems to roll and ooze like a lava flow, an appearance which is greatly improved by the scalding temperature of its underside and its habit of searing bugs in its path to ash. It's not quite carnivorous because it does not seek out prey, but is more than happy to eat anything it finds under itself. (by Maximum SPin)

  Warm bugs:
  Lion beetle: Carnivore-Detrivore. Orange-colored. Travels in packs, killing anything they can catch up with and eating corpses.

  Steam Stalker, a bug that lives in the Warm. Shaped somewhat like an assassin bug, it absorbs large quantities of water into a spongey abdominal organ through its porous head and forelimbs, then harvests heat from Scorching Molds to shoot pulses of scalding steam at prey. Naturally, it has evolved to resist high temperatures. (by Maximum Spin)

  Runner beetle: Herbivore. Brown-colored. Fast, but gets tired quickly.

  Rhino beetle: Herbivore. Black-colored. Like the Earth Prime ones.

Forest ecosystem:

This is an ecosystem primarily made of two symbiotic fungi: The Tree Stalk and the Star Pod. I will describe those in detail. Due to the size of the Tree Stalk, it can only form in Huge caves or occassionally Large ones.

  Forest fungi:

  Star Pod: Nutrivore. Spores float upwards and it grows on the ceiling. Produces light, required for the Tree Stalk. Prefers lower pressures, hence why it only grows high up.

  Tree Stalk: Nutrivore-Special. Looks like a smaller pine. Can photosynthesize. Usually about 5 meters tall. The spores hamper the reproduction of non-adapted bugs. The branches house an ecosystem.

  Also, most of the "Normal" fungi roster.

  Forest bugs:

  Spiders: Carnivore. They build webs to catch interloping bugs.

  Tiger beetles: Carnivore. Pounces on targets and tears them apart.

  Moose beetles: Herbivore. Peaceful grazers, but can defend themselves with their impressive horns.

  Also, occassionally Normal bugs.

  Branch bugs:

  Squirrel beetle: Herbivore-Special. Can only feed on the needles. Can jump.

  Branchswinger: Carnivore. Has a tail with which it hangs down on prey and eats it.

  Bark beetle: Special. Eats the tree from the inside out, eventually demolishing it and moving on to another.

  Ivory-mandibled woodpecker: Bites a hole in the bark of a Tree Stalk, eating the Bark Beetles within.

Ceiling bugs:

  Cosmic Borer, a kind of beetle found in the forest ecosystem that lazily chews tunnels through Star Pods. These tunnels are mostly harmless to the Star Pods unless one is critically infested. Although the ancestors of this beetle had the ability to fly, they have since lost it and any individual that winds up falling to the floor - luckily a rare event - is probably doomed. (By Maximum Spin)

Sundogs, a large bug (Hemiptera) native to the Forest ceilings. With their sharp forelegs, they surgically cut open Star Pods to locate the tunnels of Cosmic Borers, which they eat. With few natural predators in this habitat and plentiful prey, they might easily overpopulate, but nature always finds a way, and, luckily for the ecosystem, they are much larger (around 4-6 times the size) and clumsier than the Borers, especially as they grow older, and thus relatively prone to falling to the floor where they become an easy target for passing carnivores. This form of nutrient transfer from the upper storey of the Forest to the floor, not unlike our world's whalefall, makes them something of a keystone species in maintaining the balance between the two. (by Maximum Spin)



Ant "ecosystem"

 This isn't so much of an ecosystem as it is the absence of one. Ants have taken this cave over and are carefully keeping the fungi under control. Any interlopers are "disassembled" on the spot.

Magma ecosystem:

The bacteria that caused the nutrient streams to glow blue have mutated here. They now glow red and cause burns to most lifeforms (except eggs and spores)! They flood caves and oceans, creating weird pillars of petrified bacteria within. Also, it's not lava because it's underground.

Magma bugs:

   Magma Filter: Special. Regulates the amount of Magma Bacteria-infested water that can pass through it, leaving the cave half-flooded at all times.

   Magma Worm: Carnivore. Large red worms that dwell in the magma. They can jump impressive distances upwards to get bugs on the pillars.

   Moldhopper: Herbivore. Exactly the same as the regular Moldhopper.

   Carnivorous Moldhopper: Carnivore. Exactly what it says on the tin.

   Magmaskimmer: Omnivore. Can skip along the magma with its pair of paddle-like legs. Eggs float. Its skipping ability allows it to escape predators on the pillars, but unfortunately, the paddle-legs make it clumsy on land and slow to climb walls and pillars.

Magma fungi:

   Magma Mold: Nutrivore. Red. Spores are more floaty than usual to cross the gaps between pillars. Otherwise perfectly normal.

   Magma Shroom: Nutrivore. It is a mushroom with tendrils that extend to the magma and suck the nutrients and water to the mushroom to maximize consumption. The magma is also usable as a defence.

What do you think? Suggestions welcome!
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 09:33:26 am by KittyTac »
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blueturtle1134

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Re: InfiniCave - A weird thing I thought up yesterday
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2017, 09:03:15 pm »

Really cool alternate universe!

Start simpler if you want it to be a evolution simulation/suggestion game, or make it a survival thing of some sort for reader interaction.

Or do art of it? Good ideas deserve to be expounded on.
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KittyTac

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Re: InfiniCave - A weird thing I thought up yesterday
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2017, 10:10:02 pm »

Really cool alternate universe!

Start simpler if you want it to be a evolution simulation/suggestion game, or make it a survival thing of some sort for reader interaction.

Or do art of it? Good ideas deserve to be expounded on.

Well... I kinda want to make it an evolution forum game, considering there's a bunch of ecological niches there and there that I can't think of filling... Warm ecosystem needs more love, for example. And I'm adding an ocean ecosystem, consisting of bugs that live in water... later this day.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 10:45:18 pm by KittyTac »
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Maximum Spin

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Re: InfiniCave - A weird thing I thought up yesterday
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2017, 11:14:25 pm »

Regarding names: How about "Archimedean Anemone" for the pump, and "ivory-mandibled woodpecker" for the bark-beetle-eater?
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KittyTac

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Re: InfiniCave - A weird thing I thought up yesterday
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2017, 04:25:15 am »

Spoiler: Tiny Cave 1 (click to show/hide)

Includes: 1 Gaping Maw, 2 Plain Beetles, 1 Locust, Grey Mold, Hunter Mold, and Mushroom.
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Parsely

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Re: InfiniCave - A weird thing I thought up yesterday
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2017, 11:34:48 am »

I'd be interested in seeing this as a simple forum game. What you've written about the ecosystem is interesting.

KittyTac

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Re: InfiniCave - A weird thing I thought up yesterday
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2017, 09:34:15 am »

Halloween update! 2 new fungi, 2 new bugs, and a new ecosystem. Only one of these is related to Halloween in any way! :P (Also implemented Maximum Spin's name suggestions!)
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KittyTac

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Re: InfiniCave - A weird thing I thought up yesterday
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2017, 05:20:10 am »

This will get a christmas update in a month. Stay tuned. Sneak peek: Cold ecosystem and ornament fungi.
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