We know that evolution will play a major part of the game. But how will it be modelled? No, we do not expect Simulation-level detail, but surely it will be modelled in a reasonably sensible way? As I see it, there are about 4 possible methods of achieving a model of evolution...
Evolution Point System
Traditional Civ-style tech tree with you building "units" with the different evoluitonary advances. There was a Civ2 Scenario like this (Included in Fantastic Worlds). Even if the SMAC unit system is implemented, this will totally suck ass.
You pick your evolutionary advances. This is like the above, with the exception that every "advance" will affect all the members of your species. On the positive side this offers a strategic choice- what do you need right now? On the negative side this is a totally inaccurate model of evolution, false even, and is rahter simplistic in its structure. Still, I fear FIRAXIS will have this or a variation of this...
The species adapt to changing environment through natural selection of mutatuions. Accurate, but takes out the whole "pick your advance" bit.
finally, my choice....
You can get detailed info about each of your dinos by clicking on them. Next, you create and select hierarchies- Alpha Male, Alpha Female and so on depending on the properties the dinos have. If you think a mutation is way wrong, you can sacrifice a dino or move it down the list. If you think it is beneficial, you move it up the hierarchy. It keeps the personal selection features, while being a more natural type of evolution...
Of course, this could quite easily be automated as well. You tell the "governor" you want wings, and the hierarchy is changed to that those with the most wing-like appendages are moved on top, ensuring that their genes will be passed on. You will have to increase the mutation rate quite a lot, fo course, but I think this is the best method... I'd enjoy it.
We love how enthusiastic people are about Dinos... does it worry Sid?
Anyway, I agree with you. A Civ-like struture would be crap.
Still, I know nothing about the game. Maybe I'll go over to Firaxis and find out, yes?
I'm half-interested. We just don't have enough info to talk about, that's all. Kudos to Hugo Rune for trying though.
Apparently firaxis (according to the latest diary) are shooting for one of the oversimplistic approaches. Distressing.