Two Decades of Evolutionary Art Using Computational Ecosystems and Its Potential for Virtual Worlds

Rui Filipe Antunes, Frederic Fol Leymarie, William Latham


We analyse works of digital art that use a technique from artificial life (ALife) called computational ecosystems (CEs). These are systems running on computers where agents are organized in a hierarchical structure (of a food-chain) and trade token units (of energy and biomass) as a way of promoting community dynamics. We analyse a collection of forty (40) papers communicating works developed in the last two decades. We classify each of these works according to an adapted taxonomy. We then produce a study of cumulative analysis to outline patterns and common features which might define the field. We conclude on the diversity and heterogeneity of the practice, to assert CEs as a multimedia generative tool useful in the construction of bio-mimicking ecosystems as well as in the animation of non-player characters (NPCs) with human-like behaviors in virtual words.


art; computational ecosystems; evolutionary art; generative systems;

Full Text:



The full website for the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research can be found at