This site contains the prototypes and experiments for VirusCraft, a Wellcome Trust funded research project combining tangible interfaces, craft and computer games to explore the work of evolutionary biologist Ben Longdon, who is researching virus host shifts: what determines the ability of a virus to infect some hosts but not others.


Here are some early online prototypes trialling game mechanics and ideas for worlds we can build a game in.

World Units

Building a world for hosts to populate from an 80 sided Pentakis icosidodecahedron. Each triangle is a modular section of terrain designed to fit together.

Simple Individual Model

Futher development of the visual style, and using a modified form of the single receptor evolution model where the host's ranges are fixed and adding a health parameter.

Crafting Prototype

A new virus crafting tool and a world that your virus can infect. Try and create a virus that lasts as long as possible without dying out or killing all the hosts.

Planet Prototype

The multi species disease model, with populations contrained by islands and continents.

World Prototype

The multi species virus infection prototype, wrapped around a world sphere by converting from cartesian to spherical coordinates.

Phylogenetic Tree

Running a genetic simulation of a host population exposed to a virus and generating a phylogenetic tree visualisation of the species that emerge. The purpose of this prototype is to balance the model parameters and see how fast it changes as we tweak the hosts immunity fitness function.

Procedural Phyloextruder

Procedurally generating the 3D shapes we need to describe the pylogenetic tree.

Capsid structure

Attempting to generate a spherical capsid protein structure using a Lindenmayer System as a way to combine simple rules to create complex shapes.

Multi-species infection

In this 3D prototype world there are two species capable of spreading a virus between them, one mobile (insects) the other stationary (plants).

SIRS Epidemic model

Testing a randomly generated spatial network where the connected nodes can infect each other. The SIRS disease model it's based on flips between susceptable (yellow), infected (red) and immune (green) and then back to susceptable again as the immunity wears off.