Behaving genes


Some insects form complex social groups, and the behaviours underlying these social groups are influenced both by the species' genetics and the environment that they live in.

Together with Seirian Sumner at University College London, we are developing a game that will allow people to build their own wasp society, toying with the limits of biology.

Players will take on the persona of Polistes dominula, the European paper wasp, making life choices about where and how quickly to build a nest, how to allocate colony members to different jobs, and balancing the tasks of bringing in food, brood production and care. When environmental catastrophes hit, parasites arrive, or humans put you at risk, the resilience of the colony will be tested.

The game is 100% hand illustrated, open source, and due to be exhibited at the Eden Project (likely from early 2020) as well as being available online. Sneak peak of the prototype game in development below...

Screenshot from 2019-11-21 15-24-50.png

This project is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, and runs from 2018-2020.