Hello, everyone! We keep our large updates between semesters, but we have some great improvements ready and since most people are learning from home — and we have a LOT more people signing up right now — we wanted to go ahead and get these live!

So, welcome to our mid-semester Spring update! Here’s what’s included:

Large reductions to hard drive space required to install Tyto Online!

Chromebooks went from ~1 GB to ~600 MB to install. Macs went from ~7 GB to ~4 GB, and Windows went from ~5 GB to ~2 GB.

Improvements to the Ecology Sandbox

First, we wanted to give our create-your-own Ecosystem Sandbox some improvements. Overall, we’ve made large changes to improve the underlying simulation functioning and make it more feasible to create a mature, balanced ecosystem. Major changes to the simulation include:

  • Pollinators have longer grace periods where they don’t need food, before they will die, to better reflect how they normally survive while plants are not blossoming;
  • Carnivores are less bloodthirsty and will better focus on scavenging fresh meat before killing a new animal for their meal;
  • Reproduction cycles have been made a bit faster, to help your smaller animals bounce back against predation more easily;
  • Large carnivores now come in singles, so they won’t’ reproduce until you allow them to (by placing another carnivore territory nearby so that it overlaps);
  • Deodar cedars and kapok trees are now edible!
  • Animals mature a little bit faster;
  • Leaf and Nectar regeneration improvements, which is good news for your hungry pollinators and herbivores!

We also made additional improvements to the Sandbox:

  • Fixed some bugs and confusion points in the tutorial;
  • Improved stability for user connectivity and crash fixes;
  • Made the information panel larger when you click on a territory or plant, so it is easier to read on small screens;
  • Improved appearance and functioning for territory markers for animals, so that it’s easier to see where they live and where you can place new territories;
  • Improved appearance for seeing where you can place plants.

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