In 100 Places there is one resource that the organisms (plants) in the simulation need: space. There are, obviously, one hundred spaces available for plants and any plant that obtains a space then acquires one hundred energy (light for photosynthesis) which it can split between five different tasks.
Herbivores can eat the plants in 100 Places but plants can fend herbivores off by allocating energy to defense (thorns, toxins, or simply the ability to regrow easily). Herbivory in an environment is set between 0 and 100 which affects both the amount of herbivores munching on plants and the strength of these attacks (attacks will have a random strength between 0 and the set strength). If the strength of an attack is stronger than the energy allocated to herbivore defense the plant dies. The initial map has only moderate levels of herbivory.
Disruptions (storms or fires, perhaps) occur only occasionally but normally effect multiple spaces. The strength of disruptions (0-100) affects the frequency of these events, the size of these events, and the possible range of damage a space may take (like herbivory, damage will be between 0 and the disruption strength). If a plant takes damage in excess of the energy it has allocated to defense against disruptions (flexible stems or fireproof bark, perhaps) it dies. The initial map has only moderate levels of disruption.
While plants may do just fine without allocating any energy to defense against herbivores or disruption it is unlikely that you will want to create a species that does not allocate energy for reproduction. Reproduction occurs in a simple manner: energy allocated for reproduction is pooled across the species and every 40 energy available is used to create a seed which is dropped randomly on to the map. Not all seeds survive but a species that does not produce seeds is unlikely to do well.
The first challenge a seed faces when it lands in a spot is the environmental harshness. The map will visually display this harshness, as in the image below, coloring pleasant spots in lighter colors and harsher spots in darker colors. (You can imagine that environmental harshness is lack of water, or nutrient-poor soil.) A species that has allocated energy towards dealing with environmental hardships (by, perhaps, growing deeper or more efficient roots) can live on a space with equal or lesser harshness. The initial map has a harshness range of 0-50, making environmental harshness a major concern in some spaces.
As the simulator runs many of the available spaces will be filled up. However, plants are capable of murdering each other and stealing spaces. (In real life many plants spend energy on longer stems or trunks that allow them to catch light before it reaches the plants below them.) By allocating energy towards competition a plant species can take places from less-competitive species and also defend itself. When a seed drops on a spot if the energy its species allocates towards competition is higher than that of the species currently occupying the spot the seed can take the spot from the current plant.
The parameters of the world can be edited by selecting “Edit Environment”. These parameters are simple to understand and, like basically all numbers in 100 Places, can range between 0 and 100. Click “Enter” to save changes. To change the environmental harshness of the map you will need to Rebuild World after clicking Enter.
Organisms can also be edited (or added, by editing the organism “New”, or deleted by editing the organism and then checking the box “Delete this organism” and hitting “Enter”). The allocation of energy must not exceed a total energy of 100, the maximum all plants in the simulation have available to them. The name of the species and the color used to represent it can also be edited, although the color is represented as a hex code. A color will be randomly generated for your new species (the color of the hex code will be the color your species will be unless you edit it), not too similar to anything present on the board (unless you run out of dissimilar colors) and not too gray. This removes the need to edit hex codes, which I know a lot of people don't want to do.
The starting organism for a new simulation is a species called Generalist which has 20 energy allocated to each category. It is green. When you Rebuild World any new species you have added will be added to the world. In general, five individuals from each species are added, but this is not always possible due to the environment and the order in which species are added. (If you reload the page you will simply reset to the basic starting conditions and delete all custom species and environmental changes.)
Over on the right side of the data screen there’s a Pause option (check to pause), a turn counter, and a graph. The graph auto-scales so that the largest number on it is at the top and the colors of the lines represent the population of the species with the same color. A number called “Graph maximum” tells you what the top of the graph is. In the image below the green line at the top of the graph is at 11 individuals. The number of turns the graph “remembers” can be controlled using the text box “Length of graph x-axis”. However, it is highly recommended that you pause the simulator before you alter this*. History further back than this length is not remembered and so simply lengthening the x-axis will not recover information.
If you click “Show disruptions and herbivory” semi-opaque squares of green (herbivory) and red (disruptions) will appear on squares effected by these events (and then disappear).
If select a species for editing you can also view statistics on the species under the graph. These statistics include the maximum size the population has ever reached, the minimum it has ever reached, its current size, the number of seeds this species has produced, and the percent of successful seeds there have been out of that total. These numbers will dynamically update.
*The problem with editing the graph x-axis length while the simulator is running is simple. Imagine that you want to go from 200 turns of memory to 500 turns. You might plausibly start by deleting the 2, at which point the simulator would instantly read this as “remember only 00 turns of history” and would dump the 200 turns it remembered. So hit pause.