Me and two of my colleagues were lunching. One of them talks about games he remembers.
In one of the games you could design a creature and then send it off to a world you couldn't see, to live with other creatures created by other players. Then you got to see statistics about the creature's life, how many other creatures it had encountered, how many it had eaten and so on. And finally the creature got eaten by one of the other creatures, The End.
In another similar game you got your creature by scanning the bar code of any product, the bar code coded the properties of the creature. And then you send it off to fight other creatures. The bar code of one product created an invincible creature with enormous powers! And that bar code could be scanned from a ... packet of noodles! :)
I told them that I've been thinking to and from about creating a similar game, where the players can design a creature or anything that lives or builds up a world. Not really fighting each other, more helping each other. And I'd also like genetic algorithms so that the players creations can mix and become new creations with new properties. So far I haven't had a sufficient good idea to start coding on anything.
Suddenly the other colleague whips out his smart phone and shows me a game he's been playing, Alchemy. You start with the four elements Earth, Wind, Fire and Water and then combine them to get new elements. Then you can use the new elements in new combinations. The game seemed so simple that I LOLed at it. But then I tried it myself and instantly got hooked!
It didn't take long though before I found out that this game really could eat my time and that it behind the scenes existed a rather simple tree with combination rules. I wanted to see that tree! I searched for cheats, and of course there existed multiple sites with complete solutions to all possible combinations. But all sites I found more or less plainly listed the combinations, sorted alphabetically, often with hyperlinks (like this and this). A great help and time saver for sure, but not as clear as I pictured it in my head.
So, I used the combination recipes from one of the sites and created an interactive walk-through instead, which made the inheritance tree visible. And I got rid of the want-it-out-of-my-head itch :)