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Electric Sheep Screensaver

bucho @ 12:08 pm July 30th, 2006


I can’t explain this as well as the creators can:

Electric Sheep is a free, open source screen saver run by thousands of people all over the world. It can be installed on any ordinary PC or Mac. When these computers “sleep”, the screen saver comes on and the computers communicate with each other by the internet to share the work of creating morphing abstract animations known as “sheep”. The result is a collective “android dream”, an homage to Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

Anyone watching one of these computers may vote for their favorite animations using the keyboard. The more popular sheep live longer and reproduce according to a genetic algorithm with mutation and cross-over. Hence the flock evolves to please its global audience. You can also design your own sheep and submit them to the gene pool.

I LOVE this idea! I installed it on my PC at my house. It does take a while to download all the “sheep”, but it is well worth it. They recommend leaving your PC on all night after installing it (after one night you should have all the sheep). Also, I haven’t checked, but I think it said that it takes up about 1GB of space, so make room! I just leave it running to add some much needed atmosphere, and when I see something I like a lot I walk over and press the up arrow on my keyboard. This puts in a positive vote for that design. When I hate something I press the down arrow. If I am indifferent then I dont press anything until something comes up the “stirs me”.

Plus it works on the following platforms:


6 Responses to “Electric Sheep Screensaver”

  1. Electric Sheep Screensaver » Wagalulu - Technorati’s Top Tags » » Electric Sheep Screensaver Says:

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  2. Scott Rippee Says:

    \”The more popular sheep live longer and reproduce according to a genetic algorithm with mutation and cross-over.\”

    This is so cool! I can\’t wait to see it.

  3. Scott Rippee Says:

    So far I have only been able to get one sheep…. I deleted everything and started over so hopefully it will work this time. I was messing with it using mplayer for rendering the videos. Thats a pretty cool feature, but I am not sure how I am going to vote running it like this.

  4. bucho Says:

    I noticed that at work I only had two sheep after having the program installed for several hours. At my house though I have a bunch.

    The directory structure is much different then I thought. First there is the MPEG Directory:

    Mpeg Dir

    Then under that there are two MPEG files and a 202 directory containing:

    Mpeg 202 Dir

    All those numbered directories contain the sheep. I don’t know if the groupings signify relationships or something.

  5. Scott Rippee Says:

    In Linux it seems like it is going to dump them in the ~/.sheep directory, however I still just have one sheep. At least this one I have looks very cool.

  6. avery Says:

    i cant get it to work, i downloaded the program form the website but wen i try to download a screen saver it says something like this :this file does not have a program associated with it to perform or something like that.

    im running windows 7, any help would be greatly appreciated

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