Some of the player interaction in the Ultimate Game would be done using editors, which are seperate windows in which vraious objects can be designed. All of the editors will be the same editor, but operating on different timescales and length scales, to allow for maximum consistency and transferrability.
There are three key timescales on which editing things can occur: Natural, Directed and Participative.
- Natural is allowing things to change naturally, which will be under the control of the player for the purposes of sanity. This occurs on the timescale of millions of years
- Directed is having the player's species participate in the control of evolution - in other words, technology. This allows for much faster development and advancement. This occurs on the timescale of decades.
- Participative is having the player's technology participate in the control of evolution. This occurs faster still, though I'm unsure of how to nicely represent it with game mechanics. This occurs on the timescale of months.
Of these, different components can be placed that do different things. Limbs are components, as are segments of the body, or wheels, or eyes. Basically, anything that makes up the object works as a component.
Components will typically be one level below the object being edited. Components correspond to organ systems when placed in an organism, or to planets (/plantary artefacts) when placed in a solar system.