Our game was called "Land of Life"  (or Geco, according to the source code, not sure why). It was a basic, fixed size, isometric tile game. To start with, you are presented with a desert. The only thing you can do is add mountains, and then hit play and watch clouds form and move over the mountains. If you constructed your mountains well, you'd get nice oasis' with rivers flowing out of the mountains, and greenery around it. If, you probably wouldn't get any rivers, but would get some small shrubs.
From memory, the only heuristics about adding mountains were: You can only make a mountain bigger if there are a certain number of mountains of a certain size adjacent to it. It was a bit like game-of-life in that way, hence the name "land of life". This worked surprisingly well for constructing mountain ranges.
One main difference from our approach and the one linked to here is that theirs looks absolutely amazing and educational, whereas ours used heuristics that we dreamed up via trial and error.
 Screenshot (missing assets for river tiles, because I couldn't find the final source code) - https://raw.githubusercontent.com/pserwylo/land-of-life/mast...
Here is a screencast . I still think it is nice how the first river which heads off to the top right (rendered in black due to no river assets) gets surrounded by trees because it is a source of water in the desert. This is not based on any geological/ecological/climate knowledge on our part, but was still fun to tinker with.
Getting closer to a world where The Young Lady's Primer is possible :)
For context, The Young Lady's Primer is a fictional book in Neal Stephenson's Diamond Age sci-fi novel. It's a electronic choose-your-own-adventure book that tailors itself to the user, and is narrated by anonymized actors on the background (think mechanical turkey). It's highly interactive, in much the same way as Earth's Primer.
The Diamond Age spoilers follow.
One of many disappointments for me past about 1/3 of the way in to the The Diamond Age was that the Primer didn't continue to exhibit new, interesting behavior. It seemed like the promise of the Primer at the beginning was that it would be a companion that grew with Nell and continued to react to what was going on around her, but past a certain point it's just a smarter-than-average interactive fiction edutainment game, so that the in-the-book scenes increasingly felt like digressions in to World-of-Warcraft-plus-math than anything really innovative (or narratively interesting for that matter), as they have less and less to do with Nell's immediate environment and don't change as she grows older, aside from the material getting more difficult. Even Nell often seems bored by it in the later chapters.
Maybe that's a subtle nod to how some video games have more resources put in to the first few levels to generate good reviews, then phone it in for the rest :-)
I'd love to see the idea of the nanotech educational book-companion (or similar) explored more fully. Those early scenes are so powerful.
 Oh man, that pages-long part near the end that exists solely for one character to tell us what another's motivations had been for the second half of the book, since there'd have been no way for the reader to guess otherwise. Closest I've ever come to punching a book.
A Mechanical Turkey would be really great, something like the Rat Things?
1st major revision notes:
2nd major revision notes:
Trying to figure out why 1st take wasn't working:
Was my first though. I don't know if this is more in support of science or religion.