Polymorphic Games is an experimental video game development studio based at the University of Idaho. We develop video games, interactive simulations, and visualizations that feature STEM concepts as core mechanics.

Our main focus is Evolutionary Games that feature enemies that adapt to the player using mathematical models of biological evolution.

We have also collaborated with many different researchers to help them represent their model systems as interactive simulations or dynamic visualizations.


Instead of pre-programming, scripted enemy behaviors to escalate difficulty, our games use populations of creatures that evolve specifically to beat your strategy. Each creature has its own traits that it can pass onto its offspring. After you beat one wave of creatures, the creatures that were the hardest to beat reproduce and you’ll fight their offspring in the next wave. Evolving traits include features like size, speed, damage, resistances, and behavior. We use real principles of evolutionary biology to create a model that includes all the components of real evolution — variation, inheritance, selection, and time — just operating at a much faster pace. This creates dynamic enemies that adapt to how YOU play the game. We just give evolution the space to work.

Learn more about our games…


Our studio is based on the University of Idaho campus and populated by undergraduate students. A university setting is the one place where you can find programmers, artists, writers, musicians, marketers, and biologists — everyone you need to make a video game with foundations in evolutionary biology. We hire insanely talented teams of undergraduate students to develop our games. This gives us a team that can think outside the box, and it provides a great student experience. Our employees get to build skills in communication, leadership, and collaboration that they take with them when they graduate, all while honing their skills in their own trade.

Learn more about our team…


Polymorphic Games has been made possible through grants and support from the following:

Funding Sources: Polymorphic Games
Total Award Studio Funding Title CoPIs PI Start End Projects
$936,605 $234,492 NSF Collaborative Research: BEE: Ecological and coevolutionary feedbacks in multi-mutualist communities. Robison D. Althoff 4/2022 4/2025 TBD
$5,830,709 $400,000 NSF RII Track-2 FEC: Leveraging Big Data to Improve Prediction of Tick-Borne Disease Patterns and Dynamics. Robison, Harris, Shi X. Ma 9/2020 9/2024 Outbreak Simulator, Project Drider, TwinStick
$74,700 $74,700 IGEM Darwin’s Demons mobile. Soule Robison 7/2019 7/2020 Evolvy Bugs
$33,801 $33,801 NSF BEACON Salmon Run: An Evolutionary Ecology Educational Game. Robison, Blackwood, Soule R. Pennock 7/2018 7/2019 Salmon Run
$67,600 $67,600 IGEM An evolutionary approach to procedural opponent generation in video games. Soule Robison 7/2017 7/2018 Darwin's Demons, Project Hastur
$99,328 $99,328 NSF BEACON Teaching evolution through game based simulation. Robison Soule 5/2016 8/2017 Darwin's Demons, Project Hastur
$65,000 $65,000 Vandal Ideas Program Polymorphic Games – an interdisciplinary game design studio. Soule, Hall, Bukvich, Caisely, Bennett, Nicotra, Kelly-Riley, Tanner, Clevely, Bird Robison 7/2016 8/2017 Darwin's Demons