Make sure you have the newest release of Darwinbots before you begin. As of March 2013 this was 2.45.2E. If you're not sure if you have the latest version, check out the Main FTP which is updated with the most recent version regularly. If you have problems installing take a look at the Installation Instructions or ask a question at the forum.
The changes from release to release are not trivial. Don't cheat yourself with older versions.
Your First Sim
Open the program. A warning will appear stating that there is no settings file and that the default will be used. Do not worry since this is your first time there is no settings file ready to be used.
Go to Animal Minimalis and save the Animal Minimalis to your robots folder in a text file named Animal Minimalis.txt. All bots are run from text files. Remember this page since the Basic Bot Tutorial is a good next step to take.
Once this is done go to file > new simulation. This opens the simulations settings which will allow you to create a new simulation or change the settings in a simulation that is already running. Go to the species tab click add species and add Algea Minimalis and Animal minimalis. Algea Minimalis is a vegetable and will provide the food for your Animal Minimalis. Click Animal Minimalis in the loaded species box and change its colour to red. Click the Algea Minimalis then set its colour to green and click the vegetable (autotroph) box to the right of the screen.
click the physics and costs tab and select solid, click the menu to its right and select metal. Look to the right and click custom simulation costs. Set cost multiplier to 1 and age cost to 8. Now click start new and you will see the bots come to life.
You should see a bunch of green and red bots running around and firing little dots at the green ones. To speed up the simulation look along the top of the screen and search for an icon that appears to be a graph. Select the arrow next to it and choose the population and average mutations graphs. These graphs allow you to see changes in the bots easier. Now look towards the left of the screen for an icon that looks like a computer monitor click this and you will notice that there is a message that says video output is enabled. This will increase the speed of the simulation, to reactivate video output click it a second time.
As Emeril would say, let's kick it up a notch.
Running Something Worth Running
Find a bot called Ymir. You probably don't have him on your computer, so you have to download him from either the forum beastiary.
Download that to your */darwinbotsII/robots/ folder. Or just open notepad, copy and paste, and save to */darwinbotsII/robots/ Darwinbots is by default installed to your C:/program files/darwinbotsII folder, but you may have specified a different directory when you installed the program. I know I did!
Do you have Ymir now? Let's load him into the program. Go back to Darwinbots and hit file -> new simulation.
Now click on the button called 'new species'. You now enter a file-selection-window. Go to the directory where you saved Ymir. Select Ymir.txt and double-click it. You now re-enter the simulation window with 3 species: the plant (green), the T_preservian (yellow), and Ymir (some random color). By default, Ymir gets assigned 3000 energy and 5 bots to begin with.
What colour's Ymir? Probably nothing nice, as he got a random colour after you added him. click on the list underneath Ymir's picture, and select a nice colour. I like to pick custom, and choose 100% red. Like the blood of the fallen that Ymir squashes under his feet.
Now, let's hit 'start new'. You see? Ymir's cool! Much more exciting.
You should now have the knowledge necessary to play around with bots you find in the beastiary. Explore the rest of the wiki at your leisure.