The Noble Ape Simulation was originally developed as a biological and cognitive simulation. It was an artificial life project as artificial intelligence in a simulated environment. The original Simulation was very basic. It showed a graphical representation of an island populated with Noble Apes through a simple contour map. The initial development was performed in Australia and Malaysia.
The early Simulation had considerable documentation. The documentation gave it a weight of interest, the software alone did not have. The history of the development paused at this point.
Redevelopment Over Rail (March 2000 - June 2001)
The history resumes on a train trip across the US in March 2000. I found some of the old source for the Simulation (not the most recent version at the time) but the one which would continue the legacy of the Simulation. Prior to this, the source code was effectively lost. The discovered source code needed to be reworked considerably. My views on programming had changed quite a bit since 1997. I travelled across the US to Boston and then New York City. In New York, I gave a talk at NYU. I was invited to give the talk by my friend and occasional patron of the development, Douglas Rushkoff.
I demonstrated the old Simulation software for the first time in two years. I put the source back online. The source code generated some interest, but it was difficult at best to get people interested in the old source code.
The Stockholm Rewrite (June 2001 - January 2003)
In June 2001, I was in Stockholm. I had a laptop on loan and some old music CDs from the start of the development and the continuing Simulation source code.
Tom Barbalet talks about the Stockholm Re-Write [ MP3 ]
Stockholm was very important. I outlined my rework of the Simulation, the code of the Simulation would be greatly simplified and made much more stable. Also new interfaces into the Simulation would be developed. The Simulation would exist as a core with a universal file format and the assurance that all platforms and interfaces would run the same under the same Simulation core. Also the interfaces would be very diverse.
The development post-Stockholm was both leveling and strengthening. With a new Open Source license and a slowly developing site, I began returning to the development that had produced the original Simulation. It was fundamentally a part time development but something to look forward to every evening. I returned to the monthly Mailout and put elements on the development website. The Simulation reached a point of critical mass. With the development of a multi window view into the Simulation and a new colour interface - Codenamed Ocelot - the Simulation reached another critical point of development.
Mature Development (January 2003 - present)
In early 2003, the development changed its name to Noble Ape. This was in part a logical progression as the sentient creatures on the island had always been Noble Apes. It also removed the development from being focused on a closed island and enabled the development to explore the planetary and large-area simulation elements that hadn't fully been recognised.