NOBLE APE MAIL OUT - FEBRUARY 2003
Welcome to the second Noble Ape Mail Out. This month has been focused on three things. The development of the Noble Ape Simulation 0.659, updating the Simulation Manual and preparing Noble Ape for the press release experiment. It would be nice to think Noble Ape had returned to normal after the name change - but there has been a continued transition this month - links and search engines have been slow to update.
NOBLE APE 0.659 - work in progress
Noble Ape 0.658 was released quickly without manual or any hooplah to introduce the new Noble Ape. The introduction was only local to the website. Without an up-to-date manual, the 0.658 release couldn't make it off the website. The move towards 0.659 wasn't about packing in features, it was about creating an application that could be critically evaluated for multiple site release including info-mac and CNet.
One of the big departures with 0.659 is almost completely object-based simulation descriptors. The way graphics are rendered with 0.659 is quite different to previous versions. Formerly the Simulation rendered each window per cycle. This was extremely in-efficient, but it produced regular time intervals. The new graphics rendering method renders graphics and redraws windows only when required. It frees a lot of additional processing time.
The Noble Ape Simulation Manual has been a major development work too! The old Manual from 0.653 was HTMLised around 0.655, but this manual very quickly became out of date. It was just-applicable to 0.656 and the file format information was maintained, but in general the information in the manual grew stale quickly. Aside from totally reworking the format of the manual about 70% new and additional text has made its way in for this release. Most of the images have been updated and a greater overview and FAQ is designed to introduce the Noble Ape Simulation to the widest possible audience.
The history of the Simulation has shown that old release files persist in the public domain. Poor releases typically persist as much as good ones. So the quality of the information, or at least the links to the right information, need to be maintained. All previous releases link through to the previous site!
MODULES and LAND MATHEMATICS
Through the source log and the progressive development of the Simulation, I have started to explain the transition from the static Simulation to a dynamic environment that will enable a number of simulation modules to be interchanged or run simultaneously. I have experimented with modularising the core of the simulation into a stand-alone library that can be accessed by a number of different interfaces.
The modularisation partitions the simulation core even more to allow for different landscape-geometries and potentially different cognitive beings. More on this in the Source Logs and future mailouts.
Documentation both passive ( http://www.nobleape.com/log.html ) and active ( http://www.nobleape.com/docs/ ) has been a priority with the Noble Ape Simulation in the past three months. This month an introductory document on the graphics of the Noble Ape Simulation was added to the website. The plan is to produce a number of these introductory documents and build from them with progressive updates.
Writing documentation for work-in-progress code is quite challenging. Whilst writing the document on graphics, the internal structure of the graphics changed subtly and more importantly the graphics types were renamed. Writing the document actually promoted code development!
This coming month, I have paid for a press release detailing the name change and re-introducing Noble Ape to the media. I have intentionally not done any publicity for the development since the Rushkoff article - mainly because the Rushkoff article occurred at a time where I couldn't physically deal with the backlog of correspondence or interest. The development has changed considerably since the Rushkoff article. The website contains a lot more information and I have three active email accounts and direction to filter email faster.
I don't expect anything close to the response of the Rushkoff article, although I would like to roughly double the traffic to the site and get interest from potential contributors.
The sound of Noble Ape has not been hosted on the site for a number of years. The ideas post-Stockholm was to move more information from my old CDs/CDROMs to the internet. With this in mind, I have put four tracks online (in 192k/MP3 format) from the first two audio CDs (two each). I hope to expand this work or at least vary the tracks that are hosted to cover a larger group of my audio experiments.
Hope all is well with you all,
Tom Barbalet, 27 February 2003.