NOBLE APE MAILOUT - JULY 2003
NOBLE APE SIMULATION 0.663
This month has seen a number of minor changes in the Simulation and related development. Scripting has been discussed and documented as a way of moving the Simulation forward for a particular group of users. The main change, still in early planning, is the beta release of Planet Noble Ape integrated into the Simulation planned for mid-late October.
NOBLE APE SIMULATION 0.663
It takes about ten minutes for me to release a version of the Noble Ape Simulation and the process is pretty well refined and defined. For Mac, the Simulation has a regular user base of roughly 3,000 from the 0.662 and 0.663 releases with additional downloads fluctuating. The Windows and Linux releases are still finding a user base and over the next few months colour Ocelot interfaces will be added to Windows and Linux which should increase the level of interest from both OS groups.
The main change for 0.663 was the release of the Simulation for Linux. This is solely down to Mridul P. I have requested some biographical information but as yet Mridul has provided only code and comments on code. The current development Mridul is working on is the ambitious Ocelot port to Windows and Linux. It would be wonderful to mirror the depth and interest the Ocelot port has provided on the Mac to Windows and Linux. A recent comment on the versiontracker download site titled 'This is a very important piece of software' reads;
I recommend starting a day's work with fifteen minutes of contemplation of this application's output windows. Become the ape.
Other comments include a request for a Janet Reno expansion pack. The next month or so, my time is pretty heavily dominated with the Game Developers' Conference Europe paper, however I hope to start betaing the Planet Noble Ape version of the Simulation. From my early tests this month, this is going to be a lot of work, but it will push the Simulation to another level and probably advance interest in the Simulation.
APPLE DISTRIBUTION AND WWDC
The Noble Ape Simulation was displayed twice at Apple's WWDC at the end of June - throughout Session 506 and for a fifteen minute segment at Session 305. To-date, I have not seen either presentation although Apple has promised to send me their DVD-ROM box set of the presentations when they are released. There have been three releases of the CHUD toolkit containing Noble Ape and the Apple Distribution of the Noble Ape Simulation containing the Apple optimisation is available via Sourceforge download or CVS.
One of the main feature requests from users has been scripting akin to academic simulation products. The file format provides a small part of that, but there is a level of programmability required through scripting which the file format doesn't currently provide.
What does this mean in practical terms? To-date the Simulation has been developed with stability of the Simulation and the software as a central tenant. Scripting gives the user almost total control in writing their own Simulation environments and adding there own sentient characteristics to the ape.
So far, the implementation in the active 0.664 source code has been through the brain function and the values that are used when the Ape is awake or asleep to simulate the brain. The next step is providing a level of control over the Simulation Core which is discussed in the draft document on scripting;
The plan is to implement some form of scripting over the next three versions. This may prove heavy going. But hopefully with additional user feedback, this idea can develop through the Simulation and related software.
I put two days into the iON development this month. With the dramatic progress in the GPI for Linux and Windows, writing a GPI compatible iON version has been the next logical progression. The code is about three changes away from that becoming a reality. GDCE has a large mobile games development component. From my discussion with some mobile developers the conversion of the iON to a Java/mobile compatible format should be relatively trivial.
Akin to the scripting discussion with the Simulation an equivalent language for the iON is critical for its development. To-date the model used has been a compiler and disassembler for getting information into the iON. Increasingly this model is looking dated. Scripting seems to be the more popular direction to take the iON development.
PLANET NOBLE APE
For at least eighteen months, I have been discussing the port of the Noble Ape Simulation from an island to a planet. I think this is clearly the next logical step to take the Simulation and it requires no small amount of work. The development of Ocelot gives some indication of the direction I would like to take this development.
The Ocelot model produced a prototype that was branched from the main Simulation development and then looped back up to the Simulation when it was stable. The branching was a matter of roughly a month. I suspect the Apple Distribution will have a similar pattern with about three months of branch division. The Planet development may last six months.
The early stages of this work have begun. The branching from the active Simulation source code should occur over the next month.
Hope all is well with you all,
Tom Barbalet, 27 July 2003.