NOBLE APE MAILOUT - JUNE 2005
I received a number of complementary emails about starting the last mailout with a future projection. I thought I would start the same way this month.
Earlier in the month, I began investigating alternative graphics engines to see if I could jump-start the Noble Ape graphics interface primarily the Ocelot interface;
With the advent of Noble Warfare, the Ocelot interface needs a substantial touch up. This touch up should come in the form of a dynamic window view of the Ocelot landscape. This could be applied to either rescale the land size or provide a view to a larger land area.
If the Noble Ape development was to use a third party graphics engine there are a number of additional considerations. The development would need to create or acquire graphics elements to put in the third party engine. This has been considered numerous times through the history of the development. The legacy of self-creating graphics are maintained to this day.
With this in mind, the next step is to create self-creating graphics to represent the true Noble Ape environment. The early development of the Simulation included vector (line) representations of the Noble Apes and the tropical vegetation in the Simulation. It may be useful to return to this body of work to create a primitive physics for non-point defined apes and trees.
INTEL MAC OS
The connection with the Noble Ape Simulation and Apple Computer goes back through the history of the development. It is currently bundled with every new Mac sold. The news earlier this month that Apple will be moving to INTEL processors comes as a partial surprise. It is unclear at this stage if the Simulation will continue to be bundled with every new INTEL Mac sold, however I have heard nothing different.
The move to INTEL only removes the G4/G5 specific changes made by Apple for their CHUD examples, however a number of improvements can be made to the code to unify the optimisation for the single INTEL chipset. Due to my substantially aging collection of Mac equipment, I am doing about seventy percent of the Noble Ape development on WinTEL machines currently. The amount of development on WinTEL will only increase in the near future.
Part of my development movement to WinTEL included the requirement for a free English language spell checker. Disappointed by what was available, I wrote my own;
The current dictionary is far larger than most commercial spell checkers. I'm looking into reducing this dictionary to a more manageable size which will improve initial load time. The speed in finding incorrect words is still comparable to commercial products.
In addition to the central simulation elements, Noble Ape has always included a certain number of itch scratch functional utilities. It is great to add FreeEngl to the list. I'm using it to spell check this mailout too.
From the end of last month, the Noble Ape site went down over a total of about ten days. This is a substantial amount of time and the problem has been rectified by using a new webhost.
Whilst the site was down, I created two additional download sites that feature back-up versions of the software and some additional code that hasn't hit the net before. This includes the source code to the Noble Ape Weather Simulation and the new geometry experiment with Planet Noble Ape. If you are looking for a resource that puts a substantial amount of source code together without additional text, check out these new sites which can be accessed from the main Simulation site;
Although I haven't updated the pages since I first put them up, I plan on updating them in seasonal cycles to avoid them becoming too dusty.
NOBLE APE SIMULATION 0.667b0
Last month I discussed the delta between the Mac and Windows versions of the Simulation with regards to the new scripting code. Since that time with the external eyes of my old start-up friend, Brian C. Wiles, the problem was identified in some code contributed by Mridul P. more than a year ago. This is in no way understating the immense contribution of Mridul P. to the Noble Ape development, more the inadequacies of testing the Noble Ape Simulation code over both platforms. Such a bug, whilst conveniently nestled in visually repeating code, was missed by me through a year's testing of the Simulation.
To date the command line version of the Simulation has been used as the final word for testing the Simulation core and when needed also the gui layer of the Simulation. Whilst it might seem a little strange to test the gui layer of the Simulation with a command line, the gui component of the Simulation only produces a graphical user interface through the addition of the platform specific code.
With the introduction of the scripting code there needs to be additional mechanisms to test the various code components of the Simulation outside the final output the end user sees. Whilst the scripting code was tested at a command line level with great success, the linking between the scripting and the Simulation has only begun to be tested through the environment the end user sees.
Whilst this work is still in it's infancy, due to the bug fix, I'm pleased to offer a beta of the scripting Simulation now for Windows too.
The work discussed here, in terms of code section debugging and validity checking, is a development priority over the next six months.
Ironically, a number of download site started to link to the beta as the formal release of the Simulation. This will mean a release 0.668 in the very near future to cover the current versioning number disturbance. I leave you with a comment about the new release left on VersionTracker;
''This remains the best landscape-orientated ape-brain simulator for Mac OS X.''
Hope all is well with you all,
Tom Barbalet, 29 June 2005.