NOBLE APE MAILOUT - MARCH 2006
PLANET AS SIMULATION SPACE
PLANET AS SIMULATION SPACE
At the conclusion of the BBC Radio 4 interview I talk about the Planet Noble Ape development and how it is the most interesting aspect of the Simulation.
About once a year, I dusted off the Planet Noble Ape code and look at mapping a series of flat topologies onto the sphere. Over the past month I have invested about five days in resolving the planet model into the Noble Ape Simulation. I would like to think the problem was closer to being solved although a number of problems still exist.
The background to this development is twofold. First, there is a direct correlation between new features and new users. The number of downloads increase dramatically when new features that change the appearance of the Simulation are released. Thus the investment of substantial time for this feature seems justified.
Second, greater integration of the Simulation components move the Simulation towards a long term goal. When the Simulation contains all the Other Simulations components it comes closer to the original vision of the Simulation spelt out in the original manuals.
Following the departure of Nathan and Sanjay from Apple, I was unclear what the status of the Simulation through Apple's distribution with every new Mac sold would be. Through the month, I heard from the new contact people at Apple, Rick Altherr and Eric Miller.
Their initial interest sparked a re-integration of the CHUD changes to the main Simulation development in particular the Apple threading model (although it seems less and less applicable in the current version.)
This new CHUD version also required an update of the ''on Apple'' documentation including active links;
Somewhat ironically the Noble Ape on Apple documentation gets better Google results than Apple's own Altivec/SSE documentation.
With all new Macs running INTEL architecture and almost all sold running dual core technology, any INTEL threading model would allow the continued popularity of the Simulation on the Mac. I have speculated with some on the developer mailing list that a single INTEL compiled library for Mac, Windows and Linux with think platform specific codes for the various OSes. Whether or not this will be possible is yet to be seen as the Mac INTEL compiler has not yet been released.
The Apple experience in terms of internal use and the requirements of documentation reference material available online offers the potential that putting more source code documentation associated with the Simulation would also prove popular.
DIRECTION IN SOURCE
From the slight change of direction going back to the Apple CHUD paradigm, the final question relates to the narrative about Moon Monkeys. The ideal technology for AIR and Digital Spaces is ApeScript. In the movement back to 0.678 in 0.680 the ApeScript code remains almost identical through the movement back.
There are a number of simplifications through the source code that lends itself to DLL development. The plan is to release a Noble Toolkit DLL and an ApeScript DLL to give the best of file parsing, white space removal and of course ApeScript. In terms of demonstration source for this new DLL, the iON development lends itself heavily to an autonomous version of ApeScript.
The mailout is written so dynamically, this final section of the mailout originally related to the ApeScript contest. There will be more information about the ApeScript contest in the next mailout. What I will leave you with is the thought that the ApeScript contest could produce hundreds of ApeScript developers and at the same time also publicise the language far greater than the Simulation alone. Of course, it could also be a non event. Time will tell.
Hope all is well with you all,
Tom Barbalet, 31 March 2006.