NOBLE APE MAIL OUT - MAY 2003
NOBLE APE 0.660 - Windows and Mac
This month has been one of the busiest months to-date in the nearly seven year history of Noble Ape. Version 0.660 of the Simulation, featuring both Mac and Windows releases, hit the internet with a substantial increase in downloads from the previous version. Thanks to the focused development through Sourceforge, the Simulation now has an active developer mailing list. A version of the GPI for Linux/XWindows is being developed by Mridul P, a developer on the mailing list. This should produce a Linux version of the Simulation within the next couple of months.
The start of the month also saw dedicated development of the Java implementation of the Simulation. To top off the month, I have been confirmed as a speaker at the Game Developer Conference Europe in London in late August.
NOBLE APE 0.660 - Windows and Mac
The first Windows version of the Noble Ape Simulation since 1997 was released together with the usual multi-flavoured Mac releases.
The Windows version - through the Generic Platform Interface - looked distinctly similar to the 1997 version bar the fact it was Win32 rather than Windows 3.1! It is a start. A Proof-of-Concept version should be available by 0.665.
The Mac versions were released on half a dozen Mac download sites, and both versions were released on versiontracker.com. The downloads looked lower than 0.659 initially. But after putting the software on versiontracker.com, the downloads leapt by more than 1,300 in one day. The total for the first week was close to 4,000. Nearly double the same period for the 0.659 release.
The initial feedback was good through emails, and fair on the comment sections of the download sites. Unfortunately those that would normally leave positive comments, typically are on the Noble Ape site before they think of leaving a positive comment. As the Mac Carbon version - a Proof-of-Concept implementation - was the default download from most of the download sites, the main request has been updating the Carbon version to a full version (removing the need for the non-Carbon version for Mac).
Through the populist vote that is feature requirements - a full Carbon implementation is the main *feature* for 0.661, with improvements in the Windows version and potentially a Linux/XWindows version thanks to the work of Mridul P.
0.660 introduced a new energy/movement model that takes into account the conditions of the terrain. This integrates well into the linked-list ape development and expanding the land modelling algorithms planned for 0.661.
DEVELOPER MAILING LIST
For the past six weeks, I have tried to expand the development's coverage on Sourceforge. Towards the end of last month, I registered a number of skilled positions for the development that were required - akin to open source job ads. From these posts, I received a number of positive emails. From this group, I set up a developers' mailing list which provided substantial feedback/discussion, although it has quietened down a little since the 0.660 release.
If you are interested in actively talking about the Noble Ape development - it isn't just a mailing list for programmers - please feel free to join the Noble Ape Developers' Mailing List;
What does the future hold for Noble Ape? In the past month, I pulled a document together that talked about a number of the developments going on currently and in the near future;
This document outlines some of the work over the next six or so months and also how this work effects the future of the Simulation.
One of the solutions to platform support (Win/Mac/Linux(?)/PalmOS(?)), is to produce a web interface to the Noble Ape Simulation. The development of a Java version of the Simulation dates back to 1997. Since the end of last year, I have progressively modernised the source code and for the past month or so, the Java version of the Simulation has been available on Sourceforge.
Maintaining a Java version in the release cycle is currently an effort undertaken by hand. An automated method for creating parity between the C version of the Simulation and the Java version should be considered as an expansion of Noblemake. I hope to write more on this in next month's Mailout.
Hope all is well with you all,
Tom Barbalet, 26 May 2003.