NOBLE APE MAILOUT - NOVEMBER 2004
DOCUMENTATION and DISCUSSION
DOCUMENTATION and DISCUSSION
Checking the new sites over the past six months that have started linking to the Noble Ape site, one thing is clear. The Noble Ape development is inextricably linked with Mac developers who want to optimise their applications for the G4/G5. The quality and currency of documentation relating the Simulation has faltered in recent years. In contrast, having recently installed the Noble Ape Simulation from Apple's G5 installer CDs, the version Apple maintains is contemporary with the last major document rewrite. This, in itself, needs to change.
Code has been king in the development since the Stockholm Rewrite. The long, stream of consciousness text of the original manuals are confined to a monthly mailout. Reading the original document titled Introduction to Programming the Noble Ape Simulation, two things struck me.
First, the Simulation code has simplified dramatically since the document was written and thus the Simulation has moved from a backward idealism to a new pragmatism. In a day and a half, I wrote a new document that stands to replace the original Introduction document.
In addition to this new document, I have also created an online forum for feedback, bug reports and general discussion.
Whilst this forum isn't heavily used currently, I would like to tie the forum into the releases of the Noble Ape Simulation, Noble Warfare and Noble Ecology (formerly known as Ecosim).
Over the past six months I have reworked the Ocelot interface for the Noble Warfare development. One effect I have been working through this month is moving from the map view to the Ocelot interface. If you imagine the Ocelot landscape window viewed directly from above, this appears almost identical to a zoomed rotation of the map window. As you tilt the landscape, the view changes from the map view to the current Ocelot interface view.
Whilst working through this code, I have optimised the existing Ocelot code eliminating a lot of additional overhead mathematics. There is a school of optimisation that says aesthetically pleasing code is more likely to be optimised. The rationale is that simple, repeating code is more aesthetically pleasing. The Ocelot code is progressively being reduced to a minimal functional state.
One piece of Noble Ape history that hasn't gone online until now was the talk I gave at NYU in 2000. This talk is relatively important in the history of the development because it marks the dusting off of the Simulation source code prior to the Stockholm Rewrite. Although the discussion in the talk is a time marker and the edit online is considerably reduced, I have put a concise version of the talk online in a Quicktime movie optimised for fast loading;
The final movie is about 20Mb, due to it's size I'm hosting it on my high bandwidth server. Normally reserved for WeFunk shows and a little Noble Ape music;
Hope all is well with you all,
Tom Barbalet, 29 November 2004.