SEPTEMBER 2006 MAILOUT
NOBLE APE 0.682
NOBLE APE 0.682
Regular readers of the mailout may remember a strange simulation project that was in some way connected with the podcasts, tshirts and artificial life evangelism that Noble Ape has become. Some with particularly good memories may even remember ApeScript.
Since mid-February this year, ApeScript has been broken and it took some attempts at implementing functionality through ApeScript by Pedro Ferreira. Whilst finding this issue identified the need for regular testing of the various functional components of the Simulation, it was also an addition to a growing list of issues associated with the development from 0.681.
Another lingering issue was the divergence between the 0.681 code and the 0.678 CHUD code which was identified as the continuation of the Apple/INTEL implementation of the Simulation.
Due to these issues, the decision was made to drop the 0.681 branch in favour of return to and porting from the 0.678 CHUD branch. Thus the additional (and simplest possible) changes from 0.679-0.681 were added to the 0.678 CHUD version and the resulting version was released as 0.682.
Whilst this may appear to be a few steps backwards in the Noble Ape Simulation development, it fixed all the known outstanding issues included those that had crept in from 0.678, like the ApeScript issue identified by Pedro.
MORE THAN FIFTY PODCASTS
The Ape Reality podcast celebrated 50 episodes during the month. The current count is at 52. At roughly 12 minutes a podcast, this means more than 10 hours of audio relating to the Noble Ape development has already been recorded.
Whilst the Ape Reality podcast's most vocal listenership are existing artificial life developers and expert users, I do receive feedback from random folk through the weeks and I am sure to thank them through the podcast. As the numbers of podcast listeners continue to grow the ability to have a voice and a substantial archive of episodes on a wide variety of topics continues to be an advantage. Whilst I will be writing critical documentation for the Simulation in coming months, podcasting has shown itself as an important means of communicating the Noble Ape development to a broader audience.
Aside from the Ape Reality podcast, I also record the Biota.org interviews podcast;
A couple of interesting interviews in recent weeks and the seminal Biota 2 conference audio including Richard Dawkins and the late Douglas Adams. Based on a request from Dave Kerr, I have just completed an interview with Dr. Kenneth Stanley;
Dr. Stanley developed an evolving and expanding neural network API (NEAT) that provides cutting-edge artificial intelligence to artificial life developers, game developers and others. As the cognitive simulation component of the Noble Ape Simulation is optional and modular, I'm interested in implementing a NEAT version of the Simulation. Another tool Dr. Stanley used in his NERO development (a NEAT demonstration game) was the Torque graphics engine;
Torque provides a number of possible solutions to the True 3D Noble Ape Simulation development specifically open environments, multiple platforms, good vegetation rendering, multiple agents, good weather and water, and a general level of gloss that has been missing from Ogre and other open source graphics environment solutions. Will the Torque engine be useful for the Noble Ape development? Time will tell.
Hope all is well with you all,
Tom Barbalet, 30 September 2006.