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Noble Ape Philosophic

As a concise guide to the philosophic principles implemented in the Noble Ape Simulation, this document was provided in answer to many of the problems raised with the original texts associated with the development. This document is designed as a definitional manual. It is intended that this be used as a yard stick for further simulations and as a reference guide for those intending on bettering this effort.

The Noble Ape Philosophic is designed to offer an exploration and explanation of many of the tools the simulation uses and develops philosophically. It is intended that the philosophical constructions of the simulation are explained in an interlocking and sequential manner.

Internal and External

The ideas explored in Noble Ape Philosophic are explicitly designed for representing a realistic environment to simulate. There are two very distinct and dualist states in the simulation. Those quantities and constructions that are created by the simulation and those qualities and constructions that are created by the individual entities that take part in the simulation, or in the case of here, the Noble Apes.

The Noble Apes are developed in the simulation as being simple human-like creatures that observe the outside world primarily with vision and hearing. The simulation attempts to create detailed emotional structures for these creatures. It is important to note that I will refer to objects in the simulation as if they really exist. If I were to continuously distinguish things in the simulation as not being real, I would do it throughout the manual and thus waste space and time. In reality the most that can be said about the Noble Apes are that they exist as numbers in simulation space and time and their minds are files on disk, but this is something that is just a physical reality.

The simulation can run without the Noble Apes. All the variables and everything that is created external to the Noble Apes is classified as an external variable. Things such as the lay out of the island and the progression of simulation time are external variables. This can become confusing because the Noble Apes also keep internal records of concepts like space and time which may not be anything like the external quantities. Thus it is crucial that the distinction between the internal (those variables stored by each individual Noble Ape) and the external (those variables stored by the simulation) is made.

From the perspective of a simulation such as Noble Ape it is possible to access every external variable in the simulation yet it is impossible to access any of the internal variables directly as they are interdependent on other internal variables and do not show themselves in a fixed reference point. Where as time externally can be offered as a single number, the internal understanding of time by each individual Noble Ape is dependent on many complex interlinking sets.


Space externally is well defined by the simulation, it is rigid and the only development over time comes through birth, growth and death. Ideally the simulation would offer infinite resolution of space and infinite space. The latter is far less conceivable, but the former is achievable. Currently the simulation runs under a finite resolution of space which shall be known as ds (a mathematical term meaning a very small section of space in one dimension). This term does not impinge on any of the philosophical developments made later in the text, but it is important to note that the resolution in external space can be quantized.

Space externally as created by the simulation primarily to for fill regional uniqueness. It is this principle that means that no section of the island is like any other section of the island and is fundamental in the construction of identity. It is impossible to imagine finding a real location that was identical to another real location and yet this would be more than likely when creating a simulation with a limited resolution. If a Noble Ape were to find themselves in a place, walk some distance and then find themselves in identically the same place through their external observations, it would either allude to teleportation or a non unique definition of external space. The mathematical properties used to describe the external space shall not be discussed in any greater detail here.

Space internally is considerably more slippery and developed in movement through external space and visual information. The internal description of space is very dynamic and subject to change through improvement and simplification. Internal space like external space is a three dimensional concept. Internal space has the purpose of applying some constriction to the possible infinity of space. It is constructed both with solid space constrictions and the allowance for movable objects. The movable objects can be grouped but also hold unique. Thus the Noble Apes can distinguish between a specific rock and rocks in general for example. But these objects in space are different to the constriction of space internally. The constriction of space enables the Noble Apes to move quickly without speculative judgements about observed reality.


Time externally, like space externally, is well defined by the simulation. It is fixed and progressive and has a finite resolution known as dt. The quantization of time has a drastic impact on the physics of the simulation but it is also a necessity of the simulation. The theory is that if dt is small enough, it will come close to simulating continuous time. The simulation has 24 hour days, 28 day lunar months and 13 month years. There are noticeable seasons and seasonal variance in sun-set and sun-rise.

The internal perception of time is developed through motion and temporal constants like day and night. Time internally is measured in simple historical events. The observance of aging and changes in the vegetation gives some indication of time, however knowledge of time internally is considerably more intimate than the internal observation of space.


Vision is defined as a directional perception of the external space through stereo two-dimensional images. This dual-picture postcard image of the external space gives some indication of the possibility of a third dimension, however this is only realized through motion through space. Vision offers some understanding of external objects and space constrictions.

The noticeable absence in this text is an exploration of the interaction of the other senses. This is a very important philosophical level for me personally. Having approached the simulation with a really good method of reality mapping through vision, the introduction of other senses was quite problematic until I took a step back and realized that the other senses have exactly the same effect as vision except through a different realm of mapping external space to internal space.

Identity Introduction

It is important to understand that the vision (the images from the Noble Ape's eyes) is processed into a reality map - space internally. This map exists in its rawest form when the section of the map is being seen and scrutinized by the Noble Ape. When the section of the map is no longer seen the internal mapping of the space seen previously is simplified. This is the primary function of the identity in the simulation, to store the internal space mapping. The simplification of the map produces a biological temporal aspect to the identity. The identity as defined here could also be called the memory. The Noble Apes can forget specific aspects of something they have seen. Regions where they often go appear to be bigger and have better resolution of detail. Sections where they never go are mysterious and unknown, not only through definition but also because they do not feature in the internal space.

The identity also holds the objects that have been observed. These still fit into the concept of internal space, but have the property of grouping and uniqueness (the rock discussion in the section on Space for example). These objects provide a fast accessible look-up table containing what objects they have seen before and what the particular unique objects that fit into the grouped objects are. To add a complication, places and events can be considered as objects for reference too. The act of catching and eating a fish can be offered as both a unique event and something which has been done many times and thus is an object of reference.


Fear in the simulation is defined as a numerical description of the perception the Noble Ape has in a current situation. The direct effect of fear is an escaping motion. If the Noble Ape finds themselves in a situation where their fear is high, the direct result of this is that they will attempt to leave the situation as fast as possible. Fear is constructed through observations of the outside world and through accessing a section of the identity that contains feared objects.

This fear table is subject to change and objects are added to it when the individual has a physical or cognitive disturbance brought about by an object or set of objects. In the physical case, if they are hurt by an object, the object is directly added to the fear table. Objects can be added to the fear table in what I have called a cognitive disturbance as well. This occurs when the Noble Ape reflects on a past situation and attributes fear to objects that are present in the identity (or memory if you like). In both cases the effect is still the same, an object which induces a need to leave a situation where it is observed again. Fear is cumulative and can be negated, and thus it is attributed a simple number in the simulation that represents the level of fear. Objects which are only mildly feared can enter into the vision without invoking fleeing movement, however the cumulation of the same objects will eventually invoke a great enough level of fear to motivate movement away from the current location.

The role of fear negators is also extremely important. Other Noble Apes for example can offer fear negation and can give support to stop over emphasized levels of fear. The mother of a child can remove that child's fear of the dark for example. Yet some things will hold so much fear that even in groups of Noble Apes, they will all be forced to flee.

It is important to note that the direct effect of fear is motion but more precisely instantaneous motion. It exists in a realm of instant time, of instinctive chemical reactions and not of the reflective mind.


To contrast with fear, desire is a reflective process that motivates movement and the projection of the future. Desire is defined as the understanding and wanting to get to some object (or objective goal) in the future. It gives some indication that the Noble Apes think ahead, and have dreams and aspirations as humans do. It is constructed through perceptions made both of the perceived understanding of the external world and through self-reflection. In the simulation the development of desires is complex and latent. Most importantly it can be about anything, be it desiring a particular kind of food or desiring a particular mate. The desire is a dynamic idea linking structure with references in both internal space and internal time. It is possible to justify how each chosen event in the desire structure can to being through the real referencing of external collected information.

The outcome of desire is motion, like fear, but it exists in the time and not the instant time domain and thus is once removed from fear.

Identity Resolved

With the introduction of fear and desire the identity becomes a little more detailed. Prior to the introduction of fear and desire the identity existed as the constrictions to or mapping of space and the objects in space. With the introduction of fear, the objects can now be attributed a property that results in instantaneous and instinctive movement. And with the introduction of desire the objects are now linking articles from which movement is motivated. It is important to note that movement is the main observable effect of both fear and desire in the simulation.

These outcomes can only really be speculated on as an external observer. It should be noted that this description may be seen as a gross simplification of life as a human(oid). To this it should be said that fear and desire are both developed to great detail in the running of the simulation and generate concepts like love, anger, remorse, revenge, happiness and desperation.


Language in the simulation is defined as any means of communication between two or more Noble Apes where identity information is expressed. This need not be deep or meaningful, but it allows some linking between identities.

Language is a very difficult topic to develop in a document such as this. The Noble Apes could exist and develop simple communities quite well without any form of language, however there comes a point where even a signed mode of communication greatly advantages the Noble Ape community. It is important to note that language offers no real insight into the minds of others, but offers some indication of their understanding of the external world.

For the time being in the simulation the Noble Apes will be unable to speak as we do, they will however be able to develop a sign language capable of detailed communication and a simple exploration of history. This constriction is made purely because I am the person behind the simulation that has to write all the mysterious computer code that achieves all these wonders. Expressions, physical gestures and learnt movements are easier to symbolize and explain than a spoken language - even in it's most simple roots. Concepts like understanding through explanation can be considered through a sign language format that can develop for specific generations and change over time.

With language comes group understanding of concepts like death and birth and some indication of society. When language is introduced, concepts of society and culture in its most primitive form come as secondary effects. It is important to note that the definition of language offered here is considerably more broad than the common usage of the term. A mother holding her baby is communicating with the baby in a very basic way and conveying fundamental information to the child.


The development of societies or tribes of Noble Apes is the final point of detail in the philosophical presentation of the simulation. My hypothesis is that societies will develop in direct response to the conditions of the particular island or sets of islands created. This comes through the linking in the simulation of;

External space to Vision. Vision to Internal space. Internal space to Identity. Identity to Language. Language to Society.

Thus theoretically this development should be justified even though each step produces complexes and convolutions of the previous information. To expand on my idea, I see very tightly run and authoritarian societies created on dangerous and inhospitable islands, where as relaxed societies should exist on safe and bountiful islands. But this is mere speculation in the current state of the simulation.

Tom Barbalet, 27 June 1997.

Getting Started - Contents - File Format