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Noble Ape Simulation

How to download and build the Noble Ape Simulation.

New: if you'd like to chat about Noble Ape, there is a Discord server for Noble Ape!

The Noble Ape Simulation has been developed since June 13, 1996. The original aim of the simulation was to create:

  • a detailed biological environment for the Noble Apes to live amongst, and,
  • a cognitive simulation for the Noble Apes' survival.

    From this, multiple additional simulations have been added to the development including:

  • a weather simulation,
  • a social simulation,
  • a narrative simulation that governs both external (speech) and internal (thought) narrative for the Noble Apes and also,
  • various physiological simulations to cover metabolism, diseases and other physiological elements.

    The Simulation is intended as a palette for open source cross-platform development on Windows, Mac, iOS and Linux.

    Latest Development Version

    All the development of Noble Ape is being done through GitLab.

    The releases are less frequent through this site but the development continues at a rapid rate. The Simulation can be compiled with free tools for Linux, Mac/iOS and Windows. If you have any questions about developing with Noble Ape, please get in contact.

    Version 0.698


    Threading updates
    Moving Noble Ape towards distributed simulations

    Mac OS X (64-bit 10.8+ zip) (285k)

    Version 0.696

    Windows (zip) (98k)

    Version 0.690

    Carbon (OS 9 / OS X)(hqx) (172k) INTEL (zip) (140k)

    Windows (zip) (124k)

    [ Manual | Apple/Intel Version | Facebook Group | Wear ]


    The Simulation includes a detailed scripting language for user-implemented movement and cognitive-process development. ApeScript now comes standard with the Simulation.

    Source Code

    The Noble Ape Simulation has been open source from the start. The source code for the current Noble Ape Simulation has been online under continuous development since 2000. It represents an almost total departure from the original Simulation although the underlying principles remain.

           0.690 (452k) 0.692 (852k) 0.694 (856k) 0.696 (908k) 0.698 (1.4Mb)

    This shows the current source code development on GitLab.

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    ''This remains the best landscape-orientated ape-brain simulator for Mac OS X.'' - review on VersionTracker

    ''I find it inspiring that a complex simulation such as this is only 64k. It could easily have ended up being some slow 5MB java joke. But instead the developer went with efficient design. Kudos sir. ... It gives hope that there are still programmers who can write compact efficient code. Especially on Mac OS X.'' - review on MacUpdate

    Writing on Noble Ape

    Popular Writing

    The Original Manuals of Noble Ape

    Academic Writing

    The Mind of the Noble Ape in Three Simulations. Origins of Mind. Springer, 2013. (PDF)

    Not All Designs are Created Equal. Origin(s) of Design in Nature. Springer, 2012.

    Breaking the Paradigm: The Pattern of Life. Genesis - In The Beginning. Springer, 2012.

    Noble Ape's Cognitive Simulation: From Agar to Dreaming and Beyond. Nature-Inspired Informatics for Intelligent Applications and Knowledge Discovery: Implications in Business, Science, and Engineering. IGI Global, 2009. (PDF)

    Welcome to the Simulation. Divine Action and Natural Selection: Science, Faith and Evolution. World Scientific, 2008. (PDF)

    Noble Ape Simulation. IEEE Graphics and Applications (Vol 24, Issue 2). IEEE, March-April 2004. (PDF)

    Source Tutorials and Discussion

    Explore Noble Ape on YouTube

    User Comments

    ''One thing which attracted me to Noble Ape was partly Tom's Biota podcast and partly that this simulation seems more complex than many other artificial life systems, with a fractal landscape and weather patterns. A complex environment can support diverse survival strategies, and I like the idea of having dense, multi-layered complexity in which something like a 'psychological jungle' can exist.''
    - Bob Mottram, UK.

    ''We are deeply grateful for Tom's work on Noble Ape, which was the perfect tool for us to showcase our optimization tools. First of all, the program itself provides a delightful visual representation of a complex computational problem. More than that, though, Tom was a very willing and helpful partner, allowing us great liberty to customize and tear apart his application as part of our demonstrations. Tom, you yourself are Nobler than any Ape, and we thank you for it. :-)''
    - Dr. Ernie Prabhakar, Open Source/XML Product Manager, Apple.

    ''I liked that someone was out there allowing an environment to have an evolutionary and emergent bias. It seemed like such an obvious choice to me, yet it wasn't until I ran into Tom that I realized no one else was really doing it. Of course, now the Sims people are developing something that they hope will work like what the people at Noble Ape put together. Or at least a good simulation of that. But without the open source community working on building the thing, it's not really self-similar on all levels.''
    - Douglas Rushkoff, USA.

    ''Though it's been more than five years since Tom and I worked together, I continue to track the progress of his facinating work. He's a great talent, and that's why I keep him and Noble Ape in the back of my mind as I work with other technologies - hoping to create a marriage of technologies.''
    - Ian Kitajima, USA.

    ''Back in 2003, I was looking for a project which requires porting to different platforms so that I could understand the graphics APIs on that. Noble Ape was the perfect find that way cause it was built using Mac APIs and Tom was looking for someone to port it to Linux. I ported the code to Linux (the black and white GPI interface), and the original Windows Ocelot interface. One of my favourite posts on Tom's log is the November 2003 where he posted the screenshot I sent him about the Ocelot Windows interface. ''The difference between using the Simulation under the GPI and Ocelot is really an emotional one. Hats off to Mridul P!'' Though I've not touched Noble Ape code in a long time, I've been in regular touch with Tom, and hope to contribute to the future development of Noble Ape. OpenGL, genealogical information shown on the ape's fur... all wow ideas. The interesting thing is that until quite recently, I had never seen Noble Ape run on the Mac. Tom as a person is pretty fun to talk to. He's got some pretty nifty ideas about a lot of things, and it's always fun to chat with him. Except for his criticism of gcc... Now that's blasphemy!''
    - Mridul Pentapalli, India.

    ''When I searched Sourceforge for an ALife project to help on, I could never imagine I would find such a dynamic and interesting work. Noble Ape is much more than a simulation: it's a whole philosophy, a long quest about life. After many years, Tom carries it on, everyday, discussing new ideas and planning the next step. Noble Ape is an example of persistence, hard work, and true science (and it's open source ;)!!!). It's, no doubt, a life's work, a gift to the open source community. Besides technological skills, Noble Ape helped me developing new ideas about life and intelligence. I find the ''Original Manuals'' an amusing and enriching lecture about many problems that still remain in AI and ALife.''
    - Pedro Ferreira, Portugal.

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