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Tobias
A 30+ year old Msc. Graduate in Computing Science currently working in the financial technology sector.
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Monday, June 14, 2010

Boids


The most famous technique, if there is one, must be Craig Reynolds "Boids". Developed in 1986 Craig Reynolds made a computer model of coordinated animal motion such as bird flocks and fish schools. Speaking for myself, this model is the foundation of emergent behaivor ... it was this model that got me interested, and got me thinking in other directions. It's quite simple really, but the result is far more complex ...

(from the left)
Alignment: steer towards the average heading of local flockmates
Cohesion: steer to move toward the average position of local flockmates
Separation: steer to avoid crowding local flockmates

I told you, simple ... but look at the result when the rules interact with eachother.







Calculations between birds(boids - agents in the simulation) are made in realtime. The result is quite amazing. Hence, the clip above also have an extra rule which can be called Avoidance - Stay clear of a specifik object. As you now may have realized - yes, you can add more rules to the simulation. Giving each agent a new behaivor which combined with the existing rules may result in something completely unexpected. That's the tricky thing with emergent systems, simple alterations may have a bigger impact in the full aspect than one may come to expect.

This technique has come to be VERY popular in games and movies, we have all seen the Lord of the Ring trilogy where it's adapted in several scenes. But not just new films, remember "The Lion King" from 1994 where Simba is chased in the ravin by herd av gnus?

I'm going to leave the subject for now and stay clear of the hard core tech parts, but I will return to it later. Don't forget to visit Craig Reynolds to take part of his work in the area. Did I mention that he nowdays work at Sony Entertainment, I wonder why =)

-Tobias

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