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 Population dynamics prototype

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PostSubject: Population dynamics prototype   Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:13 am

I need a break from thesis writing, so I've decided to spend today, and possibly tomorrow, creating a new prototype. The aim is to get most of the parts in my post here working together to evolve a community of AI cells. I wanted to do this in our engine, but I don't have more than a day or so to spend on this, and it would take me that long just to learn how to use it, so I'll be using Unity again.

I'm not sure how much I'll get done, so I'm not making any promises, though I'll try and have something up here tonight. Equally, after this weekend it's unlikely I'll have time to work on this for a few more weeks.

Anyway, the reason for posting this is that I'll be on skype and the IRC channel all day, so if you want to help me think stuff through, test some half-baked builds or give feedback, join me there (preferably on skype).
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PostSubject: Re: Population dynamics prototype   Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:30 am

I'll be available on Skype most of the day (although I'll probably working on something for the majority of that time so I can't stop for long), so if you need me to test something or give feedback I'd be happy to help. I could help discuss programming as well, though I warn you I'm not a programmer and consequently won't understand everything.

Whatever you end up with I'll be looking forward to it, so good luck.

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PostSubject: Re: Population dynamics prototype   Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:27 am

I'll try to be on Skype as much as possible.

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PostSubject: Re: Population dynamics prototype   Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:04 am

What is your account on skype?
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PostSubject: Re: Population dynamics prototype   Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:15 am

Ok, so that didn't go as well as planned. I spent Saturday reimplementing code from my last compound system prototype, and then laying the basic structure for population dynamics. I realised I needed to actually see what was going on before there was any point carrying on - see numbers change on screen tells me the code is doing something, not whether that something is sensible - so I figured I'd put together a very basic cell prototype, and have a go at implementing alpha-maps compound clouds...

I reused code from an old AI project I was working on both for the alpha map, and boids-like AI behaviour, but ran into some nasty errors, so by Saturday night all I had to show for 10 hours work was something rather ugly, which inevitably crashed within a minute.

Had to spend two days on actual work, then figured out what the issue was late last night, made some fixes this morning, and I finally have something presentable. It's just as ugly, but it seems stable, and fps is decent (definately not good enough, but thats almost entirely due to how I'm implementing the alpha map).

Link to version 0.5

You can't control anything here, only watch what happens. You should see large grey spheres (cells) moving around the background, and smaller coloured spheres (compound packets) appearing and dissapearing after a while. You can click on the cells to select them and see their compound contents in the top right. Both cells and packets leak compounds into the environment, which is visible as clouds of colour, which spread by diffusion.

Compounds are currently colour coded, and in the GUI are, from top to bottom:

  • Cyan - Water
  • Red - Oxygen
  • Dark red - Co2
  • Green - Sugar
  • Yellow - ATP
  • Grey - Light
  • Pale pink - Lactic Acid
  • Pale brown - Fat
  • Organe - RpAse
  • Blue - Protein
  • Magenta - Agent

Besides what you can see, theres more going on in the background. Current features:

  • Cells

    • Each cell can store a set of compounds. Currently each cell can store every compound in the datafile, and starts of at 40% of capacity. It uses information held by its species (currently all the same), to process these compounds.
    • The species holds information about organelles and processes available (currently every one in the datafiles), which is used to calculate the rate at which compounds are produced/consumed by cells and populations (not yet implemented).
    • The environment currently does very little, besides randomly spawning cells and compound packets. It is intended to keep track of all compounds not currently in a cell or agent cloud as 'background compound levels' in the environment.

  • Alpha map

    • Cells and compound packets leak compounds onto the alpha map, and cells can collect compounds from this map if external concentrations are higher than the cells internal concentration (this is currently very difficult to see).
    • Currently there is only global alpha map, not individually spawned maps for each cloud.
    • Compounds/agents can mix perfectly on the map, which is currently shown as a mixing of colours.
    • The visible compound levels currently get saturated (white) very quickly, and once a packet dissapears they (visibly) dissipate too quickly. This is largely down to how I calculate the visualisation, rather than the actual numbers present in the map, but both need tweaking.

  • AI

    • I'm currently using an opensteer (boids) implementation to make cells move randomly (wandering), move up/down gradients in the compound alpha map depending on the internal concentration of that compound (a little like flow field steering), and avoid collisions with other cells (collision avoidance). The cells aren't currently very sensitive to compound gradients, so that behaviour isn't very obvious.

I think thats it for now, I never did get round to implementing pop dynamics, and theres a few more visual tweaks I want to try before I do. I'm not sure when I'll have another build to show, but I'll be working on this bit by bit when I do have time... which isn't that often atm.

A big thanks to Scio for figuring out a few more of the processes we'll need, sorry I didn't make much more use of them yet, I'll get to that next time!
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PostSubject: Re: Population dynamics prototype   Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:27 am

It looks... well i dont know. Too bright maybe. Could I (we) get the unity project files, wo i can look at it and maybe modify it?
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PostSubject: Re: Population dynamics prototype   Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:56 am

I did say it was ugly, I really didn't try to make it look nice yet, and it's not really a priority here, the point is to get the backend stuff working, and have the bare minimum visuals required to see that they do work.

I'll put the code up soon, but I don't think theres any point in people forking it just yet, unless theres a very specific change you wanted to make?
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PostSubject: Re: Population dynamics prototype   Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:51 am

Oh, i just wanted to screw around with it. Nothing in particular (but i'll probably get some ideas with it in front)
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PostSubject: Re: Population dynamics prototype   Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:09 pm

Ok, in that case do you mind waiting until I atleast tidy the code up a bit, I think it has all of two lines of comments atm... (it is supposed to be a prototype after all ;p)
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