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March 2004 Archives


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Schooling Fish Simulation

Lately I've been working on one of the coolest projects so far in my RIT education, and it's for Multi-User Media Spaces (MUMS) taught by Professors Nancy Doubleday and Steve Kurtz. The project, which I'm calling "Fish of a Color", aims to simulate flocking behavior by implementing behavioral rules, though I guess it should be dubbed "schooling" behavior since we are using fish - and yet these same rules apply to birds and herds as well. The behavioral rules that we are concerned with in these simulations are:

  • Fish are drawn to the center of other fish around them
  • Fish tend to move in the general direction as other fish around them
  • Fish keep safe distances apart and move at similar velocity to each other to avoid colliding with other fish around them

Anyways, I really got absorbed into the project as the gratification was tremendous when my first fish began to swim back and forth in the 3-dimensional tank. Then I began adding external influences one by one (centroid, average heading, collision avoidance, and velocity matching), and with each step the fish took on increasingly more life-like appearance due to their emergent behavior.

If you have the very latest Shockwave player (version 10) installed please do check it out. If you have trouble playing the movie, try downloading the latest Shockwave player from Macromedia's site. I used the newest version of Director MX (2004) which just came out in February, so the code isn't compatible with any but the latest version of Shockwave.

Play Fish of a color


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Wired just posted an article about a web programmer, Andy Baio, who has created an AIM bot which allows you to play the classic Infocom text adventures: Deadline, Hitchhiker's Guide, Leather Goddesses, Lurking Horror, Planetfall, Shade, Wishbringer, Zork1, Zork2, and Zork3. Check out his weblog which explains how to play.

There may be rough road ahead since the story has now been slashdotted and AOL imposes a limit to the number of messages any one account can send out. Still, it would be cool if his project can withstand all the attention and fame it's getting to last a while.


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This week kicked off the Spring quarter at RIT and I've been enjoying getting my new classes started. For the Games Programming curriculum I am taking Foundations of 3D Graphics Programming and we formed into groups and are already well on our way. To help with documenting our group's progress along the way, I have set up a new blog which all our group members will be contributing to. Our group has decided to attempt a lacrosse-type game with AI controlled players and a twist: anything goes. A game where scoring goals may be secondary to annihilating the other team. It should be fun, if not impossible. Wish me luck.


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The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) handed out their 7th annual awards last night at the D.I.C.E Summit in Las Vegas. Not surprisingly, Ubisoft's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was almost as big a winner as Return of the King was on Sunday, taking home 8 of the coveted awards. With voting performed only by members of the video game industry, the AIAS awards are similar to that of the film industry's academy awards.

From the AIAS web site:

These peer-based awards are dedicated to recognizing the outstanding products, talented individuals and development teams that have contributed to the advancement of the $30 billion worldwide entertainment software industry. No person may become a voting member of the Academy unless he or she can demonstrate a threshold level of experience and professional credits in the industry.

A list of all winners of the awards has been published on Gamespot.

Dark Parables: The Thief and the Tinderbox Collector's Edition

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