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.