Oct 162010
Grisly advantage

I only had time for a small amount of work on the Web Critters project last week, however the change that I implemented had dramatic and unexpected ramifications for the state of the simulation. On Monday and Tuesday I implemented the notion of a corpse into the simulation logic.  Instead of simply disappearing when they run out of resources, agents now leave behind a corpse object containing resources equal to the genetic material that was locked away in their tags.  (At present, offence, defence, and exchange.)  Once fully consumed, corpses are removed from the environment, just like any other resource [... read the rest ...]

Adaptivity

Web Critters Comments Off
Sep 232010
Adaptivity

Development on the Web Critters project has been rolling along briskly these past few weeks, with the brunt of the work having shifted from perfecting the abstractions to ironing out kinks in the algorithms and observing how the system behaves in very early trials. The results have been fascinating and have proved that even a level two ECHO simulation (attack + defense) can exhibit a startling amount of intelligence. As I’ve run different interactions of the Web Critters code, I have turned to observing the behaviors of the agents that evolve to point towards weaknesses in my simulation.  The process [... read the rest ...]

Cultaptation, a research group devoted to the study of “dynamics and adaptation in human cumulative culture”, recently ran a contest that pitted one hundred and four teams against each other in a competition to devise a strategy for social learning in a simulated environment.  Put another way, entrants had to create a set of rules that governed how artificial life forms would gain knowledge about how to interact with a world in order to best compete for resources. The prize, €10,000, went to Timothy Lillicrap and Daniel Cownden of Queen’s University here in Canada, whose “discountmachine” strategy won by a [... read the rest ...]

Jan 132010
MMOs: Living games

More than any other type of entertainment, massively multiplayer online games exhibit one of the most important characteristics of living creatures: they are constantly evolving in response to the changes in their environment. Spurred on by an excellent article by Psychochild, Gordon recently wrote an post connecting MMOs to genetic programming in which he asserted that these large games needed to undergo gene-like mutation in order to “excite [players] and stimulate new growth”. Unfortunately, I feel that what Gordon is actually looking for is something different than genetic mutation, and in fact he misuses the term in his piece repeatedly. [... read the rest ...]

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