« War With the Museum | Main | Shoddy Comic »

September 25, 2006

Living Blimps

Blimps01

Can blimps learn, adapt and evolve? Yes... when they've been designed by Qarl. After senseless pillaging by certain vicious Second Life land owners, Qarl had finally had it up to here! His solution: artificial life. Now his blimps lead much happier lives (sort of). Qarl explains:

blimps who (by chance) wander into dangerous areas will die, and their genes will disappear from the gene pool. blimps who (by chance) avoid danger will reproduce more often, and their genes will dominate the gene pool.

the blimps will “learn” to avoid danger.  they evolve.  by some definitions, they are alive.

Blimps02_1Read more on on Qarl's blog.

Reader comment: Qarl adds,

one of the most compelling examples of artificial evolution was done by Karl Sims in the early 90s. he created virtual organisms comprised of simple boxes, each box having a virtual muscle between them.

from generation to generation, he allowed both the body shape and the muscle motion to change - he rewarded creatures that could move.

from these simple rules his system created snakes and fish and creatures with legs - rediscovering the forms created by mother nature millions of years ago.

LivingVery impressive animations! If only these creatures lived within Second Life!

September 25, 2006 | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c030d53ef00d834eb24d369e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Living Blimps:

Comments

I love this sort of thing! Thanks for letting us know. A quite different, but nevertheless related idea is the Biomorph. They were developed in the 1980s by Richard Dawkins. They don't have virtual environments - you just 'breed' them yourself based on characteristics you want. The fun of biomorphs is that they so easily take on complex bio-like shapes, defying expectation from a very rudimentary ancestor:
http://www.rennard.org/alife/english/biomexamplegb.html

Biopmorph viewer:
http://www.rennard.org/alife/english/biomintrgb.html

Posted by: Mark | Sep 25, 2006 6:57:19 PM

one of the most compelling examples of artificial evolution was done by Karl Sims in the early 90s. he created virtual organisms comprised of simple boxes, each box having a virtual muscle between them.

from generation to generation, he allowed both the body shape and the muscle motion to change - he rewarded creatures that could move.

from these simple rules his system created snakes and fish and creatures with legs - rediscovering the forms created by mother nature millions of years ago.

amazing video here:

http://www.archive.org/stream/sims_evolved_virtual_creatures_1994/sims_evolved_virtual_creatures_1994_256kb.mp4

Posted by: qarl | Sep 26, 2006 11:04:07 AM

I couldn't comment on the source piece here as it wouldn't seem to let me register, but this is something I've been considering for a while in SL. I've been sending out automatic balloons for a good nine months, and more recently I built an automatic tram system in the Caledon sims. I found that they were disappearing at random whilst crossing sim boundaries, and I was unable to figure out why.

I was considering instituting a genome controlling various parameters such as speed and move frequency, and then breeding trams if they actually managed to return, but in the end I found that (a) complaining to the sim owner, who complained to LL, who "tuned up" the sims concerned and (b) just simply reducing the speed worked fine, so I never had to implement the genetic function.

However, it would be interesting to have a mass transit system that evolved with a more complex fitness algorithm - say, multiple vehicles with different behavioural parameters, each which would succeed on how many passengers they managed to pick up perhaps. The genome could control such things as their urge to seek out clusters of people, or go to various different telehubs (since the scan range in SL is limited to 96m and thus finding clusters further than that is tricky). Or a number of things.

It all might be a bit disruptive to a busy area though, having balloons wandering speculatively about.

Posted by: Ordinal Malaprop | Sep 27, 2006 3:10:23 PM

I haven't spent any time in Second Life, but the blimps you write about remind me of Jed Berk's ALAVs (autonomous light air vessels):
http://www.alavs.com/

Odds are you've seen them before as you seem to be plugged into the Make Magazine goings-on. I'm looking forward to your articles in the next issue.

Posted by: robertogreco | Nov 2, 2006 9:57:44 PM

Post a comment