Monday, July 2, 2012

Ant Farm: Currently in Design Phase

I have always found ants fascinating.  Some of them farm, some of them domesticate other insects, and all of them have such simple minds that work together to create a colony with an intelligence of its own.

I want an ant farm, but I don't want my ants to die or to escape, and I don't want just a simple thin glass container for them.  I want a world where I can walk around with them and watch these amazing creatures in action.  Enter 3d graphics.

If you look real closely, you can see the ant near the middle of the screen.  The brownish box below it is composed of  over... um...  I can't count high enough to tell you how many boxes.  Let's just say that without some innovative data compression techniques, I would need a server farm to store the world you are seeing in the picture.  As it looks, only sixteen megabytes are being used up.

I plan on redoing the engine that is rendering the above scene with a few more ideas that I have had.  I am biting off more than I can chew, so I will do this project in smaller steps.  Perhaps I will first test my ideas for compressing such a detailed map by actually using details.  I fear that more details will hurt the compression algorithms, and it would suck to have the ant farm complete only to have it crash when a few tunnels are dug.

Unfortunately, some of my newest ideas for compressing the data further would not be very efficient with the OpenGL I have been using, so I might need to come up with my own rendering software.  That means that the next update might be about a week away.

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