Flocks, Herds, and Schools – A Distributed Behavioral Model

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The  aggregate  motion of a  flock  of birds,  a  herd  of  land  animals,  or  a  school  of  fish is a beautiful and  familiar part  of the natural  world. But this type of complex motion is rarely seen in computer  animation.  This  paper  explores  an  approach  based on  simulation as  an  alternative  to  scripting  the  paths  of  each bird  individually. The  simulated  flock  is  an  elaboration  of  a particle  system,  with  the  simulated  birds  being  the  particles.  The  aggregate  motion  of  the simulated  flock  is  created  by a distributed behavioral model much  like  that  at work  in a  natural  flock;  the  birds  choose  their  own  course.  Each  simulated bird  is  implemented as  an independent actor  that  navigates according to  its  local perception of the dynamic environment, the laws  of  simulated  physics  that  rule  its  motion,  and  a  set  of behaviors  programmed  into  it  by  the  “animator.”  The  aggregate  motion  of  the  simulated  flock  is  the  result  of  the  dense interaction of  the  relatively simple behaviors of  the  individual simulated birds.

About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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