In the interactive real-time environment "A-Volve" visitors
interact with virtual creatures in the space of a water filled glass pool. These
virtual creatures are products of evolutionary rules and influenced by
human creation and decision.
Designing any kind of shape and profile with their finger on a touch
screen, visitors will create virtual three dimensional creatures,
that are automatically "alive" and swim in the real water of
the pool. The movement and behavior of the virtual creature is decided by
its form, how the viewer was designing it on the touch screen.
Behavior in space is, so to speak, an expression of form. Form is an
expression of adaptation to the environment.
Form and movement are closely connected, the creatures capability to
move will decide its fitness in the pool. The fittest creature will survive
longest and will be able to mate and reproduce. The creatures will compete
by trying to get as much energy as possible. Thus predator creatures will
hunt for prey creatures, trying to kill them.
The creatures also interact with the visitors, by reacting to their
hands movement in the water. If a visitor tries to catch a creature, it
will try to flee or stays still, if it gets caught. Thus the visitor is
able to influence the evolution by for example protection preys against
predators. If two strong creatures meet, they can create an offspring and
a new creature can be born. It carries the genetic code of its parents.
Mutation and cross-over provides a nature-like reproduction mechanism,
that follows the genetic rules of Mendel. This newly born offspring will
now also react and live in the pool, interacting with visitors and other
Algorithms, developed by Mignonneau and Sommerer ensure smooth and natural
movements and "animal - like" behavior of the creatures. None of
the creatures is pre calculated, they are all born exclusively in real
time through the interaction of the visitors and the interaction of the
creatures . Thus a unlimited variety of forms will be possible, representing
human and evolutionary rules. By closely connecting the real natural space
of the water to the unreal virtual living space of the creatures, "A-Volve"
minimizes the borders between "real" and "unreal",
creating a further step (after "Interactive Plant Growing") in
the search of "Natural Interfaces" and "Real-Time Interaction"
Interaction in "A-Volve" is performed
in several layers:
Drawing the 2 dimensional shape and profile of any possible form with
their fingers onto a touch sensitive screen, visitors will create three
A special editor provides that the visitors can create any kind of form
and change and modify the design in real-time. Each creature is built by
400 vertex points (x, y, z) coming from the shape and profile lines of
the viewers drawing on the touch screen.
The x , y and z vertices, as well as values for colors and textures
(decided by the speed of drawing) provides a genetic code of total values.This
genetic code together with a movement algorithm, provides the possibility,
that each creature will swim and move individually different, according
to its form. The algorithm describes a wave function, which pulses like
a muscle from the front of the creatures body towards the rear, pushing
the creature forward and backward.
This wave function is dependent on the values of the x and y vertices,
allpoints follow the wave and will create a very natural "Jellyfish"
like movement. After the viewer has completed his drawing, he will send
the creature to the pool. It will be immediately "alive" and
will move and swim as three dimensional creature in the water of the pool,
looking for food and mating partners.
b) HUMAN-CREATURE INTERACTION :
These creatures are sensitive to the viewer's hand movements in the
water; they react according to the viewer's behavior; the viewer can catch
them, irritate them and communicate with them in real time. If the viewer
"touches" a creature, it will avoid the viewer's hand and try
to flee or sometimes come back to the viewer to "play" with him.
The visitor can also protect a prey, by stopping the predator, so the
prey can escape. He also can try to push creatures together, and promote
their mating process.
c) CREATURE - CREATURE INTERACTION:
These living and reacting creatures will also interact with each other
in the pool, which have been created by other visitors before or were born
by their parents.
PREDATOR - PREY:
Fitness is described as the ability to reach a target in a certain time.
The fitness and speed of movement for each creature is dependent on
its form and muscle function. All creatures thus will have different fitness.
Their fitness will decide how well they can swim , survive and mate in
the pool.An internal vision system allows the creature to check it's current
position and status in the pool, deciding, whether it will become a predator
The fittest creature will try to hunt weaker creatures, in order to
kill themand "eat" their energy. If a creature gets caught, it
will die and its energy will be added to the predators energy. As soon
as a creature reaches a certain amount of energy, it will be able to mate
and reproduce. The weaker creatures will flee, by trying to escape. Creatures
can die in 3 different ways:
Hunger- they couldn't add enough energy by killing other creatures
Natural death- a certain maximum life time was reached
Killed - when a prey gets attacked and killed by a predator
MATING and REPRODUCTION:
Two forms have the possibility to merge and to create a new form, which
is the result of the genetic code of its parents. If two fit creatures
will meet, they will create an offspring that carries the genetic code
of its parents. Mutations and crossover will provide natural diversity,
creating an evolutionary system that is changing and evolving in time.
The newly born creature is very small and needs time to grow up. Its
parents will stay alive until the creature reaches its adult size. The
will defend the child against predators and attack them as the come near.
As the genetic code of the offspring is transported from generation
to generation and the emphasis of the system is based upon selection for
fittest creatures, the system is able to evolve towards fitter creatures.
Although the evolution could take place by itself and without outside
influence, the visitor and his interaction will significantly influence
the evolutionary process. The visitors then can be seen as selection mechanism
d) HUMAN - HUMAN INTERACTION:
By creating creatures, observing them in the pool and influencing their
behavior, the visitors will identify with their creatures. The interaction
between the visitors happens mainly through the virtual creatures, which
mate and fight with each other. Thus the visitors will also communicate
with each other, by supporting their creatures in the pool.
INTENTION and CONCLUSION
"A-Volve" is a pool of artificially living creatures, that
are open to outside influences by reacting and interacting with their "natural"
and "artificial" environment.
"A-Volve" reduces the borders between real and unreal, by
connecting reality to "non-reality." Human decision in the creation
of a new form and the rules of evolution and selection will create an environment
that is open to all possible modifications and selections, following the
laws of evolution and creation. The visitor becomes part of the evolutionary
system, he is a partner of the virtual organisms and gives and promotes
their "artificial life."
Water as the metaphor for birth and basic evolution is the medium for
this artificial life "pool", that is open to its real environment.
"A-Volve" (c) 94-97, Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau