Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Update: Agent-based models in Second Life

We just finished another part of Agent-Street where agents and avatars can interact with each other. The idea here is to merge iconic and symbolic urban models in a multi-user real time environment.

The movie below shows Agent-Street and how one can download the models we have created by clicking on the model vending machines. By clicking on the vending machines, models can be downloaded and saved. Such vending machines are common features in Second Life and allow users to store objects and scripts in their personal inventory for later use such as rebuilding the models on their own Land or in free sand-boxes. We have been using the Mauve Land for this (SLURL).

In our previous models avatars could only visualise and initiate the models. For example, in the pedestrian evacuation model users could only observe how agents exited the building (in a similar way to professionally developed 3D pedestrian modelling software packages such as STEPS). In this new model, we extend the basic pedestrian evacuation model, so that agents not only consider their environments but also other avatars. In this sense we are not only incorporating iconic and symbolic modelling styles but also adding a further human dimension, moving towards an augmented reality (i.e. as if the agents and the humans were in the same crowd). The movie below shows how pedestrian paths change when avoiding an avatar. The movie shows a how an avatar stationed near the exit impacts on pedestrian egress as agents have to move around it.

Previous posts on our and others work on Second Life can be found by clicking here. We have also set up a website outlining the work in detail (click here) or alternatively if you have a Second Life account this SLurl will take you to the Land, once you teleport to the area, follow the red arrow (beam of red light) into the sky to find Agent-Street. If the models are running slow let us know as we having problems with fish entering our land from a neighbouring island.

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