TechnoSphere is an evolution simulator allowing people to create their own creatures and communicate with them as they grow, evolve and die in a virtual 3D environment. Users gain experience of the virtual world through the information that their creatures send back and on the basis of this information users can build new creatures add to the cycle of events.
TechnoSphere runs on a Silicon Grphics High Impact computer attached to SuperJANET, the UK’s academic network. Running on the computer are several programs which make up the whole system. The programs have been developed over the years by Gordon and Rych and are written in C and C++.
World Wide Web Server: TechnoSphere uses a standard World Wide Web server to support user interaction. The server allows users to make a new life form and register it with the system and allows the users to make requests for information about their creatures.
The Artificial Life Environment (Get-Alife): This is a separate program that stores the artificial life forms and calculates their interactions with each other and the 3D model world. It supports the reproduction and evolution of life forms. User requests made from the Web Server are processed here and the relevant information passed onto the rendering and email engines. We use CGI programs written in C to get information in and out of TechnoSphere.
Rendering Engine: The renderer creates images and animations of the life forms and their world in the Artificial Life Environment.
Email Engine: The email engine takes the descriptions of what the creatures have been doing and converts them to emails which are sent to users.