Substituting ATN Engine as the Computational Model for World of Balance Game


Hunvil Rodrigues

Oral Defence Date: 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 - 13:00


TH 434


Prof. Ilmi Yoon & Assoc. Prof. Anagha Kulkarni


The game 'World of Balance (WoB)' is a multiplayer online game that gamifies computational ecological research problems. In developing computational ecology models by comparing with empirical studies it is usually hard to find out a set of parameters representing species or balanced set of biomass of species in sustainable food webs. We try to solve this problem through gamification in "World of Balance", by letting the players create different food webs in their ecosystem and vary the species biomass, add new species via purchases made through "gameshop" or remove existing species. The player's objective is to prevent their ecosystem from collapsing, by creating a balance among diverse species, with the aim of obtaining a high environmental score. As the game advances, incentives like credits/gold and experience points are provided to players for managing their species without going extinct. The population dynamics for the species in the player’s ecosystem are driven by the "Network3D" web services that predict the behavior of the ecosystem or how variation in biomass occurs during prey-predator interactions. The goal of this master project is to extend the "World of Balance" game by (1) Integrating an alternate population dynamics engine called the "Allometric Trophic Network (ATN)" (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(1): 187-191, 2009.) Engine, implemented by Justina Cotter (former SFSU student) with the game server. (2) Ensuring that the existing convergence game client now receives the prediction results from the ATN Engine. (3) Providing the infrastructure for a lobby-based game client to connect to the game server seamlessly by implementing a set of wrapper APIs. Integrating the ATN engine reduces the latency issues related to web services by eliminating the network calls. The APIs implemented in the project would be used by the lobby-based game clients in future for performing the manipulation actions such as species invasion, proliferation, exploitation, removal and updating of system parameters.

Hunvil Rodrigues

World of Balance, game, MMO, multiplayer online, Allometric Network, ATN, ecological modeling tool, Java, game client, convergence, biomass, prediction