- Experimenting with the Sample Creature
- Creating a Plip
- Simulating Plips
- Introducing the Clorus
In this lab, you’ll create a package named
creature that will implement two creatures (or more, if you’d like) that will inhabit a world simulated by the
huglife package. Along the way we’ll learn how to debug small pieces of a much larger system, even if those small pieces happen to live inside another package.
First, pull the Lab 15 starter files:
git pull skeleton master
Start the lab by booting up the HugLife simulator. To do this, import the project into IntelliJ and run the
huglife.HugLife class with a single command line argument
This starts up a world called
samplesolo. You should see a little red square wandering around randomly.
The creatures you’ll create in this assignment will go in the
creatures/ directory, in these two files:
Clorus.java(you’ll need to create this)
Eventually these two types of creatures will also inhabit the world, and unlike this red guy, they actually do something interesting.
These classes will extend the huglife.Creature class, which provides a template that all creatures should follow.
How the simulator works
Creatures live on an NxN grid, with no wraparound. Each square may be empty, impassible, or contain exactly one creature. At each tic (timestep), exactly one creature takes a single action. Creatures choose actions in a round-robin fashion.
There is a global queue of all creatures in the world, waiting their turn to take an action. When a creature is at the front of the queue, the world simulator tells that creature who its four neighbors are and requests a choice of action from the creature. More specifically, the world simulator calls the creature’s
chooseAction() method, which takes as an argument a collection of all four neighbors. Based on the identity of the four neighbors, the creature then chooses one of exactly five actions: MOVE, REPLICATE, ATTACK, STAY, or DIE.
MOVE, REPLICATE, and ATTACK are directional actions, and STAY and DIE are stationary actions. If a creature takes a directional action, it must specify either a direction or a location. For example, if the acting creature sees a creature to its LEFT that it can eat, it might choose to ATTACK LEFT.
One of your main tasks for this lab is to write the code that makes Creature decisions. Actions are returned as objects of type
Action, which are fully described in
After a creature chooses an
Action, the simulator enacts the changes to the world grid. You’ll be responsible for writing the code that tracks the state of each creature. For example, after the acting creature eats another creature, the acting Creature might become stronger, die, change colors, etc.
This will be accomplished by a callback to the creature, which is required to provide
stay() methods that describe how the state of the acting creature will evolve after each of these respective actions.
For example, if your creature chooses to replicate upwards by returning
new Action(Action.ActionType.REPLICATE, Direction.TOP), then the game simulator is guaranteed to later call the
replicate() method of the creature that made this choice.
Experimenting with the Sample Creature
SampleCreature.java, which you’ll find in the
Occupantis a general class for all possible things that can inhabit the grid of the HugLife universe. You’ll see that every
Occupantinherits a name, shared by all instances of that
Occupantsubtype. Furthermore, every
Occupantmust provide a method that returns a color (more on this later). There are two special
Occupanttypes, with names “empty” and “impassible”. These represent unoccupied and unoccupiable squares, respectively.
Creatureis a general class for all living things that can inhabit the grid of the HugLife universe. Every
Creaturehas an energy level, and if that energy level ever falls below zero, the universe will choose the DIE action for them.
Every creature must implement four callback methods:
stay(). These describe what the creature should do when each of these actions occurs. There is no
die()method since the creature is simply removed from the world entirely.
Creatures must also implement a
chooseAction()method, and any reasonable creature will probably find the built-in
getNeighborsOfType()method useful for doing so.
SampleCreatureis a sample
Creature; in fact, it’s the lonely red square we saw earlier. The two creatures you implement for this lab will look somewhat similar to the
SampleCreature, so you’ll want to consult this class later.
Make some changes to the sample creature and observe how they affect the HugLife simulation. As one of your experiments, you might have the
SampleCreature react in some observable way when it sees a wall. You can do this by requesting a list of all neighbors of type “impassible” from the
Hint: After you’re done experimenting, you can use
git checkout to revert your lab directory to its original state. Consult the documentation for Git if you don’t know how.
Creating a Plip
Now it’s time to add a new type of creature to the world. Go into the
creatures/ directory, and you’ll see a file named
Plip.java there, waiting to be filled out.
Basic Plip functionality
Plips will be lazy (but motile) photosynthesizing creatures. They mostly just stand around and grow and replicate, but they’ll flee if they happen to see their mortal enemy, the Clorus.
Let’s start with just a few of the properties that we’ll eventually need for our Plip class.
name()method (inherited from
Occupant) should return exactly “plip” with no spaces or capitalization. This is important, since creatures only know how to react to each other based on this name string. (Do you actually have to change anything to ensure this?)
- Plips should lose 0.15 units of energy on a MOVE action, and gain 0.2 units of energy on a STAY action.
- Plips should never have energy greater than 2. If an action would cause the Plip to have energy greater than 2, then it should be set to 2 instead.
- The color method for Plips should return a color with red = 99, blue = 76, and green that varies linearly based on the energy of the Plip. If the plip has zero energy, it should have a green value of 63. If it has max energy, it should have a green value of 255. The green value should vary with energy linearly in between these two extremes.
We could test our
Plip class by sticking a bunch of Plips on a HugLife world grid and watching what they do as they run amok. However, it would be hard to determine whether everything was working correctly. Instead, let’s perform testing on the
Plip class directly.
Note on testing: It’s not necessarily desirable to test everything! Use tests only when you think they might reveal something useful, i.e. there is some chance you’ll get something wrong. Figuring out what to test is a bit of an art!
TestPlip.java, which is also in the
creatures/ directory. You’ll see that we’ve provided a test file
creatures.TestPlip that you can run to test your
Try it out and you’ll see that the
testBasics test fails.
Now modify the
Plip class according to the specifications above until all tests pass. When you’re done, you’ll be well on your way to having a fully functional Plip!
The Plip replicate method
Now we’ll work on adding the correct replication property to our Plips, namely:
- When a Plip replicates, it keeps 50% of its energy. The other 50% goes to its offspring. No energy is lost in the replication process.
You’ll be filling out the
replicate() method in
Plip.java. Take a look at that now.
Before your start, write an appropriate test in the
testReplicate() method. Be sure to check that the returned
Plip is not the same
Plip as the
replicate() method was called. You can use the JUnit
assertNotSame() method for this purpose. (Do not confuse
assertNotSame(). See the JUnit documentation if the distinction is unclear!)
All that’s left is giving the Plip a brain. To do this, you’ll be filling out the
The Plip should obey the following behavioral rules, in order of preference:
- If there are no empty spaces, the Plip should STAY.
- Otherwise, if the Plip has energy greater than 1.0, it should replicate to an available space.
- Otherwise, if it sees a neighbor with
name()equal to “clorus”, it will move to any available empty square with probability 50%. It should choose the empty square randomly. As an example, if it sees a Clorus to the LEFT and to the BOTTOM, and “empty” to the TOP and RIGHT, there is a 50% chance it will move (due to fear of Cloruses), and if it does move, it will pick randomly between RIGHT and TOP.
- Otherwise, it will stay.
These rules must be obeyed in this strict order! Example: If it has energy greater than 1, it will always replicate, even if there are neighboring Cloruses.
Writing tests for
Before you start on
chooseAction(), uncomment the
@Test annotation tag for the
testChoose() method in
TestPlip.java. This will allow the
testChoose test to run. The existing test checks the first rule, namely that if there are no empty spaces next to the Plip, then it should stay.
Add some more tests to
testChoose(). You might find it useful to look at the code for the
Action class to see the various constructors for
Don’t worry (yet) about testing the 50% rule if a Clorus is nearby. This isn’t possible since you haven’t created a
Clorus class yet, and thus you won’t be able to create a
HashMap that involves Cloruses.
Later, once you write the
Clorus class, you might find it interesting to come back and try to write a randomness test. One possibility is to simply test that both choices are possible by making many calls and ensuring that each happens at least once. Performing a statistical test is probably a bit too much for lab today (though you’re welcome to try).
After you’re happy with the tests you’ve written, edit the
Plip class so that it makes the right choices. You’ll want to look carefully at the
SampleCreature class as a guide.
Assuming your tests worked, you can now see how your Plips fare in the real HugLife world. Run
huglife.Huglife with the command line argument
You should see your Plips happily growing along. If something goes wrong, it’s probably because your tests are not thorough enough. If this is the case, using the error messages, add new tests to
TestPlip.java until something finally breaks.
Introducing the Clorus
Now we’ll implement the Clorus, a fierce blue-colored predator that enjoys nothing more than snacking on hapless Plips.
To begin, create
Clorus.java in the
creatures package. Unlike before, you’ll be writing these classes from scratch.
The Clorus should obey the following rules exactly:
- All Cloruses must have a name equal to exactly “clorus” (no capitalization or spaces).
- Cloruses should lose 0.03 units of energy on a MOVE action.
- Cloruses should lose 0.01 units of energy on a STAY action.
- Cloruses have no restrictions on their maximum energy.
color()method for Cloruses should always return the color red = 34, green = 0, blue = 231.
- If a Clorus attacks another creature, it should gain that creature’s energy. This should happen in the
attack()method, not in
chooseAction(). You do not need to worry about making sure the attacked creature dies—the simulator does that for you.
- When a Clorus replicates, it keeps 50% of its energy. The other 50% goes to its offspring. No energy is lost in the replication process.
- Cloruses should obey exactly the following behavioral rules:
- If there are no empty squares, the Clorus will STAY (even if there are Plips nearby they could attack).
- Otherwise, if any Plips are seen, the Clorus will ATTACK one of them randomly.
- Otherwise, if the Clorus has energy greater than or equal to one, it will REPLICATE to a random empty square.
- Otherwise, the Clorus will MOVE to a random empty square.
As before, write a
TestClorus class first. You probably don’t need to test the
color() methods, but you’re welcome to. You should include at least one test for each type of action.
Once you’re done writing tests, write the
Clorus class itself.
After you’ve written and tested the class thoroughly, go into
HugLife.java and uncomment the lines in
We did it.
Now it’s time to watch Cloruses and Plips battling it out. Use the following command to kick off a Manichaean struggle that will end either in eternal oscillations or in lonely immortals wandering the wastes forever. Run
huglife.Huglife with the command line argument
If you did everything right, it should hopefully look cool. You might consider tweaking the HugLife simulator parameters, including the world size and the pause time between simulation steps. Be warned that world sizes above 50x50 are probably going to run fairly slowly.
The autograder for this lab is very basic. If your HugLife simulation looks mostly right—that is, if it resembles the animation from the introduction—you probably did everything correctly.