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Hexagonal Ants

A continuation of github:jcorbin/ants, now on hexagons.


Beyond click to play/pause, UI is currently keyboard and URL-fragment driven only:

Keyboard controls

  • <Space> -- play/pause
  • . -- single step when paused, pause when playing
  • / -- prompt and set new rule set
  • c -- prompt and set new color scheme
  • t -- toggle "trace mode" drawing
  • t -- toggle drawing of unvisited cells
  • + -- double step rate
  • - -- half step rate
  • * -- reset to iteration 0 and pause
  • f -- show/hide frames and steps per second (fps and sps)
  • # -- toggle labels for debugging

Specifying Ants

The language for specifying ants is:

ant( [<count>]<turn> ... )

Essentially it's simple RLE-encoded turn sequences inside ant(...), some examples:

  • the default LR rule set is just: ant(L R)
  • a more interesting example: ant(2R 10F 2R)

The possible relative turns are:

  • L -- to the left
  • R -- to the right
  • F -- forward (no turn)
  • B -- backward (reverse direction)
  • P -- "port", rear left turn
  • S -- "starboard", rear right turn

The possible absolute turns are:

  • NW -- North West
  • NO -- North
  • NE -- North East
  • SE -- South East
  • SO -- South
  • SW -- South West

Please excuse the abuse of "port" and "starboard" towards the end of unique single-character letters ;-)

Specifying Turmites

Ants are a special case of a Turmite:

  • instead of just deciding based on world color, turmites also have an internal state byte
  • they're free to write an arbitrary output color to their current cell
  • if they decide on more than one turn, then they fork into multiple turmites (NOT YET IMPLEMENTED)
  • if two turmites would colide, both are destroyed (NOT YET IMPLEMENTED)

Internally turmites are implemented as a 65536-element 32-bit lookup table.

  • table index is state << 8 | color where:
    • state is the turmite state byte
    • color is the world color byte
  • table value is state << 24 | color << 16 | turn where
    • state is the next turmite state byte
    • color is the world color byte to write
    • turn is a 16-bit field indicating the turn(s) to take (only 12 of the bits are used for each of the 6 relative and absolute directions)

Turmite Language

EXPERIMENTAL: the specification language is still in very early development and may breaking changes may happen at anytime. Additionally the quality of the error messages provided by the parser and compiler reflect its immaturity.

To assist in building this lookup table, a turmite specification language is provided. As our first example the classic ant(L R) becomes:

Turns = turns(L R)
0, c => 0, c + 1, Turns[c]

Quirks to note:

  • turns sequence indexing is automatically "modulo length"
  • defined variable names must start with an Uppercase letter; lowercase variables can only be used within a rule
  • successive rule results are bitwise ORed together by default; you can prefix a then field with = to instead replace any prior value
  • the pattern matching in the left-hand side is still rudimentary, and supports only basic arithmetic

A more complex example:

T1 = turns(L R)
T2 = turns(2L 2R)
0, c => 0, c + 1, T1[c]
1, c => 1, c - 1, T2[c]
0, 32 * c => =1, 0, 0
1, 32 * c => =0, 0, 0

Specifying Colors

Colors are driven by a color generation scheme, using a simple language.

Lightness-varying color scheme

light(HUE, SAT)

Uses lightness variation for a fixed hue and saturation in the HSLuv color space.

  • HUE is a number between 0 and 360 and is in degrees on the color wheel; defaults to 0.
  • SAT is a number between 0 and 100 and is a percentage; defaults to 100.

Hue-varying color scheme


Uses hue variaton for a fixed saturation and lightness in the HSL color space.

  • SAT is a number between 0 and 100 and is a percentage; defaults to 70.
  • LIGHT is a number between 0 and 100 and is a percentage; defaults to 40.

URL-fragment (hash) variables

  • rule -- the rule spec to use
  • colors -- the color scheme to use
  • stepRate -- goal number of turmite steps per second
  • drawUnvisited -- specify to draw every cell in the tree instead of only visited ones
  • labeled -- specify to add coordinate labels to cells (doesn't scale well, only for debugging)



$ npm install
$ npm run serve

MIT Licensed