Evolving 3d morphology and behavior by competition

This article describes a system for the evolution and coevolution of virtual creatures that compete in physically simulated three-dimensional worlds. Pairs of individuals enter one-on-one contests in which they contend to gain control of a common resource. The winners receive higher relative fitness scores allowing them to survive and reproduce. Realistic dynamics simulation including gravity, collisions, and friction, restricts the actions to physically plausible behaviors. The morphology of these creatures and the neural systems for controlling their muscle forces are both genetically determined, and the morphology and behavior can adapt to each other as they evolve simultaneously. The genotypes are structured as directed graphs of nodes and connections, and they can efficiently but flexibly describe instructions for the development of creatures' bodies and control systems with repeating or recursive components. When simulated evolutions are performed with populations of competing creatures, interesting and diverse strategies and counterstrategies emerge.

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