Authors: Simon van den Hurk, Ian Watson
The field of crowd simulation attempts to model crowd movement of both people and animals. Typical research in this field aims to develop systems which model the interaction between multiple instances of the same type of character. This paper examines two aspects of crowd simulation which are often not considered, the movement of crowds containing characters of vastly different sizes and the ability to allow characters to move underneath other characters when there is sufficient space to do so. To include these traits in a crowd simulation model a new system is proposed: the multi-layered flocking system. This system has a basis in the original Reynolds flocking model but further divides the simulation space using a series of layers. Characters in the simulation are represented using one or more navigation objects which lie upon the layers in the system. These navigation objects represent parts of the character as it moves throughout the simulation and can be either dynamic or static. Different combinations of navigation objects allow for the representation of characters of varied shapes and sizes as well as different movement styles, all of which are able to navigate using the same system. By creating a crowd which contains different character representations a more interesting overall motion can be obtained.