An Ant's Life at SIGGRAPH 2009!

An Ant's Life will be one of four projects presented to a panel of distinguished judges in competition for final awards in the SIGGRAPH 2009 Research Challenge competition, during the conference, on August 4, 2009, 1:45-3:00pm, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA.

The first person interactive game was collectively designed and prototyped by the 13 students in the Spring session of the course Collaborative Development of Interactive Software Systems (COMP150-CIS) at Tufts University, under the guidance of visiting assistant professor Alexandre R.J. Fran├žois, who created the course.

The SIGGRAPH 2009 competition challenged participants to "choose a specific animal, or a specific animal's sense, and develop a system that will enable a person to experience the physical or social world as that animal does."

In An Ant's Life, the players experience the world as members of an ant colony, from hatching through successive life phases in and around the nest.

The game's interface maps the ant's dominant senses, namely smell, taste and touch, to a first-person interactive audiovisual display, conveying a localized and qualitative perception of the environment. Textures and colors characterize the tactile and chemical properties of world elements such as terrain, rocks, bits of food and other ants.

The game takes place in a fully accessible and interactive simulation of the colony and its environment, populated by other ants and critters. In order to progress in the game, the player must ensure her immediate well-being, interact with her sister ants, and fulfill the tasks that characterize the roles she undertakes as her life develops.

project participants

Ian Altgilbers, Jessie Berlin, Alissa Cooper, Eric Gustavson, Greg Harris, Matthew Knowles, Huy Ngu, Gregory Scott, Rashmi Singhal, Eric Stewart, Daniel Thayer, Lindsay Verola, Sonny Zhao (students)
Alexandre Fran├žois (faculty)


Project website:

Course website:

Siggraph 2009:

Research Challenge Results:


R said…
Hey Alex,

What an neat project! I thought it was really clever that interface mapped ant-specific senses to the user. Good luck in the competition!

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