The SCL model has five distinct classes of agents (bonds, holes, S, K, L) which must be displayed on a 2D raster. Bonds and L particles have further variations in how they should be displayed (four bond orientations, stable versus disintegrating L particles, L versus L particles).
In SCL v0.04 these display issues have been addressed in extremely crude ways. Each agent (and variation) is represented by some form of bitmap, but these bitmaps are generated, on the fly, pixel-by-pixel, by dedicated, hard wired, code. This is the end point of an incremental design process, in which the display facilities were gradually evolved and made more complex. The final result is functional; but it is also extremely cumbersome and fragile (i.e. it is difficult to modify without causing unintentional side-effects). Performance is probably also very poor.
However: in the current release of Swarm, the only documented methods for drawing on rasters are for coloring individual pixels, or rectangles. This is a significant limitation. I would hope that future releases will provide more sophisticated 2D graphics primitives--in particular, making it easy to display arbitrary bitmaps. In the meantime, SCL v0.04 graphic handling is not a good example to emulate.
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Timestamp: Tue Dec 31 19:40:38 GMT 1996