NetLogo to 3DMax: Complex Models and 3D Visualisation

We have been running a series of posts recently looking at crowd simulation, dynamics and particles in 3D Max. The aim is to visualise the complex systems that make up the city within an environment that allows both clear and easy visualisation and export capabilities to other packages such as Crysis or Google Earth.

While 3D Max is of use for crowd and particle simulation when it comes to modelling complex systems an external package is required, such as NetLogo. The movie below details our first steps at CASA (home of digital urban) to export a basic traffic model from NetLogo into 3D Studio Max. The import script was written by our new PhD student, Ateen Patel and opens up a vast array of opportunities to both visualise and model the city.

NetLogo to 3D Max – Proof of Concept from digitalurban on Vimeo.

Music by The Tedd-Z Cookbook, Aerodrome (Funky Shuffle Remix)

NetLogo is a cross-platform multi-agent programmable modeling environment that is widely. It is particularly well suited for modeling complex systems developing over time. Modelers can give instructions to hundreds or thousands of independent “agents” all operating concurrently. This makes it possible to explore the connection between the micro-level behavior of individuals and the macro-level patterns that emerge from the interaction of many individuals.(Nation Master Encyclopedia)

We will have more posts on complex systems and visualising the city over the coming weeks and months.

See for more on modelling, agents and the city.

Author Bio

Andy is Professor of Digital Urban Systems at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London.


  1. Stephen Guerin - November 15, 2008

    Very cool, work!

    For folks interested in going from Netlogo to Blender, here’s an example we did for a pedestrian subway model:

    The Blender file with python import scripts is here:

  2. James Steiner - November 17, 2008

    The potential seems great!

    Are you essentially exporting per-tick keyframes containing agent coordinates, or is it less direct?

    Do you have the ability to incorporate other agent variables in the output, to drive other visualization properties, i.e. affect the 3d max visualizion based on the per-frame value of “age” or whatever arbitrary variable?

    Can’t wait to see the next steps.

  3. gabriel wurzer - November 19, 2008

    Great ! Can you briefly explain the data format you used (on the netlogo side and on the max side) in more detail ? Furthermore, is there any place you could get the max script and netlogo model from ?

  4. Smithee - November 19, 2008

    We are exporting per tick – see the latest post on flocking. Its early days but we have patches exporting now and are just working on colour.

    We should have news on use of the script once it is a bit more refined..

    The netlogo model is part of the model library that comes with the install. If your new to NetLogo then the manual has an excellent tutorial to get started.

    The Blender scripts from Redfish are well worth a look as well 🙂

  5. Drago - January 29, 2009

    I can’t expect the script for max ;D

  6. Anonymous - January 29, 2009

    Can’t wait for a 3d max script

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