Repo Size Stars Forks Watchers

A C++ neural evolution simulator

This program simulates neural evolution over generations through the goal of survival.

Please Note: This was inspired by David R. Miller’s simulator, and is just a quick project i wanted to write; It does not have very optimised / clean code.


  • Generational Simulator
  • Neural Map Viewer / Visualiser
  • Survival Condition Language
  • Simulation of custom Neural Maps


Note: These are all included in the repo, and all (apart from FFMPEG) are statically linked into the program
  • Premake – VS Project Generation
  • SFML – Window/Image Rendering
  • FFMPEG – Video Rendering
  • mINI – INI Config Reading
  • nodesoup – Fruchterman-Reingold graph positioning
  • spdlog – Output logging

Program Usage

A compiled version of the program can be found in bin/Release-windows-x86_64/


  1. Edit config/config.ini in the program directory to change the simulation parameters
  2. Run BioSim.exe, optionally with the argument -c [.INI FILE]

Neural Map Visualisation

  1. Run BioSim.exe with the argument -v [.NM FILE]

Command Line Arguments

Argument Description
-h Outputs program usage
-s Simulate mode [DEFAULT]
-v [*.nm] Visualise mode
-c [*.ini] Specify configuration file [DEFAULT: config/config.ini]
-k [int] Set the Fruchterman-Reingold constant [DEFAULT: 400]


Note: You must have VS2022 installed to build from source

Project Setup

  1. Run GenerateScripts.bat to use premake to generate the Visual Studio 2022 project files
  2. Open NeuralSim.sln

Brief Documentation

This documentation will be expanded in the future, and I may make a youtube video explaining how the simulator and visualiser works (as in more technical / code orientated detail than David Miller’s video)
Survival Condition

The survival condition is currently determined using bool HasSurvived(Cell cell) in src/Classes/Generation.cpp. This function is also used to colour the cells in the mp4 generation render (Output.cppRenderFrame()). In the future, this will be expanded to use a custom programming language that can be written/generated and specified by the program user.


Receptors are defined in a Receptor enum in src/Classes/NeuralMap/Types.h Receptor behaviour is defined in Cell::GetReceptorVal(NeuralNet::Receptor receptor) in src/Classes/NeuralMap/Receptors.cpp Receptor name strings are defined in receptorName(Receptor receptor) in src/Classes/NeuralMap/DebugTypes.cpp


Effectors are defined in an Effector enum in src/Classes/NeuralMap/Types.h Effector behaviour is defined in ProcessEffectorQueue(int owner) in src/Classes/NeuralMap/Effectors.cpp Effector name strings are defined in effectorName(Effector effector) in src/Classes/NeuralMap/DebugTypes.cpp

The Visualiser long name strings are defined in shrtNodeToLong(std::string shrt) in src/Visualise/Visualise.cpp

Current State

The main simulator and visualiser is finished. What’s mostly needed is optimisation, and a couple other features that make the program more fun to play around with.


Most help is needed with optimisation, as I only have ~1 years experience with C++, and there will be many slow operations and calls that I wrote without realising how slow they are. I also dont have much time to work on the program, so any expansion with new receptors, effectors, etc is greatly appreciated 😀


10,000 Gen Simulation with it’s Neural Map Visualisation


View Github