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Swim in a School of Fish

Have you ever wanted to swim in a school of fish? What would you have to know to be good at it? What rules could you use to stay together and what patterns can we notice when animals move together in groups? You can use this program to see what that’s like and test out your ideas. What would it look like to be in the water with a school of fish?

This application lets the user explore the 3-dimensional organization of fish schools based on a simple set of 3 rules that create a realistic behavior of the group. Notice how the structure of the school changes as you adjust the influence of each rule relative to the other. Is it possible that this simulated model of rules is followed by real animals in nature? How is it the same or different between flocking birds, herding bison, or swarming bees?

Use the sliders to change the variables that affect the motion and grouping of the fish. You can change your camera view and zoom in and out. Turn the ribbons on to see the path the fish have traveled.

Note: These applications run on Chrome, Edge, recent Safari or Firefox browsers on Mac and PC (but not Windows Explorer, sorry).