During our search for an ABM tool Epic released their Unreal Engine 4 on a subscriptions bases (the engine is now free to use) and this gave us the idea to use a game engine for our model. Game engines have an “event-loop” and visual environment that supports ABM in an intuitive way. The “overhead” that comes with these types of engines is of course a trade-off in comparison to a less visual intensive ABM tool or low level code implementation. However we have found during our experimentation with the engine that the visual feedback and easy to use script-language are invaluable. The editor of Unreal and the BluePrint script language provide options for people with a variety of backgrounds to work together. The fact that should the script-language not give use what is needed we can fall back on C++ to build our own compatible BluePrint objects gave us the confidence that we would not hit a “script wall” that could slow down the project.
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