This simulation aims to visualize Angkor Wat’s daily operation almost a millennium ago. Current archaeological estimates suggest that at its peak, the Angkor Wat complex was serviced by a workforce of over 20 000 that were in turn supported by a population of up to 125 000 people. Only a small proportion of this number—about 4500 residents—would have lived within the temple enclosure. The rest would have journeyed to the temple from the densely populated settlements beyond the moat.
Whereas historians typically model events over years or centuries, the time frame for this simulation—24 hours, or one day in the life of the complex—is more familiar. It features a large population of autonomous “agents,” that is our original animated characters, following pathfinding (A*) algorithms. We divided the agents into four broad categories; visiting elites and their retainers, residents, commuting workers, and suppliers. All agents are guided by broadly similar rules, though each agent category is given a different agenda in navigating the space of the city.