Fast Company writes up MassMotion – a 3-D crowd simulation program for modeling how people will move through a building.
The program creates thousands and thousands of autonomous model people. Each one has his or her own destination and reacts to obstacles or crowding in real time.
The purpose of the program is to determine how buildings will be used in normal, everyday circumstances, and also how people will react in an emergency:
According to Oasys [the developer of MassMotion], the software creates the most accurate simulations of what people do in the event of an emergency evacuation–so designers can quickly figure out if they need to build an extra exit, for example, or another set of stairs. “There are large mappings of probable routes, and agents are empowered to make their own decisions,” says Erin Morrow, product designer for Oasys.