Meet Pathfinder’s New Look!

What is Pathfinder?

I recently wrote a tutorial where I introduce the Pathfinder neural network and cover how it works and I provided fully functional code as well as a training set to get you and Pathfinder working from scratch!

You can find that over here if you are interested: Pathfinding From Scratch Using a Neural Network

8 Direction Stepping
8 Direction Stepping

Pathfinder is an example of a neural network that is capable of plotting an 8 direction step path from a starting position in a 5×5 grid to an ending position in that grid.

I donated the Pathfinder ANN example to the Official FANN PHP Repo and you automatically obtain a copy over there for free when you download the FANN PHP extension. 😉

Pathfinder on YouTube

If you have been following me for a little while you may have even seen my YouTube Pathfinder demonstration video. Go ahead and give it a play, it’s kinda fun to watch! 🙂

Note: The experience of the Pathfinder Visual Interface (PVI) application differs slightly from this video as this video demonstrates the pathfinder neural network operating rather than the PVI, however it is quite similar. The main difference is that this example is automated to execute a series of paths whereas the PVI allows you to manually set the start and stop positions one at a time.

 

Well, now I am announcing the release of a Visual Interface for Pathfinder!

 

What’s the Pathfinder Visual Interface (PVI)?

The PVI is a front-end GUI application for Pathfinder and it comes with a slightly customized and streamlined version of my Pathfinder Neural Network.

Instead of having to manually run the training process, Pathfinder will automatically generate its mind file (pathfinder_float.net) for you from the available (and modifiable) training data on your web server, however I do provide you with a fully trained version from the start to work with to make it even easier to get started!

Additionally, the customized version of Pathfinder comes with basic single user salted & hashed password security with session handling so you could improve and expand Pathfinder as needed without worrying about unauthorized access to your web server running Pathfinder.

The Pathfinder Visual Interface was created using Unity 3D and utilizes C# under the hood.

The Pathfinder Visual Interface is compiled for Windows, Mac and Linux, both 32 bit (x86) & 64 bit (x64) executables are available.

I may make WebAssembly as well as Android and iOS versions available if there is enough interest.

What’s the Difference?

Unlike the PVI version of Pathfinder, the open source version of Pathfinder runs in a browser and is strictly text based (stylized with CSS) which looks like this:


Testing Pathfinder:

10000
00000
00000
00000
00001

Results:

10000
01000
00100
00010
00001


Completely functional, however not very nice to look at, and you have to interact with Pathfinder directly from the source code. :-/

Now here is the same example as above but using the PVI:

 

 

 

 

 

Clearly it’s easier to test and work with your Pathfinder Neural Network and dare I say more fun too! 😛

 

What’s Required?

The Pathfinder ANN relies on PHP so you will need a web server like XAMPP if you will be running it on your local machine or a web hosting account that grants you administrative access via SSH (Secure Shell) and or any other system or implementation that allows you to install PHP extensions as an administrator.

If you want to get started quickly you can use c9.io for free (not a sponsor) and don’t want to or are unable to install a web server on 127.0.0.1.

Pathfinder also requires the free (but very powerful) FANN (Fast Artificial Neural Network) Library to be installed on the machine that is serving and supporting Pathfinder.

I do recommend using secure connections so if you are running Pathfinder from your website you should be encrypting your traffic using SSL Certificates (HTTPS) to make sure that the data exchanged with Pathfinder (as well as your password and other sensitive data) is not exchanged as plain text.

Note that If you are a Developer level supporter on Patreon and want to modify the PVI app you will also need to obtain a free copy of Unity 3D however it is not needed if you only want to to use or modify the neural network which is written in PHP.

 

What could you actually do with with the PVI?

The PVI exchanges it’s grid data with the Neural Network running on your web server so you are not limited by local resources and as such Pathfinder and the PVI make excellent starting points to build games as well as robotics & IOT projects.

If you are the kind of person asking questions like how can I deploy a neural network to interface with my game or web capable Arduino or Raspberry Pi project, and you also have some basic web server knowledge, this might be the right project for you! 😉

 

What do I actually get?

If you are looking to bypass the development of an extensible web based pathfinder neural network and would like a cross-platform (Win, Mac, Linux) tool to interface with the ANN for testing you should support me over on Patreon at the User level which is perfect for teachers and students looking to study PHP, Unity 3D or pathfinding using neural networks.

User

For only $5 Users Get:

  • Access to the open source customized PHP based Pathfinder UI edition and the closed source Cross-Platform (Win, Mac, Linux) executable of the Pathfinder Visual Interface application.

 

If you also want to be able to modify the PVI application so that it is customized to your project needs you should support me over on Patreon at the Developer level.

For only $25 Developers Get:

  • Access to the open source customized PHP based Pathfinder UI edition and the closed source Unity 3D project used to create the Cross-Platform Pathfinder Visual Interface application that you can freely modify to meet your project needs.
  • Additionally developers receive a commercially permissible reuse license!

Users may use the Pathfinder Visual Interface (as is) in a private or commercial setting but you may not redistribute resell it or reverse engineer or decompile it unless you are a Developer level supporter Patreon.

If you would like to get yourself a copy of the Pathfinder Visual Interface it is available now on Patreon!

Next week I will be releasing another tutorial so please Like, Comment & Share this post with your friends and followers on your social media platforms and don’t forget to click the follow button to get notified when I post something new.

If would like to suggest a topic or project for an upcoming post feel free to contact me.

Much Love,

~Joy

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