world with many colliding entities

Hi, I apologize if these are questions that have been answered many times but I’ve looked around and become a bit overwhelmed with choices.

I want to simulate a world with many “creatures” in it: hundreds or thousands or whatever is realistic. Each one roams around and collides with the other ones occasionally. Graphically it can be simple - I really don’t need visuals at all until I want to see some results or do some interactive stuff. Each creature could just be a sphere or a box or something. So:

  1. Should I use pyODE or panda’s collision detection (or something else)? Will one be much faster? Any tips on speeding it up?

  2. I want to simulate a globe, but a wrap-around map like pacman might be easier and faster. Any tips on how to implement that?

  3. What can I expect to see? How many independently-moving colliding entities can you have running quickly? Any general optimization tips for this kind of scenario?

Thanks for any help.

i suggest dividing the world into tiles. And moving the creatures form tiles to tile. Animations and it being 3d will not look much like tile movement but it still will be. This way you can simulate thousands of creatures with no problems and no performance problems. As soon as you get into physics life becomes much harder and slower.

treeform, thanks for the suggestion. the more I think about it the more I like it!