Artificial Life Projects

Artificial Life or A-Life is one of my greatest fascinations. In fact I started programming to simulate the start of life on a BBC computer. It never got too far, the BBC computer being a thousand times too slow for what I wanted. But I learned to program better and of course computers became more than a thousand times as fast.

What I'm searching for in the projects below is spontaneous creativity. The programs set rules for the animals they simulate. Normally programs are predictable because of these rules. With artificial life, you hope that the complexity of the programs is of an order that new things will happen, things you could not predict before. Of course, this doesn't succeed always, but at least you'll usually get pretty pictures to look at.

Quite a few of the Artificial Life programs below are written in Delphi, Borlands Pascal version for RAD development under Windows. It's not very currentbut it migth be awhile before I'll port it too something better.


A tribute to John Conway, the inventor of the Game of Life. In this cellular automaton, cells can move to adjacent fields and are governed by a random matrix of attraction.


The Archean project explores self organization by multiplying the six dimensional strings in a matrix world with a transformation matrix, a little like Conway's game of life, but then in full color. From a random pattern something more ordered emerges. Different every time!


Vendian is an a-life simulation. Every creature runs a BASIC-like program and the program evolves. The best program wins. You can write your own programs or see evolution work.


Caerfai is a first attempt at simulating chemical reactions. The model is much too simple to be useful, but it gives some nice images and animations. Source is included and offers a nice starting point for similar endevours.


One of my better alife programs. Cambrium shows creatures crawling around the screen in search for food. The creatures are controled by a neural network and assembled out of parts.