A physically-based system of interacting polyhedral objects is used to model physical and chemical processes characteristic of living organisms. These processes include auto-catalysis, cross-catalysis and the self-assembly and spontaneous organization of complex, dynamic structures constituting virtual organisms. The polyhedra in the simulation are surfaced with bonding sites in states akin to those of cellular automata. These bonding sites interact with sites on neighbouring polyhedra to apply forces of attraction and repulsion between bodies and to trigger transitions in their states. Locally controlled assembly of this kind acts without the guidance of an external agent or central control. Such mechanisms, perhaps a defining property of biological construction, are seldom employed to create complex artificial structures. This paper therefore presents a novel model for the construction of complex virtual structures using multiple reactive, virtual elements, acting independently under virtual physical and chemical laws.
artificial life, auto-catalysis, autopoiesis, virtual metabolism, cellular automata, self-assembly, physical simulation.