"Cellular Automata Lab" is a toy universe synthesizer. By pushing different buttons, you can create 10 to the 157,826th power different artificial life forms.
Upon loading "CA Lab," the video screen jumps to life with bubbling, thrashing masses of color. This visual feast is the result of the "rug" rule, a toy universe filled with simple one-celled creatures whose constantly mutating lifestyles depend on the state of their neighboring cells.
Loaded with walk-thru examples, the 260-page manual written by Rudy Rucker and Autodesk founder John Walker is an excellent introduction to cellular automata theory. "CA Lab" allows custom toy universes to be programmed using BASIC, Pascal, C, and DOS assembly routines.