This is a general question and one that has bugged me for a long time.
I want to start working on an artificial universe, not something too ambitious but more of a basic concept. What I have in mind is a simulation that has a sense of time, has physics rules, some beings that interact with each other and are able to learn to some extent, in a top-down, 2D world. In addition to this, it might have a visualization of what is going on, like a game.
I didn't succeed in finding a work or guide on this topic. The questions are:
What should be the approach to building such a simulation? Are there any resources that can help me get started?