I'm interested in self replicating artificial life (with many agents), so after reviewing the literature with the excellent Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines I started looking for software implementations. I understand that the field is still in the early stages and mainly academic, but the status of artificial life software looks rather poor in 2019.
On wikipedia there is this list of software simulators. Going trough the list only ApeSDK, Avida, DigiHive, DOSE, Polyword have been updated in 2019. I did not find a public repo for Biogenesis. ApeSDK, DigiHive and DOSE are single author programs.
All in all I don't see a single very active project with a large community around (I would be happy to have missed something). And this is more surprising considering the big momentum of AI and the proliferation of many ready to use AI tools and libraries.
Why is the status artificial life software so under-developed, when this field looks promising both from a commercial (see manufacturing, mining or space exploration applications) and academic (ecology, biology, human brain and more) perspective? Did the field underdelivered on expectations in past years and got less funding? Did the field hit a theoretical or computational roadblock?