I am currently working on a design that will incorporate an object that can change size and shape.
For an example, I'll use a brick of clay. It starts out with normal dimensions of 1"x3"x6", but that can be changed because it is a soft material that can be molded.
I'm looking for a way to represent the size and shape of that object, no matter what changes have been made to it. For example, if you push your thumb down into the clay causing a hole, how could I keep track of that (from a programmatic point of view).
I thought about going all the way down to a semi-molecular level, where each "molecule" (I'm not talking actual molecules, but units that are small enough that they can always be considered the same size regardless of the shape of the object -- the resolution if you will) is represented, but the amount of data that could generate for a decent-sized object seems to be staggering. Even if the units were always the same size, the location of every unit would constantly need updating, along with algorithms to determine where each unit would go in the case of a force. The problem seems to get out of hand at this point, which is why I'm looking for any suggestions.