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Patterns too big for the applet

About the Applet

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Conway's Game of Life

A pop-up Java applet (see button, left) that displays a collection of the greatest patterns ever created in Conway's Game of Life.

Version 0.41d

New: There have been 2 surprises in the first 4 months of 2013. The first was a small, versatile c/7 spaceship named "Loafer" by Josh Ball. Unlike real life, the small, slow spaceships are the harder ones to build. This one fits in a 9x9 box. (See Spaceships-Orthogonal, or LoaferDuplicator.)

And second, a small, quick stable glider reflector named "Snark" was found by Mike Playle. It fits an a 17x23 box and has a recovery time of only 43 ticks. This has been a holy grail for years, because although there are oscillators that reflect gliders, restricting the timing of the input gliders to the period of an oscillator is a hassle, and fails to enable periods that would otherwise be available. (See GliderReflectorLoop.)

In updating this site for the first time in years, I have noticed that Java has become a real hassle in modern browsers. I apologize, but I simply do not have the time to update the website to take advantage of modern technologies (HTML5). If anyone out there would like to tackle that programming challenge, keep in mind that it doesn't count unless it can comfortably run the Breeder. I've done some googling, and have not found an HTML5 version of Life that lives up to the low standards set by this applet, although I know it is possible.

What is the Game of Life? Beginners should visit Math.com's Life Page.

Life is rich in terminology. If you don't know the meaning of a word that you find here, I encourage you to look it up in Stephen Silver's Life Lexicon.

On a historical note, here is the original article from the October 1970 issue of Scientific American which introduced the game to the public.

Links for pattern hunters

If the patterns in this Life applet pique your interest, you can download the collection (lifebc.zip) here, or my somewhat larger lifep.zip collection, and view them with one of the programs listed below. Both collections are in the public domain.

Life Programs

Okay, I'm done listing old programs. What you need is Golly for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and iPad, by Andrew Trevorrow and Tom Rokicki. This is a great Game of Life program. It includes a regular mode, and a HashLife mode. And it's open source. Highly recommended, and still being actively developed.

Honorable mentions still go to:

MCell for Windows by Mirek Wojtowicz. Very colorful, rich in features. Relatively slow, but still recommended.

SARCASim by George Maydwell, also for Windows, is a more general-purpose cellular automata program. The acronym stands for "Super Animation-Reduction Cellular Automata Simulator".

Feel free to e-mail me with any questions, comments, bugs, or ideas. No, I will not help you with your school assignment, and I don't have any C/C++ source code for Life.

My e-mail address is:
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