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Ever since I discovered it, I was fascinated by Conway's Game of Life. For those of you, who are not familiar with it: it is a cellular automaton with two dimensions on a rectangular grid with each cell having either the state "dead" or "alive". From any given state, the next state is computet by a very simple set of rules:

-if a cell has less than two neighbors it dies
-if a cell has two or three neighbors it lives on
-if a dead cell has three neighbors it becomes alive
-if a cell has more than three neighbors it dies

The attached image shows what patterns emerge. You can see still live, oscilators and gliders fliing around.

More info in these formations on wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway%27s_Game_of_Life

But what is even more fascinating is that people built very complex structures in Game of Life. Like spaceships, cannons or even functioning CPUs.


I always wondered how these are made as every structure in Game of Life is extremely fragile. Do people really spend hours/days/weeks on building these or am I missing something here?


You know, I've always wanted to play like, an advanced or improved version, in the sense of interactivity. I think an interactive one would be pretty kewl.


For me, the most fascinating thing is how relatively complex patterns emerge out of randomness. As an analogy to how life once formed out of random dead matter. So I don't really have the urge to interact with it, since it would destroy the random nature of it.

I also wonder if there are other - more complex - rules with more cell states so that the emerging patterns were more stable and could even evolve further.


It is a very interesting game, especially considering how many interesting things happen when the game itself is so simple
I even wrote a simulator in perl once as an exercise
I never looked too much into what crazy things people did with it though, even if I heard about it. So thank you, it is interesting to see
Most of the simulators allow you to set an initial configuration, some allow adding stuff while it's running, pausing, and steps
...but the initial configuration is what's most important imo. You can play around stuff and see how it turns out



That is a cool playground for game of life. But the question from the OP remains. How do people find these starting configurations. It must be a hell of a lot of work because you can can't look at a configuration and tell what it will do.


This impressive digital clock comes from a stack overflow challenge:
Someone in the comments to the answer had doubts like you on how one would even approach such a thing, and the author of the clock replied, so check it out. tl;dr is it's made by assembling different components which are "standard" in some way


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Honestly I wish there was a way to make an actual desktop clock or something that looks like that. Those transition animation are pretty sweet


Upon seeing the game of life clock i thought about trying to squeeze it on a 1920x1080 grid so it would fit on a fullHD display. And it should also advance the minute every 3600 steps so it would take exactly one minute on a 60Hz screen.

Then you could hang a screen on the wall with this.


The answer on stack says it takes 11,520 generations per clock count (I guess it means for 1 minute)
Also that simulator site allows to set the framerate. So: (from a comment on stack)
>24 FPS with a Generation Step of 8
>24 x 8 x 60 = 11520
Should work. I don't how precise it is, and you'd need to start it perfectly on time, but it would be fun


As far as I understand it, the "step" parameter is the amount of steps per frame. So with a step value of 512 and fps of 20 that is 10240 steps per second.

The Problem is, that it displays only every 512th step. If it took only 3600 steps for a minute it would show every step with 60fps (60 steps per second * 60 seconds in a minute).


Sadly that can't work with the current design
>At the very top, there's the clock. It is a 11520 period clock. Note that you need about 10.000 generations to ensure the display is updated appropriately, but the design should still be stable with a clock of smaller period (about 5.000 or so - the clock needs to be multiple of 60).
You'd need to redesign the thing for a smaller display, or it would all just be a mess

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