The Game of Life

The Game of Life is one of the simplest video games ever to exist, and yet is one of the most addictive! It’s known as a zero player game as you simply choose your initial layout of black and white squares and then leave the game to evolve over time following a set of four simple rules. The patterns created have provided inspiration for many things and can be seen in the design of the facade at Cambridge North train station in the UK. Listen below as St John’s Maths Tutor Dr Tom Crawford explains the Game of Life live on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire…

 

Examples (image credits: Wikipedia)

Stable ‘still-life’ patterns that remain fixed for every turn.

Block                 Beehive             Boat                Loaf                    Tub

Game_of_life_block_with_border       98px-Game_of_life_beehive   82px-Game_of_life_boat     98px-Game_of_life_loaf     Game_of_life_flower

‘Oscillators’ that cycle through a number of designs repeating every few turns.

Beacon (period 2)     Blinker (period 2)     Toad (period 2)

Game_of_life_beacon                 Game_of_life_blinker                Game_of_life_toad

Pulsar (period 3)          Pentadecathlon (period 15)

Game_of_life_pulsar                I-Column

Spaceships that travel across the board forever.

Glider             Lightweight Spaceship

Game_of_life_animated_glider        Game_of_life_animated_LWSS

You can play the game of life for yourself online here.

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