Spelchan.com Logo

Conway's Game of Life

No Canvas Support

Speed:   Show grid

Size: Border: Colours:

Cancer: Growth: Odds:


Conway's Game of Life is a zero player game that simulates the growth of cells. The rules are fairly simple:

  1. If there are less than two neighbors, a living cell dies of loneliness.
  2. If there are more than three neighbors, a living cell dies of over-crowding.
  3. If there are exactly three cells, an empty (dead) cell becomes a living cell (newborn).

playing the game

This is not really a game that you play, it is more something that you set up and then watch the results. In fact, just watching an initially random spread of cells evolve into a stable form is quite entertaining which is why the game starts with a randomly filled grid. If you do not like the initial grid, there is a clear button that blanks out the grid and a randomize grid button that generates a new randomly filled grid. You can draw cells onto the display with your mouse so if you want to watch a specific configuration or create life artwork that is possible.

To play the simulation you can set the speed you want the iterations to occur at and then hit the play button. The play button will become a pause button so you can pause the simulation at any time. To step through the simulation one step at a time, a single step button is also provided.

There are a number of options to control the look of the simulation. The size of the grid determines how big the cells are. The show grid check-box lets you turn on or off a grid. The color sets give you a number of different looks for the simulation so find the colors that you like. Some color sets show aging while others do not so even if you are a traditionalist, you should be able to find a color theme that meets your needs.

The game of life is suppose to take place in an infinite plane. This leads to the problem of how to handle the borders. I have three possible borders. Always dead borders create a dead-zone around the display. Always alive borders do the opposite resulting in rather interesting action along the border. Finally, the wrap-around borders causes activity that goes over a border to span the board and appear on the other side of the display.

To add a unique twist to the game, and because my mother's cancer is what inspired me to create this game, I added a deadly cancer mode to the game. By default this is turned off, but it can be turned on at any time. There are two ways that cancer is formed in this simulation. Mutation happens with newly formed cells. These are the ones that appear when an empty cell is surrounded by three (and only 3) living cells. Cell Damage is what happens to aging cells so is applied to any cell that is over 10 generations old. The mutation or damage is determined purely through randomness with three different options for the frequency of the cancer provided. High Radiation almost guarantees that cancer will appear. Frequent cancer will happen fairly quickly while rare seldom happens.

There are three growth modes in the game. The mode you want real cancer growing in is benign which is simply no growth. For simulation purposes this mode is handy if you want to stop the cancer from spreading further. Spreading mode is a slower growing form of cancer in which cells that are about to die but that are next to cancer will become cancerous. Growing mode is the evil mode where the cancer will grow into any dead cells next to it.