Life Pattern Catalog
Like the color of my skin,
Or the day that I grow old,
My life is made of patterns
That can scarcely be controlled.
-- Paul Simon
The Game of Life is well known to almost anyone who has ever programmed a
computer, yet far fewer realize the level of sophistication
that has been achieved in the design of Life patterns over
the past 25 years by a dedicated core of enthusiasts.
The Game of Life has a rich mathematical structure that can only
be appreciated fully by watching the intricate behavior
that arises from such a simple set of rules. However, the
patterns that exhibit such behavior must be designed carefully, as
most Life patterns merely explode chaotically for a while and then
stabilize. All the patterns in this catalog were carefully
chosen by Alan Hensel from the vast array of results that have
accumulated in the years since Conway first proposed the Game of Life.
If your browser supports Java, then each selected pattern
will invoke a Life applet automatically.
Those readers familiar with published work on the Game of Life may
be surprised at the developments that have occurred in recent years.
A taste of this can be seen in the spacefiller pattern
max.lif, sure to astonish anybody
with a "classical" intuition of how Life patterns are supposed to
About the catalog
This catalog presents Life patterns in several different forms:
as gif images, as Java animations for those browsers that support
it, and as ascii text files
in a format that many Life implementations can interpret
and run. Patterns are cross-referenced whenever such cross-references
could be derived from Alan Hensel's comments. Because these were generated
automatically, a few are spurious, but fun to follow anyway;
every pattern in this collection is worth a look.
You may also
complete archive, which is under 200k
in zip-compressed form.
Links to several Life implementations are
in the resource list found on the main Life page.
Back to Paul's Page of Conways Life Miscellany