Conway's Game of Life

Conway's game of life is an example of cellular automation. Each dot in the game is considered to be a living cell or life-form. With each generation new life can be born and existing life die off. The following rules are applied :

  • Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if by underpopulation.
  • Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives on to the next generation.
  • Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overpopulation.
  • Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours becomes a live cell, as if by reproduction.


This is an example I wrote in Javascript to play with and try out some of the existing life-forms.

How to play

  • Select a life-form from the menu or design your own.
  • Click 'Play' to start the game running or use 'Step' to step through each generation.
  • You can adjust the 'Speed' to change the speed each generation is created.
  • Adjust the 'Size' option to make the life-forms bigger or smaller. (Some of the larger predefined colonies will need a much smaller size to fit on screen)
  • Select from predefined colonies in the 'Lifeform' menu.
  • Draw your own life on the screen and see how it plays out...

You can read more about the game on the Wiki page where you will also find links to other life-forms that have been discovered.


Gliders are colonies that appear to move across the environment but keep a stable number of life-forms. These are sometimes also called Walkers. Select the basic Glider from the menu and watch it walk off screen.


Another interesting behaviour is guns. These repeat continuously and regularly produce a glider. These look like gliders are being fired from a gun. Gosper's Glider Gun is one of the most well known of these. Select it in game to see it working.

Or try the B52 bomber as seen below for multiple shots in different directions.

A glider gun

Other information

There are many other types of life including oscillators, beacons and even a few creatures.

It is Turing complete and can simulate a universal constructor or any other Turing machine, meaning it's much more than just a pretty pattern on screen. See the Wiki Pages for more information.

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