|★ APPLICATIONS ★ CREATION GRAPHIQUE ★ The Generation Game ★|
|One Dimensional Automata (Computing with the Amstrad)||Applications Creation Graphique|
IAN SHARPE's program adds dimension to your graphics display
THOSE who typed in Chris Ratcliffe's fractal program in the May 1987 issue of Computing with the Amstrad will have spent many happy hours watching it draw superb graphic displays.
Automata is another program which produces spectacular graphics and you don't have to wait long for the. results. The principle is similar to the Game of Life we published in October 1986.
The screen displays a colony of cells and the Amstrad produces successive new generations by applying a set of rules to the latest generation. In the Game of Life a generation is taken as a
The latest generation is at the bottom of the screen and in each cycle of the program all the old generations are scrolled up by one line and the new one drawn at the bottom.
A pixel on the bottom line represents one cell in the latest generation. The program adds together the ink numbers of the three dots above it (above left, directly overhead and above right) and uses the result with a table of rules to obtain a value for the new cell.
You can select two types of operation. One adds three pixels as I've just described and the other adds two pixels — above left and above right leaving out the one in the middle. The left and right edges wrap round so each line is really a circle and the screen is effectively a cylinder.
The scrolling, calculation and plotting are all done in machine code to produce a fast display and about two screens scroll past every minute.
All the available options in Automata are selected from a menu which will usually lead to another screen. From most of these the spacebar will take you back to the menu. In the case of loading or saving a window, if you want to abort the operation just press Enter when asked for a filename.
The rules and colours can be changed to give the most striking effects and the screen window can be saved with the current settings including the seed. The first line must be seeded with cells so there's an editor which allows you to generate a line of random pixels or plot specific points.
Table 1: Some interesting rules to try.
From this section you can also turn the seeding off so that you can carry on generating from where you left off if you have returned to the main menu.
The automata, so called because
The number of possible patterns is huge, ranging from regular structures based on triangles to growths with an organic appearance. Automata can be treated as a pretty pattern generator
but it is based on a branch of mathematics and can be a rewarding source of study.
The program is set up with a default set of rules and a random seed which produce an interesting effect and Table I lists a few more for you to try. If you see any good colonies write in and tell us the rules, seed, type and colours and we'll print the better ones in the mail pages.