|★ CODING ★ LISTINGS ★ Conway's LIFE|The Amstrad User) ★|
|Conway's Life||Coding Listings|
Computers are ideal for modelling real life. The many tedious calculations can be performed in reasonable time, without taxing the patience of a rational being. One of the first published programs for the CPCs was a simulation (Kingdoms, second issue of the U.K. User and first issue of TAU).
LIFE is a classical modeling program, which simulates a colony of cells inhabiting an invisible grid. It regenerates according to simple rules which were postulated by John Conway, a mathematician at Cambridge. It has been implemented on most microcomputers, usually in machine language to produce rapidly changing patterns.
This is a fairly slow version, written in straight Basic which would need very little modification to run on most computers. I wanted to watch the effect of the rules as each generation develops, so the display shows the state of the current generation and the changes in the succeeding generation as they happen. The births and deaths happen simultaneously at the moment of regeneration: a birth/death will not affect an adjacent survival/death/birth if the conditions are right. The changes are recognised only when the succeeding generation becomes the current generation.
Each colony will produce a different pattern. Some colonies may expire quickly, while others, seemingly on the point of extinction, may suddenly explode. Some patterns will oscillate between two states with a period of two or more generations, and others will become static. The random initialisation of each new colony could be changed to allow the study of selected starting patterns.
This is definitely not a fast action-packed interactive game, but patience will be rewarded by the development of interesting patterns.