Simulation on paper. Robotics Game of Life.

Let's look at what game of life actually is, what are the rules and how to play the game on paper

  • #247
  • 09 Mar 2016
  • 3:35

Initially the mathematicians had to solve the next generation by hand using paper, boards and other "non-computer things". I would be a good practice to walk over their experience and see how difficult this could be and what are interesting things about the game. 

Each generation could live to the next or could die in the next. It is also possible for a generation to enter into a stable state where the current generation is the same as a previous. This means that the generation will start repeating themselves.

Use the tasks and try to guess what is the next generation and will this seed enter in a loop or die and after how many generations

Hangout print material for playing the game on paper

Use this handout material to learn more about the game and how to play it

Complete the handouts from the materials section by finding the new generation by looking at which cells are dead and which are alive.

Try also to answer the question what would help you understand the game:

  1. What is the minimum cells that you must have alive in order for the next generation to also be alive
  2. For each of the examples on the paper try to answer after how many generations we would loop or we would die.


Before we start with programming the game let's try to solve the game on paper and for this we have prepared some interesting papers that you can find below the videos and with them you can experiment and try to solve different generations.

For example, if we have a grid and on it we have 16 different cells

and for them we have the following seed. We have this cell, that's alive, this cell that's alive and this cell. Now let's try to figure out the next generation of the game and for the next generation we know the rules, the rule says that if we have 2 or 3 neighbors the cell stays alive, if we have 1 neighbor - it dies, or if we have 4 or above - it dies. And for this first generation, we have 1 cell, second cell, third cell and only the second one has 2 neighbors, this means that it stays alive for the next generation. We also have this cell that's currently not alive, but it has 3 neighbors, so it stays alive, it's reborn

and we also have this cell that has 3 neighbors and this means by the rules of the game that also is reborn

and this cell has only one cell that's alive, it's neighbor and this applies also for this cell here. And that's the second generation. Now if we try to see the third generation. Let's try to draw it.

And again this cell will stay alive, this will be reborn, because it has 3 neighbors and this cell here will also be reborn.

And we've arrived at the previous generation. this means that currently this whole seed with the generation, is in a stable state and it will loop.

And this means that this seed will never die and it will stay alive. So we have prepared the number of different tasks. Find them below the video and different materials, try to solve the different generations by hand and try to answer the questions

if the whole generation will stay alive or it will die. And after how many generations it will stay alive or it will die.