The game of life is a well known cellular automata where only 2 state of cells comes into play, and with just a few rules demonstrates itself that, based on the initial conditions, it generates a lot of mesmerizing patterns throughout the game field.

This game was created by the mathematician John Conway back in 1970, 50 years ago, as a result, a lot of math lovers have tried to visualize it in a lot of different platforms.

Here you will be able to play a totally customizable version of this awesome game, in the browser, and the code is fully available on github so feel free to fork the project and make your own changes.

If you want to send us your modification of our game of life simulation, you can send it with a link to your github repository to this email address, and it will be published in our website so others can also check it out!

For the complete experience we highly recommend playing this game of life version in your laptop or PC, although you can use it on your smartphone or tablet if you wish.


To be able to define a game of life you just have to imagine a field divided by cells and each cell will have 2 possible states, ON and OFF.

When talking about neighbours in a game of life it means the cells that collide with the one that we are analyzing at the moment.

In order for this simulations to work they need to access every cell for each generation and scan for the number of neighbours, then determine the state of the cell in the next turn based on it.

representation of the neighbours of a cell in the game of life

In this image we can see a blue cell in the middle, which represents the scanned cell, and the lines are pointing to each of the 8 neighbours that every cell has in a 2D Game of Life.

Understanding the concept of a neighbour lets you take a deeper look into how this works.

The following rules are the only ones that the game of life uses to generate such amazing patterns:

  • If a cell is ON and has only 1 neighbour then it turns OFF in the next turn. (SOLITUDE)
  • If a cell is ON and has 2 or 3 neighbours then it remains ON in the next turn.
  • If a cell is OFF and has exactly 3 neighbours then it turns ON in the next turn. (REPRODUCTION)
  • If a cell is ON and has 4 or more neighbours then it turns OFF in the next turn. (OVERPOPULATION)


Based on the rules given above, the game of life can produce different type of patterns, and here there are the main 3 patterns that you should know if you want to learn everything about this simulation:

visualization of an stable pattern from the game of life

This kind of stable patterns can be recognized by looking for structures that never moves and remains stable in time.

visualization of an oscillator pattern from the game of life

Oscillators are a really cool group of cells that switches between 2 states or more and repeat the cycle over and over again.

visualization of an spaceship glider pattern of the game of life

Spaceships, also known as gliders are one of the best patterns that can be generated in any game of life variation, there are a lot of different forms and they can be understood as a moving oscillator.

If you want to try your own patterns with this open source simulation and see how it works in a better way then just hit the button below and start to experience all the possibilities.