Is it possible to see set patterns, like gliders and puffer trains and the R pentomino?
--Nick B Sun Oct 21 12:13:40 2007
On a semi-related note, I read the other day in a Chicago free rag that the Portals game that you featured on your site has been recently released. I guess it's in a package called the Gold Box or something.
--The_Lex Sun Oct 21 13:29:11 2007
Man that's really cool. Like ghostly kelp forests.
--captaincabinets Sun Oct 21 15:29:15 2007
Nick, I was thinking about adding an editor, but it seemed to complexify things too much.

Also, how much X/Y space, and how many generations does the R pentomino need?

Lex: yeah, the orange box. Thing is, it's not worth $60 to me for just that game (though Penny Arcade says it is) and I don't have enough time to enjoy the rest.

--Kirk Mon Oct 22 09:51:36 2007
Give it some time. Can probably find it in a bargain bin or something.
--The_Lex Mon Oct 22 12:16:19 2007
According to The R pentomino stablizes after 1103 generations. However, I believe it kicks out a couple of gliders (at least) so isn't confined to a set X/Y space.

--ericball Mon Oct 22 12:20:43 2007
Lex: yeah, that was my strategy.

ericball: huh, I'd have to create a version that at least had non-wraparound borders . I wonder if anyones ever came up with a measure for Life Area that excludes trivial things like Gliders and shuttles. (On the wikipedia page they mention the challenge of "is there a life pattern that grows forever" and while the glider gun was an answer to that, the answer seems a little bit trivial; there should be a measure that somehow avoids it and formalizes a definition for that sense of triviality.
--Kirk Mon Oct 22 12:49:25 2007
There could certainly be a means of zooming out. Given a seed x cells across, you can predict the maximum size of a given generation. There are some Life variations where objects can travel or grow at light speed (1 cell per generation), but the standard ruleset isn't one of them. So viewing more generations would zoom out in all three dimensions.

And, well, as for an editor, all we need to edit is the seed. And there are already standard Life file formats out there, maybe it could just point to some of them. But I'd be happy with just a database of obvious choices, like blinkers, gliders, glider guns.

Know what I'd really like to see? Eaters. That would be one of the few patterns that would come to a point at the top, rather than branching out like a tree the way random ones do.

Know what else would be cool? Expanding this to video game emulators. I'd like to see a 3d projection of the way I played a Mario level.
--Nick B Mon Oct 22 13:28:12 2007
Nick B -
yeah, I'm toying with making a little CGI-based input to this.

It's not quite the same as what you said but check out
--Kirk Mon Oct 22 14:01:46 2007
I used to check Metroid Cubed every day until it became apparent that no further work was being done on Zelda Cubed or Mario Cubed.
--Nick B Mon Oct 22 15:19:52 2007
hell, maybe you showed it to me back in the day.
Anyway, yeah, he seems to be focused on Mario 64 level editing now.
--Kirk Mon Oct 22 16:36:13 2007
I hope he can figure out how Katamari Damacy levels are made.

I just remembered, there's a "Super Mario 2.5D" that is ripped SMB graphics, the gameplay's supposed to be the same but there's a 3D perspective to the levels. Problem is that everything about the game is awful: the textures make things hard to see, the collision detection makes you die too often, the controls are sluggish, and the physics are weird and jerky. Too bad, because it's a neat concept.
--Nick B Mon Oct 22 18:52:49 2007
This is almost as bad as the 4-D Rubik's Cube! poor brain...
--Cheryl Mon Oct 22 23:56:32 2007
On the PC, at least, you can buy Portal separately from the other two games, probably for $30. I won't lie to you, it's a short game, of which about half to 3/5ths of which is essentially player-training (though well-disguised towards the end of that). It's all pretty amusing and easy through the first 15 "maps." After that, it's, well, brilliant entertainment at the intersection of fun and total madness. It has a weird backstory that slowly develops into a more and more unsettling picture of how you got to be in the game, and best of all, if you're very lucky, there's cake at the end. (The cake is a lie.) 

Team Fortress 2, one of the other elements of Orange Box, is outlandish cartoony multiplayer combat frenzy. It's just gorgeous to look at, includes smart gameplay (with some innovative twists on the "control point" gametype), really sharp balance (because the game is essentially 12 years in the making) and in general makes me laugh much more than it frustrates me, which such games do from time to time.

And then you get the Half-Life 2 motherlode with OB, about 40 hours total counting the original game and two episodes.

And since I already own HL2 and Episode 1, I can give them away to another PC user who wants them. Nice touch.

Orange Box is, quite frankly, the deal of the century.

As for the Life doohicky, I like it, but I'm not spotting glider guns, unless they get started too late for them to appear as more than angled branches. Maybe I just need a bigger field/smaller pixels.
--LAN3 Tue Oct 23 23:35:25 2007
Oh, and if you want to see the game "Portal" in action, search youtube for the words "Portal Level" (no quotes) and you'll find some videos of teh basic and advanced levels. (Advanced levels are altered versions of teh basics)
--LAN3 Wed Oct 24 01:48:49 2007
I think Portal is $20 as a download through Steam. I'd buy it for $10, but I'd need some way beforehand to determine that my PC could actually play it.

I think gliders etc could be handled through some kind of "sparse array" format instead of smashing everything into a single 2-D array.
--ericball Wed Oct 24 07:21:38 2007
yeah, I've never coded a sparse array.

Frankly,though, for this kind of toy it's the 3D rendering and not the cell computation that's expensive. Though, hmm, rendering is a linear function of the # of live cells, and computation goes up exponentially with the playfield size, so I guess that could vary.
--Kirk Wed Oct 24 08:53:13 2007
ericball, you are correct, Portal is $20 sans l'Orange Box.

System requirements are:
Minimum: 1.7 GHz Processor, 512MB RAM, DirectX® 8 level Graphics Card, Windows® Vista/XP/2000, Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection

Recommended: Pentium 4 processor (3.0GHz, or better), 1GB RAM, DirectX® 9 level Graphics Card, Windows® Vista/XP/2000, Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection
--LAN3 Fri Oct 26 20:29:51 2007

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