Personal tribute to "Game of Life"

Post available in: Français

This end of the school year as a college professor is not very usual. In a few days, I’m about to give my first courses to distance students through Discord.

I don’t yet know in detail how it will work. But I’ve tried to adapt my courses on “Design Patterns” to be easier and shorter than in previous years. Indeed, I already imagine that it will be complicated to go at the same rhythm.

I had to redo a workshop on the very classic MVC pattern. I must confess that I was sorely lacking in ideas. First of all, I didn’t want to make a graphical interface with JavaFx (Java being the best known language of my students). Second, I wanted to use my programming language, JS.

I hope that by the time you read this article, the Coronavirus crisis that hit the world in early 2020 is over. As of today, we are still in the middle of it. I even read recently that Jon H. Conway, the creator of the famous “Game of Life” died of this disease.

animation by xkcd

“Eureka !”

It didn’t take me long to set up a little game of life in JS and without framework. The concept of the game is very simple. With the canvas API, in a few minutes I was able to recreate this well known game.

So here’s the demo I was going to share with my students as an example:

Link to the demo:

All I had to do was to put it in the shape of a workshop so Students could do it themselves. As all my classes are open, here it is available on Github

I don’t know if Jon H. Conway had any idea (when he designed this game) that it would become such a “reference” in the computer science world. By introducing my students to it, I hope it will stay that way.

Feel free to share with me your implementations of the “Game of Life” in other languages or on other platforms.

Written by Antoine Caron who lives and works in Lyon (France) building useful things at Bedrock. You should follow him on Twitter. Take a look at my friends websites. You could also take a look at the conferences I gave. If you want to see my professional background, my resume is available here.

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"We are only ever happy in the happiness we give. To give is to receive."