Conway's Game of Life implemented with Go and OpenGL.
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Conway's Game of Life

conways-gol is a Conway's Game of Life implementation using Go and OpenGL with go-gl, and was developed as part of a tutorial I wrote on OpenGL with Go.

To follow the tutorial and learn OpenGL with Go by implementing Conway's Game of Life for yourself, check out:

Conway's Game of Life

The 'Game'

The Game of Life, also known simply as Life, is a cellular automaton devised by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970.

The "game" is a zero-player game, meaning that its evolution is determined by its initial state, requiring no further input. One interacts with the Game of Life by creating an initial configuration and observing how it evolves, or, for advanced "players", by creating patterns with particular properties. [1]

The premise of the game is that each cell on the grid is, at any time, either dead or alive. The state of each cell is determined using the following rules:

  1. Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if caused by underpopulation.
  2. Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives on to the next generation.
  3. Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overpopulation.
  4. Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours becomes a live cell, as if by reproduction.

For the full rules, check Wikipedia.


You can download and build directly from source like so:

$ go get


$ conways-gol

conways-gol takes a few optional parameters:

-columns and -rows

The -columns and -rows parameters dictate the size of the game board.

$ conways-gol -columns 100 -rows 100

Conways Game of Life 100x100


Each time conways-gol is launched, it uses a seed value to randomize the state of the game. The -seed parameter allows you to fix that value to replay the exact same simulation. For example, a -seed value of 9000 will always produce an identical game.

$ conways-gol -seed 9000


In addition to the -seed, the -threshold is critical in determining the outcome of the game. The -threshold is a percentage, between 0.0 and 1.0 that dictates the chance of each individual cell starting alive or dead. For instance, if the -threshold is 0.15, it means that each cell has a 15% chance of starting the game alive.

$ conways-gol -threshold 0.1


The -fps flag allows you to configure the frames-per-second of the simulation. If you set -fps to 60, there will be sixty ticks of the game each second.

$ conways-gol -fps 60


conways-gol was developed by Kyle Banks.


conways-gol is available under the MIT license.