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The Rules of the Game

Click Step. In each "object," the four squares turn off -- and four new squares with the same pattern turn on. This gives the appearance of objects in motion.

How do the little squares decide when to turn on and when to turn off? Each square follows very simple rules. If a square is on, it turns off. If a square is off, it turns on if exactly two of its eight neighboring squares are on.

There are many different rules that we could choose for the squares. Later, we will explore the most famous set of rules, called Life. For now, we are using a set of rules we call Seeds. These rules are similar to Life, but in some ways simpler.

The moving "objects" are called gliders. The gliders move across the screen, like the "wave" at a sports stadium. But the little squares, like the people at the stadium, never move at all. The little squares just turn on and off.

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Mitchel Resnick and Brian Silverman
Epistemology and Learning Group
MIT Media Laboratory

Last modified: 2/4/96