A downloadable tool for Windows

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A small "proof of concept" that lets you generate music with Conway's Game of Life. Each cell plays a different note based on its x + y coordinates.

Use the mouse to select cells. Press play to activate them. You can change instruments, tempo, musical scales, and cellular automata rules.

Created one night by merging the keyboard code from Seraphim Automata with Cameron Penner's code for the Game of Life. Hopefully this can inspire someone in the fields of music or game design.

This program can get pretty loud, so make sure your volume isn't turned up too high (especially if you use headphones).

2/21/17: Updated with a larger grid, pause+mute buttons, and an option to change tempo.

8/15/18: Added new cellular automata rules (High Life, 34 Life, etc). Added new musical scales. Updated the GUI, added "erase all" button.

You can access hidden automata rules by pressing L+Enter. These are explosive rules that likely will cause some slowdown. Regardless, rules like Day & Night, Replicator, and Maze can produce interesting designs.

If you like this tool, check out my other music software like NanoTone Synth and consider donating to support new projects. :)

How to Use:

There are a variety of structures you can build in Conway's Game of Life. Some of the simplest are oscillators, which can play very simple melodic patterns.

One of the more complex oscillators is known as the "Queen bee shuttle", and can be used to create "glider guns" (explained later).

You can also make "spaceships", which move across the screen generating more complex melodies.

New structures such as spaceships are being discovered all the time. The spaceship below, called the "copperhead", was discovered in 2015.


There are different kinds of spaceships, including puffers and rakes. Puffers are spaceships that leave debris behind:

You can see that many larger structures are made of smaller ones. Below are "blinker puffers", which leave behind blinker oscillators as debris. These are made from combining smaller spaceships.

Rakes are spaceships that leave other spaceships behind:

One of the more complex structures you can make is a "gun", which generates spaceships periodically. The Gosper glider gun, created by placing two Queen bee shuttles together, is by far the most common.

Here you can see it animated, generating gliders every 30 moves:

The Simkin glider gun was discovered in 2015 and uses less live cells, but a larger bounding box:

Here you can see it animated, generating gliders every 120 moves:

These are all structures that can be made within the traditional rules of Conway's Game of Life (and certain similar rules, such as High Life). There are many structures that can only exist under different rules, such as these ships for "Day & Night".

There are many other things that can be done with Conway's Game of Life and its variants. Consult LifeWiki for more info.


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

Celody Life 3.1.exe 2 MB

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