Game of Life .lif file converter

Gosper glider gun - Image credit

Conway's Game of Life is a cellular automaton created by British mathematician John Conway in the 1970s. It is a "zero-player game", meaning that each step of the simulation is determined solely by the previous state. While the rules may be simple, surprising and complex behavior can emerge from simple starting states. The game is "played" by designing an initial state, and loading it into a simulation engine to observe the evolution of the design.

One of the examples for the Wayne and Layne Video Game Shield is a Game of Life simulator. It supports loading extra patterns into the sketch for simulation on your television. One common file format for storing Game of Life patterns is the Life 1.06 file, which is very popular and there are many examples available online. The Life Wiki is a popular source of information and Life 1.06 files for experimentation.

What is this for?

Using this web page, you can take a life pattern from the computer and convert it to be used with Wayne and Layne's Game of Life for the Arduino. It uses the Video Game Shield, an add-on for the Arduino that allows the Arduino to plug into a TV and make black and white output, as well as plug into up to two Nintendo Wii peripherals like the Nunchuck and the Classic controller. You can copy and paste the output from this page into the Arduino sketch. That pattern will then be available for the Arduino to display on the TV.

Conversion settings:
Pattern name:
Choose one of the following:
Or, select an example to load into the URL field:

Standalone version

This tool is also available as a standalone python script. To run this script, use something like this:

./ input.lif
The struct output will be printed to the console for copy-and-paste. More details are available in the included README file.


This tool was written by Adam Wolf and Matthew Beckler of Wayne and Layne, LLC.
Wayne and Layne, LLC logo
Questions? Comments? Please let us know what you think of this tool. Contact us.