Conway's Game of Life is generalized to a continuous domain. OpenGL and GLSL shaders are used for real-time 2D and 3D graphics. Time stepping is done via a real to complex FFT based convolution operation. There are also two deliberately simple test implementations in FreeBasic and Matlab. A 2D version on a sphere shows that it is really not dependent on the underlying grid.


  • 1D, 2D and 3D with various visualization choices
  • uses FFT for fast computation even for big neighborhoods
  • change parameters in real-time and watch the effect
  • parameters are saved and loaded easily, nothing is lost of your experiments
  • uses the GPU for maximum performance, float precision is sufficient
  • simple version in FreeBasic that should be transferable to any system or language
  • small version in Matlab that shows the concept very clearly
  • version on a sphere that proves the independence of the underlying grid
  • version using SDL, that is the same for Windows, Linux and Mac (only source)

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User Reviews

  • Hi. The main smooth executable file work fine and its very interesting, but I can't seem to get the matlab code to work. Errors like 'Creating a string using double quotes is not supported. Use the string function.' Have you run into this problem before? Maybe from a newer version of Matlab

  • Smoothlife works perfectly.

    1 user found this review helpful.
  • Great project! Any chance to get it running under GNU/Linux?

  • Amazingly good! The rules are astonishing. And with FFT for speed, this runs really fast, even in 3D.

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Additional Project Details

Intended Audience

Science/Research, Education, Advanced End Users, Developers, End Users/Desktop

Programming Language

MATLAB, C++, BASIC, GLSL (OpenGL Shading Language)