Maze of Life - The Y-start challenge

From here-on the challenge is to discover how the blue-cell can 'manufacture' various stable-state cell arrangements (or other definable goals) from a pre-defined start position. One challenge called the Y-start challenge is proposed here, however the applet will allow you to set-up and explore your own Maze of Life challenges.

Using the V2 applet (below) set up the illustrated Y-shaped start position, with the blue cell in the center of the grid. Then see if you can reach each of the illustrated goals. Location and orientation of the goal does not matter, nor which is the blue cell. 3 out of 4 of the goals are relatively easy, and one of these 3 is a gateway through which you must pass, to reach the missing 4th goal. But which is the gateway? And can you reach that elusive 4th goal?

start position target goals


Sorry, this is a Java applet.

Click on Edit to set up a start position.
Click on Play to switch to play mode or to restart.
Use Undo/redo to replay previous moves (play mode only).
Click on Load to verify and rerun the move sequence in the text box (play mode only).

In Edit mode click on the grid to toggle cell status (black/blue/empty).
In Play mode click on the grid to move.

u – undo last move.

It turned out the Y-start challenge raised many more questions than answers (see below). Discover the answers to many of these questions, on the following pages. I recommend you start with the page on stable-state goals.

  • How many other stable state goals can be achieved by the blue-cell?
  • What about stable-state goals containing: 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,...cells?
  • Can you find additional stable-state goals if you chose a different start position?
  • What is the maximum number of cells? And is this achievable from Y-start?
  • Is it possible to build multi-cluster stable-states?
  • Which stable-states are escapable and which are inescapable?
  • Does escapability depend on position of the blue-cell?
  • Can you reach a goal, but with the blue-cell back in its start position?
  • Can you return to the Y-start?
  • Can you achieve world domination (where the blue-cell is the last cell left alive)?
  • What new types of oscillators can the blue-cell create?
  • Can the blue cell create and manipulate life-forms such as gliders?

iLife pages: Maze of life V1 World domination Optimal sequences (new)
  The Y-start challenge Active oscillators Glider gun in 247 (new)
  Stable-state goals Riding the glider iLife play area
  Dense goals  Building a glider gun

material - Andrea Gilbert, Carl Hoff, Jacco Compier
applet - © Andrea Gilbert 2000-2002