Maze of Life
The puzzles on this page and those that follow are based
on the well known Game of Life algorithm invented by John Conway.
This variation on standard Life was suggested to me by my father,
James Gilbert, as an interesting basis for an interactive puzzle-maze.
Ed Pegg (www.mathpuzzle.com)
aptly christened the blue cell the intelligent cell.
The basic idea is this; you have control over one cell, the
blue cell. Your aim is to keep the blue cell alive and reach
a predefined goal. At each moment in time the blue cell is permitted
to move to any adjacent, empty cell, or may stay where it is.
Traditional game-of-life rules apply, and if the blue cell dies
it's game over.
Here first is the original Maze of Life puzzle-set (June 2000).
The target here is for the blue cell to reach a nominated cell
location, marked in red. Undo is provided, but to make things
tricky is limited to one move only, so beware, you may get trapped
and have to start over. Simple survival is relatively easy, just
make sure you always pick a location that has either two or three
Click on Restart to load first puzzle or restart current
Click on Previous/Next to switch between puzzles.
Click on Undo to undo last move (one move only).
Click on the grid to move.
Note that, during normal play, once a move (click) has been
accepted the blue cell will either die immediately or life will
progress one instant. This allows you to clearly see why the
blue cell died.
n next puzzle
p previous puzzle
r restart current puzzle
u undo last move
An extra challenge suggested by Ed Pegg: "One
Life maze I'm been particularly intrigued by is Maze #2. I've
been going from the starting position, to the goal, back to the
start, back to the goal. That's where I've died a number of times.
I'm thinking this might make a great little contest... one point
for each trip... what is the maximum number of points you can
get?". Note that if you can complete a round trip and finish
with the exact same cell-arrangement you started with then you
have effectively proven that you must be able to loop indefinitely.
Update Sept 2003: Berend
Jan van der Zwaag successfully cracked this challenge! See solution.
If you enjoyed Maze of Life... read on, the following pages
include many more challenges. I recommend you start with the Y-start challenge. Alternatively,
if you would like to discover just how creative the blue-cell
can be, jump to Riding the glider.
This page is dedicated
to my father on his 70th birthday (May 2000).
With thanks to Ed Pegg, Carl Hoff, Jacco Compier, Dr. William
Paulsen & Berend Jan van der Zwaag.
applet & maze designs © Andrea Gilbert 2000-2002