Game of Life (not really a game)

In 1970, the mathematician John Horton Conway developed rules for what he called "Game of Life". (If you never have heard of it google gives you 2 billions of hits). You can also download it as an App to your smartphone.

What you actually need for it is a 2-dimensional display the bigger the better. You could go for an LED matrix which needs a lot of wires - or a TV screen.

The algorithm is pretty simple - all you need is two 2-dimensional arrays for all the cells, may they be dead or alive. Why two of them? Well, one for the current generation and one to calculate the next one.


As usual you don't want to have too much of hardware.

How it was done

It turned out that there is a module with a serial input and a TV output: it is called RS232-BAS-Bausatz,, No. 810099, and it consists of an ATmega8 (called slave later on) and some hardware: you only need some resistors and a diode to produce the video signal).

So you actually need two microcontrollers: the one from the Arduino and the ATmega8. The Arduino sends its data through RS232 to its slave (yellow wire).

Unfortunately, both chips need a 16 MHz quartz.

The Arduino has to reset the slave and wait for about 2 seconds before sending data to it.

Final remarks

1. You might want to save one quartz. This can be done but you have to fiddle around with the fuses of the second processor.

2. There is still space left in the first controller. So why not letting it do the display itself? Yes, you can!

the source

contact: nji(at)