Game of Life for PDP-8

Kyle Owen kylevowen at
Sun Apr 7 22:01:49 CDT 2019

Back at VCF PNW, the subject of the Game of Life came up among some peers.
I recall messing with the BASIC version that supported 32 by 32 cells, and
there's also a FOCAL version that can do a whopping 11 by 11 cells.

This was simply not enough. So, I wrote my own implementation and came to
the realization of why more cells may not actually be's
freaking slow!

I've improved the performance a bit using some caching and other tricks to
skip extraneous processing and twiddling of bits, but running in SimH for
lots of cellular life still takes a while. I haven't been able yet to try
it on the real hardware, and I can't say I'm looking forward to the speed
of the real machine either!

I'm working on a few new versions, which may get wrapped up into some
conditional assembly soon. One version will support both storage and
non-storage oscilloscopes with a VC8E. Another version may work to actually
reduce the size of the bitmap to increase speed; it's all a tradeoff, I

Would love to hear some comments if anyone plays with this. And, if someone
significantly speeds things up while keeping the large playing field, I'll
be very happy to hear how!


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