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This is another example that by combining ingenuity with a simple but powerful micro-controller you can obtain fun things, like this game, the game of life. The rules are very simple: There’s a 2D space organized into an XY grid of cells. A cell can be either DEAD or ALIVE. Each cell has 8 neighbours. The game is not a real time one, but a “turn based” one.The behavior for the next-generation of cells is this:

  • Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if by loneliness.
  • Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overcrowding.
  • Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives, unchanged, to the next generation.
  • Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours comes to life.

AVR - Game of Life board

The circuit is extremely simple – one AVR – the ATTiny2313, two resistors, a button, an LCD, two caps and that’s it! The resistor is there to limit the current flowing into the backlight of the LCD. The button adds a few random cells into the space. The AVR is the brain. It must be programmed with the hex file contained in this ZIP file. The AVR must be programmed to use the internal RC oscillator running at 8MHz without the internal prescaler. The fuses can be left on the factory setting, but the whole system will run at 1/8 of the desired speed. Which may be useful for those who wish to view in more detail the complex interactions of the cells. Oh, and you also need to enable the brouwnout detection for 4.3V or so.

AVR – Game of Life: [Link]