Trinary Life

This is an idea I came up with some years ago. I will never have the time to implement it, so I’m requesting that somebody take the idea and run with it. There are many fascinating possibilities for applying the idea: a simple Game of Life using the trinary system; a number of interesting puzzle-games could be built around this system; it’s even possible to build some games using this system.

The basic concept is really just an extension of the classic Game of Life (now referred to academically as cellular automata) into a trinary system. The original Game of Life used a binary system in which a cell is either active or inactive. In this system, we use trinary logic in which a cell is either red, green, or blue, and we apply a new set of logical rules for their transforms, based on the old non-transitive rock-scissors-paper system of relationships. The whole thing is most readily appreciated with three simple diagrams:

Six sample steps:

I do ask that, if you build this, do it in Java so that people on different operating systems can try it out. And please advise me of your results -- I’m curious to see what people do with this idea.

Flash! Chris DeLeon has implemented Trinary Life very nicely! You can see his results